The Little Man of Action Comics

Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio

This week, instead of writing up a review on Action Comics #7 (we all know I loved it anyway), I decided to devote some time writing up this investigation of one of the most intriguing characters from Grant Morrison’s Super-saga: The Little Man. We first saw “The Little Man” on the very first page of Action Comics #1. He was, apparently, closing a deal with Galaxy Inc. CEO and organized crime boss, Glen Glenmorgan. Later, “The Little Man” was seen coordinating the efforts of the Anti-Superman Army in their scheme to steal Kryptonite from the engine of the rocket that sent Superman to Earth. Though small in size, it’s obvious that “The Little Man” plays a big part in Morrison’s plans for the series so let’s take a closer look at who the character is and what he’s done thus far.

In the interview at the end of Action Comics #2, Morrison says of “The Little Man” that he was “thinking of the dwarf from Twin Peaks” when he was developing the character. I relished this comparison since Twin Peaks is my favorite television show of all-time. For those who haven’t seen the series, the dwarf that Morrison is referencing is this quasi-mystical figure from Twin Peaks who aids the show’s main character, Agent Cooper, in solving mysteries by giving the agent bizarre clues in his dreams. The dwarf seems to have vague mystical powers and knowledge beyond what the mortal characters in the series possess. “The Little Man” in Action Comics fits this bill perfectly. He also seems to have vast mystic abilities as evidenced by how he created a dimensional pocket in Superman’s brain and was able to shatter Kryptonite into shards simply by uttering unintelligible phrases in Action Comics #6. “The Little Man” also appears to know quite a bit about what’s going to happen in Superman’s life as he’s seen right before the train disaster in Action Comics #1 that allows the military to capture Superman and utters the phrase: “Now we can get started.” He also knows that the actions of the Anti-Superman Army will result in the creation of every Kryptonite isotope that will be used to make our hero’s life miserable. This suggests that “The Little Man” has knowledge of the future beyond that of mortal beings.

His diminutive stature, seemingly magical powers, and his knowledge of the future make me think that “The Little Man” could actually be a certain 5 dimensional imp who has always loved to cause Superman mischief. Mr. Mxyzptlk’s powers are magical and, as a resident of the 5 dimension, would be able to see the entirety of the linear time stream as time resides in the 4 dimension. Mr. Mxyzptlk seems the most likely identity for Action Comics little man. Another option is that “The Little Man” could have demonic origins. He seems to like making deals as he’s apparently done with Glen Glenmorgan and how he agreed to give the Anti-Superman Army a shard of Kryptonite each if they in turn agreed to do a deed in his name. Making evil bargains is definitely Satanic behavior and Superman has definitely had his fair share of demonic adversaries in the past (Lord Satanus, Blaze, Neron, Ghast, Rath, and Abnegazar). If he was from Hell, that would also explain the mystic powers and knowledge of the future. My money is still on Mxyzptlk, however, and time will tell us what his true identity is.

Beyond “The Little Man’s” identity, I’m very interested in the game he’s playing with Glen Glenmorgan. Action Comics #7 gave us a bizarre scene that only further piqued my interest in this situation. In issue #7, we see “The Little Man” working as the bartender at the Glenmorgan Hotel. There he interacts with Glen Glenmorgan for the first time since completing their deal at the beginning of Action Comics #1. Glenmorgan can’t seem to recall exactly who “The Little Man” is though he does recognize him. “The Little Man” claims to have been working at the hotel’s bar since Glenmorgan purchased it eight years ago. Then “The Little Man” shows Glenmorgan the silk tie that he made off with back in Action Comics #1 after Superman broke up their meeting to interrogate Glenmorgan. If we go back to the first page of Action Comics #1, we see that Glenmorgan was even adjusting this very same tie the entire time he’s talking to “The Little Man.” While showing Glenmorgan the tie in issue #7, “The Little Man” says: “You could even say we’re old friends, Mr. Glenmorgan. Don’t you remember the time? The time you forgot your lovely silk tie.” Notice the emphasis on the words “old,” “remember,” and “forgot.” Glenmorgan seems troubled by a stain on the tie that appears to have happened while in “The Little Man’s” care. The sight of it sends Glenmorgan into an existential defense of his own crimes. This scene is very odd. It’s so odd and seems to be in-synch with some strange moments from Action Comics #1 that it has to be significant. There’s obviously more importance to Glen Glenmorgan and the mysterious deal he made with “The Little Man” than initially met the eye. I already have a theory about what the whole thing really is that is so wild that I don’t dare make it public yet. Needless to say, I want you all to take another look at the tie incident from Action Comics #1 and #7. I promise you that it’s significant and will come up again. Crazy stuff Mr. Morrison. Cue that midget dance:

