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12 September 2006

more fun in the basement / Pirate Appreciation Week on Hoon / HurlFest / Kryptonite / Positronium / "Hollywoodland"

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"Superman Returns" has flown in and out of theaters faster than a speeding bullet, so Stop & Shop was selling all the "Superman Returns" crap (including adorable muscled Halloween costumes) at 50% off, everything must go. I bought a lump of Kryptonite for $3.99.

Then we decided we do not see enough Serious Contemporary Cinema, so we went to the Academy of Music to catch "Hollywoodland," a Technicolor Noir about the mysterious (or not) death of the first TV Superman, George Reeves. This is the suckiest movie ever made. If you feel you must see it to be au courant, take your anti-depressants BEFORE you go. If you get to see it for free on a plane in a few months, jump out of the plane.

I also learned this week about Positronium. It's Real. There's really a such thing as Positronium. Don't blink.

Some of these suckers have half-lives of a few hundred thousand years. So the trick (a lot of organizations will award you several large Pizzas) is to design a DANGER RADIOACTIVITY symbol which everyone wandering by the old waste dump will immediately understand in 213444 AD.

The old universal symbol for Fear and Dread, the beloved Skull & Crossbones, is out, kaput. Children who found bottles with this symbol under the sink drank it because they thought it was Pirate Juice. It was replaced around the 1980s by "Mister Yuck," a green wrinkly Frowny Face.

As time passeth, each radioactive element, one randomly-selected atom at a time (there's no way to predict which of a thousand identical atoms will fizz next), decays/transmutes/changeth into another kind of atom, usually another radioactive atom, although often with different quirks and characteristics of toxicity. At the end of most radioactive atoms' long journey, it becomes non-radioactive Lead, and stabilizes. It's still toxic, but by its chemical properties, not because of radioactivity.

Metallic Uranium is harder and more dense than Lead, so during American conflicts beginning with the Balkans, artillery and some smallarms have been introduced to fire Depleted Uranium (DU) shells. The anti-tank shells of DU kill tanks more reliably than the old Lead shells. Because

Force = Mass x Acceleration

DU also packs a more certain punch than comparable Lead smallarms projectiles (bullets). The stuff has become as common as Lead on intense, lingering battle regions; these zones are like moveable Chernobyls. There is a certainty (Dwingeloo-2 Common Sense Research Group) that soldiers will return from year-plus tours in these new DU conflicts with increasing cancers caused by heavy daily exposure to ionizing radiation; it will characterize the future health lives of Iraq War veterans, the way Vietnam veterans have/had symptoms from exposure to the aerial defoliant Agent Orange.

Anyway, that's what NGO Vleeptron says. Up to this moment, the US Department of Defense maintains the stuff's Safe As Milk for soldiers when handled with reasonable precautions. (Don't, for example, camp or sleep all week next to large piles of it.) Whether DU is Safe For Soldiers, or Not-Really-Safe for our troops is a violently debated political question. Physicists, chemists and biophysicists should have the answer, but Answer Hazy, Try Again Later, so bureaucrats and politicians get to kick it around for now. But it's certain that DU kills terrorists better than Lead.

In hobnobbing with his fellow Geiger Counter Wizards (sorry, Ladies, still no Lady Geiger Counter freakazettes yet), Vleeptron learned something.

As Polonium transmutes into and out of its 5 radioactive isotopes/nuclides, it does so through a process called Electron Capture (EC). An orbiting electron falls into the nuceus (positive-charge protons are always trying to grab negative-charge electrons), making the nucleus unstable, and it stabilizes a blink-of-the-eye later by becoming something else (a proton becomes a neutron) and emitting a nice jolt of X-ray.

Because EC depends entirely on the availability of electrons outside the nucleus, EC may be the only kind of radioactive decay that can be artificially slowed or halted. Atoms emitted from hot stars are typically stripped of all electrons, and fly off into space as just nuclei -- positive ions. Under such conditions, in regions of space sparse or devoid of free electrons, the Polonium (and all other EC transmutes) would cease to decay.

Some ("They said I was mad! They called me insane!") physicists have been arguing over the last ten years that if you take any large, ugly mountain of hot radioactive waste, you can bombard it with the right kind of nucleus-changing radiation, and the Nasty Stuff with Very Long Half-Lifes will all change into Nasty Stuff with Much Shorter Half-Lives -- so maybe in just nine years, the mountain is no more radioactive than halvah. If anyone has Comments on this Hopeful Scenario, please Leave Them here.

Vleeptron notes that nobody's doing this yet, at least not on a scale of more than 0.0004 kg at a time yet.

Over the last year or two Russia -- the heir to a massive Cold-War Nuclear Weapons Industrial Infrastructure -- has announced that it is going into business as the Biggest Radioactive Waste Dump on Planet Earth. You send them all your radioactive waste, and Russia will reprocess as much as it can into More radioactive stuff suitable for your nuclear plant, or your whatever. The rest you pay just to sit in a guarded heap behind fences somewhere, like a Self-Storage Unit.

I think an isotope of Plutonium has one of those outrageously long half-lifes. So if you have a pound of Plutonium now, in 100,000 years you will have Less. You will have 1/2 pounds of Plutonium. Planet Earth makes (it doesn't occur in Nature) a metric shitload of Plutonium all the time, governments find it infinitely desirable.

All this week it's Pirate Appreciation Week on Hoon. If you can get to a Zeta Beam, I strongly recommend a trip there to catch this great festival. Fudge Tunnel, Suicidal Tendencies and Sick Of It All are the big acts at HurlFest down at the Solid Waste Landfill west meadow.

More fun in the basement with radioactivity:


Antonio, join HomeRadLab at:

and read message #7.



