by Martin Maenza
There was a region of space far away from most inhabited worlds. In fact, even for space travelers who had to pass through this region, they knew enough to avoid a certain area, especially if they valued their sanity. And for those who knew no better and happened upon this chunk of space by accident, the sight of a certain heavenly body would give them enough pause.
There, turning an orbit about a sun, was an oddly shaped planet. Beautiful for its perfection and symmetry, ninety-degree angles from whichever way you looked at it, a perfect blue-green cube of a world existed. It was one of a kind — unique — an oddity by design in the grand cosmos.
This was the planet Htrae, a world once modeled after, in an abstract way, the planet called Earth in the Sol system.
Htrae had been destroyed by a great cataclysm a few years prior, reduced to rubble and cosmic dust. All of its inhabitants, imperfect duplicates of humans from Earth, died a horrible death, save two. One was a child launched in a rocket-ship to the center of the planet and who survived to voyage to Earth, where he was renamed Kent Shakespeare. The other was an imp, an imperfect duplicate of a fifth-dimensional being. (*) That imp, Mr. Kltpzyxm, felt saddened that Htrae had been destroyed and decided to use his magic to remake the planet once more as a monument to the fallen race.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Phantom Zone: The Final Chapter,” DC Comics Presents #97 (September, 1986) and Tales of the Bizarro World: The Last Bizarro.]
The world remained uninhabited for a number of months. That was, until a rocket sent from Earth containing a new breed of Bizarros led by Bizarro No. 2 somehow crash-landed on the exact same spot that their predecessors had lived before. (*) Call it fate. Call it irony. Call it a convenient plot point. Just don’t call us late for dinner.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Ambush Bug: Let the Buggy Bizarro, Chapter 2: All This and Bizarro Stew.]
This new group of Bizarros, armed with the tools needed to start again, ransacked the cube-shaped world to make it unfit for their living. They modeled it after those that came before them and strove to live down to the same standards that were set by Bizarro No. 1 and his kind. Using a duplicator ray and a view-screen transfixed on Earth, they managed to repopulate the planet with bizarre, twisted versions of Earth people.
The new group even found a copy of the old Bizarro Code and adopted it.
“Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!” they all chanted in agreement.
Welcome to the Bizarro World.
“Go to sleep! Go to sleep!” a dark-haired woman with pasty white skin shouted as she shook the form in bed.
The form rolled over, revealing a similarly pasty-skinned man with mussed dark hair who was dressed in a blue and red costume. His clothes would have looked exactly like a certain hero from Earth if not for the reverse-S insignia on his chest. “What am you doing, Bizarro-Lois?” he asked cheerfully. “It the middle of the day! Me was having the most wonderful nightmare!“
“Me have bad news!” she said, smiling. “Me have been cursed with a special chore.”
“What that be?” Bizarro No. 2 asked.
“Me been asked to be judge on new program,” Lois continued. “It a new TV show, a search for the worst talent on the planet.”
“Ha-ha-ha,” Bizarro-Superman cried. “Why they want to put that on? It would have long run. Everybody watch.”
Lois frowned. “Me know. But me no care. Give me bad excuse to steal an old dress.” She tugged at her green clothing, which fit only slightly off-center. “See? Look at this! It barely am rag and hardly dirty at all.”
“Ick!” Bizarro laughed. “You am wrong! Go steal old dress and have a lousy time doing the show!”
“You not watch?” Lois asked. “Bizarro-Buggy am going to be host.”
“Double ick!” Bizarro said. “Him am so snooty! Me have big desire to watch a show with him as host.”
Lois frowned. “Are you sure?” she cooed as she nuzzled up close to him. “Me could not try to convince you to watch.” She stroked his crusty square jaw with one of her fingers. “Me know what turns you off, do me?”
Bizarro-Superman tried not to cry. “Yes, yes, me mind not made up.”
“You not sure?” Lois purred as she nuzzled at his ear. “Me think me know what can convince you.” She leaned closer to his ear.
Bizarro-Superman relaxed. “Yes?”
“You can take out the trash for a month!” she yelled in his ear.
Bizarro-Superman frowned, shook his head slightly, and stomped his foot. “Baby, you am the worst!” he said, giving her a great big hug. “You not convince me. Me come to show.”