#1 Posted by RazzaTazz (11941 posts) - - Show Bio

Ah that is cool, I havent been reading AC

#2 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio


It's my #1 recommendation if you're not reading it. I think it's the best superhero book on the shelves right now (though, as a fan of both Superman and Morrison, I'm probably a bit biased). Morrison always adds easter eggs and mysteries to his books and I think that's one of the strengths in this one.

#3 Posted by Superlad93 (46 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14: Idk if you remember but Morrison, in one of his all star interviews, did say that he would have liked to do a few more stories on his Superman. One that he said seems to go with all this: "Superman vs the devil". He described it as Superman's 1st adventures as a superhero with golden age powers. Now we have Action comics with just that, a Superman with golden age powers. Morrison (as i remember) never really did expand on what he meant by "the devil". This could either mean A. he fights the real devil or B. a metaphorical devil. We all know Morrison loves his metaphors (and i love him for that ) like Superman as the superhero Jesus and Darkseid as the super villain devil. So yes Mixy is most defiantly a possibility. Just look at his Superman 2000 pitch for Mixy.           
#4 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio


I'm glad you brought up the Superman 2000 pitch. If "The Little Man" is Mxyzptlk, the portrayal of the imp certainly fits a god deal of what the pitch implies. You can definitely see trickster god attributes in the way "The Little Man" manipulates situations. I just wonder if he's altering reality in the same manner that Mxy was supposed to in Superman 2000? I'll have to keep an eye out for that interview where Grant talks about Superman vs. the devil. You could be right about that being played out here.

#5 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio

I forgot to mention in my blog post that it's funny "The Little Man" claims to be teetotal (abstinent from alcohol) the first time we see him in Action Comics #1 and then we see him working as a bartender in issue #7. That's a pretty clever, little joke.

#6 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (3652 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a really excellent blog post right here. I had pretty much disregarded the little man for the most part, and hadn't really noticed he was the guy in #6 who was rallying the Anti-Superman army.

Issue #8 brings this matter to the surface, making it impossible to ignore.

#7 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Mighty Monarch:

Thanks for your kind words!

The Little Man seems to be the main antagonist in Morrison's run, so I thought he needed to have the spotlight thrust on him. I've just got to point out some things from Action Comics #8: First off, I'm glad that Superlad93 brought up the interview where Morrison alluded to a story he wanted to do involving a Golden Age powered Superman squaring off against the devil. It seems Glen Glenmorgan is convinced that The Little Man is the devil and says as much in issue #8. This doesn't entirely rule out Mxy and could very well be Morrison setting up a red herring, but the demonic comparisons to The Little Man continue. The issue also gave a good punchline to the teetotal/bartender/city-in-a-bottle joke with George Taylor saying of Glenmorgan's religious mental breakdown: "Wouldn't be the first man who found God in a bottle." It also seems that only Glenmorgan could see The Little Man in the bar. Finally, we see TLM recruiting a brand new Superman villain at the end of the book in the form of Nimrod the Hunter (who I must say bears a striking resemblance to another infamous comic book hunter). Keep an eye on that diminutive bargainer. I'll keep posting updates in this blog.

#8 Posted by Farscape (9 posts) - - Show Bio

It could be a character like Blaze. I read a theory elsewhere that Morrisson is a fan of Miracle Monday thus it could be Samael as depicted in that story.

Mrs Nyxly I'd argue is a better candidate for being Mxyzptlk, bit of a gender bender but possible. The two could be the metaphorical angel and devil on young Superman's shoulders trying to subtely influence him to good or evil ends.

