Perhaps you’ve heard of the rumors that DC villain Mister Mxyzptlk may be appearing in a new movie set in the DC Movie Universe, perhaps in a Superman reboot, and possibly to be played by Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) in a performance to be enhanced by CGI. Whether this a true or just a rumor, perhaps now is a good time to learn more about this unique character. Here are three things you may not have known about Mister Mxzyptlk.
Mister Mxzyptlk was first introduced by DC in the September 1944 issue of Superman (#30) as a “magical” prankster who took particular joy in playing tricks on the Man of Steel. Since he was from the fifth dimension, he was not limited by physical laws of our own third dimension. Drawn as a tiny bald man wearing a purple suit, green tie, and topped off with a purple derby hat, the character has popped up a lot throughout Superman’s history, sometimes with changes to his appearance. The first notable change occurred in Superman #131 when dressed in an orange suit with purple trim made him seem more like a science fiction alien or creature from the future, though he continued to wear a signature bowler hat. Both versions of Mister Mxzyptlk became part of the Superman comics when, in the 1960s, DC created the multiverse. As a result, the original purple-suited version was part of the Fifth Dimension of Earth-Two and the other, more futuristic version lived in the Fifth Dimension of Earth One.
Other versions of Mister Mxzyptlk have included a meaner version of the character from the 30th Century who was capable of killing and even survived the Crisis on Infinite Earth. He even teamed up with Lex Luthor to try and defeat Superman.
In a lot of ways, Mister Mxzyptlk’s powers worked like magic and seemed limitless. He could warp reality into whatever he wanted, making him particularly troublesome. He could exist in any environment and didn’t even need air or water to survive in the third dimension, where Superman lived. Some of the mischievous tricks he pulled included making the mayor of Metropolis sound like a donkey and blowing papers all over the city. And he seemed to take special joy in tricking people into thinking he was dead, only to pop back up alive every time.
Mister Mxzyptlk did have one weakness, though. If he could be tricked into saying his name backward, he was forced to return from where he came from. This forced Superman to rely on his brain rather than muscle to defeat him and send him back to the Fifth Dimension. It was only good for 90 days, though. So, fans knew that it was only a matter of time before Mister Mxzyptlk returned to raise more havoc.
Oh, and by the way, if you thought there is only one way to pronounce his name, you’d be mistaken. DC was never quite sure how to say it in the comics. Once the character reached the screen, variations on its pronunciation have varied. The first was mix-yez-PITTLE-ik (that would be kulp-ti-Mix-im backward, in case you were wondering). Others have used mix-ill-plick, mix-yes-spit-lick, mick-il-piti-lik, miks-yez-pit-lik, mix-yiz-SPIT-lik, mix-yez-PIT-lek, and mix-yez-PIT-ul-ick. Talk about a tongue twister!
Mister Mxzyptlk has appeared in many TV shows featuring Superman and has been voiced/portrayed by several established names. His first appearance was in the animated series The New Adventures of Superman, and the character has gone on to be voiced in Super Friends by Frank Welker, known for his voice portrayals of Fred Jones in Scooby-Doo and Megatron in the Transformers, and comedian Gilbert Gottfried even took up the Mxzyptlk mantle in Superman: The Animated Series.
The first live-action version of the character was played by Michael J. Pollard, best known for his role as C.W. Moss in the film Bonnie and Clyde, and that was followed up by comedian Howie Mandell’s (currently a judge on America’s Got Talent) depiction in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The villain became part of the CW DC world when Trent Ford took on the role in the popular series Smallville. And, most recently, Peter Gadiot played Mister Mxzyptlk for two episodes of Supergirl in 2017. In these last two depictions, he was not shown as the little gnarly trickster of the comic books or other TV appearances. In Smallville, he was a bookie who used his magical abilities to toy with Clark Kent and his friends. And in Supergirl, he was a rather handsome magical creature who falls in love with Supergirl and causes all kinds of trouble when Kara doesn’t show him any love back.
The magical villain has yet to appear in films, but perhaps that is about to change if Peter Dinklage really is about to become the new Mister Mxzyptlk. But whatever the case, whether in the comics, on TV, on the big screen, or even as an ECCC exclusive, surely the impish villain will be back sometime in the future to – once again – create havoc.