Jonathan Kent and his wife, Martha Kent, lived as farmers in Smallville, Kansas, until one night they witnessed a comet fall to Earth and adopted an alien baby from Krypton. Raising the baby with kindness, hope and good morale, the couple were instrumental in forming the man who would become known to the world as Superman.
Jonathan Kent was born in Smallville and lived on the Kent family farm owned by his father, Samuel Kent. Jonathan's mother died when he was young and he often helped his father and siblings look after the estate. At some point in high school, Jonathan met and fell in love with a local girl named Martha Clark. Martha liked Jonathan as well, but they never had the chance to become romantically involved with one another.
When he came of age, Jonathan enlisted in the U.S. armed services and went off to fight in World War II. In 1944, he was captured by Japanese soldiers and was listed as M.I.A.
When he was eventually released and returned to Smallville, he discovered that his brother, Harry, had died and that Martha had married the son of a local business tycoon Daniel Fordman. Kent was heartbroken, but respected Martha's decision.
When Daniel died of cancer, Martha and Jonathan renewed their romance. Six months later Jonathan proposed and the two were married soon after. When Jonathan's father passed away, Jonathan inherited the family farm and Martha moved in with him.
Over the course of several years, the Kents attempted to start a family, but each attempt ended with disaster; suffering through eight miscarriages and stillborn births. Martha non-the-less prayed every day for a child.
Two years later, Smallville suffered the worst blizzard the town had seen in over a century. While driving down the highway adjacent to their property, the couple witnessed a meteor shower rain down around them, with one meteor crashing into a field close to them. Curious, the couple ventured to the crater in the field and found a spaceship with a baby boy inside. Martha saw the boy as a gift from the heavens and, seeking to provide the child with shelter, the couple loaded the ship onto their truck, took the boy home. Fearing that the child might have been the subject of a Russian cosmonaut mission, the Kents decided to take him in. The blizzard sequestered the couple to their farm for six months. During this time, Jonathan moved the rocket ship closer to the property and buried it beneath an old barn. When conditions improved and they were able to leave, the Kents presented the child (whom they named Clark) to the community as their own biological "miracle child" and they raised the child as their own.
Raising the child with what would be described as an ideal childhood, and teaching him good morale and discipline, while Jonathan dealt with the problems of Clark's developing powers, Martha gave him the love and support to keep him grounded.
After rescuing a space shuttle that was hurtling to its doom above Metropolis, an adult Clark returned home in need of guidance and Martha designed a costume for him to wear as a superhero.
Even after Superman became recognized as the World's Greatest Super Hero, Clark still made frequent trips back to Kansas for his father's advice and a chance to unwind. The Kents also willingly harbored other superbeings; including Matrix, Kon-El, and Krypto.
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- Jonathan first appeared in Superman #1 (Summer 1939).
- Jonathan is voiced by Brandon Young.
- Jonathan Kent is a direct descendant of Sir Brian Kent (aka the Silent Knight). Brian Kent himself is one of many reincarnations of the Egyptian prince, Prince Khufu