Who’s Who in the DC Universe #8

It’s the eighth amazing issue of WHO’S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE featuring Byth, Captain Comet, Death, Green Lantern John Stewart, Kent Shakespeare, Lobo, Monsieur Mallah and The Brain, The Phantom Stranger, The Spectre, Raven, and more! Plus YOUR Listener Feedback!

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48 responses to “Who’s Who in the DC Universe #8

    1. What’s Lobo’s accent meant to be – he sounds like a backwoods guy, then he seems to be doing a very bad Constantine.

      Is that show any good? Why are Kryptonians always English?

    1. I was really stoked when he showed up in a late issue of Superman/Batman as the “Superman” of another century. I think there’s potential there.

  1. I suppose you could say a version of Death appears in one of the bonus episodes of Lucifer Season 3
    This episode which seems to take place after the finale to season 3 (and was most likely shot before the series cancellation was announced by fox) features Ella having a friendship since childhood with a ghost girl named Rae Rae. However, what Ella does not know is that her friend is actually Azrael, the Angel of Death and Lucifer’s sister.

  2. The Brain & Monsieur Mallah – I always thought there was an interesting juxtaposition between Robotman and The Brain that both are under the same medical predicament – being a brain in a can. It’s just how they choose to live that life. I think that Cliff chose to have a body he could move around in while The Brain is essentially helpless speaks volumes to how the characters see the world.

    Captain Comet – He had a solo adventure under Jim Starlin in the late ’00s in a Mystery in Space mini, plus he was pivotal in the Rann/Thanagar Holy War. He also rejoined the L.E.G.I.O.N. in the 2nd R.E.B.E.L.S. series, where he whined a lot but still managed to hook up with Starfire.

    Death – One of my favorite characters. As far as a movie goes, I think Sandman would be terrible as a movie. Instead, it would work better as a high-end TV series. Given the characters and their arcs, trying to give a satisfying storyline in a 2 1/2 – 3 hour movie would just not work.

    Furball – Timber Wolf was a badass even in the 70’s. He was one of the team powerhouses. When Wildfire sabotaged a mission roster to only pick the most powerful, Timber Wolf was one of the 5 chosen (along with Superboy, Mon-El, Wildfire, and Dawstar).

    Hero Hotline – I’m honestly surprised they didn’t become more of canon fodder in crossover events. Private Eyes appeared in the Limbo of Characters during Final Crisis. I love this concept, and I wish we could see more of these types of things in the backgrounds. They might not deserve their own series, but a one off panel of their office as Green Lantern is flying by or Jimmy Olsen suggesting them instead of calling the Planet to reach Superman would be perfect.

    Kent Shakespeare – This is a character that I was totally indifferent about. Part of the problem is that he barely got panel time in the actual comics. While he has a compelling backstory (and behind-the-scenes story), on the page he just didn’t get time to shine.

    Lobo – I think the downfall of Lobo – beyond the overexposure – was also when Keith Giffen lost control of the character. I remember reading/hearing a (possibly apocryphal) story where Keith wanted to do a story with Lobo and was told by the editor he couldn’t do it because Lobo wouldn’t act the way Giffen wanted him to.

    Turtle – I LOVE Mike Parobeck’s art and still miss him.

    Regarding the mediocre character titles: I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that this was the era where Quark Express – and thus computer page layout – became indispensable. All of the sudden, hundreds of fonts were available and it was easier to pop one of them on rather than pay an artist (like Todd Klein) to come up with something for a one-off page in Who’s Who.

    Thanks for the kind words about the remasterings. I am currently working on digital versions of the loose leaf edition – up to issue 5 already. When I have them all done, I will then do an alphabetical version as well.

  3. You bring up the WHO’S WHO trailer featuring Rob’s growing exasperation regarding the entries and I have to say, that trailer is among my favorite podcast trailers ever. I didn’t know who Kent Shakespeare was and found it hilarious. I love finding out who he was and he didn’t end up a disappointing segment after the build up.

  4. FINALLY! Hero Hotline!

    They have shown up here and there, but never enough. You guys really should read this. You know they have direct ties to the JSA? Interestingly enough, Flash makes a cameo. As does Man-Bat’s arch-nemesis Snafu. Oddman is seen running through the office, implying that he’s a part time agent at the very least. Surprisingly enough, ‘Mazing Man never shows up!!! This would have been a perfect way to shoehorn him into the DCU official. They showed up (some of them) in Infinite Crisis, applying to be security at CADMUS, in Limbo, Guy Gardner’s Warrior bar opening and more random places.

    As far as I know, I’m the only person to ever do HH fanart and since you are some of the only guys who might ever look at them with ANY sort of recognition whatsoever….I’m sharing them. You’re welcome. (PS I’m the nerd who contributed the Composite AquaStorm years ago…)

    This includes…the night shifters…

    PPS Zeep….was one of the heroes the dial manifested in Dial H for Hero.
    http://fav.me/d2fpycg
    http://fav.me/d4z9uz1
    http://fav.me/d66ly2l
    http://fav.me/d4z9uz1
    http://fav.me/d2fpxuz

    1. Zeep is one of my favorite Z-listers ever. I’m a Dial H for Hero fan, I’m a Hero Hotline fan. And when I ran Play by Email superhero games back in the day, I played Zeep the Living Sponge in a Hero Hotline-flavored team. (The PbeM “network” had four tones with dedicated mailing lists – JLA, Titans, Hero Hotline, and Defenders which was what we’d now call JLDark.)

