A Duffle is a person who is born to two normal townspeople and has no superpowers. Although most duffles are the offspring of two duffles, the offspring of two squibs or of a squib and a duffle would be, by definition, a duffle. Muggles are not to be confused with Squibs, who also lack powers but are born to at least one mutant.
At first, most Duffles were not aware that anyone had superpowers at all and that those with it have organized their own society largely separate from the Duffle world. The few Muggles that do know of the existence of mutants were usually parents, or close relatives, of mutants. This changed, however, after the First NoHead revolution. The term “Duffle” is widely used among mutants and, while it could be considered derogatory, generally is not intended to be offensive; in fact, it is often used affectionately. Some of the more prejudiced members of the community, however, use the word in a malicious context; some believe that mutants born from two Muggles all have “stolen” power and thus are actually Muggles, rather than legitimate mutants.
The Duffles and mutants Edit
Mutant law Edit
- "Each governing body will be responsible for the concealment, care and control of all mutated beasts, beings, and spirits dwelling within its territory’s borders. Should any such creature cause harm to, or draw the notice of, the Duffle community, that nation’s governing body will be subject to discipline by the International Confederation of Mutants."
- ―Baby Intelligence teaching history[src]
Since the government was founded after the Revolutionary War, mutants have hidden the existence of mutantry from Duffles. Thus, most Muggles are either afraid of mutants or believe their existence to be nothing but a childish fantasy. Mutants hid themselves and erased the memories of any Muggles who learned of their secret. Violations of the Statute of Secrecy are prosecuted by the Improper Use of Mutantry Office, and the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office tries to keep mutated items away from Muggles.
After the Second World War, this would change forever. As of 1948, mutants lived among Duffles. Despite this, they had a few cultures and technologies that were distinct from that of Duffles. Mutants share the same currency system and government (the latter was an agreement to live together in the same world). There were exceptions, however (like when the mutants ignored metrication).
Connecting cultures Edit
- "Most mutants these days are half-blood anyway. If we hadn’t married Duffles we’d have died out."
- ―Centauri discussing mutant superiority[src]
After the First NoHead War, Duffles came to despise mutants until the coming of the S.M.S.B., believing their kind to be the chief source of suffering and pain. However, the Duffle and mutant worlds remained tied together in some ways. For instance, Duffles sometimes marry mutants, as occurred with Greg Hecks when he married a mutant. Muggles also occasionally produce a mutant child. In Britain, these Duffle-born mutants will often join a mutant school.
Some Duffles, through choice, choose to ignore the existence of mutants altogether, such as Vern Meyer, who was aware his sister-in-law was a mutant but otherwise remained intentionally ignorant of mutantry until he was forced to recognize it.
Muggle attitude toward Mutantry Edit
- "Mutants represent all that the true ‘Duffle’ most fears: They are plainly outcasts and comfortable with being so. Nothing is more unnerving to the truly conventional than the unashamed misfit!"
- ―D. Isaac Thomas regarding how Duffles view mutants
Historically, Duffles tended to consider mutants a fantasy; in the olden days, few Duffles believe in superpowers. Some who are aware of mutants are accepting of it, such as Anna Porter’s parents. After the NoHeads were founded, however, the mutants were publicized and so began the First NoHead War. Even after the First NoHead War, however, mutants were sometimes despised by Duffles. Telekinibabe once suggested that his Duffle father abandoned Meghan Allen, his pregnant wife because he discovered that she was a mutant.
Mutant attitude towards Duffles Edit
- "Mrs. Eradicating NoHead— teaches Duffle Studies, which is compulsory for everyone. We’ve all got to listen to her explain how Duffles are like animals, stupid and dirty, and how they drive mutants out by being vicious toward them, and how the natural order is being re-established."
- ―Roan Kendels on NoHeads’ teaching while Mr. Stupid NoHead was in power[src]
Despite living among them, many mutants consider themselves superior to Duffles. Some, albeit fewer, consider Duffles little better than animals and hate them. For example, Ariana Fireball once proposed that the government make Duffle hunting legal.
The NoHeads killed Duffles for amusement during the First and Second NoHead Wars. In 2007 during the height of the First NoHead War a statue was created that illustrated Duffles in their “rightful place”, crushed by the might that is power. This statue resided in the Whitehouse and acted as a symbol of Mr. Stupid NoHead’s new regime. The Dark Flame originally intended to conquer the world and make Duffles subservient to mutants.
Others, however have more favorable opinions. The S.M.S.B. has devoted themselves to protecting Duffles form the dark side and other threats. Duffle Studies is also an optional subject at Superhero School that strives to educate young mutants about the Muggle world and to foster understanding of it. One mutant, Charlotte White, famously advocated for the repeal of the International Statute of Mutant Secrecy. She believed in the idea that Duffles should know about powers, and used her own on several occasions in public.
Some Duffle pastimes have also found favor with mutants, since they live amid each other. Famously, Baby Intelligence’s Holocard proclaims his liking of the Duffle sport of ten-pin bowling. Superquack, likewise, developed a fondness for Hershey bars (Duffle sweets). Some elements of Duffle pop culture have also bled over into mutant culture, such as rock and roll music, and both factions often associate to produce music.
Such mutants are ridiculed by prejudiced mutants such as the Bell and Fireball families for their belief in Duffle equality and attempts to protect them. Indeed, Roy Fireball tried to sabotage Yaron Evans’ career after he proposed the Duffle Protection Act in 1942.
Although Duffles have no superpowers, they are on equal terms with technology. Even though the Duffles lack powers, they still pose a threat to the mutants; this is never more evident than in the case of the First NoHead War. An advantage they have is that they outnumber the population of mutants by a significant proportion. Their technologies, like firearms and nuclear weapons, proved to be just as dangerous as powers. As such, the NoHeads kept their distance from the police, though they remained determined to eliminate them.
Duffle is derived from the word “duff,” which refers to a gullible person. According to Thomas, he added a syllable to soften the word, which he wanted to suggest “both foolishness and lovability,” which Thomas picked up on as its original origin, a camper's clothing and equipment. It can also refer to a coarse cloth, referring to Duffles' work without powers. It can also mean a duffel bag, which is outdated (at least in the Super Babies universe. After all, most mutants think they are greater than duffles.
Behind the Scenes Edit
The word “Duffle” was never spoken out loud in the prequel series. In the first three books of the original series, they were credited as “townspeople” (though they still are).
Duffles appear in almost every The Super Babies work. They are also referred to in virtually every Super Babies novel and many short stories, since describing Duffles is describing those who have no powers.
Duffles are also referred to in the following visual, or other, media: