List of Superman supporting characters
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The List of supporting characters in "Superman" is the cast of characters secondary to the main character of Superman in the Superman comics, television programs, cartoons, and movies. Almost all versions reference the source material of the comic book version and therefore the various iterations in all forms of media share an overlapping set of characters.
List of supporting characters
Many of these characters underwent significant revisions during DC Comics' Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline published in 1985 in addition the natural evolution of fictional characters over their multi-decade publication history.
- Lois Lane: Superman's primary love interest, who is traditionally portrayed as being indifferent to Clark, but in love with Superman. Lois is a reporter at The Daily Planet. Through the years Lois has been portrayed at different times as Clark's indifferent co-worker, fierce competitor, friend, love interest or wife. Actresses portraying Lois have included Phyllis Coates, Noel Neill, Lesley Ann Warren, Margot Kidder, Teri Hatcher, Dana Delany, Erica Durance, Kate Bosworth, and Amy Adams.
- Perry White: Editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet. Is noted for his trademark cigars and gruff, but caring demeanor with his staff.
- Jimmy Olsen: Daily Planet photographer who often works with Lois and Clark, and has become a good friend to both. Jimmy is also known to have associated with Superman, earning him the nickname "Superman's Pal." In several stories (mostly pre-Crisis), Jimmy has (usually briefly) acquired superhuman powers and taken on several different identities in order to assist Superman, the most notable and recurring being Elastic Lad.
- Cat Grant: gossip columnist for The Daily Planet, introduced in post-Crisis comics as a potential love interest for Clark. A divorcée and single mother, she became the focus of a tragic storyline that saw her son Adam murdered by the Toyman. Later, she works for WGBS-TV, before becoming press secretary for President Lex Luthor. Eventually, Cat returns to the Daily Planet as the editor of the Entertainment and Arts section.
- Ron Troupe: political editorialist for The Daily Planet, introduced in post-Crisis comics. Ron is an accomplished journalist, known for his liberal political views. He eventually marries and has a child with Lois' sister Lucy Lane, making him Lois and Clark's brother-in-law, as well as co-worker and friend.
- Steve Lombard: blowhard sports reporter for WGBS-TV who was a recurring character and occasional romantic nemesis for Clark Kent during the mid-1970s era. Post-Crisis, Steve is the Sports Editor of the Daily Planet.
- Dirk Armstrong: A right-wing Conservative who worked at the Daily Planet to write an opinion column, his political leanings and opinion often conflicted with Clark Kent including painting Superman as a menace and Lex Luthor a victim of the media and political system. Armstrong would go on to work for LexCom.
- Inspector Henderson: One of Metropolis' top police officers introduced on Adventures of Superman television series, he was adapted into the comics in the 1980s and appeared on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Currently, Henderson is the Commissioner of Police.
- Captain Maggie Sawyer: Introduced in the post-Crisis comics, Sawyer was a member of Metropolis' Special Crimes Unit (SCU). An out lesbian, she was perhaps one of the first gay characters introduced in mainstream comics. She has been in a long-term relationship with a reporter named Toby Raines for several years.
- Dan Turpin works in the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit and has occasionally fought toe-to-toe with metahuman villains. He's often been depicted working under Maggie Sawyer.
- Professor Emil Hamilton: Post-Crisis, Professor Hamilton fills the role that Professor Potter did pre-Crisis, as a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist who lends his assistance as needed to Superman.
- Bibbo Bibbowski was a fan of Superman that was inspired by the hero to become an active force for good in Metropolis after their meeting. Bibbo would often try to come to the aid of his city and Superman but generally acted more as comic relief.
- Morgan Edge, media tycoon and owner of the WGBS television station, where Clark and Lana Lang worked during the 1970s era of the Superman comic books. Later became a villain.
- Colin Thornton is the publisher of Newstime magazine and was the one time boss of Clark Kent when the reporter worked as his editor. Thornton was in actuality the civilian identity of the demon Lord Satanus.
