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Green Kryptonite: art by Gary Frank.
The Adventures of Superman
|In story information|
|Element of stories featuring||Superman
Kryptonite is a fictional substance and the most well-known weakness of DC Comics superhero Superman. Kryptonite is the ore form of a radioactive element (prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths) or compound (post-Crisis) from Superman's home planet of Krypton. The popularity of Superman and his vulnerability to kryptonite has led to the generic usage of the term in popular culture as a reference to an individual's weakness, similar to "Achilles' heel".
First mentioned in The Adventures of Superman radio show in June 1943, kryptonite has been featured in a variety of forms and colors (each with its own effect) in DC Comics publications and other media, including feature films, television series, and novelty items such as toys, trading card sets, and games.
Superman and all other Kryptonian characters are susceptible to kryptonite radiation. In the Modern Age of Comic Books, it is established that kryptonite can also affect non-Kryptonians though at a much slower rate, causing humans to develop acute radiation syndrome or superhuman abilities.
An unpublished 1940 story titled "The K-Metal from Krypton", written by Superman creator Jerry Siegel, featured a prototype of kryptonite. It was a mineral from the planet Krypton that drained Superman of his strength while giving humans superhuman powers.
The mineral known as kryptonite was introduced in the story arc "The Meteor from Krypton" in June 1943 on The Adventures of Superman radio series. Since radio shows had to be performed live, when Clayton "Bud" Collyer (who played Superman/Clark Kent) wanted to take a vacation from the series Superman was placed in a kryptonite trap. A stand-in groaned with pain for several episodes until Collyer came back from his vacation.
Kryptonite was incorporated into the comic mythos with Superman #61 (November 1949). Editor Dorothy Woolfolk stated in an interview with Florida Today in August 1993, that she "felt Superman's invulnerability was boring". However, this claim has been disputed in the comic book world.
Kryptonite gradually began appearing more frequently, causing science fiction writer Larry Niven to theorize in tongue-in-cheek fashion that Krypton was in fact a Dyson sphere or a cold neutron star, and that this was the underlying reason for so much of the mineral finding its way to Earth courtesy of meteor showers.[page needed] Originally Kryptonite was described as a mineral element occurring naturally on Krypton, but Silver Age continuity instead posited that the entire physical mass of the planet had been transformed into Kryptonite by an intensive burst of nuclear radiation resulting from the planet's explosion, thus massively increasing the amount of Kryptonite in the universe. In an effort to reduce the use of kryptonite in storylines, all known forms on Earth were transmuted into "k-iron" in a 1971 story arc titled "The Sandman Saga".
Various forms of the fictional material have been created over the years in Superman publications.
|Green kryptonite||Originally red in color, the material debuted in Superman #61 (Nov. 1949) and did not adopt its characteristic green hue until Action Comics #161 (Aug. 1951). Green kryptonite weakens Superman and other Kryptonians. It can and will kill them with long-term exposure. Kryptonians under Kryptonite exposure experience severe muscular weakness, usually to the point of collapse, and excruciating pain, with both conditions progressively intensifying. Kryptonians under Kryptonite exposure usually develop a fever and eventually will lose consciousness before death. Under Kryptonite exposure, the blood of Kryptonians begins turning green, and their skin gradually assumes a green color.
Although canonical depictions vary widely, the majority of accounts maintain that although Kryptonite exposure victims experience severe weakness and pain, exposure in itself does not eradicate the victim's super-powers, except those related to physical strength. Therefore victims retain most of their visual and sensory powers, although Kryptonite itself appears impervious to damage by heat vision. Kryptonite exposure does not compromise the subject's invulnerability to other forms of injury; therefore it is not a practical strategy for a villain to first expose the victim to Kryptonite, then kill them with a gun or other conventional weapon. Some accounts maintain paralysis is an effect of Kryptonite exposure, although most depictions show victims still capable of limited movement. Kryptonian characters have been shown to become immune to the effects of green kryptonite due to either long-term absorption of sunlight or extremely high short-term exposure to the sun. Post-Crisis sources establish that green kryptonite is also harmful to humans; with sufficient long-term exposure, it can result in cancer, as Lex Luthor discovered from a ring with a kryptonite jewel he wore to ward off Superman's presence.
