Htrae

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The Bizarro World By Wayne Boring

Htrae The Bizarro World

The home world of the Bizarro. Located light-years away in space in “another far-off solar system” (Act No. 263, Apr 1960: “The World of Bizarros!”), it is “the maddest planet in the universe” (S No. 150/1, Jan 1962: “The One Minute of Doom!”), a wacky cockeyed world where “perfection is hated and everything is mixed up,” and where “all earthly customs are backwards” (S No. 143/3, Feb 1961: “Bizarro Meets Frankenstein!”). The capital of Htrae is Bizarro City, “a crude copy of Metropolis” which “looks like something a mad architect would design,” and the flag of Htrae is a “backward imitation” of the American flag, with alternating blue and white horizontal stripes, and red stars on a field of white (Act No. 263, Apr 1960: “The World of Bizarros!”).

Originally colonized by Bizarro and Bizarro-Lois, the planet—which is frequently referred to as “the Bizarro world”—was populated soon afterward by numerous additional Bizarros created by means of an ingenious “imitator machine” and was christened Htrae (Earth spelled backwards) by its Bizarro inhabitants (Act No. 263, Apr 1960: “The World of Bizarros!”). To the everlasting joy of the Bizarro population, Superman transforms Htrae from a conventional round world into a zany-looking cube-shaped one during a visit to the planet in 1960 (Act No. 264, May 1960: “The Superman Bizarro!”). Superman No. 140 describes Htrae as

…the strangest planet in existence…
  The capital of this incredible world is a city of crooked
structures, seemingly designed by a mad architect!
  Hours are numbered the wrong way on its cray
clocks, and [its American] flags are upside-down with the
stars and stripes wrongly colored!
  On this mixed-up world, coal is used for money… and
Words are all misspelled!
  Queerest of all, the people are all imperfect doubles of
Superman and Lois Lane, living in a world where
everything is the opposite of things on Earth! [Oct 1960: 
pts I-III—“The son of Bizarro!”; “The ‘Orphan’ Bizarro!”;
“The Bizarro Supergirl!”]

On Htrae, the Bizarros have established “a mad imitation of earthly civilization,” where skyscrapers “lean crookedly at all angles” (S No. 143/3, Feb 1961: “Bizarro Meets Frankenstein!”); meals are served backwards, starting with coffee and ending with soup; a film at the local movie theater is “shown from a negative of the film,” so that “the white clouds are black, and the black mountains below are white (Act No. 263, Apr 1960: “The World of Bizarros!”); street cleaners cover the city streets with layers of dirt (S No. 140, Oct 1960: pts. I-III—“The Son of Bizarro!”; “The ‘Orphan’ Bizarro!”; “The Bizarro Supergirl!”); alarm clocks tell people when to sleep instead of when to wake up; and, following the bizarre logic of a “crazy calendar,” all “earthly holidays are misplaced,” so that Christmas is celebrated on July fourth, Halloween takes place on December twenty-fourth, and Independence Day occurs on Thanksgiving (S No. 143/3, Feb 1961: “Bizarro Meets Frankenstein!”). All live is lived according to the topsy-turvy precepts of the Bizarro Code: “Us do opposite of all earthly things!” states the code. “Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro world!” (Act No. 263, Apr 1960: “The World of Bizarros!”).

By April 1960, having abandoned Earth in the hope of making a new home for themselves somewhere in outer space, Bizarro and Bizarro-Lois have arrived on a world in a far-off solar system and come upon the ruins of an ancient city whose alien civilization was “wiped out” by some unknown calamity sometime in the distant past. The two Bizarros decide to make their home there, but as time passes Bizarro-Lois becomes lonely for “friends to talk to,” and so, to fulfill his mate’s need for companionship, Bizarro uses the superscientific apparatus in the ruins of an ancient laboratory to construct an ingenious “imitator machine” with which he soon creates hundreds of Bizarro-Loises in the exact image of his mate.

Bizarro-Lois’s joy at her new-found friendships quickly turn to jealousy, however, as the newly created female Bizarros begin to covet the affections of Bizarro, the only male on the entire planet. At the insistence of the original Bizarro-Lois, Bizarro focuses the amazing imitator machine on himself, thereby creating a host of Bizarros like himself, one for every Bizarro-Lois on Htrae. Together the male and female Bizarros—all of them imperfect duplicates of Superman and Lois Lane—set about dismantling the crumbling ruins of the ancient alien city and transforming them into a wacky capital, called Bizarro City. The original Bizarro became “the tribe’s leader.” He and his consort, the original Bizarro-Lois, rule Htrae together from atop stone thrones in a ramshackle “palace.” Superman has an adventure on Htrae in April 1960 (Act No. 263: “The World of Bizarros!”) which culminates in his transforming the entire planet from a round one into a cube-shaped one—to the great delight of the Bizarro population—with the aid of a “super-large bulldozer” of his own creation (Act No. 264, May 1960: “The Superman Bizarro!”). (see Bizarro.)

In October 1960 Bizarro constructs his Fortress of Bizarro on the planet Htrae, and an infant son, born to Bizarro-Lois, becomes the first Bizarro actually born on the planet as opposed to having been created artificially by Bizarro’s imitator machine. During this same period, Htrae declares war on the planet Earth, but Superman resolves the conflict and large-scale hostilities are averted (S No. 140: pts. I-III—“The Son of Bizarro!”; “The ‘Orphan’ Bizarro!”; “The Bizarro Supergirl!”).

In January 1962, when Superman and the other survivors of the exploded planet Krypton—including Superiglr, Krypto the superdog, the Citizens of Kandor, and even the villains imprisoned in the Phantom Zone—bow their heads solemnly for one full minute of silence to commemorate the anniversary of the destruction of Krypton, the Bizarros of Htrae celebrate the occasion with a full minute of loud, joyously raucous noise, not out of any malice for the doomed millions of Krypton, but only out of the zaniness that characterizes their race (S No. 150/1: “The One Minute of Doom!”).

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