- The staff of Project Cadmus would occasionally become involved in Superman's activities especially when Darkseid established the Evil Factory and later when the Project generated an imperfect clone of Superman in Superboy. Some notable members include Director Westfield, Dubbilex, Gene-Gnome, Guardian, Heat Wave, and the Newsboy Legion (the original grown up as scientists and clones they produced of themselves).
- Chloe Sullivan: Reporter for Metropolis-based website Metropolitan, love interest of Jimmy Olsen, and cousin of Lois Lane. She runs a column called "A Week With..." in which she follows a famous person for a week. She first appeared in the 2000s television series Smallville and was then integrated into DC Comics canon in September 2010.
- Sam Lane: Father to Lucy and Lois Lane, Sam Lane was an Army General that served as Lex Luthor's Secretary of Defense during his presidency. Believed to have given his life during the Imperiex conflict, Lane turned up later heading up Project 7734 leading to the destruction of New Krypton. When his hand in New Krypton's genocide came to light, he took his own life.
- Science Police: An upgraded version of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit led by the Guardian for a time.
- Frank Berkowitz: Longtime mayor of Metropolis who took office shortly before Superman's appearance and served for four terms until his assassination under orders of Lex Luthor.
- CAELOSS (Citizens Army for the Economic Liberation Of Suicide Slum): A group of activists that employ electronic communication and super science cybernetics that oppose Lex Luthor's control of Metropolis. During the conflict with Brainiac-13, they helped defend Metropolis.
- Jonathan and Martha Kent: Superman's foster parents who adopted and raised him after he landed on Earth. Often referred to as Ma and Pa Kent. Pre-Crisis they died shortly after Clark's high school graduation; post-Crisis, they have not yet died. After the relauch of September 2011 they are dead again, dying on Clark's prom night (Action Comics v. 2 #17, cover date May 2013.)
- Lana Lang: Clark Kent's childhood friend and sometimes love interest from Smallville. Pre-Crisis, Lana often suspected Clark of being Superboy. On several occasions, pre-crisis, Lana gained super powers and had several adventures as the Insect Queen. During the 1970s, Lang was also a co-worker with Clark Kent during his time as a television reporter for WGBS; post-Crisis, Clark told Lana about his powers in high school before leaving Smallville. Later, Lana married Pete Ross, and had a son named Clark. Lana was briefly First Lady of The United States, and later worked as the CEO of Lexcorp. Currently, Lana and Pete are separated, and Lana lives and works in Metropolis as the Business Editor of The Daily Planet.
- Pete Ross: Clark Kent's childhood friend from Smallville. Pre-Crisis, Pete accidentally discovered Clark was really Superboy, but kept the knowledge a secret from Clark. Post-Crisis, he didn't learn Clark's secret until much later, and had married Lana Lang, with whom he had a son named Clark. Pete served as Vice-President under Lex Luthor and following Luthor's impeachment, Ross became President of The United States, for a brief time. Currently, Pete and Lana are separated, and Pete lives in Smallville with their son.
- Professor Phineas Potter: Pre-Crisis, Professor Potter was an eccentric scientist who used his talents to sometimes assist Superboy or Superman. Potter was depicted in Superboy stories as Lana Lang's maternal uncle.
- Police Chief Douglas Parker: The chief of Smallville's police department; Chief Parker mainly appeared in Silver Age Superboy stories, but has been little seen in recent years.
- Kenny Braverman: A childhood rival of Clark Kent, Braverman was poisoned from the radiation of kryptonite embedded in the infant Kal-El's space craft and be afflicted with bouts of illness his entire life. He would later become the villain Conduit.
