Saturday, February 25, 2017


A little something different this week, but still comic book-based......

I'm not one who feels that the televersions of comic book characters should adhere faithfully to how those characters are depicted in the Comic Book Universe.  Sometimes I think alterations should be made, mostly for preserving the integrity of the Toobworld dynamic, or just because the original choice made was obviously a toss-off idea because nothing had been set up from the beginning.

Take the true identity of TVXOHOF member the Penguin, one of Batman's most famous foes.  It's the TV role, played by Burgess Meredith, which is the primary concern of the Toobworld Dynamic.  Never once during the run of the series nor in the 1966 movie and his cameo appearance in an episode of 'The Monkees' was he given a real name.  He was always "the Penguin".  Even in the comics, he was not given a name until five years after his creation in 1941.  

Unfortunately the name finally given for him was Oswald Chesterfied Cobblepot.  Whoever actually coined that name must have considered the arch-villain as much of a joke as his appearance suggested.  "Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot" damned him to be forever seen as that joke.  At least to me.

It's been used in the "Batman" movie which featured Danny DeVito as the deformed malfeasant, and in the alternate Toobworld series 'Gotham'.  (But at least in that case, "Cobblepot" was an alteration of the original family name of "Kapelput".  That I like, but it was too late for me to consider it for Earth Prime-Time's Penguin.  

Several times during the series and in the 1966 movie, the Penguin used several aliases.  But I think the one used most often was "P.N. Gwynne".  Now THAT I liked!  I could see that actually being his true name, hence the reason why it was used so often.  And it served as the inspiration for his nom de crime of "Penguin".

Here's another example - the name of "Edward Nigma" (I've also seen it spelled "Nygma") for the Riddler.  The Riddler as E. Nigma?  Really?  Whoever came up with that must have thought he had used clever wordplay.  But it was obvious and clumsy.  I believe in the power of names, but E. Nigma leads to a life of crime as the Riddler?

No, for the Toobworld Dynamic, the Riddler was Lew Rydell, seen in an episode of 'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour' ("The Second Verdict").  Thanks to a clever lawyer, Rydell was found not guilty of murder, but it was quickly apparent to his lawyer that he was clearly insane.  Rydell was driven to murder again and his lawyer made sure he would be put away in an insane asylum this time.  And in that asylum, other inmates garbled his name to nickname Rydell as Riddler.  In his deranged state, Rydell embraced the name change and took it as his call to arms.  Upon breaking out of the asylum, he turned to a life of crime as the Riddler, focusing on Gotham City, which leads me to believe it was his place of birth.

(As for the Riddler Recastaway, Toobworld Central asserts that he was Gomez Addams, suffering from yet another conk on the noggin which changed his personality.  He took over the role while Rydell was incarcerated.)

I bring all of this up because of this week's episode of 'Supergirl'......


A magical imp called Mr. Mxyzptlk arrives on Earth* and wreaks havoc on National City when Kara doesn't reciprocate his feelings. [IMDb]

Mxyzptlk first showed up in an alternate Toobworld (Comix Toobworld-4b) with two appearances in the show 'Superboy'.  And this was the best adaptation of the character, coming closest to the original in the comic books.  

In an unseen adventure in that world, Mxyzptlk used his magic to alter Superboy's appearance.  This event serves as the divide between Comix Toobworld-4a and Comix Toobworld-4b.

In 'Lois & Clark' (from Comix Toobworld-1), the imp from the 5th Dimension no longer resembled the comic book version.  Instead, he looked more like a Yackov Smirnov Wannabe.  

I'm not even going to bother with the Mxyzptlk from 'Smallville' (Comix Toobworld-2).  The only thing remaining from the original was the name - as the surname of a Russian with mind control powers.  Why even bother wasting such a great name for someone totally different?

With 'Supergirl', they kept the basics of his character and history, but physically, they weren't even trying.  Warwick Davis might have been a better choice.

For the best possible version of the imp, I'd suggest looking to the Tooniverse.  But even there he occasionally looked like Elmer Fudd.

That change in appearance best exemplifies this theory by the master archivist of TV Crossovers, Thom Holbrook:

I get the desire to go with the classic look but technically he's an imp who can look as he likes. Alan Moore's classic "Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow" is not canon but the logic is valid with Mxy revealing his classic look is just a choice he made ("Did you honestly believe that a 5th Dimensional sorcerer would resemble a funny little man in a derby hat?"). With that concept in place, it makes sense that when seducing Kara he'd choose an appropriate look.

So I guess based on that, I could live with that theory.  Besides, to paraphrase Walsh in "Chinatown", "Forget it, Jake.  It's Comix Toobworld-3."

With all of these Comix Toobworlds I've been bandying about, I really didn't mention Earth Prime-Time.  Unfortunately, 'The Adventures of Superman' never dealt with the villains from the comic books. So Mxyzptlk never showed up in that show.  But they could have been able to cast the role with the perfect actor - Billy Barty.

As far as I'm concerned, he did play the role in that show's unseen on TV adventures.


* For Toobworld purposes, this is Comix Toobworld-3, but fine.  As far as most of its inhabitants know, they are simply on "Earth".

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