(two comic books from "The Simpsons" by Matt Groening)


Real name: Claude Kane III
Occupation: Filthy Rich Layabout Playboy
Other Aliases: The Irradiated Crusader; the Atomic Avenger; "Bolt Brain"
Sidekick: Fallout Boy
Group affiliation: Superior Squad
Base of operations: The Containment Dome atop Mt. Zenith
First appearance: Radioactive Man #1
History: Claude Kane III, son of famous physicist Dr. Claude Kane II, was nothing more than a filthy rich layabout playboy until the fateful night his car got stuck in the sand next to a nuclear test site. When Dr. Kane's Mega-Bomb was detonated by Dr. Crab's henchman as part of a Russian plot to steal top-secret scientific information, Claude Kane III was caught in the blast. The atomic energy imbued Claude with superpowers and embedded a piece of shrapnel shaped like a lightning-bolt in his head. Claude was able to capture the goons and rescue his father and reporter Gloria Grand, who was covering the Mega-Bomb test. That night, Claude decided to use his powers to finally make something of himself, and Radioactive Man was born.
Powers: Radioactive Man possesses "atomoptics" (nuclear heat vision), can fly up to 115 mph, lift up to 5000 lbs, and is invulnerable to any projectile weapon short of a tank shell.
Weapons and Equipment: Radioactive Man has a Cosmic Communicator that was given to him by Radioactive Man-Beta. The metal fragment lodged in his skull prevents Radioactive Man's internal nuclear reaction from reaching critical mass. When the city of Zenith is in peril, the mayor summons Radioactive Man with the highly destructive Atomo-Signal.
Quote: "Up and atom!"
Note: Radioactive Man's world is designated "Earth Primo" to distinguish it from Beta-Earth and Substitute Earth (See Radioactive Boy).


Real name: Rod Runtledge
Occupation: Sidekick
Other Aliases: Radioactive Man 1995, Mr. Pro-Active
Group affiliation: None
Base of operations: The Containment Dome
First appearance: Radioactive Man #1 (as Rod Runtledge); Radioactive Man #9 (as Fallout Boy)
History: Rod Runtledge was orphaned when his parents and twin brother Dodd were lost in a plane crash in a remote South American jungle. Rod moved in with his Aunt June, who lived next door to WZEN reporter Gloria Grand. Gloria could see that Rod was well on his way to becoming a juvenile delinquent, and tried to convince Claude Kane III that he needed a strong male role model. In his guise as Radioactive Man, Claude discovered that Rod was reading subversive comic books and, believing the publisher was in league with Dr. Crab as part of a communist comic conspiracy, brought evidence against him at a congressional committee hearing. After the publisher was found guilty, Rod threw his comic collection into the river. Some time later, Rod ran into Claude at a science exhibit on radioactivity. Claude had to rescue Rod from being crushed by a collapsing xeno-ray machine, and a sudden burst of energy from the device caused some of Radioactive Man's powers to be channeled into Rod. When Aunt June had to go into a nursing home, Rod became Claude's legal ward and Radioactive Man's sidekick... Fallout Boy! Rod was reunited with his twin brother when he discovered Dodd among Hypno Head's mind-controlled army. When Rod temporarily lost his powers, he wrote a column for his school paper under the name "Mr. Pro-Active."
Powers: Fallout Boy has the ability to fly, invulnerability to small-arms fire, and somewhat super strength.
Quote: "Finger-pointing and swearing and name-calling won't solve the ills of the world! Violence might -- but people can get hurt that way!"

from Wikipedia:

For the similarly named real element, see Krypton.

[image] Superman, Phantom Zone criminals, and Jimmy Olsen, in front of a display of kryptonite models. From the cover of Action Comics #310, March 1964.

Kryptonite is a fictional element from the Superman comic book series (and subsequent related media). The element, usually shown as having been created from the remains of Superman's native planet of Krypton, generally has detrimental effects on Superman. The name "kryptonite" covers a variety of forms of the element, but usually refers to the most common "green" form.

Kryptonite was produced from the material of Krypton, when it was destroyed in an explosion. It is usually found in the form of a glowing green rock or metal, but crystalline forms have also made appearances (most notably jewel kryptonite; see Forms of kryptonite below) along with different-colored variants, such as the red form.

History / Original versions

Originally, the DC Universe was home to a variety of minerals collectively called kryptonite. The most commonly depicted variety of kryptonite is green, though it was colored red in its first appearance in Superman (volume 1) #61 (November / December 1949). In Adventure Comics (volume 1) #171 (December 1950) the kryptonite shown trapping Superboy was colored purple but acted just like regular Green. Other varieties of kryptonite began to show up frequently beginning in the late 1950s comics, reaching a peak in appearances in 1960s Superman stories.

Superman's first encounter with kryptonite did not take place in his comic. It was actually introduced in 1943 on the Superman radio series, as both a plot device and to allow Superman's actor, Bud Collyer, to occasionally take time off. The episode in which it first briefly appeared now exists only as a script, but the substance played a part in at least one major plotline during the course of the program. It was not until 1949 that the comic book writers incorporated it into their stories, as both a convenient danger and weakness for Superman and to add an interesting element to his stories.

Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel did write a story in 1940 that involved a piece of Krypton, referred to as "K-Metal," which robbed Superman of his strength while giving humans superpowers, but the story was never published.

The amount of kryptonite shown to fall on the Earth in Silver Age stories is too large to have been evenly distributed from the explosion of any reasonably sized planet. The most common explanation in the comics for this anomaly is that the kryptonite was not evenly distributed, but rather that kryptonite and other materials from Krypton were dragged to Earth by the experimental warp drive that brought Superman to Earth. A similar explanation was also used in the 1990s television series Superman: The Animated Series and the 2000s television series Smallville.

It was possible to artificially create green kryptonite, which the rogue genius Lex Luthor performed on various occasions. However, he rarely needed to do so, as kryptonite was so abundant that many ordinary criminals kept a supply as a precaution against Superman's interference. In a 1971 storyline, all known kryptonite on Earth was transmuted into iron, but kryptonite could still be synthetically manufactured by a variety of known and unknown means, and additional material left over from the destruction of Krypton would continue to fall from space. Still, this storyline had the effect of, and achieved its purpose of, greatly reducing the use of kryptonite in Superman storylines.

