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July 15, 2006

Mr. Mxyztplk v Joe Btfsplk — Vowel-Deprived Throwdown: Who came first?


From the indescribably deli.cio.us Shawn Lea, my head crackpot researcher, comes a characteristically delightful investigation of the little-known origin of two great vowel-deprived characters of the 20th century, Mr. Mxyztplk (above) and Joe Btfsplk (below).


Her report follows — and you can bet your bottom dollar that not one word has been.

    Mr. Mxyztplk vs. Joe Btfsplk

    Who came first... Mr. Mxyztplk vs. Joe Btfsplk?

    Hi, Mr. Miller. I am the bookofjoe staff person who has been assigned to your interesting question.

    Joe preceded Mr. Mxyztplk. Joe Btfsplk's first appearance was June 11, 1942. Mxyztplk's ((roughly pronounced Mix-yez-pit-lick, also nicknamed Mxy) first appeared in September of 1944. Joe's creator, Al Capp, pronounced Btfsplk with a "raspberries" sound, also known as a "Bronx cheer."

    Mxyzptlk appeared originally as a small bald man in a purple suit, green bow tie and purple derby hat. This was changed to a futuristic looking orange outfit with purple trim in the mid-1950s, although the hat remained. At around this time the spelling of Mxyzptlk's name changed (by mistake) to "Mxyz ptlk".

    From Wikipedia:
    After the establishment of DC Comics' multiverse in the 1960s, it was later explained that the purple-suited Mxyztplk lived 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 was also retconned into Superboy stories as Master Mxyzptlk.

    From www.supermanhomepage.com:
    The imp known as Mr. Mxyztplk first appeared in our dimension in Superman #30 (1st series, 1944) in a story by Jerry Siegel with art by John Sikela. For those who haven't seen the original story, you can find it in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told trade paperback. The bald little fellow in the purple suit and green bowtie creates all kind of havoc -- including animating a naked statue he calls McGurk. Mxy describes himself as a "court-jester" from another dimension. The not very bright imp laughingly tells Superman that there is no way he can be tricked into saying the magic word "Klptzyxm" that will return him to his own dimension. Oops. Saying the word, Mxy vanishes (my nickname - don't expect me to keep spelling the full name!!)

    A note at the end of the tale says, "If you enjoyed the antics of Mr. Mxyztplk and would like to read of his further encounters with Superman, let us know on a penny postcard." Obviously, Mxy was a big hit and returned many times.

    The imp's name was later changed to Mxyzptlk (and for the consonant-challenged among you - the letters "t" and "p" are reversed). He had a long history of antagonizing Superman, supposedly every 90 days, until Superman inevitably tricked him into saying his name backwards. This restored everything back to normal and banished Mxy back to the Fifth Dimension for another 90 days. Until the Crisis On Infinite Earths series rewrote DC history.


Shawn Lea — NO 1 compares 2U.

July 15, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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Though Mr. Mxyztplk is not so vowel-deprived: "Y" is also known as a "semi-vowel". :-)

Posted by: Pascal Boulerie | Jul 17, 2006 12:10:48 PM

Always a cultural and spiritual delight - Shawn Lea

Thank you.

Posted by: mattp9 | Jul 15, 2006 4:07:04 PM

Awwww. And they say we don't get paid anything. Thanks, boss.

I needed that today. My Half-Crazy Marathon Group met up to run with a group at Fleet Feet today because the store was giving away free stuff and free food after this run. (Hey, we're only HALF-Crazy.) To say the other group was much more advanced than ours was being generous. And as they all passed me I got a bit of a competitive streak all of a sudden and decided to turn it full throttle. (The only problem was that their full throttle and mine were not similar - mine was more of a Yugo and there's was more of a Ferrari.)

And we were going further than we usually run. And I was completely exhausted at the end. And I didn't win anything. And I was afraid if I tried to eat the free food it might not stay down.

Anyways, I came home and went right to bed. Just woke up 30 minutes ago starving (but, oddly, not sore yet). Still a bit grumpy from the humiliation. But at least now I always have my crackpot research to hold my head up about.

Thanks, Joe.

(The moral of this rather long-winded personal running story is don't try to soar with the eagles if you know in reality that you should be plodding with the penguins. It just irritates the eagles and pisses the penguins off.) ;)

Posted by: Shawn Lea | Jul 15, 2006 2:03:34 PM

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