  5. Hey y’all, Shag regarding the Durlan in L.E.G.I.O.N. as R.J. Brand do you remember that they were going to have Martian Manhunter revealed as him, but then changed it? Also did y’all ever read the Madame Xanadu book written by Matt Wagner featuring the Phantom Stranger in the first arc ? It was epic !

    1. RJ Brande was the Durlan in the 5YL era, a temporal trade made by Glorith when she went Phantom Girl back in time, Brande forward. He is shown to arrive in the future in Legion of Super-Heroes (vol.4) #8.

      The Reboot Brande was going to be J’Onn J’Onzz, and there were lots of hints (his interest in the Justice League, a residence on Mars, etc.), but that era of the Legion played the long game on SO many plot threads, that many were never brought to term before Abnett and Lanning took the books over at the turn of the millennium (Brande’s identity, Lori Morning’s ties to the Time Trapper, Tinya’s third triplet, etc.)

  6. For me, GREEN LANTERN is really about the Corps and the Three Musketeers of Hal, Guy, and John. Compared to the former two, Stewart struck me as the one who really “went native” with his marriage to Katma Tui and his work in the Mosaic. While I wasn’t a fan of his marine backstory and use of the power ring as a blunt instrument, I found his Doctor Destiny nightmare to be most fitting as well as his relationship with extraterrestrial Hawkgirl.

    With TPTB committed to Kyle’s one-horse town of a GLU, I considered John to be the true Torchbearer of the Silver Age breed in the cartoon.

    And DC really screwed up by not hooking widower John up with essentially widowed Hawkwoman in the comics proper.

  7. No Superman characters this time out. Sad panda face.

    Anyway…

    Ares: I made this joke on Facebook, but I’ll repeat it here. Ares looks like he is either a greeter at a cheap Las Vegas Roman themed hotel or he’s trying to sell old people something, like a reverse mortgage or an auto warranty. “Worrying about the bills and paying for medicine now that you’re older? Maybe you should consider completely screwing over your heirs and get a reverse mortgage from the Olympian Mortgage Company.” It’s not a bad image, but that’s what I think I when I see his image.

    John Stewart: Man, this guy got hosed for the majority of the late eighties and nineties. First they kill his wife. Then he’s responsible for the death of a planet. Then he’s almost a Guardian but Emerald Twilight kind of screwed that up. Then he became a Darkstar. Then he was in a wheelchair. This guy wins Crappy Thing We Can Do To Minority Characters Bingo. Thankfully JUSTICE LEAGUE turned that around.

    Phantom Stranger: Insert recommendation for the novel DC UNIVERSE: TRAIL OF TIME here. This was the story that made me like The Phantom Stranger. Of course, he will always be the character that very nearly deep sixed my friendship with Rob. Rob probably doesn’t remember this, but I made a disparaging comment about the Stranger nearly a decade ago and Rob posted that we were done professionally. It’s not my fault, though. My only previous experiences with the character were LEGENDS (let me stand around and pontificate with Darkseid), “The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus” (let me show up and be mysterious for no reason), and his ACTION COMICS guest appearance (let me barge into Clark’s life and tell him jack all about why I need him before getting him into a supernatural fight). I have since warmed to him and that SECRET ORIGINS issue is one of my favorites.

    PUNCH AND JEWELEE: It hit me about 30 seconds before Shag said it that they typical Johns characters from DOOMSDAY CLOCK (for those reading this in the future, I’m sure you’re still waiting for the next issue) were a take on these characters and I feel pretty thick in the head for not figuring that out sooner. I’ll show myself out.

    RAVEN: I am with Shag in that I hate this character in the comics but love her in other media. She was one of the few things that kept me watching TITANS to the end. Maybe it’s because she’s a goth/witch type character named Rachel. Maybe it was the writing. I don’t know for sure, but I liked her on that show and was pulling for her the entire time. In the comics, this character has never done anything important, nor is she in any way likable.

  8. Cool Pod Cast. Ah Shagg. Guess I have to go all Suda Name again. Nope Timber Wolf did not copy Logans cool factor. He had it first. In Fact the Bad A** character ness was put in by the Artist of LSH …. Dave Cockrum. He just Brought over what he did to change Timber Wolf when he left to work for Marvel. In fact this Fuzz Ball bit reminds me of what happens, to Logan when he losses his Anumatem. Er the Metal in his body. And he too went all beasty. Geez James Hollowell Er Logan can’t stop ripping off Timber Wolf.

    That’s just wrong. The Death intro was cool. Hey if Animal Metarule Vegetable Man can appear on the show. Sure why can’t the Brother Hood of evil. Oy Punch and Judy as a suburb couple LOL. I now want to see them move next to Mr. Miracle And Big Barda.

    1. Oh boy, Liz Anne, with your Barda/Scott/Jewelee/Punch idea you have just created the best Nineties mini-series we never saw. The Kesels could have written it to ensure the marriage dynamics worked, Mike Parobeck just because… And everyone gets interdimensional imps!

      The most recent DC ‘supers in suburbia’ series was Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham recent Secret Six series. It’s superb, worth reading for more than just Ralph and Sue, Shag.

