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The History of Bizarro

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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 strange clone.

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 Superboy. 

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


Smallville Bizarro


Bizarro Vs Superman
by Bob T.


Fan made Christopher Reeve Bizarro
by
David A


First Bizarro to most recent


Bizarro Superfriends


Supermen including Bizarro

by Chris Frahme

Post-Crisis Bizarro

LexCorp Bizarros
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.

Emperor Joker
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.

Batzarro
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

Superboy

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 specifically.