Who’s Who in the DC Universe #13

It’s the terrifying thirteenth issue of WHO’S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE featuring Captain Cold, Catman, Eclipso, The Joker, Kobra, Lex Luthor, Ra’s Al Ghul,  Starro the Conqueror, and more! Plus Listener Feedback!

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53 responses to “Who’s Who in the DC Universe #13

  1. Whoever was in charge of the logo/typeface/fonts for the entries in this issue should have been fired–

    –out of a cannon into the sun.

  2. Hey Guys Great episode as always.

    I think the Captain Cold and Heat Wave Bromance was first hinted at in an issue of Justice League America. (They were sitting over coffee and decided to pull an old-fashioned Bank Heist but they get nabbed by Fire and Ice).

    This was actually my Introduction to Kobra. My initial reaction to him was…How is DC not getting sued for stealing G.I. Joe’s bad guy?!? (It didn’t help that he was dressed kinda/sorta like Serpentor in the entry.)

    The second Mirror Master has been gender swapped for the latest season of the Flash. Instead of being Evan McCulloch, her name is Eva McCulloch and I guess Cisco would name her Mirror Mistress

    The Reverse Flash wasn’t on my radar just yet because he had no part of the 1990 series. However, I noticed that his lightning emblem went in the same direction as Barry’s (I had always assumed that it would actually point in the opposite direction (As it often does today.) But That particular detail wouldn’t become a standard feature on Reverse Flash’s Uniform until Geoff Johns created the Second Generation Reverse Flash ZOOM II (Hunter Zolomon) Eobard Thawne wouldn’t adopt the detail until after he was resurrected in Blackest Night.

    Looking forward to the next episode.

  3. A few quick comments.

    Ryan is right, the logos are very pedestrian on this issue.

    Female Furies
    You accidentally mentioned Jack Fury. Oddly this was a pseudonym used in the 80s by Marvel for jam comics kind of like a newer Crusty Bunkers. The credit first appeared on Spider-Man issues for inking and colouring.

    Metallo
    You mentioned this being the John Byrne design. It’s actually a redesign by George Perez from the Brainiac Trilogy he did in Action Comics.

    Mirror Master
    He looks like Captain Boomerang because he is. Read Suicide Squad 20. It’s got a great Karl Kesel cover. He was using the MM identity to continue stealing without violating his SS deal.

    Mr Mxyzptlk
    You mentioned he was played by Michael Pollard on Superboy but missed that he’s wearing a “Michael Pollard Fan Club” badge.

    Anyway I’m sure I’ll have more to say when I get back to listening.

    Happy Easter.

    1. A few more thoughts. You’re not getting the usual essay from me as the lockdown seems to have destroyed my ability to concentrate.

      Is it possible that the reason poor dead Aquababy wasn’t reset with the crisis is because Paul Levitz shepherded that story as editor of the Michelinie run. If the Vice President of DC wants you dead, you stay dead.

      Talking of which. I really laughed that both of my dead baby jokes got into the feedback section. Although I was slightly disturbed by Rob’s inability to pronounce Cheshire. When lockdown is over we’ll have to crowdfund a trip for Rob and Kelly to visit Northern England and learn how to pronounce it. Although we should probably leave Knutsford off the itinerary. Deal with one pronunciation at a time.

      Sugar and Spike
      I have an almost pathological love for Sugar and Spike. Xum really excelled himself in writing, design and art. He really conveyed the joy and charm of Mayer’s work. Outstanding.

      1. Damien, here’s a running list of what Rob can’t pronounce correctly:
        Han (as in Han Solo)
        Cheshire
        Saga
        Classic
        Thank you (actually, he refuses to say this)

          1. I’m from Essex, most of the UK is North for me. Even with my 4 years in Leeds and 7 years in Manchester I still consider anything higher than Milton Keynes to be the North.

  4. Back in 1992, while Mayfair was revamping their DC Heroes RPG, they released 3 Who’s Who supplements. The interesting thing about them is that they tied into the losseleaf Who’s Who, with the latter serving as the history of the characters and the RPG one covering the game stats. However, a few entries did have brief updates (for example, Cyborg). The supplements were organized by the issue of the looseleaf, with #1 covering #s 1-4, #2 covering #s 5-8, and #s 9-13. Looking forwards to the next episode.

    (And my nickname comes from the Marvel character Sapper http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/sapper.htm whose real name is partially based off of me.)

