|First appearance||Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #22 (August 1957)|
|Created by||Otto Binder
|Full name||Phineas Potter|
|Supporting character of||Superman
Professor Phineas Potter is a supporting character in stories published by DC Comics featuring Superman and several related characters, most notably Jimmy Olsen. He first appeared in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #22 (August 1957).
Fictional character biography
The original incarnation of Professor Potter was the maternal uncle of Lana Lang, and first encountered the Man of Steel during his teenage years as Superboy. An eccentric scientist, Potter often invented odd or fantastical devices which he intended to use for the betterment of humanity. However, he rarely considered the potential downsides of his inventions. While several of his devices were harmless, many others were not, and chaos often ensued when they were activated.
Potter befriended three newspaper reporters from the Daily Planet: Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent. Olsen, in particular, was often the intended victim of Potter's inventions gone awry. Thanks to the professor, Olsen was briefly evolved into a super-intelligent being from one million A.D., given an elongated nose like the character Pinocchio, stricken with "flame-breath", and cursed with an evil twin, among other calamities. However, Potter was able to recreate a serum which had once given Olsen stretchability powers. Thus, Olsen was able to occasionally use those powers as Elastic Lad.
Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, Superman's history was revised, such that Clark Kent did not begin his public superhero career until adulthood, and thus never operated as Superboy. In the revised continuity, Phineas Potter's role in the Superman mythos has been largely replaced by a seemingly more competent professor, Emil Hamilton. Potter eventually appears as a scientist working at the Hawaii branch of S.T.A.R. Labs, and the Superboy he encounters is Conner Kent, the hybrid clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. There is no apparent relationship to Lana Lang.
In other media
While Phineas Potter has not appeared in any medium outside of comic books, a similar character appeared on the Adventures of Superman television series in the 1950s. The absent-minded Professor Pepperwinkle was portrayed by Phil Tead in five episodes of the series, which featured George Reeves as Superman. Pepperwinkle also appeared in Superman comics during the 1970s.
In the popular Superman-themed television drama Smallville, Lana Lang has a maternal aunt named Nell Potter, (played by Sarah-Jane Redmond) whom she lives with for the first season (due to her parents' deaths) before moving in with Chloe Sullivan.
- Adventure Comics #291 (December 1961)
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #22 (August 1957)
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #32 (October 1958)
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #33 (December 1958)
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #27 (March 1958)
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #89 (December 1965)
- Superboy (vol. 3) #19 (September 1995)