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Eno Orrazib




In an old Superman quiz book I have and somewhere on the 'net, I have ran across a tidbit that Pa Kent was a race car driver before he was a farmer! Sounds kind of glamorous for the Pa Kent we all know and love. I was wondering what issue did this appear in? Was it mentioned just once, or did it crop up from time to time?


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Daveym




> In an old Superman quiz book I have and somewhere on the 'net, I have ran across a tidbit that Pa Kent was a race car driver before he was a farmer! Sounds kind of glamorous for the Pa Kent we all know and love. I was wondering what issue did this appear in? Was it mentioned just once, or did it crop up from time to time?

It must have been just the once because I don't remember it at all in my reading... While we're on the subject though was there ever a Farm in the pre crisis Ma & Pa's life? \:\( |)



"LOL ...LMAO...*wink*... Guffaw... *sigh*..." (etc etc...)

...Oh, Did i say lol BTW? *rhe*



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omike015




> > In an old Superman quiz book I have and somewhere on the 'net, I have ran across a tidbit that Pa Kent was a race car driver before he was a farmer! Sounds kind of glamorous for the Pa Kent we all know and love. I was wondering what issue did this appear in? Was it mentioned just once, or did it crop up from time to time?
>
> It must have been just the once because I don't remember it at all in my reading... While we're on the subject though was there ever a Farm in the pre crisis Ma & Pa's life? \:\( |)

Pre-Crisis, the Kents were living on a farm outside of Smallville when baby Kal-El's rocket landed on Earth. At or around the time Clark started his career as Superboy, they sold the farm, bought the General Store and moved into Smallville.

omike015
:-|



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Commander Benson




"In an old Superman quiz book I have and somewhere on the 'net, I have ran across a tidbit that Pa Kent was a race car driver before he was a farmer! Sounds kind of glamorous for the Pa Kent we all know and love. I was wondering what issue did this appear in? Was it mentioned just once, or did it crop up from time to time?"


I'M SORRY I didn't see your post before it got down a bit on the page. Sometimes when posts drop some, they also drop off the viewers' radars. But I do have the answer to your question . . . and more.

The tidbit undoubtedly comes from the story "Big Race for a Mini-Hero", from Superboy # 196 (Jul., 1973). This is a Superbaby tale. According to the plot, Jonathan Kent fills in for a friend whose broken arm forced him to step down from competing in a cross-country motor race in which the winner will be awarded a half-million-dollar contract from an auto manufacturer. In true Speed Racer style, one of the opposing drivers is out to "win at all costs".

The dialogue between Jonathan Kent, Martha, and his friend with the broken arm, Matt Weston, on page 2, panel 6 and page 3, panel 1, establishes Kent's credentials:

WESTON: "Jonathan . . . you were once a racing driver . . . before you got married and bought a farm! As an old friend, drive my car! I need that 500 grand or I'll go broke!"

MARTHA: "But, Jonathan . . . you haven't raced for years!"

KENT: "Nothing to worry about! I still have my driving skill . . . ."

And, evidently, Kent was pretty good in his day. When the unscrupulous driver learns of the substitution, he remarks:

"It's Kent! I remember him! Years back, he took a couple of big wins away from me!"


This feature of Jonathan Kent's past was never mentioned before or after this story.


Those are the facts. Now, even though you didn't go into this, I have a big problem with accepting this story as canon.

As long-time Silver-Age Superboy readers know, Jonathan and Martha Kent were in their early fifties when they found baby Kal-El, left him on the doorstep of the Smallville Orphanage, then returned later to adopt him. By the time baby Clark had grown up to assume his Superboy career, the Kents were in their mid-sixties.

Then came the story "The Fantastic Faces", from Superboy # 145 (Mar., 1968), in which, because of an alien movie producer's interference, Jonathan and Martha Kent inadvertently drink a youth serum which permanently rejuvinates them to approximately their mid- to late thirties.

The problem with "Big Race for a Mini-Hero", and why it should not be canon, is that--even though it is a Superbaby story, when the Kents should be in their fifties (bespectacled, middle-age weight gain)--they are depicted at their mid-thirties age, which they didn't regain until after their son was in his teens. Not only is it merely an artistic error, but it invalidates the story, since there is no way a fifty-something, out of condition man could competently compete in a motorcar race.

