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Old August 30 2008, 12:18 AM   #16
Silvercrest
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Re: Lex Luthor

TG Theodore wrote: View Post
safarial wrote: View Post
What makes him a great character?
Which version? There have only been about 3,492 variations.

--Ted
3,493. You forgot about the cross-dressing version in pink battle armor, from Earth-G.
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Old August 30 2008, 03:14 AM   #17
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Re: Lex Luthor

The Mighty God King wrote a fantastic essay on Luthor a few weeks ago.

His outline of Luthor is a lot like mine; I see Luthor as, basically, a man, summoning all the resources that genius intellect and business acumen can muster in order to make war on a demigod.
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Old August 30 2008, 03:26 AM   #18
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Re: Lex Luthor

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
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Absolutely nothing. He is nothing special at all.
I only came in here to see you say that....
Well I aim to please.

CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
I see Luthor as, basically, a man, summoning all the resources that genius intellect and business acumen can muster in order to make war on a demigod.
See that is the problem I have with the modern day Luthor. I can see why Star Trek fans would like him. He represents the very idea seen time and again in science fiction that humans are special, and that because of this they can overcome any obstacle. It is the same tried old theme and never obtainable dream. Luthor taking on Superman is like hacking into an alien spacecraft with an Apple computer.
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Old August 30 2008, 03:30 AM   #19
Holdfast
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Re: Lex Luthor

safarial wrote: View Post
What makes him a great character?
He's Professor Moriarty without a Holmes to stop him. Instead he has to deal with a Watson with superpowers. Supes is a great character, don't get me wrong, but he is very straight-laced and sometimes it's more fun to side with the smart and human bad guy and Lex Luthor is certainly that. In spades.

Lex Luthor is both the greatest and worst that mankind can be and that makes him a brilliant character. You may not like what he does, but you can't help respecting him.
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Old August 30 2008, 03:41 AM   #20
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Re: Lex Luthor

Holdfast wrote: View Post
safarial wrote: View Post
What makes him a great character?
He's Professor Moriarty without a Holmes to stop him. Instead he has to deal with a Watson with superpowers. Supes is a great character, don't get me wrong, but he is very straight-laced and sometimes it's more fun to side with the smart and human bad guy and Lex Luthor is certainly that. In spades.

Lex Luthor is both the greatest and worst that mankind can be and that makes him a brilliant character. You may not like what he does, but you can't help respecting him.
I've always loved the times, in-continuity, where it's demonstrated that Luthor thinks of himself as the "good guy." That, basically, he sees Superman as a threat to all of humanity, and he's the only one who could keep Superman "in check."

I far prefer that to the 1960s version... where the two grew up together and Lex blames Superboy for making his hair fall out!

(By the way, remember that Lex Luthor wasn't always bald... I don't recall when they made him bald, but he originally had a full head of hair. It was a couple of decades, I think, before someone decided "totally bald people are scarier." )


Luthor as the "industry baron" type who knows a little bit about Superman's history and sees Superman as a potential thread is by far the most interesting take on the character, IMHO.
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Old August 30 2008, 03:53 AM   #21
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Re: Lex Luthor

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
(By the way, remember that Lex Luthor wasn't always bald... I don't recall when they made him bald, but he originally had a full head of hair. It was a couple of decades, I think, before someone decided "totally bald people are scarier." )
It was only about a year, actually

An artist mistakenly rendered him bald in the newspaper strip (which was in continuity at the time), and it was decided that the accidental look was a better one for the character. Ergo, Lex Luthor is bald.
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Old August 30 2008, 11:06 AM   #22
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Re: Lex Luthor

Holdfast wrote: View Post
safarial wrote: View Post
What makes him a great character?
He's Professor Moriarty without a Holmes to stop him. Instead he has to deal with a Watson with superpowers. Supes is a great character, don't get me wrong, but he is very straight-laced and sometimes it's more fun to side with the smart and human bad guy and Lex Luthor is certainly that. In spades.

Lex Luthor is both the greatest and worst that mankind can be and that makes him a brilliant character. You may not like what he does, but you can't help respecting him.
I think that hits on a lot of what I love about Luthor. He is supremely capable, but also supremely human and fallible.

Unlike certain blue suited boy scouts we could mention, he is not invulnerable to human frailties. But he has--quite on his own--nonetheless surpassed a lot of human frailties. A being who is vulnerable only to magic and to certain cosmically rare radioactive rocks is not really that much of a foe, on paper, to someone of Luthor's intellect.

Perhaps on some level Lex is really annoyed that some weird alien who can outrun high-velocity projectiles, vault skyscrapers, and out-heft diesel engines comes out as being somehow morally superior. Can't people see that the incalculable intellect of Luthor outweighs some extraterrestrial circus freak in spandex when it comes to determining what's really right for people?

