<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en">The Lethal Luthors:
A Deceptive Brilliance

 by  Dennis Power


David Luthor

D. D. Warburton (Daddy Warbucks)


David Luthor ran away from home at the age of ten to join a circus. He spent five years under the big top, befriending an Indian fakir and an animal trainer who had been a safari master in India. He resolved to go to India. At fifteen he worked his way across the Pacific on a merchant ship. He jumped ship in Bombay. He knocked around India for a few years and became involved in a few adventures with a British agent named Kimball O'Hara and a semi-shady character named Danny Dravoit.[1]

Dravoit remarked to David once that a man could be the richest bloody man in the world if he kept the world supplied with guns. This clicked with him. When he and a friend discovered a temple filled with jewels, they wasted not a second thought about looting it.  His friend and he were surrounded by a group of religious zealots who objected to their temple's treasure being pilfered. Luthor's friend made the ultimate sacrifice and made a stand while David escaped with the jewels. Yet even this sacrifice was not enough and Daniel was nearly captured by the Thuggees. He was rescued by a bear which barreled out of the rain forest and chased the cultists away. The bear ran back into the woods and almost immediately a large elderly man who resembled Thomas Nast’s pictures of Santa Claus emerged from the forest.[2] He introduced himself as Mr. Am. He volunteered to lead David back to British held territory.

David Luthor inquired what the elderly man was doing in the woods so far from civilization. Mr. Am told David that he was investigating a temple which had just recently been taken over by a group of Thuggees. When Luthor inquired who he was working for and if would have to turn over the loot he had taken from the temple. The elderly man said he was working for a private concern and that they would not begrudge young Mr. Luthor from having the temple treasure since it was loot stolen from people that the Thuggees had killed.

When Luthor started that the man knew his name, Mr. Am told David that they had a mutual friend in Kimball O’Hara. Although Mr. Am told Luthor knew that like Kim, David was a charming rogue with the soul of a con man but he could not help but like him. He knew that Luthor would have a hard time staying on a path that was straight and narrow but that generally he would be a good man. Mr. Am told Luthor that he would do what he could what he could to help Luthor stay on the right side of the path. In his own way David Luthor would be one of Mr. Am’s agents pushing back the darkness that threatened to overwhelm the world. [3]

He returned to the United States to discover that his brothers had already long gone their own ways. Not wanting his brothers’ often unsavory reputations to affect his reputation in the slightest (although at the time they were only petty criminals), he took the last name of his friend as a sort of tribute and called himself D. D. Warburton.[4] Using his fortune in gems as the basis for his business venture, he bought into a small arms factory. He quickly used his great intellect to design and distribute munitions. He became a multimillionaire who was on one hand a ruthless businessman and a generous philanthropist, like his contemporaries J. D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie.

At twenty he looked older with his bald scalp, and he used his training in make-up to make himself appear considerably older so he could gain respect from his fellow businessmen. Out of the blue he received a note from his brother Lex, who had broken out of the Kansas State Reformatory. Lex had seen D.D. Warburton's photo in the newspaper as a millionaire on the rise and recognized his brother, despite the make up. They arranged to meet. Lex said that their parents had moved away from Kansas and changed their names, ostensibly because of the disgrace to the family name caused by his criminal career but also because their father was afraid of being discovered by his enemies. Their brother William had also disappeared shortly after graduating college. Lex did not have the freedom and Lawrence did not have the inclination to do what needed to be done, so in Lex’s view that left David.[5]

Lex gave David a choice: he could either pay a yearly stipend to him so his true identity would not be revealed or he could take care of a little girl. David was perplexed by the offer. Lex told them that their brother Lawrence had sired a child as an experiment to see if his ultimately evolved genes would carry onto to the next generation. The child's mother either died in childbirth or abandoned the child out of shame. It was not until Anne was of legal age that David was able to discover that her birth-mother's name was Alice Adams.[6] Lawrence had no use for the child; even if his genetic enhancements had carried over, the child was female and therefore inferior.

Although he almost would have rather have paid the yearly stipend, D. D. Warburton answered the call of family responsibility—rare as it was among the Luthors—and became little Anne’s guardian in 1922. It was the urging of Mr. Am that finally convinced D.D. Warburton to do the correct thing. And in doing so he would discover that he was rewarded ten fold as he became famous for being her guardian and that this fame parlayed into increased wealth.

The family resemblance, particularly because of the bright red hair, was immediately noticeable. David’s relationship with his ward Anne was tumultuous. He had very little experience dealing with children, and so overwhelmed her with material gifts. Having many businesses to run, D. D. Warburton was not home very often. Feeling abandoned, Anne would run away. Warburton would spend time and effort to find her. It was a pattern that repeated during her childhood, and Anne's adventures became the basis for a comic strip.

Although he used his influence to keep the publicity of the story of his guardianship of the little girl down to a minimum, the story of the self-made millionaire bachelor who adopted a little girl from the wrong side of the tracks leaked.  A cartoonist by the name of H.W. Gray based a long-running comic strip on the basic story, although he changed David Douglas Warburton to Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks.  Annie, as Gray called Anne, was given a mostly fictional background. Gray also filled the strip with his own ultraconservative social and political views. When strip first came out David was furious, but then he thought that it would make a good cover and lead people to believe that he and Anne were fictional characters. He had begun to suspect that his brothers Lawrence and Lex had become career criminals and wanted to create some distance from them. David also thought that this would be a way of defraying the cost of raising a child and would allow Anne to earn money of her own, so he licensed Gray’s comic strip for a share of the syndication profits Mr. Am became a more frequent visitor to D. D. after he had taken charge of Little Anne in order to give the girl more moral guidance than D.D. could provide.

David Warburton and Anne took to granting H.W. Gray interviews. Gray would expand these interviews into the adventures of Little Orphan Annie. These adventures were mostly fictional but not entirely. Mr. Am was more amused than angered when the cartoonist took little Anne's stories about her friend Mr. Am and made them even more fantastic than they were in real life.

