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Krypton was/is a fictional planet in the DC Comics universe, and the native world of the super-heroes Superman and, in some tellings, Supergirl, and Krypto the "super dog". Krypton has been portrayed consistently as having been destroyed just after Superman's flight from the planet, with exact details of its destruction varying by time period, writers and franchise. Kryptonians were the dominant people of Krypton.

The planet was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and was first referred to in Action Comics #1 (June 1938); the planet was given its first full-fledged appearance in Superman #1 (1939).

Overview

Krypton is usually portrayed in comics as having exploded as a result of a nuclear chain reaction deep within the planet's unstable Uranium core. As originally depicted, all the civilizations and races of Krypton perished in the explosion, except for one survivor: the baby Kal-El who was placed in an escape rocket by his father, Jor-El, and sent to the planet Earth, where he grew up to become Superman.

In some versions of the Superman mythos, additional survivors were later discovered, such as Krypto the Superdog, Supergirl, her parents (kept alive in the "Survival Zone", a similar parallel "dimension" to the Phantom Zone), the criminal inhabitants of the Phantom Zone, Dev-Em, Beppo the Super-Monkey, the Eradicator, the residents of the bottle city of Kandor and the real parents of both Superman and Supergirl.

From the late 1980s through the early 2000s, the number of survivors was greatly reduced in the comic book stories, but more recent accounts have restored Supergirl, Krypto, and Kandor, and introduced another newly discovered survivor, Karsta Wor-Ul.

Versions of Krypton

Golden Age Krypton

History

In its first appearance, Krypton was only depicted at the moment of its destruction, details of life there being unaddressed and frankly irrelevant to Superman's adventures on contemporary Earth; the plain fact of his extraterrestrial origin was considered sufficient to explain his superpowered status. Soon, beginning in the Superman comic strip, Krypton was shown to have been a planet similar to Earth, older by eons and possessed of all the beneficial progress that implied (though the downside was the hint that Krypton exploded due mainly to old age).

Kryptonians, though otherwise completely human, were superior both intellectually and physically to natives of Earth. They lived under the rule of a scientific elite, in cities of art-deco towers , and wore costumes in the style of Alex Raymond characters . The trappings of Krypton were all rather reminiscent of the final technological utopia depicted in the H.G. Wells film Things to Come .

The debut of the Superman newspaper comic strip in 1939 also delved into further details about Krypton, including introducing the idea that all Kryptonians possessed a level of heightened physical abilities, including super-strength and super-speed. In the early comics' version of Krypton, Superman's parents were named "Jor-L" and "Lora" (changed to the more familiar "Jor-El" and "Lara" by the end of the 1940s).

The Golden Age Krypton would be revised into another form almost as soon as it was defined (see Krypton in Transition below), and very few stories were written about it. However, after the introduction of DC's multiverse in the 1960s, this version of Krypton was declared to be the Krypton of the Earth-Two universe (the native dimension of DC's Golden Age characters) and its Superman. This was especially so in the late-1970s run of All Star Comics, where Power Girl, the Earth-Two version of Supergirl, was introduced .

In the Golden Age, Superman was unaware initially of his true origins; in Superman #61, Superman discovered the existence of Krypton for the first time and learned of his Kryptonian heritage. He later encountered other survivors prior to Kara's arrival in the form of three criminals, U-Ban, Kizo, and Mala, who were exiled by Superman's father before Krypton's destruction.

Krypton in transition

Over the course of the 1940s and 1950s, various alterations and additions to the makeup of Krypton were made in the comics. Among them was an explanation of why the natives of Krypton perished if they had possessed super powers on their native world (as was the case in the earliest versions of Krypton outlined above, although this only became a problem once Superman — and by extension anyone from Krypton — was portrayed as increasingly powerful, able to withstand nuclear explosions, contrasted with his original power level in which a bursting mortar shell could penetrate his skin).

Thus, it was explained by the early 1950s that Kryptonians were powerless on their own planet, and would gain super powers only within a lower gravity environment. This matched the correct theories being published that when man reaches the moon (a lighter gravity environment) he will be able to lift great weights and leap great distances. In the early 1960s, added to this was the need to be exposed to the rays of a yellow sun (versus Krypton's red sun, which was older and "cooler", or put out less energy) to gain super powers, with the yellow sun aspect soon gaining the much greater emphasis. Other changes to the concept of Krypton and its culture were introduced, many of which were stylistic.

