Superman No. 338 Cover by Andru & Giordano

March 5, 2022|In General

As a part of the mythos of Superman’s world, the city of Kandor had been stolen from Krypton by the android Brainiac and in the process it was shrunken and put into a glass bottle as part of his collection preserving civilizations that would be otherwise lost. Years later, Superman encounters Brainiac and steals back Kandor, vowing to one day return the city to its normal size. Until then, it sat on a shelf in his Fortress of Solitude like a futuristic ant farm.

Over the years, Superman and other cast members are shrunken and visit the inhabitants of Kandor. By the end of the 70s, the quaintness of a Kryptonian city Superman could go to any time he wanted to had played itself out and seemed to be part of a more innocent time. ‘Serious’ fans and pros alike thought it made Superman less unique as he had, ostensibly, been at one point the last son of Krypton. The sole survivor.

This issue contained the tale “Let My People Grow!”, written by Len Wein and drawn by Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte. It brought Kandor to its conclusion in the pre-Crisis DC universe. It would return eventually, but not in quite the same way. Less fanciful, more self-conscious, more serious.

In The Krypton Companion by Michael Eury, TwoMorrows Publishing, 2006, Len Wein was interviewed:

“Although I like the ending of the story, I’m sorry I did the story. I don’t think that any of us realized at the time that what was old to us was new to somebody just coming in… I came at Kandor thinking: ‘I’m so tired of this. It’s been 20 years, 30 years, of that stupid city’. So I came up with a story I thought might have some emotional impact… I regret that, because the idea of a bottle city of tiny people is a much cooler idea than what I left it as.”

In many ways if current management for DC (or Marvel for that matter) realised there are a great number of readers and potential readers that are not lifelong fans that have become jaded like Wein was in 1979, I think the publishing part of comics would be quite different than where we’ve ended up.

New colour by myself on the dramatic cover drawn by Ross Andru & Dick Giordano. For those looking for a good collection of classic Kandor stories, there’s Superman: The Bottle City of Kandor, a trade paperback from 2007.

Superman 338 published by DC Comics

As published.

Comic book art reconstruction by Scott Dutton

With no lineart to be found, it was extracted from the published cover and made production ready with a whole lot of retouching.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

New colour.

Comic book design and packaging by Scott Dutton

Re-created trade dress added.