Sunday, April 01, 2018

A Year of Mxyzptlk 3: Hey, Did You Happen to See the Most Beautiful Girl in the World?

It's April Fool's Day, so what better time than to check in on Mr. Mxyzptlk (or indeed, even Mxyztplk) for his long-overdue appearance in this blog. Well, after all, it has pretty much been 90 days, right?

When we last left our dimensional imp, he had been busy overseeing the superhuman romance of Miss Dreamface and the Metropolis Ace, which is not something we call him that much anymore, but it's kind cool when you can make it rhyme. But let's not be too alarmed over Kal-El and his beautiful belle. After all, you really can't fool Superman, can you? You couldn't fool Superman on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine. that means you, Luthor

Panels from the Superman daily newspaper comic strip (June 14, 1944), script by Whitney Ellsworth, art by Wayne Boring.
(From this point on, I'll identify the date of strip or panels within the alt-text of each image.)

Uh oh! Supes is showing signs of weakening! That's not because love is like oxygen (sweet as it may be), but rather another element entirely: love is like kryptonite!

At last, for the first time ever in the Superman mythos: the drop-dead gorgeous visage of Miss Dreamface! Eh, she's no Jane Wiedlin.

Suddenly it's about to turn into Superman III: The Quest for Richard Pryor, what with this abruptly selfish Superman, considering things like wealth and power and submarine sandwiches with extra onions. Despite his familiar zip-a-toned barrel chest, could this actually be the future of Superman: a self-centered jerk? Well, not until the Lois Lane comic premieres, and that would be fourteen years later.

And what of Mxyztplk? Oh yeah, we forgot about him. How can our meddling mite regain the affections of Miss Dreamface? Please phrase your answer in the form of a question, please, and the answer is "'What is proof that Miss Dreamface is a complete shrew,' Bully?"

And that's correct for $500 and let's move onto the category "Other Men Miss Dreamface Who Is a Word That Rhymes with 'Witch' Has Jilted Unfairly in Favor of Superman," and the answer is: (ding!) "Ted Spence!" (applause, cheers)

Now, we all know that you don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't shoot Batman's parents, you don't pull the mask off the old Spider-Man and you don't laugh and point directly at Superman because he's being a lovefool. (Copyright © 1996 The Cardigans). Man oh man, Ted, we salute your courage, but you're gonna get tossed up past Mars any second now.

Orrrrrr...will he? Why, it's just good ol' plain common farm home sense that snaps Smallville out of his hormone-enduced trance. Why, there's only one true love in Superman's life, and that's L.L. Granted, Superman wishes he would wear a toupee instead of going bald all the time, but let's not quibble in the name of pure romance.

WELL I NEVER is more or less the title of this next sequence, in which Miss Dreamface throws an altogether predictable tantrum. despite the lack of sound effects, those instant swalloops of the closing door (such a dramatic sphericasia!) Why, she's outta there so fast it's surprising she didn't leave a briffit!

Meanwhile (or, more accurately, a little while later, but let's go there right now!), Miss Dreamface speeds along a mountain road in her 1944 Chevrolet Squaresmobile, insisting that driving fast will heal her broken heart. Hey Miss D: it didn't work for Richard Hammond and it's not gonna work for you. Especially since Mxy is still watching and playing cute little harmless pranks like using his outer-dimensional magical powers to sever the brake lines. Sever the brake lines?!? Hotchy motchy!

Ted and Superman (gettin' kinda cozy there) are in fast pursuit! But will they be in time? Will they be in time?

Yeah, maybe not. Now, remember the strip that took place only a few hours ago, in which Supes tossed a tough guy into the air and waited many seconds for him to come down and catch him? Curiously enough, Superman has completely forgotten about this, and refuses to temporarily toss Ted up past the clouds and then quickly keep Miss Dreamface's roadster from flying off the precipice. Holy moley (as another super-type might exclaim), his brains have been addled by shaking off Miss Dreamface's affections! Geez, take a cold shower, Kal-El!

Whoa, there's more rubble here than George Pérez drawing Fred Flintstone's neighbors. Miss Dreamface mumbles faintly "It's only a flesh wound."

