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He is the greatest criminal mind of our time, but most people don't agree on how to pronounce his name. Lex Luthor himself shows time and time again an inconsistency on the pronunciation. Is it Lex LuthOr or Lex LuthEr?
Why does it matter? If you met Lex Luthor on the street would you want to pronounce his name wrong? Probably not, you'd more than likely find yourself wearing cement shoes at the bottom of Hobb's Bay.
What's the difference? LuthOr evokes images of a God of thunder, strong and unrelenting while LuthEr by definition is a German combination of the words liut (people) and heri (army) or an uncommon English name meaning "lute player".
Definitions aside, which way do the people within the Superman universe pronounce it? "Superman: The Movie" shows about half and half. The LuthEr team includes Lex himself along with a handful of minor characters with Otis as the strongest candidate on the other side, thanks to his relentless shouting to "Mr. LuthOr!" Superman goes both ways on the subject, not giving favor one way or another.
"Super Friends", the Hannah-Barbara cartoon of the 1970s, finds us on the extreme of the LuthOr's while "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman", from the mid 1990s, is on the extreme of LuthEr. Is it the decade that decides the pronunciation, or is it the difference in the actors? Both shows are 100% consistent to its choice pronunciation.
Moving forward in time brings us to "Smallville" where we find a lowering of that percentage. Watching the series faithfully for the last eight years has shown near 100% to the LuthEr's. Every now and then they throw in a side character that changes it up, throws the whole thing for a loop. (Note: All main characters on "Smallville" choose the LuthEr pronunciation).
The more modern take on the Lex character in "Superman: Doomsday" finds a one-sided lean towards LuthOr; including numerous Henchmen, Newscasters, and Superman himself. The only character, one who finds herself in the minority on the subject, is Lois Lane saying LuthEr. This lean also seems to hold true for the Timmverse (named for producer Bruce Timm and includes "Superman: The Animated Series", "Batman: The Animated Series", "Justice League", and "Justice League Unlimited").
So what does this mean for us, the fans? What is the answer? Is it LuthOr or LuthEr? With the information presented a solid argument could be used for both pronunciations. When it comes down to it, the fans want consistency, the shortcoming of most comic books in character, story, origin, and pronunciation. So let the debate rage on.
On a closing note, if you happen to meet Lex Luthor at a fancy business party or on the streets of Metropolis, try the pronunciation that you prefer, but don't be surprised if he yells "WROOOONNNGGG!!!!!" It's been known to happen.
G.V. Golwitzer (GeorgeHouseofEl)
Following up on G.V. Golwitzer's thought-provoking article, I contacted a variety of different Superman professionals and celebrities to get their personal view on how the name "Luthor" should be pronounced.
Is it "LuthOr" or "LuthEr"?
"Trinity" comic book writer Kurt Busiek says, "Lu -- rhymes with "you". Thor - rhymes with "four" Lu-thor.
Fellow comic book writer Jimmy Palmiotti agrees, saying he pronounces it "LuthOr". As does comic book writer and artist Phil Jimenez.
Jack O'Halloran, who played Non in "Superman: The Movie" and "Superman II" also says it's "LuthOr".
"Smallville" co-creator Al Gough disagrees and says it's pronounced, "LuthEr".
K. Callan, who played Martha Kent on the TV series "Lois & Clark", agrees saying that she pronounces it "LuthEr".
Noel Neill, who has been a part of the world of Superman for over 60 years says, "It's LuthEr. :) Always has been."
Comic book artist Jon Bogdanove says, "In an effort to be sensitive to regional cultural differences, I have found that in most places Luth-Er is the accepted pronunciation. However, now that I am living in California, I'm mindful that in certain small towns on the San Andreas Fault, notably Otisburg, the locals prefer Luth-Or, preferably Mr. Luth-Or."
Also in the "LuthOr" camp is ex-Superman comics editor Eddie Berganza.
While current Superman comic book editor Matt Idelson says, "I actually pronounce it 'Luther' so I don't end up sounding like Ned Beatty in the original movie!"
The Superman Homepage poll (March 2009) has the final say... According to the fans, 52% [166 Votes] say that "Luthor" should be pronounced LuthOr, while 48% [151 Votes] went for the LuthEr pronunciation.