Kryptonite emitted a radiation that had an adverse effect on Kryptonian natives such as Superman, though different varieties of kryptonite had different effects. It was assumed for a long time that kryptonite radiation was harmless to non-Kryptonians, but occasional isolated incidents were reported where it had sporadic effects on humans. It is not known what the half-lives of any of the forms of kryptonite are.

Modern versions

After the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths and writer John Byrne's subsequent revision of the Superman mythos in 1986, the status of kryptonite was vastly changed. In the post-Crisis universe, only one form of kryptonite was naturally occurring: the green variety. As revealed in the World of Krypton mini-series the abortive detonation of a doomsday device by the Black Zero terrorist group set off a slow chain reaction within Krypton's core causing the native elements of Krypton to fuse together into a new radioactive element.

As millennia passed, the unique background radiation from this element began to kill increasing numbers of Kryptonians. The authorities suppressed knowledge of the "green death", but the scientist Jor-El was able to trace the source of the radiation. He discovered that the amount of the new element in Krypton's core was reaching critical mass and that it would soon explode, destroying the planet. This was a parallel to the post-Crisis version of Krypton which was destroyed when its uranium core exploded. A non-canonical roleplaying game supplement by comicbook writer Roger Stern called the new element "kryptonium" with kryptonite being its common ore. However, this has not been acknowledged within the comic books.

Initially kryptonite was much rarer on Earth in the revised stories, the only known sample being a fist-sized chunk which had embedded itself in the tail of Kal-El's rocketship as it fled from the exploding planet Krypton. That sample was responsible for triggered the super powers of the super villain Conduit. It was later removed from the rocketship and became the power source for the cyborg Metallo, again parallelling the nature of uranium. It was in turn stolen by Lex Luthor who had a sample cut from the main stone and mounted in a signet ring. Radiation from the ring kept Superman at bay, but continued exposure to it proved carcinogenic. The Kryptonite Ring is currently in the care of the Batman. Another part of the stone was cut into a kryptonite bullet. An unknown fraction of the first sample is securely stored in the Fortress of Solitude.

As pieces of the Lexcorp sample were distributed, many fell into the possession of other criminal organizations and supervillains. For many years the only way a character could have access to kryptonite in the DC Universe was to have a piece of this original sample, or to somehow fetch it from the remains of Krypton itself. However, this situation recently changed with the appearance of the new Supergirl in the Superman/Batman series, during which the arrival of Supergirl's spaceship was accompanied by a fall of several tons worth of kryptonite into Gotham Bay.

A variety of kryptonite types similar to the pre-Crisis range appeared in the Pocket Universe created by Legion of Super-Heroes villain the Time Trapper. Superman, while visiting the pocket universe, used this universe's native Gold Kryptonite (Superman found he was immune to the kryptonite that existed in this reality) to remove the powers of General Zod and several other Phantom Zone criminals who had destroyed all life on that world; Superman then executed the criminals by use of green kryptonite, as punishment for the villains' crime.

Two post-Crisis stories have featured artificially created red kryptonite. The first kind was a kryptonite-like, but non-radioactive rock that seemingly stripped Superman of his powers (although the source was actually Mr. Mxyzptlk's magic) in the story "Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite".

The second, in the Justice League story "Tower of Babel", was created by Batman as a way of stopping Superman without killing him, should this prove necessary. It was stolen by Ra's al Ghul, who quickly put it to use. It is a "relatively stable" isotope of kryptonite, which, like its pre-Crisis version, disrupts Kryptonian cells in an unpredictable way. In the story, it turned Superman's skin transparent, resulting in his "solar batteries" overloading.

In the 1990s, jewel kryptonite made its reappearance in modern continuity in DC's The Silver Age limited series.

Later, in the comic Superman/Batman, a large cache of kryptonite of various hues, similar to the pre-Crisis varieties, was found on Earth, and most of it was collected and stored by the Justice League and Justice Society; what effects these varieties of kryptonite will have on future Superman stories remains uncertain.

[image] Superman suffering Kryptonite poisoning.

Some issues of Superman have indicated the mechanism by which green kryptonite may hurt Superman. Like Hanna-Barbera's Birdman, Superman in some ways is a living solar battery; his cells absorb electromagnetic radiation from yellow stars (like Earth's sun). Kryptonite's radioactivity possibly interferes with this semi-photosynthetic process, driving the energy out of his cells in a painful fashion. Long term and high-level exposure to green kryptonite can be fatal to Superman. In post-Crisis comics, long-term exposure to kryptonite is known to have the same effects on human beings as exposure to Earth-born radioactive materials; these effects include cancer. Lex Luthor discovered this inadvertently after acquiring a ring with a green kryptonite fragment set in it to provide protection against Superman--Luthor first lost the hand he wore the ring on to cancer and later had to have his brain transferred into a new, cloned body after the cancer was found to have spread throughout his original body.

It is speculated that kryptonite may be located in a hypothetical "island of stability" high on the periodic table, beyond the currently known unstable elements, in the vicinity of atomic number 150. The transmutation of Earth's kryptonite could be explained by the acceleration of its natural atomic decay under this theory.

The different forms of kryptonite may represent multiple allotropes or isotopes of green kryptonite, or a more exotic variation in composition based on currently unknown particles.

