Alexander Joseph "Lex" Luthor is a fictional character, a supervillain who appears in comic book published by DC Comics. He is the archenemy of Superman. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, he first appeared in Action Comics #23 (April 1940). Luthor is described as "a power-mad, evil scientist" of high intelligence and incredible technological prowess. His goals typically center on killing Superman, usually as a stepping stone to world domination. Though he periodically wears a powered exoskeleton, Luthor has traditionally lacked superpower or a dual identity.
The character was originally depicted as a mad scientist who, in the vein of pulp novel, wreaks havoc on the world with his futuristic weaponry. In his earliest appearances, Luthor is shown with a full head of red hair; despite this, the character later became hairless as the result of an artist's mistake. A 1960 story by Jerry Siegel expanded upon Luthor's origin and motivations, revealing him to be a childhood friend of Superboy's who lost his hair when Superboy accidentally destroyed his laboratory; Luthor vowed revenge.
Following the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, the character was re-imagined as a Machiavellian industrialist and white-collar criminal, even briefly serving as President of the United States. In recent years, various writers have revived Luthor's mad scientist persona from the 1940s. The character was ranked as the 8th greatest villain by Wizard on its "100 Greatest Villains of All Time" list. IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains Of All Time List ranked Lex Luthor as #4.
By some accounts , the seeds for Luthor's character first appeared in The Reign of the Super-Man, also written by Siegel and Shuster. In the original short story, a bald scientist uses a piece of alien meteor to give a vagrant named Bill Dunn telepathic abilities, which Dunn abuses for personal gain. Although Luthor would not appear until two years after Superman's debut, a central theme to his character—a dichotomy of science versus superpowers—was in place. The character's original incarnation, as drawn by Joe Shuster, appeared only twice between 1940-1941. In his debut, "Luthor" (who is referred to only by his surname) is a wily genius who resides in a flying city suspended by a dirigible. Having taken control of several Europe countries through his machinations, he tries to provoke a war between the two fictional nations of Galonia and Toran, planning to set all the nations of the world at war, but is stopped by Superman. He describes himself as "an ordinary man, but with the brain of a super-genius."
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