Mr. Mxyzptlk hails from the 5th Dimension, and has powers beyond imagining. Seeking amusement, he routinely challenges and otherwise bothers Superman, the Man of Steel. While often more a nuisance than a malicious entity, Mxyzptlk’s great power makes him a force to be reckoned with.
Golden Age: Earth-Two
Mxyztplk originally appeared as a small bald man in a purple suit, green bow tie, and purple derby hat. Mxyztplk’s powers came from advanced technology of the Fifth Dimension, so advanced it resembled magic in its operation. Superman, annoyed with the menace whose powers not even he could match, had to constantly outsmart him and banish him back to his own plane of existence by tricking him into saying his own name backwards. He loved annoying the Man of Steel, even dealing with Lex Luthor to reach his goal; Luthor ended up in the losing end of the bargain when the ability he had instilled in the imp of lying came back to bite him back. Mxyztplk continued to plague Superman and Metropolis at the constant rate of every ninety days, the time he was shunted back to the Fifth Dimension before regaining the ability to return to the world.
Silver Age: Earth-One
The Silver Age Mxyzptlk was changed to a futuristic looking orange outfit with purple trim and white hair on the sides of his head in the mid-1950s, although the bowler hat remains adapted to the new color scheme. In Action Comics #208 (1955), the spelling of Mxyztplk ‘s name changed (by some accounts through mistake, though it was this very same issue where the costume and form change was done, suggesting it was intentional) to “Mxyzptlk”. It was explained in the Silver Age Superman comics that the reason that Mr. Mxyzptlk could affect Superman is because Superman is susceptible to magic. After the establishment of DC Comics’ multiverse in the 1960s, it was later explained that the purple-suited Mxyztplk (the T and P are transposed to slightly alter the name) lives in the Fifth Dimension connected to Earth-Two and the orange-costumed Mxyzptlk in the Fifth Dimension connected to Earth-One. The Earth-One version is also retconned into Superboy stories as the red-haired Master Mxyzptlk, who bedevils Superboy during his youth in Smallville.
Modern Age: New Earth
Mxyzptlk made it through the Crisis on Infinite Earths relatively unchanged, although the unpleasant nature of his pranks and the psychological effects they had on others were played up more, at least initially. In early post-Crisis stories the “condition” that would send him back to the fifth dimension was anything he wanted it to be, but since Lex Luthor taught him how to lie, making this meaningless, the stories have reverted to Mxyzptlk saying his name backwards. Many of Mxyzptlk’s later stories have a post-modern feel to them, similar to Ambush Bug, breaking the fourth wall as he comments on editorial decisions, cliches of the genre, etc. This was most obvious in Superman: The Man of Steel #75, a pastiche of Superman’s death in Superman #75, which culminates with Mxyzptlk meeting the Supreme Being who turns out to be Mike Carlin, the then-editor of the Superman titles, who promptly brings him back to life.
In the New 52, Mr. Mxyzptlk was briefly mentioned in Action Comics #0 by his wife Nyxlygsptlnz (Mrs. Nyxly). He is said to have been put into a coma as a result of his battle with Lord Vyndktvx. He later recovered from his coma, married Nyxlgsptlnz, and became the king of the fifth dimension.
Major Story Arcs
Silver Age: Earth-One
Superman himself decides to turn the tables and visit the 5th dimension, making trouble for the imp, who is running for mayor. When Mxyzptlk furnishes a huge supply of food for prospective voters, he says, “Eat up, folks, the food’s on me!” Superman uses super-breath to blow the food all over the imp and then chortles to the voters, “Like he said, folks – the food is on him!” The imp tries to get the Man of Steel to say “Namrepus” (Superman backward), but that doesn’t work; Superman banishes himself back to Earth by saying “Le-Lak” – his Kryptonian name (Kal-El) backwards.
Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
His final appearance before the Crisis was in the non-continuity Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Mxyyzptlk is revealed to be the force behind Superman’s recent set backs. He describes his existence as being marked by differing in personality due to boredom at regular intervals over thousands of years. Here he decides to stop being “impish” and start being evil for real; he empowered several Superman villains and maintained a shield over the Fortress of Solitude to allow Brainiac and the Legion of Super-Villains a shot at killing Superman. When discovered, the imp transformed into his real self, a being so warped Lois Lane commented she got a headache from just looking at him. Superman inadvertently killed him by sending him to the Phantom Zone with his Projector as Mxyztplk said his name backwards, ripping him between the two dimensions and causing the Man of Steel’s permanent retirement as he enters a Gold Kryptonite chamber to atone for the death of the imp.
Modern Age: New Earth
A version of his origin, Post-Crisis, was proposed in the pages of Young Justice, when a sane, cordial Mxyzptlk reaches Earth as a serious-minded psychological researcher, not even using the name Mxyzptlk yet. When related his story, he became horrified and vowed never to return to annoy Superman. However, his decision caused a ripple in time, where due to him never appearing before Superman, Earth became involved in an armageddon war, with much of it a barren wasteland outside the last place in Earth spared from the change-a Happy Harbor building where a party was taking place. However, he was instilled his manic sense of humor by repeated viewings of The Three Stooges films, and ended up becoming the insane imp he normally is.
