On Bizarro World, Superman is the odd man out.
The Man of Steel takes a trip to the home planet of his longtime enemy Bizarro, the nutty mirror image of Superman with the backward “S” shield on his purple-tinged duds, and the superhero will have his savvy wholly tested in DC Comics’ Action Comics No. 40, out Wednesday.
DC these days is stretching out and doing a lot of fun, crazy stuff, according to Action writer Greg Pak, and this standalone issue is full of the crazy.
“It’s a total blast,” he says, and artist Aaron Kuder “is at the top of his game. Your heads are going to pop off when you see what he’s doing with Bizarro World here.”
The locale first appeared in 1960’s Action Comics No. 263 — two years after Bizarro’s introduction in the pages of Superboy — and is the setting for a new story featuring Bizarro Lois Lane, Bizarro Justice League and Bizarro Metallo, “who is maybe one of the most surprising characters in the whole book,” Pak says.
“And you have Superman in the middle of all of it trying to figure out what the heck is going on.”
Bizarro World gave Pak a place to go insane with contradiction, even just playing with the Bizarro dialect. Residents speak differently and opposites, with their own idiosyncratic syntax and grammar — for example, “Me am very happy!” means someone’s pretty ticked off.
Holding up a mirror to something usually gives a new angle on it, and the recent Superman event “Doomed” is reflected “in a very surprising way,” the writer adds. “Hopefully that will resonate with folks.”
Bizarro is a fan favorite and even his name has found a foothold in pop culture. (And for those who just can’t enough of the guy, DC launches a new Bizarro series beginning in June.)
The traditional Superman back in the day was “this perfect character,” and Bizarro was designed as a fun way to poke some holes in that image, says Pak.
However, the writer admits that he was freaked out by him as a small child. “I remember sitting in the public library picking up some comic books when I was very young and one of them was a Bizarro story. The cover was just terrifying.
“On one hand Bizarro can be used in a very scary way,” Pak adds, “and at the same time Bizarro can be used in a very funny way. Having characters like that who are flexible, that’s one of the things that makes them perennials.”
Pak is fascinated by a failure to communicate or make connections, and that’s something that comes inherently with this Bizarro tale, where there is a massive threat and figuring out who’s the real bad guy will require Superman’s brawn as well as his smarts.
The writer also promises a mix of emotions and experiences.
“I could be writing the most serious story, but there are going to be glimmers of humor in it,” he says. And if I’m writing a very funny story, there’s going to be glimmers of tragedy in it just because that’s life.
“Even in this lighthearted Bizarro story, there is tragedy — or maybe that’s the opposite way around. Maybe I’m speaking in Bizarro-speak right now.”
Asked what Pals’ Bizarro World counterpart — Pakzarro, if you will — would be like, the writer starts off with describing him as clean-shaven and having excellent eyesight.
“I guess I would be an eraser — just going around obliterating words wherever I see them,” Pak says, laughing. “That would be the literal interpretation of my job, destroying story wherever I go and making complete nonsense out of everything I encounter.”