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Mister Mxyzptlk, Recommended Reading for The Annoying Imp From The 5th Dimension (DC Comics)

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Some characters from the DC Comics universe are old. In the case of the infamous Mister Mxyzptlk, we are talking 80 years old. It was in the Superman daily comic strip by writer Whitney Ellsworth and artist Wayne Boring that the mischievous imp made his first official apparition.

However, like with Bizarro, the planning of publication pushed the real first issue a bit later as Mister Mxyzptlk was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Ira Yarborough in a story published in Superman #30 (fall 1944).

Mister Mxyzptlk is a magical being from the fifth dimension (like Bat-Mite) who enjoys causing mischief and playing pranks on Superman and other characters within the DC universe. In fact, where he comes from, he works as a jester, a powerful magical one. He possesses the ability to warp reality and manipulate the laws of physics, often leading to bizarre and surreal situations.

He loves challenging Superman to some sort of game or contest, and Superman can only defeat him by tricking him into saying or spelling his own name backward (“Kltpzyxm”)–a fine trick that was modified in the 1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot. After that point in time, Mr. Mxyzptlk changes his condition to leave with each new apparition (even if saying his name backward eventually came back).

Mister What? MIKS-yez-PIT-əl-ik!

Mister Mxyzptlk was not always called that way. In fact, before Superman #131 (1959), the spelling of Mxyzptlk’s name changed was Mxyztplk–it’s as hard to pronounce and it’s even harder to notice what letters were mixed up. But how do you pronounce this impossible name? There is no definite answer to that question. Some go with MIKS-yez-PIT-əl-ik others with MIK-sil-plik, Mux-izt-pulk, or Miks-yez-pit-lik, and more variants exist. If you want, just call him Mr. Mxy.

Mister Mxyzptlk in Superman #11 (1987)
Mister Mxyzptlk in Superman #11 (1987)

No matter how you pronounce it, this will not stop Mr. Mxyzptlk from bothering you. It’s what he does because he is a trickster–one that looked like a small bald man in a purple suit, green bow tie, and purple derby hat. The problem is that his annoying jokes can turn bad, especially when he decides to give 1% of his power to Joker–in the Emperor Joker storyline. The trickster was tricked to lose instead 99% of its powers. Things went horrible faster than anyone could have imagined and the imp had to work to save the world!


Except when written by Alan Moore (in Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?), Mr. Mxyzptlk never fully went to the dark side. It would be a truly epic disaster as he is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Comics universe. It’s not even sure that another being is more powerful than him as we don’t really know everything he can do. Hopefully, his trade is the prank and, despite the occasional humiliation at his hands, he likes Superman and doesn’t want to hurt him.


As DC’s continuity is occasionally rebooted, since 2011, we have seen Mr. Mxyzptlk’s backstory developed, and new angles explored. During the New 52 era, Mxyzptlk is revealed to be a fifth-dimensional traveling wizard who once delighted the King-Thing Brpxz of Zrfff by conjuring up 333 distinct three-dimensional worlds and posing challenges to heroes in each one, with Superman being the only hero capable of winning the trials.

As a result, Mxyzptlk became the king’s favorite performer and gained the affection of Gsptlnz, the king’s daughter. But later, jealousy got the better of the original court magician, Vyndktvx, who tried to murder Mxyzptlk but ended up killing the king. To support Superman in his battle against Vyndktvx, Mxyzptlk and his wife entered the three-dimensional realm. As a result, their mortal forms perished and Vyndktvx was taken into custody for the murder. After becoming king, Mxyzptlk mourned the death of his wife, who had just given birth to their children. As a result of this cycle, Mxyzptlk turned into a depressed monarch who would be amused by his future self before being killed by Vyndktvx in an unending circle.

But with the Rebirth era, we learned that the pre-52 Mister Mxyzptlk was not the one of the New 52 era as he was held captive by Mister Oz!

Mister Mxyzptlk in World Funnest

Mister Mxyzptlk Recommended Reading

DC’s Golden & Silver Age

Most of those stories are short ones. This is not an exhaustive list or a complete Mister Mxyzptlk reading order, but a selection of what is considered the best. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comment sections.

  • Superman #30 – “The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk!”
  • Action Comics #80 – “Mr. Mxyztplk Returns”
  • Superman #33 – “Dimensions Of Danger”
  • Superman #36 – “Mr. Mxyzptlk’s Mistake”
  • Superman #40 – “The Mxyztplk-Susie Alliance!”
  • Superman #46 – “Mr. Mxyzptlk Goes To College”
  • Action Comics #102 – “Mr. Mxyztplk And His Wonderful Lamp!”
  • Action Comics #112 – “The Cross-Country Chess Crimes”
  • Superman #51 – “Mr. Mxyzptlk Seeks A Wife”
  • Superman #59 – “The City That Forgot Superman”
  • Superman #62 – “Mr. Mxyzptlk, Hero”
  • Action Comics #151 – “Superman’s Super-Magic Show”
  • Superman #82 – “The Unemployed Superman”
  • Superman #86 – “The Fourth Dimension Gazette”
  • Superman #96 – “Mr. Mxyzptlk, Mayor Of Metropolis”
  • Superman #131 – “The Bride of Mr. Mxyzptlk”
  • Superman #135 – “The Trio of Steel!”
  • Superman #150 – “When the World Forgot Superman”
  • Superman #153 – “The Mysterious Mr. Mxyzptlk”
  • Adventure Comics #310 – “The Doom of the Super-Heroes!”
  • Superman #169 – “The Infernal Imp!”
  • Superman #175 – “The Outlaw Superman!”
  • Superman #205 – “The Mysterious Mr. Mxyzptlk!”
  • Superman #217 – “The Three Magic Wishes”
  • Action Comics #467 – “A Superman’s Best Friend Is His Superdog”
  • Superman #349 – “The Turnabout Trap!”
  • Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow
    Collects stories from Superman #423 and Action Comics #583, DC Comics Presents #85 and Superman Annual #11.

DC’s Modern Age

  • World’s Funnest
    Collects Superman And Batman: World’s Funnest #1; Batman: Mitefall #1; Batman and Superman: World’s Finest #6; Superman/Batman #51-52; The Brave And The Bold #200; Detective Comics #267, 482; Superman (Vol. 1) #30; Superman (Vol. 2) #11, #31; World’s Finest #113; Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight #38.
  • The Adventures of Superman #441 – “The Tiny Terror of Tinseltown”
  • The Adventures of Superman #463 – “Speed Kills!”
  • Superman: Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite
    Collects Superman (vol. 2) #49-50; Adventures of Superman #472-473; Action Comics #659-660; Starman (vol. 2) #28
  • The Adventures of Superman #496 – “Truth and Consequences”
  • Action Comics #721 – “The Fortune Plague”
  • Superman: The Man of Steel #56 – “…And he’s in the Money!”
  • Young Justice #3 –  “The Issue Before the One Where the Girls Show Up!”
  • Superman: The Man of Steel #75 – “The Death of Mr. Mxyzptlk”
  • Impulse #57 – “A Plastic Christmas”
  • Bizarro Comics #1
  • The Adventures of Superman #638 – “The Road To Ruin: Narrative Interruptus Tertiarius”
  • Superman: Emperor Joker
    Collects Superman (vol. 2) #160-161; Adventures of Superman #582-583; Superman: The Man of Steel #104-105; Action Comics #769-770; Superman: Emperor Joker #1 

DC’s New 52

This reading order has been suggested by one of our readers, ido shaul! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or write to us with some other suggestions!

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