Superman’s Family Tree, Explained

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Summary

  • Superman’s biological parents, Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van, played a crucial role in his origin story by sending him to Earth for protection.
  • Jonathan and Martha Kent, Superman’s adoptive parents, instilled in him the moral compass and values that shape his heroism.
  • Lois Lane, Superman’s partner and love interest, has a significant impact on his life and eventually becomes his wife and mother of their child, Jonathan Kent.


When it comes to our fictional superheroes, their origins and where they come from change over time. Adapt to the times and whatnot. Marvel and DC are experts at this when it comes to rebooting characters and franchises. Some reboots have changed their characters’ stories for the better. Others….not so much, pretty much ruining what said character represents.

Let’s take Superman, for example. How much of his family tree has changed since his initial debut? Is he still the same person that we all know and admire? The long and short of it is yes. Superman himself, most of the time, is the hero with a moral code. Who uses his powers to protect humanity. He has a child-like innocence in some depictions of his character. So, who is the family of Superman, and how have they impacted the hero’s life?

Superman’s Family Tree

Superman's family tree


Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van

Superman’s Biological Mother and Father

Marlon Brando as Jor-El and Susannah York as Lara
Warner Bros.

Jor-El was a Kryptonian scientist and the biological father of Superman, while Lara Lor-Van was his mother and a scholar and librarian for the city archives of their planet’s capital. When it comes to marriage on the planet Krypton, it’s basically like selective breeding. Kryptonians get their spouses chosen for them based on their genetics and how fit they are to produce offspring.

Lara’s first chosen suitor tragically passed away from the Green Plague, a radioactive fallout. Jor-El was then chosen to be Lara’s suitor, and he wanted to meet her in person. The two fell in love and their combined genetics were used to create their son, Kal-El. It was Superman’s father, Jor-El, who would discover that the Green Plague was just the beginning of Krypton’s destruction. As their planet’s core was being destroyed, the couple sent their son to Earth for protection.

superman
Superman

Release Date
December 13, 1978

Rating
PG

Runtime
143

Jonathan and Martha Kent

Superman’s Adoptive Parents

Phyllis Taxter as Martha Kent and Glenn Ford as Jonathan Kent in Superman
Warner Bros.

The Kents are farmers who reside in the rural town of Smallville, Kansas. In most depictions of Superman’s origins, he crash lands on Earth as an infant and Jonathan and Martha adopt him as their son, naming him Clark Kent. They are the ones who instill the moral compass we know Superman to have today, encouraging their son to use his powers for the greater good of humanity.

In some versions of Superman’s story, Jonathan and Martha die shortly after their son graduates from high school. In others, they live through his adulthood and continue to be supporting characters. That is until Jonathan’s death due to Brainiac. Martha becomes a supporting character until the New 52 reboot where both are killed by a drunk driver. They then get revived in DC Rebirth.

Kal-El/Clark Kent

Superman

Christopher Reeve as Superman in Superman
Warner Bros.

Of course, everyone knows who Superman himself is. Keep in mind that his character has changed over the years, but we’re going to mainly discuss his origins prior to becoming a hero. Superman was born on the planet Krypton and is the biological son of Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van. Originally named Kal-El, his birth parents put him in an escape pod when he was a baby to allow him to escape from their dying planet.

He landed on planet Earth in the fictional town of Smallville. There, he was found by two farmers named Jonathan and Martha Kent. They adopted Kal as their son and named him Clark Kent. As he got older, he started gaining superpowers such as flight, super strength, heat vision, the list goes on. He took his adoptive parents’ advice to use his powers for good, becoming a costumed superhero now known as Superman.

Lois Lane

Superman’s Partner

Margot Kidder as Lois Lane in Superman
Warner Bros.

Lois Lane has been one of the most (if not the most) important people in Superman’s life. Lois first met Superman as Clark Kent in Metropolis when they worked at the Daily Prophet together. Her appearance, personality, and upbringing change depending on who is writing the character. In earlier comics, her parents were farmers like Superman’s, and they lived in a town called Pittsdale.

In today’s comics, she is the daughter of a U.S. general and was born on an army air base. Lois is a journalist at the Daily Prophet and is known as one of the best investigative reporters at the Prophet. Lois and Clark develop a relationship and, years later, get married. She learns of his secret identity as Superman. They have a child named Jonathan Kent.

Related: Every Superman Movie, Ranked

Kara Zor-El/Supergirl

Superman’s Cousin

Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers in Supergirl
The CW

This family member has quickly become a beloved and fan-favorite character. Kara Zor-El, like Superman, was born on Krypton and is Superman’s biological cousin. She is the last remaining survivor of Argo City. Her father is Zor-El, the brother of Superman’s father, Jor-El. In the modern era of comics, Kara is actually older than Superman, but her physical age appears to be 16 years old due to a time of suspended animation in a Kryptonian meteorite.

In the DC Rebirth, she is adopted by her Earth parents, Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers, therefore posing herself under the name Kara Danvers. Her parents work for the Department of Extranormal Operations. She has similar powers to those of Superman, but she is regarded to be stronger than her cousin.

Supergirl
Supergirl

Release Date
October 26, 2015

Seasons
5

Conner Kent

Superman’s Clone and Nemesis

Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in Superman
Warner Bros.

The relationship between Superman and Conner was rocky at first. Conner Kent is a clone of Superman and his arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor, created by Eve Watson for Project Cadmus (N.O.W.H.E.R.E. in the New-52 reboot). This was sometime after the death of Superman. Conner (aka Kon-El) was Superboy during this time, although he wanted to be referred to as Superman. Conner became a core member of the Young Justice team during every reboot era.

In the DC Rebirth timeline, Superman isn’t too happy to learn about Conner’s origins. At least, the Earth-22 version of Superman was angry about it. Conner and his friends were ejected from various worlds after the events of Gemworld. Once they finally return home to their Prime Earth, Superman and Lex Luthor have no recollection of Conner.

Related: These 10 Characters Are Basically Copycats of Superman

Jon Kent

Superman and Lois’s Son

Jordan Elsass as Jon Kent in Superman & Lois
The CW

The pride and joy of the family, Jonathan “Jon” Kent is Superman’s and Lois Lane’s son, who eventually becomes Superboy. He started fighting crime around the age of ten, but when he turned eleven, an accident occurred that caused his physical body to turn seventeen over the course of a few weeks.

At first, Jon lived a normal childhood and was unaware of his father’s true identity and his mother’s continued involvement in journalism. But their secrets are revealed to Jon when Lois gets kidnapped and Superman goes to save her. Jon has similar powers to Superman. His best friend is Damian Wayne, the biological son of Batman/Bruce Wayne and the current Robin. Jon looks up to Nightwing as a personal hero.

superman and lois
Superman and Lois

Release Date
2021-00-00

Creator
Greg Berlanti, Todd Helbing

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Seasons
3

Other Family Members/Alternate Family

  • Power Girl: Earth-2 version of Kara Zor-El; Superman’s cousin from an alternate Earth.
  • Krypto the Superdog: Superman’s super-powered dog.
  • Cir-El: Daughter of Superman and Lois Lane in an alternate universe
  • Bizarro: Superman’s imperfect clone.
  • Wonder Woman: In some versions of the comics, Superman has a romantic relationship with Wonder Woman.
  • Lara: Superman and Wonder Woman’s daughter in the “Dark Knight” universe.

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