Bizarro World


Bizarro with a number of denizens of Bizarro World at his version of the Fortress of Solitude. Art by Ibraim Roberson.
Notable characters Bizarro
Yellow Lantern
First appearance Action Comics #263
(April 1960)
Publisher DC Comics

The Bizarro World (also known as htraE, which is "Earth" spelled backwards) is a fictional planet appearing in American comic books published by DC comics. Introduced in the early 1960s, htraE is a cube-shaped planet, home to Bizarro and companions, all of whom were initially Bizarro versions of Superman, Lois Lane and their children and, later, other Bizarros including Batzarro, the World's Worst Detective.

In popular culture "Bizarro World" has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite to expectations.


In the Bizarro world of "htraE" ("Earth" spelled backwards), society is ruled by the Bizarro Code which states "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!" In one episode, for example, a salesman is doing a brisk trade selling Bizarro bonds: "Guaranteed to lose money for you". Later, the mayor appoints Bizarro No. 1 to investigate a crime, "Because you are stupider than the entire Bizarro police force put together". This is intended and taken as a great compliment.

Originally a normal planet, htraE is now cube-shaped. This is due to the intervention of Superman, who - after being convicted of doing something perfect on htraE, which would normally be a capital offense - pointed out that the planet was shaped like a normal spheroid and agreed to cube it if his sentence were commuted.[1]

Later stories introduced Bizarro versions of Superman's supporting cast, including Bizarro-Perry White, Bizarro-Jimmy Olsen, Bizarro-Morgan Edge, Bizarro-Lucy Lane, Bizarro-Lana Lang and Bizarro-Krypto, created by using the duplicator ray on characters other than Superman and Lois Lane, as well as the children of Bizarro and Bizarro Lois. There was even a Bizarro-Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes: the Bizarro League and the Legion of Stupor-Heroes. Bizarro-Batman sported a Futility Belt full of cigarette butts, chewed gum, and other such priceless Bizarro treasures. Yellow Lantern had no power from his powerless Ring, was vulnerable to the color green, and was the most easily frightened being in the universe. Bizarro-Aquaman could not swim. There is even a Bizarro-Marilyn Monroe, the ugliest of them all.

"Tales of the Bizarro World" became a recurring segment in Adventure Comics for fifteen issues from writer Jerry Siegel and artist John Forte, running from issue #285-299 (June 1961-Aug. 1962).[2] Animated Blue Kryptonite golems once erupted from the Htrae surface, bent on defeating the Bizarros and were cheered on by the Bizarro Loises.[3]

Despite their differences, Bizarro and Superman have teamed up on occasion. One notable example happened in Superman #379, when a strange creature appeared to be devouring Bizarros. Fearing he would end up alone Bizarro tried to steal Superman's duplicator ray. Superman convinced Bizarro he would be better off trying to stop the monster before making any more Bizarros. The creature eventually devoured Bizarro, but Superman soon figured out that the creature was not trying to kill the Bizarros, but using their combined strength to defeat another creature which was trying to destroy htraE. The first creature was created as part of a plan developed by none other than the Bizarro Lex Luthor, who Bizarro referred to as a "punk hero."

In the imaginary story, Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, which served as an ending to Silver Age Superman continuity, Bizarro #1 (the original Bizarro and the world's leader/greatest hero), was influenced to bad ends by the now evil Mr. Mxyzptlk. Realizing that to truly fulfill the Bizarro Code he should stop being an "imperfect perfect duplicate" of Superman and be a "perfect imperfect duplicate" of Superman, Bizarro resolves to alter his methods accordingly. To that end, Bizarro #1 deliberately destroyed Bizarro World, reasoning that if Superman's homeworld (Krypton) was destroyed in an accident, Bizarro must destroy his own world on purpose.

The Bizarro World's final pre-Crisis appearance was in DC Comics Presents #97 (September 1986), which was also the final issue of that series. After being empowered by a hideously disfigured Phantom Zone sorcerer, Mr. Mxyzptlk destroys Zrfff and then causes the Bizarro World to implode, killing all its inhabitants. The Bizarros act unusually insane in this account, with Bizarro #1 rocketing his son to the core of the collapsing planet so he would be sure to die!