Although Superman is often called the Last Son of Krypton, a number of other superpowered heroes, either directly Kryptonian, partially Kryptonian, or non-Kryptonian but with some association to Superman, have appeared across his long history. Some of these are:
- Supergirl: Pre-Crisis, Supergirl is Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin from Argo City, a city that for a time had survived the destruction of Krypton until its residents died of kryptonite radiation. Her parents send her to Earth, where Superman guides her in her development as a superhero. Post-Crisis, several versions of Supergirl have been introduced. The most significant of these are Matrix and Linda Danvers, who had a complicated relationship to one another. Another such individual was Cir-El. In 2004, a new version of Kara Zor-El was introduced in issues of Superman/Batman, arriving on Earth as a teen like the original Kara.
- Superboy: Pre-Crisis, Superboy is Superman's first costumed identity, which he assumes at age 8 and retains until he becomes Superman at age 21. Post-Crisis, Superboy is a clone, originally thought to have been of Superman, that is created after project match (another clone of superman made with full kryptonian DNA. Superboy later finds out that he is actually a hybrid of human and Kryptonian DNA. At first, he believes he was purposely made to be only with super strength, super hearing and super eyesight. Later, in Young Justice, he discovers that his human DNA comes from Lex Luthor. Superboy's secret identity is Conner Kent, clone/brother of Clark.
- Lar Gand aka Mon-El: From Daxam, a planet similar to Krypton, Lar stops on Krypton just prior to its destruction. He eventually makes it to Earth and befriends Clark Kent (originally Superboy), who gives him the name Mon-El and puts him in the Phantom Zone when he receives a fatal dose of lead poisoning. Since then, Mon-El helps Superman as much as he can concerning matters with the Zone. After a thousand years, Lar is cured and freed by the Legion of Super-Heroes who also recruit him has a member.. In the main DC continuities extant from 1990–2004, Lar Gand has a different history as the hero, Valor.
- Lori Lemaris: A mermaid who Clark Kent dated while attending Metropolis University, and was the first person he proposed marriage to (though Lori turned him down). Lori returned to current comic continuity as a prelude to Clark and Lois's short-lived breakup in a 1996 storyline. Lori has also been a supporting character and ally of Aquaman.
- Steel: An engineer genius named John Henry Irons who creates a high-tech, mechanized suit of armor to fight crime in, after Superman's death in the Death of Superman storyline, and still serves as a superhero today. His niece Natasha Irons has also fought crime as Steel.
- Eradicator: Originally a strange Kryptonian device recovered by Superman, the Eradicator creates the Fortress of Solitude as part of an attempt to establish Kryptonian civilization on Earth. Later, it gains more sentience, and has since become a hero in its own right. His current (2008) status is unknown.
- Kal Kent: A descendant of Superman that occasionally interacts with his ancestor.
- Superwoman: Several versions of a Superwoman have appeared; often, she is Lois Lane, temporarily granted superpowers. Luma Lynai of Staryl bore the title. Shortly before the Crisis, Kristin Wells, a descendant of Jimmy Olsen from the future, assumed the identity of Superwoman.
- Power Girl: A version of Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) from Earth-Two and the cousin of Superman (Kal-L).
- Chris Kent: Introduced in 2006, Chris Kent is the foster son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, and the natural son of Kryptonian super-villains General Zod and Ursa. Chris possesses at least some of Superman's powers. Chris is currently on Earth using the costumed identity of Nightwing.
- Infinity, Inc.: A group of metahumans given birth from Lex Luthor's "Everyman Project", the team were his puppets until being set free by the hero Steel. Some time after earning their freedom, they would again band together as heroes in Metropolis under the direction of Steel.
- Maxima: Ruler of Almerac, she sought Superman to produce a powerful heir but would later become an ally of Superman. She would give her life to save the Universe from Brainiac.
- Waverider: A time traveller from the Armageddon 2001 future that frequently observes Superman, occasionally involving himself with the hero.
- Strange Visitor: A childhood friend of Clark Kent's from Smallville, who gained Superman's electrical powers and wore his old containment suit from the period when he was an electrical being. She was later revealed to be the cosmic entity, Kismet.