  5. Wow, were my ears RINGING during the recording of this episode. I think Shag and Rob are missing the point when I encourage them to do more of these shows. I do so because they’re wonderful and they bring out the best in our hosts. True, I call the other shows on Sundays “Who Cares?” and “What the hell is this?”, but it’s done so out of pure love. Pure. Love.

    A few notes:
    Agreed, the font choices in this issue are questionable. The Arkham piece is marred. MARRED I say.

    I’m not a fan of the themed issues, so this one falls a little flat on me. That said, there are so beautiful visual entries in here, all of them touched on by you guys.

    Also, Stella and Rob are under the impression I still have anything to do with the Kitana Banana. As I’ve said numerous times, I can’t legally get into the details, but I sold it off to pay off the numerous lawsuits and HR violations brought on by your host Shag Matthews. He often thought that “Harassment training” was just that, learning new ways to make the workplace uncomfortable to employees. Referring to the female employees as “kitten”, asking for “back and front rubs,” and “Shirts and skins Fridays” were what sunk the franchise.

  6. Still listening.

    Screw you Shag.

    Oh, and Murphy Anderson co-created Psycho Pirate II in Showcase #52, a Dr. Fate/Hourman team-up.

    And BTAS pronounced it “RAYSH” Al Ghoul, and Denny O’Neil wrote the episode that introduced him, and that’s how he says you pronounce it, so that’s what I say.

    Chris

    1. Me, too. Denny should know!

      Now, what it actually sounds like when I say it with my Jethro Bodine accent…that’s another matter.

    2. Regarding the pronunciation of Mr. al-Ghul’s name, the fact that “RAYSH” can’t be explained from the letters in the name is sufficient reason for me to go with it. If it wasn’t the intentional pronunciation, who’d make a pronunciation like that up?

  7. Huzzah for the return of the Who’s Who Podcast! Now…for some comments!
    1) Arkham Asylum: Did anyone mention that Two-Face appears to be checking the result of his latest coin-flip?
    2) Blackfire: this entry makes me wish that Art Adams did more DC work!
    3) Batcave: Norm Freaking Breyfogle! Also, in an issue filled with disappointing logo work, I actually like this one, as it reminds of those scene-setting shots in movies where the name of the location gets “typed” across the screen.
    4) Cat-Man: Yes, I am definitely a cat-person (someone who likes cat, not someone who is part cat and part human), but this is easily my favorite piece of art in this issue.
    5) Kobra: I’m not sure exactly what issues I read in the mid-70s, but when I was a kid, I thought that Kobra was going to be a much bigger deal than he turned out to be. Right now, my most vivid memory of him is in his hilarious crossover with Superman and Ambush Bug…
    6) Starro: Other than the shot of Starro itself, I really thought this was Bar Sears piece until Rob pointed out the Flash’s teeth. That’s not weird…is it?
    7) Sugar & Spike: All hail the great and powerful Xum. This part of the multiverse did not deserve him.
    Thanks, Rob & Shagg (it’s alphabetical, so don’t start!)!
    -Max

      1. Also, my power flickered *twice* while I was trying to compose my comment, meaning I had to write bunch of nonsense almost three times over. Stupid wind storm!

  8. Shrapnel: Did you guys catch who Shrapnel is standing on? That’s Peter Parker, Mary Jane, the Punisher (he even has those weird lip scars Larsen gave Frank Castle), and possibly Joe “Robbie” Robertson. The coloring obscures them, but if you knew Larsen’s Amazing Spider-Man run, he’s sneaking Marvel characters into a DC comic.

    Chris

  9. All ribbing aside, great episode guys, and this is a stand-out issue. BUT, as a fellow graphic designer, I do have to agree with Rob: these phoned in “logos” have reached a new low. The Detective Comics letter column was once called “The Batcave” with a neat logo. That could have been used. Arkham Asylum? Use the trade dress from the graphic novel. It’s a disservice to the great art and presentation to have these ugly typefaces marring up this project.

    Chris

  10. I’m fairly sure the bat costume in the batcave is supposed to be the one worn by Thomas Wayne at the masquerade party.

  11. Catman was introduced when Catwoman was in exile…I’m guessing due to the comics code frowning on a hero being attracted to a villain. Maybe DC just had some Cat-themed plots lying around and needed a villain to perpetrate them?

