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Mr. Mxyzptlk

DC Super Powers Collection
by yo go re

Keeping alive both their love of old toys and bad decisions, Mattel ended their run of DCU Classics with the Super Powers Collection, a set of six figures (and, if you subscribed, a BAF) loosely based on the old Kenner toys. Three of them (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) were unnecesary, two of them (Gold Superman, GL-as-Riddler) were unappealing, and the last one was grossly overpriced - $30 plus shipping for Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Long ago, during the Golden Age, Mr. Mxyzptlk was originally known as Mr. Mxyztplk. If that sentence doesn't make any sense to you, look at the names carefully and consider the pronunciation: "mix yezz spit lick" vs. "mix yizt pulk" (and no, Superfriends fans, it was never pronounced "mitzel plick"). Rumor has it that when Mxy appeared in 1959's Superman #131, writer Jerry Coleman had forgotten how it was spelt, and accidentally transposed two letters. It was later retconned that the old spelling referred to the Earth-Two character, while the new one referred to Earth-One. Confused? It's like the difference between Jay Garrick Flash and Barry Allen Flash, or Alan Scott and Hal Jordan as GL.

Through it all, Mxy's been a magical imp from the Fifth Dimension (the same place Bat-Mite comes from). He shows up, causes trouble until he can be tricked into saying his name backwards or some other improbable condition, and then goes home to sulk until his dimension intersects with Earth again - usually every 90 days or so. And everything was fine, until one time he showed up while Superman was away, so he had to deal with the next best thing: Lex Luthor, who taught him how to lie. Grreeeeaat. Way to screw everything up.

Plastic Mxyzptlk was sculpted by the Four Horsemen, and is larger than you might expect: even sitting, he's more than 3⅛" tall, which is about the same size as Bat-Mite standing up; I always thought of them as being the same size. He moves at the Springfield Four - that means swivels at the neck, shoulders, and waist - and is sculpted in a sitting pose. It would have been nice if they'd given him a hover stand since he's clearly meant to be floating, but Mattel never met an idea they couldn't do wrong. He's wearing his modern yellow and purple outfit, rather than the purple suit and green tie he wore in his first appearances (and is today best known from Superman: the Animated Series). But he's always had a little purple derby hat.

Zany pranks are Mxyzptlk's stock in trade, whether it's faking his death, bringing municipal buildings to life, or creating money trees. In honor of that, the toy is given a pose that makes him look like he's casting a spell. His right hand has the fingers splayed, while the left is just pointing. Thanks to the shoulder joints, you can move his arms around to whatever position you prefer, but the correct one has the right hand flat and the left hand pointing upward. How do we know? Because this pose is taken directly from Mxy's entry in the official DC Who's Who comic, as drawn by Marshall Rogers. Right down to the position of his fingers! The Horsemen wore their inspiration on their sleeves for this yutz.

Your mileage may vary, but my Mxyzptlk has some paint issues. There are blotches on his cheeks, and the white of his hair has transferred onto his neck and, somehow, his hat. There's a purple smudge on his skirt, and some yellow overspray on his purple collar. Or is that purple underspray? Either way, the lower edge of his black belt is a bit messy, too. But really, these are only problems that become evident if you're looking for them. He'll look perfectly fine on display.

Xenogenous pixies may seem like the sort of thing that could only work in Golden or Silver Age, but Mr. Mxyzptlk has managed to survive not only the post-Crisis DC universe, he even showed up as soon as the super-serious New 52 started (written by Grant Morrison, the same bloke who turned Bat-Mite into a demonic insect-fetus-parasite). He's a goofy villain, but he's got staying power, probably by virtue of not just being an old fat guy in a suit. That's thinking outside the box!

Mr. Mxyzptlk has had an action figure before, in one of DC Direct's Superman/Batman series, but to get it, you had to buy a pretty disappointing Joker figure. This is a better representation of him, as long as you're not forced to buy the rest of the Super Powers Collection along with him.

-- 08/20/15

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