Silver Age Krypton

By the late 1950s, Krypton played an increasing role in various Superman stories, with greater detail provided about Krypton's makeup.

History

The Silver Age version of Krypton had a clear resemblance to the jet age consumerist utopia then common in popular visions of the future . Kryptonians made use of their advanced science to create a world where scientific inventions and research influenced much of daily life. Robots and computers were used for many tasks on Krypton, even for determining what career paths young boys and girls would take as they grew up. Scientific and technological research were highly valued on Krypton, with the ruling body of Krypton named the "Science Council".

Several stories featured characters traveling back in time to visit Krypton before its destruction; one example is the 1960 story "Superman's Return to Krypton", in which Superman is swept back in time to Krypton some years before its destruction. Powerless, he spends some time on the planet, where he meets his future parents-to-be and falls in love with a Kryptonian actress named Lyla Lerrol. A Superman "imaginary story" entitled "What If Krypton Had Not Exploded?" (reprinted in the trade paperback edition The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told) gave more insight into Krypton's society.

Superman's Kryptonian heritage was a frequent factor in Silver Age Superman comic storylines, as he was fully aware of his origins from an early age. Superman would use this knowledge for such tasks as constructing advanced Kryptonian technology or observing some of Krypton's traditions.

The terrain of this Krypton was bright and vivid, featuring such landmarks as the Scarlet Jungle, the Gold Volcano, and the Jewel Mountains. The Scarlet Jungle in particular contained many strange beasts and plants, such as a species of giant mole that could eat through metal.

There were two consecutive capital cities on Krypton: Kandor and Kryptonopolis. The city of Kandor was shrunk by the evil android Brainiac and taken away; Kryptonopolis became the new capital of Krypton. In his first encounter with Brainiac, Superman discovered the city of Kandor preserved in a bottle. He rescued it and took it to Earth with him, vowing to someday discover a way to return the city to normal size. In the late 1970s, Kandor was enlarged, and its inhabitants left Earth to settle on a new planet named Rokyn.

Krypton had two moons, but one of them - Wegthor - was accidentally destroyed by the criminally deviant Kryptonian scientist Jax-Ur when he was experimenting with a nuclear missile that was accidentally diverted from its true course to destroy an approaching meteor and towards Wegthor. The disaster killed 300 inhabitants of the moon, and because of this, Jax-Ur became the first criminal to be banished for a sentence of life imprisonment to the Phantom Zone, which had been discovered by Jor-El. This disaster also prompted the Science Council of Krypton to ban space flight completely, providing another explanation of why Krypton's civilization perished with the planet.

Survivors

The Silver Age Superman was not alone in the survival of Krypton's destruction, being joined by his cousin Supergirl, the Phantom Zone criminals, Beppo the super-monkey, Krypto the Superdog, a juvenile delinquent named Dev-Em, and the entire population of the city of Kandor, Supergirl's real parents and even Superman's real parents (in hibernation on a space ship - Superboy #158 July-1969)! When the planet exploded, one entire city of Krypton, Argo City, survived the cataclysm.

Argo City drifted through space on an asteroid-sized fragment of Krypton, which had been transformed into Kryptonite by the explosion. The super-advanced technology of its Kryptonian inhabitants gave the denizens of Argo City the ability to construct a life-sustaining dome that allowed them to survive for several years, in addition to building a lead shield that protected their city from the Kryptonite radiation of their asteroid. However, the protective shield was destroyed in a meteor storm, exposing the inhabitants to the deadly radiation.

The sole survivor of Argo City, Kara Zor-El, was sent to Earth by her scientist father to live with her cousin Kal-El, who had become known as Superman. Kara adjusted to her new life on Earth and became known as Supergirl. It was later discovered that Supergirl's parents had survived in the Survival Zone, a parallel "dimension" similar to the Phantom Zone, from which she released them. When the bottle city of Kandor was finally enlarged on a new planet, Supergirl's parents joined its inhabitants to live there.

In 1979, a mini-series entitled World of Krypton was published, providing a great amount of detail into Krypton's history just before its destruction, along with the life story of Jor-El himself. A three-issue miniseries entitled The Krypton Chronicles, published in 1981, tells of Superman researching his roots when, as Clark Kent, he was assigned to write an article about Superman's family by an assignment editor impressed with the television miniseries Roots. To do so, he and Supergirl travel to Kandor where they learn the history of the El family. In 1985, writer Alan Moore gave a somewhat darker glimpse into the world of Krypton in his story "For the Man Who Has Everything" (in Superman Annual #11), the premise being an elaborate dream of Superman's in which Krypton had not exploded and he'd grown to adulthood there. Background details are culled from other Krypton stories. This same story was retold in the animated series Justice League Unlimited in an episode by the same name.

