Who’s Who in the DC Universe #16

It's the sixteenth send-off issue of WHO'S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE featuring characters from like Batman, Black Lightning, Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, The Forever People (again?), Infinity Inc., Krypton, The New Gods, The Pied Piper, Supergirl, Talia, and more! Plus YOUR Listener Feedback!

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80 responses to “Who’s Who in the DC Universe #16

  1. Wow. What an incredible journey. It’s fitting that you fellows are wrapping up Who’s Who in the DCU just as DC has finally started to reprint this stuff. I’ve recently purchased the massive Who’s Who Omnibus hardcover that collects MOST of the material published in the original volumes, the 87 & 88 updates and the annuals from 89. Unfortunately the characters from Atari Force have been edited out (although they still appear in the reprinted covers) Ironically, Atari Force member Blackjack’s entry WAS reprinted in the book. He’s still present in the “make-up” section at the end of issue XXVI. The character the originally forgot to include ends up being the character the neglected to edit out!

  2. Congratulations on reaching such an amazing milestone & thank you for 9 years of AMAZING episodes.

  3. In this episode, Rob and I speculate on the artist arrangement for MAJOR VICTORY. Well, I reached out to Jerome K Moore and Ray McCarthy complimenting the piece. They were incredibly generous to respond with all this info!!

    Ray McCarthy
    To be honest Jerome handled Major himself, and I did the background. This is probably one of my very first inking pieces lol. I was a bit heavy-handed. Jerome was fantastic as always.

    Jerome K. Moore
    OOF!!! Bless your kind heart, Shag, but this is an uncomfortable memory for me. Haha! I am a bit of a perfectionist, which led to me learning to ink my own pencil work after many collaborations that just didn’t achieve what I originally intended. I was never fast at drawing once I left New York, and my pencil lines are very tight. This often squeezed the deadline for the ink artist, unfortunately, in addition to differences in art styles whereby an inker with a heavier hand couldn’t mesh with my delicate lines and textures. But the tables were turned once I inked my own on this Who’s Who entry. My vision for the splash piece was too grand and involved that it forced Michael Eury to demand I turn it in unfinished, or have the entry deleted entirely from the book. Thankfully, Ray McCarthy galloped to the rescue to finish off the background inks. Nevertheless, I am embarrassed by the sloppy, rushed brush strokes I applied, and the work falls far short of what I imagined.
    Of course, I am deeply humbled, and sincerely appreciative of the praise found here. You guys rock! The irony is that I plan to revisit this illustration as a recreated portfolio piece, and perhaps explore the Major Victory character anew in some way.
    Mr. Holmberg is correct. That entry’s text describes Victory’s power set erroneously.
    Originally, for his debut appearance alongside the Force of July in Batman and the Outsiders Annual #1, I designed Victory as sort of DC’s answer to Captain America, as combined with Christopher Reeve. In addition to enhanced physical abilities, his super suit generated powerful energy fields enabling him to fly, and to emit tremendous bursts of light and concussive force. In flight, Victory literally appears as a shooting star. As his sidekick, the boy Sparkler (also equipped with a unique super suit) looked up to Victory much the same as Kid Flash, Robin, and Speedy did with their superhero mentors. The two of them streaking across the skies was to be an exciting sight.
    Back in 1985, Hank Kanalz and I hoped to pitch a new comic book series to DC which would have featured Major Victory as a temporary adversary for a brand-new team of superheroes. Sadly, we never completed the pitch. Hank went on to great heights in the corporate ranks at DC (until the recent restructuring), while I eventually ventured into the animation field. Still, in one way or another, I plan to revisit this character, and several others (Onyx, anyone?).
    Here’s a look back at Major Victory as he cameoed in the aborted project pitch. Please note the playful actor likenesses used to garner more attention and raise some eyebrows, including the likeness of the late, great Chris Reeve. Of course, all familiar likenesses would have been eliminated if the project went forward. However, these served as a cool visual shorthand as far as initial character direction.
    THANKS AGAIN, SHAG! THANKS, FOLKS! Your support means so very much!
    Oh! I had added digital color to this Pitch Piece years ago, and this provides a look at how I originally wanted his color scheme to be. Red, White, and Blue, from bottom to top. No red stripes on the upper arms or torso at all.

      1. Curious that he doesn’t mention that Hank Kanalz also wrote the first issue of Youngblood and then got thrown under the bus by Rob in later interviews.

        This is amusing only to me.

        1. Yeah, RL blaming the person who has to script over already drawn pages seems a bit harsh. Neil Simon couldn’t have made that stuff work.

      2. What a beautiful piece. Speaking of likenesses, as a fellow Whovian, Shag, do you pick up Delgado Master vibes there?

  4. Congrats for such a great accomplishment. Crazy to think it has been 9 years!!! Insanity!

    A few comments:

    Black Lightning – definitely see the five-head (one greater than a forehead) on the pic. And agree this is an awful costume. The ‘girl dying’ story was in continuity in the DC Comics Presents #16. As he tries to stop a robbery, the crooks fire off shots indiscriminately hitting an innocent girl nearby. Gotta give Cyborg the top African-American hero for DC. Between Teen Titans Go! (which is everywhere), the movies, his ‘promotion’ to the JLA, and now his being on the Doom Patrol tv show, he is simply everywhere.

    Catwoman – one of my favorite pages in this issue. I love Stelfreeze as well. Just wonderful. And I love this old school outfit. (I know I am in the minority. I think Silver St. Cloud is Batman’s OTP. Some of that might be how Marshall Rogers drew her.)

    Devlin O’Ryan – he was one of the better ‘new’ characters of the 5YL. I did like how he manifested powers after being just the cub reporter. He did have an interesting side plot where he and the SW6 Shrinking Violet had a growing romance. But when he asks her to leave the Legion and join him, she declines (after being given a sort of ‘be yourself’ speech from the older Violet).

    Forever People – as you guys say, this is just an amazing picture by Art Adams. But … it’s the Forever People.

    Legion Origin – I do think this was done to lead nicely into the Legionnaires book. Sprouse was the artist on that book. Just a side note. The SW6 was first thought to be clones of the Legion. But then it was later revealed that the 5YL team members were the clones. The SW6 were the original. Ultimately, in the Zero Hour destruction of the 5YL book, they turned out to be time displaced versions.

    Matrix – I agree somewhat with what Shag has to say. This is when Supergirl again becomes a recurring character. But this is still in a bad period of Supergirl representation in the comic world. You reviewed the ‘protomatter from pocket universe’ origin. When Superman exiles himself, Matrix shape changes and takes the place of Clark Kent. But she goes mad thinking she is Clark, attacking him when he returns. She then exiles herself into space. But out there she becomes the mind-controlled dupe of Brainiac (her first turn in Panic in the Sky is as a villain). Once free from Brainiac, she becomes the creepy love interest of Lex Luthor, completely manipulated and under his thumb. For me, it is only once ‘Funeral For A Friend’ happens that she finally finds herself and becomes a hero. But that is years from this piece. (If you want a deeeeeeep dive, I did a series of posts called ‘Matrix Monday’ on my site that reviewed the character development closely.) Still, I was glad that the concept of Supergirl returned at this point. Nice pic by Dusty Abell.

    New Challengers of the Unknown – ‘Tim Sale really can’t draw’. Amazing that it is in year 9 that I have a ‘back cover’ quote for this podcast. A M A Z I N G.

    New Gods – Steve Rude is a comic god.

    Phantasm – I am so sick of hearing about Marv Wolfman’s ‘writer’s block’ phase. That’s his job! I don’t think I am allowed to have a ‘patient care block’ phase where I just get a pass.

    Talia – I can’t believe that Shag has never read the original Ra’s storyline. Amazing. I think several things make her Batman’s potential one true pair. For one, Ra’s is the other side of the Batman coin, an extremely competent, intelligent, and organized person with insane dedication. It is Ra’s who says that only Batman is worthy of being his successor and worthy of Talia. In those early stories, Talia is sort of rejecting her father for Batman, perhaps showing she isn’t her father’s pawn. So she is best of both worlds. Ultimately, she becomes very Ra’s like, meaning she is now the other side of the Batman coin. You can see how those two would have a lot in common – outside her killing. Plus, let’s face it, she is extremely attractive. She looks like Caroline Munro.

    Thanks for a great show. I always love these episodes.

    1. On Black Lightning, I’m pretty sure they also adapted that storyline to Young Justice Season 3, and Jefferson not wanting to/not able to use his powers for a little while at the beginning of that season.

      I always have to laugh when I hear about Cyborg and “his ‘promotion’ to the JLA” – I know you know this as well as I do Anj – that he’s been a part of the JLA since 1985. I have to agree. Cyborg should top the list, but Black Lightning is a worthy runner-up.

      As for Catwoman vs Talia – I’m firmly in the Catwoman camp. DC has had Bruce and Selena together since the 1970s! The Batman and Catwoman of Earth-2, and of course, Helena Wayne/Huntress. Catwoman has been there since almost the beginning, a foil for Bruce, but not an evil one. Anj, you say Caroline Munro, I say Eartha Kit, Julie Newmar, and Lee Meriweather.

    2. Thanks Anj for getting to DCCP #16 first! We covered it briefly in Outcasters episode 1, and will be revisiting it soon when we cover BatO #10.

    3. Anj, you really are pointing out the creepy semi-incest vibe of the situation – Ra’s wants Talia want each other, but Bruce will do as his proxy. And Talia is SUCH a Daddy’s girl. It’s creepy as hell.

  5. I don’t know if this is relevant to you discussion of why Batman’s role with the Outsiders is excised from the Black Lightning entry:

    When we organized our Batman in Pop Culture conference in 2019 Tony Isabella had agreed to be one of our guest speakers. Around this time, DC announced that they were relaunching a new version of Batman & the Outsiders. Tony emailed me soon after and said he would no longer participate in an event connected to any DC hero besides Black Lightning. He was apparently incensed that it seemed (to him) that BL would be taking orders from a white man as Batman would be team leader. He sees this as antithetical to Black Lightning. I would have thought getting your (at the time) lower profile hero in a Batman book would be a good thing. Perhaps he was angry that his recent Black Lightning relaunch had faltered a year or so earlier. In any event, he’s been a very nice guy on the couple of occasions when I’ve spoken to him and I’d love to bring him to our campus to speak someday.

    We had to scramble to find another guest and luckily Dan Mishkin (a BGSU alum) was available.

    Isabella’s relationship with DC has been very fraught over the decades and he’s very protective over his creation. I don’t know if removing mentions of Batman from the BL entry was influenced by this relationship but – could be.

  6. Another milestone reached, which makes me think that Milestone should have gotten its own Who’s Who series.


    Forever People: Rob mentioned that he thought Cartoon Network should do a Forever People animated series. That’s a great idea, but if it isn’t something to do with subverting popular characters in a satirical way aimed at kids Cartoon Network isn’t interested. Nothing against those shows. People enjoy them, but it just seems if it isn’t something for kids to laugh at and adults to get the in jokes it probably won’t fly on Cartoon Network. Unless it was Forever People Go where Big Bear is constantly shooting meatballs at characters and talking about eighties television shows.

