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KANDOR

Kandor

The capital city of the planet Krypton.

Kandor survived the destruction of its native planet as the result of having been stolen sometime prior to the cataclysm by the space villain Brainiac, who reduced the city to microscopic size and preserved it, people and buildings intact, inside a glass bottle aboard his spacecraft.  It remained there for many years until July of 1958 when Brainiac came to Earth and attempted to add Metropolis to his bottle-city collection.  Superman foiled Brainiac, recovered Kandor, and placed it inside his Fortress of Solitude for safekeeping.

Inside the bottle city, life goes on much as it did prior to the destruction of Krypton.  Although restoration to their normal size remains the heartfelt wish of all Kandorians, Superman has not yet succeeded, despite years of effort, in finding a way to enlarge the city safely.  He has, however, on occasion managed to reduce himself in size temporarily for the purpose of visiting the bottle city and undertaking adventures there.

Nestled securely on a niche inside the Fortress of Solitude, the bottle city of Kandor is "the most amazing exhibit in Superman's Fortress" and "the prize of his collection" of curiosities and artifacts from throughout the universe.

Diagram and View of Kandor in the Fortress

According to Superman #158, the peaceful city of Kandor, capital of Krypton, was "a place of beauty and happiness" until the dark day when Brainiac, "the evilest villain of space," appeared over the city in his saucerlike spacecraft, reduced it to "microscopic size" with his diabolical "hyper-force ray," and then soared away again into outer space with the captive city of Kandor imprisoned aboard his craft inside a large glass bottle.

Although the texts seem agreed, however, that the theft of Kandor occured "years before" Krypton exploded, it is not possible to pinpoint the date of the theft with any real accuracy, though it appears to have occured either shortly before or after the wedding of Jor-El and Lara.  Despite the fact that by stealing their city Brainiac inadvertently rescued the people of Kandor from the cataclysmic doom that befell the rest of their planet, the Kandorians still regard him as "the foulest villain in the universe" for having wrenched their city from its native planet and for having doomed them, perhaps forever, to lilliputian size.

It is the goal of all Kandorians to see their city enlarged to normal size so that they can live out their lives outside the bottle, either on Earth of on some distant planet.

The picturesque city of Kandor sits inside a large "bell-jar" in Superman's Fortress of Solitude.  According to Superman #134, "Brainiac made the walls of super-hard, unbreakable glass."

The bottle containing the city is sealed by a large "cork", more accurately described as a "super-hard metal stopper." By August 1965 a doorway has been installed in the stopper to facilitate "easier exit from the giant bottle" for members of the Superman Emergency Squad and other Kandorians.

Safeguarding the city of Kandor and its lilliputian population is one of Superman's gravest responsibilities.  "I have to check that city-in-the-bottle regularly," muses the Man of Steel in January 1960, "to see that the tiny people inside it are safe!"

Watching over the city consists mainly of conducting periodic checks of the air hoses and related apparatus which provide the Kandorians with a steady supply of air.

Inside the bottle city, "Krypton's gravity conditions are duplicated" to allow the Kandorians to live normal lives in the environment characteristic of their native planet.  Therefore, in Superman's words, "The Kandorians must be constantly supplied with air that is of the same composition as the air on their native Krypton -  so I always check to make certain the air mixture is right."

Indeed, life in the bottle city goes on today much as it did before Brainiac stole it, with the Kandorians "going about their daily business" almost as though their native planet had never exploded. Kryptonese, the language of Krypton, is still spoken, and Kandorian scientific progress has continued apace despite the limitations imposed by the artificial glass-walled environment.

Kandor is governed by the Kandorian Council, a body of distinguished citizens apparently modeled after the form of planetary government that prevailed on Krypton prior to the cataclysm.

The city proper is dominated by such institutions as the Museum of Kryptonian History, a well-stocked library, the Kandor City Zoo, and the majestic Hall of Justice, where, once each year, the Phantom Zone Parole Board meets to consider the pleas of Phantom Zone prisoners seeking parole.  Those prisoners deemed worthy of parole are released from the Phantom Zone to begin new lives as Kandorian citizens.

Outside the city is a neatly landscaped suburban region characterized by elegant mansions and fine houses, and beyond the suburbs are "strange forests" filled with Kryptonian wildlife and "weird vegetation."

In February, the people of Kandor celebrate Krypton Day, a holiday whose precise significance is never stated in the chronicles. Once each year, in either December or January, they bow their heads in silence in solemn commemoration of "the anniversary of the destruction of Krypton." In April, the Kandorians hold ceremonies marking the Day of Truth, a holiday once celebrated by all Kryptonians, in which they honor the memory of Val-Lor, a valiant Kryptonian who, by courageously speaking out against the "ruthless swarm of alien invaders" who had invaded Krypton and enslaved its people, inspired his fellow Kryptonians to revolt against their alien oppressors and drive the aliens from their planet.

Kandor's "greatest hero" is Superman and there are several statues of him in and about the city.  Outside the bottle city, Superman's dual identity is a closely guarded secret, but inside Kandor the fact that Clark Kent is Superman is "known to all Kandorians."

Just as the Kandorians keep a watchful eye on Superman by means of their sophisticated Earth monitors, the Man of Steel keeps in close communication with his friends in Kandor. In Superman's Fortress of Solitude, a red light on an intricate "monitoring maching" lights up in the event of a "Kandor emergency," and a special "Kandor-scope" monitor screen, sometimes used in conjunction with an operator's headphone and mouthpiece, enables him to carry on simultaneous visual and aural communication with his Kandorian allies.

In order to enter Kandor, either to visit his friends or to undertake adventures there, Superman must first reduce himself to microscopic size.  He originally accomplished this through various means, but eventually settled on the "shrinking ray" confiscated from Brainiac.

Inside Kandor, where "Krypton's gravity conditions are duplicated," Superman becomes an ordinary human being, without super-powers, although he regains use of his powers the moment he exits from the bottle and re-enters the earthly environment.  Kryptonite has no effect on Superman while he remains in Kandor, simply because he is only an ordinary mortal there.

Similarly, any Kandorian who emerges from the bottle city instantly acquires super-powers identical to Superman's, along with vulnerability to the various forms of kryptonite.

In the course of an Kandorian adventure in January 1963, during a period when it is unsafe for Superman to move about in Kandor due to the lies that have been spread about him among the people by the "fanatic scientist" Than-Ol, Superman and Jimmy Olsen decide to emulate their friends Batman and Robin by adopting a pair of alternate identities and working together as a team. Inspired by the names and plumage of a pair of Kandorian birds -  a "nightwing" and a "flamebird" - owned by their friend Nor-Kan, Superman and Jimmy adopt the alternate identities of Nightwing and Flamebird and fashion a pair of colorful costumes evocative of the plumage of the two Kandorian birds.

Beneath his lavish home in the Kandorian suburbs, Nor-Kan has constructed a "secret under-ground lab" - with a camouflaged entrance built into a grassy hillside - to prevent intruders from tampering with his delicate scientific instruments.  With Nor-Kan's blessing, Nightwing and Flamebird christen this laboratory the "nightcave" and transform it into their secret subterranean headquarters, while simultaneously converting Nor-Kan's automobile into a swift, specially equipped "nightmobile."

By the time this Kandorian adventure draws to a close, Nightwing and Flamebird - the so-called Dynamic Duo of Kandor - have revealed their true identities to the Kandorian people and the Kandorians have erected a colorful statue of the two heroes in the heart of the city.


Text on this page taken from a much longer entry in The Great Superman Book © 1978 by Michael L. Fleisher.

entry origin: stta 1.0   

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