Lex Luthor For PresidentForget Superman. An updated Luthor's new enemies are Gore and Bush.
Author: Edward Gross
You have to give DC Comics credit for continually thinking of new ways to keep their Superman titles interesting. Besides the recent creative revamp, they've also offered up an innovative new approach to the Man of Steel's perennial enemy, Lex Luthor. The new take? Luthor's running for President of the United States. But why?
"Have you seen who's running?" muses Eddie Berganza, editor of the Superman line. The man's got a point.
In reality, there's a certain logic to the idea, considering that Luthor's basically credited with saving Batman's turf, Gotham City, in 1999's year-long "No Man's Land" storyline that ran throughout the various Batman titles, as well as Lex's own city, Metropolis, in the Superman books.
"This idea just happened to come together because of different storylines," explains Berganza. "In 'No Man's Land,' even the government had written off Gotham City. Everyone, including [Batman's alter ego] Bruce Wayne, was helpless to do anything. Lex came in with his helicopters and said, 'I'm going to sink my money into developing this place,' and he restored it."
Meanwhile, in Metropolis, at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, Brainiac 13 arrived from the future, took over the city, and started wiping everything out and re-making the city from scratch so it could contain him and fit its own programming. During the story, it looked like Luthor sacrificed his daughter, Lena, to save the city. In reality, though, he more or less gave her up so he could gain control of Brainiac's technology. As a result, it appeared like he lost his daughter, making it seem like small compensation that he at least ended up with knowledge of how to run the city.
"So, to the world outside, it looks like Lex Luthor saved two cities," continues Bergazna. "What politician's done that? His goal now is to bring the prosperousness and individuality that Metropolis enjoys to the rest of the world. So what Lex is slowly doing is bringing that technology to the rest of the United States. Instead of doing it as a businessman, he feels he can do it as a politician to bring the entire nation into the future. His party is called The Tomorrow Party, and that's the theme he's running on. People would vote for him because he's perceived as being no more evil than any politician or Donald Trump. He's a rich guy, but unlike other rich guys he's credited with saving two cities."
Luthor has been part of the Superman mythos since nearly the beginning of Superman's history, and he's been brought along for the ride through every revamp. But what is it about the character's appeal that's resulted in such longevity, let alone made him a viable presidential candidate?
"He's a self-made man," offers Berganza. "He's not a guy hitting Superman with equal strength. He's using his brains. I think in reality a lot more people would become Luthor rather than Superman. Superman is hard to attain because you have to be almost perfect and be a really good person. Luthor is about being yourself, caring about yourself, having money, doing the best and living well. There's a dark side to everyone that goes, 'Yeah, Superman's really cool, but I could go for being Luthor.'"
Recently, there's been a concentrated effort on the creators' parts to give Luthor a more genuine motivation for hating Superman. Years ago, in the continuity that existed prior to writer/artist John Byrne's 1986 revamp of the character, Luthor's conflict with Superman stemmed from the fact that Supes' younger self, Superboy, had failed to stop a fire in Luthor's home chemical lab, which resulted in Luthor losing all of his hair. That, believe it or not, was the original source of his hatred.
Under Berganza's reign, and within the current continuity, the creators are taking a much different approach. There's a certain phobia that's stricken the Luthor family line over the past several generations, which hasn't been limited to just Lex. "We kind of hint at the fact that in early Metropolis, one of his ancestors was a Native American and what happened was, 'Here comes the Pilgrims, the aliens, who displace the Indians and they lose everything.' The next Luthor in the line is an activist for everything, then the Irish and another set of immigrants come over, displace her and get her into trouble. After that, another guy has a metal shop, he's doing really well, but then a war hits and he goes bankrupt doing things for the war.
"By the time we pick up with Luthor's family [closer to the present], they're in the ghetto. All the good intentions his family had before him were totally displaced by immigrantsčaliens--to Metropolis. Luthor's had to fight his way back up to where his family started and what happens? Here arrives this alien, Superman.
"So we've tried to give him a really good motivation for why he hates Superman. It's very real. It's not like he's evil and just wants to destroy everything. We just added this bit to him. What was already there [from the latest revamp] was that when Superman arrives in Metropolis, Luthor's controlling everything, but then he's made number two. He's displaced. It made him very bitter. But now there's a reason. The best villains have really good reasons and in the real world they don't go around saying, 'I'm the supervillain.'"
But will the revamped Luthor, given his new political clout as the savior of two cities, win the election? On this point, as well as the specific details of Luthor's campaign, Berganza is coy. Just like all other political campaigns, he'd rather let the dramačand the surprises--unfold naturally.
"I'm not going to tell you," says Berganza. "But we'll publish a special called Lex 2000 that'll show the results of the election."
IntroductionThe Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.
