|First appearance||Superboy #68
|Created by||Alvin Schwartz
(based upon Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster)
|Alter ego||El-Kal/Kent Clark|
|Place of origin||Bizarro World|
|Team affiliations||Injustice League
|Notable aliases||Bizarro #1, Superman, Bizarro Clark, Bizarro-Superman, The Phantom|
Reverse Versions of Kryptonian Powers:
Bizarro is a fictional character and super villain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Otto Binder and artist George Papp as a "mirror image" of Superman and first appeared in Superboy #68 (1958).
Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books (1956 - c. 1970), the character has often been portrayed as an antagonist to Superman, and appeared in both comic books and graphic novels, and other DC Comics-related products such as animated and live-action television series, trading cards, toys, and video games.
Bizarro debuted in Superboy #68 (cover-dated Oct. 1958, but on sale in August), writer Otto Binder casting the character as a Frankenstein's monster pastiche that possessed all the powers of Superboy. Shunned for his grotesque appearance, the teen version of Bizarro only appeared in a single comic book story. An adult version appeared around the same time in the Superman daily newspaper comic strip written by Alvin Schwartz, debuting in Episode 105: "The Battle With Bizarro" (strips 6147-6242: Aug. 25, 1958 to Dec. 13, 1958). According to comics historian Mark Evanier, Schwartz long claimed that he originated the Bizarro concept prior to the character's appearance in Superboy. The newspaper storyline introduced the strange speech patterns that became synonymous with the character, with all of Bizarro's comments meaning the opposite (e.g. "bad" means "good"). The newspaper version wore a "B" on his chest, as opposed to his distinctive "S".
|“||I was striving, you might say, for that mirror-image, that opposite. And out of a machine which would reveal the negative Superman, came the mirror image — always remembering that in a mirror everything is reversed... The times were such that one-dimensional characters, your standard superheroes, even in comics, seemed rather simplistic, like paper cut-outs. What was demanded was the full dimensional personality — a figure that carried a shadow, if you like. I was certainly inspired to some degree also by C.G. Jung's archetype of "the shadow" — and Bizarro certainly reflected that, as well.||”|
Binder introduced the adult version of the character into the Superman comic book, this time wearing an "S," in Action Comics #254 (July 1959). Bizarro proved popular, and eventually starred in a Bizarro World feature in Adventure Comics for fifteen issues, running from issue #285-299 (June 1961-Aug. 1962), as well as in a special all-Bizarro 80-Page Giant (Superman #202, Dec. 1967/Jan. 1968). The character made forty appearances in the Superman family of titles — Action Comics, Superman, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane, Adventure Comics, Secret Society of Super Villains, and DC Comics Presents — from 1959 to 1984, prior to a reboot of the DC Universe as a result of the limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 - 12 (April 1985 - March 1986).
Bizarro was reintroduced into the DC Universe in a one-off appearance with characterization similar to his original Superboy appearance in The Man of Steel #5 (Dec. 1986). He was later revived in the "Bizarro's World" serial that ran through the Superman titles in March and April 1994, and in Action Comics Annual #8 in 1996. An unrelated four-issue limited series titled A. Bizarro (July - Oct.) was published in 1999.
Yet another version was introduced during the "Emperor Joker" storyline in September - October 2000. Remaining in DC Comics continuity, this Bizarro continued to make semi-regular guest appearances that firmly established the character as part of the Superman mythos.
General Dru-Zod had originally created bizarro duplicates of himself to dominate the planet, Krypton. The bizarros had no power because they were not under a yellow sun, but they were soldiers ready to kill and die without hesitation. This was the reason why Zod was banished to the Phantom Zone for 25 Krypton sun-cycles.
Some 12 years later, totally oblivious to these facts, a scientist on the Earth is demonstrating his newly invented "duplicating ray" to Superboy, and an accident causes the ray to duplicate the superhero. The copy, quickly labeled "Bizarro", is a flawed imitation as it possesses chalky white skin and childlike erratic behavior. Shunned by the people of Smallville, Bizarro befriends a blind girl, and loses all hope when he realizes that the girl didn't shun or flee from him, because she was blind. Superboy is eventually forced to "kill" the "less than perfect" clone, using the remains of the duplicating machine, which acts like blue kryptonite (as opposed to green kryptonite, Superboy's weakness) on the copy. The whole business proved unexpectedly easy as Bizarro deliberately destroyed himself by colliding with the duplicating machine's fragment. The ensuing explosion miraculously restores the girl's eyesight.
Years after this adventure, Superman's arch-foe Lex Luthor recreates the "duplicating ray" and uses it on the hero, hoping to control the duplicate. The Bizarro that is created, however, is confused, stating: "Me not human... me not creature... me not even animal! Me unhappy! Me don't belong in world of living people! Me don't know difference between right and wrong — good and evil!" Luthor is arrested by Bizarro for re-creating him, but forgotten as Bizarro attempts to emulate Superman, creating havoc in the city of Metropolis and almost exposing Superman's secret identity as Clark Kent. When Bizarro falls in love with reporter Lois Lane, she uses the duplicating ray on herself to create a "Bizarro Lois", who is instantly attracted to Bizarro. The Bizarros leave Earth together, determined to find a home where they can be themselves.
Superman encounters the couple once again, discovering that Bizarro — now called Bizarro #1 — has used a version of the duplication ray to create an entire world of Bizarros, who now reside on a cube-shaped planet called "Htrae" (Earth spelled backwards). Bizarro #1 and Bizarro-Lois #1 also give birth to a child who while super-powered, appears to be totally human. Considered a freak by Bizarro standards (out of resentment for the way he was treated by earth humans, Bizarro #1 made a law that they must act the opposite of humans,causing no end of lunacy), the child is the catalyst for a brief war between Htrae and Earth. Blue Kryptonite is also invented during this war, as well as the -temporary- existence of Bizarro-Supergirl. Bizarro also has a series of adventures on Htrae, aiding a normal Jimmy Olsen when he is accidentally trapped on the Bizarro world, preventing an invasion of blue kryptonite statues, and stopping the Bizarro version of Titano.
Bizarro's influence is also felt on Earth: Jimmy Olsen is inadvertently turned into a Bizarro for a time, and a new teen version of Bizarro travels to the 30th century, attempting to join the Legion of Super-Heroes. When rejected by the Legion, the Bizarro teen creates his own Bizarro version of the Legion, which Superboy eventually persuades him to disband.
When Bizarro encounters Superman once again, his powers had altered so that they were the opposite of Superman's (such as possessing freeze vision as opposed to heat vision and heat breath as opposed to freeze breath), and he unsuccessfully attempts to kidnap Lois Lane. Bizarro also temporarily joins the Secret Society of Super Villains to battle the Justice League of America and Captain Comet.
Bizarro appears in the Alan Moore-scripted "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", in Superman #423 (September 1986). Bizarro goes berserk and destroys the Bizarro World and its inhabitants, then travels to Metropolis and wreaks havoc before abruptly committing suicide. This and many other deaths turn out to be the machinations of Mr. Mxyzlptlk who had begun a rampage of crime. Superman is unable to undo the deaths, but kills Mr. Mxyzlptlk and then uses gold kryptonite on himself.
Bizarro's final pre-Crisis appearance was in DC Comics Presents #97 (September 1986), which was also the final issue of that series. After being empowered by a hideously disfigured Phantom Zone sorcerer, Mr. Mzyzlptlk destroys Zrfff and then causes the Bizarro world to implode, killing all its inhabitants. Bizarro's severed head crashes onto Clark Kent's desk and addresses Clark Kent before his simulated life ends. Bizarro does not appear in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, apparently because of this story's events.
This story directly contradicts a World's Finest story where it is revealed that sometime in the future, Htrae is transformed into a more normal world (egg-shaped rather than cubical) by the radiation from an exploding celestial body. The Bizarroes are changed into normal non-powered people as well, but still retaining vestiges of their Bizarro laws (curtains hung outside the windows of a house, etc.)