    Krypton: I’d heartily recommend that World of Krypton mini-series that Shag mentioned. The Post Crisis Krypton gets a bad rap for being sterile and, in the words of Wendy Pini, a planet that deserved to blow up, but when Byrne fleshed out the backstory there was a lot going on. Political intrigue. Cloning. Incest. The fact that the terrorist group Black Zero were ultimately responsible for Krypton’s destruction. It’s really cool. Kind of like, as Rob would say about the New Gods, Game of Thrones in space. Plus, it has great Mike Mignola artwork.

    Matrix/Supergirl: I have never really liked the art on this entry. Dusty Abell is a fine artist but I’m just not into the style of the piece. Shag is right that Supergirl gets more interesting after this but we’re still a few years from her ongoing. To be fair, the ongoing is about as far away from this as this is away from the original concept for Supergirl, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Rampage: Yes, she’s got a lot of She-Hulk DNA in her as a character but I will always love this character. Roger Stern picked up a lot of threads that Byrne left after leaving the book and made them work. Kitty was one of them, which is why I’m always annoyed when Rampage is thrown in as a background villain in a comic or animated movie. That’s not her function. She was never a bad guy. Definitely one of my favorite Superman side heroes.

    1. did you just take a shot a Teen Titans Go!??? For my money, it’s the best DC movie of all time. LOVE the hell out of thing thing!

        1. I’m biased. I have friends and acquaintances that worked on those shows.
          Also, personally speaking, it’s the first and only time I’ve found Raven, Beast Boy, Starfire, and Cyborg interesting or entertaining. The TT comics never clicked with me.

          1. I don’t begrudge people loving or liking the show. I think like most modern animated comedy shows it’s sometimes brilliant, but often times just weird to be weird, annoying to be annoying, etc. Like Spongebob, and everything that followed. I just hate that Cartoon Network is so narrow-minded that they can’t seem to be be bothered to try an actual action/adventure show and support it like they do TTGO!


          2. @chris – didn’t they do that for Young Justice and the Beware the Batman and GL series? I know those ‘failed’ over not selling enough toys, but am not aware of how much of a push the network gave them.

        2. Personally, I prefer DC Super Hero Girls, a lot less (mostly) frenetic with some solid referential humour from all over the DC Universe. And who can’t love a show where there Catwoman is voiced like the Eartha Kitt version from Batman ’66?

  7. The correction for the DeSaad entry is the switch from the nearly invisible black logo to the very visible white logo. The border on the back was black for both versions.

  8. First of all, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Matthews, I do not appreciate you assuming that I don’t already have massive biceps with which to lug that enormous Who’s Who omnibus around a convention. For all you know I could have the physique of Chris Evans at the peak of his tenure as Captain America.

    Hey…if Shagg and Nick Vector get to use fake names on this thread, there’s no reason I can’t have a fake physique.

    Anyway, Shagg, before anyone comes at you with pitch forks for your comments about Norm “Friggin” Breyfogle, I will say I largely agree with your thoughts on his Who’s Who entries. Breyfogle’s strength, I think, was in telling stories with his art, and he struggled to do pin-up images. I’ll even go so far to say that some of his covers for the Batman books at the time were a little wonky. But, I always found his interior work, when he was telling a story visually, to be where he truly shined as an artist.

    Rob, I agree with you that one of the drawbacks of the loose-leaf format is that every character seems to be given equal weight with each entry. What made the original series such a delight was how it implied the importance of a character with the amount of space it received in the book. It was an approach that slowly emerged (since Aquaman and both Batmen received only a page each), but the two-page spread for the Flash (the first for a single character if memory serves) was a clear visual signal that Barry Allen was an integral part of the DC Universe.

    One final note: the Forever People entry if the standout in this issue for me. Technically, it is the best drawn entry, and Art Adams captures the off-beat whimsy of the group very nicely.

  9. Shag, out of vanity, I sped ahead to hear you read my comment from the last episode. When I said someone was making tangential points just to feel included, I meant me with my comment, not Rob. My knowledge of DC Darkness in the nineties is far less than Rob’s, believe me, so I was grasping at straws when I was telling you what I knew about Houma, Louisiana. It was a fun episode, anyway.

    Going back now to listen to what looks like a great episode, based on the comments!

  10. Sorry to say I only discovered this podcast a couple of months ago but madly playing catch up and loving it! Awesome work guys. So glad DC finally got us the massive Omnibus and I am using this instead of my originals to read along with. Not while driving – it’s ok.

    Gotta say there’s a few iffy things for such a me expensive book – not just the Atari Force almost but not quite deleted thing, but check out Mongul’s page – weird colours? And the same sentence appears twice in the intro – in two different places.

    Wouldn’t have happened under Brenda Pope’s watch. (Sorry, is this still a thing? I am years behind here…)

    Anyway, back to it, lots of catching up still do.

  11. THIS IS THE BEST GIFT EVER! And I’m not even a mom!

    Some notes as a I go…

    First off, an abridged Batman entry is fine. “Mom and Dad are murdered. Obsession follows. He adopts a bunch of kids and trains them. Kind of a dick. Rich. Detective. Cool gadgets.” Done!

    That Catwoman entry is beautiful! If I may, there’s a Stelfreeze art book by Boom! that’s worth picking. He’s an amazing artist worthy of more acclaim. Agreed that Batman would be better paired with a civilian. Crazy breeds and feeds crazy! We’ve all been there.

    Black Lightning – let me take this time to remind you all the only reason Batman invited him to help him in Markovia is because BL was the second of two Black people Batman knew. Yeah, nice job, Barr. Also, everyone should distance themselves from the Outsiders. I’d recommend “The Other History of the DC Universe” for a great Black Lightning tale and his and Katana’s view on the Outsiders. I’ll say this, it’s somewhere between how Siskoid and I feel about them and how the BATOs fans do.

    Forever People – not as bad as Rob would have you believe. I guess they have to be Omega Men? Also, didn’t someone leave you a song about them?

    Rampage – bad art combo. Dusty Abell is a phenomenal artist. Great character designer with a unique look. this was not a good example of his work. Not sure what happened here… I think it was a bad penciler/inker match.

    And I agree with Rob on the Legion entries. Though I was very intrigued with the first year and change of the 5 Year Later LSH, these entries will do nothing for someone who wanted to dip their toe in the 31st century. And once Shag started the SW6 stuff, even though I knew what he was talking about, even my eyes glazed over.

    Never gave two Belas about Krypton. It went boom. That’s all you need to know.

  12. To switch thing up a little I must mention poor Tanya Spears aka Power Girl (the other one), a black character done the dirty by the last couple of reboots. Rebirth has not done my poor Power Girl’s any good alas 🙁

    1. Infinity Inc is on my list, and if I keep at my current pace (which is unlikely) I should hit those issue around the start of next year. So just in time for the next Who’s, who apparently 😀

      1. Maybe like the other Supergirls she’s thirsty for Kal-El, it seems to a pattern among the Kara’s at least! 😀

        Later Matrix was the first Supergirl I really knew, rolling into Peter David run and Linda, so I have a soft spot for the character.

  13. Still listening, but a few comments as I go:

    Batman: Despite what others may have expected…I kind of agree with Shag (GASP!). Yes, I love Norm Frickin’ (not Friggin’, it’s a Kentucky thing) Breyfogle, but this piece honestly disappointed me in 1991/92. It just seems…rushed. It has that Breyfogle energy, but I would have preferred a bit more polish for Batman’s signature piece. The two best Batman Who’s Who entries were Dave Gibbons on Earth-Two Batman, and Alan Davis in the 87 update. The original Dick Giordano Earth-One entry in the Volume 1 was too tiny and stiff, despite being well drawn.

    Catwoman: I preferred Stelfreeze’s painted work, but I like this piece, and I do appreciate all the work and thought he put into it. I never cared for Catwoman’s “Mousewoman” costume Mazzuchelli designed, about the only thing I didn’t care for much in Year One. It worked there as her proto-costume, but DC wanted to keep it in continuity, and it was just too bland. When Timm and Co. took that look and added the long black gloves and boots, and the gold belt, that made it work.

    Black Lightning: I would definitely say Cyborg and John Stewart rank up there with most visible black DC heroes. Cyborg honestly more from the animated Teen Titans and as Anj said, Teen Titans Go!. Black Lightning has certainly gotten a boost from his TV series. Was this costume every actually used in any comics, or was this one of those “designed for Who’s Who” suits that never made it out?

    Commissioner Gordon: I’ve always liked Fern’s portrait of Gordon, but the coloring mistake of making his bottom lip white like his mustache has bothered me for nearly 30 years! Fern drew one of the Batman Armageddon 2001 annuals, and his Batman is pretty consistent with that. I don’t mind it.

    Demon’s Supporting Cast: Hey, at least there’s an actual entry for Etrigan! Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt’s Supporting Cast gets an entry in the update…but Peter never does! See also Justice League Europe. They never get an entry either!

    Devlin O’Ryan (or whatever his name is): House DJ Ryan Daly says you missed the perfect needle drop here: Duran Duran’s “The Reflex”.

    More to come later!

    1. Infinity, Inc: According to TwoMorrow’s Modern Masters: Jerry Ordway, despite being pretty strange, the Grundy piece was drawn specifically for this issue of Who’s Who. Jerry also drew a piece that wasn’t used!

      Ordway Grundy

      Ordway unused

      1. Matrix aka Supergirl: I really liked Dusty Abell’s stuff when he moved over from fan art in Amazing Heroes to the Superman Armageddon 2001 Annual. I really like this piece, and since Abell had a Byrne-esque style to his work at this point, he really captures that moment when Superman first met her Post-Crisis. All the Matrix stuff…yeah, that’s a bit much. But the “Fallen Angel” bit is highly praised, and was even more left-field, so…

        New Challengers of the Unknown: At last, someone who agrees with me on Tim Sale. I thought his art was pretty hideous from the first time I saw it here. As an aspiring comic artist about to finish High School, I felt like “Hey, if this guy can get work…I’m in!!!” Now, I will give him full credit that his art works in Long Halloween and Dark Victory. Superman: For All Seasons….his Superman looks like an inbred doofus, I’m sorry. I know the story is great, but I have a hard time getting past the art. I know a lot of folks love his stuff, and I understand I am in the minority, and I hold no ill-will against the guy, as he seems like a nice fellow. But his style just isn’t for me. And I think here, before he learned to properly block his blacks to create that mood he’s really good at…it showed how wonky and visually unappealing that style really is…at least on a mainstream super hero comic.

        New Gods: Amen!!! Rude is right up there with Bruce Timm at being the best of the best at channelling Kirby. I would buy a Rude-drawn New Gods book every month.

        Phantasm: Man, I love that look. I was totally into The Titans Hunt. What a wild ride, and the first time NTT was good in like 5 years or something. Plus, they actually managed to do something with Danny Chase that didn’t suck. Grummett art is wonderful, as always. This was actually AFTER Wolfman’s writer’s block. Editor Jonathan Peterson reenergized Wolfman on the book, but unfortunately he left DC, and subsequent editors buried the book, and this character.

        Prince Evilo: What a great piece about a nothing character!

        Talia: I think you have to remember who the Batman editor was at the time; Denny O’Neil, co-creator of Talia and Ra’s Al Ghul. In fact, Denny has often said, his Batman “ending” would always be for Batman and Talia to walk off into the sunset together…which Denny actually did in the last 70s Batman story he wrote! Of course that story wasn’t the end, but it was Denny’s end at the time.