Daxamites

The people now known as Daxamites were originally Kryptonians who left their homeworld in order to explore the Universe. (In post-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity, the Eradicator, an artificial life form programmed to preserve all Kryptonian culture, altered the birthing matrices ("artificial wombs") that the explorers took with them so that all newborns would be fatally vulnerable to lead and other materials such as greenhouse gases and certain rocks.) Thus, if they persisted in their anti-Kryptonian wanderlust, they would all die from it. One Daxamite, Mon-El, was poisoned by lead, and preserved in the Phantom Zone until a cure was found by Brainiac 5 in the 30th century, whereafter Mon-El became a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

After the 1985 mini-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, this version of Krypton was soon replaced by a newer version. However, the Silver Age Krypton made a rare post-Crisis appearance in The Sandman #48, during a flashback sequence featuring Death and Destruction of The Endless, beings who were evidently unaffected by the reality-altering events of the Crisis. In the relaunch of the Superman franchise, it was declared that the new version would never encounter another surviving Kryptonian.

Modern Krypton

The Man of Steel

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, which rebooted the history of the DC Universe and retro-actively eliminated the existence of the Golden and Silver Age versions of Krypton, writer/artist John Byrne was given the task of recreating the entire Superman mythos. This rewrite was started in the 1986 Man of Steel miniseries, which addressed Krypton in both its opening and closing chapters.

Krypton itself was the main subject of the late 1980s The World of Krypton miniseries (not to be confused with the 1979 miniseries of the same name). This miniseries was written by Byrne and illustrated by Mike Mignola, and filled in much of Krypton's new history.

History
The new Krypton was approximately the size of Earth and orbited a red sun called Rao, 50 light-years from our solar system. Krypton's primordial era produced some of the most dangerous organisms in the Universe. It was for this reason that Krypton was chosen as the place to create Doomsday through forced evolution. Up until its destruction, many dangerous animals, including ferrophage moles, still existed on Krypton. Kryptonians had to use their advanced technology to survive. Over 100,000 years ago, Krypton had already developed scientific advancements far beyond those of present-day Earth, and within a few millennia had conquered disease, learned to retard the aging process, and perfected cloning; vast banks of non-sentient clones held multiple copies of each living Kryptonian so that replacement parts were always available in the case of injury. All Kryptonians were effectively immortal, "with all the strength and vigor of youth maintained", and enjoyed an idyllic, sensual existence in an Arcadian paradise.

However, this society was tipping toward decadence and eventually political strife that resulted from the debate as to whether clones should have rights (sparked by the presence of an alien missionary known as The Cleric). Eventually this disagreement led to open violent conflict especially after it was openly discovered that a woman's cloned copy of herself was allowed to gain full sentience and to establish a full, normal life. However, when a young man (the original woman's son) had discovered that his wife was this clone, he killed the clone, and then publicly killed his mother, and also attempted his own suicide before being stopped. This key incident ignited the Clone Wars, during which Kryptonian science was turned to warfare and several super-weapons were developed and used. Among them were the devices which became known as the Eradicator and the Destroyer.

Although the Eradicator's effects (altering the DNA of all Kryptonian life-forms so that they would instantly die upon leaving the planet) were felt immediately, the Destroyer's effects were possibly more significant: By the time the Kryptonian government admitted defeat and abolished the clone banks, a pro-clone rights terrorist faction known as Black Zero had started the Destroyer, a device which functioned as a giant nuclear gun, projecting massive streams of nuclear energy into the core of Krypton, intended to trigger an explosive chain reaction within Krypton's core almost immediately.

At the time, it was believed that although the use of the Destroyer resulted in a nuclear explosion which eliminated the post-crisis city of Kandor, the device had been stopped before it could achieve planetary destruction (ironically, by an ancestor of Jor-El himself), but eventually it would be discovered, centuries later by Jor-El, that the reaction had only been slowed to a nearly imperceptible rate and would eventually destroy the planet as intended.