    I have a fondness for Catman, since he was in two of my favorite issues of Len Wein’s awesome but all too brief Batman run. I think the Wein issues with Catman were his first appearances since the 60s and his first encounter with Catwoman proper, Selina Kyle. There was one Detective issue where Batwoman/Kathy Kane pretended to join Catman and took on the identity of Cat-Woman. I don’t know if the hyphen was to differentiate her from Selina, who had been absent for several years at this point.

    Anyway, somebody besides me likes Catman. I had to lay out a nice chunk of change to get his first appearance, so I guess there is a demand for it. I got all of the surrounding issues for much less.

    Since these Who’s Who’s came out while I was in college, I don’t have them, so I appreciate you pointing out that the listing made clear that the Joker was no longer referred to as the clown price of crime. This was about the time he quit being my favorite comic book villain, because the mix of killer, showman and prankster made him such a great villain. All too often now, the Joker could really be replaced by any serial killer…he just has a clown look.

    I was going to make an instocktrades recommendation for Tales of the Batman by Len Wein, but it looks like it is (deservedly) sold out. In addition to the two Catman stories I mentioned, it also reprints Batman 321, my favorite Joker story. I loved the entire Wein run, but these three issues were really stand outs.

  12. Arkham Asylum: I think the parsing of the first appearance here is that when it first appeared, it was just Arkham Hospital and it was Len Wein that made it Arkham Asylum. This is a good example of how many angels give a crap about this stuff on the head of a pin kind of nerd fighting, but there you go.

    Cat-Man: I loved that issue of Detective that Shag mentioned. Really great art and made Cat-Man a serious bad ass.

    Eradicator: I honestly don’t know whether to gush over the character or Rob’s love of The Kids In The Hall. I was (in the voice of a sixties radical talking to someone in the eighties) “there, man” when the device first appeared. Superman didn’t so much find it as it was given to him by the Cleric. The story that had Superman throwing him into the sun was another one of those storylines that made me love this era of Superman. But, I was also into the Kids in the Hall at the time, so every time I read his name I heard Bruce McCulloch yelling it as he ran out of a conference room.

    King Snake: All things being equal, this character was something that would have been right at home in a Jean Claude Van Damme movie from this era. I don’t have a real fondness for him outside of the fact that he was in the first Robin mini-series. The thing that makes me not hate him was that ten or so years ago I discovered an audio drama that Warner Audio produced in the late nineties called LEGENDS OF ROBIN. It was an audio dramatization of A Death in the Family, A Lonely Place of Dying and the first two Robin mini-series. The selling point? Mark Hamill plays the Joker. But, I finally got a physical copy a few months ago and King Snake was voice by John Shea, Lex Luthor on Lois and Clark. So now I love this guy.

    Lex Luthor: Lex “died” in Action Comics #660, which came out in November of 1990. This issue of Who’s Who came out in August of 1991. It was about two or three months later that “Lex Luthor The Second” showed up. So, Rob has a point that this listing has a shelf life, but I think Lex was dead long enough to justify this listing’s existence.

    Metallo: I agree with Shag. Swan was the wrong one for this listing for this era.

    Mr. Mxyzptlk: Michael J Pollard was amazing as this character even if he was frightening to look at.

    Psi-Phon and Dreadnaught: I still love that Dan Jurgens made these characters work. That’s really all I’ve got this time because I remember leaving a comment on the last entry they had. It’s kind of fascinating that this is in the book because it had been well over a year since they had last appeared and it would be about four years before they popped again. But, given that Superman has been treated like the red headed step child of the DC Universe for the last (checks watch) twenty years, I’ll take what I can get.

  13. Impressive podcast. Most impressive. Yeah the Arkham typography is kind of weird. Like they couldn’t decide if they were gonna do this American style typography left to right or Japanese style up and down. The art work looks great, Normally to me A.H. does hot great looking women, but…. his women aren’t to my liking mostly. But, this time he drew them well. Normally his men look like a boy band… sorry, But, his women look great and here his men look great too. Yep Art Adam’s art on Black Fire looks great.

    His Japanese Animation style looks great here. Captain Cold. It’s great art, but seeing him smile like that is weird. Since I normally I see him as the cold calculating thief. Cat-Man looks great. He was awesome in the 90s. Eradicator is awesome. I liked him in the Rain of the Super Man. Ah the Furies are awesome… till recently. But, hey they were a great Kirby creation. To the point ware Marvel created their wrestling villains based on them. Pound Cake is a copy of Stompa. And etc. I like Lasha mostly when she was Duchess in S.S. And Big Barda was great.

