11

As shown in the following clip from the DCAU show Superman: The Animated Series (1996–2000), the female imp looks very much like how a typical human woman in the DCAU would look, as opposed to being very short and cartoonish in appearance like Mr. Mxyzptlk.

female imp in Superman: The Animated Series

Is there any explanation for this? Is this how it is in the comics as well?

4
  • 1
    She's also the only woman we encounter, as far as I remember, which leaves the question as to whether or not they're all like that.
    – Clockwork
    Oct 11, 2023 at 12:39
  • 8
    rule of funny? Also, women were always hot in 1940s to 1980s cartoons on which mr mxyzpltlk comic and character was based., while men had all sorts of shapes Read more here: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SexyDimorphism (warning, tvtropes link!)
    – jo1storm
    Oct 11, 2023 at 13:00
  • 1
    @Clockwork - We see other female imps in the comics. They look basically human.
    – Valorum
    Oct 11, 2023 at 13:06
  • 2
    [NSFW] oglaf.com/dimorphism
    – Silver
    Oct 12, 2023 at 17:31

3 Answers 3

13

This appears to be a perfect example of a phenomenon known as Flanderization;

...the process through which a complex fictional character's essential traits are oversimplified to the point where they constitute their entire personality, or at least exaggerated while other traits remain, over the course of a serial work

Gizpy (AKA Gspie, AKA Ms. Gsptlsnz) started out in the comics as essentially a female version of Mister Mxyzptlk, a short, but recognisably human-like entity. Gsptlsnz is portrayed as his bossy girlfriend, again short and relatively ugly.

enter image description here Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #52 (1961)

enter image description here
DC Comics Presents #97 (1986)

Over time Mxyzptlk became dramatically more gnomelike and Gsptlsnz became more overlty feminine.

enter image description here
JLA #31 (1999)

Until they eventually just started writing her as a sexbomb.

enter image description here
Countdown to Final Crisis #22 (2007)

enter image description here
Superman Adventures 26 (2016)

enter image description here
[Superman Reborn (2017)

enter image description here
Action Comics 1000 (2018)

5
  • 9
    It looks like all the examples at the bottom came after the Superman TAS (1996-2000) series. I feel like the cartoon might have inspired that change.
    – Clockwork
    Oct 11, 2023 at 14:14
  • 1
    @Clockwork - I've not seen the show, so I can't really comment, but yes, this does appear to be a case of the tail wagging the dog.
    – Valorum
    Oct 11, 2023 at 14:21
  • 7
    dcau.fandom.com/wiki/Gsptlsnz She looked like she was inspired by Jessica Rabbit
    – Clockwork
    Oct 11, 2023 at 14:45
  • 2
    @Clockwork - My thoughts exactly.
    – Valorum
    Oct 11, 2023 at 15:00
  • 4
    This says what is happening, but it doesn't answer why.
    – EvilSnack
    Oct 12, 2023 at 6:51
11

Just to complete Valorum's answer

In Superman v1 #335 (1979) we can find Miss Bgbznz

Mxyzptlk's wedding
Superman v1 #335 (1979)
Yes, strange are the ways of love... And stranger still... In a strange land...
Priest: ... I now pronounce you imp and wife!
Bgbznz: Oh, Mxy, darling... I know how much you love a good joke-- giggle So here's one you'll adore! I figured you'd never marry me if you saw what I really looked like... ...So I magically projected the image of me you proposed to! But now that we're hitched-- I can show you my real self: this!
Mxyzptlk: Yaaaah! Now... That's not funny!
Someone from the crowd: Mxyzptlk may have attoned for his misdeeds-- But he still hasn't learned what's funny and what's isn't! -- Or else he'd appreciate the fact that his wife's joke is... a veritable work of art! Ha ha ha!

Close-up

Miss Bgbznz close-up

Her more-human-like form was a trick for luring Mxyzptlk. According to her profile they got divorced later.

4
  • 2
    An excellent find. This strongly suggests that he sexy exterior is a glamour, rather than real
    – Valorum
    Oct 12, 2023 at 11:44
  • @Valorum I read that comic when I was a child, long time ago. :-)
    – RubioRic
    Oct 12, 2023 at 11:55
  • 1
    Hmm. So perhaps the later (hotter) forms we see are just her projected images?
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 12, 2023 at 13:18
  • 2
    @T.E.D. Well, according to Alan Moore's story Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow the funny little man image is also a facade
    – RubioRic
    Oct 12, 2023 at 13:31
3

Valorum does a good job of explaining the time-line of the imp women turning from female imps into pin-up models.

As for the why, it helps illustrate just how much Superman is living rent-free in Mr. Mxyzptlk's head; he's so obsessed that he is not noticing the charms of someone who would prefer that he give it up and (as is said in one case) spend time with her.

2
  • 3
    This raises up the fact that people from the 5th dimension can change their appearance at will (which is something she did in Superman TAS to try to entice Mxyzptlk; she also got turned into a coconut tree too). Still, it makes you wonder if there is a reason she remains that way forever, even when he's not there.
    – Clockwork
    Oct 12, 2023 at 7:50
  • Why does she have a perfect body? Because she can.
    – EvilSnack
    Oct 13, 2023 at 23:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.