"When an atomic explosion destroyed Krypton long ago, chunks of Green Kryptonite were formed and scattered throughout space as meteors! But one flock of these meteors went through a strange cosmic cloud and turned to Red Kryptonite! Ever since then, Red Kryptonite has always had peculiar, unpredictable effects on Superman!"(Act No. 283, Dec 1961: "The Red Kryptonite Menace!").
When the mighty world of Krypton exploded into stardust as the result of a cataclysmic chain reaction originating at the planetâ€™s core, the entire planet was transformed into "green, radioactive fragments, later to be known as kryptonite". In the course of their endless journey through space, however, "one flock of green kryptonite meteorites later passed through a radioactive cosmic cloud to become red kryptonite," a baleful new substance to which Superman and all other surviving natives of Krypton are vulnerable (S No. 146, Jul 1961: "The Story of Supermanâ€™s Life!").
Red Kryptonite is a great deal rarer than Green Kryptonite. Although "everything that existed on Krypton before it exploded is now indestructible", red kryptonite "lost its indestructibility while traveling through that cosmic cloud" and can therefore be broken up into smaller pieces. In addition, "red kryptonite can easily be burned or melted by friction or intense heat!" (Act No. 283, Dec 1961: "The Red Kryptonite Menace!").
It is unclear, however, whether lead shields Red Kryptonite radiations as it does those of Green Kryptonite. Superman No. 139 states flatly that "lead canâ€™t stop red kryptonite rays," but other texts assert just as flatly that Red Kryptonite radiations can be stopped by lead.
For Superman, the first noticeable symptom of Red Kryptonite exposure is a â€œpeculiar tingling sensationâ€ (Act No. 317, Oct 1964: â€œSupermanâ€™s Rainbow Face!â€) â€œthroughout his bodyâ€ which informs him that he has been exposed to the dreaded substance and that it will affect him in some bizarre way almost â€œany secondâ€ (Act No. 283, Dec 1961: â€œThe Red Kryptonite Menace!â€).
Usually, the effects of Red Kryptonite exposure become immediately apparent. Often, however, the Red Kryptonite produces a delayed reaction, so that whatever bizarre symptoms ultimately afflict Superman do not make themselves felt until some time later.
Whatever the effects of Red Kryptonite exposure, they â€œalmost always last 24 hours, at leastâ€ and usually wear off within forty-eight hours. On at least one occasion, however, the effects of exposure to Red Kryptonite persisted for 72 hours (Act No. 293, Oct 1962: â€œThe feud between Superman and Clark Kent!â€) and Superman No. 165 reports the existence of â€œa freak type whichâ€¦ does not wear off for weeks!â€ (S No. 165, Nov 1963: â€œThe Sweetheart that Superman Forgot!â€).
As a general rule, â€œeach strange effect caused by Red Kryptonite can only work once on Superman, after which he gains immunity from it!â€ Once having been transformed into an infant by Red Kryptonite, for example, Superman is unlikely ever to be transformed into an infant again. Clark Kentâ€™s words: â€œâ€¦red k has affected me in many ways! Luckily, the same kind of change canâ€™t work on me twice!â€ (Act No. 325, Jun 1965: â€œThe Skyscraper Superman!â€).
Near duplications of past effects do occur, however. In October 1962, exposure to Red Kryptonite transforms Superman into two separate individuals, a mature responsible Clark Kent and an unprincipled, irresponsible Superman (Act No. 293, Oct 1962: â€œThe Feud Between Superman and Clark Kent!â€). Eighteen months later, in April 1964, Red Kryptonite exposure once again transforms Superman into two separate individuals, but this time both Clark Kent and Superman are heroic and responsible (Act No. 311, Apr 1964: â€œSuperman, King of Earth!â€ and Act No. 312, May 1964: â€œKing Superman versus Clark Kent, Metallo!â€). Moreover, there are other exceptions: In November 1963, for example, Superman is exposed to a â€œfreak typeâ€ of Red Kryptonite, which does afflict him with previously experienced effects (S No. 165, Nov 1963: â€œThe Sweetheart that Superman Forgot!â€).
Even after a given sample of Red Kryptonite has affected Superman once, however, and thereby lost its power ever to affect him again, it is still capable of affecting all other Kryptonian survivors, such as Supergirl, Krypto, Beppo, one time each, although it will always affect them the exactly as it did Superman. If Superman knows, for example, that a given Red Kryptonite sample, one to which he himself has never been exposed, once transformed Supergirl into an infant, then he also knows that exposure to this identical sample will also transform him into an infant and that it will transform Krypto into a puppy (Act No. 284, Jan 1962: â€œThe Babe of Steel!â€).
