He wasn't Superman's first super-villain, nor was he the first super-scientist the Man of Steel encountered. Heck, he wasn't even Superman's first bald super-scientist super-villain. But ask anyone who Superman's greatest foe is, and nine times out of ten, they would answer Lex Luthor.
Created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, Luthor made his debut in Superman #4, which hit newsstands on February 15, 1940. This was actually intended to be his second appearance, but his official first appearance, in Action Comics #23, shipped one week later. Dozens, if not hundreds, of Superman villains have debuted since that time --- but what was it about Luthor that gave him a staying power not found in characters like J. Wilbur Wolfingham, the Gargoyle, or the Master Jailer?
Everyone loves comic book trivia, but with 75 years of superhero comics behind us right now, there’s always some new obscure fact to learn. That’s why ComicsAlliance is going deep into the minutiae of your favorite names in comics in our continuing video series. You think you know comics? Well, here’s a few things you might not know!
This week, we're taking a look at supervillain/businessman (but perhaps I repeat myself), Lex Luthor, set to make his return to the silver screen in the form for which he is best known, that of a floppy-haired moppet, in Batman v Superman. In this video, we explore the ins and outs of Luthor's 75-plus year history, including how he lost his hair in-universe and out, his family members from his psychic sister to his nasty niece to his alien wife and son, and how he came to be one of the top two most evil Presidents elected in 2000.
Is it the suit that makes the man, or the man that makes the suit? In Lex Luthor's case, it's probably a bit of both. The guy is one of the smartest in the DC Universe, but all the brains in the world can't help him take on Superman mano a alieno. (Yes, hand-to-alien; shush pedants.) That's what drives him, in part, to develop his big, bad power suit. Sure, the suit itself didn't come around until the '80s, meaning it took Lex almost 30 years to realize he'd need some assistance to take on the Man of Steel, but all that matters is that he got there eventually.
While Luthor and his bold purple and green power armor have been celebrated with action figures as far back as Super Powers in 1984, the LexCorp founder hasn't been captured quite like he has in Sideshow Collectibles' latest statue. Co-designed by Kris Anka, who's had his hand in many of Sideshow's DC Premium Format Figures, Lex stands atop a LexCorp building, poised to give Superman his comeuppance. Just look at that smarmy bastard. It's hard not to admire that unflinching confidence in the face of a man (from another planet) who is clearly better than you.
Of all the marketing for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the viral content surrounding Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor has to be the silliest. Eisenberg (or a very game WB intern) already gave one interview as the famous Superman villain, and now he's given us another because Warner Bros. really, really wants us to believe that Lex Luthor — like Santa and The Struggle and pro-wrestling — is real. And in related news, there's also a new photo of this supposedly non-fictional character.
We're just a few months away from one of the biggest superhero movies of 2016, and somehow, we still haven't seen too many toys and collectibles for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. We've seen a few figures here and there, but for the most part, all the collectibles and toys coming from the upcoming film have been largely kept under wraps. For some reason though, DC and Warner Brothers thought this week would be a good week to start letting some of those collectibles out in the wild. I mean, it's not like there's anything else happening in the geek world now, so why not sneak a few toys out to see if anyone notices?
Thanks to the paragon of comic book and nerd lifestyles, The Wall Street Journal, we have an idea of what Lego's plans for BVS:DOJ now look like. The paper unveiled three new building block sets, all of which will be available beginning on January 1, 2016. That's like two weeks away. Nothing like surprising audiences with new toys just days after the holidays and with little notice.
Jesse Eisenberg’s casting as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice raised more than a few eyebrows — Eisenberg is typically known for playing nebbish, fidgety characters, but if the trailers for Batman v Superman are any indication, it looks as though Zack Snyder put those qualities to interesting use, giving us a Lex Luthor unlike any we’ve seen before. If you’re curious to know more about Eisenberg’s Luthor, this latest piece of viral marketing sheds some light on what Snyder and Eisenberg are doing with the notorious Superman baddie.
Last weekend marked the official Batman Day, and while I hope I've made it clear over my years of writing about comics that I strive to keep Batman in my heart the whole year 'round, I think we can all agree that it's nice to take some time and talk about the many wonderful things that he's done in his 76 years of crime-fighting. The thing is, you always hear about the same stuff. It's always "Dark Knight" this, and "Year One" that, and "that time he fought Bane and got knocked out of comics for like two years because of an actual professional wrestling move."
Don't get me wrong, those are important events, sure, but they're a tiny, tiny fraction of what Batman has done, and I think it's time that we honor some of the more unloved --- but just as deserving --- examples of heroism from his considerable career. Like, say, that time that he saved Gotham City from having all of its metal stolen by a giant green hand from another dimension by proving that aliens should be able to speak foreign languages.
Last week, when DC launched a big sale on Batman Adventures, I did what I always do in that situation and told everyone to buy and read all of them immediately, because they are the best Batman comics of the '90s. But as good as they might be, there's one issue that stands out, one that rarely gets mentioned despite feeling like it ought to be a pretty big deal: Batman Adventures #25, which features the first meeting of the Animated Series Batman and Superman.
And it's also, as reader Geoff DeSouza put it when he asked me about it, "one of the best weird comics ever."
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.
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