A Tribute to the of

And the firsts keep on coming with the new DC television series’. Recently we saw an episode of Supergirl with what I believe is the first live action Bizarro. They did a respectable job of making a credible Bizarro Supergirl and I couldn’t help but chuckle when the genuine Supergirl described her doppelganger as talking like Cookie Monster.

So, I began to wonder if there was ever a Bizarro Supergirl in the comics. I’d seen everything from Bizarro Superboy to Bizarro Superman, Lois, Perry White, Lex Luthor, Batman, Mxyzptlk and even Legion of Super-Hero members, but couldn’t recall seeing a Bizarro Supergirl. As it happens, there was one who appeared in Superman #140 with a cover date of October 1960. Workhorse scribe Otto Binder wrote the 3-part “The Son of Bizarro!,” with a Curt Swan/Stan Kaye cover and interiors by Wayne Boring with Stan Kaye inks and editing by Mort Weisinger.

Part I offers the reader a quick explanation of the whole Bizarro concept with a view of the square Bizarro world, the rude architecture and the backward habits of the multiple Bizarro Supermen and Bizarro Lois Lanes. Then there is a flashback to the laboratory of Lex Luthor as he’s developed his duplicator ray, but rather than making perfect copies of whatever the beam strikes, it produces imperfect copies and when the Man of Steel finds himself in range of the ray, an imperfect Superman appears and he takes the name of Bizarro. Before all is said and done a Bizarro Lois Lane is also produced and the couple fly off to find a world of their own that will make sense to them.

Later, a suitable planet is found and Bizarro fashions a duplicator ray of his own, but he calls it an imitator machine and promptly begins cranking out duplicates of Lois and himself to populate their new planet. In order to differentiate himself and the original Lois, each wear a sign around their necks declaring them Bizarro No. 1 and Lois Bizarro No. 1 respectively.

It doesn’t take long, however, for Bizarro No. 1 to grow weary of seeing the same faces everywhere he turns, so he reasons that he needs his own version of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, but in classic Bizarro fashion he places “Fortriss Uv Bizarro” in the desert rather than the arctic and fills it with useless junk as an imperfect answer to Superman’s trophy room.

At some point he returns home to Lois only to discover she’s had a baby. The only problem is that the baby is a perfect little super baby, which violates the code of the Bizarro world. What to do, what to do? Not only is the baby in violation, but non-super Bizarro Lois cannot keep up with the super-powered tyke, who ultimately discovers he’s not wanted by the other citizens of Bizarro world and worse, he doesn’t look like them, making him feel like the ultimate outsider.

The citizenry demand something be done and to buy some time, Bizarro No. 1 stashes the toddler in an orbiting sputnik-like satellite. After the mob disperses, Bizarro No. 1 goes to retrieve his son, but the satellite has continued its trajectory and the Super Tot lands on Earth, is discovered by a kindly couple, but they take him to Midvale Orphanage, which just so happens to be the home of Linda Lee, aka Supergirl, closing out Part I.

Part II’s “The Orphan Bizarro” finds Linda Lee herself placed in care of the new arrival that they’ve dubbed “Baby Buster” and she soon discovers the little guy’s super talents. She changes into her Supergirl garb and chases him as he flies off to explore the surrounding area.

They soon encounter cousin Superman and manage between the two of them to capture Baby Buster. Superman instructs Supergirl to keep the kid under wraps while he decides how to proceed. She changes back to Linda Lee and has her hands full until a couple, the Crandall’s, arrive to adopt the red and blue caped figure. The wife slips a note to Linda Lee and whispers, “Supergirl! Read this!” Linda is horrified that her cover is blown until she reads the note, in Superman’s hand, telling her it’s okay and to let the adoption go forth.

Later in her Supergirl identity, she meets up with the Crandall’s on the outskirts of town and then discovers they’re robots sent by Superman to carry out the ruse. She then takes Baby Buster to the Fortress of Solitude where Superman has arranged to have Krypto the Superdog amuse the child (and keep him from leaving) until the super cousins can tag team and provide “foster” care.

