Name: Larry Trent
Classification: supporting character
First Appearance: Superman (vol. 1) #2 (Fall 1939): "The Comeback of Larry Trent"
Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
Number of Appearances: 2
Enemy of: Tom Croy
Note: ex-heavyweight champion of the world
Larry Trent was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. But his crooked manager Tom Croy drugged him before a championship bout so that he could collect big on betting against him. This led to Trent's steady downfall until he was nothing but a "stumble-bum, fighting for $5 a night," when he could get it. Trent felt so low he tried to commit suicide by jumping from a bridge. Superman saved him and listened to his pitiful story.
Superman asked Larry Trent, "If I were to restore the title to you, would it bring back your self-respect?"
Trent responded: "Would it!! -- But what could you possibly do?"
After demonstrating his immense strength to Larry Trent, Superman explained his plan. He would disguise himself as Trent and re-enter the world of high-level professional fighting until he won the championship title back for Trent. This is exactly what Superman did, easily winning bout after bout until he fought his way back to a championship title. Then Superman, who had been training extensively with Trent, stepped aside and let Trent fight for the title. Larry Trent was once again the heavy-weight champion of the world, having won the title bout in his own right.
Interestingly enough, Larry Trent was actually mentioned once in a subsequent story. In panel 3 of page 1 of the story retroactively titled "Superman and the Jewel Smugglers" in Superman #3 (Winter 1939), Daily Star editor George Taylor tells Clark Kent, "Clark, you covered Trent's comeback so well, I'm promoting you!"
It is interesting that Clark Kent's editor singled out the Larry Trent story as the reason for giving Kent a promotion. In the time since that story was published, Clark Kent had written at least half a dozen other stories that one might think are more important than the return of a has-been prize fighter. Perhaps George Taylor was a boxing fan or simply really liked Clark Kent's writing style on that piece. Or maybe the story garnered some critical attention for the newspaper. There is no way to know.At this time early in the publishing history of the Superman character, stories were extremely self-contained with little story-to-story continuing continuity or plot threads. Aside from Superman and his tiny supporting cast (Lois Lane, editor George Taylor and office boy Jimmy Olsen), most characters were seen or mentioned in only one story. So the fact that Larry Trent was mentioned later, however briefly, is something of a rarity.
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