Thursday, January 14, 2016
Years before R'as al Ghul tried it in JLA, Mr. Mxyzptlk tries taking away language--not just from the citizens of Metropolis, but himself as well! From 1975, Superman #290, "Babble, Babble, Toil and Trouble!" Story by Elliot S! Maggin, art by Curt Swan and Tex Blaisdell.
Invisibly eavesdropping on a Sunday school class, Mxyzptlk gets an idea from the bible: confusing the languages of everyone. (I wonder if anyone was offended that Mxy is cribbing from God here...) Superman, of course, understands all of earth's languages; but Mxy's magic changes them every few seconds, so he can't even say his own name, let alone backwards. Supes has to take a second to stop an armed robbery, where the language barrier had proven to be a problem, but notices now Mxyzptlk is costuming the people based on their languages! Or broad stereotypes thereof. Fed-up, Superman elects to simply ignore Mxy, but then passersby start greeting Mxy by random names, which frustrates him to the point he can't even remember his own name! Supes asks if Mxy dropped this business card, and reading his name backwards, he's back to the fifth dimension in record time.
Well, at least the production values were better than when R'as would try it. Costumes can go a long way.
I would love to see this mentioned in passing on Supergirl, like a radio announcement: "Traffic is backed up eastbound into Metropolis; looks like Mr. Mxyzptlk has animated all the billboards down there, and they're causing a ruckus." "Has it been 90 days already?" "Guess so."