Perry White
Perry White (DC Comics character circa 1988).png
Perry White, as seen on the cover of The World of Metropolis #1 (August 1988).
Art by John Byrne, Dick Giordano, and Tom Ziuko.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceThe Adventures of Superman
"Clark Kent, Reporter (February 14, 1940)"
First comic appearanceSuperman #7 (November 1940)
Created by
In-story information
Team affiliationsDaily Planet
Galaxy Communications
Supporting character ofSuperman
Lois Lane
Jimmy Olsen

Perry White is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. He is the editor-in-chief of the Metropolis newspaper the Daily Planet.[1] The character maintains very high ethical and journalistic standards and is an archetypal image of the tough, irascible, but fair-minded boss.[2]

Pierre Watkin played the character in Superman serial, Jackie Cooper in Christopher Reeve Superman films, Frank Langella in Superman Returns and Laurence Fishburne in the DC Extended Universe, with John Hamilton and Lane Smith in Adventures of Superman, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV series and Paul Jarrett in the series Superman & Lois.

Publication history

The character Perry White was created for the radio serial The Adventures of Superman, voiced by actor Julian Noa. He appeared in the second episode, "Clark Kent, Reporter", which aired on February 14, 1940. He transitioned into the comic books later that year, appearing in Superman #7 (November 1940).

In the Adventures of Superman television series episode "Crime Wave" and the Post-Crisis comic continuity, he was an award-winning journalist who served a term as Mayor of Metropolis. He worked as an assistant editor in the Daily Star under George Taylor before becoming editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet.[3]

His most well-known catchphrases are "Great Caesar's ghost!" and "Don't call me chief!".

Fictional character biography

Golden and Silver Age

The earliest Superman comics shows Clark Kent and Lois Lane working for the newspaper the Daily Star and an editor named George Taylor. However, this was soon changed, with Perry White first appearing as the editor of a newly renamed the Daily Planet.[4] In The Adventures of Superman, it was established White had a law degree but had never practiced law, journalism having a greater attraction for him. [5]

In the 1960s and 1970s DC Comics, after the multiverse method of continuity tracking was implemented, the above inconsistency was explained away by declaring that on Earth-One (the Silver Age universe), Perry White is Clark and Lois' employer at the Daily Planet, while on Earth-Two (the Golden Age universe), George Taylor is that world's editor-in-chief of the Daily Star. The Perry White of Earth-Two is a lead reporter for the Daily Star and, according to a Superman Family tale, has "filled in" as editor from time to time while Taylor was away.

Prior to the changes detailed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Perry begins his career as a freelance reporter for various newspapers, including a Chicago newspaper[6] and Gotham City's Gotham Gazette.[7] He eventually goes to work at the Daily Planet as a reporter, and earns his first Pulitzer Prize by being the first to write about Superboy's extraterrestrial origins, thanks to an exclusive interview with the Boy of Steel.[8]

Later still, Perry's reporting skills earn more praise after being the first to discover that Superboy has moved to Metropolis from Smallville. (Superboy had intended to keep his move quiet for an undefined period of time, so as not to alert anyone to Superboy and Clark Kent leaving Smallville around the same time.)[9]

Finally, during Clark Kent's junior year of college, Perry is promoted to editor-in-chief of the newspaper, after the retirement of the paper's previous editor, the Earth-One version of George Taylor.[10]

In the early 1970s, the Daily Planet is bought by Morgan Edge, president of the media conglomerate Galaxy Communications, with much of Perry's power in running the paper overtaken by Edge.[11] In the months just prior to the Crisis "reboot" in 1985, it is implied that Perry White is beginning to succumb to Alzheimer's disease, manifesting in increased forgetfulness and confusion.[volume & issue needed]

Modern Age

With writer John Byrne's post-Crisis on Infinite Earths revamp of Superman's origin in the Man of Steel miniseries and his subsequent Superman comics, Perry's history was fleshed out more fully.

Post-Crisis, Perry is born in Metropolis' Suicide Slum area, growing up with a father missing after heading off to war overseas. He becomes a copy boy at the Daily Planet, beginning a lifetime career that will take him up the newspaper's career ladder. Perry goes to school with Lex Luthor while they are children (Luthor was also born in Suicide Slum).

After Luthor becomes a successful businessman, he begins diversifying his holdings in his newly founded LexCorp company, which includes buying the Daily Planet. Luthor soon sells it after deciding to pursue technology and television investments. Turning down an offer from Luthor to become part of Luthor's new television station WLEX, Perry finds an investor who saves the Daily Planet on the condition that Perry is promoted from reporter to managing editor. The entire episode, not the least of which is what Perry felt as having been forced out of his active writing career, leaves Perry bitter and angry with Luthor.

Perry marries Alice Spencer and has a son, Jerry White. Much later, after Jerry is fully grown, Perry learns that Lex Luthor is Jerry's biological father. Luthor briefly seduces Alice while Perry is overseas reporting on a war and thought to be killed.

Perry White's two greatest moves as the editor are hiring of Lois Lane and (later) Clark Kent. When she was 15, Lois had impressed Perry with her persistence in trying to get employment at the newspaper (by lying about her age). After Jerry White dies from a gunshot, Perry and Alice grieve for some time, resulting in Perry taking a leave of absence from the Daily Planet.

