The various narratives and alleyways of pop culture are chockful of imaginary elements: Unbreakable Adamantium, energy-absorbing Vibranium, the radioactive rainbow that is the various forms of Kryptonite.  Spock’s Red Matter is mostly responsible for the creation of the alternate timeline of the new Star Trek series, while the miners who provide Cohaagen with turbinium drive the whole plot of Total Recall, while the ludicrously-named Dalekanium comprises most of the armor of the aliens that share its name.  As long as there are goofy origins to be had, we will never run out of imaginary substances to power the ARC reactors and Stargates of our fictions, which leads us to today’s powered-by-unobtanium query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is enamored of Element 152, accidentally created by Mon-El on a whim, eventually used to create Legion of Super-Heroes flight rings, asking: What’s your favorite made-up element, substance or alloy?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. January 8, 2015 at 11:36 am — Reply

    Im going to cheat and name my top 3.

    1) Kryptonite, various colours. Throw a funny looking glowing rock at Superman and hilarious and bizarre things are bound to happen.
    2) Beskar, Mandalorian iron. Fighting Force user overpoweredness (yes, its a real word) and bullying since 7000BBY.
    3) Adamnatium, Marvels solution to everything. Want a new hero or villain? Just make up some cool 90’s style name like The Deathripper and give him adamantium-something. Hes bound to be as cool and popular as Wolverine, right?

  2. Karl G. Siewert
    January 8, 2015 at 12:24 pm — Reply

    I’m going to depart from the superhero milieu and say “Mithril”. Stronger than steel, brighter than silver, lighter than air. It’s got it all. That’s magic for you.

    Special mention for “Unobtainium” from Avatar.

  3. Alisha
    January 8, 2015 at 12:45 pm — Reply

    Beskar is certainly one. I’m particularly fond of the idea that it is pretty great on it’s own, but to truly bring out the best of the metal, it has to be worked by special Mandalorian smiths that guard the secrets dearly. The best of the best is saved for proper Mandos, where any beskar sold to non-mandos isn’t as tough as what the Mandalorians have (apparently the non-Mandos just get something only slightly better than regular durasteel).

    Dekametal, the material that comprises the suits/armor of the Dekarangers, is pretty neat too. It is flexible like fabric, but provides protective properties.

    I’m also fond of Cavorite, the steampunk material with anti-gravity properties. While it originates in a story by H.G. Wells, a lot of steampunk fiction and RP (such as the RP setting of Caledon in Second Life) use it was a material to build airships and other devices.

    But above all else, I’m really fond of Alitumite. It isn’t used in any pop culture, but is a fictional gem/metal hybrid substance my old GM made as a joke. It is only as durable as pewter, so it isn’t good for armor or weapons, but has the unique ability to make any female fall instantly in love with anyone who has a name starting with “Ali”, as well as turning potatoes into curly fries and turning water into non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice.

  4. January 8, 2015 at 1:29 pm — Reply

    I’ll shout out The Stuff from Larry Cohen’s 1985 film of the same name, but Kryptonite will always be nearest and dearest to my heart.

  5. drago
    January 8, 2015 at 1:58 pm — Reply

    Cobalt Thorium G

  6. Doctor Dinosaur
    January 8, 2015 at 3:39 pm — Reply


    The Heaviest Of Metals.

    (Just made it up).

  7. tidge
    January 8, 2015 at 7:38 pm — Reply

    There used to be a wiki page for fictional elements, but the last time I looked it had evaporated.

    It isn’t my favorite, but currently in certain parts of the USA it looks as if Ice-9 was released into the wild.

  8. Dan Langsdale
    January 8, 2015 at 9:45 pm — Reply

    I’m going to go with “Dark Matter.” I mean really, something that scientists only *suppose* exists because they can’t otherwise explain the holes in their maths. Just smacks of “epicycles” to me (a system that was used by science for centuries to try and shore up the weaknesses in their maths until someone made new maths and realized elliptical orbits were the answer.)

  9. Oldcomicfan
    January 9, 2015 at 7:33 am — Reply

    Well, there is Luc Besson’s Fifth Element. It was a surprise to me to find out that people are Elements. Then, of course, there is Vegimite, which is strip-mined from prehistoric septic tanks in Australia….

  10. Rome
    January 9, 2015 at 11:06 am — Reply

    Always been partial to Vibranium myself. I love how it is only mined in my two favorite Marvel imaginary jungles: Wakanda and the Savage Land.

    One time, Cap’s shield was described as being an oreo cookie of adamantium and vibranium. I love that idea, and maybe it explains why the shield always bounces back right to your hand (or something.)

  11. Greg
    January 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm — Reply

    My daughter came up with awesomite a number of years go. Prolonged exposure causes awesomitis, raising the level of one’s awesomeness the longer they are exposed. Ingestion causes one to go through a process called awesomosis, rendering the victim perfectly and superbly awesome to all others for life.

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