#9 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio

@Farscape said:

It could be a character like Blaze. I read a theory elsewhere that Morrisson is a fan of Miracle Monday thus it could be Samael as depicted in that story.

Mrs Nyxly I'd argue is a better candidate for being Mxyzptlk, bit of a gender bender but possible. The two could be the metaphorical angel and devil on young Superman's shoulders trying to subtely influence him to good or evil ends.

Sorry it took me so long to reply. Anyway, I hope Morrison is channeling Miracle Monday a bit here. That book stands as perhaps the best Superman novel.

I'm not sure about Mrs. Nyxly being Mxyzptlk, though. She doesn't seem like much more than meets the eye and she takes her name from a different Superman villain. Yet, who knows? With Morrison, anything is possible.

#10 Posted by sethysquare (3964 posts) - - Show Bio

Great post. I am really enjoying Action Comics and the little man.

I have so much queries about who is the little man and exactly who are the people in Anti Superman Army.

Does anyone have any idea where we could've seen them before? The only ones confirmed are Nimrod the Hunter and the kryptonite man.

We saw a certain someone from the phantom zone that has this metallic cybernetic arms that seems to be Zod, but his identities wasn't confirmed.

#11 Posted by Primmaster64 (21660 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14: Who do you think it is?
#12 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio


I'd say that my money would still be on Mr. Mxyzptlk. Morrison likes to reinvent the major elements of a character's world, so I can see him wanting to rework Mxy in a major way like this. It would sure give the imp a new, sinister edge.

The only other feasible identity is the devil. That Morrison interview Superlad93 mentioned where Grant stated he wanted to do a story with a Golden Age level Supes fighting the devil is pretty leading as were Glenmorgan's words claiming the tiny fellow was the devil. However, this is so leading it could be a red herring.

I'd say, Mxy's my choice and The Devil is the only other real option. I'd be shocked if it wasn't one or the other.

#13 Posted by Primmaster64 (21660 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14: I also think it might be Mxy, since why would the devil even bother with Superman?
#14 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio

@Primmaster64: Well, he bothered with Job didn't he? ;)

#15 Posted by Primmaster64 (21660 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14: Look at what I found

Doesn't he look familiar? And guess who first appeared in this issue.
#16 Posted by sethysquare (3964 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow. The little man is mxy. They look exactly the same.

#17 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio

@Primmaster64 said:

@Jekylhyde14: Look at what I found

Doesn't he look familiar? And guess who first appeared in this issue.

Good find! It wouldn't surprise me if this was used as inspiration for the little man's look. However, Mxyzptlk's first appearance was Superman #30, but he does appear in this issue. Nice research work.

#18 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio

Well, Action Comics #12 may have told us a lot about "The Little Man" and his true identity. Spoilers ahead for interested parties that have yet to read the issue.

At the end of Action Comics #12, Mrs. Nyxly reveals herself as a 5th dimensional being (she even confirms her relation to this classic Superman character: Ferlin Nyxly). Nyxly alludes to a villain that means to do Superman great harm. She first refers to him as "The Envious One" and later calls him Lord Vyndktvx. Apparently, this creature has already harmed Mr. Mxyzptlk and has killed the "King-Thing" Brpxz. It seems that the death of Clark's parents also coincide with this evil being's escape from the prison of Zrfff. If this Lord Vyndktvx is "The Little Man" (and it's hard to think she's talking about anyone else since TLM shows up a page later in the epilogue) then that explains a lot. It seems that The Little Man is a 5th dimensional imp but he's not Mxyzptlk. He also may not exactly be the Devil, but being called "The Envious One" sure sounds a bit satanic to me. Interesting stuff to say the least. Especially since it looks like The Little Man will be the major villain as Grant Morrison finishes his all-too-short run on Action Comics.
#19 Posted by SandMan_ (4581 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jekylhyde14: ...
#20 Posted by Jekylhyde14 (820 posts) - - Show Bio

@SandMan_ said:

@Jekylhyde14: ...

What troubles you, SandMan?

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