- Kelex: In post-Crisis stories, a Kryptonian robot who originally served Jor-El on Krypton. Kelex currently maintains Superman's Fortress of Solitude.
- Krypto the Superdog: Pre-Crisis, Krypto is the El family's pet dog on Krypton, who eventually wound up on Earth and gained superpowers like Superman's. Post-Crisis, Krypto was not reintroduced until the early 2000s, but has since been a regular supporting character in Superman comics as the faithful companion of both Superman and Superboy (Kon-El). His current origin resembles his original one.
- Martian Manhunter: While the Martian Manhunter and Superman shared a connection as members of the Justice League and aliens on Earth with similar powers, unbeknownst to Superman J'onn had observed the hero since he was an infant. He would enter Superman's life several times including posing as a Kent farm labourer named Josh Johnstone and his high school Civics teacher Mrs. Klingman.
- Comet, the Superhorse: Supergirl's flying horse, originally a Centaur, but cursed to live as a full horse. At various times he has had romantic feelings for Supergirl. Post-Crisis, he was given a different, stranger history.
- Streaky the Supercat: Supergirl's normal household cat, accidentally given superpowers by a new type of Kryptonite. Streaky regularly fights alongside Krypto in the animated series Krypto, the Superdog.
- Whizzy: 30th century descendant of Streaky, the Supercat.
- Beppo: Monkey that stowed away on Kal-El's rocket.
- Yango The Super-Ape: Pre-Crisis, an ape from Krypton rocketed to Earth by anthropologist Professor An-Kal to Kenya where he built an underground city for apes and acts as their protector.
- Nightwing and Flamebird: Originally Superman and Jimmy Olsen, Pre-Crisis the duo would pass these identities on to Van-Zee and Ak-Var to protect Kandor. Post-Crisis, the identity would go on to several including Power Girl and Supergirl and recently Chris Kent and Thara Ak-Var to protect Kandor.
- Vartox: A Pre-Crisis ally and friend to Superman from Valeron, Vartox would occasionally team with Superman to face threats on each other's planets.
- Lyla Lerrol: A Pre-Crisis Kryptonian that Superman nearly married. She would appear occasionally as a vision to the hero.
- Wonder Man: A Superman robot named Ajax given flesh and blood by the Superman Revenge Squad to retire Superman and stand aside as they attack the Earth. Ajax turned on his masters to help Superman but died soon after via a death mechanism implanted in him.
- Alpha Centurion: Ancient Roman soldier and current antagonist of Superman for the affections of Lois Lane.
- Scorn: The prince of Kandor who became stranded in Metropolis, becoming a hero and friend of Superman.
- Booster Gold: Using Legion tech and operating out of Metropolis, Booster Gold started as a glory seeking adventurer that became a hero and ally to Superman. Much of this cultivated into his role as Supernova, filling the void left by Superman during the year the hero was depowered using Phantom Zone Projector technology.
- Agent Liberty: Former CIA operative that donned a power suit and fought crime, often beside Superman. Later acting as an operative for the United States, he would die investigating Project 7734.
- Gangbuster: Originally a crime fighter in Suicide Slum, he would occasionally team with Superman and one time the Kryptonian donned Gangbuster's costume when he suffered a nervous breakdown.
- Thorn: A heroine that suffers from dissociative identity disorder that teams with Superman against the 100.
- Draaga: The champion of Warworld who lost to Superman. Though he sought a fight to the death with Superman, he would instead become an ally and gave his life to save Earth from Brainiac.
- Sharif: Davood Nassur is a Quraci teen who developed telekinetic powers in the wake of Invasion!. A troubled youth due to the hatred held towards his nationality that would cross swords with Superman and Lex Luthor, the teen would later act as a hero named Sinbad in Metropolis. He would later move to Los Angeles and go by the name Sharif.
- Sirocco: The embodiment of Khyber's emotions and conscience, the immortal speedster of Tehran, Iran Sirocco will become one of the remaining survivors on Earth and ally to Superman when his evil counterpart and his Ghostwolves wipe out humanity.
