First appearance: Action Comics #23 (1940)
Created by: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
Most villainous act: Being elected president.
The reason why Lex Luthor stands out among Superman’s countless villains is that he’s the exact opposite of the Man of Steel. He’s bald, middle-aged, and, most importantly, human. Lex has been portrayed in two ways: as a mad scientist or a power-hungry businessman/politician. Both versions are supremely jealous of the love the people of Metropolis throw Superman’s way, and he has made it his life’s mission to debase and demoralize Kal-El whenever he gets the chance.
Unlike The Green Goblin and The Joker, Lex has never killed a superhero’s girlfriend, sidekick, or family member, but he makes up for it by constantly threatening the world behind the scenes. Luthor’s intelligence allows him to slip away from justice without getting his hands dirty. This is what has made him such a threat to the DC Universe over the years. He has the cutthroat mentality of Gordon Gecko, the intelligence of Stephen Hawking, and the ingenuity of Nikola Tesla. This brain-over-brawn equation makes Luthor the perfect foil for the most powerful being on the planet.