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Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed
The History of Bizarro
|With the Season 7
premiere of Smallville beginning with the episode titled, "Bizarro"
I thought it would be prudent to go over the history of Superman's
In the Smallville season 6 finale "Phantom", the
last of the escaped Phantom Zone criminals requires a Kryptonian
host to survive. He's after Clark of course, and when creature
bonds with Clark Kent's DNA he takes on Clark's exact form before
morphing into a Smallville's version of Bizarro.
When Clark asks what the Bizarro Clark clone is,
the duplicate replies, "I'm you, only a little more bizarre."
Like a lot of other aspects of Superman's mythos, Smallville takes
some liberty here with Bizarro's origin. Smallville's version
is from Krypton, a phantom like creature stranded in the Phantom
Zone before escaping to Earth.
But what are the origins of the original Bizarro? Where exactly did
Bizarro come from?
The History of Bizarro
Bizarro's first appearance was way back in Superboy #68
(1958). So I guess you could say Bizarro's existence began in the
comic book version of Smallville. A scientist was demonstrating his
newly invented "duplicating ray" to Superboy, testing it on a radium
pellet and a jewel. However, the duplicated radium was
non-radioactive and the jewel melted. The scientist then stumbled
and knocked the machine, inadvertently creating an imperfect
After Superboy grew up to become Superman, Lex Luthor would create
another Bizarro using a duplicator ray again. Luthor hoped Bizarro
would attack Superman, but instead just tried to copy him. Bizarro
couldn't do anything but cause trouble though, and eventually
kidnapped Lois Lane. The problem was solved when a duplicate
Bizarro Lois was created for Bizarro.
The Bizarros moved to the world of Htrae, which had ancient advanced
technology which was used to populate the planet with other Bizarros
created in the same manner. Almost everyone on Htrae (Earth spelled
backwards) looked like an ugly Superman (and possessed super powers)
or an ugly Lois Lane. On Superman's first visit to Htrae in Action
Comics #264 (May 1960), he was arrested for being normal, but he
plea-bargained a proposal to change the shape of the world into a
cube (thereby making it imperfect) for his release. Bizarro wears a
medallion that says "Bizarro #1", in order to distinguish himself
from the other Bizarros on Htrae.
Bizarro's only weakness is blue Kryptonite, created by using the
same machine to duplicate green Kryptonite. Though Bizarro acts in
what he believes to be the best manner, his Bizarro logic often
causes him to act for evil.
Later stories introduced Bizarro versions of Superman's supporting
cast, including Bizarro-Perry White and Bizarro-Jimmy Olsen, created
by using the duplicator ray on characters other than Superman and
Lois Lane, as well as the children of Bizarro and Bizarro Lois.
There was even a Bizarro-Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes,
as well as a "Bizarro-Kltpzyxm".
Bizarro not only thinks backwardly, he also has problems speaking
properly. He usually says things like, "Me am Bizarro" instead of,
"I am Bizarro"
click for larger image
Smallville Bizarro by Gavin Rodrigues
Bizarro Vs Superman by
Fan made Christopher Reeve Bizarro by
First Bizarro to most recent
Supermen including Bizarro
Bizarro World was erased from the history of the DC Universe during the
Crisis on Infinite Earths. Since then, two Bizarros have been created by
Lex Luthor. However, in the post-Crisis version, the imperfections in
the duplicates are eventually fatal. The first Bizarro created
Post-Crisis appeared in Man of Steel #5 (1986), and made several
attempts to "be" Superman, including wearing a jacket and glasses over
his costume, but leaving it visible. He was apparently not capable of
speech. As his non-living matter was continually flaking off, he was
destroyed when he and Superman smashed into each other (the flakes of
his body restoring Lucy Lane's vision, in homage to the original story).
Luthor later recreated Bizarro to see if it would offer insight into how
to stop the "Clone Plague". This Bizarro escaped, and kidnapped Lois
Lane, taking her to "Bizarro World"; a warehouse set up like a surreal
version of Metropolis. He subjected her to danger, so that he would be
able to rescue her from it. She managed to escape, and Bizarro was
recaptured by Lexcorp, where it subsequently died.