After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lex Luthor orders his scientific team to create a clone of Superman. However, wrongfully starting from the assumption that Superman is a human with metahuman abilities (his alien origin had not yet been discovered by Luthor, let alone publicly revealed), the process results in a flawed copy, which Luthor dismissively refers to as "...this bizarre -- Oh, forget it", before ordering for the subject to be disposed of. The monstrous clone survives and, although mute and possessed of only limited intelligence and vague memories of Clark Kent's life, attempts to mimic Superman; including carrying a broken down ambulance to the hospital. He kidnaps Lois Lane and is finally destroyed when colliding with Superman in mid-air. Each time he exerted himself, the clone crumbled slightly. When Lois Lane's sister was exposed to Bizarro's dust, she recovers her sense of vision. Lois Lane's sister was previously blinded by a terrorist acid attack. The cure was completed when she was hit by a shower of the dust when Superman smashed the clone. While Superman had not expected this effect, he speculated that Bizarro heard the sister explain her partial recovery. Thereafter Bizarro may have deliberately allowed himself be killed in order to cure her.
A 2nd Bizarro, able to speak and think better due to genetic engineering by Luthor prior to using the clone process, appeared in a 5-issue substory in the clone plague story-arc titled "Bizarro's World" (beginning in Superman #87). Before he died, this Bizarro seriously injured Happersen, kidnapped Lois, created a ramshackle dummy version of Metropolis in a warehouse (to parody Superman's frequently rescuing Lois, he deliberately exposed her to and "rescued" her from one lethal danger after another), abducted Lana Lang, proposed to Lois (presenting her with a ring, actually a stolen table display) and finally died in Luthor's labs. During this period, Superman also had to cope with an unending increase in his powers due to exposure to "purple kryptonite" in the climax of the Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen story-arcs.
There was one other Bizarro created by Lex Luthor's clone process, by Lex Luthor's estranged wife and Dabney Donovan shortly after Superman regained his normal powers when he expended his electromagnetic ones. This Bizarro abducted Lex Luthor's baby daughter and intended to send her by rocket to another planet, emulating Kal-El's escape from Krypton. His pile of explosives and bombs, meant to launch the rocket, would have killed her instead, and Superman had to shield her when Bizarro threw the launch switch. Bizarro 2, already self-destructing from a genetic booby trap encoded into him by his creator, perished in the explosion.
Another version of Bizarro possesses all the abilities of Superman but with a childlike mentality and method of speech. He is created by Batman's arch-enemy the Joker when the villain steals the powers of the fifth-dimensional imp Mr. Mxyzptlk. Creating a twisted version of Earth called "Jokerworld" — a perfect cube with Joker's image on each facet — the villain designates Bizarro to be the planet's greatest hero and leader of a reimagined "JLA" (the "Joker's League of Anarchy"). When Mxyzptlk regains his powers, the imp allows Bizarro and several other beings to remain on the restored Earth.
Bizarro suffers a setback when captured by the Pokolistanian dictator General Zod. Zod beats and tortures Bizarro, apparently simply because the creature resembles Superman. The hero rescues Bizarro, and to help him adjust to the normal Earth rebuilds Bizarro's "Graveyard of Solitude" (the opposite of Superman's Fortress of Solitude). During the Infinite Crisis, Bizarro is tricked into joining the reformed Secret Society of Super Villains by Flash's foe Zoom, and during a battle with superteam the Freedom Fighters accidentally kills the Human Bomb, constantly hitting the hero to observe the flashes of light that are produced from the kinetic energy of the blows.
Bizarro becomes involved when Kryptonian criminals led by General Zod escape to Earth, but wishing to create a home for himself, Bizarro travels into deep space to a solar system occupied by a blue sun. After creating a cube shaped planet, filled with abstract versions of various buildings and locations on Earth, Bizarro is still lonely. The blue sun, however, gives Bizarro a new ability called "Bizarro Vision", which allows him to create new Bizarros. When this fails, Bizarro kidnaps Jonathan Kent, Superman's adopted father on Earth. Superman rescues his father and helps Bizarro become his world's greatest hero.
Bizarro eventually appears on the planet Throneworld, befriending and aiding Earth hero Adam Strange and allies Prince Gavyn, Captain Comet, and the Weird. Together they participate in the war between alien worlds Rann and Thanagar, and against villains Lady Styx and Synnar. Bizarro eventually visits the grave of a deceased Jonathan Kent, and is then sent (by rogue Kryptonians) with other Superman foes to the inter-dimensional prison, the Phantom Zone.
