Action Comics #273: "The World of Mr. Mxyzptlk!"

Action Comics #273
"The World Of Mr. Mxyzptlk!"
February, 1961

Story: Jerry Siegel
Art: Al Plastino

One day at the Fortress of Solitude, Superman prepares for his annual show at the Smallville Orphanage, and remembers how he spent time there when he first arrived on Earth.  As the Man of Tomorrow soars towards the United States, he sees a giant falling globe, and tries to stop it before it can damage the city below.

BWWAMM  His microscopic vision detects the sneezing powder pouring out of the globe, and spots Mr. Mxyzptlk, who has once again arrived from the 5th Dimension.  As he chases after the impetuous imp, Superman inhales the sneezing powder in through his nostrils.  Unfortunately for the Man of Steel, he is vulnerable to Mxyzptlk's magical powers, and he is about to sneeze.  AAAA-AAAP-CHO-OOOO  After swiftly leaving Earth at super-speed, the super-sneeze takes place in an uninhabited solar system.

After returning to his solar system, Superman sees that the moon has turned green in color.  After landing on the surface, the Man of Steel lifts a sample, and tastes it.  The moon has been turned into green cheese, courtesy of some fifth dimensional magic.  After turning the moon back to normal, the imp soars away from the scene.

Back on Earth, Superman visits the President of a perfume manufacturing company.  He mixes a few gallons of blue indelible liquid, then pours it into a giant perfume bottle atop the manufacturing building.  At sundown, The Man of Steel lures Mr. Mxyzptlk to his trap, and sprays him with the mixture.

Seeing that he's been turned blue, the imp spots Clark Kent, and is told to visit a certain doctor, immediately.  Now at super-speed, the mild-mannered reporter changes clothes, and disguises himself as the doctor.  At the office, Mr. Mxyzptlk is given a prescription, and heads for the drug store around the corner.  At the drugstore, the druggist is given the prescription, but is unable to read it without his glasses.  KLTPZXM!  The imp has been tricked into saying his name backwards.  The nearsighted druggist was Superman in disguise.  It will be ninety days before Mr. Mxyzptlk returns from the Fifth Dimension, and at least ten days before he'll be able to remove the blue paint.  At the Smallville Orphanage, the Man of Steel learns that his performance was cancelled, and the children were very disappointed by his absence.  Since this was the imp's fault, the Man of Steel plans to teach him a lesson at the earliest opportunity.  Weeks later, Superman travels between dimensions into the Fifth Dimensional world of Zrrf.

Now on Zrrf, the Man of Steel spots his quarry running for Mayor on the scatterbrain ticket.  His super-vision enables Superman to locate the source of the television waves.  As the imp points towards an electric sign which reads, "Vote For Mxyzptlk If You Want Taxes To Go Down," the Man of Steel gathers up some pebbles into his mouth.  The pebbles are blown out of mouth and onto the sign, altering the message.  "Vote For Mxyzptlk If You Want High Taxes!"  The tables have turned, with Superman dropping by for a friendly visit, the kind of visit which the imp has been playing on him for years.  The following day at a picnic sponsored by the mayoral candidate, the imp smokes a cigar, and tells the crowd to enjoy the food.

An uninvited Man of Steel crashes the picnic and the picnic table.  Now, the food is truly on Mr. Mxyzptlk.  The next afternoon finds the imp offering free boat rides for his would-be voters.  At the bottom of the river, Superman is kicking his feet at super-speed, and causes a series of super-waves.  When the waters turn placid once more, the boat reaches the dock, and the people vow to vote against Mxyzptlk.

Back at his home, the imp creates a robot double of Jimmy Olsen, and orders it to enter his trophy vault.  When Mr. Mxyzptlk finds Superman, he tells the Man of Steel that the cub reporter has been brought to the Fifth Dimension, and locked within a safe.  The imp smiles as Superman flies them to the house.  Once there, Superman notices that there are letters on the combination lock.  Since Mxyzptlk claims to have forgotten the combination, he asks the Man of Steel to use his x-ray vision , and read it from a card inside to him.  The imp grins, for on the card is "Namrepus" or Superman spelled backwards.  If the Man of Tomorrow reads this, he'll return to his own world for ninety days.  Mr. Mxyzptlk is in for a disappointment when Superman yanks open the safe and sees that it's just a robot double of his pal.  Unbeknownst to the imp, he forgot to equip the robot with a signal-watch, and the x-ray vision spotted the missing detail.  Although he has failed in this round, Mxyzptlk promises to be a good sport.

Superman is invited by Mr. Mxyzptlk to play the Fifth Dimensional game of Zip-Bingo.  When letters are called out, players place their magnetized letter-plates on  their sign board's proper squares.  It looks like the Man of Steel will win the game as he spells back what's on his board.  N...A...M...R...E...P...U... Z!  It appears that Superman made a mistake, but he figured out what his "friend" was up to.  At the dragon race, the Man of Tomorrow is given the honor of announcing the three winners.  As he prepares to call out the winning names, the imp awaits the bribed jockeys' crossing in the order he specified.

The winners are Nam...Rep... Us...!  Mr. Mxyzptlk jumps with joy at the sight of the Super-Idiot saying his name backwards.  He eagerly awaits the Super-Sap's return to his own dimension.  To his surprise and dismay, the Man of Steel is still on Zrrf.  Ever worse news, the imp has lost the election.  Now that Mxyzptlk has learned a lesson, Superman prepares to return to his own dimension voluntarily.  Turning the other way, the Man of Steel whispers to himself, and disappears in a puff of smoke.  Mr. Mxyzptlk can't understand why Superman didn't disappear after being tricked into saying, "Namrepus," but when he did say his name backwards, he vanished.  Back on Earth, a smiling Man of Tomorrow reappears, and informs the reader that when he left Zrrf, he said his real name backwards.  Le-Lak, which was the name his Kryptonian parents gave him, Kal-El.

In the days before the creative teams were given credit, a Jerry Siegel story would be identified by the fact that the writer usually had his characters cry out, "AWP!" whenever they were surprised.

Steve Chung
"The Review of Mr. Mxyzptlk!"