        I don’t particularly “ship” Batman and Talia, but I can buy a timeline where she finally chooses Bruce over Daddy, and they stay together. At least Talia up to this point, before Morrison made her a psycho. Talia’s ultimate fate in the DCAU is about as chilling as can be. I’m not sure I would pair Batman with anyone. Probably Silver St. Cloud, if she had more appearances.

        Uncle Sam: This definitely felt like a pitch, and there are elements of this that seem to jive with the Alex Ross mini, so the idea of this type of story of how the state of the country affects Sam was out there in the ether. But I believe Ostrander and Mandrake do something with it in their Spectre run.

        Ambush Bug: Okay, I know this breaks Shag’s heart, but I’m not the biggest Bug fan. But this is a great joke, and lands perfectly.

        Great show guys, and very happy to have you back at it!


  14. Impressive podcast most impressive. So yeah sorry Shagg I agree with Rob I 2 hate Sales art work. Though home boy does his best writing with him. The art oy. Also ya almost sired me again. A fourth time if ya call a trans woman sir instead of miss ya get free Phadom Menous membership. I kid I kid. Nothing against said group though they said some oddly things about trans folks.

    Moving on. Bats looks cool. But my Bats phase was with Muchs run. So I am over bats. Gordon looks cool. Cat woman too. Hey she and Ted can date. She wasn’t 17 when they dated and he didn’t groom her. So it’s fine. My current boy toy is 25. And I’m 47. Hey he’s an adult and should know better than to be stuck with me.
    Not my fault he doesn’t make better choices bwahhaaahha! Mine for now.

    So if she’s an adult and he is one it’s fine. Though to me she is the one for bats. Him and normal gal never works. See silver and Oy Vicky. Or Alfred’s daughter. Ah homes from Bats story. K before Al wasn’t the first butler and his uncle or dad worked for Bruce and this Wayne razed Bruce . Till he was an adult and Al joined later all ore Crissis.

    Heck really golden age stuff. The actor in the first feral in formed als look. And the Bruce’s father thing with Al happened later. Moving on. Oy the Challengers re boot sounds weird. No just no. LSH is fine and Cos looks cool. Oy on my pod cast I now play guitar only been playing 3 weeks. Wow the loos leaf is done cool. I m sure now Rob is looking forward to who’s who in the LSH.

    The Xum drawing looks cool.

  15. Sorry on phone my desk top is down. Em Infinity inc is cool though yeah the images were from the comic but so ware a bunch of others. But Rick did ware that costume later to ware it was his look and why he wares it on Star Girl tv show. But not at this point. Though sorry I like his McFarlean costume better.

    Yeah dc seemed to hate Roy Thomas. First Crissis messes up all his plans and then Infinity Inc is selved till JLA and latter JSA. Hector was my fav Doc Fate sorry Shagg. Ambush Bug the OG Dead Pool. He did this before She Hulk and Dead Pool. Now he’s lucky if he appears in the DC MMO. Ah well. Can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

  16. Also M Vic is more like US Agent or Peace maker than cap ao more doshy than Peace Maker Uncle Sam General Glory or Ms America make a better Stars and Stripes hero than him. Still if he was rebooted maybe. Or Agent Liberty could work.

    1. Oops Relze you did fix it to her when replying to me sorry my bad. Ah the Simonson art looks great but does look like he’s drawing in Minolas style. I don’t think Minolta started Heck boy till the 90s. Remembering him doing a panel of heck boy’s first apeance in Next Men or Babe by John Byrne. Since the Legonds line didn’t start till the 90s. Not sure why he didn’t draw this.

      I didn’t read it but looks cool. Still can’t wait till y’all get to who’s who. In the LSH I’m sure Rob is looking forward to that.

  17. Wow. Not that I doubted you would finally get here, but I’m still impressed.

    Okay, a few thoughts.

    Batman: This entry was the one I was waiting for the most and even back in 1991/92 was underwhelming. I came in to Batman with Wolfman/Aparo on Batman and Grant/Breyfogle on ‘Tec (they’d switch books a few months after I started reading) and loved Breyfogle’s work. This missing the mark for all the reasons you guys described, and I think that Rob has a point where he mentions the limitations of the single page format. One of my all-time favorite Breyfogle Batman pieces is at the end of Detective Comics #627, a double-page splash that would have worked wonderfully if, say, the Batman entry was a foldout. Here’s a link: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D8GWqtgXsAE7G2x.jpg:large

    Btw, I agree with David, Silver St. Cloud is Batman’s OTP.

    Phantasm: I liked the character during the Titans Hunt, but then he became an erstaz Raven once that story ended and he was changed into something mystical. It’s one of three attempts to make Danny Chase anything more than a Cousin Oliver and it really didn’t work. Neither did the idea that an alternate-Earth Danny was the Team Titans’ mysterious leader (until editorial changes made it Monarch). Wolfman and Perez give him a moment of badass in the Games graphic novel that works (at least in the context of the story). But honestly, I think people miss him as much as they miss Terry Long.

    Ambush Bug: Always loved this entry, especially the checkered border. He has a summer special in, I think, 1992, that’s really fun.

    Events: I liked this as well because it felt like it was giving us a secret “Book Three” of The History of the DC Universe, filling in all of the gaps between that work and the early 1990s. The only problem is that there weren’t enough of these entries (we got … four, I think?). I would have loved to have seen several more that covered other high points in DC’s history.

    As always, a great show. Glad Rob survived the experience.

  18. Part 2

    Tim Sale is great, Rob! How dare you compare him to McFarlane!

    That version of the Challengers was a riff on the post-’66 Beatles. It’s an interesting read, thought not Sale’s best work.

    How did Shag go through a Batman phase without ever reading about Talia??

  19. It’s of personal distinction that this episode slipped by me while I was weirdly unblocked and making progress on Who’s Editing entries, when I desperately needed to be editing a Thor podcast instead. You see, when I did see that this was out on Monday morning, I looked at the gallery and assumed that this was the issue of Who’s Who that I either didn’t possess or only partially owned (there should be at least one issue that I bought loose/with a binder that had some missing entries.) When I got home from work, I got out all my binders, and was reminded of my weird ass system. As previously noted, the Perez binder has all the male heroes, then female heroes, then teams. The Bolland binder is the same, but with villains. I suspect heretofore unrevealed, I have two additional larger plain black binders with transparent covers where I put the Kevin Maguire frontpieces from the Mayfair supplements. The RPG 1 covered one has Events, Support Cast (with Mayfair pages,) Aliens (ditto,) Geography (etc.,) Technology (with stats,) female Hero Mayfair pages (not strictly color coded as Amanda Waller is at the front,) male Hero stats, all of the Legion entries and then their Mayfair pages in a separate section. The other binder had the Mayfair 3 cover with Etrigan until the clear plastic ripped, but still has a Wizard Magazine JLA membership card (the plain cheap one, not chromium) on the spine. Then we have the Who’s Who Supernatural entries of entirely mixed alignments, genders, numbers, and colors (leads with Abby Arcane, followed by American Scream, and so on.) Mayfair pages are dumped together at the back, followed by all villains/teams unsorted. After searching through enough of these binders to satisfy my curiosity, I realized that I probably have all of this issue, but I got it as a premium so much later than the other editions that these entries never imprinted in my memories.

    All this to say is that the Who’s Who Podcast has been deferred for so long that it’s like that elderly relative in whose will you are known to be named. When you’re young and hungry, as much as you love and cherish Wa-wa, you could really use that bequeathment. As the years have gone on, and your contacts with Wa-wa have become so few and far between, and your personal situation has stabilized while becoming insular, there’s an estrangement. You only hear about Wa-wa when it gets out of the lock unit of the old folks home and wanders the streets, sending your now aging and ailing parents into a panic that concerns you more for their well-being than demented nonagenarian Wa-wa. Nine years going on a decade, with something like a bi-yearly schedule, the sudden unanticipated appearance of a new Who’s Who episode provokes alarm, anxiety, and a sense of imposition. “Christ, is Who’s Who going to turn up in a ditch? I’ve got to drop everything and do a deeply analytical comment thread despite barely doing that anymore and being broadly burned out? Do I have the PTO flexibility to attend the funeral? I started The Marvel Handbook in anticipation of carrying on the legacy of Who’s Who, but abandoned it over a year ago until I’m ready to deal with it again in part because Wa-wa’s clearly going to malinger for years yet. And with multiple goddamned !mpact editions, for fuck’s sake? Will we devote a couple of years to the artistic legacy of the Mighty Motherfucking Crusaders?”

    So I just accidentally scarped my arm on one of the four open binders on the right side of my desk leaning on the computer tower, drinking Wild Irish Rose with the intention of vomiting up a DK Encyclopedia Diaries supplemental podcast to Who’s Editing as a lazy stopgap for the deferred Thor podcast I never worked on, but also posting late comments to the days old thread for the Zelda Goldman of the Fire & Water Podcasting Network.

  20. Two shots at me in the first 2 entries? I was a little worried about the rest of the issue, but thank goodness that was mostly it!

    My, I do not like this version of Black Lightning’s costume. I’m far from an expert on all of his appearances, but I guess it’ll come up eventually while reading for my show.

    Infinity Inc: About Hourman appearing in that inset panel, that’s Rick Tyler Hourman II. He started wearing a costume similar to Rex’s near the end of the series. I don’t recall the exact issue, but it’s on the cover of issue #43. (Thanks, Mike’s Amazing World.)

    Thank you so much for the name drops and plugs for Outcasters!

  21. 1) I have not yet received my copy of the Who’s Who Omnibus (feeling deep regret over not having pre-ordered two at the deeply discounted price) but I do have my OHOTMU Deluxe Edition one sitting between Big Damn Sin City and the previously mentioned DK DC Encyclopedias. I just put it on a bath scale and it weighs 7.6 lbs. The Omnibus is big enough to have its own OHOTMU entry. The art/color reproduction on the glossy pages is gorgeous, and the bonus material is prodigious. It starts with a Marvel Age article , then the John Byrne promo image, then excerpts from various articles, then an Index/OHOTMU/Marvel Saga house ad (Richard Howell?), then the Forbush-Man parody entry, then tiny reproductions linking the Deluxe Edition covers (a Zero Hour #0 gatefold would have been preferable. ) Next are full-page reproductions of the ’80s OHOTMU trade paperback covers (Who’s Who definitely won’t have these *ahem*). Next are the recolored Essential Edition covers (which I don’t have because this is the only volume where I bought the floppies) and an unused version of one of the trades. Finally, four black & white scans of art for Dormammu, Hogun, White Tiger, and Wolverine on a single page. My singular complaint is that the physical cover is just a collection of random panels from Marvel comics, nothing OHOTMU specific.

    2) Master Edition was a trash fire.

    A) I listened to this part of the podcast twice and rechecked the cover to see is I missed the Ambush Bug coverage. To Be Continued…

    3) Listening to Shag butcher Despero’s name to Gerry Conway’s (Zoom) face was the single worst part of that interview. Some people do not say “(dess-per-o)” Shag. That’s how everybody in the world and all animated adaptations say it. The pronunciation is right there on the inside cover (and is rendered “DEHS-pur-oh” in the only volume of the 1985 edition that I bought new.) You are the only “Despair-Oh,” George W. Shaggg, and your mauling of the name fills me with despair-oh-oh-ohhhh.

