Kryptonite was the name coined by Emil Hamilton for radioactive fragments of the destroyed planet Krypton. This substance had immediate detrimental effects on Kryptonians and Argosians, as well as long term effects on humans.
When Krypton exploded, its fragments flew into space in every direction, with several fragments following Kal-El's spacecraft to Earth.
The existence of Kryptonite was first discovered shortly after Superman's first public appearance in Metropolis. Early tests were conducted by LexCorp scientists, and further tests by Professor Hamilton, who theorized that the low-level radiation generated by the element was a result of the explosion that destroyed Krypton. Fragments found on Earth varied in size from small slivers to pieces several feet across.
Kryptonite's most noteworthy effect was that it could sap the strength of super-powered Kryptonians. Prolonged exposure to its radiation could quickly lead to death. Kryptonite was also painful to the touch for Kryptonians, and it was the only known non-magical substance that could pierce Superman's normally invulnerable skin. (Read more...)
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