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Subj: Zoom Zoom!
Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 at 04:39:41 pm CST (Viewed 3 times)
Reply Subj: Q regarding pre-Crisis Pa Kent
Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 at 04:53:18 pm CST
"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.
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