- Tyr-Van: A Kandorian spy for General Zod that would go on to represent the Labor Guild on New Krypton's Ruling Counsel and would be Superman's closest friend on the planet.
- Red Shard: Superman's unit in the Military Guild of New Krypton originally led by Asha Del-Nar, who became Superman's second-in-command.
- Black Lightning: A longtime resident of Metropolis, Black Lightning fought crime in Suicide Slum and took on the 100, making a nemesis of crime boss Tobias Whale. He would go on to be the Secretary of Education under President Lex Luthor.
- Starman: A hero of the Infinite Realm, Starman was secretly Prince Gavyn, the brother of the realm's ruler Clryssa. Gavyn was believed dead, left to die in space by order of the Imperial Council such that none challenged Clryssa's reign. Mongul would come to the realm's capitol Throneworld and slay Clryssa usurping rule, using the planet's weapon the Doomsday Device to force other worlds to join him. Starman teamed with Superman to bring Mongul to justice, leaving Gavyn to rule Throneworld. The hero would die but his essence was absorbed by Will Payton who took up Gavyn's role.
- Auron: A clone of the Guardian made by Project Cadmus that abandoned the project to traverse the stars. He would be killed fighting beside Superman against Massacre.
- The Justice League of America: A team of superheroes of which Superman is a member and often the leader. Other notable JLA members include Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, and Black Canary.
- The Legion of Super-Heroes: A team of young superheroes from the 30th and 31st Centuries who were formed with Superman as their inspiration. In his youth, Superman frequently traveled to the future to serve as a member of the Legion as Superboy. Other notable Legionnaires include Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Brainiac 5, Mon-El and Supergirl.
- The New Gods of Supertown: As Earth seemed inexplicably tied to the Anti-Life Equation, sought by Darkseid and his minions, Superman would become a frequent opponent to the ruler of Apokolips and thus an ally to his enemies in the New Gods of Supertown. Some notable members of these New Gods are Highfather, Orion, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, and the Forever People.
- Squad K: A government sponsored unit created to take down Superman should he ever go rogue. With the appearance of New Krypton, they became a unit charged with taking on Kryptonian threats. When they were introduced, they were led by Colonel Perseus Hazard, grandson of Gravedigger. The team was forced to add Reactron to the group and he killed them during their mission together. The team was reformed under General Lane led by Sergeant Cloud.
- Doctor Light: After losing her powers to her villainous counterpart, Kimiyo Hoshi moved her family to Metropolis and came to work at S.T.A.R. Labs. When her powers are restored by Hardware, she becomes active in the Justice League and fighting crime in Metropolis.
- The Supermen of America: A team of youths inspired by Superman initially funded by LexCorp to protect Metropolis.
- Metahuman Metropolis Special Crimes Unit: To face the growing threat of metahuman crime in Metropolis, the S.C.U. added metahuman agents: Freight-Train, Fireworks, Badmouth, and the Roo.
- Mister Majestic: Displaced in Metropolis after being pulled through the Bleed, Majestic filled the void left by an absent Superman. Upon the hero's return, Majestic came to follow some of Superman's behavior before the Man of Steel was able to help Majestic return to his home universe.
- Icon: Formerly a native of the Milestone Comics universe, Icon was one of many characters retconned into the mainstream DCU history following Final Crisis. Though not much is known about how they met, the two have been shown to be good friends and have a deep-seated trust in each other. Like Clark, Icon is an alien who crash landed on earth and was raised by a human family.
- Forgotten Heroes: A group of heroes that formed to save Superman's life and later teamed with Superman to battle the Forgotten Villains. During these adventures, the group was composed of Immortal Man, Cave Carson, Dane Dorrance, Rip Hunter, Congo Bill/Congorilla, Animal Man, Dolphin, and Rick Flag, Jr..