    B)atman. I don’t have any problem with Norm Breyfogle’s entry art except the problem I have with all of Norm Breyfogle’s Batman art. He and Graham Nolan strongly signal the end of my Batman phase. He was one of the primordial super-heroes, the gateway to my love of the medium. He was an early favorite in comics (Aparo/Adams,) animation, and film/TV (Adam West.) I intentionally if intermittently/sporadically bought his books up until the early ’90s, dove deep with Knightfall, and all but gave up sometime after KnightsEnd. I liked a lot of interpretations of the character, up to about Jim Starlin, but the Grant/Moench/Dixon writing team and Denny O’Neill’s editorial stewardship killed it for me. I could go over all the moral implications of not allowing the Joker to be killed, or his stunted emotional development, or his abusive relationships with his inner circle, or his inability to be a healthy partner/parent, and that would all be valid. However, it finally occurred to me today that he’s just lost all his charm. He’s boring. Nothing of substance will ever occur within his sphere and he will never evolve. He’s not funny, he’s often not very smart, and I simply do not derive any pleasure from his company. He is to comics as I am to comments. Why would anybody want to spend their time with an aggressively anti-social, hypercritical Debby Downer like him? He is, quite simply, the Zack Snyderest super-hero.

    As far as Batman only getting two pages, cry me a river. Tweedledee & Tweedledum got an entry in the old Who’s Who. The Batmobile got multiple entries. Arkham Asylum is a Batman entry. Every Batman Family entry, supporting cast entry, Gotham villain entry… they’re all “Batman” entries. Each tells a part of his expanded story. Martian Manhunter got three solo entries, with the longest being the same two-sided sheet as Batman’s. I guess you could maybe count portion’s of Despero’s last Who’s Who as another. Not a single one of J’Onzz’s devoted friends or foes got one. The Alien Atlas’ sole representation is three pages– a Pre-Crisis entry, a Post-Crisis one, and a loose leaf one. Batman will be f.i.n.e.

    C), look here. I’ve been putting together commissioned art pieces of the cast of Dawn of the Dead with the intent of having said cast sign them at a future Living Dead Weekend (which I’ve been deferring since learning of its existence around the time of FWPodcast Con I.) This pursuit, along with a few others, has made me keenly aware that a LOT of artists can’t draw Black people in general (and Ken Foree in particular.) Mark Bright is an African-American man who can and does draw lots of different Black people well enough, to the point where it’s kind of his thing. He’s entirely competent, but also really boring without a vital writer like Christopher Priest. It kills me that so many African-American super-heroes have been represented by Mark Bright, guy who can draw Black people adequately, and so rarely by guys like Brian Stelfreeze, who draws everything magnificently. Anyway, this Black Lightning piece is totally uninspiring, from that lame costume that I’ve never seen anywhere else to that fugly logo. I wish the Eddy Newell series had launched by this point, which offered BL’s best costume (used for his finest figure, Total Justice.) I still struggle with Jefferson Pierce as a character, since I still perceive him as inhabiting a Van Jones/Don Lemon space on the respectability politics scale. Setting aside his technical comics culture significance (as his sociopolitical significance is nil,) he’s sort of a modern Zatara in that the best thing that he ever did was conceive a daughter (or two.)

    All that said, if the BL CW TV series is meaningful to other people, more power to them. I’ve got a BL podcast recorded with someone who likes the guy. Rob’s story was lovely.

    My personal favorite DC African-descended characters are, in order, John Henry Irons (Priest’s best work,) Amanda Waller, Bronze Tiger (Batman: Soul of the Dragon was my first DCAU purchase in nine years,) John Stewart, Vixen, and Connor Hawke. Cyborg would be DC’s biggest “name” on that front.

    D) I love Stelfreeze, one of the unheralded greats, his Catwoman competes with Dave Stevens, and Shag needs to slap the crystal meth out of Rob’s hand. There is no One True Pairing for Batman because his greatest kink is punching mentally imbalanced geeks in the teeth. Training child soldiers gets him off in a way no woman ever could.

    E) Tim Sale and the Challengers were never my bag. Jeph Loeb was always too pitchy for me. Proto-Mark Millar low concept rejiggerings with misplaced hopes of feature adaptation. Too late for the ’80s deconstructionist wave, and though I’ve never read it, presumably too dumb and shallow. I base this solely on Loebs’ historically overpraised output, comics meant to be read in the space of a urination, with about as much weight.

  22. Regarding the combination of Craig Hamilton and Tony Harris on the Prince Evilo page: I believe this was Tony Harris’ very first work for DC, and was very early in his career. I know that Hamilton and Harris lived in the same area around this time…I attended a lot of comics conventions in Atlanta, and in the early ’90s, there was an incredibly talented group of local artists who always seemed to be together at neighboring tables: Hamilton, Harris, Adam Hughes, Brian Stelfreeze, Joe Phillips, Jason Pearson… (Several of them did indeed share a studio at the time.) I was very lucky to have gotten sketches from so many of these artists that early in their careers. Relevant to this Hamilton/Harris entry, I’ll share a link to a jam sketch I got on a large piece of posterboard over the course of several conventions in 1990 and 1991: The first two figures I got to start off the jam were Etrigan by Tony Harris and Klarion the Witchboy by Craig Hamilton.


    I think Craig Hamilton may have even been a mentor/instructor to Harris…looking over Harris’ early career on the GCD, I looked up the independent comic “Blade” (no connection to the Marvel character), Harris’ first published work. Of the two issues that were published, issue #2 had Hamilton credited as “Creative Editor,” with Hamilton penciling the cover and writing an introduction to the issue. My purely speculative guess is that Hamilton saw the first issue (perhaps when they were both guests at a convention), recognized Harris’ talent, and offered him some guidance.

  23. Well, this was a surprise, I thought we’d finished. Thank you, Rob and Shagg, this was a total treat. And I really do think you deserve credit for the publication of the Who’s Who Omnibus, you got a buzz going after decades of the series not being talked about, and kept it in the zeitgeist from there on in. It’s you guys I would have autograph it… but no one writes on my books. Shagg I get that you have WW:TDDOTDCU in several formats. But it’s not the same as having the omnibus. It is MAGNIFICENT.

    That Norm Breyfogle piece is indeed underwhelming. And even in the Eighties i was sick of gargoyles (if I were a villain in Gotham who wanted Batman dead I’d just layer lard on random gargoyles). And while I understand that Norm Breyfogle likely wanted to give us a more natural Bat Signal, but it looks awful, like a puddle of piss.

    That Supergirl entry isn’t too bad, but Superman shouldn’t be hogging her space – he should fly off and collect Batman from the Commissioner Gordon entry and go have a World’s Finest foray.

    I know Shagg meant the sentence to go on, but he was accidentally right when he said Todd McFarlane drew Mary Jane ridiculously… He drew everyone ridiculously, Stelfreeze is much the better option, brokeback and all. As for the text, calling Selina Batman’s deadliest foe is strange given that her signature personality trait was that she never killed people. Catwoman is definitely Batman’s true love… I adored Silver St Cloud, but as her actions at the end of her first appearance told us, she’s far too sane to stay involved with Bruce. I hate Talia, all she has going for her is allure – she’s Bad Jasmine, simply sex and scent and Turkish Delight. Didn’t she have to drug-rape Bruce to conceive Damian? Batman would never sleep with a killer but he would marry Selina. The Brave and the Bold #197, ‘The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne’, by Brennert, Staton and Freeman, cemented Selina and Bruce forever in my eyes as fated to a happy marriage.

    I liked the Demon series, at least while the original team was doing it. And Shagg, it’s ‘Singh’ is pronounced ‘sing’, not ‘singe’.

    Tom and Mary and Keith and Al all created 5YL LSH characters, so presumably Devlin O’Ryan was one Tom Bierbaum came up with solo.

    I like the Jerry Ordway Infinity Incorporated drawing – it’s got plenty of snap. By the way, Shagg, I think you called Jerry Ordway ‘Gerard Way’ at some point. The names are suspiciously similar, though!

    The ‘new’ Challengers of the Unknown (heavy Rob sigh from me) character redesigns are abominations. The series was terrible too, one of those runs by a creative team who love the original concept so much they tear it to ribbons. Two members killed, the others reduced to gnarly, unstable Sad Sacks! This is the point at which Tim Sale and Jeff Loeb should’ve been politely patted on the head and invited to work on their own creations.

    The post-crisis Krypton was initially depressingly boring compare to the glories of the Silver and Bronze Age, but Byrne and Mignola did, as Michael says, zoosh things up nicely with the mini-series. The fashions alone are amazing, sooooo sexy.

    The Max Lord pic is indeed a great pin-up. Of a bunch of skyscrapers.

    Oh look,it’s Monarch in his big box warehouse. Most boring pin up of the series.

    I don’t think you can blame the inker alone for the lack of success of the Pied piper entry, Greg LaRoque’s style was very awkward. That dust effect is really odd, though. And that is an awful, awful costume

    Shagg, you said something about the Rampage entry not mentioning that she was created by Jack Kirby – did you mean John Byrne? Mind, while Byrne might have come up with Rampage, Kitty Faulkner was just another example of Byrne replacing an existing character with his version – see also Mike Schorr for Ed Indelicato, Cassie and Helena Sandsmark for Vanessa and Julia Kapatelis and so on.

    Rob is so right about Talia. Pure pants. And her running Lex Luthor’s businesses as Talia Head is as stupid as Black Lightning being Secretary of Education – when did she have time to go to business school, she was far too busy training to be an assassin and all-round tart?

    The Ambush Bug page being the last entry in the final issue is sheer brilliance. Lois Lane #48 is the issue in which Lois became Cinderella, Helen of Troy and Florence Nightingale, so presumably it opened Robert Loren Fleming’s mind up to the infinite possibilities of comics? All anyone really needs to know about this comic is that it was drawn by the brilliant Kurt Schaffenberger.

    Come back soon!

  24. Okay, so, as promised,the egregious omissions of the first looseleaf Who’s Who.

    Now, some of the categories could go on forever. There’s lots of events that could be added, from the recent War of the Gods to the Janus Directive to giving an account of what the Post-Crisis Crisis was like, how the world remembers Barry Allen’s death. There’s lots of places that could get covered, like Zambia, Quraq, Vlatvia, Markovia, Bialya and on. But let’s concentrate on characters, and most of these were characters on the edge, ones that might have seen more use if they had been remembered in a Who’s Who page.

    Counting down, number 5 is Godiva. Not the Global Guardian, but the Titans foe. She had a big splashy debut in an Annual and then barely appeared afterward. A page here and in another world she might be a beloved antihero today.

    4. OMAC. I have no idea why he didn’t make it, with a John Byrne project right in the timeframe and being a Kirby creation.

    3.Triangle, the supporting cast character. This was the CIA agent seen in Sandman and Swamp Thing Annual #5, one of his creations most connected to the DCU as Element Girl’s handler and interacting with Firestorm. Could have been bigger going forward.

    2. Paradox. Another villain that made their debut in an annual, in this case the Flash Armageddon 2001 annual. The story gave him interesting powers and a lot of backstory with Wally West during the ten years between 1991 and 2001. If he hadn’t been forgotten we might have seen some interesting stories.

