Fortress of Solitude

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The Fortress of Solitude
The Fortress of Solitude is Superman's home away from home. A place where he trains, does scientific experiments, relaxes, and keeps his trophies.
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The History of the Fortress of Solitude

 In comic book history, in July 1942, Superman finishes his construction of his mountain retreat. This huge building in the side of a mountain is not yet named the Fortress of Solitude. It's also not depicted as being in ice or snow near the North Pole.

The newly completed citadel features a collection of trophies of Superman's past adventures and a fully equipped gymnasium. The building features a large Superman shield over the front. 

In this issue of Action Comics 411, Superman has to deal with tresspassers. Notice the giant key Superman uses to open the giant door. This issue also features Supergirl.

In May of 1949, the name "Fortress of Solitude" is used for the first time in comic book history. Now it appears to be in a cold icy region described as "the polar wastes."

In 1961, Superman insulated the walls of the Fortress with lead to shield him from any possible Kryptonite contamination. The next year, Superman shares the Fortress with Supergirl. During these early days before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman goes inside the Fortress using a gigantic key that no ordinary person could even lift.

The Pre-Crisis Fortress contains rooms dedicated to Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White. There was also a Batman room and a Supergirl room.

The Fortress of Solitude would be the site of Superman's final battle before Superman would be forever changed by John Byrne's 1980's restart.
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Action comics 583 is the last action before 80's revamp.

Before the Crisis on Infinite Earth's epic and John Byrne's revamp of the Man of Steel's history. Superman's foster parents had passed away, so there is a memorial room to them, as well as Jor-El and Lara. Superman also had a room dedicated to Krypton. There was even a room dedicated to the villain Braniac. In it are a lifelike wax statue of Brainiac, a model of his space-time craft, and an array of complex machinery identified as experiments aimed at penetrating Brainiac's force-field.  Which brings us to the Hall of enemies with busts of Mr. Mxyzptlk, Saturn Queen, Jax-Ur, Brainiac, and Lex Luthor. 

Forbidden weapons of crimedom and other unknown dangerous machines, many of them confiscated by Superman from his most dangerous foes, are also on display in the Fortress. Among them are a strange apparatus created by Lex Luthor, designed to summon beings from the fourth dimension; the ingenious duplicator ray with which Lex Luthor brought Bizarro into being in July 1959; the enlarging ray employed by the Kandorian renegade scientist Zak-Kul; and the portable raygun-like shrinking ray that Superman once confiscated from Brainiac. 

One of the most well known exhibits during the early time period of Superman was the Bottled City of Kandor. An actual microscopic city from Krypton filled with live Kryptonians lived in a bottle. The city had been shrunk by the evil Braniac.

Superman kept his robots there at the Fortress. He had used them more frequently as Superboy, but the greater pollution had affected the workings of Superman's duplicate robots.

2005 Fortress of Solitude

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Just finished reading Superman # 217 and it looks like it's official. Superman's Fortress of Solitude is no longer in the North Pole. Of course in comics things change all the time so I'm predicting it will be back in the North Pole maybe by the time the new movie comes out. Especially if the new movie has anything to do with the traditional Fortress. But for now Superman's new address is  Puccalpa from the Cordillera Del Condor Mountains, on the border of Ecuador and Peru. It's basically a jungle home like Tarzan's only fancier.

Other Fortresses
According to Action Comics number 261, Superman first established secret Fortresses in outer space and at the center of the Earth before settling on an Arctic location.  This doesn't appear anywhere else.
Superman established an undersea Fortress of Solitude - hollowed out of the side of an undersea cliff - in September 1958. The undersea Fortress, which is reportedly located at the bottom of the Sargasso Sea is stocked with numerous exotic ocean relics and is equipped with sophisticated monitoring apparatus to enable Superman to keep abreast of events occurring throughout the seven seas. Superman later abandoned the undersea Fortress and the structure is now used by the mer-people of Atlantis as a showplace and a tourist attraction. 

The Fortress of Solitude of the Movies and TV

In 1978, Superman the movie showed us the creation of the Fortress in a different light. Clark Kent finds Kryptonian crystals buried on the Kent farm goes to the North Pole. This occurs right after the death of Jonathan Kent. Once there, the young Clark Kent throws a crystal which when landing explodes and grows into the movie Fortress of Solitude. Here, Clark learns of his Kryptonian heritage including his name Kal-El from a hologram of Jor-El and his mother Lara.

In Superman the Animated Series in the 1990's, Superman gains a multitude of strange alien animals from a evil alien collector that tried to collect Superman and the main man Lobo. Supes puts these animals into his Fortress of Solitude. One of the animals would prove to be a major pain to Superman as revealed on Batman Beyond. A strange starfish looking creature bonded itself to Superman, taking control of Superman's mind. Thanks to Batman Beyond in the future Superman regains his self control, but loses a few years of his life to the alien being.

Strangely, I don't recall the Fortress of Solitude ever being mentioned on Lois and Clark the New Adventures of Superman.

Smallville 2005
Now the Legend of the Fortress is being revamped for a new generation. The fourth season of Smallville has ended with basically the same scene from Superman the movie with a few modern touchups. This time the crystal levitates and was part of a larger storyline which included a meteor shower that looks to have nearly destroyed Smallville. Unfortunately, after Clark throws the crystal we don't get to see the Fortress till the next season. We loyal viewers get slapped with the big to be continued till next season.
More on the Smallville Season Finale  
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