Anne was a delightful child, but she was a bit of a trouble magnet and was always managing to get herself in a jam when David had to go away on business. One might make the case that she was acting out as a way of gaining attention.

As the world progressed towards another war, munitions became a highly competitive and dangerous business. David hired a bodyguard for himself, one of his ex-circus friends named Britt Shelleen who was a trick shot, an expert knife thrower and a trick rope artist. This man was incorporated into the comic strip and given the name The Asp—the mysterious, almost supernatural protector of Daddy Warbucks.[7] Warburton also acquired a bodyguard for Anne, a man he had met in his Indian travels. His name is never really given, but a certain clue that was contained within the comic strip can narrow down the search, in the comic strip he is called Punjab, which is a place rather than a family name. Anne's bodyguard was a Sikh warrior, possibly with the last name of Singh.[8]

Anne's tendency to run away increased slightly during 1932 because of the stepmother factor.

Around 1932, Kimball O'Hara came to visit Warburton, he brought with him his cousin Deirdre O'Hara. Deirdre was heir to a parcel of land in Georgia; through a convoluted legal process she found herself part owner of a remnant of the famed cotton plantation Tara. The Butler family owned the other portion.

Kimball had come to America with Deirdre to help her settle her affairs. Warburton was interested in purchasing the property because he had been thinking of expanding into cotton and tobacco. There was an immediate attraction between Deirdre O'Hara and David Warburton. They wed in a quick ceremony and had a tumultuous, tempestuous passionate love affair that lasted six months, ending with Deirdre on a luxury liner heading back to England, cursing Warburton’s name. She bore David Warburton’s children, a pair of boys, but never let him know about it. She named the boys Austin David O'Hara and Douglas Evelyn O'Hara. She later married a military man named Nigel Powers. He adopted the boys. Austin was renamed Austin Dangerfield Powers and would often joke that Danger was his middle name. Douglas Evelyn O’Hara merely had his last name changed to Powers for the remainder of his short life.

Nigel took the family on a vacation to Belgium. As Diedre sat in the car with the two boys, it was blown up. Nigel had actually been an agent of British Intelligence and was investigating Nazi infiltration of Belgium. Two Krafthaus operatives planted a time bomb in his car. Austin was blown clear of the wreckage to be raised by his ever-absent father. Douglas and Dierdre were apparently killed.

Austin grew up to be a top notch sailor; his military career is still classified. After the military he joined the M16 British spy service and became a top spy. He was provided a cover as a fashion photographer, and he blended into the madcap swinging sixties as if made for that era. His greatest foe was the man history knows as Dr. Evil.[9]

David Warburton never married again but he continued his guardianship of Anne, at first because of his duty to his brother and his innate sense of responsibility but he also came to love her as if she were his own child. They had several adventures all over the world as Warburton expanded his financial empire. At one time he took steps to adopt her, but his brother Lawrence suddenly took an interest in his daughter and blocked every attempt to do so, by various illegal means. Somehow Lawrence was convinced that Anne was a valuable asset, no doubt due to the genetic material she inherited from him that he supposed to be highly evolved. Lawrence decided that he would either possess Anne or destroy her. Using various goons and stooges, Lawrence ordered a variety of assassination and kidnap attempts, which Anne and Warburton successfully avoided.[10]

After attending three years of a finishing school for young ladies, Anne Luthor attended the University of Chicago where she became briefly enamored with Professor Henry Jones, Jr. Although the infatuation with Jones passed, she remained intrigued by archaeology and paleontology. Another student who shared her passion was Daniel Clampett, the scion of an Arkansas mountain clan whose land was rich in uranium. The Clampetts sold their land and made certain their children had more than a sixth-grade education, as opposed to their cousins in Bugtussle who seemed content to live in the hard scrabble conditions of Ozark mountain life. Daniel was an archeologist, anthropologist, adventurer, and entrepreneur, who also invented advances in sonar technology that were used in geology and archaeology.

Daniel Clampett and Anne Luthor became romantically involved while on various archaeological digs sponsored by the University of Chicago. They married and formed their own research group, funded by their families’ wealth. They would often share their resources and digs with other notable and independent archeologists, such as Don Sturdy, Carter and Shiera Hall, Abner Ravenwood and Lord Richard Croft.[11]

As she had in her childhood, Anne Luthor Clampett spent her young adulthood traveling the world having various types of adventure. These adventures were related to H.W. Gray  and re-imagined as the continuing adventures of Little Orphan Annie. Having a child, Daniel Lionel Clampett, in 1944 barely slowed her down. Anne Luthor Clampett and Daniel Clampett disappeared in 1951 while looking for the fabled city of Agartha,[12] and were presumed dead.  Lionel Daniel Clampett was placed under the guardianship of D. D. Warburton.

As D.D. Warburton became wealthier, he knew that if his true personal wealth were discovered by the United States Treasury he would be taxed into penury, or rather a good deal of his money would go to pay taxes rather than going to the purposes for which he wished. Therefore he began to set up an elaborate system of holding companies, shell companies, and proxy companies. Various men who became widely acclaimed as millionaire entrepreneurs were actually working for Warburton, fronting for some of his hidden business ventures. As part of the labyrinth corporate structure David Warburton became the secret business partner of many the notorious and also the unknown figures of organized crime. Unlike his relatives William Luthor and Alexis Luther, David Warburton did not deliberately seek out criminal ventures in which to invest but rather allowed criminal ventures to invest in his legitimate enterprises. While this could be seen as a giant money laundering scheme, this was not David Warburton’s intent or purpose. Most of his clients were people who had made their fortunes during the prohibition, originally through bootlegging and then through other criminal enterprises. Many of these people, who were now approaching late middle age and were family men wished to divest themselves of their criminal enterprises and make their operations totally legitimate. David Warburton saw this as giving these criminals who wished to reform by becoming legitimate a chance to do so, a prerequisite of his aid was that he would receive 10% of the profits up front, that he would control their business interests to make certain that they stayed in legitimate enterprises and that another 30% of the profits would be given to various charities. In this way Warburton believed that the prison system would not have to carry the burden of punishing these reformed criminals. Had many people been aware of David Warburtons’ activities during this period, eyebrows might have been raised that he became chummy with various officials in the law enforcement and justice sectors as well as known or suspected criminals.

