Almost at the end of the list of characters appeared in the last Man of Steel trailer: this time, we’re speaking of Perry White, portrayed on screen by Laurence Fishburne (who’s the first Afro-American version of the character). Perry is one of Superman‘s most popular minor characters, and appeared in every single live action version of the Man of Steel (with the only exception of the Superboy tv series, in which he was replaced by a son, T. J. White). From Pierre Watkin to John Hamilton, from legendary Jackie Cooper to Lane Smith, with the latest additions from Smallville and Superman Returns (respectively Michael McKean and Frank Langella), Perry White has had many faces, but let’s see what his comicbook one looks like, despite it has been rebooted at least four times (I’ll just write about my favorite one).
Perry White’s childhood surely wasn’t an easy one. He was born in Metropolis, in the city’s worst area, nicely called the Suicide Slum. He found himself alone when his father went missing overseas, and learnt to take care of himself. He became the only and best friend of another young one from the Slums, Alexander “Lex” Luthor. Growing up, the two of them took different roads, but both promised each other that they would have become something better than what their actual life promised to them, and in a certain sense they both kept their word. Perry was hired as a copy boy at the important newspaper Daily Planet, and the job allowed him to live without a father taking care of him; after some years, he became a young reporter. Investigating some racial crimes, Perry went to the small town called Melonville, where he met Franklin Stern, a young and talented student who was about to head off for Harvard Business School and that was investigating on his own about the disappearance of several members of his family. Perry and Franklin didn’t get along well at first, but things changed the moment White saved Stern from a beating coming from the Aryan Brotherhood. The two young men started working together, and soon discovered a racial nightmare, in which the local members of the Brotherhood kidnapped and killed many black men trying to transform them, through so-called scientific and eugenic experiments, into “supermen”. Perry White’s article (ironically called Supermen Plot Foiled) led to the arrest of the entire group, won him his first (but surely not last) Pulitzer Prize and created a strong friendship between him and Frank Stern. From that point on, his career in journalism became an all-ascending road, and he soon arrived to be Daily Planet’s editor in chief.
Perry White found a good girl he fell in love with, Alice Spencer, and the two formed an inseparable couple. The problem was, also Lex Luthor liked Alice. When Perry sailed overseas to report a war, Lex made Alice believe that her beloved boyfriend was dead, and, while comforting her, he slept with her. Coming back from the war, Perry found out that Alice had betrayed him, and that Lex, not happy with just ruining his sentimental life, was attempting to shut down the Daily Planet, since he had become a media mogul and wanted to erase the competition. Perry managed to save his journal, but (it was the least!!) his friendship with Luthor ended once and for all. With time, he forgave Alice (it wasn’t her fault, after all) and ended up marrying her; the two had a son, Jerry (who in reality was Luthor’s biological son), who would have become Perry’s pride and joy (until he was killed by a gang). Perry and Alice would have (much) later adopted an orphaned boy, Keith Robert. His work with Daily Planet became the center of Perry’s life, an incredibly stressful job, but extremely satisfying. Perry hired some of the best journalists he ever met, such as a teenager Lois Lane, or the apparently goofy countryman Clark Kent, making the Daily Planet one of the best newspapers in the world.
Perry White is a hard working man, with a strong moral code and a precise idea about journalism, which he sees as a means to serve the people. Despite he’s often angry and mostly shouts instead of speaking, he’s a good man, an example for all his employees and one of the best journalists ever lived.