    Mad Hearate was one of my favs. Sadly Harley Happened or she could have been a break out character with her warped personality. With the right artist writer combo. Moving on The Joker looks great. Not much else to say. Brian Bolland has a great art style And been great since I saw him in issues of Judge Dread. Kobra looks fine. Kind of like he steped out of a Conan comic.

    Mister Mxyzptlk funny it fits the character.

    Professor Zoom loos cool. Not talking about the artist. Steve Lightle hmm… I’ll look past the man and see the talent in his art. But, I like the character of Prof Zoom. Having heard the comic on a pod cast. The story of how Zoom kills Iris is meh. He’s not even seen in it. There at a costume party. Some weird guys there we think he killed him and the find out Zoom did it. And latter Barry kills Zoom. Not my fav. Did like when he faked being Barry and teams with Wally. And Wally gives up being the Flash thinking the world has the Flash it needs.

    Till he realizes it’s Zoom and comes back and stops him. Realizing he has the right to be the Flash. Shrapnel by Erik Larsen again I like the art . But, though not a fan of the person, but he was a great writer. A bit more than I like him than an artist. Starro was cool. Wouldn’t have noticed it was Aparo. But, it looks great. Batcave by Norm Breyfogle looks cool. But, yeah the typography is meh. Yeah Harold is a bit close up, but Bats, Alfred, Tim and Ace are in the back ground. So their still there. Xum doing Sugar and Spike was kind of cool.

  14. I guess neither of you are caught up on The Flash, because you’ve missed the latest TV star from this series, Who’s Who itself. (Cisco’s Who’s Who, his catalog of new metahumans post-crisis, has appeared a couple times since last episode. It’s even a loose-leaf version!)

    Titans Talk: Blackfire is one of the stronger Titans villains, but like Trigon has a personal connection to only one character in the team and like Trigon and Brother Blood is usually far away from New York, requiring the whole team to abandon every other subplot to interact with. (Troia’s final form and the Titans of space-myth had the same issues). It’s a structural problem in a team book. You can maybe get away with one or two vacation villains and still keep things moving, but the Titans had too many by far, and no more home-based recurring enemies for the rest of the team.

  15. A) I’ve always disliked the Arkham Asylum entry. It looks like we found out whatever happened to Baby Jane, which is appropriate, because Two-Face also looks like a golden age movie star: Humphrey Bogart’s disinterred corpse. Could the renderings of Clayface and Killer Croc be any more lazy? I appreciate the fisheye lens angle, but they’re still within fifteen feet of the viewer. Like Two-Face, Lady Clayface looks more in need of her morning coffee before diving into office work than cray-cray. Is this the entry for Fence, Fog, or Tree, because I can’t see the asylum past any one of them. The back’s no better. If they’re inmates, why are they standing in a police line-up in full costume? Again, if the entry is about the actual asylum, shouldn’t we be seeing architectural details here? Is this the version of Killer Croc from right after he was pelted with cosmic rays and crashed Reed’s spaceship? Maxie Zeus looks like an Aparo swipe, and the rest of the inmates look like they’re in Party City Halloween costumes. Well, except Sexy Clay Lady, whose breasts were drawn with a compass. Hughes just wants to be the happy pig in her slop.

    B) As noted, Art Adams’ exaggerations inspired most of the Image crew, but he put more work into his outer space background than they did in their whole pages. My only complaint is that Blackfire seems too light for the sinister sister of Starfire.

    C) I wasn’t into Michael Golden’s weird color selections, monochromes and gradients. You could chalk it up to style, but I thought it undermined his detailing (where applicable) and often made the work from this period unappealing. I agree with Shag’s initial impression that this feels a bit slight, as though he was doing Captain Cold a favor by bothering with a Silver Age has-been.

    D) I do remember thinking “c’mon– Catman?” the first time I saw the character, and the cape makes no sense, but I dig the basic design and atypical color scheme. Obviously owes a great deal to the 1940s Holyoke Cat-Man, but improves mightily on the design. David A. Williams should have followed Adam Hughes on J.L.A. instead of Linda Medley, because he was kind of a cross between Maguire and Templeton.

    E) The Dark Circle is a really good opposite number to the Intergang profile, as no one would expect this was an entirely representational “team” shot. My favorite extended period of the Legion featured Tom McCraw as one of the writers, but it was also my least favorite of his coloring assignments. Everything was too flat, dirty and dim.

