Comic Legends: Who Really Created Mister Mxyztplk?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and fortieth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends.

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I'll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!


Mister Mxyztplk was created for the Superman comic strip.


Apparently False

Recently, I wrote a Look Back spotlighting Mister Mxyztplk's debut in 1944's Superman #30 (you can check it out here, where I show how the history of imps, in particular Roald Dahl's new take on the imps during World War II, the Gremlins, influenced the creation of Mxyztplk).

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The issue was by Jerry Siegel and Ira Yarbrough, with the mischievous "villain" popping up in the third story (note the spelling - it wouldn't be until 1958 that the p and the l swapped places, which is the way that Mxyzptlk has been spelled ever since)....

Mxyzlptk causes all sorts of commotion with his magical powers...

He eventually reveals that he is from another dimension and that the only way to send him back is to get him to say a magic word, which is his name in reverse.

And sure enough, Superman succeeds!

Anyhow, when I posted that article, my pal, Shad, asked me, "Didn't Mxystplk appear first in the Superman comic strip?"

Yes....and no!

You see, during the war, with Siegel in the service, there was a weird delay with a lot of his stories. And thus, due to a delay in scheduling, the character actually first showed up in the Superman newspaper comic strip (by Whitney Ellsworth and Wayne Boring) in early 1944.

You see, as the strip and the comic book were often treated nearly interchangeably at the time, as they were both under the direction of Ellsworth, who was the editor of all Superman comic-related matters at the time (until he left the series in the hands of Mort Weisinger when Ellsworth began handling the famed television adaptation of Superman, "The Adventures of Superman").

So Ellsworth had the Siegel/Yarbrough story in hand before he and Boring introduced Mxy in the comic strip...

So yes, the character was in the comic strip first, but Superman #30 was when he was created.

Thanks for the question, Shad!

Check out some other legends from Legends Revealed:

1. Did Mike Myers Record Almost All of Shrek Before Deciding to Re-Record His Lines With a Scottish Accent?

2. Did Billy Idol Write “White Wedding” as a Put-Down Towards His Sister?

3. Did Larry David Have Scenes From Early Episodes of Seinfeld Re-Shot to Add Jerry Stiller to Them?

4. Who Bet his Entire Company That the Madness Song “It Must Be Love” Would be a Hit?

Check back soon for part 2 of this installment's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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