Joe Btfsplk

Joe Btfsplk

Joe Btfsplk was a character in the satirical comic strip Li'l Abner by cartoonist Al Capp (1909 - 1979). He's well-meaning, but is the world's worst jinx, bringing disasterous misfortune to everyone around him. A small, dark rain cloud perpetually hovers over his head to symbolize his bad luck.

One storyline in the early 1970s features him trapping his cloud in a special anti-pollutant jar. Joe becomes romantically involved with a gal for the first time - until her crazed ex-boyfriend shows up to kill him! Joe reluctantly opens the jar and releases his cloud - in order to take care of the boyfriend - and wistfully realizes that he wasn't meant for any other kind of life. As he returns to his normal, loner existence, his cloud once again in tow, he is for the moment satisfied to be who he really is.

In addition to the obvious comic effect, Capp often used Joe Btfsplk as a "deus ex machina" to produce miraculous rescues or to effect plot twists. Joe was later licensed for use in a series of animated TV commercials for Head and Shoulders, a dandruff shampoo.


"How else would you pronounce it?" - Al Capp

According to Al Capp, btfsplk is a rude sound. During public lectures, Capp demonstrated this phatic sound by closing his lips, leaving his tongue sticking out, and then blowing out air, which is colloquially called a raspberry or Bronx cheer.

Joe Btfsplk may have been the inspiration for the name of the impish character Mr. Mxyzptlk from the "Superman" comic books. However, except for their nonsensical surnames and their short stature, the two characters are not otherwise similar. Superman's fifth-dimensional nemesis, originally named "Mr. Mxyztplk", debuted in September 1944. Btfsplk had first appeared in June 1942.

ee also

* Al Capp
* Li'l Abner
* Fearless Fosdick
* Shmoo
* Sadie Hawkins Day
* Dogpatch
* Dogpatch USA
* Lower Slobbovia
* Abbie an' Slats
* Long Sam
* Li'l Abner (musical)
* Li'l Abner (film)
* Salomey
* The Cooler

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