Destruction
In the meantime, though it had for now survived the war, Krypton was scarred deeply by it. The formerly lush garden world was burned and blasted, left mostly a lifeless desert. In direct contrast to the society that had existed prior to the Clone Wars, a sterile, emotionally dead civilization emerged. The population became isolated from one another, living in widely separated technological citadels and shunning all personal, physical contact. Procreation would then become a matter of selecting compatible genetic material which would then be placed within an artificial womb called a "birthing matrix". Any attempt to contact other worlds was forbidden, and the planetary government maintained an isolationist stance, forbidding space exploration of any kind.

It was into this world that the young scientist Jor-El was born. By his adult years, the mysterious "Green Plague" was killing Kryptonians by the hundreds, and upon researching the matter, Jor-El discovered that the cause was growing radiation produced by Krypton's increasingly unstable core. Due to this process, the entire planet itself was going to explode.

Unable to convince his associates to abandon tradition and consider escape, and reasoning that modern Kryptonian society had grown cold, unfeeling and thus decadent Jor-El removed the Eradicator's planetary binding genes from his genetic pattern, took the birthing matrix of his unborn son Kal-El and attached a prototype interstellar propulsion system to the vessel. Just as the planet began to shake apart, he launched the matrix towards Earth, where it would open and give birth to the infant upon landing (the post-Crisis Superman therefore was considered to be technically "born" on Earth). Jor-El was not only determined that his son would survive the death of his birthworld, but that he would grow up on a world that vibrantly embraced living, as his pre-Clone Wars forbears once did.

The Last Son of Krypton
A central theme of this version of the Superman mythos was that the character was to remain the last surviving remnant of Krypton. Thus, Silver Age elements such as Supergirl, Krypto, and Kandor had never existed in this version (though post-Crisis versions of these elements were eventually reintroduced).

The super-villain Doomsday was revealed in the 1990s as a being genetically engineered by Bertron, an alien scientist, on an ancient Krypton. Doomsday left the planet after killing Bertron, and Krypton's natives found the remains of Bertron's lab, obtaining this way the knowledge of cloning.

In the newer continuity, Superman also only became aware of his alien heritage sometime after his debut as a superhero, when a holographic program encoded into the craft which brought him to Earth uploaded the information into his brain.

Revisiting Krypton
In a 1988 storyline, Superman traveled to the former site of Krypton to discover that the planet was slowly reforming from the vast sphere of debris remaining. However, it would take millions of years before the planet would be solid again. This sphere of debris had been turned to Kryptonite by the planet's destruction, and the radiation causes Superman to have a hallucination concerning an alternate scenario in which the entire population of Krypton comes to Earth.

In a 1999 Starman storyline, Jack Knight became lost in time and space, landed on Krypton several years before its destruction, and met Jor-El as a young man. The story boldly implies that it was this early meeting with a Terran that led Jor-El to study other worlds, and eventually choose Earth as the target for his son's spacecraft; at the story's end, Jack gives Jor-El a device with the coordinates and images of Earth.

In a 2001–2002 storyline, an artificial version of the pre-Crisis Krypton was created in the Phantom Zone by Brainiac-13, a descendant of the original Brainiac who had traveled back in time to the present. It was stated to have been based on Jor-El's favorite Kryptonian historical period.

Superman: Birthright

In the 2004 mini-series Superman: Birthright, a new retelling of Superman's origin and early years, Mark Waid depicted a Krypton, officially stated as being located in the Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light-years away, with elements of various versions of the planet, but closer to the pre-Crisis version. Although usually depicted as a Red giant or Red supergiant, in this story Rao is mentioned by Jor-El to be a Red dwarf.

Waid also made use of Superman's "S"-shield in his version of Krypton. While in previous comic versions of the mythos, it was assumed the "S" simply stood for "Superman"; in Birthright, Waid presented the symbol as a Kryptonian symbol of hope (borrowing and modifying a concept from Superman: The Movie, where the "S" represented the House of El, Superman's ancestral family).

The series reversed many of John Byrne's decisions from The Man of Steel to reflect the more Silver Age-oriented version of Superman, similar to the Smallville television series and Superman movies.