But not all is fun and games in Mxyzptlk’s world-he once lost 99.9% of his power to the Joker as the grinning lunatic guessed his secret name and forced the imp to empower him when Mxy came to him to consult him on how to annoy Superman, as he was fresh out of ideas. Twisting the world into a diseased caricature of the his mind, Joker left Mxyzptlk largely powerless and amnesiac, wandering through Metropolis in an effort to reach the now vilified Superman, never succeeding and most of the time ending up squashed or run over in a caricaturesque manner, until Bizarro hit an incoming train, and allowing him to recover a piece of his mind. Assisting Superman and Steel in reaching the Moon, he wound up fighting the Joker and ultimately helping Superman figure out how to outwit him to surrender the power. With the assistance of the Spectre, he was able to restore order to reality and incapacitate the Joker for a while.
Even worse, he was recently captured by an insane Superman-Prime, who wished to use his magic to recreate Earth-Prime; this effort failed due to the sacrifice of Annataz Arataz, the dark sorceress from Earth Three. Mxyzptlk tried to save her, but Annataz insisted she wanted to atone for her actions in her world and experience karma. Mxyzptlk ended up leaving her, lamenting her death at Superman-Prime’s hands.
Interestingly though Mxyzptlk recounts for Prime, when demanded to speak clearly, that over the ages, he’s assumed a host of different names, like Loki and Annasi, and basically that he was every version of the Trickster God Earth knew about.
Post-Flashpoint: New 52
Even if directly, Mr. Mxyzptlk has yet not encounter with Superman, his influence has been a pivotal in the adventures of the last son of Krypton: an enemy and an ally from the imp influenced the first years of the hero in this new continuity.
In the renovated story, Mxyzptlk was an travelling anventurer who used his abilities to entertain the king of Zrrrf. Among others feats, he could show the king a small 3-d universe through his hat. The favor of the king ganied him also the love of the princess, Nyxlygsptlnz, and the hate of the former jester of the court, Vyndktvx. Vyndxtvx tried to kill him but instead killed the king when he was trying Mxyzptlk’s hat. Hurt and furious, Vyndxtvk pursued Mxyzplk, but him took the princess and run away, into the 3rd dimension.
In the 3rd dimension Mxy and his lover lived diguised as mortal humans. He working as an illusionist, Mr. XXX, and living for many years in Metropolis, even having a son and falling victim of an human sickness than put him in a coma.
He awoke just in time when Superman defeated the final attack of his enemy. Apparently, Mxyzptlk have faith in than Superman would defeat his enemy, but still it was a risky bet. However, knowing the trickery nature of the imp, it could be than everything was, in fact, part of his greatest trick.
As part of the Rebirth initiative, Mxyzptlk was first shown to have been a captive of the mysterious Mr. Oz alongside Tim Drake, having spent his time thinking Superman would come and save him. But as Superman never does, Mxyzptlk grows angry and effectuates his own escape. He later attacks Superman, Lois and their son Jon, all from the pre-Flashpoint world and recently having arrived and replaced their New 52 versions. Though Mxy tries to get even for Superman not coming to save him, he realizes Superman didn’t even know what was going on and instead settles with merging Superman and Lois with the phantoms of their New 52 selves before retreating back to the 5th dimension, fearing ‘he’ (likely Dr. Manhattan) would come looking for him.
During “The Sixth Dimension” arc Justice League was in dire need of Mxyzptlk’s help. Martian Manhunter with the aid of Starman sends a telepathic message to Mxyzptlk across dimensions and tricks him into thinking it has already been ninety days. Mxy takes the bait and arrives on Earth and immediately starts wreaking havoc but is later convinced that due to the Source Wall being broken, the Multiverse may very well be in danger. Mxy decides to help since the Source Wall being unstable was also drastically affecting the fifth dimension. Mxy opens up a portal to the 6th dimension and tells Superman that he had been endowing fifth dimensional energy on him ever since they met and lets Superman travel to the sixth dimension via the portal. Shortly after the majority of the leading members enter the dimension, Mxy breaks out of the Hall and begins erasing the nearby city. He is defeated by the combined might of Bat-mite and the Legion Of Doom.
Powers and Abilities
Though most often portrayed merely as an annoyance, the true powers of Mr. Mxyzptlk are some of the greatest there is. As a 5th dimensional imp, like the Bat-Mite and the Thunderbolt, he is capable of anything he wants to do, having once created and destroyed a fully functioning dimension just for a game he played. He is also powerful enough to utilize the seemingly all powerful toon force in certain occasions and his kind is also immune to time manipulation as Hourman One Million was unable to unmake the calamity caused by Lkz (A djinn from 5th dimension). Despite being a prankster rather than a malevolent entity who either seeks to dominate or annihilate all reality, he is capable of destroying the multiverse and all space and time as was stated by The Spectre and himself when the infamous event known as Emperor Joker took place.