Warburton’s contact with the law enforcement and justice sectors allowed him access to the various law enforcement institutions so that if need be he could arranged to have any of his clients who violated their agreements, arrested and charged with crimes. These contacts also ensured his protection. This access to law enforcement agencies also gave him a wide list of possible candidates to contact and open a dialogue about using his method to become legitimate. As a result of legitimizing the holdings of these criminal fortunes, Warburton’s financial empire began to control an extremely diverse array of companies dealing with everything from talent agencies to parking meter factories. 

Warburton became savvy about media manipulation early in his career. It was through the medium of the newspaper, and then the radio, that he used fiction as a tool to shape reality. Although the adventures of Little Orphan Annie were an exaggerated, fictionalized, and somewhat sanitized version of his relationship with his ward Anne, they served several purposes. First the wild tales convinced most of their audience that they were pure fiction and were not based on reality. The comic strip and radio adventures thus were able to give David Warburton and Anne Warburton a level of privacy that others in their position might not have had. No one believed that they were real characters, so if by chance mention were made of Warburtons in the media, people would believe this was a publicity stunt, a joke, or the work of a lunatic.

The comics and radio shows also enabled Warburton to shape his public image. It was unavoidable that some people would realize that Daddy Warbucks and Orphan Annie were real people; however, their perceptions of David Warburton and Anne Warburton were shaped by the public images of Daddy Warbucks and Little Orphan Annie. In other words people saw David Warburton as the hard-driving, charitable capitalist with a heart of gold and Anne as a happy-go-lucky, pulled-up-by-her-bootstraps plucky orphan girl. While there was a grain of truth to these portraits, a grain was about all there was.

It was a great revelation to him when, like his brother Alexander, he investigated his family tree to see if they were, as their father claimed, heirs to the throne of the Kingdom of Lutha. As his brother would discover, they were not. However David did learn of his Wold Newton family heritage. He learned through genealogical research that the Wold Newton Families often had quite an influence on literature and popular culture. These often-fictionalized portraits of real people frequently led to the same phenomena that he had observed with himself and Annie. The public disbelieved their true existence and most of those who knew about their true existence believed that the public image was the true image.

He saw how Tarzan was regarded a purely fictional creation, which was fine with Lord Greystoke since he wanted to keep out of the public spotlight. Yet David Warburton also noticed how Doc Savage, The Avenger, The Spider, and The Shadow all had very public exploits that were printed in the papers, yet overall most people, because of the print and radio portrayals, believed them to be fictional persons.

When David Warburton had investigated his family’s past and discovered his connection to the Wold Newton family, he had also discovered the connection that many members of the Wold Newton family had to famous literary characters and to their “creators”.  This was something to which he could relate considering how his had life had been portrayed as Daddy Warbucks.

After Warburton had discovered the reality of Tarzan and the connection that Tarzan had between Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., he became interested in meeting Tarzan and discussing their shared ancestry. Tarzan was wary of David Warburton but after several different inquiries through various private detectives, discovered that David Warburton, was akin to him. Warburton was a warrior in the jungle of commerce, he was ruthless with his enemies and loyal to his partners. He was a man of his word and adhered to the letter of an agreement.

David Warburton’s global financial empire became partners with Tarzan’s and the Walker familiy’s financial interests to help native Africans develop the necessary economic and industrial base to modernize and not become marginalized by the European industrial nations.

Warburton became interested in Edgar Rice Burroughs ideas to capitalize on the Tarzan  character by merchandising it, thus making the character well known, furthering the notion that the character fictional, he began doing the same for his Daddy Warbucks and Orphan Annie likenesses. Publicly Burroughs scoffed and mocked how the major studios’ Tarzan films treated his character, although privately Burroughs and Tarzan were pleased that the films promoted the fictionality of the character by creating popular variations on the character depicted in the “novels”, thus making the films and books seem very removed from a real person. When the ERB Inc. became interesting in making films about the Tarzan character to make certain that the “character” was depicted “correctly” Warburton became a financial backer for this venture. These however were not as profitable as the films released by the major studios. Warburton through his investments in all of the major studios in Hollywood became Burroughs’ silent investment partner in backing some of the major studio’s Tarzan films.

Despite Warburton's great wealth and power, he still had unresolved personal issues, most dramatically revolving around his brothers; he both hated and loved them. He learned through various channels that the Ultra-Humanite was his brother Lawrence Luthor, his brother Alexander was Lex Luthor, and his brother William was possibly the worst of them all. William was the head of the mysterious Scorpia organization. He blamed his brothers for his parents’ disappearance, despised them for their often callous disposal of human life in the achievement of their goals, and yet he was proud of their intellectual prowess. He also feared the consequences should their names ever become linked with his.

David Warburton began to use his influence subtly, behind the scenes. He was instrumental in getting newspapers and radio stations to downplay all true media news coverage of the activities of Lex Luthor, the Ultra-Humanite, and the Scorpion. A few media outlets, of course, would not play ball.

David Warburton discovered that he had an odd ally in this manipulation of the media image of Lex Luthor and the Ultra-Humanite. This ally was Superman, who believed that comic books, radio, and cartoons about him needed to regulated, as did coverage of the various villains he fought. He believed that fictionalizing and exaggerating the exploits of himself and his villains would lessen the likelihood that someone would try to replicate the villains’ plans or weaponry. He also believed that the less people knew about many of the real threats to civilization, the less they would worry about future threats. He also thought that by making certain that children knew that the stories were imaginary, children would not try super stunts on their own and become seriously injured. Superman also believed that the comics could provide a good format for children to learn a code of morality and the difference between good and evil. The comics could provide examples, for the line between good and evil was well defined in them and the characters of the comic books were caricatures so broadly written as to be seen as fictional.