Post-Birthright Revisions

Beginning with Infinite Crisis Geoff Johns began laying subtle hints to a new origin for Superman. "Last Son", a storyline co-written by Geoff Johns and Superman director Richard Donner further delves into this version of Krypton which reintroduces General Zod and the Phantom Zone criminals into mainstream continuity. With art by Adam Kubert, the design of Kryptonian society is distinct yet again from Birthright, incorporating elements of both pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity and Donner's work on the first two Christopher Reeve films, in particular the notion of Krypton's Council threatening Jor-El with harsh punishment were he to make public his predictions of their planet's imminent doom. Whether this further revision of continuity has an in-universe rationale is as yet unknown, but it may stem from continuity changes wrought by the reality-fracturing conclusion of Infinite Crisis.

Krypton's revisions

Krypton and its history has been altered to a great extent from its previous versions. In the post-Crisis Krypton, sexual reproduction was considered obscene, and thus, all children were conceived in birthing matrices. After Infinite Crisis this was taken out of Kryptonian culture. Also in post-Crisis Krypton, this planet was located in a far away solar system within the Milky Way galaxy. But after Superman: Birthright it was suggested that the planet Krypton was from an entirely different galaxy. In current continuity however, Kypton has been revised back to its previous position and is confirmed to be in the sector of space that borders Earth's. The Green Lanterns have dubbed Kypton's sector of space 2813 (Earth's being 2814) and was under the protection of Green Lantern Tomar-Re when it was destroyed. Another element to the previous version of Krypton was that all Kryptonians were unable to leave their planet or they would die instantly. This was a result of the Eradicator altering the genetic codes of Kryptonians to keep them planet-bound after a group of them left Krypton to explore and colonize other planets. The Eradicator punished these Kryptonians by altering their genetic codes to be vulnerable to lead, which resulted in the Daxamites. Originally, Jor-El had a serum that he invented that would allow a Kryptonian to leave the planet safely; which he gave to his son Kal-El upon leaving for Earth. This was created to maintain the rule of Superman being the only Kryptonian survivor which was the theme of the post-Crisis Superman mythos. This was reversed after 2003 when it was revealed that Superboy (Conner Kent) was half Kryptonian and then in 2004 when Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) arrived on Earth. The Eradicator did not place the planet-bound restrictions on the Krypton of the current DC universe but it still seems to be responsible for the Daxamites' lead vulnerability. The Krypton of the current continuity was at one time an expanding empire that conquered other planets for years but was dismantled after the Kryptonian high council decided that their methods were too aggressive. The city of Kandor had a lunar city named after the planet bound city and when the lunar colony was destroyed, Brainiac kidnapped the real Kandor. Other multi-ethnic versions of Kryptonians that resemble African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics also make an appearance in current continuity. Though previously, "black" Kryptonians were mainly confined within the Kryptonian continent of Vathlo island. In the New Earth continuity "black" Kryptonians are more integrated into Kryptonian society than they were in the silver and pre-modern age DC universe. The other racially diverse people of Kypton came from a contient called Twenx. The various silver age versions of Kryptonite have also come back into continuity as they were reduced to only green kryptonite in the post-Crisis universe.

Krypton in other media

Radio

The first non-comics version of Krypton was presented in the debut storyline of the 1940s Superman radio series. In the radio show, Krypton was part of our Solar System, a Counter-Earth sharing Earth's orbit but on the opposite side of the Sun, hidden from view of the Earth ("Krypton" derives from the Greek word for "hidden").

Animation

  • Krypton was very briefly depicted in the first Fleischer Studios-produced Superman cartoon in the early 1940s as "a planet that burned like a green star in the distant heavens [and where] civilization was far advanced and it brought forth a race of Supermen whose mental and physical powers were developed to the absolute peak of human perfection," implying that all Kryptonians had Superman's abilities even on their own planet. The planet is seen only from a distance, just before its explosion.
  • Depictions of Krypton on both The New Adventures of Superman and Super Friends are generally similar to those of the pre-Crisis comic books.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, "The Last Son of Krypton", the first part of a three-part pilot episode, depicts Krypton as being basically similar to the pre-Crisis version (it was scientifically advanced, Kal-El appeared to be about one to two years old as in the Silver Age comics, there are depictions of peculiar animals) although with elements of the John Byrne version (such as the appearance of the characters' wardrobe). Krypton's climate is shown to have both temperate and Arctic conditions. According to commentary on the DVD collection for the show's first season, part of Krypton's appearance was influenced by the artistic style of Americanmarker comic book artist Jack Kirby.
    • This version depicted the villain Brainiac as responsible for the destruction of Krypton's people. Brainiac as well as Jor-El discovered that the planet would explode after several weeks of earthquakes. Brainiac knew that if the Kryptonian elders learned of it, Brainiac would be tasked with formulating an evacuation plan. This would leave Brainiac with no time to escape itself, so it told the elders that Jor-El was mistaken and that the earthquakes were the result of a polar shift and secretly downloaded itself and all of Krypton's culture and knowledge onto a satellite.
    • Krypton had a "sister planet" named Argo, colonized by people of Kryptonian descent. On a journey into space, Superman found that the explosion of Krypton pushed the planet from its orbit away from its sun, making the planet gradually become colder. Its people went into cryostasis to survive, but an accident left Supergirl the only survivor. Another notable Zod was also an Argonian war criminal who was banished to the Phantom Zone.
  • In the Legion of Super Heroes animated series, Krypton is shown in a flashback during the episode "Message in a Bottle". Here, Jor-El actually managed to find a way to save the planet with his creation, the crystal-creating "Messenger". The Messenger was kept in the city of Kandor, until the city was shrunk and stolen by Brainiac, causing the planet's destruction. At the end of the episode, the Messenger is used to restore Krypton from its remains, and Kandor is restored to its full size so its people can begin life anew.