Curiously, even if robbed of his powers, Mxyzptlk seems to be indestructible, having survived getting his heart cut out by an alternate universe Zatanna (called Annataz) and getting repeatedly killed by Emperor Joker when he only retained 1% of his powers.
Mxyzptlk’s only true weakness appears to be his own mouth, which is often the reason why he ever faces defeat or gets himself into trouble.
A 30th-century descendant of Mxyzptlk appeared in Adventure Comics #310 (July 1963) with similar abilities. Much crueler than his ancestor, this version killed most of the Legion of Super-Heroes until Superboy tricked him into falling victim to the same “Kltpzyxm” weakness, reversing the effects of his magic.
Supergirl Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade
Mr. Mxyzptlk is the main villain of Supergirl.
Mr. Mxyzptlk makes a relatively brief appearance in the tie-in comic, spending much of Year Three impersonating the Spectre and acting as the chief concern for Batman and his allies, killing Harvey Bullock, Jason Blood, Deadman and Ragman among others. However, he is opposed by John Constantine who baits the demon Trigon into a fight with Superman, forcing Mr. Mxyzptlk to reveal himself and defend Superman as the Man of Steel and his allies prove hopelessly outclassed against Trigon. Mr. Mxyzptlk and Trigon end up fighting each other to a relative standstill before Dr. Fate manages to banish them and himself to the void, leaving them as dead as its technically possible to make them. Though with Raven remaining under Trigon’s influence by the time of the game, and the return of Fate in Injustice 2, it is likely Mxyzptlk is still active.
The Adventures of Superboy
Mr. Mxyzptlk appeared in the show in 1989. His first appearance was in episode 16 of the first season of the show, Meet Mr. Mxyzptlk, and later on in episode 8 of the second season, Mr. and Mrs. Superboy. He was played by Michael J. Pollard.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Played by Howie Mandel, Mr. Mxyzptlk appeared in the show in 1996 in episode 11 of the fourth season, Twas the Night Before Mxymas.
Appeared in Smallville in 2004, in episode 7 of the fourth season of the show called Jinx. He was introduced as Mikhail Mxyzptlk with the ability to control peoples action through some verbal mind control which travels in a different frequency humans cant hear. He was played by Trent Ford.
Superman: The Animated Series
Mr. Mxyzptlk appeared several times during the course of the Bruce Timm animated series where he appeared like a diminutive man in a purple suit and bowler hat, making him look like one of the loony tunes when compared to Superman. His first appearance was much of a mystery to Superman as he met Mxy disrupting traffic while loudly yelling for his friend, but as Superman stops a car heading towards him, Mxy vanishes and Superman appears to be the only one who remembers the encounter. Later on Clark is covering an art exhibition, Mxy appears again, still searching for his friend, as Superman appears, Mxy finds his friend, one of the statues, who comes alive and attacks Superman.
After Superman destroys the statue, he again finds him in the embarrassing situation of having to explain why he destroyed the sculpture, as no one saw Mxy. Clark heads home to Smallville for some R&R, explaining to his parents that he thinks he is loosing his mind over the events. Pa reassures him that everything will be okay after he done a good peg, before he and Martha starts acting like chicken, much to Clark’s despair before Mxy appears again. Mxy explains he’s been doing what he’s been doing for centuries, leading to the myths of the leprechaun amongst other things, and that to him its harmless fun.
He’s picked Superman as a decent challenge because he’s grown bored with tormenting the ‘average smoe’ humans. Also he reveals that if Superman can get him to speak his name backwards, then he will return to his 5th dimensional home for a month. Given Mxyzptlk complicated name (pronounced in the show roughly as Mix-yes-spit-lick), Superman tricks Mxy to tell him how to pronounce it, even though Superman doesn’t ever has to speak it. With the secret out and the time to prepare, Superman becomes an irritation to Mxy as he is only allowed relative moments on Earth before he is tricked into speaking his name backwards again, also Mxy’s girlfriend becomes increasingly annoyed with the lack of attention Mxy is giving her. Eventually Mxy rewrites the rules at Superman’s prompting, he too was getting tired of the game, to having to speak his name backwards twice to go away, surprising Mxy, Superman abandons the Daily Planet whose staff had been turned into animals, citing they didn’t seem to mind. This sets Mxy off and he turns into a missile with a Kryptonite war head before setting off in pursuit across the Metropolis skies. Finally cornering Superman after he succumbs to the Kryptonite poisoning, he claims victory before Superman points to the sky, making Mxy realize his exhaust fumes had made him sky write his own name backwards twice, finally making him admit defeat before disappearing.
Mxy however wouldn’t honor the letter of his promise and started appearing before Bizarro, prompting him to return to Earth as Mxy convinced him that Superman had duped him by giving him the empty Bizarro World. Ultimately the 5th dimensional authorities noticed Mxy had broken his word and sentenced him to a month of ‘making it up’ to Superman, severely dampening his power along the way. Superman sent Mxy to Bizarro World where he got to help Bizarro enact his fantasies of being the protector of the world, substituting people and buildings for rocks, while Superman watches from the comforts of the Fortress of Solitude.