Warburton was content to influence events indirectly until the opportunity arose to work with other members of the Wold Newton family to tailor their public presentations and guard their privacy by regulating the fictions surrounding them.

By the late fifties many of the people who had grown up reading comic books, pulp magazines, and watching movie serials were grown men who had begun to apply analytical thinking to the favorite entertainment figures of their youth. Some began to wonder if these characters were entirely fictional or if there were some truth behind the fiction. One of the main targets for this type of research was Tarzan.

To counter this type of speculation, Tarzan, in accord with the Burroughs estate, began allowing more Tarzan films to be made. Although both Burroughs and Tarzan had disliked the portrayal of Tarzan in the Weissmuller movies, the characterization did serve well to increase the perceived fictionality of the character.[13]

Yet a movement towards a more realistic portrayal of Tarzan in the films was already under way.  The first few films starring Gordon Scott depicted the dim monosyllabic Tarzan, yet as the series progressed Tarzan became more intelligent and articulate.

Although we now know that the intensive research into Tarzan's life was not directly connected to the changing trend of his public image, Tarzan, Burroughs Inc., and others were not so certain. One particular researcher, Philip José Farmer, was uncovering certain leads that Tarzan and the Burroughs family would rather not be uncovered. To confuse the path of discovery and possibly discourage the researcher, Tarzan and company arranged for new Tarzan books to be published but to do so under a cloud of controversy. The hope was the that new series of fictional books and the controversy surrounding them would further obfuscate the issue of whether Tarzan and his fellow Wold Newton Family members were fictional or real.

A series of five books were published in quick succession by Gold Star books. They arranged for this publisher because David Warburton was co-owner of this firm.

The adventures were based on some of the events in the life of another Tarzan, Richard Lansing, Lord Greystoke. Lansing was the actual Lord Greystoke, that is he held the title that E. R. Burroughs had borrowed as one of Tarzan's. Richard Lansing was depicted in the earlier Tarzan films as Boy. He had been raised by the man known as Tarzan-2, whose origins were unknown but who seemed to be a duplicate of the actual Tarzan. Some of the later Tarzan films had also been based on the life of Richard Lansing.[14]

Gold Star Books was founded by G. Gold and D. Warburton in 1963 and continued through 1965. The Tarzan books published were Tarzan and the Silver Globe (1964), Tarzan and the Cave City (1964), Tarzan and the Snake People (1964), Tarzan and the Abominable Snowmen (1965), and Tarzan and the Winged Invaders (1965)

The author of these books was named Barton Werper. Werper is an interesting character.  Many Wold-Newtonian scholars are familiar with the name Barton Werper from two different sources. The last name is clearly based upon Lieutenant Albert Werper, a disgraced Belgian officer sent to the Congo instead of being court-martialed, who is a villain in Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar.  Barton Werper was the pseudonym of Peter and Peg Scott, a married couple who were commissioned to write the Tarzan pastiches and write them in a certain way.[15] These volumes were designed to further promote the fictionality of the Tarzan character by their outlandish plots.

To further muddy the waters Burroughs Inc. launched a lawsuit against Gold Star books that proved that many of the passages from the five books had been plagiarized from Tarzan books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The end result of the suit was that Gold Star had to cease publication of the Tarzan books and that all further copies would be destroyed.

This lawsuit accomplished several things. First it created concrete legal evidence that Edgar Rice Burroughs had created that character of Tarzan of the Apes, proving his fictional nature once and for all. The lawsuit also made these unauthorized and bizarre adventures of Tarzan very rare and sought after books. It established to a certain extent Barton Werper's credentials with Burroughs material; even negative credentials are credentials in some minds.

It was also designed to curb the investigation into the reality of Tarzan by Philip José Farmer and others. In this it was only moderately successful.[16]

After the Werper books were published and then stopped from being published, a Tarzan television series was created based on the life of Richard Lansing, but set in a mythical Africa with pronounced South American borrowings, such as Native American tribesmen and other such inaccuracies. These additions and anachronisms were, of course, intended to create even more of a false impression of Tarzan and his Africa.

Another related project turned out to be nearly disastrous, the film called Tarzan 66 or rather Tarzan and the Valley of Gold. A well-known science fiction author, Fritz Lieber, was tapped to write up the novelization of the film. A mix up resulted in the film version and the novelization having very different characters and divergent storylines. Tarzan was said to be very upset about this. Fortunately no one thoroughly investigated the two storylines together until recently.[17]

Philip José Farmer was living in California at that time, an acquaintance of his who worked at the movie studio where some of the scenes were shot drunkenly mentioned that the real Tarzan had visited the set. Farmer used the information gleaned from this to re-launch his investigation into the truth of Tarzan. What he discovered shocked, sickened, and fascinated him. He later used these researches to write three pastiche novels about Tarzan and his brother Doc Savage, using the roman a clef of Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban. He did not realize until later that while Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban were real people, they were not the Tarzan and Doc Savage recorded by Burroughs and Dent. The pastiche novels were A Feast Unknown, Lord of the Trees, and The Mad Goblin.

In 1965 David Warburton became aware of yet another of his brother Lawrence Luthor's natural children by the name of Nasthalia Luthor. David Warburton received a letter from his brother Lawrence. According to Lawrence’s account, Nasthalia was not biologically related to David Warburton, but rather was fathered by Rodney Prescott upon Dolores Winter, an actress into whose body Lawrence Luthor’s brain had been transplanted. Hence she was in a real sense Lawrence Luthor’s daughter, but not David Warburton’s niece.[18]

Lawrence’s did not care of David did anything about this girl or not. However since David had raised and one of Lawrence’s other daughters, he thought David might like the opportunity to try once again. David Warburton had private detectives locate Nasthalia Luthor. She was the leader of a female biker gang who had been pestering Supergirl. Nasthalia was twenty-five years old and on parole, so she was not a little girl to be raised by any means of the imagination. However her life was certainly on a fast downward spiral. Johnny Hazard, the Private eye Warburton had hired believed that Nasthalia was using drugs, a serious violation of her parole.