This story directly contradicts a World's Finest story where it is revealed that sometime in the future, Htrae is transformed into a more normal world (egg-shaped rather than cubical) by the radiation from an exploding celestial body. The Bizarroes are changed into normal non-powered people as well, but still retaining vestiges of their Bizarro laws (curtains hung outside the windows of a house, etc.)[4]

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, John Byrne's Man of Steel miniseries rebooted Superman continuity. The editors and writers did not reintroduce Bizarro World in the reboot. Later, in Superman (vol. 2) #87, the second Post-Crisis Bizarro clone creates a "Bizarro World" which is a warehouse made to look like a surreal Metropolis.

A Bizarro World did appear in a story of this era in the 1998 Adventure Comics 80-Page Giant by writer Tom Peyer and artist Kevin O'Neill. There, Bizarro demands that a technician at a SETI-like installation broadcast his diary. Having no choice, the technician looks over the diary, which retells the story of the classic cube-shaped backwards Bizarro World. Superman accidentally finds himself there and, to allay people's fears of him,[5] goes on a "constructive rampage." The original Bizarro, aka Bizarro #1, goes to Earth and attempts to stop Superman with the help of his friends. However, when the other Bizarros try to kill Superman, #1 stops them, saying that killing is the earthly thing that they must, above all, do the opposite of. Realizing that, however strange Bizarro World might be, its inhabitants are safer and happier than those of Earth thanks to Bizarro #1's leadership, Superman apologizes. To show his sincerity he hides a copy of the Bizarro Code where nobody will ever see it. The people hold a parade in #1's honor and with his loving wife Bizarro Lois #1 and their son, Bizarro Junior #1 at his side, Bizarro cries saying "Me am ... happiest creature in universe." When the technician finishes reading the story, he sees Bizarro is gone and, horrified, asks - what if the journal itself is no exception to the Bizarro Code? Elsewhere, the truth is revealed; Bizarro, who has no home and has no family and is held in contempt by Superman, weeps because he is the most miserable thing in the universe.

The distinctive cube-shaped Earth of Bizarro World briefly appeared in the pages of Infinite Crisis alongside the other Earths in space. A close-up, labeled Earth-0, is seen wherein a smiling Bizarro is strangling a smiling Bizarro-Lois, with Bizarros Hawkman, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White standing alongside and laughing. Similarly, in the present day New 52 DC Multiverse, a cube shaped Earth-29 appears, albeit encircled by a ring. This may or may not be a further reiteration of the Bizarro World.[6]

A cube-shaped planet, populated by assorted Bizarros, was discovered orbiting a blue sun by a Thanagarian patrol ship.

Bizarro captures Jonathan Kent and takes him to the cube-shaped world, prompting Superman to follow him.[7]

The DC Universe Halloween Special 2009 features several stories showcasing Bizarro World. The opening shows Bizarro reading a comic book to a large audience of Bizarro men and women clad in halloween costumes. All of the audience members are bound and gagged, implying that they are being read to against their will as opposed to the traditional practice of gathering around to hear a story. Another tale reveals that Halloween in Bizarro World involves trick-or-treaters giving fruit to the houses they visit. The final story also reveals that Bizarro works at a Bizarro version of the Daily Planet, and also shows Bizarro versions of staff members like Jimmy Olsen and Cat Grant.

Superman #695 has Bizarro fleeing from Mon-El after a battle. In Bizarro-speak, Bizarro informs the hero that he is retreating to Bizarro World, and claims that he will soon return with a Bizarro Mon-El in order to help him defeat the original. This story was never followed up on, as Mon-El was sent into the Phantom Zone shortly after this encounter.

Bizarro World was seen again several months later in Supergirl #55. In it, Bizarro Supergirl (not the one accidentally created in Superman #140) recounts her origin, revealing that she was bound, gagged and locked inside of a spaceship sent from the cube-shaped world to Earth after it was attacked by a being known as the Godship. The issue ended with the modern Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, heading toward the Bizarro World to liberate it from the Godship.