  9. I’m afraid I’m going to let y’all down this month, gentlemen. I’m not sure I’ve got much controversial to say about this installment. Truthfully, this issue was my favorite of the loose-leaf version, with seemingly all of my favorite entries coming from this one issue. A couple of highlights:

    1. Ares- You have a better eye than I do, because I had always assumed that the front issue was Perez. Ms. Martin’s pencils are quite an extraordinary facsimile.

    2. Butcher- For whatever reason, I avidly collected the Butcher series at the time and remember enjoying it. I like the front image, but the back matter is rough.

    3. Captain Comet- Adam Blake is one of those characters that I have always been sentimental towards despite not having read many of his adventures. One of my eternal frustrations is that the announced Captain Comet Archives book was never published (https://www.amazon.com/Captain-Comet-Archives-Vol/dp/1401241085). I love this Murphy Anderson art and feel it is tonally perfect for the character. I wish more of these classic heroes (and artists) had been included in the loose-leaf volume.

    4. Death- Yeah, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone upset by the gag that is this entry. It seems like an opinion I should hold, but the bit seems in keeping with the character and, honestly, after 1500 Who’s Who entries, it’s kind of nice to have one you can read through quickly.

    5. Kent Shakespeare- I never thought I’d actually have to admit it, but Shag made a 5YL character sound interesting. I might have to check the run out if just for this guy (especially if it is available on The DC Universe app).

    6. Punch and Jewelee- Every positive feeling I have ever had about the loose-leaf edition of Who’s Who is wrapped up in this single entry. Maybe this is controversial, but I think that this is the very best image in the entire latter run of the title, and I felt that way before Shag pointed out Aquaman being eaten by a shark!

    7. Raven- Okay, time to get back to being old Phylemon. If Jericho did not exist, Raven would be my all-time favorite Titan and your dislike of her is absolutely mystifying to me. As was mentioned, her power set is unique and, even if her personality is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is something different from the two established personalities women are allowed to have in comics (1. Super-serious, hyper-aggressive bad ass or 2. Flirty, brainless bombshell). She is one of the few introverted female heroes and is often the emotional heart of the Titans team.

    8. Although they didn’t separate comments, I also really liked the art on the Flaw and Child, Phantom Stranger, and Yuga Khan! entries. Again, this issue was the strongest we have seen in the loose-leaf format, particularly from an artistic style standpoint.

    9. Apropos of nothing, I am with Shag in being really jazzed about the additions to the DC Universe app. I prepurchased my membership at the annual rate because I am a giant DC Comics nerd and wanted to support it no matter how lackluster it might be, but the addition to their comics’ collection has made it an inarguable value. Being able to have yet another place where I can connect with my Fire and Water podcast family was an unexpected but welcome surprise. Perhaps Shag should start a roll call post in the community section there where we can gather and figure who all has taken the plunge. If you aren’t one of them yet, I think you should give it a second look.

    10. (Just because 10 comments is better than nine). I have tried multiple times to make an iTunes review and have ever been able to get it to post. I am sure it is user error, but for the sake of my Who’s Who collection, I will give it another try.

    1. Wow, was spellcheck not my friend:

      8. Although they didn’t “deserve” separate comments.

      10. I have tried multiple times to make an iTunes review and have “never” been able to get it to post.

  10. Oh man, the mere mention of the names Flaw, Barter, and Child brings me back to the Secret Origin of Hawk & Dove and activates my gag reflex. I love Paul Hix and Doctor Anj, but how they derive any enjoyment out of those characters/concepts eludes me.

    This is me serving as Substitute Buzzkill.

  11. Awesome show as always! This issue was indeed filled to bursting with great art, but I’d have to agree with Shag that the Punch & Jewelee entry stands out just that little bit more, with the “Saturday Evening Post” design combined with some truly charming illustration work. I also side with Shag on that Spectre piece: it looks like Wagner banged that out over lunch break. Now, before Shag stops payment on those checks, I must mention that I am one of the truly lucky few to own a physical copy of “Xum’s Who Volume 1!” There simply aren’t enough accolades that can assigned to this book! It definitely belongs in everyone’s longboxes right alongside their original series collection! I’ve read through it twice already, and it is a truly impressive and entertaining accomplishment!
    P.S. I am so psyched for next issue! 5YL Forever!

  12. A few comments.

    Sorry Rob, I agree with Shag on that Spectre image. I love Matt Wagner too, but the Spectre looks too scrawny here, and not all powerful.

    I really like the Raven image. I do agree her comic character was kind of “blah”, although apparently she was Wolfman’s favorite of the Titans he and Perez created. And yes, Perez distinctively sought to give each of the Titans distinctive bodies and faces, if not at the very beginning of Titans, then at least early on in his run. In fact, his development of Raven’s face was made a plot point about how Trigon’s influence was growing and her face was getting leaner, more sunken in and even demonic. Another odd point…Raven’s got some REALLY shapely legs here, for being a less-chesty gal. Oddly enough, the Teen Titans Go! series did a whole episode on how Raven’s legs could mesmerize anyone!

    That John Stewart entry is a bit weak. I find Bright a competent artist, but he’s never been a favorite of mine, honestly. But John wasn’t yet “John Stewart, Bad-Ass Green Lantern” so…

    I like the Kent Shakespeare entry, but MY GOD how many Superman analogs did they need, Post-Crisis? Pocket Superboy. Mon-El. Mon-El as M’onel or Valor or whatever. This guy. Pick a lane people!