    And 1. Cliff Carmichael, who may have been mentioned off-handedly in the Suicide Squad entry but needed a full page. He never got a codename, although Ostrander flirted with calling him Thinker 2 or Cyberpunk. And the story left him alive, with his mind control powers disabled by Oracle but his super intelligence fully intact. I’ve always thought it odd that in more than 100 issues of birds of prey Oracle never had to again face her first nemesis under that identity. But there’s an explanation.
    See, in about fifteenth years later, there’s a story called Countdown. And in it Maxwell Lord is a supervillain, a sociopath with a grudge against metahumans and mental powers of total control. There’s always been a problem with that story: Max Lord isn’t a sociopath, he doesn’t have anything against metahumans, and his powers never worked that way.
    Cliff, on the other hand…
    So that’s the theory/fix. Cliff is clearly impersonating Max. Maybe Max is alive, maybe not. Maybe Cliff escapes and Wonder Woman kills someone else. It’s a pretty useless little theory two continuities down the line, unless someone wants to do an RPG set in that era with JLI characters.

    1. While I understand wanting to highlight some of the side characters that were sidelined, there are 2 major characters and 1 major team that were omitted that were a travesty: Captain Marvel, The Atom, and Justice League Europe. Why these three never made it into the loose leaf boggles my mind.

  25. Congrats on 9 years! It’s been a incredibly fun run (and here’s hoping to more!). This series is how I found you guys, back when a friend at work asked if I had heard that some nerds were covering Who’s Who issue by issue. But I thought I was the only one who ever bought Who’s Who?! I’ve got to check this out! And I discovered episode 5 and have been with you guys ever since. I’m forever grateful that you guys have done an amazing job covering all the issues, the updates, the loose leaf, the collected annuals, the commemorative cups, the bed sheets, the branded flamethrower (the kids love that one). Okay, maybe I blacked out those last couple ones……

    Does anyone else find the Final “Going Out With A Bang” Issue a hilarious way to advertise your comic? It really strikes me as a ’90’s marketing gimmick. “Check us out because there’s no more and this the most extreeeeeeeemmmmmme!!!!”

    I love the Devlin back story of the creators that Shag cooked up. Like this would be the worst insult to NOT get credit for this character. “You wouldn’t dare take Devlin WassHisName away from me??” “Just watch me!”

    The Forever People again?? What’s next, Who’s Who of the Omega Men??

    Infinity Inc. – Is there a reason Obsidian is swinging in on a rope, Batman-style? He can fly, can’t he?

    Legion of Super-Heroes – I really enjoy the Legionnaires and love this entry. I would rate Chris Sprouse in ranks with Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes, and Ty Templeton for his facial expressions. Having said that, Cosmic Boy looks like he’s making noises to complement his powers. Vuu-vuu-vuu-vuu.

    Major Victory looks amazing. I’m not generally a fan of American patriot characters, but, this by far, is my favourite entry. I love that you got the behind the scenes drawings, Shag. Jerome’s pitch page looks fantastic!

    Challengers of the Unknown – The best part of this entry was Rob losing it on these putzes.

    Talia – her drawing looks….odd? Are her proportions off? To me, her legs don’t match her hips, which don’t match her torso, which doesn’t match her head. Can any artists here illuminate me on what’s going on?

    Ambush Bug – I lied. THIS is my favourite entry.

    Well done on this fun episode and to the 9 years! You two have been consistently fun and you’ve gotten better every episode. I’ve enjoyed all the shows you have put out and can’t wait to hear comes next. Keep up the great work!

    Bring on the Impact!

  26. I could be wrong but I believe the Animated Justice League two parter “In Blackest Night” is actually based on a two part Bronze Age Justice League Story in issue #140-141 (The story centers around Hal being tricked into believing he destroyed a world through a power beam of his ricocheting.)
    I think people confuse it with Cosmic Odessy because of what happened in that story being so similar and with the animated episode featuring John since Hal was not an active Corps member in the Time-verse.

  27. This podcast is a big part of what hooked me on this network and introduced me to other crazy nerds like me. I’m glad it’s still comes around every now and then.

    Scattered musings follow:

    Batman – All the flaws aside, I love the multicultural gargoyles. Very eclectic.

    Not to be all Frank about this, but I reject the whole concept of one true pairing. Compatibility is necessary, but insufficient. As long as both partners are emotionally healthy and mature and practice good relational skills that demonstrate love and respect, there may be many viable pairings. And yes, I do remember we’re talking about Batman. So, let’s assume it’s the Steve Englehart or Alan Brennert version (MRVB — most relationally viable Batman) and go through the options.

    Silver – She’s wonderful, and we all kind of love her (the smoking thing notwithstanding). But she doesn’t want to wait up every night wondering if Bruce will come home wounded, whole, or not at all, And I wouldn’t want to make her.

    Talia – Current crazy aside, I can’t see her recalibrating her moral compass to Batman’s without a radical life event. She’s too comfortable with her father’s methods and objectives. And Batman certainly won’t meet her halfway.

    Selina (Catwoman) – Far more compatible than Talia. She steals. She doesn’t kill, or at least not often. She and Bruce might be able to find some middle ground, and they effectively have in the past. But she may never respect the law and traditional authority to even the very limited degree that Bruce does.

    None of these seem perfect. But wait! There’s a late entry from the animated universe:
    Princess Diana of Themyscira – The ambassador and the tycoon! The ultimate power couple. Similar ideas on right and wrong, service to others, and when to break a few eggs to get the omelette made. Similar world-class standing in both their identities. And it would do Bruce good to let some light in — and to let someone else lead once in a while. A wonderful choice, indeed.

    Back to entries:
    Catwoman – Her outfit looks like real clothes, not body paint. I always appreciate that.

    New Gods – Yeah, Rude’s work here is amazing. It makes me happy in the same way as Darwyn Cooke’s work. It’s comfortably nostalgic while being simultaneously fresh and new — and in this case, joyful.

    Talia – Murder? MURDER? I OBJECT to this rush to judgment, your honor! My client hasn’t even told her side of the story! She’s the victim here, and she’s lucky to be alive! She was relaxing quietly at home in her purple tactical catsuit — as one does — when these nine strapping, armed men wearing combat gear invaded her home. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but they were probably mercenaries hired by her father’s malicious rivals. They’re always looking for ways to hurt him and his many legitimate business interests, and they’ll stop at nothing! Fortunately, my client has always stayed fit through self-defense training. Also, she’s learned that visiting the shooting range is a good way to reduce stress. All this and good, clean living enabled her to lawfully defend herself while simultaneously exercising her right to bear arms — in this case, an exceptionally well-rendered M-16. (This is the really the best issue yet for military hardware.)

    Uncle Sam – Great entry, but someone needs to tell Johnson not to wear his ribbons on his fatigues. No, the other Johnson. Think these guys went on to be FBI agents? (Clue: This is a Die Hard reference.)

    Ambush Bug: Perfect, top to bottom, from the dressing room to the go-go checks. Thanks for giving us the whole entry.

    Thank you very much, Rob and Shag! Let’s do it again soon!

    1. Just to make sure I’m clearer with my quips than last time, read the soldiers’ name tapes in the Uncle Sam image.

  28. F) When Iron Man 2 came out, I asked my best friend Mac how he felt about the adaptation of Justin Hammer. He was one of the first villains of the Michelinie/Layton run, turned up for decades, played a big part in the first War Machine arc, and I think he was even in the cartoon. The movie had massively altered and arguably belittled the character, but Mac seemed strangely unconcerned. At the end of the day, Hammer was just a guy that fought Iron Man a bunch, so Mac seemed to be open to someone doing more than that.

    That’s how I feel about Circe. She was one of the last villains introduced in the Pre-Crisis run, and Perez returned to her mythological roots to run with her as the most prominent villain of his run (since Ares was basically done after the initial arc and Cheetah was far less used and formidable.) Perez treated Circe like an archvillain, and… okay? She was sort of a big part of the William Messner-Loebs run, but I’m not sure that was the plan before some fill-in issues by Christopher Priest were randomly pegged by speculators as the birthplace of the next big Bad Girl during that fad. Most creators since have offered at least one big Circe arc per run, most notably Jimenez’s 175th issue stunt featuring virtually every DC heroine/villainess and Alan Heinberg launching the next volume with her. The various shades of purple-pink hair look nice. Solid power set. She got a nice Justice League animated story.

    Virtually any time my father urges me to watch a movie that he loves, it’s painfully bad (he’s for instance a connoisseur of The Substitute film series,) but every now and again he will recommend some edgy, bro-y thing that he hates like Boondock Saints as up my alley… and is usually right. He once burned me a copy of Mr. Right, written by Max Landis no less, in which Sam Rockwell plays a reluctant and eccentric hit man who woos a manic pixie dream girl played by an actress a whole-ass teenager younger than him. I’ve seen it twice and I do actually dig it, so I’m looking forward to Anna Kendrick making bold choices as Circe in Wonder Woman 1996.

    G)ordon co-starred in Year One, possibly the greatest Batman story ever told, and still managed to backslide into just this side of Neil Hamilton before the ’90s were done. I like Jim Fern, who kind of inhabits a Mark Bright space but has just enough style to keep him on my good side.

    H) I don’t know that I ever realized how strong an influence Walt Simonson had on Mike Mignola until one replaced the other for the Cosmic Odyssey entry. That said, I so associate Simonson with Armageddon: Inferno that it throws me. The mini-series was supposed to be a tour of the DC space properties in the way The Books of Magic was a primer for proto-Vertigo, so the editor felt like Jim Starlin had screwed him over by never intending to actually do what he was hired to do. The editor vowed to bury the book, but the sales were so good that it’s still one of Starlin’s fattest royalty checks to this day.

    I) Val Semeiks and Mark Pajarillo were the go-to guys for last minute JLA fill-ins and cash grab spin-offs. Both were in stiff competition for artist I liked the least in that time period. The one year I got to go to ComiCon, my hand involuntarily shot up at a panel after Semeiks was announced on a project that I was enthused for, because I just had to know if Prentis Rollins was inking him to offer me some relief (he was.) I thought The Demon was a damned lousy book that my brother kept buying for the constant Lobo guest appearances, so I read far more than I wanted to. Bloodlines helped lead me to the Garth Ennis run, back when he was still hungry and doing some of the best work of his career, rather than serving as a Mark Millar prototype with a military fetish and Stephen King levels of repeating motifs. My other best friend Fix loved that run so much that he bought John McCrea’s last pages on the final issue directly from the artist. Aside from Glenda Mark, the supporting cast was minimized under Ennis, and I was glad for it. Harry Matthews eventually got a pillow girlfriend. It was all very “Love & Monsters”.

  29. J) In 1990, DC Comics released a Legion of Super-Heroes postcard set of 15 pieces that included a Devlin O’Ryan spotlight, and that is everything wrong with 5YL in a nutshell. “I’ll have the Celeste Rockfish, hold the Kono. She’ll have the Brin Londo with a side salad.” Yeah, what Giffen needed to connect with ’90s readers was more Jimmy Olsen proxies dressed like undercover Red Star. Where’s Joseph McCarthy when you really need him? This dude debuted in the 6th issue, I read-read the book until about #20, and skimmed it until the Archie League. The dude appeared dozens of times. I remember nothing of him. Admittedly, I remember about as much of that run as David Bowie did filming The Man Who Fell To Earth, but I can still picture
    R. J. Brande’s wiener from the sex scenes.

