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And now, escapism.

§ November 11th, 2016 § Filed under lex luthor, this week's comics § 7 Comments

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While I’ve commented before on the unusually complicated yet compelling premise of the current Superman titles, I haven’t said much about Lex Luthor’s development in these post-Rebirth comics. Picking up on threads from the latter part of DC’s New 52 era, Luthor has seemingly decided to become a superhero…literally, with the New 52’s Superman’s death, becoming Superman, with the “S” logo and everything. It seems apparent that Luthor is trying to force himself into a role for which he is ill-prepared, though via his own egotistical self-aggrandizement he feels he is the better fit for the job than his predecessor.

Now, given Luthor’s portrayals in the past, we, the readers, know this almost certainly can’t end well. From our perspective, we’ve seen how Luthor behaves, we’ve seen the crimes he’s committed, we’ve seen him brag about his misdeeds…we know, despite the many changes he may have undergone over the years, that there is a rotten core that is always present, no matter how respectable the exterior appears. The other characters in the comics know this as well…they of course are limited to whatever experiences they are allowed within the latest permutation of their shared fictional universe, but a Luthor never changes his spots, as it were, and despite any superficial efforts at semi-redemption, the inertia of Luthor’s portrayal over the decades will certainly result in a return to form.

In this week’s issue of Action, this bears out, given that visitors from the future have come back to the present to put a stop to Luthor before he becomes a universal scourge, a tyrannical madman with ultimate power crushing all before him. We don’t have the full story yet about this, of course, but totally within possibility knowing what we know about him.

Interestingly, undermining Luthor’s perhaps spurious attempts at redefinition is a secondary plotline, hinted at in this issue of Action but primarily playing out in Superwoman, is the fact that he is currently under the influence of enemy agency. Specifically, it’s his estranged sister Lena, exerting control over him for her own nefarious ends, while Luthor tries to continue following his own agenda, as tinged as it may be by Lena’s own.

At any rate, we’ll see how these particular plotlines work out over, oh, I don’t know, the next four to eight years.

Now if Lex had a stuffed tiger, that would be a strip.

§ June 25th, 2014 § Filed under comic strips, lex luthor § 4 Comments

Having watched just a few weeks ago the Dear Mr. Watterson documentary on Netflix, and with Bill Watterson’s recent brief return to the the comics page, I was fairly well primed to revisit his famous Calvin & Hobbes strip. Fortunately, I own a set of the slipcased hardcovers reprinting the whole shebang and was able to satisfy this urge in short order. Unlike the esteemed Mr. Isabella, who has the astounding self-control to restrict himself to only a week’s worth of strips at a time, I would read huge amounts at any given opportunity, immersing myself in Mr. Watterson’s imagination for an hour or so.

While the strips’ run concludes with a fairly open-ended Sunday page, essentially indicating that the pals’ adventures will continue, even if we won’t see them for ourselves, there is at least one bit of closure, I think, prior to the end, with Rosalyn the babysitter. All of her previous appearances involve direct, angry (or at least highly annoyed) conflict between Rosalyn and Calvin, but in her final story sequence, Rosalyn and Calvin finally find common ground:


Ah, Calvinball. The great equalizer. It’s the one time the two characters manage to get along peacefully, bringing a happy ending of sorts to the long series of battles they’ve endured over the history of the strip. It’s no Charlie Brown finally saying “hello” to the little red-haired girl, but it’ll do.

• • •

I also recently read a handful of ’70s and ’80s Lex Luthor appearances, because I miss this version of Lex Luthor, the one with the green ‘n’ purple jumpsuit:


…who would also occasionally disguise himself like, oh, say, Kurt Vonnegut:


One of the big losses of the mid-1980s Superman reboot was losing the “fiendish schemes” of the “criminal scientist” era of Luthor, who was in at least some measure occasionally sympathetic and even funny, in favor of the cruel and unpleasant businessman Luthor. There was some slight return to the somewhat goofily-evil in-love-with-his-own-voice Luthor in the last decade or so, even to some extent in the post New 52 DC Universe, but nothing is quite the same as Lex in his green/purple tights and his bandoliers, zipping around in his rocket pack.
 
