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A grotesque imitation of Superman fashioned out of lifeless matter.
Clad in an invulnerable costume just like Superman's and endowed with
all of his mighty super-powers, Bizarro possesses a dim copy of
Superman's super-keen mind.
His flesh is white, the color of chalk, and his face appears faceted, as though it had been chiseled out of rock. His black hair is matted and unkempt. He is well-meaning but witless, super-powerful but pathetic. His speech is illiterate and ungrammatical. Because Bizarro's mind is an imperfect imitation of Superman's, however, he is capable of flights of occasional super-genius. Because he possesses dim duplicate memories of all that Superman knows, he is well aware that Clark Kent is secretly Superman.
Unlike Superman, Bizarro is immune to green kryptonite, but like all Bizarro creatures, he is vulnerable to blue kryptonite.
Brought into being by an ingenious duplicator ray built by Lex Luthor, the renegade scientist who is Superman's bitterest enemy, Bizarro is only lifeless matter in human form - a thing composed of unliving matter. "Me not human... me not creature," moans Bizarro pathetically in July 1959, "... me not even animal!"
Bizarro can also think and feel and engage in reproduction: his mate, Bizarro-Lois, gives birth to a baby boy Bizarro in October 1960 (Superman #140) and by February 1961 the couple have acquired a daughter.
Together with Bizarro-Lois, Bizarro rules the far-distant planet Htrae, a wacky, cockeyed world where all the men are imperfect imitations of Superman and all the women are distorted doubles of Lois Lane. It is to distinguish himself from all these other male Bizarros that the original Bizarro has taken to wearing a large medallion around his neck plainly identifying himself as "Bizarro No. 1"
Indeed, although the name Bizarro is used as a proper noun, designating Bizarro himself, it is also employed in the texts as a general term to designate any Bizarro creature. All Bizarros are imperfect duplicates of other living things; all are illiterate and ungramatical; and all share the grotesque physical characteristics - including the chalk-white, faceted faces - peculiar to Bizarros. The first Bizarro, in fact, was an imperfect double of Superboy created by a scientist in Smallville while Superman was growing up there. When Superboy first saw the grotesque duplicate of himself, he exclaimed that it was "bizarre"; the witless creature heard him and adopted Bizarro as its name. It is by stealing the plans for the Smallville scientist's original duplicator ray that Lex Luthor is able to reconstruct the apparatus and create his own Bizarro - this one a grotesque imitation of the adult Superman - in July 1959. It is this Bizarro that is the subject of this article.
In the texts, Bizarro is often referred to as the Thing of Steel. Other texts call him a blundering menace, "a grotesque, imperfect double" of Superman, a "pathetic, grotesque creature," and "an artificial imitation of the Man of Steel that came out imperfect!" Superman #174 describes him as "the imperfect, unliving duplicate of Superman who does things in a crazily mixed-up manner."
Bizarro, however, thinks of himself somewhat more generously, as the "most famous monster in history," the all-time "champion monster," the "most famous monster of all," and the "scariest monster" of all time. However, he sometimes sees himself as others do: "Me unhappy!" he declares sadly in July 1959, "Me don't belong in world of living people! Me don't know difference between right and wrong - good and evil!"
Text on this page taken from The Great Superman Book © 1978 by Michael L. Fleisher.
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