Imp-Possible, or, Mxyzptlk Me
It’s something I noticed years ago: even among those who actively read comics, an individual’s platonic ideal of a superhero character tends to be based on whichever animated version was running when they were a kid. If you’re lucky, you were a kid in the early 90s and your ideal Batman sounds like Kevin Conroy. If you’re unlucky, you were a kid in the mid-90s, and your ideal Spider-Man sounds like Greg Brady.
Mowrer and me? Superfriends was pretty much the only game in town (almost – our ideal Spider-Man sounds like Bumblebee and has an obnoxious dog). For what it was – limited animation, simplistic stories, airing on Saturday mornings back when shaking a fist was considered an act of violence and therefore verboten – it was a good introduction to the characters, giving us a basic grounding for when we got into comics. The last couple seasons, when it was rebranded Super Powers and brought in Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters as recurring antagonists, actually approached awesomeness, in an 80s Saturday morning kind of way.
Was Superfriends perfect? No – for one thing, it led to a whole generation of comics writers feeling the need to attempt a dark, gritty, post-modern take on Marvin, Wendy and Wonderdog. For another thing, it means a whole generation can’t pronounce “Mxyzptlk.”
Here’s a handy guide, straight from the imp’s mouth.
Got it? You’d think that, as long as Superfriends ran, someone could have made a quick call to DC and said, “hey, real quick question, how do you pronounce Mr. Mishpoyganhyven’s name?”
And we won’t EVEN get into the damage it did to Aquaman’s rep.
Incidentally, why hasn’t there been a teamup between Mr Mxyzptlk and The Impossible Man? Well, according to John Byrne, they’re the same imp: