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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 80

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at a neat (and almost timely) Lex Luthor moment from Elliot S! Maggin.


I say ALMOST timely because this moment would have been precisely timely had I posted it a week ago, on March 14th. But que sera, sera.

In any event, in 1986’s Superman #416, Luthor has escaped from prison and he’s doing all sorts of odd things, including pretending to be a patent clerk in Europe!

Ultimately, he’s captured when he actually stops to help a drowning boy that was put into harm’s way by one of Luthor’s “distract Superman” schemes. That rare act of charity gets him caught (we get a thought balloon from Luthor saying that can’t let someone die, not today on “his birthday”!).

That takes us to Superman bringing him to jail and a rare touching moment for Lex Luthor (click on the pages to enlarge)…

Classy move by Maggin and great art (per usual) by Curt Swan.


Luthor having Einstein as a hero is a lot cooler, to me, than his “Hall of Heroes” in Luthor’s Lair in the ’50s, where he had statues of guys like Nero, Atilla the Hun, Al Capone, and Benedict Arnold.

Note that echos some stuff in Maggin’s novel LAST SON OF KRYPTON, where Einstein plays a role in the origin of Superman…

Excellent sequence, though in my opinion it would’ve made more sense for Lex’s hero to be Oppenheimer ( since Einstein, for all his genius, was dismayed by the atom bomb, whereas Lex engineers a few dozen WMDs by breakfast )

cool moment . nice to see even a villian like Lex show how human he is and that even so called guys who are evil can have role models can see where Lex picks Albert Einstein both are scientific minds of greatness to some .

I thought it was kind of cheesy. But I don’t have much familiarity with pre-Byrne reboot Supes/Lex and I haven’t read the full comic.

That was cool but I want to read Warlord of Mars now.

Thought it was obnoxious that Superman kept stopping Luthor from going through with each of his Einstein tributes, instead provoking him into breaking the law so he could capture him and take him to jail. Just leave the guy alone if he’s not bothering anyone.

This was a bit schmaltzy to be a truly “cool” pre-Crisis Luthor moment (not even Curt Swan’s best work). There was a story from about 7 or 8 years earlier, also by Maggin & Swan (inked by Bob Oskner, one of Swan’s best inkers short of Murphy Anderson) called “The Luthor Nobody Knows.” The story itself dealt with a the theme of “Would Lex Luthor be a really bad person if he would just let IT go?” IT, of course, being his hatred of Superman. The cool moment there is when a young Lex is berating Superboy then we flash forward to the present and Superman watches as an adult Lex continues to rant at him. (I think this story was collected in a recent trade.) Also along the same theme was the Luthor story (this time written by Cary Bates with Swan inked by Anderson) in which Luthor winds up on Lexor after a particularly bad throw down with Superman. Lexor treats Luthor like a hero and he’s got a good life going there. Then Superman shows up, Luthor pushes back and winds up blowing up Lexor (yep, the whole freaking planet) because…he just wouldn’t let it go.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

March 22, 2009 at 3:34 pm

I can see a case for the appeal of Einstein to Silver Age Luthor over Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was schooled at a private project called the Ethical Culture School and attended Harvard, where he took on graduate-level physics as an undergrad.

Einstein, by contrast, was thought dumb as a child, was kicked out of technical school because the rote-method teaching was too boring for him, and failed his entrance exams for higher education on the first try.

To a guy like this Luthor, a formally untrained super-genius from a hick Kansas town, you can see whose biography he’d most identify with. In terms of morals, there’s no comparison, but at least part of the story’s point is that Luthor knows how far he is on that front from Einstein.

Maggin-Swan Superman is what introduced me to comics.

Cheesy? Sure, but they had a great feel for the character.

Who’s inking here? This doesn’t look like the usual Swan inkers (Anderson, Oksner, Chiarmont), it almost looks Giordano-ish, but not quite so overpowering as Dick’s work can be at times.

Also, if you look closely on the last panel……it almost feels like luthor is flipping the bird at superman. Which gives a whole new meaning to lex phrase: “thanks for everything….you dick”

The inker was Al Williamson who was a frequent inker of Curt Swan in the last pre-Crisis issues prior to the Byrne revamp.

Random Stranger

March 23, 2009 at 5:28 am

I like the crowd that’s about to mob Superman and Luthor as they’re standing there having a moment together.

Albert Brooks’ real last name is Einstein. I’d liek to think fo this as Lex Luthor being a big fan of Albert Brooks mvoies.

Lex really digs Lost in America, the In-Laws, and Defending Your Life, but he’s not as fond of The Muse or Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.

Was this reprinted any time recently? I swear I’ve read it but know I don’t have the issue.

The Superman in the 80s book, perhaps?

Anyone know?

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