Jonathan Kent was born some time in the mid 1920s. He lived on the Kent family farm owned by his father, Samuel. Jonathan's mother died when he was still very young and he often helped his father and siblings look after the estate. At some point in his youth, Jonathan met and fell in love with a local girl named Martha Clark. Martha liked Jonathan as well, but they never had the chance to become romantically involved with one another.
When he came of age, Jonathan enlisted in the U.S. armed services and went off to fight in World War II. In 1944, he was captured by Japanese soldiers and was listed as missing in action. He was eventually released and returned home. When he returned to Smallville, he discovered that his brother Harry had died and that his high school sweetheart Martha had married the son of a local business tycoon Dan Fordman. Kent was heartbroken, but respected Martha's decision.
Daniel Fordman learned that Jonathan had returned and arranged a private meeting between the two. He revealed that he was dying of cancer and planned to leave his family fortune to Martha. Further, he wanted Jonathan to take Martha away from him, to spare her the burden of watching him waste away from his terminal illness. Kent was flattered, but propriety demanded that he decline Fordman's offer. Daniel died soon after and his surviving sister Eliza hotly contested Fordman's will. Martha had no interest in family squabbles or Daniel's money, so she left it all to the family.
Martha now had the ability to pursue a romance with Jonathan Kent. Six months later, Jonathan proposed and the two were married soon after. When Jonathan's father passed away, Jonathan inherited the family farm and Martha moved in with him. Over the course of several years, the Kents attempted to start a family, but each attempt ended with disaster. In total, they suffered through eight miscarriages and stillborn births. Their family physician Doc Whitney advised the Kents that further attempts to sire children could prove detrimental to Martha's health.
Two years later, Smallville suffered the worst blizzard the small town had seen in over a century. While driving down the highway adjacent to their property, the Kents discovered an alien rocket that had crash-landed in the North 40. Inside the rocket was the Kryptonian infant Kal-El. Fearing that Kal-El might have been the subject of a Russian cosmonaut mission, the Kents decided to take him in. The blizzard was so severe that Jonathan and Martha were sequestered to their farm for six months. During this time, Jonathan moved Kal-El's rocket ship closer to the property and buried beneath an old barn. When conditions improved and they were able to leave, the Kents presented Kal-El (whom they named Clark) to the community as their own biological "miracle child". Few beings knew the truth about Clark Kent's alien heritage.
Jonathan raised and loved Clark as if he were his very own son. He bestowed upon him a strong moral fiber and a strong sense of righteousness and humility. Martha noted that Clark was in extremely fit health, and could not recall a time that ever seemed ill, or even under the weather. When Clark was eight-years-old, Jonathan witnessed his son nearly trampled to death by a neighboring farmer's prized bull. Clark emerged from the incident without a single blemish on his body. It was then that Jonathan realized that his adoptive child had powers unlike anyone else on Earth. When Clark was seventeen, Jonathan finally confessed to him that he was not their biological son. He took him to the barn and showed him the rocket ship that brought him to Earth. Shortly thereafter, Clark left the family farm for Metropolis and soon adopted the costumed identity of Superman.
- Farming: Jonathan Kent is an expert in the field of Farming.
- His strong moral fiber has provided him with exceptional parenting skills, and he has imparted his code of ethics unto his adopted son Clark.
- Jonathan is also an admitted science fiction buff, and possesses knowledge of classic science fiction literature.
- Military Protocol, Firearms, Hand-to-Hand Combat (Basic): As a veteran of World War II, Jonathan Kent has also been trained in warlike abilities. However it has been many years since he has utilized any of these skills.
- Due to his advanced age, Pa Kent suffers from a number of health related issues including a mild heart condition and high cholesterol. Martha frequently advises Jonathan on his health and encourages him to eat proper foods. At one point, she even placed him on a regiment of steady diet and exercise.
Pa Kent is hell with a shovel.
- Pa Kent first appeared in Earth-Two continuity in Superman #1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He was reintroduced in Post-Crisis New Earth continuity in The Man of Steel #1 by John Byrne.
- As a younger man, Jonathan Kent had brown hair.
- Though never clearly indicated, it has been suggested that Jonathan Kent is a direct descendent of Sir Brian Kent the Silent Knight. The Silent Knight has been reincarnated many times over the centuries. His most recent incarnation is that of Carter Hall, aka, Hawkman, making the Kents tangentially related to the Halls.
- 297 Appearances of Jonathan Kent (New Earth)
- 35 Images featuring Jonathan Kent (New Earth)
- 9 Quotations by or about Jonathan Kent (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Jonathan Kent (New Earth)