Superman: The Movie

With the release of the first feature-length Superman movie in 1978, a vastly less idyllic image of Krypton, compared to the previous comics' versions, was presented. Whereas in the comics, Krypton was colorful and bright, in Superman, the planet was envisioned as having stark white terrain of jagged frozen plateaus, stretching broadly under heavy, dark skies (becoming redder as their sun grew toward becoming supernova), prompting Jor-El to attempt to persuade the immediate evacuation of the entire planet to the council of elders, to avoid perishing in the cataclysm, to no avail.

Kryptonians themselves were portrayed as being a coolly cerebral society, clad in stark white body-suits emblazoned with the standard of each family's house symbol, and treading through halls of antiseptic, white crystal under crystalline arches. The crystalline motif was employed not only in the architecture, but in the landscape and technology as well, suggesting that the entire planet had been adapted and altered by Kryptonian influence. Krypton was ultimately destroyed when its red sun began to collapse; the planet was pulled into the sun and steadily crushed, then exploded in the ensuing supernova. Krypton is mentioned in deleted scenes to be located in the(fictional) "Xeno Galaxy" and Jor-El's recordings say that Kal-El will pass through six galaxies during his voyage to Earth. This could either mean Krypton is millions of lightyears away, well past the Andromeda Galaxy(making it the most remote of its various locations in any Superman story to date), or located in one of the dwarf galaxies closer to the Milky Way in the Local Group.

This version of Krypton was to have a strong influence on John Byrne's 1986 re-imagining of the world. However, the film's Krypton was still presented as having a society "better" than Earth's, unlike the Krypton that Byrne envisioned. For example, there was no death penalty on Krypton because almost all criminals were rehabilitated (the ones that were not or were beyond rehabilitation such as General Zod were banished to the Phantom Zone). Superman himself thought very highly of the planet and was proud to have come from there . Also, in this version of the story, both Jor-El and Lara preserve some part of their essence in the starship that brings their child to Earth, so that on Clark Kent's eighteenth birthday, Jor-El appears to him within the Fortress of Solitude and initiates twelve years of Kryptonian education for the youth, and both remain as constructs within the Fortress until it is ransacked by Lex Luthor (see below).

The origin of Superman's symbol is given a Kryptonian origin in the film (as Smallville and Mark Waid's Superman: Birthright would years later). Male Kryptonians are shown wearing unique symbols on the chests of their robes, similar to a family crest; Jor-El and Kal-El after him wear the familiar S-shield, which Lois Lane later assumes to be the letter S from the familiar Latin alphabet, and thus dubs him Superman.

The idea for Jor-El to have the symbol was suggested by actor Marlon Brando , who portrayed Jor-El in the movie, and eventually was retconned into the comics continuity as being the crest of the House of El, which both Superman and Kara Zor-El are part of. In more recent years it has been adapted by comics writers to be an actual grapheme of Kryptonian orthography, with the standard version of the shield meaning hope, and the inverted (upside-down) version meaning resurrection.In the 2008 Kevin Anderson novel The Last Days of Krypton, the El family crest is suggested to symbolize the serpent of deception imprisoned in a diamond-hard crystal of truth.

Television

In the pilot episode of the 1950s television program Adventures of Superman Jor-El, portrayed by Robert Rockwell, was Krypton's leading scientist, who tried to warn the ruling council of Krypton's demise.

