What's Bizarro World?

What's This? A planet with eight corners.
The facts: Once Bizarro started making more Bizarros with the Duplicator Ray, they needed a place to stay and Bizarro World was born in Adventure Comics #263 (April 1960), soon cubed by Superman to get out of a bad rap (having done something perfect, which is illegal there). The silliness of the concept spawned a Tales of the Bizarro World feature in Adventure Comics #285–299 (June 1961-Aug 1962, since collected), gonzo stories that didn't have to include Superman or any of his supporting cast, but sometimes did. A Bizarro story usually meant some Bizarro World action even into the Bronze Age. Wiped in the Crisis, writers would still pay homage to it, for example as a distorted Metropolis inside a warehouse, but later, the cube planet did show up in humor strips, alternate world stories, and after Infinite Crisis, seemed to have been restored.
How you could have heard of it: If you've heard of Bizarro, you've probably heard the term Bizarro World, at least to mean a situation that's absurd or opposite to normal. The most recent story to have an impact is Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman which does have a Bizarro World sequence. Older cartoon viewers might remember an episode of Super-Friends with Bizarro World in it.
Example story: Adventure Comics #288 (September 1961) "Bizarro's Secret Identity!" by Jerry Siegel and John Forte
So if you were here last week, disappointed that there wasn't a whole lot of bad reverse-thinking in the Bizarro #1 story I selected, we can easily fix that by going straight to a Tales of the Bizarro World story, as they were justly famous for that. Now, it is common for these Tales to start with some padding just to show off the world's absurdity.
So you'd think moms shouldn't ask their kids to brush their teeth (opposite), but they do so with shoe polish (well, that does go on the other end of the body AND does the opposite of cleaning), and so toothpaste goes on shoes. They eat dinner as breakfast, and dads still want you to go to school, which only makes sense if they make you unlearn things. If you're looking for logic, you should know these Tales are the opposite of logical. Because Bizarro Lois #1's housewife boredom sure isn't opposite. So the Bizarro couple decide to go get jobs at the Daily Htrae, and Lois is really happy with the idea of doing the same thing the real Lois and Clark do, which isn't opposite at all, and that's the last time I say whether something is appropriately opposite or isn't.

Visiting Bizarro Jail for the dullest story to put on the front page, Lois meets Bizarro-Kltpzyxm there, who was created by Bizarro Junior #1 in a previous story (don't let your kids play with duplicator rays, folks), and he gives her super-powers which surely should alleviate her boredom!
Why everyone is called Bizarro-Superman, but she chooses "Stupor-Woman" like she came out of Mad Magazine, I can't tell you. But she exists and she's helping all the Loises with their chores.
If it were any more exciting than chores, maybe it wouldn't have made the front page (upside down), but it does, shocking the population of Bizarro World, especially its appointed champion and leader, Bizarro #1. But before he decides to try and discover her secret identity, he gets up to more padding nonsense. Wanna know how Bizarros play golf?
And that's how you get a tee in one. When he gets home, Lois has accidentally baked a thousand pies with her powers and he suspects her, but then can't believe it. She probably bought them. It's kind of a parody of how Clark Kent is never suspected for long despite almost getting rumbled every issue. Later, she says she's Stupor-Woman... in her sleep. Dreaming or confessing? Maybe if he tries to cut her invulnerable hair... Oh no, it snaps the scissors in half, but haha, she was wearing a wig of wire-weed plants as a gag. Yeah ok, this is exactly the Superman-Lois relationship on Real Earth. And on and on until she regrets ever having accepted those powers. That's when the actual Mr. Mxyzptlk enters our story.
Uhm, what?! I guess he hates his Bizarro counterpart and wants to meddle in his affairs. Anyway, he also takes her powers away and then makes Bizarro want to be Stupor-Man. It leads him to put on a fake nose and do good deeds like splashing women's dresses with mud so they might win fashion contests. Then he dresses up as Clark Kent and goes to the Daily Planet where they immediately make the connection and accuse him of being Bizarro #1 in disguise.
And since he's secretly one guy, he must also secretly be the other guy... It's a Bizarro story - don't overthink it! The Beginning!

Who's Next? A New York shaman.


tomg said...

When I was young, I had collected most of the Legions run in Adventure. Some of those had letter pages where fans would complain about Bizarro World being replaced by the Legion so I was curious and bought a back issue that had a Bizarro World backup story. I found it unreadable. I think as a single page gag story it would be ok, but it just went on and on with nothing happening. It is probably one of the comics that I regretted most buying (And I bought the Wanderers series)


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