“Action Comics Special #1” Puts Lex Luthor in President Trump’s Origin Story

Today’s release of “Action Comics Special #1” includes a story titled “Suprema Est Lex” by Mark Russell and Jill Thompson which gives us a look at a different side of Lex Luthor. It’s also a story that takes place at an event currently in the headlines: the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with writer Mark Russell to discuss the story and the inspiration behind it. Here’s part of the interview…

Why did you choose to set the story at the Correspondents’ Dinner? Was there a sense of, “Clark Kent’s career as journalist is particularly important these days” or something else? Despite the setting, Clark is almost incidental to the actual story…

It was really a story about Lex Luthor, and the function that a sort of lese-majeste plays in our democracy. How you need to worry about someone who takes themselves that seriously; it’s kind of the worst attribute someone can have in power, to take themselves so seriously. It leads them to believe they’re infallible, and that’s when they double down on their worst attributes.

The story makes clear the contrast between how Lex Luthor sees himself and how the world sees him. I don’t want to be too obvious, but the Lex Luthor as Donald Trump analogue is very clear here, especially the way the story mirrors Seth Meyers’ 2011 speech at the Correspondents’ Dinner. Do you see Trump as a Lex Luthor-Type figure, or is it more about the ego of both, and their shared desire to be close to power?

It’s all about the ego and closeness to power. I don’t see [Trump] as having, even, the foresight to be much of a super villain. It’s more about the danger that ego poses to power; what a bad combination that is. And it really is, in large part, based on the White House Correspondents’ Dinner that Seth Meyers did, where he was roasting Donald Trump and you see Donald Trump in the background, steaming, getting increasingly angry and more uncomfortable. This comic is, what was going on in that person’s head while they were sitting there. Someone who takes themselves so seriously, what goes through their head when they’re confronted with people laughing at them.

You can read the complete interview at the Hollywood Reporter website.

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