ByPaula Blackburn, writer at
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Paula Blackburn

It was recently announced that Supergirl has cast actor Peter Gadiot to play the character of Mr. Mxyzptlk. The British actor is most widely known for playing characters in Once Upon a Time and Queen of the South, but many might be asking just who is Mr. Mxyzptlk, and why can’t we pronounce his name?

How To Pronounce A Name With No Vowels

The way to pronounce Mxyptlk has changed massively over the years, and to be honest, there’s no real wrong way to say it. Since I first encountered the character I have been saying "Mr. Mixy-plix," but there at least half a dozen other ways of saying the name.

Mr. Mxy was introduced in 1944, and no one had to worry about how to pronounce his name until he appeared in the 1967 Filmation CBS Superman animated series. Gilbert Mack voiced the character and it was pronounced, "Mix-yez-PITTLE-ik," apparently the official DC Comics version at the time. The Hanna-Barbera Super Friends had the man of 1600 voices, Frank Welker, pronounce the name as "Miks-ill-plik." Superman: The Animated Series had Gilbert Gottfried say "Mix-yes-spit-lick."

No doubt that Supergirl will either use whatever the current official pronunciation is, or make up their own, I would say go with whatever you can get your tongue around and be done with it.

'Superman: The Animated Series' [Credit: Warner Bros.]
'Superman: The Animated Series' [Credit: Warner Bros.]

The Origin Story

Originally spelt, Mister Mxytplk, the character started in the Golden Age, as an impish, trickster god from the fifth dimension. His first appearance saw him wreaking havoc and pulling pranks and generally being a huge pain in the backside for . His early ambition at conquering the planet soon waned as he decided teasing DC’s biggest Boy Scout was far more entertaining and this continued into the Silver Age and beyond. The character was generally light-hearted until professional wizard, Alan Moore got his hands on the character in Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

By far Mxy’s darkest moment came with Emperor Joker, a multipart story that takes place over multiple comic titles and you need a walk through to read in the correct order, but well worth doing. Mxyzptlk has his powers temporarily stolen by the Joker, he was curious to see what someone else would do with his power and intended to give Joker only 1 percent, but after some Joker trickery, he ends up with 99.9 percent instead. Some of the darker moments include Joker murdering Batman every day and resurrecting him again to continue his torment in a seemingly unbreakable cycle.

[Credit: DC Comics]
[Credit: DC Comics]

Powers And Abilities

Mr. Mxyptlk is a fifth-dimensional being with access to fifth-dimensional tech, so to us mere third-dimensional beings, they appear magical. His abilities are seemingly only limited by his willpower and imagination, being able to alter states with the snap of his fingers. His only major weakness is that whenever he speaks his name backwards, it sends him back to the fifth dimension and the effects of his "magic" vanish with him. No wonder he changes the pronunciation of his name so often, as Supes and others often trick him into doing so.

Though potentially one of the most powerful beings in the DC main continuity, the character is more of a childish prankster than a villainous fiend, being an annoyance rather than a threat.

What Does This All Mean For 'Supergirl'?

Mxyzptlk has made three live-action appearances before now, he was originally intended to be the villain of Superman III before they changed it to Robert Vaughn and the robot that will forever haunt my nightmares. His first appearance was in Superboy (1988–1992) (no, I hadn't heard of it either). Then came Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, in which he was far more malevolent than his comic counterpart. Finally, he appeared in Smallville, where he was depicted as a teenager and mostly made Clark Kent trip during his football game instead of anything interesting.

has made some fun character choices since it started, making little twists on the characters here and there, I would guess that Mxyzptlk will probably appear in his trickster persona, potentially causing problems for Kara as she tries to get on with her day-to-day life rather than being a super villain. It’s a character I enjoy very much, so I honestly don’t mind what they end up doing with him, as long as he remains fun, bad guy or not.

What do you want to see Supergirl do with the character of Mr. Mxyzptlk?


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