The capital city of the planet Krypton, which 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 alive and buildings intact, inside a glass bottle aboard his spacecraft, where it remained for many years until it was finally recovered by Superman in July 1958 and placed for safekeeping inside his Fortress of Solitude (Act No. 242: "The Super-Duel in Space"; and others).
Inside the bottle city, life goes on much as it did prior to the destruction of Krypton (Act No. 245, Oct 1958: "The Shrinking Superman!"; and others), yet 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 (S No. 158, Jan 1963: "Superman in Kandor" pts. I-III—"Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!"; "The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!"; "The City of Super-People!"; and others).
Nestled securely on a niche inside the Fortress of Solitude (Act No. 261/1, Feb 1960: "Superman's Fortresses of Solitude!"), the bottle city of Kandor is "the most amazing exhibit in [Superman's] Fortress" (Act No. 243, Aug 1958: "The Lady and the Lion") and "the prize of [his] collection" of curiosities and artifacts from throughout the universe (Act No. 253/1, Jun 1959: "The War Between Superman and Jimmy Olsen!").
Although it is referred to as Krypton City in World's Finest Comics No. 100 (Mar 1959: "The Dictator of Krypton City!") and as Kandor City in Action Comics No. 261/1 (Feb 1960: "Superman's Fortresses of Solitude!"), it is referred to as Kandor in every other text that mentions it by name (Act No. 242: "The Super-Duel in Space"; and many others) and remains "the only surviving city" of the lost planet Krypton (S No. 158, Jan 1963: "Superman in Kandor" pts. I-III—"Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!"; "The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!"; "The City of Super-People!"). Its population as of July 1958 was approximately 1,000,000 (Act No. 242: "The Super-Duel in Space").
According to Superman No. 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 (Jan 1963: "Superman in Kandor" pts. I-III—"Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!"; "The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!"; "The City of Super-People!").
Although the texts seem agreed, however, that the theft of Kandor occurred "years before" Krypton exploded (Act No. 243, Aug 1958: "The Lady and the Lion"), it is not possible to pinpoint the date of the theft with any real accuracy, though it appears to have occurred either shortly before (S No. 170/2, Jul 1964: pts. I-II—"If Lex Luthor Were Superman's Father!"; "The Wedding of Lara and Luthor!") or after (S No. 141, Nov 1960: "Superman's Return to Krypton!" pts. I-III—"Superman Meets Jor-El and Lara Again!"; "Superman's Kryptonian Romance!"; "The Surprise of Fate!") the wedding of Jor-El and Lara. To this day, 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 (S No. 167, Feb 1964: "The Team of Luthor and Brainiac!" pts. I-III—"The Deadly Duo!"; "The Downfall of Superman!"; "The Hour of Kandor's Vengeance!").
Indeed, although 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 or on some distant planet (S No. 158, Jan 1963: "Superman in Kandor" pts. I-III—"Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!"; "The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!"; "The City of Super-People!"), the prospects for the successful enlargement of Kandor remain, at best, uncertain. Action Comics No. 245, for example, observes that "Some day Superman hopes to find a way to enlarge [the Kandorians] to normal size" (Oct 1958: "The Shrinking Superman!"), and indeed, this sentiment is echoed in a number of other texts (Act No. 276/1, May 1961: "The War Between Supergirl and the Superman Emergency Squad!"; and others). In Action Comics No. 253/1, however, Superman concedes that "I know of no way the restore [the Kandorians] to their normal size" (Jun 1959: "The War Between Superman and Jimmy Olsen!"), and in Action Comics No. 243 goes one step further remarking that Kandor "can never be restored to normal size!" (Aug 1958: "The Lady and the Lion"). By and large, however, the long term outlook seems optimistic. Although Superman has not yet succeeded, despite years of effort, in finding a way to enlarge the city safely (S No. 158, Jan 1963: "Superman in Kandor" pts. I-III—"Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!"; "The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!"; "The City of Super-People!"; and others), there are substantial indications that an enlarging device powerful enough to restore Kandor to normal size could be constructed if only the rare element or elements needed to power such a device could be accumulated in sufficient quantity (Act No. 280/1, Sep 1961: "Brainiac's Super-Revenge!"; see also S No. 167, Feb 1964: "The Team of Luthor and Brainiac!" pts. I-III—"The Deadly Duo!"; "The Downfall of Superman!"; "The Hour of Kandor's Vengeance!"; and others). Indeed, one text flatly states that Kandor will one day be enlarged to normal size, but only in the distant future (Act No. 300/1, May 1963: "Superman Under the Red Sun!").
The texts are also somewhat vague concerning the exact size to which Brainiac shrank the Kandorians and their city. Numerous texts describe him as having reduced the city to "microscopic size" (Act No. 253/1, Jun 1959: "The War Between Superman and Jimmy Olsen!"; and others), yet the city's larger buildings are plainly visible to the naked eye through the thick glass of the bottle, and one text asserts that it is possible to observe Kandorian life through the lens of an ordinary magnifying glass (Act No. 261/1, Feb 1960: "Superman's Fortresses of Solitude!").