Also, you probably noticed, the dialogue I quoted from Matt Weston corroborates omike015's correct answer that the pre-Crisis Superboy continuity did, indeed, establish that the Kents owned a farm at the time they found baby Kal-El (which helped them keep his super-powers a secret, since few people were around to witness his super-powered antics). According to the Superboy history in place at that time, Kent sold the farm, bought the general store, and moved his family to Smallville just before Clark was old enough to attend public school.

Hope this helps.

Commander Benson


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Eno Orazzib




Ah, I knew I could count on Commander Benson for answer. Admit it, Commander, you're a Monitor aren't you.

I have another question that has been plaguing me for awhile, and you are just the guy to answer it.

When the Kents were rejuvinated, didn't anybody in Smallville notice? Didn't they ask Ma what her beauty secrets were? Did the guys ask Pa what kind of viagra he was taking? How did the Kents explain this?




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Commander Benson




"I have another question that has been plaguing me for awhile, and you are just the guy to answer it.

"When the Kents were rejuvenated, didn't anybody in Smallville notice? Didn't they ask Ma what her beauty secrets were? Did the guys ask Pa what kind of viagra he was taking? How did the Kents explain this?"



I HAD TO chuckle a little at your question, friend--because thirty-five years ago, I had the same question myself.

Somehow, my local drugstore skipped carrying Superboy # 145, so I had no idea that the Kents had been "youthenised" until I got the following issue. The reason for the Kents' youthful appearances was a mystery to me, as well; but fortunately, later footnotes and text pieces gave me the barebones explanation for their rejuvenation. But they weren't detailed enough to supply the answer to the first question that had occurred to me: how did the Kents explain getting younger without endangering their son's secret identity?--the same one that you pose, now.

A few years later, I located a back issue of Superboy # 145 and learnt the answer . . . as you are about to.

For those who came in late, Jolax, a opti-vision producer from the planet Thraxx, was palming off video recordings of Superboy in action on Earth, taken by a "super-space camera", as a new opti-vision (television) series. The super-space camera could even record events through solid surfaces, so the "show" also depicted Superboy's life as Clark Kent with his parents. Thraxxian viewers were wild about the show, but there was one constant criticism--Ma and Pa Kent looked too old to have a teen-age son like Clark/Superboy.

Since, obviously, Jolax could not hire new actors, he had to find a way to make the Kents younger. He accomplished this by modifying his super-space camera to act as a teleportational device, and he transported a bottle of youth serum to Earth, depositing the serum in the well which furnished the Kent home with water.

That evening, Ma Kent made some lemonade out of the well water and she and Jonathan and Clark drank it. (The serum, naturally, had no effect on the Boy of Steel's invulnerable body.) The next morning, the Kents awoke decades younger.

(The story specifies that the Kents were twenty years younger, and for a couple of years, that appeared to be accurate, as far as how the "youthened" Kents were drawn--fit and trim, no eyeglasses, but a few extra lines in their faces and a trace of grey in their hair. As the series moved into the 1970's, there was a "youth creep" and those subtle traces of middle-age were removed until the Kents looked to be in their mid- to late thirties.)

Superboy and his parents realised that, once anyone in Smallville saw how young the Kents had become, the logical conclusion would be that Superboy had done it and that would strongly suggest that Superboy was also Clark Kent.

The immediate solution was for Superboy and the Kents to take a vacation in a remote area and wait for the de-ageing to wear off. But after a couple of weeks, it became evident that the Kents' rejuvenation was permanent.

Once the Boy of Steel solved the mystery of his parents' new youth, when his super-vision revealed the traces of youth serum in the family well, that provided him with an idea for keeping anyone from suspecting his identity.

Ma Kent still had the pitcher of lemonade made from the well water tainted with the youth serum. At Superboy's direction, the Kents invited some of Smallville's more deserving elderly citizens to their home for an "old-timers" lawn party. At the party, Jonathan and Martha Kent, wearing make-up to appear as their "old" selves, served the youth serum-laced lemonade.

Before the effects of the youth serum kicked in, the Boy of Steel flew in low over the Kent backyard at super-speed, carrying a pot of luminescent chemicals. To the old folks attending the party, it looked like a mysterious comet had swooped by, brushing its tail over them.

When the serum took effect and the elderly guests became young again, the Kents, in the confusion, removed their make-up unseen, and pretended to be turning young at the same time as their guests. The rejuvenated guests assumed that radiation from the mysterious comet had made them young again--just as the Kents and Superboy had hoped.

Because the Kents weren't the only people in Smallville to be rejuvenated, no-one suspected they had a connexion with Superboy or that Clark was Superboy.

Hope this helps,

Commander Benson



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