The version of Krypton used on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was somewhat similar to the version in Superman The Movie. Though they possessed highly advanced technology, this version's Kryptonians were involved in nobility, and spoke telepathically sporadically.

The television series Smallville presents a version of Krypton that borrows elements from the 1978 movie version of the planet combined with elements of John Byrne's Post-Crisis version of the planet and culture.

Superman Returns

The 2006 movie Superman Returns presents a version of Krypton almost identical to Superman (since Superman Returns is more or less set in the same continuity as Superman The Movie.) In the beginning of the film, scientists discover remains of Krypton, and Superman leaves Earth for five years to look for it. His ship is seen leaving the dead planet. In the shooting script for the film (under the production title "Red Son"), Lex Luthor reveals to a weakened Superman that his henchman actually set Superman up to believe that Krypton still existed by sending false signals.

During the beginning, we see the city where Kal-El was born (including the famous white dome that housed the trial of General Zod, Ursa, and Non), then as to replicate the lift-off, other cities can be seen on the night side and then finally the planet's destruction by a supernova of its red supergiant sun Rao.

Superman Returns extends the crystalline Kryptonian technology from Superman which allowed young Clark Kent to "grow" the Fortress of Solitude. In the new movie, Kryptonian crystals are able to grow huge land masses and incorporate the properties of the surrounding environment; a sliver taken from of one of the crystals used to test the theory causes Lex Luthor's basement to be filled with a huge crystal structure. Growing land in this manner causes widespread power failure in the vicinity, inadvertently causing the emergency involving a space-shuttle and an airliner which acts as Superman's triumphant return. When he later returns to the Fortress of Solitude to find that the crystals that powered it have been stolen, Superman is visibly enraged. Lex Luthor later combines one of the crystals with kryptonite and shoots it into the ocean, creating what he calls "New Krypton". After being stabbed and falling into the sea, Superman uses his heat vision to get under the crust of the island and he then throws it into space, nearly killing himself in the process.

The novelization by Marv Wolfman further expands on the "S" as well, stating that one of Superman's ancestors helped civilize Krypton long ago, and the crest was considered one of the three most respected icons in Kryptonian culture.

Novelization

Novelist Kevin J. Anderson presents approximately the last Earth year before Krypton's destruction in the novel The Last Days of Krypton. Depictions of the planet's society and culture loosely resemble elements from the motion picture Superman, television series Smallville, and the post-Infinite Crisis interpretations, although numerous similarities to Silver Age depictions of Krypton are also apparent.

Last Son of Krypton

The 1978 novel Last Son of Krypton by Elliot S! Maggin contains descriptions of Krypton, mainly referencing the Silver Age version; it describes the planet as a "failed star" with massive surface gravity and extremely hostile, glaciated conditions, which forced extreme adaptation and rapid evolution in the descendants of humanoid space travelers (and their dogs) who became stranded on its surface in prehistory. This led to an extremely strong, dense, and durable Kryptonian species with unusual physical properties. Maggin describes the rise of a civilization which uses geothermal heat as its primary power source, developing science and technology, but finding it difficult to escape the massive world's gravity. Eventually its internal nuclear reactions led to Krypton's explosion.

Cultural references

  • A planet generally assumed to be Krypton is featured in the Getting Into You music video created by Burning Vision Entertainment.
  • In issue #22 of Futurama Comics, in the last panels, Jor-El is seen warning the science council that Krypton is about to explode. The reason they ignore him is because their "Bender-brand Planetary Destruction Detector" would let them know an hour in advance. It goes off one minute after the planet blows up.
  • In the 2007 game, Sam and Max Season One, the fourth episode "Abe Lincoln Must Die"; Max mentions to destroy Krypton with a missile homing beacon at the White House's Presidential War Room after being sent to the Phantom Zone. After deploying the missile, the screen reads "reaches in 26 million years", and Max says "Aw."
  • In the DC Universe, a chain of theme restaurants based around superheroes called "Planet Krypton" (presumably a play on Planet Hollywood) appears in the Kingdom Come limited series. Later, it is established in the present-day DCU continuity, as a venture started by Booster Gold. The restaurant's rooftop emblem is a green planet with large fragments extended as if exploding from it, similar to Planet Hollywood's iconic globe.
  • At the October 16, 2008 Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama joked that he was from Krypton, saying "Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the planet Earth."


See also



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