(It says something about the people of the DC Universe that they voted Luthor in 2000. I mean, W had neither the brains nor the brawn going for him on Earth-Sort-Of-Prime... maybe Tom Welling-Prime could punch a wall and retcon things so that Luthor was POTUS for the last eight years... would we be worse off with a super-intelligent supervillain in the White House than with his Bizarro-counterpart?)
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Old August 30 2008, 01:28 PM   #23
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Re: Lex Luthor

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
(By the way, remember that Lex Luthor wasn't always bald... I don't recall when they made him bald, but he originally had a full head of hair. It was a couple of decades, I think, before someone decided "totally bald people are scarier." )
Luthor only appeared two times with hair, ca. 1940. In one of those stories, he had a bald assistant. In his third story, the artist (keeping in mind that there was actually a small stable of artists working under the name of original Superman artist Joe Schuster at that point) drew Luthor as a bald guy who looked an awful lot like the assistant from the prior story. It's believed that the artist simply hadn't read the prior story carefully enough when he looked at it for reference. But the look stuck, and Luthor was bald from then on.

Now in the Bronze Age, by which point the adventures of the Golden Age Superman up through about 1950 were declared to have happened on Earth-2, they depicted Earth-2's Superman as being surrounded by trappings that came from the earliest Superman stories, even though most of those trappings (such as the Daily Star, George Tyler, etc.) had faded away much earlier, generally around 1940 or so. So it was established that Earth-2's Luthor had always had hair--to the point that, in an issue of All-Star Squadron that touched upon the events of a 1942 Luthor appearance, Luthor was retroactively shown to have the head of hair, even though the actual story had featured a bald Luthor.
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Old August 30 2008, 03:24 PM   #24
Cary L. Brown
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Re: Lex Luthor

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
(By the way, remember that Lex Luthor wasn't always bald... I don't recall when they made him bald, but he originally had a full head of hair. It was a couple of decades, I think, before someone decided "totally bald people are scarier." )
Luthor only appeared two times with hair, ca. 1940. In one of those stories, he had a bald assistant. In his third story, the artist (keeping in mind that there was actually a small stable of artists working under the name of original Superman artist Joe Schuster at that point) drew Luthor as a bald guy who looked an awful lot like the assistant from the prior story. It's believed that the artist simply hadn't read the prior story carefully enough when he looked at it for reference. But the look stuck, and Luthor was bald from then on.

Now in the Bronze Age, by which point the adventures of the Golden Age Superman up through about 1950 were declared to have happened on Earth-2, they depicted Earth-2's Superman as being surrounded by trappings that came from the earliest Superman stories, even though most of those trappings (such as the Daily Star, George Tyler, etc.) had faded away much earlier, generally around 1940 or so. So it was established that Earth-2's Luthor had always had hair--to the point that, in an issue of All-Star Squadron that touched upon the events of a 1942 Luthor appearance, Luthor was retroactively shown to have the head of hair, even though the actual story had featured a bald Luthor.
Thanks, guys... guess I'd been "fooled" by some retconning (I'm a bit young to have read the original books and was going by the "Earth2" stuff you mentioned there.)
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Old August 30 2008, 06:45 PM   #25
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Re: Lex Luthor

ElScoob wrote: View Post
Perhaps on some level Lex is really annoyed that some weird alien who can outrun high-velocity projectiles, vault skyscrapers, and out-heft diesel engines comes out as being somehow morally superior. Can't people see that the incalculable intellect of Luthor outweighs some extraterrestrial circus freak in spandex when it comes to determining what's really right for people??
That's a really great way to put it.
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Old August 30 2008, 06:57 PM   #26
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Re: Lex Luthor

its all about the baldness.
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Old August 30 2008, 08:13 PM   #27
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Re: Lex Luthor

John Byrne got it right in his approach. They used to call Luthor the most powerful man in Metropolis. His ego couldn't take the "used to".
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Old August 31 2008, 06:40 AM   #28
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Re: Lex Luthor

I think it's interesting how a lot of the responses focus on how Luthor is a sympathetic or relateable character, considering that John Byrne's stated that his goal when revamping Luthor was to create a villain who was completely and utterly unsympathetic. Someone whose motivations were not even the smallest extent justifiable.

Just as Superman is someone who does the right thing not because of some childhood trauma or other such defining moment but simply because it's the right thing to do, Byrne wanted a Luthor who was a monster for no other reason than because he chose to be.

I guess he failed?
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Old August 31 2008, 06:58 AM   #29
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Re: Lex Luthor

Lex is the Anti-Superman. Distrust, injustice and the American way gone horribley wrong.






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Old August 31 2008, 07:10 AM   #30
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Re: Lex Luthor

YLu wrote: View Post
I think it's interesting how a lot of the responses focus on how Luthor is a sympathetic or relateable character, considering that John Byrne's stated that his goal when revamping Luthor was to create a villain who was completely and utterly unsympathetic. Someone whose motivations were not even the smallest extent justifiable.

Just as Superman is someone who does the right thing not because of some childhood trauma or other such defining moment but simply because it's the right thing to do, Byrne wanted a Luthor who was a monster for no other reason than because he chose to be.

I guess he failed?
No he was successful. The problem is that people actually like all of those things now.
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