- Ambush Bug: Initially attempting to be a super-villain, battling Superman inspired Ambush Bug to become a hero instead, fancying himself as Superman's sidekick/partner and close friend (much to the Man of Steel's chagrin).
- Quex-Ul: Pre-Crisis, Quex-Ul was falsely imprisoned in the Phantom Zone and was freed by Superman. He would end up working for the Daily Planet as Charlie Kweeskill before being put in the Phantom Zone again alongside Superman where he gave his life to protect the Man of Steel.
- Yellow Peri: A sorceress that assisted Superman during his Superboy and his adult heroic career.
- Captain Strong: The seafaring captain of the Fantasia, Superman helped Horatio Strong beat his addiction to the alien power-giving seaweed sauncha and the two became close friends with Clark Kent occasionally joining Strong in his voyages.
- Space Canine Patrol Agents: An intergalactic group of canine crime fighters.
- Space Cat Patrol Agents: Feline variation of the Space Canine Patrol Agents.
- Supermen Emergency Squad: A group of Kandorians led by Superman's cousin Don-El that come to Superman's aid when necessary.
- Power Boy: Zarl Vorne was rocketed from Earth to survive the destruction of Atlantis to the planet Juno where, due to having less gravity than Earth, gives the child superhuman abilities.
- The Hyper-Family: A family of heroes on the planet Trombus that gain powers similar to Kryptonians under a red sun. The group includes Hyperman, Hyperwoman, Klypso the Hyperdog, and are led by Hyperboy.
- Hyper-Man: Survivor of the dying planet Zoron, this infant was rocketed to Oceania where he was raised as Chester King growing up to be Hyper-Boy and, later, Hyper-Man developing superhuman abilities from Oceania's lesser gravity.
- Salkor: Pre-Crisis hero of the planet Makkor who married an amnesiac Supergirl.
- Halk Kar: Hero of the planet Thoron who once befriended Jor-El.
- Garok: Superboy's childhood friend Gary the Witch-Boy grown into a sorcerer.
- Mighty Boy: Alongside Rovo the Mighty Dog, Mighty Boy is the hero of the planet Zumoor where he and his hound have similar powers to Kryptonians.
Characters specific to other media
There have been a number of characters who appeared in Superman television shows, movies, and radio dramas that never made their way to the comics. Among them are:
- Lionel Luthor: Lex Luthor's father from the Smallville television series. While Luthor's father has been depicted prior to the debut of Smallville in the comics, he was never a prominent figure, unlike this series. Smallville characterizes him as very similar to the adult post-Crisis Lex, as a corrupt, powerful businessman with sinister tendencies.
- Willi Berg: An early boyfriend of Lois Lane who later becomes Clark's friend and ally when he first leaves Smallville. Willi is a photographer, and by the end of the story gets a job with the Daily Planet. Only appears in Tom DeHaven's novel, "It's Superman!".
- T.J. White: Clark's first college roommate in the 1990s television series Superboy and the nephew of Perry White. In the series, he works with Clark on their university's student newspaper.
- Andy McAllister: Clark's second college roommate in the 1990s television series Superboy. In the series, he periodically attempts to involve Superboy and Clark in his get-rich-quick schemes.
- Richard White: Lois Lane's fiance and Perry White's nephew in the movie Superman Returns.
- Jason White: In the movie Superman Returns, Jason is Lois Lane's son. Though he is also presented as Richard's son, Lois has a revelation that Jason is actually Superman's son and later reveals this to Superman himself. Jason apparently shares some of his father's superpowers.
- Tess Mercer: Lex Luthor's successor as CEO of Luthorcorp from the "Smallville" television series. She is an homage to three previous Superman Characters, Eve Teschmacher, Lena Luthor and Mercy Graves. She has since made a name as a character in her own right, breaking off ties with Lex, learning Clark's secret, and trying to redeem herself.
- "Catwoman 2, Punisher: War Zone, Transformers 2: July 30 Comic Reel". Comic Book Resources. July 30, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2008.