Ned Barnes

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Ned Barnes

A contemporary of Superman's and onetime resident of Smallville who, while still a teenager, so admired the teen-aged Superman (i.e., Superboy) that he had his face remodeled through plastic surgery into a duplicate of Superboy's after his own face had been horribly disfigured in a fire.

In the beginning, Barnes had been elated to have a face exactly like Superboy's, but gradually his pride changed to resentment as the newly acquired face became the bane of his existence. His contemporaries teased him mercilessly for having Superboy's face but not his super-powers, and bullies took pleasure in beating him senseless while they laughed at him for not being invulnerable like Superboy. Before long, Barnes had grown to detest his Superboy face, and soon he began to hate Superboy himself. "Everyone's making fun of me because I've got Superboy's face but not any of his powers!" thought Barnes bitterly. "He's admired! I'm mocked--I hate my life! I hate Superboy! I hate him! I'll get even with him some day!"

In May 1964 Barnes, now an adult in pay of "the mob," bluffs his way into a Midwestern defense plant by posing as Superman and makes good his escape after surreptitiously photographing the "secret new type of space ship" undergoing construction there.

It is a short while later, while traveling on foot through the countryside to elude the police, wearing eyeglasses and dressed in attire similar to the kind customarily worn by Clark Kent, that Barnes makes the chance acquaintance of Sally Selwyn—who naturally mistakes Barnes for the long-lost lover she knows only as Jim White—and decides to turn this incidence of mistaken identity to his own advantage by hiding out for a time at the Selwyn mansion.

Almost against his will, however, Barnes finds himself falling in love with the lovely Sally Selwyn, and as the days pass he begins to feel increasingly guilty at continuing to impersonate her lost-lost sweetheart. He has decided to depart the Selwyn estate, when suddenly he is surprised at gunpoint by two mobsters who mistakenly believe that he is planning to double-cross his gangland employers and who now intend to murder Sally in order to teach Barnes a gangland-style lesson. Heroically, Barnes hurls himself at his underworld captors, and dies with them when the ledge of the cliff on which they are struggling gives way, sending the three men plummeting to their doom on the rocks below (S No. 169/2: "The Man Who Stole Superman's Secret Life!"). (TGSB)

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