Jonathan Kent and Martha Kent (née Clark), often referred to as "Ma" and "Pa" Kent, are fictional character published by DC Comics. The Kents are the adoptive parents of Superman. They live in the rural town of Smallville, Kansas. The couple is usually portrayed as being either late middle age or elderly. In most versions of Superman's origin story, Jonathan and Martha were the first to come across the rocket that brought the infant Kal-El to Earth, with their adopting him shortly thereafter, renaming him Clark Kent — "Clark" being Martha's maiden name.
The Kents are usually portrayed as caring parents who instill within Clark a strong sense of morals, and they encourage Clark to use his powers for the betterment of humanity. In most continuities Martha is also the one who creates Clark's superhero costume.
In DC Comics continuity before John Byrne's 1986 reboot of the Superman story, the Kents die shortly after Clark's high school graduation. In the current comics' continuity, they both remain alive even after Clark becomes an adult. As a couple, the Kents were important supporting characters until Pa Kent's recent death during an attack by the supervillain Brainiac. Ma Kent remains a major supporting character in Superman comics.
Although a "passing motorist" is described as having found the infant Kal-El in the character's first appearance in 1938's Action Comics #1, 1939's Superman #1 introduces Superman's adoptive parents to the mythos, with "Mary Kent" being the only parent given a name. The Kents' first names vary in stories from the 1940s. A 1942 Superman novel, The Adventures of Superman by George Lowther, gave the names "Eben and Sarah Kent", which were also used in the Adventures of Superman television series, but the first extensive retelling of Superman's origin in Superman #53 (July-August 1948, billed inaccurately as a "10th Anniversary Issue!") names them "John and Mary Kent". This issue firmly establishes that it is the Kents who discover the infant Kal-El (unlike later stories, but like the 1950s television series, the small "space-ship" is utterly destroyed, removing all traces of Kal-El's alien origin). The Kents take him to a "home for foundlings" and express an interest in adopting him, to which the home readily agrees after suffering the disruption of the infant's growing abilities. This story also establishes that "Clark" is Mary Kent's maiden name. Mary and John Kent (in that order) die of natural causes as "Clark grew to manhood", with John on his deathbed imploring Clark to become "a powerful force for good" and suggesting that Clark is a "Superman", a name adopted by Clark in the story's final panel. Oddly, no mention of "Superboy" is included, though that feature had already been established.
Read more about Martha Kent at Wikipedia
Official Site: DC Comics
Researched by: Diskyr