    Shag often has insane comic theories that are his and his alone, but the idea of DC “chasing” Harley Quinn for decades is downright profound. From Alan Scott’s foe/love interest/wife to Duela Dent, to Jewelee here, to Punch on the Flash TV show… there was along and winding road to the omnipresent and now annoyingly overexposed Miss Quinn.

    As soon as Momoa was cast as Aquaman, I said he’d been a better Lobo. He proved me wrong in his solo film, but he still LOOKS the part of Lobo. I liked Lobo okay…as long as he wasn’t interacting TOO much with the regular DCU. Superman putting up with this guy is just too hard to swallow. The animated series handled the character well, because they couldn’t go as twisted and dark with him, yet the DCAU heroes still couldn’t really abide him either. Brad Garret was indeed great in the role!

    Great show as always fellas. Who’s Who makes Mondays back at work bearable!

    Chris

    1. Raven’s leggy alter ego, Lady Legasus, actually appears in three episodes of Teen Titans Go!, and that’s also one of the first things I thought of when I saw her entry in the image gallery. That’s probably due to the fact that we watch a lot of Teen Titans Go! in the Linton household, which, in turn, is due to my daughter’s love for Raven. I’m actually sad to learn that this character doesn’t hold up as well in the comic books as she does in other media.

      Now that I think of it, I hope my daughter doesn’t like Raven for her snarky personality, because that would not bode well for her fast approaching teenage years.

  13. I think the Who’s Who issues y’all are covering came out while I was in college and had to give up comics due to finances, or lack there-of. I appreciate the sharing of the Scarface entry, since I haven’t gotten to see it, and I love the Grant/Breyfogle Batman run. I hated that I was missing a lot of it when it first came out.

    That said, the real reason I’m commenting is how dare Rob mention the absolutely awesome oeuvre of the late, great Andy Sidaris right after he puts Film and Water on hold. Rob, you’ve got to know that every guy who was a teenager in the 80s loved those films and you should have covered them. As the great Andy himself once said, “If you don’t like pretty girls and explosions, then you’re just a communist.” I spent $5 for a set of 12 movies, 10 directed by Andy and 2 by his much less talented son, and I’ll bet Abraham Lincoln was never as proud as when his likeness was used to purchase such fine entertainment.

    As for the Tweed sisters vs. Sybil Danning, I’ve always considered myself to be a Laura Gemser man.

  14. Count me as one of those guys who listened to the podcast during a latenight commute and can’t remember all the profound things he wanted to say about stuff.

    Yes, I love Flaw and Child. But most things Amethyst will be beloved by me.
    Yes, I will cover the Creeper B&B story Rob.

    I love the 5YL Legion and of all the things comic-related I have done in social media, I consider my reviews of the first 50 issues of that series as my crowning achievement. Therefor, I love Kent Shakespeare. We didn’t meet him until issue #13. But the Glorith-verse reboot set the stage for a Superboy and Supergirl (Laurel Gand) analog. As for Furball, I think he had some semblence of intelligence in that form, just nothing he could necessarily convey – consider him like the early mute monstrous Swamp Thing. We saw him as a creature working with Ultra Boy for issues before he was revealed as Brin. Great stuff.

    I love the Punch and Jewlee page as well. Just great stuff there.

    I will admit I never really understood what the big whup was about Sandman. I was guilted into buying the last couple of years by people who called me stupid for not reading it and liking it. I say this as a prelude to being one of those guys who felt let down by the “you’ll meet her some day’ text. Here I was thinking to myself that maybe I would read her history and be inspired to read and liked Sandman … nope.

    Definitely Shannon Tweed. Definitely.

    1. Look for Canon Tweed: The Films of Shannon and Tracy Tweed podcast coming soon! Hosted by Shag (After Dark)

    2. Anj,

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that didn’t really get on board with the Sandman craze. Even this many years later, I’m skeptical to try it out.

      I’ll agree with you on Shannon Tweed, too.

      1. I’d suggest Anj reads Sandman from its beginnings in the DCU through Dream Country and then packs in because it started to pander too much to all those sad goth posers who sent poems into the lettercol. If nothing else, Anj, read the Dream Country issue’s, 17-20, on the DC app – four clever, touching, creepy one-offs that will likely appeal to a short-story guy.

  15. So, Raven. I like Raven as a character. But she does have some problems, and most of her problems are Trigon.

    See, Trigon is a world-beating menace. First story he chumps the entire JLA, an A-list version, between panels. Now, the daughter of a cosmic-level threat, that’s a great character hook. That’s Gamora. But Trigon can’t hold up to Thanks, even if he’s similarly powerful. Trigon is forever relegated to his own private hell dimension and is entirely absent from the DCU unless he’s about to destroy it. Later on, they link Trigon to the Brother Blood cult, a good idea for keeping him present even when absent, but he should be a power. Darkseid and Brainiac and Sinesteo should have to take him into account in their plans. Having Trigon an external factor would give Raven more to do. Also, writers should embrace her morally ambiguous, manipulative side rather than writer her as a wallflower.

