Who do we think 1st discovered Superman's greatest weakness?

Jonathan Kent

Chris Stanley

Lex Luthor

Jason Trask

Bruce Wayne

Archie Andrews

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Which era of Superman? Luthor used it first in the Golden Age, I think. I vaguely recall Professor Lang finding it in an issue of Superboy in the Silver Age, where Clark added it to his rock collection, and got sick at night since he was sleeping near it. But I don't think it was named, and there are no doubt half a dozen others in the Silver Age that Mort Weisinger somehow explained away. In the Modern Age, I would guess the ubiquitous Archie Andrews, for reasons. 

I don't know who discovered it, but I think it came from the radio show.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I don't know who discovered it, but I think it came from the radio show.

You are correct, sir!

The radio show made it quite rare and developed a whole saga around its very few fragments, did it not?

Yeah, kryptonite was rare in the radio show but the sequence that introduced it was 76 episodes long! It started with "The Meteor from Krypton" (June 1943), where Lois reveals the existence of the mineral and its properties, and it is stolen by the Scarlet Widow (!), who splits it into four parts and gives them to Superman's enemies. Aided by Batman & Robin, the Man of Steel must track down all four pieces.

Kryptonite gave criminals a plausible way to challenge Superman, who was developing powers right and left. A side benefit was allowing voice actor Bud Collyer, who voiced Superman and Clark Kent, to take a vacation. In his absence, The Adventures of Superman starred Batman & Robin! Julius Schwartz alludes to this in his autobiography, Man of Two Worlds, and I've also read about it in The Essential Superman Radio Scripts Vol. 1. 

There's an earlier comics story, "The Metal from Krypton" that introduce "K-Metal," which most of the same properties of kryptonite. But DC spiked the story, because in the course of it Lois discovered Superman's secret identity. It was written by Jerry Siegel, but never became part of continuity. I don't remember where I've read this story, but it's in multiple places.

Kryptonite first appeared in the comic books in Superman #61 (Nov-Dec 1949), written by the great Bill Finger, with art by the less great Al Plastino; it was colored red, not green (as had been stipulated on the radio show), and Superman, wondering where the meteor came from, broke the time barrier (which turned him ethereally invisible) and followed  the meteor's path back to its origin point, the planet Krypton, which Supes theretofore had no knowledge of.

You can read this story online for free at: superman.nu/tales3/return0/   at the "Superman Through the Ages" website, which has lots of fun stuff to read.

Thanks for the tip, MIS!

I still haven't located the Superboy story I referenced above, but it was printed long after Superman #61. I assume it holds up as the definitive Silver Age origin of kryptonite.

Kryptonite first appeared post-Crisis in Man of Steel #1, when young Clark falls mysteriously ill near his spaceship. He and Pa Kent don't realize it's due to a green rock stuck in the ship's fin, but we the readers do. I don't recall when kryptonite became general knowledge  in the post-Crisis comics, if somebody else can chip in that part.

I don't recall much on this subject changing in the post-Zero Hour stories, although Superman did experience the pre-Crisis kryptonite when he traveled to the Time Trapper's pocket universe, but it had no effect on him.

As to post-Flashpoint/New 52, I'd have to look it up. Anybody know off the top of their head?

I did another search for something that’s been bugging me. The CBR article “When We First Met - The Evolution of Green and Red Kryptonite” finally provided my answer. Not counting the original red color of green kryptonite, the first appearance of the red kryptonite variant was in Adventure Comics #252(SEP58) in the story “The Super Sentry of Smallville.” It actually appeared in a couple of pages (shown in the CBR article) in the middle of the story which I don’t believe had a real impact on the main story. Superboy uses his “fabulous computer” to determine that this form of kryptonite had ten times the radiation of green kryptonite. Later appearances of red kryptonite had the unpredictable effects with which we are familiar. I don’t think this is a conflict. Superboy was only analyzing the meteor he had at the time. IMO, that ten-times-the-radiation was the property of that particular meteor.

Ten-year-old me once had the original issue. In 1958 my father was in the hospital and my mother and I visited him. While we were waiting to see him I had a small stack of comics that I brought to re-read. There was another boy there with his mother. I shared the comics with him to read. When my mother and I were told we could see my father it was suggested that I leave the stack of comics with the other boy. Never saw those comics again, and I'm pretty sure Adventure #252 was one of them.

