Lara (comics)


Lara (right) and husband Jor-El (left), as statues in Superman's Silver Age Fortress of Solitude. From DC Special Series #26, June 1981. Art by Ross Andru.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Superman comic strip (1939)
Created by Jerry Siegel
Joe Shuster
In-story information
Species Kryptonian
Place of origin Krypton
Notable aliases Lora (Golden Age/Earth-Two version)
Abilities Expert in Kryptonian science. Highly trained astronaut. Excellent fighting skills.

Lara (née Lara Lor-Van) is a fictional character who appears in Superman comics published by DC Comics. Lara is the biological mother of Superman, and the wife of scientist Jor-El. Lara Lor-Van is Lara's full maiden name, as "Lor-Van" is the name of Lara's father.[1][2] Most depictions of Kryptonian culture show that Kryptonian women use their father's full name as their last names before marriage. After marriage, they usually are known simply by their first names, though various versions show they use their husband's full name or last name as their married last name.[3][4]

Lara's role in the Superman mythos has varied over the years, with her treatment and emphasis often depending on the decade she was written in. Golden Age and early Silver Age stories treated Lara in a lesser role compared to her husband. However, stories from the 1970s onwards depict Lara in more prominent roles; one such example is the 2004 miniseries Superman: Birthright.

After constructing his Fortress of Solitude, Superman honored his deceased biological parents with a statue of Jor-El and Lara holding up a globe of their native planet Krypton.[5]

Publication history

Lara first appeared in the Superman comic strip and was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Fictional character biography

Golden and Silver Age versions

Lara, Jor-El, and Superman. From the cover of Superman (volume 1) #141 (November 1960). Art by Curt Swan.

Lara first appeared in the Superman newspaper comic strip in 1939, where she was first named "Lora." Her first comic book appearance (after being mentioned in the 1942 text novel The Adventures of Superman by George Lowther, where she was named "Lara" for the first time) was in More Fun Comics #101 in January–February 1945. A 1948 retelling of Superman's origin story[6] subsequently delved into detail about Lara, though her more familiar Silver Age aspects became more firmly established starting in the late 1950s and over the course of the next several decades.

After the establishment of DC's multiverse in the early 1960s, the Golden Age version of Superman's mother was stated as having been named "Lora", and lived on the Krypton of the Earth-Two universe.[7][8] The Silver Age Lara, meanwhile, lived on the Krypton of the Earth-One universe.

A definitive synopsis of the Silver Age Lara's life (summarizing the various stories revealing her history) came in the 1979 miniseries The World of Krypton (not to be confused with the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths late 1980s comic special of the same name).

As summarized in The World of Krypton (and in various other stories), Lara was a promising astronaut in Krypton's space program.[1] However, Krypton's space program was soon permanently grounded after Jax-Ur blew up one of Krypton's inhabited moons.[9] Eventually, Lara met scientist Jor-El, with the two having several adventures together before getting married.[3] Some time later, Lara gave birth to the couple's only child, Kal-El.

Early in Jor-El and Lara's marriage, the couple are briefly watched by the Guardians of the Universe, who note that Lara (or her husband) would have made an excellent Green Lantern.[10]

Lara and her husband Jor-El were shown to be practitioners of the Kryptonian martial art of "klurkor".[11]

When Krypton was about to explode, Lara and Jor-El placed their infant son into an escape rocket built by Jor-El. In most retellings, Jor-El wanted Lara to accompany their son to Earth, but Lara refused, saying their son would have a better chance of reaching Earth without her extra weight.[12] Kal-El's spaceship then took off, leaving Lara and Jor-El to perish.