    The Titans accumulated far too many secondary realms that only matter to one of the characters, between Azarath, Vega, the Space Titans planet, and the Armageddon 2001 future. At least the X-Men found ways to solidly link multiple members to their space and fantasy vacation spots…

  16. Hero Hotline rules. I want to be friends with Alex Bowman!
    I am a sucker for Captain Comet because of my fondness for Secret Society of Super Villains, but I am the first to admit that nothing interesting was done with him. They tried to explore the “man out of time” aspect in SSOV, but he essentially had no secret identity. Never did find out what was in his holster (that Murphy didn’t draw.)
    Phylemon and Jeff R. make some very good points about Raven. As someone who was in on the preview ground floor for the New Teen Titans, and stuck with it for the first five or so years, I want to add this. Raven was the initial catalyst for the formation of the group. She was a manipulator and and untrustworthy. Then she earned the trust of the other Titans. Then Marv Wolfman hit the “repeat as necessary” button. Like Captain Comet, there was no other dimension to her character. She was just Raven. Or evil Raven. Thinking on it now, as I write this, that makes her initial manipulative, scheming, personality more intriguing. (Batman has often been written that way.) Her power is unique and cool, and that could have been utilized more.
    Lastly, the Phantom Stranger. I didn’t know that Rob was an expert! I’ve always like the Stranger, and I prefer the Aparo “no eyes” version. I know he’s almost always drawn with the white eyes visible in the shadow under his hat brim, but I like it when it’s just shadow. Although I do love the visible white eyes when he is drawn as a silhouette.
    Anything touched by Xum is magnificent!

  17. Captain Comet’s function in LEGION was mostly to open his mouth in shock at all the bad things Vril Dox did. I wasn’t a big fan of having him in there. Strata, on the other hand, was the team sweetheart, she and Garv were great together, and you talked about different female silhouettes, I think her atypical look was a great idea and very body positive. On a genre basis, why do all female aliens tend to have the same shape as humans even when they aren’t mammals?!

    Who secretly ran Hero Hotline was never revealed in the comics, but Bob Rozakis has identified him as “Tex” Thomson, the former Golden Age hero known as Mr. America/The Americommando. As I said above, I loved this series and I think it’s still quite fun. They should reprint it along with the Action Comics Weekly stuff. Maybe if they ever do a TV series or something.

  18. The Kupperberg Connection? I was thinking it was more along the lines of the Osterman Weekend or the French and Chinese Connection. But no, my brother Robert references The Dallas Connection, one of Andy Sidaris’ final films.

    I look forward to covering the Sidaris library on the upcoming Film and Water mini-series Julie in July: A look at the films of Julie K Smith (my favorite) and Julie Strain!

    That follows March in March: A look at Color Night scene-by-scene hosted the Brothers Daly!

  19. Hi Guys. I really enjoyed the podcast as usual.

    I hope you all have a great time at the Boston Fan Expo. I’m a recent convert to conventions and I really enjoy getting to meet comics people and pick up more comics (I love cheap comics). I’m currently getting over-excited about the Portsmouth Comicon which is in a couple of weeks. I’m going to be there all weekend with my wonderfully patient husband. If any of the UK based Fire and Water fans are going to be at the convention let me know. It would be really fun to chat with another Who’s Who fan. It would almost make up for the fact that JM DeMatteis had to cancel his appearance. Anyway, onto the issue.

    Ares
    I am probably one of Cynthia Martin’s biggest fans but this is not her best work. I presume she was chosen for this because of War of the Gods which she was meant to be doing finished art for. The problem with the George Perez design for Ares is that it only really works when George Perez draws it. I think that’s why it comes off as Perezy. A couple of episodes ago I shared a little nugget from a Perez interview in the UK magazine Fantasia and my favourite bit from that interview is when he says Cynthia Martin left War of the Gods because she got bored of waiting for pages and decided to join the army. I don’t know if this is true but I choose to believe it. I just imagine her phoning the editors saying “you call that a war” and cocking a machine gun.

    Black Thorn
    I discovered the Kupperberg Vigilante series when I was reading Action Comics Weekly and went looking for more work by Rick Burchett. He only inked Vigilante but when I picked up a few issues I got into the story and started picking up more. Because of this Black Thorn was the first comic character whose tits I saw. Also, some of us like magenta (the colour not the character, I’m not insane).

    M. Mallah & The Brain
    You’re right. This in no way matches the magnificence of the Sienkiewicz version. I cannot understand how anyone could’ve decided to include these 2 and not use the image of Mallah pushing The Brain in a pram that was so central to their then recent appearance. This should be drawn by Simon Bisley. We know they had his number.

    Butcher
    Shea Anton Pensa is one of those artists who I genuinely thought everyone knew. I first saw him on a fill in issue of Punisher but the two projects of his that really stood out were the issue of Green Arrow he inked over Denys Cowan and the issue of Sandman he did with the necropolis which was inked by Vince Locke. That issue of Green Arrow blew me away. Partly because of the subject matter (it’s the issue where Ollie shouts at George Bush) which seemed really edgy at the time, but mainly because Shea did the best inking I’ve ever seen over Denys Cowan . I did buy the Brave and the Bold series which he also drew which was mainly notable for being co-written by Mike Baron and Mike Grell and managing to showcase the worst elements of both writers.

    Byth
    I love Graham Nolan’s layouts here. He makes Byth look really menacing more through the perspective than anything else. Something tells me he didn’t get c minuses from Joe Kubert. It’s interesting to hear that everyone felt the Byth storyline in Hawkworld dragged. I never felt that. It had to take a long time to catch him in order for the Hawks to develop a life on earth. If they caught him in four issues they would’ve just gone home and I wouldn’t still be mourning Jonesy.