Later, Perry and Alice adopt an orphaned African-American boy named Keith Robert Parks, who soon has his name changed to Keith Robert White. At about this time, Perry takes another leave of absence for lung cancer treatment, putting Clark Kent in charge as the Planet's temporary editor. After many grueling months of chemotherapy, the cancer goes into remission.

One of Perry's proudest moments is attending the wedding of Lois and Clark. He sits in the front row beside Lois' parents (Lois considers him as close a relative as her own family).[12]

As the paper continues to struggle, the Planet's owner Franklin Stern sells the paper to Lex Luthor. Luthor, acting out of pure malice, dismantles the paper. He fires everyone except Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and two others who are relocated to Lexcom, Lex' new Internet-based news company. Shortly thereafter, Lex sells the Planet to Bruce Wayne for $1 (thanks to a secret deal with Lois Lane). White is hired back as editor-in-chief, and the entire former staff is hired back as well.

Though Perry's knowledge of Clark's alter ego is uncertain, it is known that he has found a dusty suit of his star reporter's clothes in a supply closet, including his passport. For this reason, Perry may well suspect that Clark and Superman are the same person, but due to his personal admiration for both Clark and Superman, he has never confided this suspicion or knowledge to anybody. Bruce Wayne believes that because of White's superior skill as a reporter, he knows that Clark is Superman ("Perry White is too good a reporter not to have uncovered Clark's secret. And yet, he acts otherwise... reminding me how good a detective Jim Gordon is back in Gotham City..." -Batman: Hush).

Perry's editorship keeps the Daily Planet as one of the few newspapers that dare to heavily criticize Luthor (even after Luthor's successful election as President of the United States).

Because of the changes in Superman's history in recent years, including 2003-2004's miniseries Birthright, much is not certain about Perry's history.

In Final Crisis #2, Lois and Perry are caught in an apparently fatal explosion triggered by Clayface at the Daily Planet. As of Final Crisis #3, it was revealed that Perry is alive, but on life support. Perry has since then recovered, however, and is now back to running the paper.

When the world begins to grow increasingly more paranoid towards the new population of Kryptonians, Lois begins to investigate the conspiracies executed by the US Government, and her father General Lane in particular. However, the government becomes aware of Lois' actions, and attempt to shut her down. As a result, Perry is unable to print any of Lois' stories because of General Lane's power. Unwilling to let this slide, Perry suggests that Lois 'quit' the paper so as to continue her investigation.[13]

New 52

When Superman's identity is exposed by Lois to protect Clark from being blackmailed by a secret conspiracy, Perry fires Clark, outraged and bitter at the perceived betrayal, accusing Clark of only working at the Planet so that he can profit from his own headlines.

When the Superman of this reality dies, he is replaced by his predecessor from the pre-Flashpoint universe, while Mister Mxyzptlk impersonates Clark Kent to create the illusion that the previous revelation of Superman's identity was an elaborate fake. This storyline culminates in the displaced Lois and Clark merging with the essence of their counterparts in this universe, creating a new timeline where Lois and Clark took a leave of absence from the Planet to raise their newborn son Jon Kent, with Perry as his godfather.

In the "Watchmen" sequel "Doomsday Clock", Perry White has changed the name of the article revolving around "The Superman Theory" much to the dismay of Lois Lane at the time when she and Clark Kent think that someone is pulling the strings behind this theory.[14]

When Clark decides to go public with his identity, Perry is one of the first people he tells, with his friend warmly accepting the revelation in this version of events.

When Lex Luthor uses Manchester Black to erase all public knowledge of Superman's secret identity, Perry is the first to demonstrate what will happen if anyone is reminded of this secret; Black's telepathic command nearly causes Perry to have a seizure as his brain can no longer accept the idea that Superman and Clark Kent are the same person.[15]

Other versions

In other media




Video games


  1. ^ Fleisher, Michael L. (2007). The Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes, Volume Three: Superman. DC Comics. pp. 491–499. ISBN 978-1-4012-1389-3.
  2. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. pp. 471–473. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  3. ^ ""Who's Who in the Superman Comics: The Daily Star", The Superman Homepage". 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
  4. ^ Superman #7 (November–December 1940)
  5. ^ Bellum, Robert Leslie. The Adventures of Superman, Episode 4/09, "Dagger Island." First aired May 19, 1956.
  6. ^ Superman #142 (January 1961)
  7. ^ World's Finest Comics #80 (January–February 1956)
  8. ^ The New Adventures of Superboy #12 (December 1980)
  9. ^ Superman #366 (December 1981)
  10. ^ Superman: The Secret Years #4 (May 1985)
  11. ^ Superman #233 (January 1971)
  12. ^ Superman: The Wedding Album (December 1996)
  13. ^ Action Comics #884 (February 2010)
  14. ^ Doomsday Clock #5. DC Comics.
  15. ^ Action Comics #1050
  16. ^ DC Universe Online Legends #2 (April 2011)
  17. ^ DC Universe Online Legends #9 (August 2011)
  18. ^ DC Universe Online Legends #10 (August 2011)
  19. ^ DC Universe Online Legends #20 (February 2012)