Was Lex Luthor in Man of Steel Based on Donald Trump?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixty-fifth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends. Click here for Part 2 of this week’s legends.


Lex Luthor was based on Donald Trump in Man of Steel.



Reader cdull wrote in to ask:

Here’s one I’ve heard for years but never anything to back up. John Byrne based his Lex Luthor on Donald Trump.

The Man of Steel version of Lex Luthor debuted in the fourth issue…

Luthor was a very rich, well known businessman in Metropolis who had a big ego and liked to put his name on everything…

At the end of the issue, after Superman arrests Luthor for the first time, Luthor vows vengeance…

Anyhow, WAS he based on Donald Trump?

As John Byrne noted to Daily Beast, “Of course, Donald Trump was our model.”

The basic concept for Luthor being a really rich guy instead of an evil scientist came from Marv Wolfman, who had used a similar approach to a revamp of Vandal Savage in the early 1980s. However, Wolfman’s basic concept was developed by Byrne, who wrote the eventual debut of Luthor.

Of course, Trump wasn’t the ONLY model for Luthor, as Byrne once noted, “I built the character as a cross between Donald Trump, Ted Turner, Howard Hughes and maybe Satan himself! ”

Interestingly, perhaps the MOST on point Trump reference was after Byrne was already off of the titles, when the Biography of Luthor came out and it was plainly based on the book design of Trump’s famous The Art of the Deal…

So, while it is a bit more of a straightforward answer than most Comic Book Legends, the answer is, “yep.”

Thanks for the question, cdull!

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed – How did James Bond lead to the creation of Darkwing Duck?

OK, that’s it for this week!

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Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

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