 

images from The Complete Calvin & Hobbes Volume 3 (2005) by Bill Watterson, and Action Comics #510 (August 1980) by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte

Lex Luthor anticipates the specialty podcast…

§ December 3rd, 2010 § Filed under lex luthor § 1 Comment

…or at least satellite radio:


That’s some devoted gang. Do you think they broadcast 24/7, or did they wrap up their broadcast day at midnight, and started up again at 6 or 7 in the morning? Did the gang write up the stories themselves, or just read ’em direct from the newspapers? Did they have a wacky “morning zoo” pair of radio personalities discussing today’s top crime stories along with sound effects and…well, I was going to say “call-ins from listeners,” but if it’s just Luthor, then, well, you know. But then again, maybe Luthor did call in…he’d never get a busy signal, and the call screener would always know who it was.

Anyway, probably still more listenable than most radio programming.

from Action Comics #295 (Dec 1962) by Leo Dorfman & Jim Mooney, as reprinted in Super DC Giant #24 (May-June 1971)

The many (and nowhere near complete) faces of Lex Luthor.

§ September 21st, 2005 § Filed under lex luthor § 1 Comment


THE ORIGINAL HAIRY LUTHOR


THE PRISON-GREYS LUTHOR


THE HERO OF THE PLANET LEXOR LUTHOR


THE PURPLE ‘N’ GREEN FLYING JUMPSUIT WITH BANDOLIERS LUTHOR


THE ADMIRER OF ALBERT EINSTEIN LUTHOR


THE AVENGER OF THE DEAD PLANET LEXOR WHICH HE KINDA PRETTY MUCH DESTROYED BY ACCIDENT LUTHOR


THE CORRUPT BUSINESSMAN WITH HIS FINGERS IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES AND NOT AT ALL LIKE MARVEL COMICS’ KINGPIN LUTHOR


THE ROBOT HAND REPLACING THE HAND LOST TO RADIATION POISONING AFTER WEARING THAT RING WITH THE KRYPTONITE ROCK FOR TOO LONG LUTHOR


THE AUSTRALIAN SON OF LEX THAT WAS REALLY A CLONE INTO WHICH LEX HAD HIS BRAIN TRANSPLANTED AFTER DISCOVERING THE RADIATION THAT COST HIM HIS HAND WAS IN FACT KILLING HIM AND THUS FAKED HIS DEATH IN A PLANE CRASH IN ORDER TO SECRETLY HAVE SAID BRAIN TRANSPLANT PERFORMED LUTHOR


THE I CAN’T BELIEVE ACTUALLY WENT THROUGH WITH THIS STORYLINE BUT GOSH DARN IF THEY DIDN’T STICK TO THEIR GUNS AND KEEP HIM AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR PRETTY MUCH A FULL REAL-TIME TERM LUTHOR

Additional linkage:

Superman Through The Ages has a comprehensive overview of our favorite bald villain, as does Wikipedia (at least until Luthor complains and the entry is reduced to just his bibliography).

More “Many Faces of Lex Luthor,” this time from TV and movies. And here’s Kevin Spacey as Luthor from the forthcoming new movie.

DC Comics’ official Lex Takes the Presidency page, complete with Shockwave campaign ad.

Comparing and contrasting the comic book origins of Luthor with his counterpart on TV’s Smallville.

Who will win in the battle of the (previous) century? Khan versus Luthor, or Luthor versus Dr. Doomyou be the judge.

“Bin Laden as Lex Luthor.” Er, um….

Fred Hembeck presents: Brainiac and Lex Luthor!

This lucky fella has a “Baldy Award”autographed by Mr. Luthor himself!

The original Mego Luthor Pocket Super Hero from 1979. And here’s the Super Powers figure.

…And here are some custom figures, including probably the only Earth-3 Luthor figure you’ll ever see.

The Planet Lexor, where Luthor was a hero and Superman was the villain!

Information about the Silver Age Luthor’s estranged sister.

Luthor only made it to number 4 on this list of Evil Geniuses? Bah!

Luthor is also on the Forbes Fictional Fifteen richest characters list.

Here’s a biography that’s a couple years out of date, but gives you an idea of what the post-Crisis Luthor is all about.

The Luthor Hero Clix figure.

A thumbnailed overview of the Super Friends episode “Lex Luthor Strikes Back” (complete with Super Mobile cameo!). (warning: pop-ups)

Luthor as Capitalist Bogeyman. (warning: more pop-ups)

The absolutely genius Lex Luthor mini-bust.