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NOR-KAN (or Nor-Kann; Nor Kann)

The elderly Kandorian scientist, once a close friend of Superman’s parents, Jor-El and Lara, who befriends Superman and Jimmy Olsen during their visit to Kandor in January 1963. Once a colleague of Jor-El on the doomed planet Krypton, Nor-Kan happened to be visiting Kandor when it was stolen by Brainiac and hence escaped the cataclysm that soon afterward destroyed his native planet. Dwelling in a stately “suburban mansion” on the outskirts of Kandor, Nor-Kan carries on his scientific work in a “secret underground lab” constructed beneath his house. Inside his home, he has placed a pair of lifelike “photo-statues” of Jor-El and Lara, so as, in his words, “never to forget our friendship!” It is a pair of Kandorian birds, a “nightwing” and a “flamebird”, owned by Nor-Kan that inspires Superman and Jimmy Olsen to adopt the alternate identities of Nightwing and Flamebird and to fashion a pair of colorful costumes evocative of their plumage. With Nor-Kan’s blessing, the hidden laboratory beneath his house becomes their secret subterranean headquarters—the so-called “night-cave” or “nightcave” and his automobile is converted into their specially equipped “nightmobile” (S No. 158: “Superman in Kandor” pts. I-III—”Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!”; “The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!”; “The City of Super-People!”).

For almost two years Nor-Kan serves as Superman’s faithful friend and Kandorian ally, only to succumb to “a fatal dose of radiation” in October 1964 while experimenting with the rare radioactive element Illium-349 (Act No. 317: “Superman’s Rainbow Face!”).

In January 1963, Nor-Kan meets Superman for the first time and becomes the Man of Steel’s ally in the struggle to prevent the “fanatic scientist” Than Ol from bringing doomsday to the entire city of Kandor (S No. 158: “Superman in Kandor” pts. I-III “Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!”; “The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!”; “The City of Super-People!”).

In February 1964, when Brainiac is brought to trial in Kandor on the charge of having shrunk and stolen the city prior to the explosion of Krypton, Nor-Kan is chosen to prosecute the case on behalf of the Kandorian people. Nor-Kan’s eloquence wins a swift conviction, but the Kandorians are ultimately compelled to let Brainiac go free in order to save the life of Superman (S No. 167: “The Team of Luthor and Brainiac!” pts. I-III—”The Deadly Duo!”; “The Downfall of Superman!”; “The Hour of Kandor’s Vengeance!”). (See Lex Luthor)

In August 1964, Nor-Kan renews his friendship with Superman when the Man of Steel returns to Kandor to battle a “metalloid” menace there (WF No. 143: “The Feud Between Batman and Superman!” pts. I-II—no title; “The Manhunters from Earth!”). (See Than-Ar)

In October 1964, after Superman has been deprived of his super-powers by the baleful radiations of a mysterious green comet, it is Nor-Kan who advises Ar-Val of the “terrible” method that might be used to “undo the comet’s effects,” but only at the cost of Ar-Val’s own life (S No. 172: pts. I-III—”The New Superman!”; “Clark Kent—Former Superman!”; “The Struggle of the Two Supermen!”).

Soon afterward, Nor-Kan is struck in the brain and killed by “a fatal dose of radiation” while experimenting with the rare radioactive element illium-349 in hopes of finding a way to use the substance to power an “enlarger ray” with which to restore Kandor to normal size. Following Nor-Kan’s death, a solemn funeral procession is held for him in Kandor, and a memorial tablet, bearing this inscription, is erected in his honor: “In memory of Nor-Kan, who gave his life attempting to find a safe enlarging ray so that Kandor, in normal size, could become a city of Earth!” (Act No. 317, Oct 1964: “Superman’s Rainbow Face!”). (TGSB)

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