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Mister Mxyzptlk Connects the DC and Marvel Universes

In "Our Lives Together," I spotlight some of the more interesting examples of shared comic book universes. You know, crossovers that aren't exactly crossovers.

Today, we look at a tricky bit in that this is not your standard shared universe, but rather a clever bit by the Superman titles to open up the shared universe concept beyond just the DC Universe to also reaching the Marvel Universe. A lot of people suggested this one, including, I believe, my pal Greg Hatcher. My other buddy, Graeme B., asked me about this, like, nearly a DECADE ago, so, well, here ya go, Graeme!

Our story begins in Superman #11, as part of the John Byrne-driven reboot of the Superman mythos. One of the interesting things about a reboot is seeing the new spins that the reboot puts on old concepts. This is something that still continues to this day, whenever a reboot occurs, there are fans who are curious as to how the reboot creators will handle the old aspects of the comic book concept. Since the Post-Crisis reboots were the first MAJOR mainstream reboots, they got a lot of attention and for the most part, they did a great job adapting the old concepts to the modern times.

One that seemed to go over particularly well was Mister Mxyzptlk, who debuted in Superman #11 (by John Byrne and Karl Kesel).

He is introduced as Ben DeRoy...

This is, of course, a reference to the Beyonder from Marvel's Secret Wars (both the design of the character and the name, which is an anagram of "Beyonder"). You see, in the sequel to the original Secret Wars, released in 1985-86, Jim Shooter had brought the powerful Beyonder from his Battleworld home to Earth to explore how humans lived. He took on human form, based on Captain America's body in Secret Wars II #2 (by Shooter, Al Milgrom and Steve Leailoha)...

and then, in the next issue, he changed his look to be closer to Michael Jackson (yes, seriously)...

So Byrne's joke is that Mister Mxyzptlk is appearing like the Beyonder. He even makes a joke about coming from "yonder"...

But it could also be MORE than that, as he might be implying that Mister Mxyzptlk might actually BE the Beyonder, just traveling from one universe to another one. Later in the issue, after he has dumped Lois Lane for a mannequin (he tuned the mannequin to a human and replaced her by turning Lois into a mannequin), he finally encounters Superman and reveals his "true" form...

That's it for that issue, but a future Mxyzptlk appearance is even MORE into the idea that he shares time between the two universes!

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