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Peter Martin
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 5:25am | IP Logged | 1  

Cool idea for the Mad Thinker. Any reason the story never happened?

I am a big fan of the version of Lex Luthor that JB gave us: the heavy-bodied, formidable and intimidating businessman with no morals.


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Richard White
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 6:01am | IP Logged | 2  

Wasn't the Luther as businessman Marv Wolfman's idea. I'm rereading DC's Man of Steel collection, I used to like all the comics collected but I'm really struggling with the Wolfman/Ordway stuff this time round.

Edited by Richard White on 28 July 2012 at 6:02am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 6:13am | IP Logged | 3  

Wasn't the Luther as businessman Marv Wolfman's idea.

••

The cornerstone.

Wolfman called, shortly before I started on MAN OF STEEL, and said he'd been offered the second seat. But before he accepted, he wanted to tell me what he had worked out for Luthor. If I liked it, and wanted to use it, he would come aboard. If I didn't like any part of it, however, he would decline the co-pilot job, and he wanted my promise I would not use any part of his idea. This I was happy to agree to.

He then said this: "Outside Metropolis there is a mountain. On top of that mountain, in his fabulous Xanadu-like estate, lives Lex Luthor, the world's richest man, and his mistress, Lois Lane."

Immediately, I said no. I had not thought too much about what I was going to be doing with Lois, but that was definitely NOT the way I wanted to go with her. In fact, I said, Wolfman's idea seemed more like a reinvention of Lois than a reinvention of Lex. So, politely, thanks but no thanks.

"Oh, you don't have to use that part!" Wolfman said. Which confused me a bit, since just moments before I had agreed to an "all or nothing" scenario.

In any case, I said I liked the World's Richest Man part -- if I could use just that we might have a starting point. Wolfman agreed. He came aboard and pretty much went off in his own direction, with Luthor AND Superman. (Early in the run, I gave a newspaper interview. The interviewer, having read my first few issues and Wolfman's, asked why there were TWO Supermen now.)

Later, as I went along, I discussed various plans with a lot of people, and Luthor pretty soon had many fathers, including Roger Stern and Mark Gruenwald, who contributed ideas. Luthor's Legion of Lovelies, of course, I borrowed from Heinlein's STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND.

Years later, long after I left Superman, I found out, almost by accident, that DC had paid Wolfman a big bonus for his "creation" of the new Luthor. Ah, well!

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Richard White
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 6:24am | IP Logged | 4  

Without probing too deeply JB, had you and Wolfman ever had a falling out of sorts? The only reason I ask is that in the second Man of Steel collection, Wolfman talks about the books for 3 or 4 pages without mentioning  you once!

I think the two Supermen is one of the problems I'm having as I reread the stories. The Wolfman and Ordway stuff feels totally unrelated and while I normally like Jerry Ordway, I find his Superman a bit Desperate Dan-ish and real clash with the handsome Superman in your books.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 6:28am | IP Logged | 5  

…had you and Wolfman ever had a falling out of sorts?

••

Not that I was aware of. Wolfman left his book over contract issues, but that was nothing to do with me.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 12:34pm | IP Logged | 6  

I've always craved an encounter between Lex Luthor and The Flash. No idea if it's ever happened, but I'd like to see it.


 QUOTE:
i should note that i'm pretty darned tired of lex being in every single superman movie. he does have other villains... so please, give him a rest in QUthe theater, but find a way to make him great in the comics!

Agreed. Brainiac, Metallo, Darkseid or Parasite are way overdue for an appearance in a Superman film, if you ask me.

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Thom Price
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 1:04pm | IP Logged | 7  

I've always craved an encounter between Lex Luthor and The Flash.

***

Not an encounter per se, but they did swap bodies in the JLU cartoon -- leading up to the single funniest moment of that series.

I agree with Brad, the Luthor of the Bruce Timm cartoons is terrific.  Of course, they had the advantage of incorporating all versions of Luthor: ruthless businessman, mad scientist, criminal mastermind, super-villain.  Between SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, JUSTICE LEAGUE and JLU, Luthor had one hell of a story arc.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 1:12pm | IP Logged | 8  


 QUOTE:
Not an encounter per se, but they did swap bodies in the JLU cartoon -- leading up to the single funniest moment of that series.

Haven't seen that episode, unfortunately.


 QUOTE:
Of course, they had the advantage of incorporating all versions of Luthor: ruthless businessman, mad scientist, criminal mastermind, super-villain.

There's a lesson there, I think. It did indeed work, incorporating all the versions of Luthor. Goes to show that it can be done with other supervillains, and should be done.

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Mike Norris
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 6:30pm | IP Logged | 9  

Part of the gag there is the actor who played Luthor in Smallville also voiced the Flash in the JLU cartoon.  
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Thom Price
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 6:41pm | IP Logged | 10  

I've been pondering which approach to Luthor I prefer.  I'm tempted to go with the 'ruthless businessman', but I think that approach has only worked in rare situations. 

JB, and Timm & Co. in the cartoon, made it work -- other writers, not so much.  I'm reminded of when Perez made Wonder Woman into an "ambassador".  In his hands, it was workable; under nearly any other writer, staggeringly boring.

It takes a writer of considerable talent and subtlety to handle a Machiavellian schemer, but any hack should be able to produce a decent story about a mad scientist in a battlesuit. 
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Brad Krawchuk
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Posted: 28 July 2012 at 6:58pm | IP Logged | 11  

I think the trick to writing Luthor would be like the trick to writing a good mystery or spy story in reverse. You have a series of seemingly unconnected events and characters, and someone (the detective, the spy, whoever) comes through and pieces it all together to solve the case.

Except, in the case of Luthor, he's the one perpetrating the crime, and no one else can piece it together because he's just that good. The end result should be a circumstance that baffles police, government agencies, etc... 

... but Superman knows it was him. Luthor's clean, totally untouchable, but he leaves little clues (sonics, kryptonite traces, hidden clues) that only Superman would be able to piece together, just as a way to let Superman know he's better than him. 
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Jason Larouse
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Posted: 29 July 2012 at 6:40pm | IP Logged | 12  

Has Lex been introduced in the new DCU yet? Is he still the Byrne businessman version or did they go back to the old version?

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