“Phooey, phooey,” Lois stomped her foot with him. “Me am so sad. You can get up now!”
“OK!” Bizarro said, and he climbed back into bed. Plopping his feet on the hard pillows and pulling the covers up over his head, he wondered if he could get back to that nightmare he was having.
Time passed quickly on the Bizarro World as preparations for the show were made.
Bizarro postmen continued to deliver the mail, occasionally taking bites out of pesky dogs while they did so. Men, women, and children attended the theater, where they watched film negatives with great disgust. In the library, the Bizarros would hoop and holler; anyone who attempted to read a book would be thrown out. Bizarro firemen would race to out of control blazes on large green trucks, only to pull out sticks to roast hot dogs and marshmallows until the flames died out.
Finally, the night of the big show came. Those unfortunate citizens who received passes in the mail were forced to come to the large auditorium to see the show in person. “Aw,” grumbled Bizarro-Junior No. 2. He was the first of many duplicates of Kent Shakespeare, who had formerly been the first second-generation Bizarro until he was made human by Kltpzyxm. “Me wanted to watch show on TV. Me like how small it make everyone.”
Bizarro No. 2 shook his head. “Me made deal with your mother,” he said to the boy. “She’d be so happy if me broke my promise. Now, slow down or else we’ll get a front seat!” He shoved the lad into the building along with the other Bizarro-Supermen, Bizarro-Lois Lanes, and smaller versions of the same.
Soon, the murmuring of the crowd ended in complete silence. Even the band sat quietly.
Finally, the large curtain parted after much fumbling to reveal a pale-green-skinned Bizarro with two antennae about his head slicked neatly back. He was well-groomed and dressed in a fine tailored suit. The dumbfounded look on his face, however, matched that of the audience who stared back at him in a silent gasp.
“I say, where is the music?” Bizarro-Ambush Bug asked. “What kind of opening to our program is this?” He glanced down at the musicians, who sat holding their instruments as if frozen like statues. “Well?” He gave them a menacing glare.
They all smiled and struck up the introductory instrumental.
Bizarro-Ambush Bug winced as they played loudly and completely out of tune. Some finished the notes very quickly, while others labored on as if uncertain how to even play. The host shook his head. “Such a cacophony! Oh, why, oh, why did I agree to do this?!” He stomped across the stage in disgust, which brought forth a round of applause and cheers.
Bizarro-Ambush Bug sighed. “All right, let’s just get on with this! Welcome to our little star search, where we reach for the stars and pluck them from the sky.”
This brought ooohs from the audience. A Bizarro-Junior in the front row turned to its mother and said loudly, “How am he going to touch the stars?“
Bizarro-Ambush Bug ignored the comment and pressed on. “First, let me introduce our panel of esteem–” he started to say, glancing at the trio. “–er… that is… well, the judges.” There came boos from the audience.
Bug nodded to the first figure, a dark-haired Bizarro dressed in a wrinkled blue buttoned shirt. “From the world of standup comedy, Mr. Bizarro-Gerry Feinseld.”
The young Bizarro man nodded. “What am it with Superman?” he started to say into his microphone. “Me mean, really, why am he so good?“
“Thank you, Mr. Feinseld!” Bizarro-Ambush Bug said firmly, cutting off the comic before he launched into his full routine. “Moving on. Next, our first lady of the planet — Bizarro-Lois No. 2!”
The dark-haired woman nodded. Her blue gown was torn at the neck and hung off one shoulder. As she waved to the audience, the extra-long left sleeve flopped in the air, slapping Gerry a few times in the face. There was even more boos for her.
Bizarro No. 2 stood up and shouted. “That me wife! Break a leg, sour bun!”
Bizarro-Lois No. 2 turned paler than usual. “Me hate you, too, darling.”
“Finally,” Bizarro-Ambush Bug said with a bit of impatience in his voice, “a musical talent with numerous gold albums, Mr. Bizarro-Merry Banilow.”
The blond-haired Bizarro male with the pronounced nose was sobbing in a black handkerchief. “Boo-hoo,” he cried. “Me am so happy. Me write the songs that no one sings. If only me could achieve double-coal status.”
Bizarro-Ambush Bug rolled his eyes.