Miss D. is rushed to the hospital where her life remains on the line between danger and safety! Well, it's your own fault for having Harry Truman as your surgeon. Bulb-headed Mxy is full of guilt, and newsprint from the other side of the page, when he admits to Superman that he's responsible for the accident. Remember: it's still his first appearance story, and it also looks like Superman is gonna kill him and make it his last! Wow, the feature I chose for 2018 sure ended quickly, didn't it?

Instead, it's woozy Winks Ted Spence who puts the smack-down on Mr. Mxyztplk! Hit 'im again, Ted! I like to think that when Ted punches Mxy, it sounds like a whoopie chusion goin' off.

And Mxyztplk is outta there! Yes, it's the first banishment back to his home dimension, and Superman thgeorizes without much practical knowledge about why that just happened. Aw, Clark, lay offa it, you're just supermansplaining now.

And what about Miss Naomi* Dreamface? (*I just made up that name.) She's going to live! But she'll be scarred for life! And therefore no doubt vow vengeance against Mxyztplk! Or possibly Superman. Maybe, at a reach, revenge against Batman. Hey, I wonder if she'll ever team up with Two-Face?

Anyway, Ted is ecstatic, because he likes scars on women only cares that she's going to live! Live, darn it, live and love and live again! Whoa man Ted watch the high kick.

All's well that ends well EXCEPT FOR THOSE CURTAINS as Miss Nowquiteordinaryface agrees to marry Ted after spending the last few days being a complete jerk about everything. And Superman agrees to help out BY RIPPING DOWN THOSE CURTAINS and flying out the window to go bring...what? Ice cream? Balloons? Lex Luthor's goofy nephew Lenny Luthor?

No, he's super-kidnapped a marriage bureau official and a parson and presumably stole some flowers and a nurse so that Ted and Miss D. can get married. (sniffles and wipes at my little button eyes with my handkerchief, because I always cry at weddings). Y'know, I understand that nurse was press-ganged into being a witness, but I don't think anyone has ever looked so resentfully and aggressively disinterested in a wedding since Mr. and Mrs. James Righton tied the knot.


You might remember in the first installment of this series thirteen or fourteen years ago that I shouted at you "Everything you know about Mxyzptlk is wrong!"
Now let's get this out of the way before we begin, okay? Here's some of the things we all "know" about Mxyztplk/Mxyzptlk: he debuted in Superman #30, cover-dated September 1944. He comes from the Fifth Dimension. To get him to return, you must make him say his name backwards. Right? No!
I've already shown over the past three blogposts that Mxy debuted not in the comic books but in the Superman newspaper strip, which was written later than Supes #30 but was printed first. As for everyone's certainty that Mxy hails from the Fifth Dimension (which, admittedly, has a pretty great Champagne Soul sound), please note that at almost all times he refers to his home simply as an "outer-dimensional world." That's pretty heady stuff for 1944, even for Albert Einstein, who reportedly was so baffled by the Superman strip that he cancelled his subscription to the Daily Planet immediately.

But you may have missed the one time when Impy McGee does refer to the Official Handbook of the National Comics Universe numerical designation of his home dimension, and it's not #5. It's the EIGHTH Dimension!

And finally, as we saw today, there's no fooling around trying to get him to say "Kltpzyxm" (or, more accurately, "Klptzyxm") to send him back home. Naw, ya just give him a big ol' man-punch! After having several pints of blood removed, so frankly, I'm thinking a light tap on the shoulder oughta do it.

In conclusion, the first appearance of Mxyztplk was kinda weird, huh?

Next time — I'm sure you've guessed it — full color!


RBS, Philom. said...

Yay! Excellent work, as always, and some good sleuthin', too!

Blam said...

A great Mxyztplk post, or the greatest Mxyztplk post?
I have an answer to the 8th-dimensional conundrum, by the way: The newspaper strip clearly didn't take place on Earth-1 or Earth-2, but we can't just split the difference and call it Earth-1½ — that's what I, amongst others I believe, long considered the realm of many of DC's main Superman and Batman stories from the '50s (with some give on either end of the decade) that don't have a JLA or JSA but do have the Club of Heroes an' stuff, with elements of both Earth-1 and Earth-2 continuity. Let's call the strip's home Earth-1.6, then. And 5th dimension x Earth-1.6 = 8th dimension. You're welcome.