Similarly, the people of Kandor are frequently referred to as "tiny" (Act No. 245, Oct 1958: "The Shrinking Superman!"; and others), but it is far more likely that, although the city's larger edifices may be visible to the naked eye, the Kandorians themselves are no larger than microbes (S No. 179/2, Aug 1965: "The Menace of Gold Kryptonite!").
The picturesque city of Kandor sits inside a large "bell-jar" in Superman's Fortress of Solitude (S No. 158, Jan 1963: "Superman in Kandor" pts. I-III—"Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!"; "The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!"; "The City of Super-People!"). According to Superman No. 134, "...Brainiac made the walls [of the bell jar] of super-hard, unbreakable glass." (Jan 1960: chs. I-III—"The Super-Menace of Metropolis!"; "The Revenge Against Jor-El!"; "The Duel of the Supermen!"), but the accuracy of this statement is called into question by an event that occurs in October 1958, when Lois Lane inadvertently bumps into the bottle, knocking it to the floor and causing a hairline crack in the glass (Act No. 245, Oct 1958: "The Shrinking Superman!").
The bottle containing the city is sealed by a large "cork" (S No. 156, Oct 1962: "The Last Days of Superman!" pts. I-III—"Superman's Death Sentence!"; The Super-Comrades of All Time!"; "Superman's Last Day of Life!"; and others), more accurately described as a "super-hard metal stopper" (Act No. 242: "The Super-Duel in Space"; and others). By August 1965 a doorway has been installed in the stopper to facilitate "easier exit from the giant bottle" for members of the Supermen Emergency Squad and other Kandorians (S No. 179/2: "The Menace of Gold Kryptonite!").
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!" (S No. 134: chs. I-III—"The Super-Menace of Metropolis!"; "The Revenge Against Jor-El!"; "The Duel of the Supermen!")
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. "Air has to be pumped in," observes Lois Lane in October 1958, "for the tiny people are still alive and going about their daily business!" (Act No. 245: "The Shrinking Superman!").
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 (Act No. 242: "The Super-Duel in Space"; and others). 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..." (Act No. 282, Nov 1961: "Superman's Toughest Day!").
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" (Act No. 245: "The Shrinking Superman!") almost as though their native planet had never exploded. Kryptonese, the language of Krypton, is still spoken (S No. 158, Jan 1963: "Superman in Kandor" Pts. I-III—"Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!"; "The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!"; "The City of Super-People!"), and Kandorian scientific progress has continued apace despite the limitations imposed by the artificial glass-walled environment. Small rocket ships (Act No. 242: "The Super-Duel in Space"; and others) and individual "jet-powered flying belts" (S No. 172, Oct 1964: pts I-III—"The New Superman!"; "Clark Kent—Former Superman!"; "The Struggle of the Two Supermen!"; and others) fly busy Kandorians about their city, and "tireless robot farmhands raise [their] crops for food" (Act No. 242: "The Super-Duel in Space").
"Sealed in a dark, cold bottle," the Kandorians "created [their] own artificial sun...a flaming fireball crossing over the city regularly on its tracks!" (Act No. 242: "The Super-Duel in Space"). According to Superman No. 158, however, it is an array of ingenious devices called "sun-lamps" that provide Kandor with its warmth and sunlight, the lamps being dimmed each evening to provide the Kandorians with a nightly "sleep period" (Jan 1963: "Superman in Kandor" pts. I-III—"Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!"; "The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!"; "The City of Super-People!").
In laboratories and public squares throughout the city, sophisticated "ultra scanning screens" (S No. 134: chs. I-III—"The Super-Menace of Metropolis!"; "The Revenge Against Jor-El!"; "The Duel of the Supermen!")—referred to also as "Earth viewers" (S No. 144/3, Apr 1961: "The Orphans of Space!"; and others) or "Earth monitor screens" (Act No. 276/1, May 1961: "The War Between Supergirl and the Superman Emergency Squad!")—enable Kandorian observers to "pick up any scene on Earth" (S No. 134: chs. I-III—"The Super-Menace of Metropolis!"; "The Revenge Against Jor-El!"; "The Duel of the Supermen!"), and thereby monitor Superman's actions constantly, both visually and aurally, no matter where on Earth he may be (Act No. 276/1, May 1961: "The War Between Supergirl and the Superman Emergency Squad!"; and others), so that, in the event of an emergency, they can contact the Man of Steel via "super-sonic signal" (Act No. 261/1, Feb 1960: "Superman's Fortresses of Solitude!") or dispatch the Supermen Emergency Squad to his rescue. Indeed, a number of Superman's enemies, aware that his activities are continually monitored by Kandorian observers, have taken the precaution of deliberately jamming the Kandorian monitors to prevent him from being aided by his Kandorian allies (Act No. 295/1, Dec 1962: "Superman Goes Wild!"; and others).