|Red kryptonite||Debuted in Adventure Comics #252 (Sept. 1958). Originally red kryptonite simply weakened Superman, but to a greater degree than green kryptonite. Red kryptonite was later described as causing odd behavior or bizarre transformations, albeit temporary and non-fatal. The effects of red kryptonite are sometimes described as lasting exactly 24 hours, but in other accounts the effects may persist up to three days.|
|Anti-kryptonite||Debuted in Action Comics #252 (May 1959). Harmless to Kryptonians, but has the same effect as the green variety on normal humans. Anti-kryptonite is also the power source for one version of the character Ultraman, Superman's evil counterpart from an antimatter universe.|
|X-kryptonite||Debuted in Action Comics #261 (Jan. 1960). Created by Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) in an unsuccessful attempt to find an antidote to green kryptonite. Harmless to Kryptonians, the mineral gives normal life-forms superhuman abilities, as in the case of Supergirl's pet cat Streaky. Revised in Superman Family #203 (Oct. 1980) to have the same effect as the green variety on Kryptonians.|
|Blue kryptonite||Debuted in Superman #140 (Oct. 1960). An imperfect form of kryptonite which affects the imperfect character Bizarro and members of the Bizarro League in the same way green kryptonite affects Superman. Blue kryptonite is the antidote to the random and bizarre effects of red kryptonite.|
|White kryptonite||Debuted in Adventure Comics #279 (Dec. 1960). Kills all plant life from any world.|
|Red-Green kryptonite, first variety||Debuted in Action Comics #275 (April 1961). An alloy created by the villainous character Brainiac, the red-green kryptonite caused Superman to mutate, temporarily growing a third eye in the back of his head.|
|Gold kryptonite||Debuted in Adventure Comics #299 (Aug. 1962). Kryptonite affected by atomic radiation, capable of permanently removing a Kryptonian's ability to process yellow sunlight, which nullifies all superhuman abilities. In Post-Crisis this kryptonite only removes a Kryptonian's powers temporarily. (In Superman II, the crystal chamber from Superman's Fortress of Solitude exhibited the same effect although this process was reversed via Jor-El's green crystal.)|
|Red-Green-Blue-Gold kryptonite||Debuted in Superman #162 (July 1963). An imaginary story in which Superman combines the minerals to power an intelligence-expanding device. An explosion occurs and the hero is split into two separate beings ("Superman-Blue" and "Superman-Red") both of whom possess enhanced intelligence.|
|Silver kryptonite||Debuted in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #70 (July 1963). Revealed by Jimmy Olsen to be a hoax. In Post-Crisis, Silver kryptonite first appeared in Superman/Batman #46 (April 2008), modeled after the version that appeared in the Smallville TV series. Silver kryptonite causes Kryptonians to suffer from altered perceptions, loss of inhibitions, and extreme hunger cravings. On the Supergirl TV series, this kryptonite causes Superman to hallucinate his "greatest fear" of an attacking General Zod during the final episode of season 2 Nevertheless, She Persisted.|
|Jewel kryptonite||Debuted in Action Comics #310 (March 1964). Fragments of Krypton's Jewel Mountains. Amplifies the psychic powers of the criminals imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, allowing them to project illusions or perform mind control.|
|Bizarro-red kryptonite||Debuted in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #80 (Oct. 1964). Affects humans in the same manner that red kryptonite affects Kryptonians.|
|Red-Green kryptonite, second variety||Debuted in Superboy Comics #121 (June 1965). This caused Superboy to lose his powers permanently, but Phantom Zone criminal Vakox unwillingly cured him, restoring his powers.|
|Red-Gold kryptonite||Debuted in Superman #178 (July 1965). Temporarily deprives Kryptonians of their memories.|
|Magno-kryptonite||Debuted in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #92 (April 1966). Created by the villain Mr. Nero, this variety is magnetically attracted to all substances originally from Krypton.|
|Red-Green-Gold kryptonite||Debuted in Superman #192 (Jan. 1967). An imaginary story in which the alloy permanently removes Superman's powers and memories of himself as Superman.|
|Slow kryptonite||Debuted in The Brave and the Bold #175 (June 1981). A modified variety of green kryptonite produced by supervillan Metallo that affects humans in a manner similar to the green mineral.|
|Kryptonite-X||Debuted in The Adventures of Superman #511 (April 1994). A one-time fluke, Kryptonite-X was created when the Eradicator filtered a harmful barrage of kryptonite discharged by the villain Cyborg Superman at Superman. The result was beneficial for Superman, supercharging and restoring his ability to process solar radiation.|
|Pink kryptonite||Debuted in Supergirl vol. 4 #79 (April 2003), pink kryptonite seemingly turns Kryptonians gay. This type of kryptonite was mentioned in a single panel in a story that was a satire of the plots of many Silver Age comic stories (such as those listed above) which featured some strange new variety of kryptonite. In the Justice League Action short "True Colours" it switches a Kryptonian's gender.|
|Black kryptonite||Debuted in Supergirl #2 (vol. 5, Oct. 2005). In pre-Flashpoint continuity, it could split a Kryptonian into two separate entities: one good and the other evil. (The kryptonite manufactured by the villains of Superman III had just such an effect on the Man of Steel.)
In Dark Nights: The Batman Who Laughs #1, set on Dark Multiverse Earth -22, a Batman corrupted by the Joker, creates a modified strand of black kryptonite. He tests this first on Supergirl, causing her to murder her family before dying. He then uses it again on Superman and Superboy who literally tear apart Lois Lane before also dying themselves.
|Orange kryptonite||Debuted in Krypto the Superdog #4 (Feb. 2007). Provides super abilities for 24 hours to any animal that comes into contact with it.|
|Periwinkle kryptonite||Debuted in Superman Family Adventures #9 (March 2013). A non-canon story. Exposure to periwinkle kryptonite causes Kryptonians to lose all inhibitions.|
Other varieties of the material have appeared but have been revealed to be hoaxes, such as "Yellow" (Action Comics #277, June 1961), "Kryptonite Plus" (Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #126 Jan. 1970) and "Blood" (52 #13, Aug. 2006).
This section appears to contain trivial, minor, or unrelated references to popular culture. (October 2017)
New editor Julius Schwartz, new scripter Denny O'Neil, and regular artist Curt Swan removed the Man of Steel's greatest weakness from the face of the Earth.
|Look up Appendix:DC Comics/Kryptonite in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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