Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the best Lex Luthor comics.
Q: Can you explain how Lex Luthor was elected President? Donald Trump might need some pointers. -- @ASaltzberg
A: President Lex! Now there's a story that I haven't thought about in a while - and just for context, I'm someone who thinks about Harold, the hunchbacked mechanic that Batman used to keep in his basement to fix up the Batmobile, at least once a week. Looking back, it seems like a very weird story, an ultimately forgettable new direction for a villain that never really went anywhere, but at the time, it definitely felt like it was a big deal.
Q: Has there ever been a more notable or successful reinvention of a villain than the transition from Mr. Zero to Mister Freeze? -- @spacetimeboss
A: Friend, you are not kidding about Mr. Freeze. As much as heroes and villains change over the years, and as much as they have to change to stay relevant as hundreds of creators work on their ongoing stories, I honestly don't know if there's any bad guy who made a change that dramatic, both in terms of theme and quality. He goes from being a one-note crook with an ice gun to one of the most compelling and tragic figures in Batman's entire Rogues Gallery. I'd even go as far as saying that aside from Two-Face, he's the easiest of the major villains to sympathize with --- and he probably works in a whole lot more stories besides.
There have been rumors floating around about Lex Luthor’s role in Batman vs. Superman, but there’s been little confirmation about anything involving Jesse Eisenberg’s take on the character. So far, we pretty only know that this version of Luthor is still bald, thanks to the first official image of Eisenberg in character. That’s it, really. But a new rumor suggests something a little more interesting for Superman’s longtime nemesis.
Since the launch of the New 52 reboot in 2011, DC Comics has seemingly gone out of its way to find new ways to make its superhero darker. Its current Futures End weekly comics event is one in which everything has become even more dour and depressing in the span of five (narrative) years, for example.
But there's one character that DC writer Geoff Johns simply can't view as dark, however: The Flash. In an interview with Nerdist, former Flash comics writer Johns answered a question about the lighter tone of the new The Flash TV series by saying that Barry Allen simply can't be a gloomy character.
In a new interview in Total Film magazine, actor Jesse Eisenberg, who will portray Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, gives the movie and its writers more than just a ringing endorsement. He says he'd do the movie for no money at all if it was some low-budget flick. "I really liked it on its own terms. I would do it if it was for free and it was tiny."
That seems like quite a stamp of approval. Sure, actors have to talk up their movies for promotion, but saying, "I'd do this for no pay" is a fairly extreme endorsement. And it turns out from the rest of the interview that Eisenberg isn't exactly a fan of the superhero genre -- but he may be coming around.
Each weekday, ComicsAlliance brings you a carefully selected variety of links from around the web about comics and comics-related media, including movies, video games, toys, and whatever else might be worth noting. Quite frankly, these are items you may just need to know about to have a productive day. Take a look at today's hand-picked links after the jump.
Q: Who do you find more psychologically interesting, the Joker or Lex Luthor?-- Jordan, via email
A: You know, it's weird. As much as you see Superman and Batman together in stories where they're continually contrasted against each other, full of endlessly terrible first-person narration about how "Clark likes pancakes because he can't understand what it means to be vulnerable" but "Bruce always told me Alfred makes the best French toast, he has so much trouble trusting others" or whatever, their arch-nemeses don't often get compared with each other in the same way. They team up from time to time, sure, but usually the focus is just on their common goal of murdering the good guys, so you don't get too much there. That said, I like both of those characters a lot, and after thinking about it, I've come to the conclusion that as the World's Foremost Batmanologist, as someone who has written extensively about the Joker and his relationship with Batman, it's definitely Lex Luthor.
Get ready for a younger, thinner, but perhaps less wind-resistant Lex Luthor.
Batman vs. Superman director Zack Snyder has confirmed that noted mop-top Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) will play Superman's nemesis in the new film, quashing rumors that the role would go to Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston or any of the other actors who have been rumored for the role (As CA Senior Editor Andy Khouri noted, maybe someone mistakenly heard "Heisenberg" instead of "Eisenberg"). In another addition, Oscar winner (for the 1990 film Reversal of Fortune) Jeremy Irons will be the Alfred to Ben Affleck's Batman.
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