Under normal chemical nomenclature the -ite suffix would denote a compound (e.g. the compound uranite contains the element uranium). Thus the name implies that kryptonite is a compound and not an element (something supported by the "tar" analysis in the third Superman movie). This issue is normally overlooked in the comic books, but a non-canonical game sourcebook did refer to kryptonite as "the common ore of the super-actinide Kryptonium, an unusually stable transuranic element, whose atomic number is believed to be 126." The half-life of kryptonium is listed as 250,000 years. (Stern, Roger (1992) Superman: The Man of Steel Sourcebook Mayfair Games)

One thought about the source of the -ite ending is found in astronomy wherein a meteoroid is a rock floating in deep space, a meteor is one streaking through the sky, and a meteorite is a rock lying around on the ground after falling from the sky. The -ite ending could have been used to denote chunks of Krypton that had fallen to Earth.

The aforementioned atomic number was reinforced by the first season episode of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman entitled "The Green, Green Glow of Home," where it was stated that kryptonite was "periodic element 126" and that it "emits an extremely high band radiation that does not seem to affect humans". The substance itself had no formal designation until the very end of the episode, where Lois Lane's suggestion that it be named "kryptonium" was eschewed in favor of Clark Kent's "kryptonite" due to the fact that it initially appeared in the form of a meteorite.

The atomic number 126 is the one of the hypothesized Unbihexium/eka-plutonium, the most stable of the elements in the island of stability.

In Superman Returns, an additional piece of kryptonite is found in a rock fragment, once more in Addis Ababa. Lex Luthor steals it from a Metropolis museum and uses it in his quest to create a new kryptonite landmass. During the extraction process, the rock appears to hold a significant amount of green kryptonite. The scientific name for the rock was displayed on its case, 'Sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide with fluorine'. As borosilicate glass is commonly crystalline and green-tinted, this could be a plausible human mis-identification of kryptonite; alternately, as no 'unknown' component is listed, one might assume this (sodium/lithium/borosilicate/fluorine) blend to be the actual composition of green kryptonite.

Forms of kryptonite

The various known forms of kryptonite in the Superman comics include:

* Green Kryptonite: The most common form of kryptonite. In superpowered Kryptonians, causes immediate physical pain and debilitation and kills within hours. Has no short-term effects on humans (though strictly in post-Crisis continuity, long-term exposure is apparently lethal to humans) or non-superpowered Kryptonians. In one early Silver Age story, Superboy built up immunity to specific chunks of Green Kryptonite through repeated non-fatal exposure, as seen in the story "The Great Kryptonite Mystery", (Superboy (volume 1) #58, July 1957). (This idea was further developed in the Elseworlds series Kingdom Come, when Luthor reveals that the older Superman's absorption of solar radiation over the years rendered him immune to kryptonite.) In most incarnations, lead blocks the effects of kryptonite. In Smallville, green kryptonite, refined or not, can cause normal humans to mutate special abilities (such as creating fire with telekensis or absorb heat to the point of turning an object into ice). Although most of these were accidental (the mutants were accidentally exposed), others started to refine and take in kryptonite willingly to obtain its effects. One character named Marsh inhaled liquid kryptonite to gain superhuman strength. This also gave him temporary kryptonite radiation, thus causing Clark unable to stop him until the "dose" wore off.

* Red Kryptonite: Created from Green Kryptonite that passed through a mysterious red-hued cloud en route to Earth. Red Kryptonite inflicts random effects on Kryptonians, typically creating an initial "tingling effect" in those affected. No two chunks of Red Kryptonite have the same effect. Red Kryptonite effects typically last for 24-48 hours (though sometimes as long as 72), after which the Kryptonian in question is always immune to that specific chunk of Red Kryptonite. Superman has suffered the following effects upon exposure to various pieces of Red Kryptonite: being turned into a dragon, a non-powered giant, a dwarf, an ant-headed humanoid, a lunatic, and an amnesiac; being made unable to see anything colored green; growing incredibly long hair, nails, and beard; being rendered totally powerless; gaining the ability to read thoughts; losing his invulnerability along the left side of his body; being split into an evil Superman and a good Clark Kent; being rendered unable to speak or write anything but Kryptonese, the language used on Krypton; growing an extra set of arms; becoming clumsy when trying to help out; swapping bodies with the person nearest him upon exposure to it; rapidly aging; and multiple personality changes. In post-Crisis continuity, Red Kryptonite first appeared as an artificial construct of Mr. Mxyzptlk; a second variety was later revealed as a synthetic variant created by Ra's al Ghul, using notes he stole from Batman. The Red Kryptonite that Batman created is similar to the Red Kryptonite in the Lois & Clark series in which Red Kryptonite causes Superman's powers to become uncontrollable. On the TV series, Smallville, Red Kryptonite causes severe changes in Clark Kent's personality, becoming rebellious, unpredictable and acting purely on erotic and selfish emotions. In this form, he normally wears a leather jacket and rides around on a motorbike.

* Gold Kryptonite: Removes superpowers from Kryptonians permanently; however, in one story, a temporary antidote was developed that negated this effect for a short period of time. For obvious reasons, this variety was little used in Superman stories. It played key roles in the 1982 limited series "The Phantom Zone", as well as in two noncanonical stories, namely the 1986 tale Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, and later in the Superman & Batman: Generations stories. Additionally, it appeared briefly in the post-Crisis DC Universe, when Superman used it on a trio of Kryptonian criminals while visiting the Pocket Universe (Adventures of Superman #444, Superman (2nd series) #22). Gold Kryponite also made an appearance in The Flash #175 when Superman and the Flash had to race to the end of the universe. As cited in World's Finest Comics #159 (1966), Gold Kryptonite has an effective range of two feet. In the mainstream post-Crisis DC universe, it appears that it has once caused Superman to age at an accelerated rate; however, it is not confirmed if this is true of all Gold Kryptonite because this version was presumably created by the time traveller Gog.

* White Kryptonite: Kills all plant life, whether Kryptonian or not. Induces decay immediately upon exposure, with a range of about 25 yards. The most prominent use of this variety in the comics was to destroy Virus X, which was revealed in a storyline in 1968's Action Comics #362-366 to actually be a form of plant life.