Modern Age versions

After the 1985-1986 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths and John Byrne's 1986 miniseries The Man of Steel rewrote Superman's origins, details about Lara's background and character were changed. Under Byrne's version, Lara inhabited a cold, emotionally sterile Krypton where even bodily contact was forbidden. Lara's grandmother, Lady Nara, and Seyg-El, Jor-El's father, were the ones who arranged the union between them so that they might have a child who would fill an opening in the planet's Register of Citizens when another Kryptonian died a rare and untimely death. Jor-El, however, was considered a "throwback" for actually expressing emotions toward his wife Lara, and for his favoring the less sterilized days of past Kryptonian eras. In this version of the mythos, Lara was a librarian and historian of high rank and thought it horrifying that Kal-El would be sent to a "primitive" planet such as Earth. In one story, the adult Kal (now Superman) is transported to the past and encounters his parents moments before Krypton's destruction. Lara is disgusted by what she sees and tells Kal not to approach her, finding him "repellent", even as she is ashamed of her feelings.

In the 2004 Superman miniseries Superman: Birthright, Lara, along with Krypton and Jor-El, more or less again became their Silver Age versions, though with updated touches. In this version, Lara is treated as a fully equal partner to Jor-El in constructing Kal-El's spacecraft and in designing various key components.

In the 2009 series Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns, Superman is first introduced to his birth mother in his teens by the spaceship that brought him to the Earth as a baby. She is introduced to Kal-El by a hologram of Jor-El as his mother. This moment shocks Superman and brings tears to Martha Kent's eyes.

Also in 2009, Lara's own family background is described. Lara Lor-Van is born into the Labor Guild, whose members are not physically abused but have no say in the choices of their lives and who, unlike the members of other guilds, cannot change guilds. Lara became a member of her husband's Science Guild when she married him and was thereby granted all the freedoms granted to other Science Guild members. A member of Krypton's Military Guild describes this as being "raised up."

The New 52

In The New 52, Lara is a member of Krypton's military forces. One of the most talented students on the Military Academy, Lara is both a skilled fighter and a bright scientist.

Lara appears in the "Krypton Returns" storyline. She gives her maiden name as "Lara Van-El."[13]

Other versions

In Frank Miller's mini-series Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again (also referred to as DK2), Lara is the name of the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman, with the powers of a Kryptonian and the warrior attitude of an Amazon. She has a poor opinion of people less powerful than herself and tries to persuade her father to rise above the "humans" and maybe even take over the world. He himself is torn between this and his adopted parent's view that he should use his powers to help rather than to dominate. Ultimately, he rejects the former option and reconciles with Batman.

In other media

Lara has appeared (usually briefly) in various media adaptations of the Superman story. However, as was the case in the older comics, Lara usually has a less prominent role than Jor-El in such depictions.


Agnes Moorehead portrayed Lara in the debut episode of the radio serial The Adventures of Superman on February 12, 1940. She reprised the role in a few later episodes.[14]


Lara and her husband, Jor-El, in the first episode of Bruce Timm's Superman: The Animated Series


Video games



  1. 1 2 Superman (vol. 1) #233, January 1971
  2. Superman Family #192, November–December 1978
  3. 1 2 Superman (vol. 1) #141, November 1960
  4. World of Krypton #1, July 1979
  5. Action Comics #395, December 1970, et al.
  6. Superman (vol. 1) #53, July–August 1948
  7. Superman Family #202, July 1980
  8. Secret Origins (vol. 1) #1, April 1986
  9. Adventure Comics #289, October 1961
  10. Superman (vol. 1) #257, October 1972
  11. The New Adventures of Superboy #28, April 1982
  12. The World of Krypton #3, September 1979
  13. Action Comics Annual (vol. 2) #2, December 2013
  14. Tranberg, p. 403
  15. "Smallville "Lara" Image Gallery - with Helen Slater!". Retrieved 2010-12-25.
  16. Lara, Superman's Mom In Pilot
  17. "Ayelet Zurer Cast as Superman's Mom in MAN OF STEEL". 25 September 2011. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  18. "Julia Ormond Out As MAN OF STEEL's Biological Mom!!". Ain't It Cool News. September 25, 2011.
  19. "Connie Nielsen & Harry Lennix Rumored For Man of Steel". Screen Rant. June 15, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2011.


Tranberg, Charles (2005). I Love the Illusion: The Life And Career of Agnes Moorehead. Albany, Georgia, BearManor Media. ISBN 1-59393-029-1.

External links

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