    K) I would argue that at least 34% of the uncoolness of the Forever People is down to Serifan. They race and gender-swapped them in the New 52, but even Black Girl Magic can only take you so far while dressed like Marty McFly traveling to 1885. I’ve read a lot more Forever People for Siskoid’s Who’s Editing than I ever thought I would, but I still don’t entirely “get” them. I think calling them hippies is a misperception, recalling Miloš Forman’s interest in doing a movie about the flower generation, only to realize that they were just boring and poor losers who laid around all the time getting high. Forever People is kind of like Star Trek meets Voltron with a tacked-on youth culture angle. This group of young adult explorers from a utopian society encounter various peoples and situations for episodic adventures where they nudge things in the right direction before departing, and when things get hairy (usually involving elements from recurring villains of Apokolips,) they form a Zord. If they have an origin story pre-Flashpoint, I haven’t encountered it yet, and the Post-Crisis mini-series took a bizarre The Big Chill angle where they seem to be thirtysomethings going through quarter-life crises. The angle I took was to isolate and develop them separately, because as a team they’re only there. Give one of them away to be supporting players in an Orion or Mr. Miracle book. Or better yet, do what Miloš Forman did and have them break into songs that are just a litany of offensive terms and get them titties out to fight the draft (you’d think they’d want more clothes in the event of a draft.)

    L) I recently read up on Jade (thanks again Siskoid,) and after tossing through the earliest Infinity Incorporated material decades after my only reading experience, I have to point out that it was a terrible book. They debuted in All-Star Squadron, a book that I only ever saw on the Gemco spinner rack, and it required you to buy an annual yet. Then they launch in an overpriced direct market only book, and spend the entire first issue fighting with senior citizens over being allowed to join their old people club. Well, that and giving their individual origin stories of affluence that led to the sense of entitlement that they should be allowed to join the JSA en masse. Also, one of the members is the product of a Black man trading in bestiality to conceive with the Chicken Lady from Kids in the Hall. Also also, the only middle class kids are twins who were separated at birth only to find one another and then the JSA by happenstance at the exact same moment as the unrelated first group.

    Then in the second issue, a group of African American prostitutes are irrationally attracted to the only Black man on the team who again appears to be part-chicken, leading to a fight with their pimp in a McDonald’s. Also. the olds fight Brain Wave Sr. The third issue is 14 pages of talking amongst one another and their families while sometimes making long-winded, footnoted references to other comics. Then they fight Solomon Grundy for a few pages, and elsewhere Earth-2 Kal-L drowns the JSA. Fourth issue, Jerry Ordway traffics in overt exploitative nudity of a teenage girl and a GILF corpses. Also, more origin story of the creepy twins with the Wanda & Pietro vibe. Next they have the gall to reprint a decades-old Hawkman story as a stopgap. It just keeps going like that with this team of young cardboard standees whose sole personality trait is which defect that they’ve been assigned. Jade is a bit of a bimbo in girl next door clothing, Obsidian is a clingy depressive, Nuklon is the naive prude, Fury & Silver Scarab are homecoming sweethearts who’ve already completed their natural relationship arc, and Northwind is A. Black. Man. Who. Looks. Like. A. Chicken. This is a well designed team with a cool premise drawn by peak Jerry Ordway, but Roy Thomas is straight up incompetent writing DC’s third answer to the X-Men franchise.

    As for the actual entry, the art feels like a rejected cover sketch left unfinished. All but one current pictured member has black as a key element in their costume, with four having it as the dominant element. Why is Mr. Bones on the same team as Obsidian? You need two minority-inclusion, gender-swapped, legacy street level heroines with no actual powers? Why does your team live in a dilapidated Golden Age movie studio’s discarded sets? In what way are you incorporated? What even is the purpose of this team? So much potential squandered by terrible writing. When your premise doesn’t even pass muster against the Outsiders, delete your account.

  30. 4) I guess I should take a minute to address listener feedback to the episode that I’m still commenting on. What do you figure DC has to pay out for an unintentional Blackjak usage? Does Atari handwave it, or do they put the screws to DC like FOX did WB when they exercised leftover rights to Watchmen after the movie was already being produced? Is it a prorated deal where Atari collects 1/1,300th of the gross? Or is Atari such small potatoes today that they couldn’t afford a legal challenge, so they’ll keep mum or take a pity fee?

    5) I often use the streaming services as background noise, and finally made it to Teen Titans / Go! I have to admit that as I’m passing by the living room, I’m a lot more likely to get sucked into GO! I haven’t heard an utterance of booyah yet, but the ’80s TV referencing and the meatballs and the burger/burrito wars have been in effect. I certainly have a better sense of who Cyborg is as a character from that than I do his sad bitch routine in Justice League.

    6) I could desperately use a Who’s Who in the Dakotaverse, and it’s frankly suspect that they didn’t get one but Defiant(?!?) did. I have to lean on the DC Wiki, and there are more stubs than a sawmill.

    M) It’s always amusing when a creator goes out of their way to overhaul a dated property, only for it to inevitably become dated itself. Probably doesn’t help that late life Krypton was basically the ’70s Superman movie’s reverse negative. It’s Giffen Legion architecture but with music box pins at the top. The Amerimanga mechs haven’t aged well, either. I try to reconcile it by thinking all of the Kryptons are from different in-continuity eras or different nation-states upon that world. But my preferred Jor-El still wears green with a headband, and I’ll take my geography from the Amazing World of Superman poster.

    7) I used to own that Titans Annual, but I don’t think I ever read it, so my Godiva II knowledge is nil. Saving it for the Who’s Editing Updates. If these are the top 5 omissions, I figure this was the most comprehensive volume yet. I’ve always had Kilg%re as my headcanon Max Lord explainer.

    8) I’m never going to be cool with Wonder Woman being second-billed in a relationship, but I don’t hate a Batman pairing half as much as a Superman one.

    N) I think I was introduced to Laurel Gand before I was aware that she was just a Supergirl analog, but I really like having a Supergirl-type in the Legion, so I favored her on that alone. I think she got buried under all that Daxamite speciesism and becoming a nun, which grew tiresome very quickly. Given my druthers, I’d take Supergirl, but Andromeda will do in her absence.

    9) The Who’s Who Omnibus laps the OHOTMU one. Right off the bat, both the dust jacket and the actual cover mostly reproduce Definitive Directory Volume II as a full bleed, as opposed to Marvel’s depressing “letterboxed” reduced wraparound and microscopic back cover gallery. Even better though, it’s recolored with rearranged elements from other Perez covers. For instance, Northwind/Mr. Terrific/Night Girl replace Black Condor and Azrael. Also, the fill in the space where the entry director used to be, adding Nightwing, Flamebird, the Penguin, Nuklon, Onyx, Nimbus, Mr. Miracle, ‘Mazing Man, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and the cast of Camelot 3000, and that’s just the frontpiece. The spine and back remove Automan, Blackbriar Thorn, Baron Blitzkrieg, the Blackhawks, Bat Lash, Blackfire, Big Barda, Big Sir, and Baron Bedlam. However, this is in service to a decently executed partition to expand the cover with Captain Cold, Fastball, Captain Fear, Chemical King, Plant Master, Blackmass, Shatterfist, Cain, Captain Atom, Captain Comet, Cheetah, Catman x2, Catwoman x2, Captain Boomerang, Cheshire, Chris KL-99, Crowbar, Nightfall, The Chief, Captain Marvel Jr., Overmaster, Captain Carrot, and the Challengers of the Unknown. There’s one additional woman that I think was taken from a Hannigan cover that I couldn’t immediately identify, Harbinger maybe, or a Kupperberg Supergirl villainess? Paging Dr. Anj?

    There’s also the classic Who’s Who logo treatment (DC has been so terrible about using generic typeface in recent years that I dared not to hope) and a jubilant dust jacket spine with a grinning Silver Age Batman at the top. It’s beautiful! And the reverse spine? A cascade of urine yellow from the voluminous accumulation of fading dots. There’s a black & white treatment of Vol. XXVI with Wonder Woman (and Blackjack!) featuring the yellow dot fade throughout. Bob Greenberger does an intro, and then on to the bold, colorful entries (plus inside cover glossaries/editorial content.) Actually, the intro is largely a reprint of a Marv Wolfman interview in Back Issue magazine explaining how Marvel and DC were ripping each other off between OHOTMU, Secret Wars, Crisis, Who’s Who, and History of the DC Universe. There’s a whole paragraph on surprints. Congratulations Rob. I suspect some of your questions to Greenberger and Kupperberg informed the editorial details. Five issues of the aborted 2009 edition were written, 48 pages each!

    The inside back page advertorials are not reproduced, with various color dot holds used as necessary for buffers. While their names are taken off the cover rolls, it appears at least some Atari Force properties like Dark Destroyer remain in the illustrations. Update ’87-89 are accounted for, with a basic one-page character roll produced for the Annual entries. There’s also a complete Character Index in the back to locate pages across the multiple editions. None of the extras like with OHOTMU, but I still adore it.

    1. Reply to 9: I think the mysterious woman on the spine is Avia from the New Gods entry, who was featured on a Perez cover for Volume XVI.

      1. It’s a shame there is no Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, or Green Lantern on the Omnibus cover. I would have forgiven the designer to lift the Perez figures from the first Loose Leaf binder just to have them included, unless the plan for volume two is to use that binder cover.

        1. Wow, that is a deep cut! I guess she got ported in with the Monitor and Newsboy Legion. Great catch! Thanks! I hope there is a volume for the looseleaf, but I’m not as confident as you are.

    2. “Urine yellow” is not up your usual clear-as-a-high-grade-diamond descriptive standards, Frank. What’s your hydration level? Are you taking a vitamin C supplement? Morning or evening? You’ve told me almost nothing. You’d have been better off buying a Crayola 64 pack and picking the closest one out of the box.

      Also, you and Nick favor even more than Sontaron and I do.

  31. O) The funny thing about 5YL Legion is that a lot of artists I came to like started there, where I hated them. Stuart Immonen was going for a moody minimalism, but to me he seemed to be “shooting the film” out of focus and incorrectly lit. It wasn’t until he started doing funky cartooning on books like Next Wave that my opinion turned. Earlier we saw Jason Pearson when he seemed to be aping studio mates Brian Stelfreeze and Joe Phillips badly, and it wasn’t until he embraced the pneumatic excesses of Adam Hughes and Dave Johnson while retaining the angular abstraction that he finally hit his stride. Here, Chris Sprouse seems to be carrying on a Legion and JLI tradition of trying pull off the facial “acting” of Kevin Maguire and making people look like dorks. It seems like they launched Legionnaires on the strength of his art and he was never quite in the “launching a hit title” league. However, I suspect Alan Moore’s Supreme led him to study Silver Age artists like Kurt Shaffenberger, Wayne Boring, and Curt Swan, who informed his ultimate and most appealing style that saw him through Tom Strong and beyond.

    I read a few issues of Legionnaires, but it was coming in as I was checking out, and I was an early abandoner of all that clone stuff. The Bierbaums were never more than C-/D+ scripters in my book, so I wasn’t surprised when they never did much of anything without Giffen carrying them. They even did some Youngblood material, surely off his back.