    Captain Comet
    I loved his characterisation in LEGION. There needed to be a team member who was unwilling to overlook Dox’s behaviour. He was also pretty hot when drawn by Barry Kitson (actually Kevin Maguire and Karl Kesel drew him sexily on the covers too, but in a different way, no-one could confuse them). Murphy Anderson did not do enough work on this iteration of Who’s Who but this is great and I love the logo.

    Death
    Perfect. I always like when they play with the form. If every entry was written in the same style it would deny the true diversity of the DC Universe.

    Durlans
    I usually defend Joe Staton vociferously after all I am the guy with a soft spot for Millennium, but not this time. I can only imagine that another artist let them down and Joe drew this in half an hour.

    Flaw and Child
    I only knew these characters from Hawk and Dove and I presumed they were created for that series. They fitted in perfectly with the Druspa Tau issues. This entry is where I discovered they were pre-existing characters. Guler does a very dynamic layout on the main image which clearly indicates that Child is the lead.

    Furball
    5YL Legion is my favourite Legion so obviously I loved this. Brin’s storyline in the book was a slow burn subplot for the first couple of years. He then got shunted to the side waiting for the launch of his solo series which as you say never really worked. I’m definitely of the attitude that the best Legion stories happen in the far future and they shouldn’t be brought into the present.

    Green Lantern : John Stewart
    Obviously it was good that Hal, Guy and John were billed as GL but noticeably John is the only one who didn’t get a cover. This entry doesn’t even begin to reflect how great John is but I suppose that is consistent with the current continuity. The image is not Bright’s best but is let down by the colouring which is dull. He does get a better entry in the update to go with the Mosaic series so we have something to look forward to.

    Hero Hotline
    I never knew Sven DeCarlo was a pseudonym. Well spotted guys. I’d probably have worked it out if he’d gone for Carl DeCarlo. I’ve only read the Action Comics Weekly serial but it was really enjoyable and surprisingly adult for a cartoony series.

    Kent Shakespeare
    Always felt he was one of the missed opportunities of 5YL. He was barely used but could’ve been a whole lot of fun. Interesting that there is a gap for created by information but nothing in there. Generally they didn’t leave a gap if they weren’t going to credit the creators. The Legion letter page credited Al Gordon as his creator so I can’t see why they didn’t list him.

    Lobo
    Simon Bisley was born to draw Lobo. I’m intrigued by the background characters. The guy in the Batman t-shirt looks like how Bisley caricatures himself so I’d guess the others are his friends. Does anyone know?

    Nuklon
    Now that you’ve pointed out the background I’m unable to unsee the contradictory perspective. This has been my favourite Wozniak page for years and you’ve ruined it. I hope you’re proud. This episode there was a lot of talk about dull, typeset logos so I wanted to draw attention to how cool the Nuklon logo is. Todd Klein was definitely channelling Gaspar on this one.

    Phantom Stranger
    I hated this page in 1991 and I have no idea why. It’s beautiful. It combines the best elements of Dwyer and Freeman with a little bit of Aparoness thrown in. I tell you, 16 year old Damien was a strange boy. Actually 44 year old Damien is still pretty weird.

    Punch and Jewelee
    Amazing piece. I could spend hours looking at the toys. I’m a particular fan of the headless Gumby who has been stabbed with a fork but shark-eaten Aquaman is also a delight.

    Raven
    She is nobody’s favourite Titan. Well maybe Marv Wolfman. But what a striking design by Perez beautifully rendered by Tom Grummett.

    Society of Sin
    There’s something amusing about the way that teams are frozen by Who’s Who entries so that recent additions are given equal billing to the mainstays. I genuinely think Trinity never reappeared but here she is an equal to General Immortus. Love it.

    Spectre
    Matt Wagner did some amazing Who’s Who entries but this I’d definitely his worst. It’s not bad, but compare it to Granny Goodness or Copperhead and it is second rate. I feel like he is homaging Bernard Bailey’s simplicity but I want to see the over the top Spectre of Neal Adams, Jim Aparo and Tom Mandrake. Am I wrong or is it mentioned that Ostrander and Mandrake are working on a Spectre proposal in the letter column of Firestorm 100 which is well before this issue. I wonder why it took so long to get it going?

    Strata
    Strata and Garv were my favourite LEGION characters. Their romance was so touching and there was something beautiful about a big, burly fighter being super girly. Bill Wray does a great Kirbyesque front page and I love the expression she has in her close up. Shag was right about Wray working as a colourist. He coloured part of the History of the DC Universe, the underrated Haywire series and a couple of issues of X-Men and New Mutants around the Fall of the Mutants but his biggest work at the point of this issue was on the Ambush Big Nothing Special (love that title) which was edited by Michael Eury.

    Turtle
    That is not Barry Allen in the second panel but Wally West from the story by Bill Messner-Loebs where Turtle and Turtle Man team up to kidnap Wally and he is rescued by his supporting cast. It’s a great story and a great entry. Mike Parobeck was taken from the World far too soon.

    Ventriloquist
    As you mentioned this should be listed as Scarface not Ventriloquist and the entry should maintain the mystery of who is in control. Breyfogle is on great form as always. It’s great to see a story being told over the two sides of the page with Scarface in control on the front page and Batman having smashed into the club in the back page. Another genius gone too soon.

    Yuga Khan
    I actually picked up the New Gods series because of the house ad of a beaten Darkseid which announced the Yuga Khan storyline and it didn’t live up to the ad. Similarly this entry is better than the story. I was desperate to love the New Gods, they were really cool in JLI but not so much in their own book.