    F) I was not especially fond of Jill Thompson’s Wonder Woman run, as everything looked to fragile and twee, but her style is well suited to horror. I like Dr. Psycho when he’s played scary, and the inks of Jay Goldhof gives a bit more edge to an already exceptional layout. Mr. Fixit also loves Psycho now because of Harley Quinn and keeps recommending it to me. It sounds like they’re playing his loathsome misogyny for laughs, which could work if they don’t go all Family Guy and validate his worldview. I take a lot of shots at Perez for being deified in WW circles while ultimately damaging her lore and commercial viability with his revisions, but he was relatively true to the classic Dr. Psycho, thank goodness.

    1) I’m with Rob– these logos are rotten, and I assume some misguided editor thought the old fashioned ones weren’t suitable for selling modern audiences on these properties.

  16. Thanks for another fun episode. I got a great nostalgic feeling , of being in a drive-in movie as a kid when Rob’s voice “echoed” throughout the entry. Is it possible that the creator credits were put in by whoever wrote the entry? It might explain the inconsistency.

  17. Another great episode and I agree the art in this issue was quite exceptional. There are some definite stand-outs. A few comments.

    Blackfire – I always liked that her name is Komand’r, like Commander, given her militaristic attempts to take over anything. And she always seemed jealous of Kory’s princess-like good looks … but she is an absolute smoke show herself. Art Adams is the perfect artist for this sort of piece. The destroyed Starfire statue in the back is precious.

    Dark Circle – they always seemed like the afterthought big bad in the Legion. Sort of like the Royal Flush Gang. “Who can the Legion beat up this week? I know, the Dark Circle.” But the take in the 5YL run was more insidious, a sort of grass movement cult in a time of dystopia when people would need to glom on to something. There is that one moment in the 5yl where the Dark Circle is attacking a planet and White Witch needs to use the blood of her fallen comrades as a spell component for a force field. Powerful stuff.

    Eradicator – one of my favorite additions to the Byrne era, especially in the Reign of the Superman time period and beyond. Something about the goggles that work. Here, this look, is a bit to frilly for me.

    Female Furies – one of my favorite Kirby creations. Since you talk about other mediums in this show, I’d ask you to look up the Wonder Woman/Barda brawl against the Furies in the Superman/Batman Apocalypse animated movie. Just a throwdown. Amazing. The Fahren-knife plays a big part in Tom King’s recent Mister Miracle book.

    Kobra – my absolute favorite piece of this issue. Pearson just makes him the perfect brooding megalomaniac. It’s funny, my first run in with Kobra, when he was called the deadliest man alive, he was having Superman dump a crap-ton of sand on Metropolis and then vacuum it up over and over. Just idiotic. But then, especially in the Waid Flash run, you could see how powerful his organization was.

    Luthor – Lex is dead. Soon we’ll get red-headed clone Lex II. Then all the icky Supergirl romance stuff happens. Yeesh.

    Mxyzptlk – again a fave. He has appeared twice on the Supergirl television show, played by two different actors. And both episodes are great. The first was written by Sterling Gates. I am a fan of Mxy!

    Ra’s Al Ghul – I am definitely in the Rahz group, not the Raysh.

    Reverse Flash – my favorite Flash villain. I had the original Who’s Who page signed by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson. Lightle did a number of Flash covers on this volume and he knocks it out of the park here. You would think, given this stellar entry, that maybe DC knew he was going to have a comeback.

    But where are the true heavy hitters of evil in this villain-centric issue? Where are Hyathis. the Man-Hawks, Reactron, and The Gang??

  18. Cheers for possibly the best episode of any podcast in the history of everything podcasty.

    I’m with David, themed issues aren’t my favourite, they lack variety. Still, this one had some great entries and, as pretty much everyone has pointed out, the logos look to have been designed by the guy who looked after the office water coolers.

    As for that Arkham Astlum logo, maybe DC reckoned Adam Hughes hadn’t left room for a sizeable masthead, hence the crossword treatment; Shagg’s nameplate idea would be a great solution.

    I adore Catman’s costume and, as Rob notes, the repurposed Catwoman logo – just delete two letters and Bob’ your uncle. Wasn’t there also a cat villain who was Selina Kyle’s brother? Hang on… oh yes, Karl Kyle, King of Cats. Catman was played for laughs in Brad Metzler’s dull Green Arrow run, but without that we may not have seen him in Gail Simone’s Villains United and Secret Six books, so all is forgiven.

