Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interlude: On Lex's Hair

In this small break between seasons, we thought we would share with you our thoughts on Lex Luthor's hair.  Historically, Lex Luthor has been depicted with one of four choices. First, the classic bald look.  This is "classic" Luthor, whose baldness is a key element in his image.  In the Silver Age, the baldness even had an insane origin by way of Superboy blowing a toxic fire onto Luthor's head!  Nowadays, he's simply straight up bald.  This is the look the cartoon went with, as it represents the well-known and iconic approach to the master villain.

There are other options.  Luthor originally had a shock of red curls, which he is often depicted with as a young man.  Likewise, the third option in the balding Luthor, his mighty brain framed by a fringe of clinging red hair.  Finally, Superman's movie franchise brought us Lex-with-a-wig, a more vain take on Luthor's combat with the great equalizer.

Kristin wants to share her thoughts on this, so I won't take up too much time now that I've introduced the topic but I do want to say that I prefer the classic Luthor look for both the iconic elements, as well as the confidence that it places in Lex.  Frankly, he rocks the bald look, and his own ego and vanity simply would not allow it to be any other way.  If he wanted to Luthor could grow himself some hair, but he doesn't need to because he is in control.  Anything else seems to signify a strangely public failing, which I can't believe Luthor would allow.  He has flaws that you could drive a truck through, but none that the public can see.  So, importantly, whatever Kristin says to contradict this is completely wrong.  Always remember that...

I (being Kristin) have to disagree with Evan's ever-traditionalist perspective on Luthor's mane. Understanding that this probably comes from the fact that my position as a "comics outsider" means that I lack the reverence that seems to attach itself to all classic characters, I still insist that the baldness is out of place for me.

My essential problem stems from the assumption that Luthor is being sold to me as a vain, power-hungry man with an insatiable thirst for perfection which is essentially causing his feud with Superman, who has the unchallenged ability to be everything that Lex wants to be. Why, then, would he allow himself to be bald? (Just to clarify, I am certainly not saying that the toupee was the answer. That seems like an acknowledgment of the shortcoming and a shame that I don't buy either.) Instead, why is it not accepted that Luthor could have hair? Even if it had been "burned off" in previous adventures, surely Luthor is enough of a genius to have succeeded in overcoming baldness.

My image of Luthor is the paragon of charisma. To be bald is almost a subconscious biological crack in his pristine public persona that I'm not convinced he would not realize himself. Granted, it's not as much of a problem for me as his mountainous physique in this incarnation...

But it would be nice to see some more vanity in our aspiring super-man.

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