Welcome to the 2021 A to Z Challenge! My theme this year is DC Comics. And that’s mostly because of my undying affection for the comic book characters and stories that I grew up reading in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. So stay tuned all month to (maybe) learn a little something about 26 corners of the DC Multiverse.
I know… Try saying that name ten times fast.
Though the name has been pronounced a number of different ways whenever the character has been portrayed in various televised incarnations, here’s how I’ve always heard it in my head: “mix-yiz-pittle-ick.”
Mr. Mxyzptlk, or Mxy, because it’s easier to type, is an imp from the 5th Dimension whose favorite past time is tormenting Superman. I’ve always thought of Mxy as being a lot like Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He’s not necessarily evil, but he doesn’t really have a moral compass, either.
Typically, throughout the character’s history, Mxy would show up unexpectedly to mess with Superman in some way. He would pull pranks and Superman would have to stop him. Traditionally, Superman could rid himself of Mxyzptlk by tricking him into saying his own name backwards… Kltpzyxm. Once Superman succeeded in that, Mxy would be forced to return to his home dimension for no less than 90 days.
That’s how it generally went throughout the pre-Crisis continuity. At the end of that continuity, prior to the 1986 reboot, we were given a story by Alan Moore called “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” This was the “last” Superman story before his continuity was rebooted. In it, Moore gave us a vastly different version of Mxyzptlk than any the world had seen before. This version was blatantly evil and pretty darn scary.
In the reboot, Mxy was back to being a trickster (not to be confused with Flash villain, the Trickster). But the backwards name thing only worked the first time. After that, Superman had to find different ways to banish Mxy each time he appeared. It’s mostly been played for laughs. Also, Mxy seems, at times, to sort of be a fan of Superman.
For a brief time prior to Lois and Clark’s wedding, they broke up. Mxy showed up and tried to get them back together, which was kind of sweet.
I’m not sure what else there is to say about Mxyzptlk. Honestly, I don’t know much about the character following the most recent reboots to continuity.
If memory serves, Mxy was once played by Howie Mandel on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. I know he’s also shown up on Smallville and Supergirl. In animation, he was voiced by Gilbert Godfrey for Superman: The Animated Series. Am I missing anything?
That’s really all I’ve got for Mr. Mxyzptlk. Have you ever heard of this imp from the 5th Dimension? Can you pronounce his name? Can you say it backwards? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments!