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Gold Kryptonite.

Gold K was introduced in Adventure #299's "The Unwanted Superbaby."  Superman himself, in Action #500, calls Gold K "the deadliest of all" which is probably an unconscious commentary on how necessary his powers are to his self-image.  You'd think that Green K, which is 100% fatal, would be considered the deadly one, hmm?

For, as Action #297 lettercol states, Gold K does simply this to Kryptonians:  "It removes their super-powers permanently!"

In many Imaginary Tales it has been speculated that the offspring of a Kryptonian-Terran marriage would inherit the dominant genes for super-powers.  But not where Gold K is concerned!  In Superman #179, we learn that the Gold K-induced loss of super-powers would be passed down even to the children of a full-blooded Kryptonian couple.  Just don't tell Alan Moore ... he didn't know any better when he wrote "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?"

World's Finest #159 informs us that "Gold K is only effective within a two-foot radius."  The lettercol of Jimmy Olsen #96 says the only way to tell Gold K from real, Earth gold is that Gold K crackles and pops.  This sparked a reader to inquire, in Jimmy Olsen #98, "What's it made of, Kryptonian Rice Krispies?"  To which the reply was, "No!  If it were, it would also snap!"  There, ladies and gentlemen, is the kind of thinking that shaped the development of my sense of humor.

Superman #157 tells the tale of Quex-Ul, a Phantom Zone prisoner who is innocent.  In revenge for his imprisonment, he sets a Gold K trap for Superman, but suffers a change of heart just in time to take the Man of Steel's place.  Somehow this wipes Quex-Ul's memory along with his powers, and a grateful Superman helps the renamed Charlie Kweskill get a job on the Daily Planet's paste-up staff.

Gold K also features prominently in Supergirl's Black Flame saga.  Black Flame, actually an evil Kandorian scientist named Zora, leaves the little city and uses Red K to temporarily grow to normal size.  Then, through an elaborate hoax, she convinces Supergirl that she, Black Flame, is Kara's criminal descendant from the future.  This makes the Maid of Might resolve to expose herself to Gold K to prevent the super-criminal career of her supposed descendant.  But the tables are turned and soon Zora is the one who loses her powers before being returned to Kandor in Action #304.

Zora returns in World's Finest #169, after perfecting a serum to restore her super-powers.  "The super-serum didn't make me as invulnerable as Supergirl, but now I will be immune to Kryptonite!"  As the story stands, the reader isn't told whether Zora's serum is a cure for Gold K effects, or something very different -- a serum to give normal folks super-powers.

The final appearance of Gold K in the chronicles is in Action #583, when, to atone for taking a life, Superman purposefully enters his Fortress's Gold K Sample Storage Chamber before forever vanishing from Earth.


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