Pre-Crisis, probably mid-1970s, Curt Swan art. In this story, Luthor invents a machine (looks like a crowbar with some tech-looking appendages) than can absorb hate. He uses it himself, wrecking a Superman statue with it. After the procedure, Luthor throws the machine at Superman, and it releases all the "hate energy" into Superman's mind. As a result, Luthor is able to successfuly commit a lot of crimes, since he is totally analytic and serene, while Superman is enraged all the time, can't think straight, and consequently fumbles all attempts at catching Luthor. IIRC, in the end Superman finds a way to rid himself of the hate energy with some technobabble gimmick, while Luthor's hate for Superman slowly builds back up to its natural level on its own.

I must have googled wrong, since I can't find what issue this story was in.

1 Answer 1


Is this Action Comics Vol. 1 #423...?

As you suggested, Curt Swan drew the pencil art for this 1973 story, titled "Luthor's Hammer of Hate!"

Luthor comes to the realisation that his hatred for Superman had always clouded his judgment during their conflicts, contributing to his many defeats at Superman's hands. He subsequently transfers that hatred into Superman, using a hammer-like device which is fired at Superman's chest. This causes Superman's judgment to be clouded for much of the story instead of his own, although Superman eventually rids himself of the hatred by transferring it into a machine called the Mento-Graph.

Here's the scene with Luthor hammering away at a Superman statue:

LEX LUTHOR: Savage, uncontrollable hatred for Superman that has obsessed me most of my life--but no more! Despite my sheer genius--that hate handicapped me... clouded my judgment... badly cut down my efficiency! Superman always won our battles because I was only half the foe I could have been!

Action Comics Vol. 1 #423, page 7

Action Comics Vol. 1 #423 (April, 1973)

And here's the scene where Superman explains how he got rid of the hatred.

SUPERMAN: I transferred my hate into this machine--the Mento-Graph!

LEX LUTHOR: A machine?! But how?

SUPERMAN: Dr. Thames was experimenting with brain-fuel--the electrical current of our minds--as a useable power source for future machines! Right now the Mento-Graph isn't running on normal current at all! Last night, Thames and I devised a means of transferring my hatred into the Mento-Graph, leaving me normal once again...

Action Comics Vol. 1 #423, page 14

Action Comics Vol. 1 #423 (April, 1973)

  • Seems like a Scientology E-Meter Apr 3, 2023 at 5:37
  • @LogicDictates there's no mistaking Curt Swan art, even if you saw it only once 50 years ago!
    – JCCyC
    Jun 14, 2023 at 19:54

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