|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
Mr. Mxyzptlk is a great character because he effectively inverts the entire Superman storytelling model.
Superman stories are in many ways about God. Superman can be capricious (as he often was with his tricks in the Silver Age). Superman can be merciful. Superman can be compassionate. Of course, the Superman-as-God metaphor has been stretched awfully thin at this point so I won’t go into further detail on that score, but you get the point: most Superman stories are about a being more powerful than humanity ever can be.
And then Mxyzptlk comes along and now Superman isn’t squat. This is because while Superman is a dandy metaphor for God, Mxyzptlk, for all practical intents and purposes, is God. Mxyzptlk can’t be beaten, stopped or destroyed; he only goes away when you satisfy the rule he made up on a whim. And, like God, he’s basically unknowable; you can see aspects of Mxyzptlk but never the whole.
"Who's Who", Mightygodking.com