    Very much looking forward to the Legion spotlight next time, mainly because my feedback will be almost entirely positive. 5YL Legion, Black Canary, Firehawk and Kilowog are some of my favourite characters and then there’s that amazing Marc Hempel drawn Vicki Vale which is probably my favourite non-JKS3 entry.

  20. Another great podcast. I’m impressed with myself, that I’m getting comments in before they’ve reached 50 in number. Already near 40 comments and the podcast isn’t even a week old.

    This episode made me question where I was in my comic collecting. I feel like there are less and less characters that I’m familiar with, and less entires I remember. But I did collect everything Who’s Who, so I’m sure it’s just the old mind of mine.

    Just a couple of comments this time around:

    – I love when Rob gets overly enthusiastic, like he did this month with Captain Comet. There was just such authentic joy in his voice when talking about him. It was fun to listen to.

    – Nuklon. I agree with you about the Infinity Inc members and the book. Together they were great, but individually…ummm…yeah.

    – It was interesting to hear the comments about Nuklon/Infinity Inc and Lobo. I guess the best way to sum it up is that, when comparing them, one of them is VERY indicative of the 80’s, and one is very indicative of the 90’s.

  21. Thrust (Lobo’s son from the Timber Wolf mini) wasn’t the only crappy skateboard related Legion character. Jamm, from the Bloodlines crossover, was involved in Brin returning to the 30th century.

    Hero Hotline was one of the first DC books to be colored on computer

    Kent Shakespeare’s origin also references the Dick Van Dyke Show.

    Society of Sin: I think Byrne did the Secret Origins issue for the Doom Patrol.

    Strata: Right after this, Bill Wray went to work on Ren & Stimpy.

    Ventriloquist: Does he look like Dilbert to anyone else?

  22. As a fellow professional librarian, Captain Comet could run a space Birds of Prey. You can have that for free, DC! There was a New 52 sort-of Captain Comet in Supergirl. Dull.

    That John Stewart entry showcases the hideous costume he was wearing back then – the green trunks connected to the midriff ‘tower’ reminds me of a Mike Grell LSH costume. It’s space lingerie, basically. I’m OK with the logo, it’s from the time he was created.

    I’m impressed by Black Thorn’s package. Go on, unsee that!

    Byth’s monster hand is so stupid. He looks like a really useless puppeteer. I bet Scarface could take him.

    Kent Shakespeare wins hottest entry of the issue, but Phantom Stranger is my favourite. As you say, that background isn’t a surprint, but the blue and white echoing his outfit is clever.

    Kent could be from the Midwest AND Metropolis – remember, Adventure #247 located Smallville in the greatly expanded Metropolis conurbation.

    That SEP-style Punch and Jewelee entry is so clever, Karl Kesel is a master.

    Love Raven and her Farts of Doom.

    That Spectre entry is awful, I’d not be surprised to find out Matt Wagner had a kid do it. It’s like when Kelley Jones does Deadman all gnarly, it’s too off model.

    I’m with Jeff, we should see more of Hero Hotline. Probably they were bought out by Firestorm’s best-ever team, the Power Company.

    Flaw and Child were great. I like creepy kids. I’d love to see Klarion beat up Child, with his Little Lord Fauntleroy girlie-hair

    Surely the real reason the Brotherhood of Evil changed their name was the Brotherhood of Evil mutants?

    The Quisp entry is amazing, brilliant work Xum

    As regards not remembering what you want to comment on, I listen on my phone and use the Notes app to immediately scrawl something… surely everyone has an equivalent? A pen behind the ear at all times would do it.

    Anyway, terrific show, come back soon with all that Five Year Gap goodness.

  23. A) I’ve always liked Cynthia Martin, I’d be surprised in Perez wasn’t an uncredited inker related to his finishes on War of the Gods, and I think Ares is one of the few Perez designs that holds up under other artists.

    B) Of all the woman characters to not get fridged, Black Thorn? Early Barry Kitson did a decent job on costume jewelry Nightshade.

    C) I randomly bought the first issue of the 1991 The Brave and The Bold and it was not at all to my taste, so no further investigation of The Butcher. I’m always curious about these creator-owned characters that get incorporated into the DC Universe, and wonder how his later appearances in the New 52 worked. The last time I heard of Shea Anton Pensa was his aborted Power Company project with Larry Stroman’s ill-fated Axis comics.

    D) I have an unreasonable fondness toward Captain Comet unsupported by the comics I’ve read, including his modest role in L.E.G.I.O.N. and a handful of Silver Age stories. Another dude whose flavor and potential far outstrip his presentation. Love the profile page. If I ever resurrect DC Bloodlines, a second episode on him would be a priority.

    E) Mark me in the pro-Death entry camp. I was into her until the mini-series left me cool, but her introductory story in The Sandman was swell. I couldn’t make it past the American Gods pilot, but I’d commit to a season of Sandman.

    F) I respect that Furball was an attempt to make Timber Wolf more distinct, but he’d have probably been better off leaning into the Wolverine similarities instead.

  24. My DC RPG books are long gone, but if I remember right (and probably not), Timber Wolf’s Strength was 34. Topped only by Blok (35), Wildfire (35), Ultra Boy (44), and Mon-El (46). Hmmm, I’m drawing a complete blank Superboy’s or Supergirl’s strength stats. Odd.

