I posed this on the JLA-JSA thread, and am giving it its own post here at the Captain's suggestion:
"I can see a reading of the "Luma Lynai" scene from another direction. Remember, Supergirl is the one who's messing about in Superman's love life a little before he utters the fateful words. Maybe the writer-- Binder, I think-- was implying that Supergirl was "shipping" (as they call it now) her cousin through an intermediary. If so, then Superman's words might be a way of diplomatically letting her down.
Not that there aren't lots of other weird incest-y motifs in the Superman Family. Can we talk about the wedding of Jimmy and Lois? Well, maybe on another thread."
The Kandorians seemed to be very intense about preserving their culture, but at the same time not intruding on Earth culture.
On the other hand, when all of their city structures dematerialize on Rokyn they don't appear to be so upset by the loss. They can rebuild. That story contradicted a much earlier story from the '60s, where some Kandorians thought they had found a way to enlarge Kandor, but it turned out that it dematerialized buildings--so Superman didn't use that technology. Yet he seems to have virtually the same kind of device when he enlarges Kandor on Rokyn.
But the Kandorians seem to be happier living as ordinary humans on Rokyn with a red sun. The same sort of thing happens in the Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue. Maybe Kandorians having always lived under Kryptonian conditions are very attached to that way of life. They're kind of Amish in that way. Whereas Superman grew up under Earth conditions, so he has no great need to be Kryptonian.
You'd think that Zor-El and Allura would have figured out from viewing Earth that Superman was Kal-El because he looks just like his father--Zor-El's brother. But as we've already discussed on another thread, there were several Kryptonians that looked exactly like Kal-El. So we can assume that there were a lot of look alikes on Krypton--and Zor-El could literally not pick his nephew out in a crowd.
By the way, the recognition scene between Kara and Superman reminds me of this type of recognition scene in classical Greek stories--what I read in Classical Studies courses. It's a motif that's common--almost required--in any of the Greek dramas. There's other elements of Superman that make me think of the Greeks, too (Argo City, Kryptonopolis). Otto Binder seems to have been a Greek scholar (given his work on Captain Marvel)--I wonder if some of this was his contribution.
Thanks, that made me laugh! (In fact, I actually LOLed.) :-)
(Did he never have to give someone mouth-to-mouth? He probably just flew them to a hospital. "Thank God for the power of flight!")
Craig Boldman said:
She also gave Jimmy a super-smooch to cure him from lycanthropy that one time. Even Superman wasn't willing to go that far for his pal.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the Kandorians microscopic? At least at the beginning? I seem to remember the Superman Emergency Squad had to grow a little to be the size they were on our world (which was, like, thumb size). What good would it be to be out of the bottle, even with super-powers, if you lived microbe-size?
I think later in the canon they were always drawn thumb-size, even in the bottle, so that would give the impression that living outside the bottle was a possibility. But I was always under the impression that thumb-size Kryptonians was just artistic license, but that they were really much smaller -- and would have to be, since there was supposed to be six mllion of them!
It's a little bit of artistic license. They enlarged to doll size when out of the bottle, but inside the bottle they had to be much smaller. I wouldn't say microscopic, since you could probly spot them if you had good eyesight, but they would have been like specks.
It's also possible that the bottle distorted dimensions. So the bottle was like a TARDIS. There were some visuals that just stretched the truth to the breaking point, so thare has to be some artistic license.
Anyway Brainiac was a 10th level intelligence when he shrunk them (later on he was raised to 12th level intelligence thanks to Luthor). I imagine Earth humans are only 5th or 6th level intelligence and Superman is maybe 7th. But none of us would have the intelligence to comprehend the science. It may look like a bottle to us, but I'm sure it was so much more. And even thinking about it would break your brain--so don't try.
The Kandorians weren't microscopic but they were probably around 1/8th of an inch tall in the bottle. The bottle was never really drawn in the same scale in every story. It should have been bigger and deeper as Kandor did have subterranean (sub-bottlean??) caves. As I said before, it's not really a bottle but some sort of artificial environment chamber.
The Superman Emergency Squad did have an enlarging gas that made them about two inches tall. They were still tiny but now more visible.
Was there any story that said how many Kandorians there really were? I would imagine that they tried to keep their population roughly the same and controlled any increase. With their limited space, they would have to carefully monitor births and deaths.
The Kandorians felt safe in their bottle, under Superman's protection. We have no idea how life in Kandor was when they were Brainiac's captives. Did he experiment on them? Did he help maintain them? Did he even communicate with them? Obviously, he saved their lives but they saw him as their ultimate enemy.
Size wise, they were probably more in scale with Ant-Man. Though he could make himself bigger, he and the Wasp may have been giants on Kandor. The Atom and Shrinking Violet could visit but Doll Man would be like Godzilla!!
I know there were some artistic differences in terms of the size of the bottle. Sometimes it was shown to be really, really big, other times it was shown to be about the size of a water cooler bottle. My guess is that the shift in sizes had a lot to do with what size the Kandorians were when they left the bottle.
Also, in regards to Superman sending Kara to Kandor, what if she refused? What if she made the decision that she preferred Earth society? Sure, Superman would eventually win a physical fight, but at what cost? A super-powered fight by two people who can juggle planets could potentially cause irreparable harm to the Earth, the Milky Way, and the Universe.