* Blue Kryptonite: The result of using Professor Potter's "duplicator ray" on some Green Kryptonite. Pre-Crisis, Blue Kryptonite affected only Bizarros, and in a manner similar to that of Green Kryptonite on Kryptonians. Post-Crisis, Blue Kryptonite makes Bizarros become coherent, polite and goodhearted; it also alters Bizarros' distinctive grammar, so that a Bizarro would say "I am Bizarro" instead of "Me am Bizarro". In the Superman Batman comics #25, Bizarro puts on Batzarro's Blue Kryptonite ring and receives a 12th level intellect.

* Anti-Kryptonite: Has no effect on superpowered Kryptonians, but has the same effects as Green Kryptonite on non-superpowered Kryptonians. This version of kryptonite is what killed most of the residents of Argo City in the pre-Crisis comics. It was likely introduced to cover a writer error, as the original Argo City story does not call it Anti-Kryptonite. Post-Crisis, it is the power source of Ultraman, Superman's evil counterpart who lives in an alternate antimatter universe.

* X-Kryptonite: Created by Supergirl while experimenting with Green Kryptonite in hopes of finding an antidote. It has no effect on Kryptonians, but bestows temporary superpowers on Earth lifeforms, most prominently Supergirl's pet cat, Streaky. Not to be confused with Kryptonite-X.

* Jewel Kryptonite: Jewel Kryptonite amplifies the psychic powers of Phantom Zone residents, allowing them to project illusions into the "real world" or perform mind control. It was made from what was left of a mountain range on Krypton called the Jewel Mountains (it is shown in one comic story to be used by Zod and Ursa outside the Zone in the "real" world as well, to blow up the piece they had and transport themselves back to the Phantom Zone. So it is probable that any Kryptonian can make use of Jewel Kryptonite as long as they are in close proximity to it.) In the post-Crisis Silver Age limited series, a "prismatic gem from the Jewel Mountains of Krypton" was used by the Injustice League to amplify the psychic powers of the Absorbacon, but was not referred to as Jewel Kryptonite.

* Slow Kryptonite: A modified variety of Green Kryptonite produced by a human scientist that affects humans in a manner similar to Green Kryptonite on Kryptonians, appearing in The Brave and the Bold #177. Its effect on Kryptonians, if any, is undocumented.

* Magno-Kryptonite: Artificially created by the villain Nero, "Magno-Kryptonite" is magnetically attracted to all substances originally from Krypton, with such incredible force that not even the strength of Superman or Bizarro can escape it according to Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #92. It is not specifically stated if any parts of its alloy are of Kryptonian origin.

* Bizarro Red Kryptonite: Affects humans the same way Red Kryptonite affects Kryptonians. Appeared in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #80.

* Pink Kryptonite: From an alternate timeline in a 2003 Supergirl storyline by Peter David, this bizarre variety of kryptonite apparently turned heterosexual Kryptonians temporarily into homosexuals; it was seen in just one panel, with Superman giving flattering compliments to Jimmy Olsen about his wardrobe and decorative sense. It spoofs the many varieties of kryptonite introduced over the years, as well as the more "innocent times" of the Silver Age (Lois Lane is depicted in this story as not understanding what's gotten into Superman.) This version of kryptonite has not been used in mainstream comics continuity but was not necessarily intended purely as a joke, and may actually be a canonical reference. In the featured story, Linda Danvers was masquerading as Kara Zor-El, and in numerous ways altered the original timeline until restored by the Spectre. However, Linda's presence never caused the creation of pink kryptonite, so it must have already existed, and Superman was in fact exposed. This episode remained untold to readers during the Silver Age because they, like Lois, would not then have appreciated the humor.

* Kryptonite-X or Kryptisium: A form of filtered/purified kryptonite. Professor Emil Hamilton used the term "Kryptonite-X" (The Adventures of Superman #511, April 1994, page 13) to describe the substance that restored Superman's powers after a confrontation with the villain known as the Cyborg Superman in Engine City (Superman (2nd series) #82, part of the "Return of Superman" storyline). This substance was created when the Cyborg used a huge chunk of kryptonite in an attempt to kill the weak, powerless, recovering Superman. The Eradicator, who had fashioned a faux-Kryptonian body using a Kryptonian matrix, jumped in front of Superman before the release of the kryptonite energy could kill him. Despite the Eradicator's efforts, the kryptonite energy hit Superman, but instead of killing him, it transferred all of the characteristic Kryptonian powers from the Eradicator to Superman, as well as saturating Superman's body with a purified/filtered form of kryptonite. This substance eventually led to Superman becoming an over-muscled giant, due to his accelerated sunlight absorption and overstorage of energy. This kryptonite is not to be confused with X-Kryptonite.

* Black Kryptonite: Black Kryptonite was first introduced in the Smallville television series, in the fourth season premiere episode "Crusade," as kryptonite with the ability to split the personality of Kryptonians. It later appears in the fourth season episode "Onyx," where it is revealed to split physically the bodies of humans. In the series, Black Kryptonite can be created by super-heating Green Kryptonite. It later made its first appearance in a DC comic in September 2005's Supergirl #2, where it apparently possessed the ability to split a person or a person's personality into two separate entities. In Supergirl #3, Luthor used Black Kryptonite on Supergirl, which caused her to split into two separate people, one wearing Supergirl's traditional costume, and another wearing a black-and-white version. Her black-and-white costume is similar to the one that Superman was wearing when he returned from the dead. Luthor noted that he was given the Black Kryptonite by the self-proclaimed god Darkseid, who may have been responsible for its creation (a synthesized version of kryptonite in the feature film Superman III had similar effects on Superman.) In All-Star Superman, which takes place outside of DC Universe continuity, Black Kryptonite makes Superman evil, almost as if he is transforming into Bizarro Superman.

Simulated kryptonite

* Green Lantern Corps rings can be used to emit simulated green kryptonite radiation. This radiation is apparently just as powerful and painful to Superman and other Kryptonians as the genuine rays but it can be blocked by interposing anything yellow between the Green Lantern's green kryptonite and the Kryptonian. Breaking the ring-bearer's concentration will also dispel the effect.