In a rather odd exception, Batman also gets to feel the effects of Red K in one adventure in September 1962 due to being under the influence of a weird space meteor (WF No. 128: â€œThe Power That Transformed Batman!â€).
A good illustration of this principle in action occurs in March 1962, when after having lured Krypto into a trap and taken him captive, members of the Superman Revenge Squad use him as a sort of super canine guinea pig to enable them to ascertain, in advance, exactly what kinds of bizarre effects the Red Kryptonite sample in their possession will have on Superman (Act No. 286, Mar 1962: â€œThe Jury of Super Enemies!â€).
Because his vulnerability to Red Kryptonite is a constant hazard, Superman has conducted numerous experiments in hopes of immunizing himself against its effects. All of these have been unsuccessful (Act No. 311, Apr 1964: â€œSuperman, King of Earth!â€), but Superman has succeeded in devising a special â€œRed Kryptonite Detectorâ€ to enable him to detect its presence (S No. 154, Jul 1962: â€œKryptonâ€™s First Superman!â€).
Red Kryptonite has been successfully synthesized on several occasions, notably by Professor Benet, a Nobel Prize winning chemist, in August 1962 (Act No. 291, Aug 1962: â€œThe New Superman!â€) and by Lex Luthor in April 1964 (S No. 168, Apr 1964: â€œLuthor â€“ Super-Hero!â€ pts 1-2).
Red Kryptonite effects and transformations
- Red Kryptonite has split Superboy into two distinct undividuals, a heroic Superboy and an evil Clark Kent when he is exposed to it for the first time by the alien known as Kozz from the planet Mars (Adv No. 255, Dec 1958: â€œThe Splitting of Superboyâ€).
- Red Kryptonite has made Supermanâ€™s hair and nails grow uncontrollably (S No. 139, Aug 1960: â€œThe Untold Story of Red Kryptonite!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has endowed Superman with the power of â€œMental Telepathyâ€ (WF No. 115, Feb 1961: â€œThe Curse that Doomed Superman!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has transformed Superman into a terrifying Kryptonian monster known as â€œDrangâ€ (See: Krypton) (Act No. 303, Aug 1963: â€œThe Monster from Krypton!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has caused Superman to experience terrifying nightmares (Act No. 286, Mar 1962: â€œThe Jury of Super Enemies!â€; and others).
- Red Kryptonite has made flames shoot out of Supermanâ€™s mouth and endowed him with the power to make his wishes come true (Act No. 283, Dec 1961: â€œThe Red Kryptonite Menace!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has transformed Superman into an infant with the mind of an adult (Act No. 284, Jan 1962: â€œThe Babe of Steel!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has robbed Superman of his invulnerability along his entire left side of his body (Act No. 290, Jul 1962: â€œHalf a Superman!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has made Superman immune to Green Kryptonite but vulnerable in turn to silver, gold, aluminum, and diamonds (Act No. 291, Aug 1962: â€œThe New Superman!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has transformed Superman into two separate individuals, a mature responsible Clark Kent and an unprincipled, irresponsible Superman (Act No. 293, Oct 1962: â€œThe Feud Between Superman and Clark Kent!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has endowed Superman with the head and antennae of a giant ant (Act No. 296, Jan 1963: â€œThe Invasion of the Super Ants!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has robbed Superman of his invulnerability and super powers (S No. 160, Apr 1963: â€œThe Mortal Superman!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has driven Superman insane for a period of forty-eight hours (S No. 163, Aug 1963: â€œThe Goofy Superman!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has robbed Superman of his super powers and afflicted him with total amnesia (S No. 165, Nov 1963: â€œThe Sweetheart that Superman Forgot!â€).
- Red Kryptonite transformed Superman into two separate individuals, a mature responsible Clark Kent and a heroic Superman (Act No. 311, Apr 1964: â€œSuperman, King of Earth!â€; Act No. 312, May 1964: â€œKing Superman versus Clark Kent, Metallo!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has robbed Superman of all his super powers with the exception of his â€œvarious vision abilitiesâ€ (S No. 168, Apr 1964: â€œLuthor—Super-Hero!â€ pts I-II).
- Red Kryptonite has made Supermanâ€™s face literally change color to reflect his emotions, as when it turns green with envy and blue with grief (Act No. 317, Oct 1964: â€œSupermanâ€™s Rainbow Face!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has made it impossible for Superman to speak or write except in Kryptonese, the language of Krypton (S No. 177, May 1965: â€œSupermanâ€™s Kryptonese Curse!â€).
- Red Kryptonite has transformed Superman into a towering giant, bereft of his super powers (Act No. 325, Jun 1965: â€œThe Skyscraper Superman!â€).