365 Reasons to Love Comics #272

Our own Greg Hatcher stops by to share one of his favorite things from the Silver Age of comics. (Archive.)


272. The Bottle City of Kandor

Greg had this to say:

The bottle city of Kandor's just an awesome concept and it led to some of the best Super stories in the Weisinger era. It was every kid's ultimate ant farm fantasy, combined with the techno-coolness of every kid's ultimate electric model train fantasy. Any ten-year-old boy who had matchbox cars or toy soldiers was instantly in love with the coolness of Kandor. (In fact-- embarrassing childhood confession -- I jiggered my own version of Kandor together with Hot Wheels cars and track and electric-train buildings when I was a little kid, and then imagined that my G.I Joe shrank down to a plastic army man to visit the other tiny soldiers that lived in the little mini-city driving Hot Wheels.)

And it is, I believe, unique to comics. Certainly the stories of Kandor were instrumental in forming MY love for comics. Especially anything from Edmond Hamilton and Curt Swan: Nightwing and Flamebird, the Superman Emergency Squad, all sorts of different angles on a kid's dream of being really tiny for a little while and discovering the wilderness lurking in one's terrarium. There's a new Best-of-Kandor trade paperback collection (seen above) that's well worth checking out if you are in the mood to channel your inner eleven year old, and even one of those overpriced collector-sculpture things. The only one I've ever been tempted to actually purchase, in fact. The thought of having one's own bottle city to daydream about is really tempting, even today. If the city model inside had been a little more intricate I might have gone for it. But it wasn't detailed enough to work up a good daydream. The stories always are, though.

Bill had this to say:

Thanks, Greg. As a fan of the Silver Age myself, I love the wonderful science fantasy of Kandor, even if it did utterly destroy Superman's "last son of Krypton" status. The Weisinger era was filled with great little ideas like Kandor, and they got some neat use out of it, especially with Nightwing and Flamebird (and the Superman/Jimmy version of the duo is the only cool one!).

Kandor's gone through a lot of strange permutations over the years, however. Superman did eventually restore it to normal size, and the people moved off onto their own planet; after that, different aliens set up shop in the bottle city. Post-Crisis, in order to keep Superman as the only Kryptonian, Kandor became a weird prison city filled with members of various alien species kept under a weird extra-dimensional barrier. My favorite denizen of that time was Ceritak, a.k.a. Scorn, the big blue horned guy who escaped the bottle and became an adventurer in Metropolis. Of course, he ended up in comic book limbo once Jurgens and company left the Super-titles.

These days, what with continuity being revamped and rebooted every other week, I have no idea what Kandor's current status is. I, and many others, I'm sure, will choose to remember it in its original incarnation: the little piece of Krypton whose unfortunate condition stymied even the Man of Steel. Darn that Brainiac.

Supermanica brings us more on Kandor.

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