A Later version of Bizarro has a very different origin, having been
created by the Joker by the use of the powers of Mr. Mxyzptlk; his first
appearance was in Superman vol. 2, #160, and he seems to be the longest
lived Post-Crisis Bizarro yet.
A Bizarro version of Batman debuted in World's Finest Comics #156. Jeph
Loeb introduced a Bizarro-Batman, Batzarro, into the DC universe in
Superman/Batman #20 (June 2005). His origin is unknown, but his speech
patterns are almost identical to those of Bizarro.
Bizarro on TV
Besides Smallville, more faithful to the comic book versions of Bizarro
have appeared on Superman the Animated Series, JLU, Super Friends, and
the syndicated Superboy TV series.
Superman: The Animated Series
In Superman: The Animated Series, Bizarro is a combination of
Pre-Crisis, Post-Crisis, and original material; he was voiced by Tim
Daly, who also provided Superman/Clark Kent's voice. As seen in his
first episode "Identity Crisis", Bizarro is a creation of Luthor's,
although he was never intended to be what he became. Rather, Luthor
wanted to make an exact Superman clone, one whose only difference was
that he followed Lex's orders which explains why his powers are exactly
as those of Superman, instead of having opposite powers such as ice
vision and heat breath. He took samples of Superman's DNA (gathered from
blood left from his Kryptonite-induced weakness during "A Little Piece
of Home") and grew Superman clones, the first of which to be released
looked and acted exactly like Superman
The only live-action appearances to date of the traditional Bizarro were
in the Superboy TV series which aired from 1988-1992. He was played by
Barry Meyers and appeared in 7 episodes. The first two-part story
featuring Bizarro, titled "Bizarro the Thing of Steel" (part one) and
"The Battle with Bizarro" (part two), was based on the first Bizarro
story from the comics. In this version, Bizarro was created when
Superboy jumped in front of a duplicating machine created by Professor
Peterson (played by George Chakiris) after it was struck and activated
by a lightning bolt. Like in the comic, Bizarro was not truly a villain,
but his backward ways of thinking led him to cause trouble and fight
Superboy. This Bizarro was an unstable duplicate, meaning he would
eventually spontaneously explode. Superboy and Professor Peterson
attempted to "kill" the supposedly non-living being with green
kryptonite, but this attempt failed. They then duplicated a chunk of
kryptonite with the machine and created white kryptonite, which instead
of killing Bizarro, actually cured and stabilized him.
In a later two-part story entitled "Bride of Bizarro", Bizarro was
manipulated by Lex Luthor into attempting to kill Superboy with the
promise that Luthor would create a Bizarro female for him to love.
Luthor eventually kidnapped Lana and created a Bizarro duplicate of her.
This Bizarro-Lana prevented Bizarro from killing Superboy by convincing
him that Luthor was an evil man.
Later still, in another two-part story ("To Be Human") Bizarro-Lana
exploded due to the inherent instability in Bizarro duplicates, sending
Bizarro into a deep depression. Superboy took Bizarro to a research lab
where a scientist found a way to make Bizarro human by transferring
Superboy's brainwaves into him. The transfer cleared up Bizarro's
confused mind, making him think like a human, and removed his powers. He
was made into the image of the scientist's deceased son through skin
grafts. But the transfer process left Superboy's mind clouded and
weakened his powers and he was injured and taken captive by a villain
called "Chaos", who planned to kill him by throwing him off the tallest
building in the city. The only one who could save Superboy was Bizarro
(now going by the name Bill Zarro). But to do so, he had to reverse the
transfer process and become Bizarro again. He saved Superboy at the cost
of his humanity.
Challenge of the Super Friends
Bizarro was depicted here as just as evil as all the other villains. He
was a member of the Legion of Doom led by Lex Luthor.
The Super Powers Team: Galactic
Guardians had a more faithful depiction as a well meaning bumbler.
In the episode "The Bizarro Super Powers Team", he made Bizarro clones
of Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Firestorm, and even a Bizarro-Mxyzptlk who goes
by the name Kltpzyxm.
Lois and Clark the New Adventures
of Superman had a similiar Bizarro story where Lex Luthor had
created a Superman clone, but it was never referred to as Bizarro