In Grant Morrison's Multiversity series, htraE has been allocated its own alternate universe and is now also known as Earth-29. As well as its imperfect inorganic equivalents of Earth-0's core superheroes, it retains its cubic shape, although now possesses a ring as well. Other planets in its universe are also cuboid in shape- Narr (Rann-29), Raganaht (Thanagar-29) home to a flightless Bizarro Manhawk (Hawkman) and an overpopulated Sram (Mars-29) home to Smarian Snitch (Martian Manhunter).[8]

Known inhabitants

Points of Interest

Other versions

All-Star Superman

Outside mainstream DC continuity, All-Star Superman #7-8 featured the return of Htrae and Bizarro, in which the sentient cubic htraE attacked Earth until Superman interfered. Manifestations of Earth inhabitants attacked en masse, killing and absorbing many. The duplicates have a weakness against steroids; they cannot absorb people who use them. Superman believed that Htrae was a manifestation of an entity called a 'planet eater'. Superman attacks htraE, unfortunately experiencing loss of his abilities due to the super-heavy gravity pull of htraE as it retreats back to its own realm, as well as Doppler shift which replicates the effects of red sun radiation, eroding his superpowers. On this revisionist htraE, Superman encounters Bizarro duplicates of Jor-El ("Le-Roj") and an imperfect clone of Bizarro himself (Zibarro, who is essentially a powerless, rational human). Superman also encounters Bizarro versions of his fellow heroes, such as Bizarro Green Lantern (whose ring allows him to create anything he thinks of, to which he admits he thinks of everything), Bizarro Flash (who is extremely slow and appears to take an entire issue to get to a certain point), Bizarro Batman (who was shot by his parents) and Bizarro Wonder Woman (who is an ugly fat woman that turned to clay). The area Superman lands resembles a destroyed city. There is also an imperfect duplicate of the Statue of Liberty visible in the background, although unnamed. Htrae vanishes back into the Underverse, a newly discovered dimension, at story's end.[9]

Adventures of Superman

A story about Bizarro in the out-of-continuity digital-first anthology comic book Adventures of Superman from 2013 by Christos Gage and Eduardo Francisco ends with Bizarro given the tools to terraform an uninhabited planet to his own tastes. There, he immediately encounters an Amazonian woman with chalky skin who introduces herself as Bizarra.[10]

In other media



Video games

In popular culture

The concept of "Bizarro" has been ingrained in popular culture where it has come to mean a weirdly mutilated version of anything, not confined to characters in DC Comics publications[11] and as such, so has the concept of Bizarro World.


The concept of "Bizarro World" is a fundamental element in "The Bizarro Jerry", the 137th episode of American sitcom Seinfeld. In the episode, Elaine makes a new group of friends who represent inverted types of the normal Seinfeld gang. Jerry labels his counterpart "Bizarro Jerry", much to Elaine's confusion. These characters are kind, considerate, curious about the world around them, and good citizens. Though Elaine is initially attracted to their friendly ways, she is ultimately turned off by the formality and lack of simple camaraderie which she enjoys with her old, selfish, shortsighted group. A second reason for her leaving the Bizarro group is the fact that she is, in turn, so flawed that the Bizarro group reject her in much the same way that Elaine rejected her old friends. Conceivably, her Bizarro version would be ladylike. To this day, fans still write in and tell the producers of the show of all the things that can be pointed out in the background of the Bizarro apartment. These include a Bizarro figure on an apartment shelf, just as a Superman figure sits on a shelf in Jerry's apartment. Viewers can also see a unicycle hanging from the wall instead of a bicycle, and images of horses instead of cars. The locks on the doors are on the opposite side and actually used. At the end, one of the Bizarro group says: "Me am so happy, me want to cry" - a reference to the way Bizarro speaks.


The character Cordelia Chase from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel referenced the concept on several occasions.

Buffy Summers also referenced "Bizarro World" in the season 6 episode "Gone." Following an argument with her then lover Spike, Buffy walks home grumbling to herself "I don't believe this. He threw me out. Did I, like, fall into some backward dimension here? Is this Bizarro World?"


  1. Action Comics (vol. 1) #263-264 (April–May 1960)
  2. This material has been collected as Superman: Tales of the Bizarro World, DC Comics, 2000 (ISBN 1563896249).
  3. Adventure Comics #290 (November 1961)
  4. World's Finest Comics #181 (December, 1968)
  5. This is not the first time Superman is the terror of Bizarro World. In a 1961 story, when Bizarro #1 goes to Earth and brings back a Superman doll as a souvenir, the children are terrified.
  7. Action Comics (vol. 1) #855 (October 2007)
  8. Multiversity Guidebook (January 2015)
  9. All-Star Superman #7-8 (June–August 2007)
  10. In the digital numbering, this is in Adventures of Superman #27; in print it is the single-issue Adventures of Superman #9.
  11. Don Markstein's Toonopedia: Bizarro

External links

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