Warburton met with Nasthalia and gave her the option of getting off the drugs and attending school or going to prison, explaining that he had close connections with many law enforcement agencies. She chose school. Warburton had no children after the disappearance and presumed death of Anne and was looking for an heir. Daniel Clampett was due to inherit the Clampett fortune and so Warburton felt that Daniel would have little interest in controlling the Warburton's holdings. Daniel was, however, demonstrating the genius that seemed to frequently occur in the Luthor family. He was racking up degrees in finance, molecular biology, and agricultural sciences. Daniel planned to use the Clampett fortune from uranium to preserve life rather than destroy it by developing positive uses for radiation in medicine and agriculture.

D. D. Warburton used his influence in the media portrayal of his family until 1967 when an opportunity to control the media portrayal of his family came his way. David Warburton was the secret owner of K. National Services.[19] This was one of the acquisitions that David Warburton made when he legitimized the holdings of criminals who wished to retire or fold their holdings into legal companies. K Systems had been owned by, a New Jersey gambler who was part of Longy Zwillman’s mob.[20]  K System owned parking garages, many of which were, it is rumored, built by mob controlled labor and construction companies. After Warburton acquired this company, he wished to further legitimize it so he went into partnership with a family whose main source of income was a chain of Funeral homes. The This family also owned horses in which they shared interests with the New Jersey Gamblerl.  Warburton arranged a joint venture between the funeral home owners and the K System in a car rental business. This led to a merger between K System and funeral home owners that would create a public corporation. The new company would be run by the one of the funeral home directors as the President of the new corporation. The mob connections would be buried deep.

The funeral director turned conglomerate president proved to be a master of business acumen and a master of the art of negotiation. K National Services soon began acquiring cleaning, painting, plumbing and electronics companies.[21] In 1967, another lucrative company whose owners had hidden mob ties was offered a chance to be legitimized. This company was National Periodical Publications, the publishers of DC Comics but also publisher and distributors of Mad Magazine, Playboy and Signet Books. The mob ties were from Harry Donnenfeld. In the twenties, during Prohibition, Harry and Irving Donnenfeld had owned Martin press. They bought pulp paper from Canada. Through and arrangement with Frank Costello, they also looked the other way when some of the pulp shipment also turned out to be liquor from Canada. Harry Donnenfeld also became a useful middleman for Costello in dealing with judges and other politicians that could not be publicly seen with a notorious figure such as Costello. For these services Martin press received lucrative contracts for campaign literature. There were also unconfirmed rumors that Harry Donnenfeld was business partners with Costello in jukeboxes, gambling machines and possibly the numbers racket. Harry Donnenfeld’s familiarity with a distribution network that circumvented border patrols and postal inspectors made him a good contact for publishers whose material would have been seized by postal inspectors for violating the obscenity laws. From there it was only a small move for Donnenfeld to enter the publishing industry himself as a publisher of sex pulps and true crime pulps. In this venture he went into partnership with Paul Sampliner. Sampliner was a wealthy young man who had dabbled in the publishing business, owning Eastern News, which had focused on psychology and politics. This venture had failed and Donnenfeld proposed going into partnership with Sampliner to partially absolve Eastern News debt of $30,000 dollars to Donnenfeld’s distribution network. In 1935 Major Malcom Wheeler-Nicolson made a deal with Donnenfeld’s Independent News to publish his two comic books. In a few months Wheeler-Nicolson was bought out and vanished from the Comics industry and Harry Donnelson and his silent partner Paul Sampliner, owned the company called Detective Comics, Inc.[22]

There were some editorial changes introduced once Warburton’s front company bought National Periodicals. One of the most lasting editorial changes was to make the major three superheroes Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman reflect the modern era and have more realistic seeming storylines. Long time Superman editor Mort Weisinger was retired and Julie Schwartz became the editor of the Superman comics.[23]

Warburton  had Lionel Luthor act as his agent at DC comics. Lionel began re-negotiating the licensing fees that the company had the various heroes, refusing to acknowledge the existence or else limiting the appearances of super heroes who wanted too much for their images or stories. He also stressed that there should be tighter continuity between the various magazines.

Warburton believed that film technology had reached the point that stories of superheroes could be told on the motion picture screen without seeming ludicrous. Also the commercial value of the stories of other Wold Newton Family members were a plum ripe for the picking.

K National Services bought Warner Brothers Studio-Seven Arts in 1969. Although this was a natural extension of K National Services corporate expansion by acquiring access to another media, insiders also knew that this was another of Warburton’s legitimizing acquisitions. Seven Arts pictures had been owned by Elliot Hyman, a business associate of Meyer Lansky had bought Jack Warner’s shares of his movie studio and record company. K National Services became Warner Communications.[24]

Since Daniel Clampett had a fortune of his own and set of businesses to inherit, Warburton began to groom Nasthalia to take over for him. Because of her criminal past as Nasthalia Luthor, she changed her name to Lacy Warburton. Once she had a concrete goal in life, she set her mind to making it a reality.

Daniel disagreed that Lacy should be Warburton's heir. Lacy was after all not a blood relation and was illegitimate to boot. Daniel believed that he should be Warburton's heir and that the Warburton fortune should join the Clampett fortune. This led to a rift between Daniel Clampett and David Warburton, one that David thought was healed but actually never was.

After Daniel Clampett was legally swindled out of most of his fortune by a distant cousin, Jethro Bodine,[25] he believed that D. D. Warburton would now have no choice but to appoint him as his heir.

