While riding along a dirt road in Smallville, Kansas with her husband, Jonathan, a meteor shower rained down around them, causing their truck to be driven off the road and into a ditch. Curious as to what it was that had fallen from the sky, the Kent's ventured into the crater the meteor had created and found a spaceship containing a young boy inside. The Kent's could not have children of their own, and Martha saw the boy as a gift from the heavens. So they stowed the ship in their storm cellar, forged the boys adoption papers, and named him Clark.
One half of the fantastic parental guidance that brought the world Superman, Martha Kent is a down to earth individual who is always kind and loving.
She was Clark's original tailor, having made his first Superman costume, and always keeping another hidden in the house just in case. It has also been suggested that she helped Clark perfect his "mild mannered" performance with her small background in drama. Martha, who demands anyone she offers an open invitation to her house to call her Ma, has cared for many heroes and their secrets. On top of her raising Superman, she has also helped guide Supergirl, Superboy, Mon-El, and Krypto onto the path of hope and good.
Martha Kent was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster for use in DC Comics. Her first appearance came in Superman #1 which was released in 1939.
Martha Kent is generally regarded as the model motherly figure; loving, understanding, compassionate, kind-hearted, and with a good soul. Martha alongside her husband take in baby Kal-El and raise him to be a good man, with a strong moral compass, encouraging him to use his many powers for the good of mankind. For every life Superman has every saved, you could make the argument that if not for Martha, that person would have died.
Powers and Abilities
Martha Kent has no innate super-powers or abilities; however, her strong disposition and
Martha Kent, with her husband Jonathan, has a long and distinguished history in other media. In fact, (with the exception of some minor, one-season absences) she has been in nearly every Superman film and television series with the exception of the first- the Fleischer brother's 1931 animated Superman serials.
The Adventures of Superman (Novel): 1942
In the original Superman novel, Superman's adoptive mother is known as Sarah Kent.
This 1948 Superman serial starring Kirk Alyn was the first time that we see Martha Kent, played by Virginia Carroll. Throughout all of her film and TV incarnations Martha's character (like Jonathan's) has remained relatively stable. The ultimately supportive mother, seemingly the only level head in the Kent household and Clark's oft-times source of strength.
Adventures of Superman (TV series) 1952
In the Man of Steel's first television appearance Frances Morris plays Martha.
Superman (TV series) 1975
A short lived series with Irene Tedrow taking on the role of Martha Kent
In her first significant cinematic appearance in 30 years, Phyllis Thaxter plays Martha Kent. Her role in the film is fairly minimal, confined to the first
30 minutes or so (and her role in subsequent films is primarily in flashback). However, her role is still an important one, as she helps form the basis of Clark's moral stance.
Superman (TV series)
1988 In this extremely short-lived series Tress Macneille plays Ma Kent.
Superboy (TV series)1990-1992
In this series Salome Jens plays Martha Kent, and a considerably younger one than was seen in years. Due to the nature of the show she was also more active in the course of events.
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (TV series): 1993-1997
In one of the great Superman series of the 1990s K. Callan plays Martha Kent- an older, retired Martha but she still maintains the qualities of Martha that have been the staple of her character in all previous incarnations.
Superman (animated TV series): 1996-2000
In this animated series Shelley Fabares voices Martha Kent in the K Callan style- older, retired, not necessarily actively involved in day-to-day superhero activities but nevertheless is a significant part of Clark's life (Shelley Fabares would continue to voice Martha in The Justice League, Brainiac Attacks and other animated Superman stories).
Superman Returns: 2006
Eva Marie Saint plays Martha Kent. Again, a relatively minor role but it is evident in her scenes just how important she is to Clark.
Legion of Superheroes (animated TV series) 2006-2007
In this short lived animated series Jennifer Hale voices Martha.
Superman: Doomsday: 2007
In the film representation of possibly the most significant Superman story ever told, Swoosie Kurtz voices Ma Kent.
Smallville (TV series): 2001-2011
In the most recent Superman franchise, Annette O'Toole plays a much younger, active version of Martha Kent. Watching the series it becomes clear that this Martha is not the retired, one-liner providing source of moral strength but rather she plays an integral role in plot points and how events unfold.
Also the series makes it clear that Martha Kent is an incredibly important part of Clark's life, providing one half of Superman's unshakable moral foundation.
Man of Steel: 2013
In the upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel directed by Zack Synder, the role of Martha Lane will be played by Diane Lane.