* Synthetic kryptonite (usually the green or red variety) has been successfully produced by Lex Luthor, Batman, and Ra's al Ghul in the comics. It has proven to be less powerful than genuine kryptonite, to be extremely difficult to create, and to have a short half-life that renders it useless after a short period of time. In the Elseworlds story Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Green Arrow wounds Superman with a synthetic kryptonite arrow. Bruce Wayne notes it was very expensive to develop.

* Magic: Users adept at the use of magic may be able to create kryptonite, such as Mr. Mxyzptlk did in the "Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite" storyline (though his version of Red Kryptonite differed from the traditional version in its workings) Jimmy Olsen, when changed into a Genii in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #42 (January 1960), was ordered by his master, Abdul, to turn himself into Living Kryptonite, Jimmy chose Green Kryptonite.


In the comics, some varieties of kryptonite that turned out to be hoaxes include:

* Silver Kryptonite: Featured in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #70, Silver Kryptonite is a hoax revolving around the silver anniversary of Superman's career. Silver Kryptonite in another form is a part of the Smallville TV series mythology, but NOT of the comics continuity.

* Yellow Kryptonite: Another fictional variety, this one was used in a hoax masterminded by Lex Luthor.

* Kryptonite Plus: 30 or so non-glowing, varicolored, banded rocks invading unnamed Super-aliens had left on Earth's moon and then said were Kryptonite Plus or maybe a form of Ultra-Kryptonite. They are really Tikron Stones. From Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #126 (January 1970).

* Purple Spotted Kryptonite: Mentioned in Streaky's fictional story in the animated cartoon Krypto the Superdog. This phoney Kryptonite makes Krypto chase his tail.

In other media

As noted above, kryptonite was originally created for the 1940s Superman radio series. Kryptonite has appeared in various forms in the various Superman media spinoffs, however.

Depictions of kryptonite in the various films and TV series of Superman have largely been limited to green kryptonite, with occasional appearances of the red and blue varieties.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Adventures of Superman
[the 1950s TV serial starring George Reeves; see "Hollywoodland" in ADDENDA at top]

Kryptonite was used in several episodes of Adventures of Superman, proceeding from straightforward to increasingly far-fetched plotlines. The specific color is not definite, given that it is never mentioned and that the series was in black & white, but from its effects, it is presumed to be green kryptonite in all cases:

* In The Defeat of Superman, an overacting scientist working for a crime boss synthesizes kryptonite after working out the formula from a tiny fragment found in a meteorite. As Superman lies dying from the metal's affects, Lois and Jimmy rescue him for once, sealing the block of kryptonite in a lead pipe, and Superman recovers. He then flings the pipe through the sky and into the sea with a super-throw. The escaping criminals, startled by the rocketing pipe, veer off the road and plummet to their deaths, keeping this dangerous secret "safe" in the hands of Superman's two friends.

* In Superman Week, Jimmy manages to blurt out the secret to the wrong listener. Superman stages an elaborate ruse in which he pretends to have retrieved the lead-encased metal from the ocean, and uses it to lead a wanted criminal into a trap. This ruse also presumably proves that Superman is not vulnerable to it, thus staving off criminals' thoughts of using it ... for awhile.

* In The Deadly Rock, another eccentric scientist finds a meteorite that happens to be from Krypton, and a crime boss tries to use it to destroy Superman, who instead destroys it through the unlikely method of burning it with a flame-thrower.

* In The Magic Secret, yet another eccentric scientist teams with a criminal, this time tricking Superman into descending a narrow and deep well to rescue Lois and Jimmy, then proceeding to shower the Man of Steel with kryptonite particles.

* In The Gentle Monster, a very eccentric but good-natured scientist constructs a super-powered robot whose strength is derived from a chunk of the metal that the scientist has found, not knowing the danger it poses to Superman.


Kryptonite was featured in Superman: The Movie. In the film, Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) and his cronies (Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrine) track a large chunk to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where they steal it from a museum under the cover of night. In this film's usage, the term "kryptonite" seems to mean simply a "Kryptonian meteorite". After co-opting and launching two nuclear missiles for opposite ends of the United States, Luthor places the kryptonite on a chain around Superman's (Christopher Reeve) neck and drops him into a swimming pool. When Perrine's character Miss Teschmacher learns that one of the missiles is headed for her mother's hometown, she rescues Superman from drowning and removes the kryptonite, and his strength and powers quickly return.

An imperfect synthesis of artificial kryptonite containing tar appeared in Superman III. Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn) orders the creation of synthetic kryptonite after remembering a Daily Planet story about the last original chunk disappearing years earlier after falling to Earth (whether Webster references the kryptonite robbery in "Superman: The Movie" is unclear.) Developed by Gus Gorman (played by Richard Pryor), it was intended to be a copy of Green Kryptonite. After scanning the coordinates of Krypton's former location via satellite, results return a small percentage of an unknown component. The substitution of tar (which Gorman used after glancing at a cigarette carton) for a crucial, but unknown, component resulted in the synthetic kryptonite behaving like Red Kryptonite and Black Kryptonite; in this case, the kryptonite turned Superman evil and eventually split him into two people. The evil Superman and Clark Kent, the embodiment of Superman's remaining good qualities, then engage in an epic battle at a deserted junkyard, where Clark emerges victorious and the evil Superman fades from sight. Later in the film, Gorman's creation, the Ultimate Computer, severely weakens Superman with a kryptonite ray before Gorman has a change of heart and attacks his own machine.

In Superman Returns, an additional piece of kryptonite is found in a rock fragment, once more in Addis Ababa. Lex Luthor steals it from a Metropolis museum and uses it in his quest to create a new kryptonite landmass.

Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

Kryptonite was used throughout the 1990s television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

* In The Green, Green Glow of Home the first piece was unearthed on the Smallville farm of Kent family friend Wayne Irig. He sent a sample of the rock to a local university. This came to the attention of Jason Trask. Trask headed Bureau 39, a secret government organization that investigated perceived alien threats. Trask had the paranoid belief that Superman was the first agent of an alien invasion. Understanding that the radioactive meteorite came from Krypton, he attempted to use the rock to kill Superman. Subsequently the main fragment of the meteorite was destroyed and Trask was killed by the local Sheriff. Consequently only Clark Kent and his parents knew of its true existence. Clark and his partner Lois Lane reported on the incident in The Daily Planet and described Trask's delusions of a "mythical" rock that could kill Superman. Ironically in this article it was Clark Kent himself who first named it "kryptonite".

* As shown in Barbarians at the Planet (Part 1) and The House of Luthor (Part 2) The story of kryptonite intrigued Superman's archenemy Lex Luthor. He used the many resources at his disposal to track down and confirm the existence of the original sample that Irig had sent to be studied. Luthor ground down part of this kryptonite and used it to coat the bars of a cage to entrap the Man of Steel. After Superman's escape from this kryptonite prison and Luthor's apparent death, the legend of kryptonite continued to grow.

* Many criminals and former Lexcorp employees sought to acquire Luthor's kryptonite. In fact most of the kryptonite to be featured on the series originated from that first chunk found by Wayne Irig. During the 3rd season a new second piece was discovered, which Superman turned over to S.T.A.R. Labs for testing. This was the source of most of the kryptonite featured for the remainder of the series.

* On Lois and Clark, green kryptonite was delivered in a variety of ingenious ways. A bullet was fashioned from pure kryptonite in one episode, and in another, a wicked woman tried to bring about Superman's demise by kissing him after coating her lips with a kryptonite-contaminated lipstick. In the episode "Metallo", scientist Emmett Vale, who studied Luthor's kryptonite while working at Lexlabs, used a piece to power the cyborg he created from fatally wounded criminal John Corben.

* Red Kryptonite also was featured in the series. In one episode, it made Superman apathetic; in another, it transferred his powers to Lois Lane. In yet another, it uncontrollably supercharged his powers, causing him to do things such as accidentally fly through the sidewalk when landing. A renegade S.T.A.R. Labs scientist created a "Hybrid Kryptonite," which has no effect on Kryptonians, but hurts humans.

Animated series

The 1970s and 1980s Super Friends animated series featured kryptonite in various episodes, usually green. In the episode "Rest in Peace", Sinestro refers to a form of kryptonite called "Krypton Steel" as "a harmless form of kryptonite that only Superman can penetrate". In another episode, "Darkseid's Golden Trap", gold kryptonite appears, which is stated to have an effective range of 20 ft (6.1 m). Blue kryptonite also makes an appearance in one episode; Superman, aging rapidly from exposure to Red Kryptonite, acquires a sample of Blue Kryptonite (which had been discovered floating in space) and uses it to cure himself (Blue Kryptonite has negative effects on Bizzaro, so it should have positive effects on Superman).

In the 1990s series, Superman: The Animated Series, one explanation offered for the science of kryptonite is that Superman feels the detrimental effects of kryptonite radiation quicker that normal humans because his body absorbs it more readily, as a result of sharing a common point of origin with the element. This makes it impossible for Superman to even touch the substance, as it would be the equivalent of a normal man touching radioactive rods from a nuclear reactor with his bare skin. Only the element of lead is able to block the radiation, and is therefore Superman's only protection.

Two moments are evidence of this. First, the "Jade Dragon" from the three-part episode "World's Finest" (a three-part crossover between The New Batman Adventures and Superman: The Animated Series) is a statue of kryptonite carved in the form of a Chinese dragon, said to be cursed because all of its owners all died within a few years of acquiring the piece. Second is Lex Luthor's kryptonite poisoning/cancer as seen in Justice League, attributed to Lex's admitted habit of keeping a fist-sized chunk of kryptonite in his pocket for years. This does bring up the question of Batman's habit of also carrying a piece of kryptonite in his own belt; however, since Batman has seen what the kryptonite did to Luthor, the famed methodicality of Batman may mean that he likely has the pouch lined with lead. In Batman Beyond, it was revealed in the two part episode "The Call" that Bruce Wayne kept the kryptonite for the rest of his life, and kept the needle of kryptonite locked up very securely in the Bat Cave. The Justice League series also reveals how Batman obtained the kryptonite.

Green kryptonite remains the only variety of the substance ever seen in the DCAU.

As mentioned above, the Krypto the Superdog episode "Streaky's Cat Tail" features "purple-spotted kryptonite", which causes Superdog to compulsively chase his tail. However, this was almost certainly a product of Streaky's imagination.


In the 2000s television series Smallville, the show expands on the concept of the substance being harmful to humans, as well as making extensive use of the substance. On the show, not only is green kryptonite (referred to in the first two seasons of the series as "meteor rock") harmful to Clark Kent, but it can produce bizarre changes in humans, animals, and plants, typically turning them into powerful mutant menaces, commonly known by the denizens of Smallville as "Meteor Freaks," that Clark must oppose. These changes seem to be linked to the circumstances under which the subject was exposed to kryptonite and the subject's emotional state (similar to how gamma radiation affects people in the Marvel Comics universe). Groups of people have been shown to acquire the same powers from kryptonite by exposing themselves to it in the same manner. Prolonged exposure can cause cancer in humans.