Although David Warburton believed that Daniel Clampett had gotten a raw deal, he believed that his failure was a good lesson for him in the cutthroat world of finance and refused to bail him out. D. D. did however allow him to take control of some smaller aspects of Warburton Enterprises (Warner Communication); these included DC Comics, although D. D. Warburton made sure that certain guidelines were to be followed as per agreements with the characters.

One of the major projects of the new company was the release of the big budget Superman film which was intended to revitalize and redefine the Superman myth for a new generation. However the film received bad publicity before it was even opened when it was publicly cursed by Jerry Siegel, the co-creator of the Superman character. After Jerry Siegel had appeared on national television a movement dedicated to convincing DC Comics to give Siegel and Shuster due credit for having created Superman and getting them just compensation became Unbeknownst to many people, Superman had instigated this movement and had contacted Jerry Robinson and Neal Adams to spear head it for him. This issue became a battle royal at DC comics because giving Siegel and Shuster credit for creating Superman would play havoc with Lionel Luthor’s future plans for the comics. He fought tooth and nail to hold toe the line and deny Siegel and Shuster any credit and any compensation. David Warburton had to use all of his influence to win over the board of directors and run rough shod over Lionel Luthor stalling.

In 1976 Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were given their justified credit for being the creators of the Superman character and a life time annuity as partial compensation.

Lionel Luthor realized that he could no longer afford to play second fiddle to David Warburton and in 1977, having learned his lessons well, Daniel Clampett did some corporate backstabbing and usurped much of Warburton Enterprises from D. D. Warburton. This was however so far behind the scenes so far as the front companies were concerned and only a few people realized at first that there had had been a change in leadership.


D. D. Warburton was able to hold onto enough to keep himself and Lacy in their accustomed style of living. The shock of the betrayal and the loss of his fortune at such an advanced age threw him into a depression and he partially retired from business. Lacy became a high flying socialite and fashion magazine editor/publisher.


The rumors that David Warburton became a reclusive, paranoid much like Howard Hughes, are however very untrue. Rather he was like Jonas Cord, who continued to work in some capacity until he died.[26]

Although semi-retired, David Warburton did keep tabs on his former company. He grew very disgusted at the way it was being run and at the various unseemly business ventures in which Daniel became involved.

The Clamp Tower incident[27] was the catalyst for D. D. Warburton to once again spring into action and save the reputation of his company. While Daniel Clampett’s companies were in a disarray after the Clamp Towers incident, D. D. Warburton moved swiftly and surely to retake much of his empire. Being on the outside for many years had made him harder, more inflexible, and less willing to compromise. He needed the quick infusion of capital that the tabloid style news would bring him so he turned the “Daily Planet” into a tabloid newspaper. When Warburton’s old acquaintance Clark Kent protested against turning the Daily Planet into a tabloid, Warburton summarily fired Kent.[28]

He was in the fight of his life. When it appeared that the Superman based in Atlanta had died as part of the Doomsday events D. D. Warburton acquired his cape, intending to display it for money.[29] Lois Lane objected to his taking it so he fired her. The cape disappeared when she did, but he chose not to pursue the matter, realizing that she had been correct, that displaying the cape would have been a crass, ghoulish act.

When the editor of the paper was able to get enough share holders to turn his large block of stock into a minority stake, Warburton did not hold a grudge—it was merely business. Besides it was time to move on.

By 1987 the corporate war between Lionel Luthor and D. D. Warburton was winding down. Through intermediaries, various agreements had been negotiated. In the end, D. D. Warburton once again gained partial ownership of the publishing houses, the film studio, the television production company, radio stations, and some manufacturing concerns. Neither Luthorcorp nor Warburton had controlling interest in any of these ventures merely the two largest blocks of stocks. So Warburton and Luthorcorp had to wrangle for votes whenever there was a showdown at the Board meetings.[30]

D.D. Warburton believed that communications industries and information systems would be the next big money making concern and so was content to hold onto these. Luthorcorp retained control of the aero-space industries, the agricultural companies, the medical research facilities. It also took over Warburton's share of the Atlanta based Daily Planet.

A bone of contention remained with DC comics. Although neither side saw comic books as a lucrative venture, they did seem a useful means of reaching younger potential customers and so they fought over it. They shared the company, uneasily, for the next few years. This conflict saw the erosion of one of the two major comic book companies in the eighties and nineties. Also a power struggle against Marvel Comics, which was secretly owned and controlled by another member of the Luthor family, created a vacuum and allowed the independent comics to rise.

Rumors also leaked out about a super child or super children living in Littleton, Georgia.[31]

Warburton, however, could not resist tweaking his opponent, and Superman IV, which came out in 1987 and depicted Warbuton’s transformation of the Planet into a tabloid, included a character named Lenny who was the nephew of Lex Luthor. Lenny, i.e. Lionel Luthor, helped Lex escape from prison and aided in the creation of the creature that fought and nearly killed Superman.

The film Superman IV depicted part of the incident which as come to be known as The Doomsday. This was the day that Superman was killed… twice. Rather it was revealed that rather than being one Superman moving across the country at superspeed, there were in fact at least two supermen.[32] The Superman based in New York was killed by seemingly alien creature dubbed Doomsday. This was actually a genetically modified and cybernetically enhanced Mr. Hyde.[33] The Superman based in the Midwest was killed by the Atomic Man, a genetically modified clone of Superman.[34]

Lionel Luthor’s actual involvement in this part of the Doomsday Plan, beyond the hints provided in Superman IV, was never really proven, there were only hints and suspicions. The film tested Lionel Luthor's forbearance with the portrayal of Lenny, but what really caused Lionel anger was the small bit that had Lacy Warfield buy the old Kent Farm in Smallville.[35] David Warburton As will be seen in the article Secret Signals, this small barb hit a little too close to the mark. Some believe that Lionel's wrath is what caused the film to fail so dramatically at the box office.