The exact issue would be Superman #4 (1987 series). 

Superman was nearly killed by Metallo in #1, and both he and Lois learned of Kryptonite in that issue.  #2 had Luthor obtain that piece of Kryptonite and make a ring adorned with a bit of it, revealing to Superman that he knew all about Green K. 

But it was in #4 that the knowledge spread enough for a physician to realize that exposing Superman to Kryptonite would be useful to remove enough of his invulnerability to allow surgery to be made.  On the other hand, at that point Superman still felt that there were too few people aware of Green K for the source of the bits that harmed him to be anyone else but Luthor.  #4 was the first appearance of Bloodsport, a minor Superman foe that used firearms that sometimes shot Kryptonite pellets given him by Luthor, apparently without his knowledge.

Captain Comics said:

I don't recall when kryptonite became general knowledge  in the post-Crisis comics, if somebody else can chip in that part.

Fame is, alas, fleeting.

I covered the history of kryptonite two years ago, in a three-part Deck Log entry:

http://captaincomics.ning.com/forum/topics/deck-leg-entry-196-krypt...

http://captaincomics.ning.com/forum/topics/deck-log-entry-197-krypt...

http://captaincomics.ning.com/forum/topics/deck-log-entry-198-krypt...

Cap is correct that kryptonite was introduced to the Superman mythos in the June, 1943 story arc titled "The Meteor from Krypton" on the Adventures of Superman radio programme.  (He's a bit off in the description, though.  The "Meteor from Krypton" tale ran for only seven episodes.  The extended saga he relates was actually a subsequent appearances of kryptonite on the show.)

And the Superboy tale Cap recalls is "Superboy's Last Day", from Adventure Comics # 251 (Aug., 1958).  This story marks the first time, within the Superman continuity established by Mort Weisinger, that Superboy became aware of the existence of kryptonite.  (The events of Superman # 61 [Nov.-Dec., 1949] were subsequently relegated to the history of the Earth-Two Superman.)  The events within the story are pretty much as Cap described:  Clark adds a strange, glowing stone to his rock collexion.  Almost immediately, he takes ill, confounding his foster-parents, until Pa Kent tumbles to the fact that his son's deathly malady is caused by the glowing rock and takes it away. Once recovered, Superboy figures out that the stone was actually a meteorite from Krypton.

I also covered the K-Metal story that Cap mentioned.  He was right about why DC refused to print it.

Hope this helps.

 

Jason Task

I wish Jason Task was part of the comic book continuity as he is in the TV super-hero universe.

Next time someone has a question I'll just review your old columns, Commander, instead of racking my rapidly diminishing brain cells.

Commander Benson said:

Fame is, alas, fleeting.

I covered the history of kryptonite two years ago, in a three-part Deck Log entry:

http://captaincomics.ning.com/forum/topics/deck-leg-entry-196-krypt...

http://captaincomics.ning.com/forum/topics/deck-log-entry-197-krypt...

http://captaincomics.ning.com/forum/topics/deck-log-entry-198-krypt...

Cap is correct that kryptonite was introduced to the Superman mythos in the June, 1943 story arc titled "The Meteor from Krypton" on the Adventures of Superman radio programme.  (He's a bit off in the description, though.  The "Meteor from Krypton" tale ran for only seven episodes.  The extended saga he relates was actually a subsequent appearances of kryptonite on the show.)

And the Superboy tale Cap recalls is "Superboy's Last Day", from Adventure Comics # 251 (Aug., 1958).  This story marks the first time, within the Superman continuity established by Mort Weisinger, that Superboy became aware of the existence of kryptonite.  (The events of Superman # 61 [Nov.-Dec., 1949] were subsequently relegated to the history of the Earth-Two Superman.)  The events within the story are pretty much as Cap described:  Clark adds a strange, glowing stone to his rock collexion.  Almost immediately, he takes ill, confounding his foster-parents, until Pa Kent tumbles to the fact that his son's deathly malady is caused by the glowing rock and takes it away. Once recovered, Superboy figures out that the stone was actually a meteorite from Krypton.

I also covered the K-Metal story that Cap mentioned.  He was right about why DC refused to print it.

Hope this helps.

 

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