Other achievements of Kandorian science include devices called "mental suggestion helmets," which enable psychiatrists to control and direct the fantasies of their patients and are used in treating the mentally ill (S No. 173/1, Nov 1964: "The 'Untouchable' Clark Kent!"); an ingenious apparatus known as the "psycho-locator," which, through the electronic analysis and long-distance sensing of brain-wave patterns, is capable of locating any selected individual—such as a fugitive criminal—"anywhere in space and time" (S No. 168, Apr 1964: pts. I-II—"Luthor--Super-Hero!"; "Lex Luthor, Daily Planet Editor!"); and a miraculous healing ray invented by the Kandorian scientist Reg-En, which is used to heal Superman's hand in February 1962 after he is badly bitten during a battle with a Kryptonian "flame dragon" (S No. 151/3: "Superman's Greatest Secret!").
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. Later these same forces, activated, in reverse, by means of a console aboard Brainiacâ€™s spacecraft, are used to restore Superman to his normal human size (Act No. 242: â€œThe Super-Duel in Spaceâ€).
By October 1958, the renegade Kandorian scientist Zak-Kul has successfully â€œisolated the rare element, Illium 349, whose rays can change the size of the body,â€ and used it to create an ingenious reducing and enlarging ray which can be used to either shrink or enlarge a person to any chosen size. Superman ultimately defeats the villain and confiscates his sophisticated size-changing apparatus (Act No. 245: â€œThe Shrinking Superman!â€).
By March 1959, the renegade scientist Lex Luthor has devised a set of ingenious belts capable of either reducing or enlarging people or objects. Superman, Batman, and Robin ultimately apprehend Luthor and his henchmen and confiscate their size-changing belts (WF No. 100: â€œThe Dictator of Krypton City!â€).
By June 1959, the Kandorian â€œcriminal scientistâ€ El Gar-Kur has perfected an elaborate body-switching apparatus that enables him to trade places with anyone who happens to be standing outside the bottle, so that the target individual finds himself suddenly reduced in size and trapped inside Kandor, while El Gar Kur is, in the exact same instant, transported outside the bottle city and enlarged to normal human size. Superman defeats El Gar Kur with the aid of Jimmy Olsen, and the villainâ€™s body-switching apparatus is apparently confiscated by the Kandorian authorities (Act No. 253: â€œThe War Between Superman and Jimmy Olsen!â€).
By January 1960, the Kandorian scientist Kull-Ex has devised an ingenious â€œexchange rayâ€ designed to enable him to escape the bottle city while trapping Superman inside Kandor. By beaming â€œa flash of super-energyâ€ at Superman as he stands in his Fortress of Solitude close by the bottle, Kull-Ex is able to reduce the Man of Steel instantaneously to microscopic size and transport him to his laboratory inside Kandor while simultaneously transporting himself outside the bottle and enlarging himself to normal human size. Moreover, because only human bodiesâ€”and not clothingâ€”are affected by the exchange ray, Superman finds himself stranded in Kandor clad in Kull-Exâ€™s clothing, while Kull-Ex finds himself standing in Supermanâ€™s Fortress clad in Supermanâ€™s costume Superman ultimately escapes from Kandor and resolves his differences with Kull-Ex, but because â€œZenium,â€ the extraterrestrial element that powers the exchange ray, is exceedingly rare, it is questionable whether the apparatus can ever be used again (S No. 134: â€The Super- Menace of Metropolis!â€; â€œThe Revenge Against Jor. El!â€; â€œThe Duel of the Supermen!â€).
In February 1962, in an apparent reference either to El Gar Kurâ€™s invention or Kull-Exâ€™s, Superman muses that â€œI can only enter Kandor by having my exchange ray cause me to switch places with a similar-sized Kandorian person or creature.â€ Indeed, when Superman visits Kandor during this period, he arranges to exchange himself for his Kandorian friend Nim-Zee, and then to reverse the exchange once his business in Kandor has been successfully concluded (S No. 151/3: â€œSupermanâ€™s Greatest Secret!â€).
By July 1962, however, the â€œexchange rayâ€ has been superseded by a more technologically advanced device. â€œWelcome to Kandor!â€ greets the Kandorian scientist Lon-Es enthusiastically after he has used the new invention to reduce Supergirl to microscopic size and transport her to his laboratory inside the bottle. â€œYou have been reduced in size and transported here by a new ray weâ€™ve developed which is better than the exchange-ray! Our teleport ray transports one person at a time. . . and it isnâ€™t necessary to exchange a Kandorian for an Earth person during the transference, as before!â€ (S No.154/2: â€œKryptonâ€™s First Superman!â€).
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. (TGSB)
Kandor is the home of the Supermen Emergency Squad, the Look-Alike Squad and crime fighting defenders, Nightwing and Flamebird.
Eventually, the residents of Kandor are finally freed of the bottle city and settle on the distant planet Rokyn (S No. 338, Aug 1979: "Let My People Grow!").
Some time later, a replica of the bottle city in Superman's Fortress becomes home to the tiny yellow-skinned aliens known as the Sh'strians (S No. 370, Apr 1982: "Better Vengeance Through Chemo-stry"; S No. 371/1, May 1982: "Kandor Lives Again").
(See also Kryptonopolis)