David Douglas Luthor, a.ka. David Douglas Warburton, a.k.a. Daddy Warbucks, lived to the ripe old age of 99, passing away in 2002. One of his last achievements was an expose of Lionel Luthor's illicit, illegal, and extremely dangerous control of Littleton, Georgia. Working with Superman, one of his television companies produced the television series, Smallville.


[1]  Kimball O'Hara and Danny Dravoit are depicted in two of Kipling's works, Kim and the Man Who Would be King respectively.

[2] The Bear was Mr. Am or rather Mr. Am was the bear who also went by the name of Balu and was one of the instructors of the feral child known as Mowgli. See Kane and Gribardson or Triple Tarzan Revisited for more information on Mr. Am.

[3][3] For more information about Mr. Am, his organization and his agents please read Jewel in the Crown by Jess Nevins.

[4] Young Francis Warburton had traveled to India to search for clues as to what had happened to his grandfather in 1887. Colonel Warburton had been part of a filibuster expedition funded by Baron Marepetis, one of the members of the Diogenes Club. Purportedly Warburton had trained a mercenary army to conquer new territory for the British Empire. Most believed that this was territory claimed by either Russian or China. However as revealed in The All-Consuming Fire, edited by Dr. John H. Watson but not published until ?  the true goal of this expedition was to conquer another planet, called R’Leyh by Watson. Colonel Warburton had perished upon this planet. Research is still continuing to see if  this Warburton family  was related to the Warburtons encountered by Sherlock Holmes in the “Madness of Colonel Warburton” from the Resurrected Holmes.

[5] For background on the Luthor family, see the earlier parts of this series. The Lethal Luthors: A Deceptive Brilliance

[6] Alice Adams’ earlier life is detailed in the novel Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington. Lawrence Luthor’s involvement with Alice was not known by Tarkington. The story that Lex told David about Lawrence having sired the child as an experiment is at odds with the facts revealed in Lawrence Luthor: The Ultra-Humanite. This story of the planned experiment seems to be a lie told to Lex by Lawrence. Although it seems incredible Lawrence may have felt ashamed to tell his brother that he had impregnated and then abandoned a young girl. Lawrence Luthor also seems to have never told any of this brothers about his life as David Dunn.

[7] In the Little Orphan Annie comic strip the Asp was depicted as a Asian wearing a western suit with a string tie. This was a fair depicted because Britt Shelleen was of Asian-American descent. He claimed that his father was the famous scout and gun fighter Kid Shelleen and Wong Liu Siu, a young woman who had been brought from China to become a bride to one of the Chinese men working on the railroad. However her marriage broker bet her in a poker game against Shelleen and lost. According to Britt Shelleen, Kid Shelleen up marrying his mother, although no record exists of such a marriage.

[8] A short word about Punjab. Fellow researcher Matthew Baugh writes, "One thing still troubles me about Warbucks' giant servant though.  In addition to changing their name to Singh, the Sikhs are required to refrain from cutting their hair or trimming their beards.  The hair is bound and covered by a turban (which "Punjab" has) but where is his beard?  I also have it on authority that, in the region of the Punjab, there is a secret society of Sikh warriors who are trained to act as guardians to those individuals they call the ‘Blessed ones’.  On being initiated into this order the warriors give up their birth names and all take the name of their order's founder.  Members have guarded and assisted Anton Zarnak and Richard Wentworth.  I believe that the giant 'Punjab' may also be a member of the ‘Order of Ram Singh’."

In light of this new information I did a search through my various reference materials.  Although the various materials were often contradictory, what seemed clear was that "Punjab" was a Sikh but not one that we would necessarily recognize. The organization that my colleague Matthew Baugh refers to as the Order of Ram Singh I have found variously referred to as the Guardians of the Blessed and the Soldiers of the Light. This sect is unique to the Wold Newton Universe and it appears to be a syncretic religion based in part on Islam, Christianity, and Sikhism.

During the Crusades there was a good deal of contact between the Order of the Assassins and the Knights Templar, some say that the Templars were heavily influenced by the Assassins, other accounts state that the Assassins were influenced by the Templars to the point of nearly converting to Christianity. Whatever the truth of these accounts may be, apparently one or more of the Assassins did adopt some Christian theological doctrine into their belief system, creating a syncretism with a strong belief in the Mahdi as a sort of Savior of the souls of the world. The belief was tied to the Assassin code. The Mahdi would come when there was a true balance between Good and Evil. Each evil life the Assassin took brought one soul closer to heaven, purified the assassin's soul, and hopefully brought the world closer to balance.  An Assassin had been sent on a mission in India circa 1840 to infiltrate the Sikhs and became almost a true convert.  This particular Assassin was tired of having to kill and hoped to find another way to reach paradise. While much of the Sikh philosophy agreed with the man, he could not warm to the idea that his identity will be erased upon his death and that there was no paradise. Ramida eventually came up with a faith that blended components of Sikhism, Islam, Hassan I Sabah's theology, and his own ideas. Adopting the name of Ram Singh, his philosophy was based upon the idea of achieving paradise through protection, usually of one person or family, rather than through killing, though killing or dying to protect them was permitted. He adapted many of the warrior aspects of Sikhs, including the wearing of the turban, the long hair, and the beard of Sikhism. Generally when a Guardian failed his duty by allowing his charge to be harmed or killed, he would undergo a period of penance in which he would shave his beard and possibly his head as well. He also had his disciples undergo training in many weapons and the fighting styles of the assassins.

[9] For more on the history of Austin Powers and Dr. Evil, please see The Lethal Luthors- A Deceptive Brilliance: Austin and Evil.

[10] Shortly after I posted the first version of this article, I began receiving mail asking me to explain the death of the "evil" Daddy Warbucks in The Shadow Strikes! #27, specifically whether this comic book depicted the real D.D. Warburton or one of his brothers pretending to be him. I re-read the story arc, and having done so I don't think it is really necessary to think that there was any sort of substitution. I was expecting some overt act of murder or something to that effect that would demonstrate a truly evil character.