    The feedback discussion on Parasite raised a thought for me. If John Byrne had decided that Superman’s powers couldn’t be drained by anyone like Parasite, that didn’t last long after he left the book, since that was a major point in Starman #14. In that story, Starman is the one Parasite can’t drain, and Supes stayed well out of range for the fight. And I believe Parasite still hadn’t changed back to purple yet in that story. Ah, delightfully straightforward DC history.

  25. Re: episode #7 (Yes, I’m one behind. Episode 8 came out so fast I’m still reeling) – Does Shag keep saying “Ilya” instead of “Ayla”? I think Rob’s distaste for the Legion is affecting him subliminally.

    1. To me it always sounds like he’s adding an extra ‘i’ so ‘Ayla’ comes out rhyming not with ‘paler’ but ‘dahlia’. I have berated him severely, did no good! Bless.

  26. G) I’ve said before but shall repeat, John Stewart is the finest Green Lantern Corpsman, bar none, and every moment Hal Jordan is on a stage where Stewart isn’t makes me hate and resent him all the more. Grant Morrison can suck on both my middle fingers for using his star power and the talent of Liam Sharpe on “THE Green Lantern” series. The 1990s relaunch wisely recognized that Hal couldn’t carry a series on his own, and turned it into a quasi-team book with rotating art teams. As the black guy in that circle, Mark Bright was assigned to the Stewart stories, though thankfully after Broderick left someone wisely pointed out that he was a better fit on Boredan. While Bright is admittedly a journeyman active in the time of EXTREME art, with age I’ve come to respect the hell out of his clear storytelling and character “personality” that served him well on comedies like Quantum & Woody. Still, when Mosaic allowed Stewart to really play in avant-garde alien weirdness, it was best we got people like Cully Hamner who were more on the wavelength.

    H) Good comedy is so rare in comics, and Hero Hotline never even mustered the same fan enthusiasm as an Inferior Five, so I’m fairly confident it’s not for me. Kant Shakespeare.

    I) When I was particularly vexed by DC’s unwillingness to let anyone in any way be truly comparable to Superman in power level back in the ’90s, I thoroughly appreciated Lobo as a rare, vicious spoiler. I also came in with Lobo’s Back and the Paramilitary Special, two of the only actually funny, legitimately satirical ‘Bo books. He was also fun in L.E.G.I.O.N.. As Alan Grant began to take custody away from Keith Giffen during his run as de facto co-star in The Demon and endless minis/specials, The Main Man became the vile swaggering gross-out meathead he was meant to parody. To me, the transition of art from Simon Bisley to Val Semeiks really says it all about the arc of this character from something rude and dangerous to spoiled cheese. I’d still argue that Jason Momoa was playing a general audience friendly Lobo.

    1) They’re not really my type (Winona Forever) but if I had to choose between the Tweed sisters, I’d pick Shannon Whirry. I’m also with Gothosmansion in worshiping Laura Gemser as the unheralded goddess of exploitation cinema.

    J) I liked Nuklon as Obsidion’s oblivious hetero-bro and as one of the rare Jewish super-heroes, but he was Outsiders’ flavor Colossus until Geoff Johns tragified him, as he is compelled to do by some depressingly irresistible pathology. He started wearing the Golden Age Atom mask because Johns gave him Jared Leto Juggalo facial tats that read “Cannon Fodder.”

    K) Not sure the Dwyer/Freeman combo works, and I’ve never fully embraced the Phantom Stranger beyond nostalgia for some early comics purchases. Punch & Jewelee seem like a gas.

    L) I dig that Raven had Indian features and her look/body type are appealing to me, but I agree that she always came across as more of a repetitive story device than a realized character. It didn’t seem like Wolfman knew what to do with her after resolving the Trigon threat. She had a strong arc involving a romance with a murderous energy vampire early in Tom Grummet’s all-time great Titans run. I actually got into Sapphic demonic Raven before I realized the start of that arc was also the end of Wolfman’s ability to write Titans without the guidance of departing editor Jonathan Peterson (who either temporarily “cured” his writer’s block or ghost-plotted the issues he edited.)

    2) Anj, I caught some of the buzz on Sandman and started reading with the last issue of the “Season of Mists” arc. After a few “Distant Mirrors” done-in-ones, I was sold and collected it going forward and backward. Gaiman exploded and reconfigured what I thought comics could be, and my love was true. It’s a shame the series only lasted 40 issues and a few later specials. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise. Also, skip “Preludes & Nocturnes” and go directly to “The Doll’s House.” What? Say somethin’?

    M) Society of Sin is a wicked name for a villain team at a company that doesn’t already have a Justice Society and Secret Society. You only get two Societies per universe, one per alignment. I don’t make the rules. The Spectre entry looks like a thumbnail for a better drawing, but it’s decent. Always appreciated the gender-defying Strata (but Garv, not so much. Turtle definitely fits the concept visually far better than Turtle Man. Ventriloquist & Scarface was peachy on the cartoon but I don’t care about his comics. I’ve always been intrigued by Yuga Khan except for the part where I’d have to read ’80s New Gods comics.

  27. If you find it hard to imagine Darkseid having a father, try picturing him with a brother, one summoned when the Forever People activate their Mother Box and say “TARRU!” Yes, the Infinity Man is another son of Yuga Khan and Heggra, appointed by a previous Infinity Man, as I saw in a New Gods TPB I picked up at Ollie’s.

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