Superman ’78 Comic Sequel Should Use His Strangest Villain

Superman ’78 brought back the continuity of Richard Donner’s classic superhero films, telling an exciting new story with an original version of Brainiac, but the series should use the strangest Superman foe if it continues. Donner’s plans for Superman III would have introduced Brainiac and Supergirl to the film franchise, and while Donner’s vision of the film was scrapped, both characters joined his universe via the Supergirl spinoff film and the Superman ’78 comics. Another character planned for Superman III, the impish Mr. Mxyzptlk, remains absent from Donner’s universe and thus would be a natural choice for another Superman ’78 miniseries.


The Richard Donner Superman franchise technically exists in multiple continuities. After the events of Superman and Superman II, one timeline continues with Superman III, Supergirl, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, while the other includes Superman Returns and Brandon Routh’s appearances as Superman in the Arrowverse. Superman ’78 seems to take place between the events of Superman II and Superman III, putting it in the first timeline, allowing it to introduce a new version of Mr. Mxyzptlk, since the fifth-dimension villain was already brought into the second timeline by the Superman Returns video game adaptation.

Related: Superman '78 Brings A New Krypton Into The Original Movie Timeline

The Superman ’78 miniseries, by Robert Venditti and Wilfredo Torres, expanded the mythos of Donner’s blockbuster film series by not only introducing a new version of Brainiac but also bringing back Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van as shrunken captives of the Coluan villain. While Superman ’78 ends on its own terms (with Brainiac perishing), using Mr. Mxyzptlk as its next antagonist would be ideal if the series returns. Not only is Mxyzptlk the last unused concept from Donner’s Superman III story treatment, but the character’s near-omnipotent abilities combined with the comedic nature of his stories make him a natural fit for the Donner Superman universe.


Mr. Mxyzptlk has been part of the Superman comic mythos since the Golden Age, using his magic-based interdimensional powers to warp reality and torment Superman. Although Mxyzptlk’s powers make him a potentially unbeatable foe for the Man of Steel, his trickster-like nature makes his stories typically comedic. A common method of defeating him is to trick him into saying his name backward, which Superman is rather skilled at. Mxyzptlk’s power notably took a dark turn in the Emperor Joker storyline, where the Joker stole the interdimensional imp’s powers, becoming almost omnipotent for a time.

A potential story for a future Superman ’78 miniseries could begin with Superman encountering Mxyzptlk and repeatedly defeating him by tricking him into saying Klptzyxm until a truly threatening adversary harnesses Mxyzptlk’s powers. Lex Luthor is a near-constant antagonist in the Donner Superman universe, even serving as a secondary antagonist in the Brainiac miniseries, making him the ideal villain to steal (or try to steal) Mxyzptlk’s fifth-dimension powers. Mr. Mxyzptlk is a perfect fit for the occasionally-comedic tone of Superman ’78, and his planned appearance in the Superman films themselves make him the best choice for series next villain.