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Red Kryptonite was a variant of Kryptonite which temporarily affected Kryptonians in strange and unpredictable ways.
Red Kryptonite was once Green Kryptonite that passed through a mysterious red-hued cloud en route to Earth. Red Kryptonite inflicts random effects on Kryptonians, typically creating an initial "tingling effect" in those affected. No two chunks of Red Kryptonite have the same effect. Red Kryptonite effects typically last for 24-48 hours (though sometimes as long as 72), after which the Kryptonian in question was (in theory) always immune to that specific chunk of Red Kryptonite. Superman has suffered the following effects upon exposure to various pieces of Red Kryptonite:
- Transformed into a dragon
- Became evil
- Transformed into a non-powered giant
- Transformed into a dwarf
- Transformed into an ant-headed humanoid
- Transformed into a lunatic
- Rendered amnesiac
- Rendered temporarily blind to anything colored green
- Excessive hair growth
- Loss of power
- Gained telepathy
- Lost his invulnerability along the left side of his body
- Generated an evil doppelganger (also used in the movie Superman III)
- Unable to speak or write anything but Kryptonese
- Growth of extra limbs
- Loss of balance and manual dexterity
- Mental transference
- Rapid aging
- Personality alteration
= The Time Trapper's Pocket Universe had Red Kryptonite but even though his Earth was supposed to be similar to Earth-One all Kryptonite there were compounds rather then being variants of a transuranic element as they had been on Earth-One.
- In Post-Crisis continuity, Red Kryptonite appeared as a Silver Age's recreation by Dominus. Under those effects, Superman's head grew up to the point where Clark had to hide his problem with a big hat.
- A second variety was later revealed as a synthetic variant created by Ra's al Ghul, using notes that he had stolen from Batman. That Red K was said to have had an accelerated half-life (which caused the color change) and caused Superman's skin to become translucent, meaning he had nothing regulating the intense sunlight he was absorbing. Thus, all of Superman's powers were increasing so much that he was all but helpless.
- In Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman television series, Red Kryptonite either caused Superman to become apathetic, transferred his powers to another person through physical contact when used as a laser beam source, or caused his powers to become uncontrollable.
- The artificial Red Kryptonite created by Luthor through radioactive manipulation of Green causes wild mutations in Kryptonian DNA by scrambling the natural replication in the cells that can result in extreme changes in the exposed person's body and structure and vary widely with very fast results.
- On the TV series, Superboy, exposure to Red Kryptonite caused Superboy to turn evil. A second exposure to it restored Superboy's natural personality.
- On the TV series, Smallville, Red Kryptonite causes severe changes in Clark Kent's personality, becoming rebellious, unpredictable and acting purely on erotic and selfish emotions (effectively, he loses all inhibitions). In this form, he normally wears a leather jacket and rides around on a motorcycle.
- On the TV series, Supergirl, exposure to Red Kryptonite caused Supergirl to turn evil. A cure was created to restore her to her natural personality.
- On the TV series, Krypto the Superdog, Red Kryptonite caused Krypto's tail to gain sentience and separate from his body.
- In the first comic appearance of Kryptonite, the Kryptonite seen was red, but had the properties of green k.
- Despite being red, it should not be confused with Krimson Kryptonite, an artificial - not radioactive - rock created by Mister Mxyzptlk.