First of all, it is important for the readers to remember that David Luthor is Daddy Warbucks but Daddy Warbucks is not David Luthor. What I mean is that the comic strip was based on D.D. Warburton but doesn't always reflect his true character.

While Daddy Warbucks’ actions in the Shadow story are certainly reprehensible by our modern standards, all he did was supply an army led by Siwan Khan to destabilize an area of China so his company could have oil rights. This sounds like very much like actions undertaken by American Big Business during that period and even later. United Fruit, AT&T, Firestone, and other companies have engaged in similar or worse actions, often sanctioned by the US government

So did David Luthor, a.k.a. D.D. Warburton, die in 1935, shot by Chinese gunmen. No. Certainly he would have taken precautions against failure of his plans or his men turning on him, given the unstable nature of China at the time.  And even if he had not taken elaborate precautions, Punjab was there, whose abilities and foresight have been well documented in the Little Orphan Annie comic strip, albeit exaggeratedly.  Although the comic book alludes to the death of Warburton, the execution is not directly depicted.

Having said all that, it also quite possible that the man who was portrayed in the Shadow Comic was not D.D. Warburton, although he did look like him and did have an Indian servant. The man may have been William Luthor, the fourth quadruplet who was also known as The Scorpion. As a munitions dealer and war monger William Luthor was in many trouble spots in volatile times.  He also used various secret organizations as part of Scorpia and often utilized disaffected colonials as personnel.

[11] Don Sturdy’s adventuresome youth was chronicled by Victor Appleton in the Don Sturdy juvenile novel series 1925-1935, Carter and Shiera Hall were better known in the costumed vigilante identities of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Abner Ravenwood was the teacher and mentor of Professor Henry Jones jr. and Lord Richard Croft was the father of the infamous Lara Croft, the notorious Tomb Raider.

[12] Agartha is a land of legend which may be a nation whose capital is the city of Shamballah or Aghartha might  merely be a city. Most accounts place it as being underground with it being located in Tibet or Ceylon. The first recorded mention of Agartha is in the Ramayana, where it is said that Rama was an emissary from Agartha. Over time Agartha has become one of the many legendary subterranean worlds such as Pellucidar, Atvatabar, Skataris, Zanthadoon and many others. Anne and Daniel Clampetts’s journey was supposed to follow that Olaf Jansen,  a Norwegian who had supposedly traveled to Agartha through a north polar opening in 1829. An account of his tale was written by Willis Emerson which was published in 1903 under the title of The Smoky God: A Journey to the Inner World.

[13] Tarzan did not know until the early 1940’s that the Tarzan films were based on another jungle man also named Tarzan. For more details see Tarzan? Jane?

[14] For a better explanation of who Tarzan-2 was and which films were based on Richard Lansing, please read the articles Triple Tarzan Tangle and Tarzan? Jane?

[15] For a full account of “Barton Werper,” please see the forthcoming “The Burroughs Pastiches: Authorized and Otherwise.”

[16] Farmer however never knew that there was any sort of truth behind the various Tarzan films and in his biography of Lord Greystoke, Tarzan Alive  regarded them as entirely fictional.

[18] For more information on the transplantation of Lawrence Luthor’s brain into the body of Dolores Winters please see The Lethal Luthors-A Deceptive Brilliance: Lawrence Luthor

[19] For legal reasons the true name of the company cannot be revealed.

[20] Jones, Gerard,  Men of Tomorrow, Basic Books, New York 2004 pg. 311

[21] Jones, Ibid pg. 312. One has to wonder just how many of these acquisition deals were conceived and enacted upon by the former funeral home director and how much was the hidden, guiding advice of David Warburton.

[22] Jones, Gerard  Ibid.

[23] Weisinger’s wild, often disjointed tales about Superman, Superman’s extended family and  Superman’s home planet were only part of reason he was let go. Although this was never publicly acknowledged some people believed that Weisinger’s treatment of Jerry Siegel had led to Siegel quitting DC and suing the company over the ownership of the copyright.

[24] Information about the racketeering connections to Warner-Seven Arts is taken from Jones, Gerard Men of Tomorrow pg, 313.

[25] For more information see the forthcoming Lethal Luthors- A Deceptive Brilliance: Lionel Luthor article.

[26] Jonas Cord was, of course, the wealthy industrialist who became a movie mogul. If he is known for one accomplishment in Hollywood it is in making a star out of Nevada Smith. See Harold Robbins, The Carpetbaggers for more information.

[28] This takeover was depicted in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

[29] This was dramatically rendered in the film Superman IV, although it was also part of the Death of Superman storyline depicted in DC comics in 1993. The Doomsday plan was part of a much larger plan to get rid  of the most visible costumed vigilantes of the day.

[30] So far as the film, publishing and television holdings were concerned, especially concerning the comic book characters, in the continued absence of one of the cornerstone stock holders, due to serious illness, Lionel Luthor was often able to wrangle support that influenced some of the editorial concerns of the comics from 1985 on. This cornerstone stockholder was Clark Kent, the reporter who was suffering from injuries incurred on Doomsday.

[31] These rumors were fostered by Warburton during the corporate battle with Lionel Luthor.  However, as a negotiating tactic Warburton (Warner Bros.) Entertainment defused the rumors about these super children coming from Littleton by creating the Superboy television series, based on previous and presumed fictional episodes of Superman's life. Lionel Luthor was, however, not pleased and the series was placed in Florida rather than the traditional setting of Superboy’s home, the Midwest.

[32] This had been hinted at for years in the comics, radio shows and television programs where Superman had been split into two people, time duplicated or living on a parallel world. Most significantly in the comic depictions of the Earth 1 and Earth 2 Supermen and in Superman Red and Superman Blue.

[33] For more information see the Alexis Luther article.

[34] For more information see the Alexander Wainwright article.

[35] According to one, possibly apocryphal story, when Lionel Luthor confronted David Warburton about the character of Lenny in the film, David pointed out the character based on him, David Warfield did not come across as a likeable character either.

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