A bit later, Bizarro No. 1 is using his super vision to assess the items in Superman’s Fortress to give him ideas for his own when he spots his son. He tells Bizarro Lois about it and they tearfully agree its best the boy be among his own kind, but fate is about to step in when Supergirl uses some of her time to work on some chemistry homework. Something goes wrong and the flask explodes right near the sleeping Baby Buster. Once the smoke clears he looks exactly like a Bizarro, ending Part II.

Part III is titled “The Bizarro Supergirl!” The imperfect version of our heroine arrives when Baby Buster is fooling around and accidentally turns on the original duplicator ray that has found a home in the Fortress. She doesn’t even realize its happened as she is on her way back to the orphanage when the beam strikes her.

When Superman comes to check in he gets a double jolt by discovering the transformation of Baby Buster and a Bizarro Supergirl. Right about then the tot sees his reflection and remarks that now he looks like his mommy and daddy. Superman puts two and two together and realizes where Baby Buster has come from. He instructs Bizarro Supergirl to take the baby to the Bizarro world, but she’s decided she wants to take care of the toddler herself and secretly makes a home for them on Earth. Superman discovers what she’s done and tries to take the baby himself, but cannot pry Baby Buster from the Bizarro Girl of Steel’s locked arms.

Meanwhile, Bizarro No. 1 is again checking in long distance and is pleased to see his son now looks like the rest of the Bizarro denizens, so he heads for Earth, only to find a stubborn Bizarro Supergirl. He blames Superman for the dilemma and vows to go to war with the Earth. He swiftly assembles a super Bizarro army and they start to head for our planet.

A flummoxed Superman has seen them start their journey and he contacts his cousin, who puts her handy Linda Lee robot in her place so she can assist as Supergirl. Unfortunately she’s not successful in wresting Baby Buster either, so Superman hatches a plan, using his handy lead suit equipped with closed circuit TV equipment as he flies into space to collect green kryptonite.

Once he’s got a pile of it he catches the duplicator ray that he’d instructed Supergirl to hurl into space and then awaits the arrival of the Bizarro army. It doesn’t take long until they arrive and Bizarro No. 1 is pleased to see the deadly green meteors, reasoning they’ll be the perfect weapon against Superman, What he didn’t count on was being affected by them, or so it seems. As it turns out, just out of sight, but not out of pain is a duplicate pile of blue kryptonite, which is deadly to their kind. The Bizarro army retreats and Superman heads for Earth with a blue kryptonite meteor to use to “persuade” Bizarro Supergirl to release the Bizarro baby.

The blue K does its work and they’re able to wrest Baby Buster from Bizarro Supergirl’s grasp, but she clandestinely follows, hiding out on an asteroid to observe where they take the baby. As the super cousins arrive on the Bizarro world they are greeted by Bizarro No. 1 and Bizarro Lois No. 1, who are thrilled to have the child back. Bizarro No. 1 quickly calls off the war with Earth and all seems to be well.

Superman then takes Supergirl on a quick tour of the Bizarro world when they run across another Bizarro couple with a human-looking baby, but while they visit, the baby turns into a Bizarro, which indicates that Supergirl’s experiment wasn’t the catalyst for Baby Buster after all, relieving her.

On the flight back to Earth, they chance upon the asteroid to find that the hapless Bizarro Supergirl had lurked on the very asteroid where the cache of blue kryptonite was stored. She’s turned blue from kryptonite poisoning and died, ending the story.

And that, readers, is the first, and to my knowledge, last appearance, not counting the recent television episode, of the Bizarro Supergirl.

The Bizarro stories tend to be light-hearted comedy relief, even though this one involved a death and overall, they are kind of fun. I’ll give this one a 6 on the 10-point rating scale for a pretty original storyline. I’m beginning to think Otto Binder was a lot more indispensable to the Superman mythos than I’d given him credit for, and it’s always nice to learn more about the origins of these classic characters.

As 2016 marches on, we’ll continue to plumb the depths of the Silver Age, but sometimes we could use a little help. If you’ve got a story or character you’d like to see researched here, just drop a line: professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you the first of March and, as always…

Long live the Silver Age!

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