Or he could allow her to live on Earth, train her in how to use her super-powers, and make her a force for good, which is what seems to be what she wanted.
This is not to say that Kara didn't make mistakes, but thankfully none of them were catastrophic. And certainly one felt bad for her loneliness prior to her unveiling. Ultimately, however, I'd say that unless he had a handy bit of Gold Kryptonite around, he likely made the best call he was capable of making, at least in my opinion.
What no seems to be saying yet implying is that having Supergirl, Krypto, Beppo, any freed Phantom Zone prisoner, loose Kandorians, etc..has the potential of causing catastrophic destruction on Earth with the slightest lapse of control.
The ultimate extraction of that logic makes Superman himself as much as a danger as any menace he could possibly stop!
Luckily humanity has Batman!
The business with the visual of Kandor's bottle has driven me crazy for years, given that, from the outside, the city seems to sit flat on the bottom, and reaches nearly from side to side, yet when inside the bottle, there are sub-basements and caverns, and the city is surrounded by foliage that's practically jungle! My theory is that the surface of the bottle is some sort of magnifier, causing the city to seem larger (and take up more space) than it actually is. If that's correct, than the individual Kandorians may very well have been closer to microbe size than ant size.
I can understand why Kara chose to remain on Earth with the Danverses after Zor-El & Allura turned up alive and moved to Kandor, since by that time, she'd established a life for herself on Earth (at least, to the extent that Linda Danvers ever had much of a life). Other than saving Zor-El & Allura, poor Fred & Edna never seemed to get to do more than pay Linda's college tuition...at least they caught a break post-Crisis, when Peter David & Jim Mooney quietly imported them into the Soulsearchers & Co. supporting cast as the parents of the team's teenage witch...
Randy Jackson said:
Also, in regards to Superman sending Kara to Kandor, what if she refused?
Hence my point that any teen-ager can be a pain. Yes, Supergirl could very likely have said, "No, I won't go! I like being on Earth and having super-powers. And you can't tell me what to do; you aren't my father!"
But I don't believe that it would result in the overwhelmingly destructive battle royale that you suggest, Randy. For one thing, yes, they both have super-powers, but Superman had some thirty years experience using them at that point, while Kara had hers for all of, what, an hour? The Man of Steel would be super-speeding rings around her while she was still figuring how to fly in a straight line.
Not to mention outwitting a teen-age girl with little knowledge of Earth and no experience in fighting super-opponents would be simple for Superman.
"Don't want to obey me and go to Kandor like I said, eh? Well, O.K. Have a nice life." And Superman would zip away at super-speed. While Kara probably sits down and has a good cry over her mean old cousin, the Metropolis Marvel streaks to his Fortress, dons his lead suit with the television camera (which he devised only three issues earlier---in Action Comics # 249 [Feb.,1959]), and grabs a piece of green kryptonite from his lab.
An instant later, he returns and drops the green k in her lap. Bingo! Problem solved.
Certainly, it might not go quite that smoothly. There might be some minor damage to property as a result of Kara having a hissy fit over the whole thing. But that would only validate that she wasn't mature enough to possess super-powers and putting her in Kandor was the correct thing for Superman to do.
Is it just me, or does a pattern seem to emerge from the various "odd" decisions that the various Kryptonians & Kandorians make for what we assume must have been for purely story purposes? If you take enough of them together, the people of Krypton seem to have been/be voyeuristic (for lack of a better word) by nature. Look at Jor-El, who spent endless hours observing Earth people, once all his flashback appearances are considered together--there has long been the question of why Krypton could have been so scientifically advanced, but had no space program to speak of--sure, we know that Superman's origin hinges on that fact, but still. Clearly, Krypton was aware that there were plenty of inhabited planets out there, yet they had zero interest in visiting them, even tho they really seemed to enjoy watching them. Then there's Kandor, which is on the one hand, literally an exhibit, being observed first by Brainiac and then by Superman and his friends, but on the other hand, the major activity of the Kandorians seems to be watching Superman & Company in return. As noted elsewhere, Superboy spent way too much of his time watching his own future adventures as Superman. Supergirl seemed to be perfectly happy in that perfectly dreary orphanage, secretly watching other kids, and occasionally using her super-sight to spy on Superman & his pals. How about the Phantom Zone criminals, who were unable to do anything but watch--we've always assumed that was part of their punishment, but what if the act of keeping their fellow Kryptonians from their Rao-given right to just watch was considered too horrible a punishment to impose on anyone? Even in their civilian careers, Clark Kent, as a reporter, is at least in theory, all about other people's stories (and one assumes that the vast majority of Clark's assignments never actually turn into "jobs for Superman!"), and Supergirl worked as a TV news camerawoman (even more voyeuristic than a print reporter), and then as a school guidance counselor, which again deals with other people's problems. Heck, even Superman's endless stream of cruel practical jokes to teach his friends lessons, and the endless parade of dangerous alien "gifts" for Jimmy could just be Kal-El wanting something different to "watch".
"Very shrewd observation there, Dave...
We'll have to watch and see what comes of this..."
-Uatu, the Watcher.