    P) Jerome K. Moore should have been huge. Like Craig Hamilton, he should have gotten only the best inkers and the most prestigious projects with the least deadline heat. Both of those guys woulda coulda shoulda been on that Brian Bolland or Arthur Adams track. Just give them some annuals or a mini-series a year, treat it like an event, and let them fill the rest of their time with covers. Give them an arc of New Teen Titans to maintain the heat instead of the cold bucket of water that was the Ed Barreto run (a swell but entirely inappropriate artist for that title.) Moore was the kind of artist that could make even a humbug like me want to read a friggin’ Major Victory book. I’m looking at that proposal art with the tiger-scratched Terrence Stamp and I want you to take my money.

    Q) I like the Supergirl and Superman figures just fine, surely helped by John Beatty’s inks, but who can see them when our eyes go directly to the methhead in the clouds? This is my favorite Supergirl costume, but I can’t enjoy it because Dusty Abell felt the need to ALL CAPS bold and underline Matrix.

    John Byrne simultaneously reignited and stamped out my love of Superman with his run. What kind of a-hole declares that the lion’s share of Superman lore is off-limits, then uses his last story arc to definitively kill the three biggest Phantom Zone criminals? That way, he still gets to use them, but everyone else gets to sit on their thumbs until the 2000s soft revival under Loeb/Kelly/et cetera? Oh, and Supergirl is now a cross between Proty and a Martian, and she’s from a parallel universe, as is the Superboy from the Legion until even that Superboy was retconned out of existence? We just had a !@#%^&* Crisis to simplify all this stupid #$%^ and you’re wrecking everything to fit the Byrne Commandments?

    What’s worse– that by modern standards Lex Luthor raped Supergirl because of his false identity precluding consent, or that it’s okay because Matrix is just pink sludge molded into the shape of a Kara Zor-El RealDoll©? How about the trivializing of gender identity by making Matrix cray-cray fly away after gender-bending into Superman? I mean, Peter David made Supergirl a devil-worshiper involved in ritual human sacrifice, and it was a major step up from years of being a disposable less-than-human “Maid of Mud.” At least Linda Danvers had agency when she was sucking face with Buzz over some poor victim’s corpse. Oh, this is soooo much better than just letting Superman have a cousin, rrrright?!?

    R) I really dig that Maxwell Lord logo for that specific character, and I figure he was the best character for Ty Templeton to draw across his run. Great depiction of his vibe and environment (dig the dot matrix and the city scene.) I wonder what he was doing with two computers?

    R) I… like Monarch? The basic premise of Armageddon 2000 was really cool, even if I don’t like either of the proposed identity reveals (because I like Captain Atom too much and respect Hawk too little.) It probably should have been Ronnie Raymond, amiright? That guy had nothing else to offer, obviously. I know Monarch’s mostly a Dr. Doom knock-off as used, and had no real discernible personality beyond “evil tyrant,” but I feel like the alternate future/time travel angle gives him a specific flavor. Consistently lousy utilization of a promising premise, the Kobra of chronal criminals. Given how little interest I have in Dan Jurgens’ work, it says a lot that I still root for Monarch.

  32. T) Steve Rude’s New Gods piece evokes pure unadulterated Kirby while also giving it a nostalgic sense of wonder mingled with a heightened reality that may have influenced or shared influences with the work of Alex Ross. I also think that’s exactly why New Gods are a tough sell. The Fourth World has never had a time. It has never been popular. George Lucas borrowed heavily from it, but in adapting it, actually surpassed the Fourth World by connecting with a mass, multi-generational audience. And then Marvel did it again with Thanos. They’re always the blues artist that died penniless and unknown rather than Led Zeppelin. I saw so much potential in Ava DuVernay and Tom King’s cinematic treatment… to perhaps cross a modern ethnocentric mythology along the lines of Black Panther with the bold colorful retrofuturist fantasy of Thor: Ragnarok but also the human struggles writ large of Wandavision. Do some degree, they could do no wrong, as there’s an upper limit to the concern for fidelity to a property built on perpetually failing.

    Unfortunately, Zack Snyder rushed into the Fourth World Saga, the way the entire DCEU was stillborn for wanting to start at the end of heroic careers rather than the beginning or even middle. They could have seeded Apokolips for a decade, but instead it got crammed into two already overstuffed movies. That fact afforded the opportunity for DuVernay to do a New Gods picture, but it’s limited, grim vision likely insured that Warner Brothers would not actively slit its own wrists with more costly debacles in service to a insatiable, aggressive minority. When Alex Ross paints Galactus, he restores majesty muted by decades of repeated use and misuse. When Steve Ride draws New Gods, it’s a pining for an age that never existed, when the designs were not gaudy, when the concepts were not out of touch, when the characterization was not wooden, when the conventions were not corny. Star Wars is defined by a pained rejection of the father, of a life built on lies and a legacy of evil. New Gods is defined by the passive benevolence of an unseen mother, pinging and pining for the grand plans left abstract and unfinished. The New Gods is the blueprint of a thing that could work, not something that ever did.

    U) I remember one of my customers in the ’90s waxing on about the USS Defiant from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine being “nothing but propulsion and guns.” On paper, Phantasm is a little like that– literally just a cold mask and portentous cloak. Wooo– so mysterious– so, like, heavy… man. When I was coming in midway through “Titans Hunt,” they were a visual signifier that the old order changeth, like Cap’s Kooky Quartet or Cable transitioning the New Mutants into X-Force. I had never experienced Danny Chase, and the reveal that Phantasm was the metahuman equivalent of three kids sitting on each other’s shoulders inside a trench coat might have bothered me more if I had. However, as soon as the con, was revealed, the status quo change and Phantasm became the combined ectoplasmic concentration of Chase, Raven’s mom, and the uncorrupted (decorrupted?) souls of Azarath. Sounds like a big deal. What did it amount to? Bloodwynd 2: Eclectic Bug-a-boo. What should be one of the most powerful team members, whose presence should introduce entirely new metaphysical heights to their adventures, instead gets sidelined to speak only in vague foreshadowing and never actually do anything. I had to go check the cover gallery to see if they were still on the team by the next event. I dropped the book the same month Phantasm made their last appearance, doing the same thing they did at the end of Titans Hunt against the same foe. I didn’t bother to read the book by that point, so I never knew. I’m not mad or sad about that, because despite my affection for the Titans period that launched Phantasm, they never mattered to me (#JusticeForPantha). I guess their only legacy was inspiring elements of Mask of the Phantasm.

    10) I have to echo Anj’s take on Marv Wolfman’s writers block. I’m a bit more understanding because a creative field is more nebulous than a more formalized problem-solving profession. That said, plenty of health care providers who were burnt out by the pandemic are removing themselves from the field because they don’t feel like they can carry on at this time. Wolfman supposedly had the same experience after Crisis On Infinite Earths, suspiciously around the same time George Perez moved on from co-plotting with him. Paul Levitz stepped in to help him through a rough patch. Perez came back to co-plot for a time. Editor Jon Peterson shepherded the Titans Hunt period. That’s 1985-1996, almost as long as Peter David’s run on Hulk and Mark Gruenwald’s run on Captain America, in which Wolfman could not do his job without other people pushing him onward. That’s not a block, that’s welfare. Wolfman should have stepped away to recharge or found a new career course, while DC should have shown him the door rather than allow him to collapse their top title through inertia. This is why Gerry Conway is still well regarded and most of Wolfman’s work requires as asterisks in the credits.

    V) “That great GAY super-person, Pied Piper!” What does it say when half the Flash Rogues Gallery has a stronger anti-hero/reluctant villain arc when you were first out of the gate? Or that Vibe and Chunk are better regarded supporting players? It’s like hey, you’re queer, so we’re going to claim representation and do nothing else with you that might draw controversy. Just be glad that with a name like Pied Piper that we didn’t turn you pedo. Love how they visualized “gay” as opening his shirt up to the navel and feminizing his features. Hopefully someday something decent will be done with this dude, but when Countdown is your primary showcase, best of luck with that.

  33. Œ) I sort of wish Prince Evillo had been played straight, because the artwork is quite imposing, but the wonk anatomy and posture do signal satire. He actually got a cameo in the short lived sitcom Powerless. Welcome the comedic stylings of the Bierbaums, which retroactively turned The Heckler from a planned ongoing into a de facto mini-series.

    W) Gah, comics and their severely post-punk mohawks lasting beyond the actually wave of post-punk musical artists. Did Rampage shave Nuklon and take all his power, like Samson & Delilah? So Not-Jenet Klyburn (Byrne?) becomes Not-She-Hulk but acts more like Not-Hulk? Apparently, she made four appearnces on the Justice League cartoon? What a waste. A prime example of a character who gets consistent play because she was in a major creator’s famous run and always gets a spotlight in reference materials. Being a brawny lady probably helps. She’s a throwaway barely-a-character that nobody cares enough about to protect or kill, so she’s a utility player who gets disproportionate use. Nobody’s going to gatekeep g.d. Rampage. I loathe this character because all she ever does is fill out the page count. But hey, twice as many appearances as actual Jenet Klyburn.

    11) I once asked Tony Isabella for an interview at a con, and he turned me down. Wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last, but the specific air in which he did it rubbed me the wrong way. I enjoyed his mid ’80s DC work and his old CBG column Tony’s Tips, so it’s too bad. I won’t be asking anything of him again.

    X) I wanted to buy Batman Arkham: Talia al Ghul, but I thought the Cliff Chiang cover and issue selection were weak. I have several Arkham volumes because they usually offer the choicest cuts and strong covers, but not so here. Talia was in one of my all-time favorite Batman stories, the 1982 Annual that I love so much I bought a random Joe Casey Image comic just because they aped Trevor Von Eeden’s cover treatment. I traded a kid in school to get a battered copy of Batman: Son of the Demon because it was another al Ghul story that I could get my hands on. I did catch a ’70s back issue or two, supplemented with the 1991 Tales of the Demon collection with the painted Stelfreeze cover. I still have all of them. I adore the O’Neil Bondian Batman, his Fu Manchu foe, and the reluctant daughter who frequently betrayed her father out of love for Bruce Wayne and humanity. Since Jerry Bingham did several of the Mike Barr Ra’s graphic novels, and because I thought he was dynamite back in the day, I still feel like his Talia is more “right” than most. I love that Ra’s and Talia stories are epic feeling but formulaic and single serving. Again, very much like Bond movies.

    I sort of understand the impulse to create Damian Wayne as a way to make Robin make sense in a modern context of child endangerment concerns. So long as Robin is a blood relative that Batman has custodianship over and is also an irrepressible trained ninja assassin, nobody has to call CPS. Except, y’know, Damian is the absolute worst Robin by failing to serve the essential role of the Boy Wonder as a light and fun counterbalance to Batman’s sober darkness. I think he intended for Damian to stay dead, but it all got Xorn’d because Didio’s DC catered to edgelords.

    I had to bring Damian up because someday we need to talk about Grant Morrison’s problem with woman. The truth is, most of the revered comic creators have their issues with women, even Claremont, but Grant Morrison always seems to get a pass despite being terrible. Given his lengthy career, he’s barely ever written a female fronted book, and whatever good came out of the Zatanna mini-series was offset by the cringe of Bulleteer. I’d argue that Vampirella was his best run in this area, but I’d also argue that Mark Millar was doing most of the work. Wonder Woman Earth One is among the most detestable takes on that character that I’ve ever read, and his handling on JLA never indicated he had anything worthwhile to say about her. But his crowning achievement in the realm of misogyny has to be Talia al Ghul.