Bizarro has a series of encounters with former Secret Society ally Solomon Grundy, and during the events of Blackest Night, Bizarro confronts the Black Lantern version of Grundy. Bizarro eventually destroys Grundy by driving him into the heart of the Sun.
Later, while investigating an object that crashes into a Metropolis park and leaves a massive crystallized crater in its center, Dr. Light and Gangbuster discover a Bizarro-like creature that resembles Supergirl. The Bizarro Supergirl takes the heroes hostage, but is ultimately defeated in battle by the real Supergirl. It is revealed that the Bizarro Supergirl is a refugee from the cube-shaped Bizarro World, and was sent to Earth by her cousin after their planet was attacked by a being known as the Godship. Dr. Light attempts to take the Bizarro Supergirl to S.T.A.R. Labs, only to be violently knocked unconscious by Supergirl, who then absconds with her doppelganger and her ship, hoping to stop the Godship and save Bizarro World. After taking Bizarro Supergirl back to Bizarro World, Bizarro Superman is reunited with Bizarro Supergirl.
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Bizarro first appears in the Forever Evil event. Five years ago, Lex Luthor, intending to create his personal army of Supermen, attempted to splice Superman's DNA with human DNA and injected it into a teenage test subject. Instead, he transforms into a hulking white-skinned monster with cryonic vision, incendiary breath, and immunity to Kryptonite — deducing his weakness, Luthor hits him with concentrated solar radiation that oversaturates his cells and kills him. Luthor then takes samples of the creature to continue his experiment, deciding to clone a purely Kryptonian body. Five years later, a capsule labeled B-0 is shown.
After the Crime Syndicate takes over the world, Luthor releases Subject B-0, though his transformation is only halfway through. When he kills a security guard named Otis on Luthor's orders, Luthor is pleased and decides to use the imperfect clone in his plan to take the Syndicate down. Later, when Luthor and his team of villains pass through a tunnel, B-0 is revealed to be afraid of darkness. Luthor tries to comfort him with a story about his own fears, but ultimately wonders whether the clone was a waste of time; B-0 then speaks his first words, "Bizarro... try", much to Luthor's surprise. Though initially doubtful, Luthor grows truly fond of "Bizarro", who proves to be a powerful asset throughout the event.
During the final confrontation against the Earth-3 invaders, Bizarro battles Mazahs, the alternate version of Luthor himself; although he initially has the upper hand, Bizarro is fatally wounded and left to die. Luthor desperately tries to fix him, to no avail, and they share a sorrowful goodbye. Enraged over the death of Bizarro Lex Luthor murders his Earth-3 counterpart avenging Bizzaro. After the battle is over, Luthor restarts the cloning process; when one of his scientists states it should take about ten years to fully develop a perfect Kryptonian clone, Luthor corrects him by saying it will take only five years, revealing he truly intends to create a perfect copy of Bizarro.
Bizarro is depicted as having all the abilities of Superman, although in some incarnations several of these traits have been reversed, such as
This also applies to weaknesses, as Bizarro is vulnerable to blue kryptonite, as opposed to green kryptonite, which is lethal to Superman. Bizarro is actually strengthened by green kryptonite as opposed to blue kryptonite.
The limited series All-Star Superman (Jan. 2006 - Oct. 2008) features Bizarro clones from an alternative universe called the "Underverse". They can "infect" a normal human and change them into a Bizarro clone by touch. One of these creatures is called "Zibarro" and is unique in that he has the mental capacity of a normal human.
Bizarro appears in an issue of the tie-in comic for the late-1980s Superboy TV show, in which he is duped into acting as a student's art project. He also was featured in an issue of the Superman Adventures comic series that tied into Superman: The Animated Series in which he is brought to Earth by Lobo.
