The Many Ways Donald Trump Is a Real-Life Lex Luthor

Be afraid. Be very afraid. “>

UPDATE 8/ 15/16: This article has been updated with comment from Man of Steel writer John Byrne.

The self-destructing vortex of orange-tinted lunacy known as Donald Trump has earned apt comparisons to a cartoon rogue since the nascent days of his presidential campaign. Like Supermans arch-nemesis Lex Luthor, Trump is known for his business acumen and inflated sense of self-importance. Both are often guided by grudges and bottomless aspiration. Both are damaged, shriveled souls lacking in empathy and sound judgment.

And, most strikingly, both have run for chairperson on platforms pandering to paranoia and a fear of aliens . There are differences, of course: Luthor, for example, has never taken to live television to confirm the size of his dick. And for all his unhinged plots, Luthor does have a slightly firmer comprehend on reality and the nuances of the English speech. Still, both campaigns flourish on xenophobia, militarism, misinformation, and outlandish promises neither can maintain.( A big, beautiful wall along the Mexican border! Flying autoes for every household !)

Parallels between Trump and Luthor began only incidentally. In 1986, DC Comics rebooted the entire Superman mythos in part to better reflect the nervousness and preoccupations of modern America. Instead of a mad scientist, Luthor was re-envisioned as a rich and powerful industrialist, an idea hatched by novelist Marv Wolfman and realise in the comics event of the century, novelist and artist John Byrnes Man of Steel miniseries.

It was a time when anti-corporate public sentiment against real-life Wall Street scoundrels like Michael Milken and Barry Minkow was on the rise( the movie Wall Street, featuring the Milken-inspired Gordon Gekko, was released one year later ). But unsurprisingly, one wealthy 80 s mogul including with regard to inspired the new Luthor: “Of course, Donald Trump was our model, ” Byrne tells The Daily Beast.

As a foil for Superman , no rogue now felt more antithetical to truth, justice, and the American style than Luthor, a ruthless criminal capitalist. He was now more sinister than ever, seemingly ready to walk right off the page and into corporate boardrooms, the style Bob Batchelor sets it in The Human from Krypton: A Closer Look at Superman.

He had an inflated ego and a penchant for naming every company subsidiary after himself( LexCom, LexTel, Luthor Technology, Luthor Industries, and on and on ). But if the parallels to Trump werent clear enough yet, the cover-up of 1989 s one-shot Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography solidified them. Seem familiar?

Even when Luthor ran for and was elected President of the United States in 2000, few could have imagined his real-life equivalent TrumpDonald Trump, the reality starring, the sentient Caps Lock buttonwould also one day clinch a nomination. “Art imitating life becomes life imitating art, ” Byrne says today.

Having already reached the peak of his powers in the private sector, Luthor decides to become the person or persons in America to whom Superman must defer: POTUS. 2000 was an infamously fraught election year for real-life America; in the comics, Luthor exploited this to become a viable third-party candidate. As part of his campaign, he promised to bring fantastical leapings in technology( aka flying autoes) to every household in Metropolis, turning it genuinely into the City of Tomorrow.

He is an alien. A curse upon this planet, he says. As they say in our great nations farmlands, curses are like chickens. They always come home to roost.

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