Question and Answer Interviews:
- Interview with Christopher Priest about the Superman vs. Deathstroke story in Deathstroke #8 (November 2016)
- Interview with Sterling Gates about the 'Adventures of Supergirl' digital-first comic book series (January 2016)
- Interview with J. Michael Straczynski about Superman: Earth One - Vol. 3 - Writer J. Michael Straczynski talks to us about the third volume in the Superman: Earth One graphic novel series (February 2015)
- Interview with Jim Krueger - Writer Jim Krueger talks to us about his The Dark Lantern story in the Adventures of Superman comic book title (November 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 Interview with Bryan Q. Miller - Writer Bryan Q. Miller talks to us about his work on the Smallville: Season 11 comic book title (October 2012)
- Supergirl Interview with Mahmud Asrar - Artist Mahmud Asrar talks to us about his work on the monthly Supergirl comic book title (July 2012)
- Superman/Batman Interview with Joshua Hale Fialkov - Joshua Hale Fialkov answers our questions about The Secret 3-part story in Superman/Batman #85-87 (July 2011)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates - Sterling Gates answers our questions about where Supergirl is headed post War of the Supermen (June 2010)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates & Jamal Igle - Adam Dechanel chats with the Supergirl comic book team about the Maid of Might (March 2010)
- Behind the Scenes of the Super Friends - Four part indepth look at the Super Friends comic book title with artists J. Bone and Stewart McKenny (February 2010)
- Interview with Landry Q Walker and Eric Jones - The writer and artist discuss Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade (May 2009)
- Interview with Elliot S! Maggin - Legendary Superman writer and novelist discusses his career (January 2009)
- Interview with J. Bone - Artist discusses Super Friends comic book (November 2008)
- Interview with Mark Bagley (September 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #18 (September 2008)
- Interview with Jake Black (May 2008)
- Interview with Cary Bates (June 2008)
- Interview with Jack Briglio - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #14 (May 2008)
- Interview with Ken Pontac - Writer discusses Justice League Unlimited #44 (May 2008)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13 (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #11 (February 2008)
- Interview with Fabian Nicieza - Writer on Superman comic books (June 2007)
- Interview with Danny Fingeroth - Writer of the book Superman on the Couch (May 2007)
- Interview with Jesse McCann - Writer on the Krypto The Superdog comic books (December 2006)
- Interview with Matt Haley - Artist on the Superman Returns comic book movie adaptation (November 2006)
- Interview with Ethan Van Sciver - Artist on Superman/Batman (September 2006)
- Interview with Mark Verheiden on taking over the writing duties on Superman/Batman (April 2006)
- Interview with Matt Idelson on taking over as Superman group editor (March 2006)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb on Sam and Superman/Batman #26 (February 2006)
- Interview with Roger Stern (December 2005)
- Interview with Marv Wolfman (November 2005)
- Interview with Gail Simone (May 2005)
- Interview with Greg Rucka (April 2005)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (January 2005)
- Interview with Glenn Whitmore (November 2004)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (September 2004)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (September 2004)
- Interview with Ron Garney (September 2004)
- Interview with Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark (May 2004)
- Interview with Ed McGuinness (March 2004)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (March 2004)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Superman: Red Son] (March 2003)
- Interview with Min S. Ku (September 2001)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (May 2001)
- Interview with Joe Casey (April 2001)
- Interview with Mike S. Miller (September 2000)
- Interview with Denis Rodier (August 2000)
- Interview with Grant Morrison (December 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 2] (November 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 1] (April 1999)
- Superman vs. Terminator - A Chat with Fight Promoter Alan Grant. (January 2000)
- Superman: The Dailies (1939-1940) Graphic Novel Review.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 1) - Superman is reborn... again.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 2) - Eddie Barganza on taking the character in a new direction.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 3) - Jeph Loeb discusses writing the Man of Steel.
- Lex Luthor For President - Forget Superman. An updated Luthor's new enemies are Gore and Bush.
- Superman: Last Son of Earth - Steve Gerbern Interview - The writer discusses flip-flopping the Man of Steel's origin. (August 2000)
Krypton Club Interviews:
When Lois & Clark started production in 1993, there was an obvious relationship between the comic book people and the Hollywood people.
A trade paperback Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, was published, with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher on the cover. It included reprints of comic book stories that were the inspiration for Lois & Clark, helping to define the characters. Comic's included are: The Story of the Century (Man of Steel miniseries #2), Tears for Titano (Superman Annual #1), Metropolis - 900 mi (in SUP #9), The Name Game (SUP #11), Lois Lane (in ACT #600), Headhunter (AOS #445), Homeless for the Holidays (AOS #462), The Limits of Power (AOS #466), and Survival (ACT #665).
A number of comic book writers and artists had roles as extras in the episode I'm Looking Through You (Season one, episode 4). Their presence was immortilized in the Sky Trading Card #34.
Craig Byrne, president of the online Lois & Clark fanclub The Krypton Club, carried out a series of interviews with comic book writers. The interviews are reprinted with permission of the Krypton Club.
- Interview with Roger Stern (June 1995)
- Interview with John Byrne (June 1995)
- Interview with Mike Carlin (July 1995)