A Bizarro fantasy akin to the pre-Crisis version appears in the 1998 Adventure Comics 80-Page Giant by writer Tom Peyer and artist Kevin O'Neill. There, Bizarro demands that a technician at a SETI-like installation broadcast his diary. Having no choice, the technician looks over the diary, which tells the story of the classic cube-shaped backwards Bizarro World. Superman accidentally finds himself there and, to allay people's fears of him, goes on a "constructive rampage." The original Bizarro, aka Bizarro #1, goes to Earth and attempts to stop Superman with the help of his friends. However, when the other Bizarros try to kill Superman, #1 stops them, saying that killing is the earthly thing that they must, above all, do the opposite of. Realizing that, however strange Bizarro World might be, its inhabitants are safer and happier than those of Earth thanks to Bizarro #1's leadership, Superman apologizes. To show his sincerity he hides a copy of the Bizarro Code where nobody will ever see it. The people hold a parade in #1's honor and with his loving wife Bizarro Lois #1 and their son, Bizarro Junior #1 at his side, Bizarro cries saying "Me am ... happiest creature in universe." When the technician finishes reading the story, he sees Bizarro is gone and, horrified, asks - what if the journal itself is no exception to the Bizarro Code? Elsewhere, the truth is revealed; Bizarro, who has no home and has no family and is held in contempt by Superman, weeps because he is the most miserable thing in the universe.
In the 2004 graphic novel mini-series Trinity by Matt Wagner, Bizarro is a genetic clone of Superman that is the result of Luthorcorp's "Project Replica". The creature was then sealed away in the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, encased within ice, until it was released by Ra's Al Ghul, who used him as a pawn in his plan to use nuclear warheads to decimate Gotham as well as destroy a cluster of communication satellites, causing a major communications blackout, the end goal of his mission being to incite chaos and purge the Earth of the "cancer" that is civilization. Bizarro loses his hand and is thrown into a volcano and is presumably deceased, however, his hand is turned into red kryptonite at the bottom of the ocean.
A story in the out-of-continuity digital-first anthology comic book Adventures of Superman from 2013 by Christos Gage and Eduardo Francisco reveals that Bizarro's penchant for opposites comes as a result of his imperfectly formed brain, a discovery which allows Superman and Professor Hamilton to make him talk and think like a regular person and pursue his desire to be heroic.
The 2002 graphic novel Bizarro Comics is an anthology of short comics by artists of the independent scene handling various DC Comics characters in humorous tales set outside of any continuity. All the stories are bookended by Bizarro Wars, a comic written by Chris Duffy with art by Stephen DeStefano in which Mxyzptlk seeks the aid of Superman to save the fifth dimension from a cosmic conqueror named "A", but ends up with Bizarro (here introduced as a new character that neither Superman nor Mxyzptlk formerly knew of) instead. The other comics in the volume (including one short Bizarro World story written by Bizarro creator Alvin Schwartz) are presented as creations of the deranged mind of Bizarro himself. The 2005 follow-up anthology Bizarro World features the character less centrally, but includes an introductory story in which the character runs an amusement park.
On Earth 2 as part of The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Darkseid and Steppenwolf created a clone of Superman which they dub Brutaal. After being snapped out of Darkseid's control by his wife Lois Lane (who in this reality inhabits the wind-manipulating robot body known as Red Tornado), Superman and Red Tornado leave for the Kent Family's farm. After a protracted battle with Earth 2's superheroes, in particular Green Lantern (Alan Scott) and a younger Kryptonian named Val-Zod, he is revealed to be scaling and decomposing. Realizing he is a Bizarro-type clone and that his power is waning, the Superman clone is destroyed by Lois using a cyclone blast from her hand.
Several alternative universe versions of the character exist: the Silver Age Bizarro appears in Justice as a member of the Legion of Doom; a Legends of the Dead Earth story set in the far future features a former media-star Bizarro who owns an amusement park and who fights against his own obsolescence; the one-shot The Superman Monster (1999), essentially a Frankenstein pastiche, features a monstrous copy of Bizarro created by a Viktor Luthor; Superman: Red Son (2004) features a "Superman 2" created by genius Lex Luthor for the United States to stop the Soviet-based Superman; and Lex Luthor creates Bizarro-like duplicates called "Liberators" in the limited series JLA: The Nail (1998).