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Cover by Curt Swan
The first running villain who matched wits with Superman was the Ultra-Humanite.  When he died, his brain was transplanted into the skull of a beautiful actress.  Jerry Siegel had plans to switch Ultra's brain into different forms as time went on.  But something happened to put this villain in limbo.

Luthor happened.

In 1940, Clark Kent and Lois Lane went to Europe for the Daily Star to cover the war.  One tyrant Superman battled was a thin, red-haired man called Luthor.  But, after a few stories, Luthor's appearance changed - he became stout and bald.  Had someone in the Shuster studio mistaken one of Luthor's accomplices in an earlier tale for the master criminal himself?  Maybe - but Ultra was originally bald, and, as Siegel pointed out to me, Joe liked to draw bald villains.

Superman has battled Luthor for more than sixty years, but it wasn't until 1960 that the villain was even given a first name - and this is the story in which it happened.  With this tale, he was also firmly implanted in the Superboy mythos as well.  The artist was Al Plastino, a veteran Superman portrayer whose work has been seen in such syndicated strips as Abbie 'n' Slats, Batman, and Ferd'nand.

There is more that has developed since.  Luthor has a sister, Lena Thorul, from whom he has tried to keep the fact that her brother is a notorious criminal; he has a wife on the planet Lexor, where he is a hero; and his full name is Alexis Luthor.

- E. Nelson Bridwell


Superman vs. Lex Luthor!

The Saga of Lex Luthor:

How Luthor Met Superboy    The Luthor Nobody Knows    The Einstein Connection    The Ghost of Superman Future    Luthor's Gift

Intro by E. Nelson Bridwell    About Lex Luthor    The War Suit    Comments by Elliot S! Maggin

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