Red kryptonite has also been shown in Smallville. Its effect on Clark Kent is to rid him of all inhibitions, making him rebellious and potentially dangerous if exposed to it for too long; however, it seems to have no effect on regular humans. Also created for the series was black kryptonite (first appearing in the episode "Crusade"), which is capable of separating certain entities within individual organisms, e.g., splitting a person's good and evil sides. Black kryptonite was formed by heating up green kryptonite. In the series, after Clark's "reprogramming" by Jor-El in "the caves," Martha Kent used black kryptonite to reveal the two psyches of Clark, the militant Kal-El (not to be confused with the rebellious "Kal" alias caused by red kryptonite), and normal Clark. In a later episode, Lex Luthor was experimenting with a process to heat up green kryptonite and irradiate seeds, in order to separate the "weak" genes from the "strong" genes in the seeds. The result was hardy but rotten-tasting fruit, implying a yin and yang balance within fruit, as well as within humans. An accident with this process caused Lex to split into a good Lex and a bad Lex.

Silver kryptonite made an appearance in the fifth season episode entitled "Splinter". Like the previous comics incarnation, this silver form was not a true form of the stone. In the episode, Clark pricked his finger on a rock that was black and had silver-metallic clusters, and subsequently became increasingly paranoid, hallucinating that others were conspiring against him. In the episode's final scenes, it was revealed that a splinter of the element entered Clark's bloodstream. It was also shown that silver kryptonite was created artificially from the liquid metal which forms Brainiac's body.

Cultural references

* "Kryptonite" is sometimes used to refer to an Achilles' heel, which is a fatal weakness related to a particular object or area: "______ is my kryptonite." As a sly joke about this, on the animated series Justice League Unlimited, Supergirl's evil clone Galatea once quipped, "Boredom is my kryptonite... well, kryptonite is my kryptonite, but you know what I mean."

* In an episode of 1970s sitcom Happy Days, Richie (played by Ron Howard) wants to write a story about the Fonz's (played by Henry Winkler) fear of liver. When Richie dangles a piece of raw liver in front of him, the Fonz responds, "Get that away from me! Everybody has weaknesses! Superman had kryptonite!"

* In the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (in the episode "Helpless"), after Buffy begins to lose her powers, Xander wonders if they should be searching for a "slayer kryptonite". Oz counters that it's a "faulty metaphor, kryptonite kills", which then degenerates into a debate between the two about the different varieties of kryptonite.

* "Kryptonite" is also becoming a popular hip-hop expression for the drug marijuana, which, like kryptonite, is a green substance that can make a person feel "off." The Purple Ribbon All-Stars, a rap posse led by Big Boi of Outkast fame, are perhaps the most famous users of this expression and have a song entitled "Kryptonite".

* In a Simpsons episode of the "Treehouse of Horror" series, Bart and Lisa become superheroes Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl. As they go out on a mission, Marge warns them "Remember, you're vulnerable to kryptonite". (Then Homer shouts at her "Jeez Marge, tell the neighborhood!")

* The Spin Doctors, a band from Princeton, New Jersey, are best known for their 1992 album, Pocket Full of Kryptonite. The first track on the album, "Jimmy Olsen's Blues", is a supposed plea by Jimmy Olsen for Lois Lane to break off her romantic relationship with Superman and date Olsen instead. One of the song's lyrics mentions that Olsen has "a pocket full of Kryptonite" (which is, of course, what the album's name is derived from).

* Three Doors Down had one of its first hits with the song "Kryptonite" from their album, "The Better Life" with references to Superman including the chorus "If I go crazy, will you still call me Superman?".

* Australian singer Guy Sebastian also released a song, "Kryptonite".

* Glinda's Bubble features their (downloadable) song "Kryptonite", about weakness versus hope, on their CD The Other Side of Now.

* Five For Fighting's album American Town features a song titled "Superman" in which a line is sung "I’m only a man in a silly red sheet / Digging for kryptonite on this one way street"

* The 2006 George Mason University men's basketball team, which as an 11-seed team in the Washington, D.C. Region of the NCAA Tournament made the Final Four (only the second 11 seed in the tournament's history to do so), has been nicknamed the "Kryptonite Kids" because of improbable upset wins over NCAA Division I men's basketball powerhouses Michigan State, North Carolina and Connecticut during the Patriots' tournament run.[1][2][3]

* Kryptonite is a brand of bicycle locks.

* The webcomic The Wotch referenced Kryptonite in a recent comic. When Anne was unable to change something with her magic, Missy said "Oh geeze, orange cream bars aren't, like, kryptonite to her, are they?", due to the ice cream Anne recently ate.

* The professional wrestler Nova (now known in WWE as Simon Dean) named his finishing maneuver the Kryptonite Krunch. He no longer uses the move.

* Earthworm Jim parodied the substance in an episode of his cartoon series - when exposed to "Wormtonite" by Professor Monkey-For-A-Head, he was turned into a bowl of candy corn. Peter Puppy explains that they had found the Wormtonite in the back of Jim's fridge one day; he thought that it might once have been cheese.

* The webcomic Penny Arcade recently featured a comic about Superman and Lois in a fancy restaurant where they glaze kryptonite on the chicken. seen here

* Product names and/or code names of AMD processors consist of the format "Kx", where the letter "K" is a reference to Kryptonite and "x" is a number that represents the generation of processor. This is a clear reference to that Intel is dominant in the CPU market and AMD seeks to be a viable competitor to Intel.

* R&B singer Brian McKnight referenced Kryptonite in his song " Superhero"

See also

* Unbihexium (Ubh) - an element (not yet synthesized or observed) with atomic number 126 (the atomic number suggested for kryptonite)

* The Kryptonite Man

External links

* The Superman Homepage's section on kryptonite
* Supermanica entry on Pre-Crisis forms of kryptonite
* The first appearance of K-metal
* The Superman Encyclopaedia entry on Kryptonite
* The Colors Out of Space
* The Photonucleic Effect
* The Superman Encyclopaedia entry on K-Metal
* - "How Kryptonite Works"

Categories: Superman | Fictional materials | DC Comics objects


Abbas Halai said...

there's a fascinating book i recently read called "the science of superheoes" by lois h. gresh and robert weinberg. you'd find it rather interesting i believe.

Stefan said...

Good Job! :)

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