Thursday, February 2, 2017


Bizarro World fifty years ago or the whole world in about ten weeks.

It's not that I intend to over-promote my other comics blog -- The Chronological Superman -- in this space, but traversing the breadth, depth and width of the Superman Family universe does hep you to some wildly unusual inventions which raise more questions than they answer.

Superman's addle-brained and often-tragic imperfect duplicate Bizarro is a fine example. Beginning as a one-time opponent for Superboy in the pages of his eponymous title, the chalk-white super-dunce eventually graduates to the adult Superman's universe. In short order, after that, he gets a mate by way of a Bizarro-Lois, then a world of his own, then a million duplicates of himself and his girlfriend, and also duplicates of pretty much everyone in the DC Comics universe who are even tangentially related to Superman. And then he has a baby, which is legitimately alarming because apparently Bizarros can breed and that can't be good in the long run.

The antics of Bizarro and his people inspire the recurring Adventure Comics feature, Tales of the Bizarro World, which was typically a place for the writers working under Mort Weisinger to have a little fun, and to task their massively square selves with being a little kooky and hip. It's this way that you get the Bizarro Code ("Us do opposite of all earthly things!" it begins, which is also the preamble to this year's inauguration speech) and all its subsequent goofiness, such as using coal as currency, watching movies shown from the negatives, eating forks, shitting corn muffins, jerking off backwards, holding Formula One rallies in church and marrying a monkey on a ferris wheel. I made up some of those.

Cramming a lot of contrarian stupidity into one panel.
Anyway, that catches you up on Bizarro, his world and the feature which celebrated it, and that ets me comfortably deposit you in the pages of Adventure Comics vol.1 No.290 where I can ask the following questions: Whatever happened to Bizarro-Hipster No.1, Weep-And-Wail Bizarro Lois, and the Bizarro Cool Cat Combo - and - where did the Blue Kryptonite Babies come from?

(Well, it's when a daddy Blue Kryptonite and a momma Blue Kryptonite love each other very much ...)

In the story "The Invasion of the Bizarro World," the strange, square homeworld of the Bizarro race is invaded by monsters from (and here's your first Bizarro-ism, evidence of the creative team getting into wacky irony) inner-space! Ohhhhh, switcheroo!

The monsters in question are Blue Kryptonite monsters, emerging from the core of the world and, for some reason, possessed of lumpy heads and crystalline bodies. The horde of deadly beasts -- Blue Kryptonite had been introduced a few months earlier, and was fatal to the cheerily nihilistic Bizarros -- ransack the world, destroying everything in their path and literally killing Bizarros left and right, to the delight on onlookers.

This has also been the Democratic Party's strategy for dealing with the Trump administration, for the most part. 

The Blue K Babies raise some serious questions: Blue K is only created when Green K is hit with the Bizarro Duplicator Ray. So how did these creatures come to be? Why were they in the core of Bizarro World? Why do they hate Bizarros so much? And what's their endgame? Also, in one scene of the book, they build a space platform from which they shoot a ray which turns the Bizarro World round instead of square, and I literally could not tell you why or how they knew to build that kind of thing.

When the Blue Kryptonite monsters are defeated and sent on their way, they disappear into DC Comics lore. More specifically, actually, they just disappear. Ever since I read this story in a reprint volume, I've been waiting for some explanation of what was going on with these guys, or at least for one of them to become a Green Lantern. Alien Green Lanterns are the best, there's no reason to have a human Green Lantern. Blue K Baby Green Lantern 2017. I'll die on this hill.

But I don't wonder about the fate of the Blue K Babies as much as I wonder about Bizarro-Hipster No.1 (he was into it before it was cool), his gal Weep-and-Wail Bizarro Lois and their backup band, the Bizarro Cool Cat Combo.

I couldn't think of a third, equally lame joke about the doomed American political landscape.

When the monsters' slaughter of the Bizarro people really gets under way, these popular Bizarro musicians are brought up to write a celebratory song. The gag here, although I assume you get it, is that beatniks are so weird that they'd fit right into Bizarro society. Oh those kids and their long hair! Oh those post-War authors and their cerebral, introspective novels about the existential human experience. What cards!

Living up to her name, here's the lyrics to the song Weep-And-Wail Lois busts out for the invading monsters, so that you and your family can sing it during birthdays, anniversaries and funerals:

Oh them blue, blue-ee-oo monsters
Wriggled to the attack!
Their crazy, cool cool radiation
Knocked us flat
But we loves it
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
Us loves it!
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

They am awful to see
But jiminy golly-gee
Them am real good-looking next to (ugh) you and me!

So, welcome Blue Monsters,
We am glad you came
Destroy, destroy
Us loves you just the same
Urf Urf
Urp Urp

Up went the monster
Down went Bizarro
Who gives a hang
Or a ring-ding-dang?

Just go-go ... go!
Blue, blue, true blue

It's not bad and would probably do okay in Eurovision.

Everybody vanishes at the end of this adventure, with a different array of Bizarro duplicates featured in the stories going forward. Whatever happened to the Blue K Babies and the Bizarro Cool Cat Combo is lost to history, although I'm gonna put together a pitch for my own DC Rebirth book.

1 comment:

wordsmith said...

SNL used the Bizarros to ridicule the first term of the Reagan Administration and I thought they were pretty funny, and wouldn't be surprised if they went to that well again, now that the Education Secretary-Designate has been outed as disapproving of public education, among many other contradictions of the new administration.

I believe that Jerry Siegel was the sole author of the Tales of the Bizarro World series that ran in Adventure Comics during the early '60s, and I think that he and Weisinger missed a marvelous opportunity to hold up American Society for constructive criticism, aiming barbs at the Nuclear Arms race rather than safe targets like beatniks and rock-n-roll.

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