    As they escalated the lethality of Ra’s’ villainy in the Batbooks, they could have positioned Talia as an anti-heroine. Instead, she abdicated and was semi-prostituted out to the likes of Bane. The Superman writers made a bit of a mess of Talia as a Lex Luthor lackey, though she did ultimately steal LexCorp, at least. It wasn’t until she was redefined as Damian’s mother though that Morrison went full psycho bitch with her. All of her conniving and murdering, even down to having her own son executed by his own mutant clone. Wow, that was a lengthy and thorough character assassination, all in service to building up Batman Jr. and creating a gender-swapped soap opera version of Ra’s (and Nyssa was right there, Grant.) Morrison utterly annihilated my interest in Talia and played into the worst stereotypes of the jilted ex/crazy babymama. It’s revolting, and I find his every attempt at doing female characters highly suspect at this point. Of every way that you could have gone with Talia short of killing her off (but he did that, too,) this was pretty much the very worst. Shameful.

  34. 12) I think Christopher Priest dumped Tanya Spears in limbo, so at least it wasn’t a racial thing. Probably just marching orders to discard New 52 duplicates.

    Y) A lot to unpack on Uncle Sam.

    Ya) I always associate David A. Williams with early Image, mostly due to my first conscious awareness of him being on the Supreme: Glory Days micro-series and various pin-ups/covers for them. Even there, he was doing retro stuff, so it shouldn’t surprise me that he actually got his start in the majors on the Son of Vulcan entry and the early issue of !mpact’s The Jaguar (their only series that I followed.) We’ve seen a fair amount of him in Who’s Who already, but he’ll have a bigger impact going forward. He’s never seemed to get a lot of traction in the industry, which is a damned shame, because he’s still in it decades on. I got a painting by him of one of my own characters that is exquisite and fills me with joy.

    13) Nick Vector was John Ostrander’s roommate in The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl.

    Yb) Matt Wagner remains a bit of a blind spot for me. I’ve read a fair few of his comics, but he seems to be a creator warranting a deep dive that I haven’t yet taken. It would probably help is m’boy Fix would give me back the volumes of Grendel Omnibus that I invested in.

    Yc) Steve Darnall did Empty Love Stories back in the ’90s, but to the degree that he’s known, it’s as one of Alex Ross’ writer-lackeys. Dismayed at having to share credit on his best received projects with acclaimed writers despite their being literal retreads of other creators’ works like Marvels, Ross chose the build his own glass ceiling by preferring to team with unaccomplished scripters who would expand upon his often lousy ideas on such long-winded disappointments as Project: Superpowers and Earth X. Given that Kingdom Come was just a watered down life of Alan Moore’s infamously unproduced “Twilight” pitch, it wouldn’t surprise me one iota if Ross swiped this Uncle Sam take from Wagner. His entire career is “What If Norman Rockwell had a Rob Liefeld?”

    14) The rule is half your age +7. If Ted Grant was (generously) 20 in 1940, that’s 60 in 1980, so Selina Kyle would have been 20 years under his minimum dating age. Times were different and morality has some flexibility, but I figure it’s fair to judge Ted with the same lens as Woody Allen circa Manhattan. It’s not that you absolutely cannot, but the circumstances will rightly draw scrutiny and judgements will be cast. Selina’s precocious and Ted’s kind of a dummy, but she’s still a granddaughter applicant. Feels like there’s probably a transactional element, as well.

    Yd) Despite being crafted by Golden Age titans like Will Eisner, Lou Fine, and Reed Crandall, I never could take Uncle Sam seriously. For starters, he didn’t have a skintight costume, but mostly down to his being a folk tale first. Too much like having Superman team up with Santa Claus for an adventure. Also, when I was a kid I was very patriotic, believing the United States to be a shining beacon to the world. Much of my adult life has been living the “Are we the baddies” sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look, and it seems likely to me that Father Time was created because DC wasn’t down for an appropriately jaundiced take on Sam. Where Captain America was successfully defined in the ’60s as a populist FDR Democrat, Uncle Sam is so politically vague as to be worthless for commentary. Again, even Ross’ tepid “it was bad that we killed Indians and enslaved people, so I’ll have a punch-out with the bad duplicate Uncle Sam” was too hot a take for the mainstream continuity, becoming a little read Elseworld instead. Go full heel or go home, I’d say. Sam’s only real legacy is leading a bunch of old-timers so little regarded that DC forgot they owned them from an Earth where the Allies they represented lost to the Axis. The Freedom Fighters self-own as a concept. The Invaders were such a small concept to begin with, but to rip them off and fail at the assignment to the tune of an Earth-X (that term again) is truly pathetic.

    15) In case I forgot to mention earlier (I’m not rereading my own comments like George R.R. Martin does his books or I’ll never finish,) I feel like Shag must be misremembering the late Bill Jaaska’s dark but decent Titans work with the truly excremental Nick Napolitano. It was super-duper hard to lose Tom Grummett, but compared to the post-Zero Hour art, Jaaska is actually pretty awesome.

    16) I really, really enjoyed Doom Patrol until they went on the side quest to fantasy land and I drifted away from watching about three-quarters through the first season. I want to get back to it, but haven’t in months.

    Z) David Antoine Williams again. Obviously I value the conceptual autonomy of the Amazon of Paradise Island, but Marv Wolfman completed the transition begun by Julie Schwartz in the Silver Age of DC Comics being a Green Lantern-centered universe rather than a Superman one. Given how much of their cosmos can be traced back to the Oans and Kronos, it’s a little odd that the Zamarons have never been firmly connected to Themyscira. My primary point of reference is still Millennium where they’re reduced to the breeding stock of the Guardians, and even with the resurgence of the Star Sapphires as a corps the role of the Zamarons are downplayed. Smells a bit like misogyny, but maybe it’s just that nobody wants hoary old Marston-style Amazons in their pulp science fantasy.

    17) Who’s Who Secret Files & Origins. You’ve denied it in the past, but you know what you have to do. Plus, the naked OHOTMU rip-off will slowly drive Rob insane.

    Æ) Entirely appropriate that I ran out of proper letters for Ambush Bug, the last entry in the final full length volume of Who’s Who. AB will always be funnier, ballsier, and more relevant than Deadpool, who just took the most fanboy-pleasing elements from Irwin Schwab and Lobo. Most of the text gags are taken directly from the various Ambush Bug appearances, merely compiled here. If he truly did pull Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #48 off the stands the same day he got the costume, Ambush Bug’s a Silver Age hero who should have gotten a spot in JLA: Year One at least. The Uh-Oh Squad must have been one of those Hawkworld-style post-post-Crisis retcons, since Ambush Bug’s team debuted after the maxi-series (R.I.P. Ms. Mohawk, The Cleaver, and Blotto the Clown.) Also, there’s the Amber Butane Corps, unless that’s a psychotic delusion (Ron Howard: It was all a psychotic delusion in the mind of Irwin Schwab.)

    18) In pure word count, this has to be one of my top Who’s Who manifesto comments of all time. Going out with a bang, indeed? It’s not like I’ll be able to generate this much commentary on L.E.G.I.O.N. R.E.C.R.U.I.T.S. ’93 in the year 2025.

    1. > Uncle Sam is so politically vague as to be worthless for commentary.

      Not to go to political here, but I think it’s actually just the opposite.

      > Also, when I was a kid I was very patriotic, believing the United States to be a shining beacon to the world. Much of my adult life has been living the “Are we the baddies” sketch

      I’m almost 50, and I’m very patriotic. Every morning, I lead my son’s class in the Pledge of Allegiance. Every day, I have time to reflect on what those words mean. Unfortunately, we’ve all become jaded to associate patriotism with nationalism, and being conservative.

      Think back to the Captain America story in the 80s, that gave us John Walker in the first place. Steve resigned his commission because the government wanted him to be their lapdog. And he stood there and said, no, I fight for the ideals of America, not the government of America.

      That patriotism of your youth, of the United States being a shining beacon – we *need* that in our lives. We need to strive to return to that.

      And that’s where Uncle Sam fits in. Uncle Sam is supposed to represent that ideal of what America represents. He represents the poem inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

      What better time than today to visit what that represents, and how far we’ve strayed. Maybe Uncle Sam is a relic of the Golden Age, but I’ve got to think Uncle Sam has more relevance today than ever before. The idea of patriotism should not be associated with nationalism, and it’s high time we examine how to take it back.

      1. Hear hear, DC Dave! We have yet to live up to the ideals upon which we were founded, and the Founding Fathers were aware we fell short from the very beginning. I understand and often share Frank’s disappointment and fatigue. But it’s every generation’s job to get us closer to those ideals, and we must not lose hope now just because it seems like we’ve taken a step backward. It isn’t our first step in the wrong direction, but the trend line is still positive. Thanks for the encouragement.

  35. Rob, you are my Podcaster of the Week for calling out the overrated art of Tim Sale. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for art styles other than the typical superhero style getting out there, but this ain’t it for me. Thin lines, two big ol’ black dots for eyes, and those eyes are so far apart everyone looks like a flounder.

    Can you tell this stuff don’t do it for me?

  36. Shag and Rob, today is Saturday, June 19, 2021 and I just finished listening to the last episode of Who’s Who featuring issue 16 of the loose leaf edition and I was surprised to hear you guys read my iTunes/Apple Podcast review from back in May of this year. Shag, i have no idea why Matt Wagner wrote the Uncle Sam entry but I’m sure there is a good story behind it. It only took me a month to go through all of the episodes…I have the advantage of early retirement to spend my time listening to 9 years of podcasts about a 30+ year old series. Glad to be a part of the family!

    Thanks for the great podcast and all the hard work and love you guys put into it. I think I’m going to next start with your original Fire and Water podcast #1 and see where that takes me.

    1. If you like the hosts – and why wouldn’t you? – that’s as good an idea as any. If you like Who’s Who-ish material, I might recommend Ryan’s Secret Origins podcast, which I feel was the perfect companion to Who’s Who when the two were running concurrently. You won’t be disappointed.

  37. Congrats on completing Volume 2 of Who’s Who (the two updates notwithstanding). Sorry it took me so long to listen to the episode, but well.. Life.

    Here are some random thoughts on the issue:

    Batman: I never got this image, either. It never did a lot for me.

    Catwoman: I will never understand the need to give the Catwoman costume a tail. It makes ZERO sense from so many standpoints, since it is a part of a costume, and not a part of her. It’s not like she can control it like a real tail.

    Commissioner Gordon: He would have been better served with just a batman silhouette behind him, as opposed to that atrocious Batman.

    Laurel Gand and Max Lord: I got a second printing of issue #2 (where these entries originally appeared with the wrong color borders), and they corrected the coloring on that print run. So I have 2 correct versions of these two entries for no good reason.

    Legion – The Beginning: This was indeed part of the launch for Legionnaires, about the SW6 Legion. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Legion. the costumes are awesome, the art was superb. it hit me a just the right time and I was all about Legionnaires. It’s a shame it only lasted 16 issues before Zero Hour hit and we got the Reboot. Not that I mind the Reboot (quite the contrary), but I feel like this version of the Legion had its run cut short.

    Uncle Sam: Like Rob, I never read Shade: the Changing Man. All I knew of American Scream was from the Who’s Who entry. Still, I always wanted to see Uncle Sam take him on and take him out.

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