Mr Mxyzptlk – “No! Repeat after me bright boy.Mix... Yess... Spit... Lick.”
...come in all shapes and sizes, some are menacing and some are just silly; Mr Mxyzptlk is definitely the latter.His abilities to alter reality mean that he is perfectly suited to comics and animation, so it was no surprise that writer Paul Dini had fun when he brought him into the DC animated universe.Drawing upon his experiences working on Tiny Toons, Dini gave Mxy a Looney Toons style kick and came as close to a 'comedy episode' as an episode of Superman:TAS ever got. He did this by having a series of impossible events plague Superman and the culprit was an imp from the 5th dimension called Mr Mxyzptlk.He had travelled to Earth to challenge Superman as Supes represented the ultimate test to Mxy’s unlimited reality-bending powers.In order for the Man of Steel to stop him all he needed to do was trick Mr Mxyzptlk to say his own name backwards. The trouble was it was difficult enough to say it forward, so saying it backwards was a pretty impossible task to say the least!
Seeing Superman spar with a being who defied logic was a genuine treat as technically Mxy's powers were magically based and as magic was a weakness of Superman’s (yeah it's true), it meant anything could happen. So when Mxy transformed Clark’s parents into animals there was genuine frustration on Clark’s face as he squared up to a threat just as difficult as he ever faced before, yet more preposterous.The imp might have had difficulty controlling Superman, but by playing around with Superman’s nearest and dearest it changed the situation and became a game that played for keeps.The real joy of the episode however came from the comical moments when Mxy popped back and forth into Clark’s reality because he had been outsmarted and writer Paul Dini proved he had excellent comic timing as Mxy spendt days perfecting a battle-suit to attack Superman, only to be defeated in mere seconds.That was chuckle-worthy material and took Superman:TAS into a completely different area not explored by the series before as the villain's perspective was followed for a while.The ace up the sleeve though was that Superman was always in control and the final confrontation with Mr Mxyzptlk highlighted that essentially Mxy was a villain with a ridiculous name and premise but he was at least a fun chap to spend some time with.Mr Mxyzptlk might have been more of a distraction than a menace, but he was definitely a worthy edition to Superman’s rogue’s gallery and sometimes having a bit of a laugh can really make a difference to a man of steel.
NAME THAT TOON: *Mr Mxyzptlk first appeared in the DC Comic, Superman #30 in 1944.He has returned numerous times to irritate the Man of Steel and outside of the comics has made live action appearances in the TV series’ Superboy, Lois & Clark and Smallville.
*During the episode the comic-strip Mr Mxyzptlk appeared in (which Jimmy read at the Daily Planet) was written by Siegel and Shuster, a nod to the creators of Superman.
*When Mr Mxyzptlk was at the Kent’s farm he made Ma and Pa's pet cat Streaky, fly.In the comics Streaky is one of DC’s super pets along with Krypto the superdog and Ace the bathound.