    Dr Psycho is utterly brilliant in Jill Thomson’s entry, so creepy.

    I love the original Eradicator’s look. His costume seems to have been made out of Dr Strange’s cape, what with all that red and the wobbly yellow pattern.

    Karl Kesel did a fab job with the Female Furies. Mind, what a silly name ‘Stompa’ is – she looks like Catman’s sister and sounds like Santa’s butchest reindeer.

    I totally agree with Rob, the Joker entry doesn’t need the word balloon. I suspect they were trying to recreate the Killing Joke cover bit with the word ‘smile’, so here it’s ‘shake’.

    King Snake. Nicely dressed, but the ponytail, ugh.

    I wonder if Kobra has a giant snake beneath that loincloth.

    The Metallo body is great for a robot character but the pre-Crisis designs were better – if you can’t see any humanity why would you be unnerved by the lack of same? And the Neron power upgrade was just silly. Still, that picture by Swan and Breeding is terrific.

    Re: Mirror Master, criminals having ‘a code of honour’ is a bag of crap, they always leave victims, there’s no honour in that.

    Siphon and DreadMort, more like.

    Shagg, the second Star Sapphire debuted not in GL but the Secret Society of Super-Villains. She wasn’t Estelle,she was Camille (she gained a few other names along the way, but that’s not important right now).

    That ‘Batcave’ non-logo is really badly placed as well as boring. Breyfogle produced a decent pic but have you ever seen Dick Sprang’s Batcave lithograph, that had real magic?

    And wot, no Aquacave?

    Oh, and if you guys ever read my ruddy blog you’d have known months ago that there’s a new Metal Men book

    God bless Xum for Sugar & Spike. The origin does indeed reflect the first issue. Sugar & Spike sit next to Supergirl on my shelf of DC Archives… So much adorability.

  19. King Snake was later revealed to be Bane’s father, the one who’s crimes condemned the unborn child in his place.

    Howie Mandel played Mister Mxyzptlk on Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman.

  20. So I’ve been re-listening to the original series episodes and I was listening to the issue VIII episode a few days ago. You guys came to Dr Psycho and I got excited thinking for a second that you would talk about him on the Harley Quinn animated show. Like Shagg I’ve never cared about the character before this. But then I quickly realized that there would be no such talk because the episode was recorded seven years ago in 2013. So I was disappointed. Then listening to this episode this morning you once again came to Dr Psycho. I once again got excited and this time I was not disappionted.

  21. G) I usually love Muñoz-period Giffen best of all, but it falls flat on a guy like Eclipso where being all shadowy is the baseline. Surely The Darkness Within was already in the planning stages, and we got this slight Eclipso to contrast against the upcoming bigger than life revision?

    2) Starting to feel like the “plan” with !mpact is to never cover !mpact, or at least use it as a stopgap excuse to extend the concluding two issues of Updates into 2030. “Sorry you guys, but we’re really *snicker* deep into researching on The Web *chuckle* and we’re just not prepared enough to tackle Crucible (did that ever conclude?) ahead of Who’s Who in (how do you pronounce a forward exclamation point?) Mmm-pact!”

    H) Why does Eradicator’s legs look like he has a degenerative condition? There’s a really great seafood place out in Dickinson where you can get big ol’ frog legs that look like Eradicator’s. They’re like small chicken drumsticks, but they’re undeniably fishy and extra wet when you bite into them. Man, I hope that place is still open the next time I can get out that way.

    What were we talking about again? Oh right, The Courierfont. Yeah, what we need more of in comics is exact duplicates of the hero in a minimalist costume, unrestrained by the same moral code. That’s so exciting. Bold territory there. So imaginative. He needs a goatee and a side-tied sash, though. Lose the sleeves, too.

    I) I know they’ve done some Female Furies stories, but I can only judge by the ones I’ve read, which places them firmly in the “not as lame as most Fourth World groups” column. I like that Kesel gave us a diorama rather than a group photo.

    J) I’m sorry, but Heat Wave looks like a mook in PPE and Dan Jurgens’ art does him no favors. You guys, I don’t like Jurgens a lot of the time. Shun me. More so. It’s for everyone’s safety.

    K) For a couple or three years after Batman ’89, I wore the iconic Bolland Joker shirt probably once a week until it fell apart. One of my all-time favorite artists on one of the greatest villains ever. Thirty years later, I still love Bolland (and happily have his Who’s Who binder, along with the Perez.) The other guy and his hardcore fandom are intolerable.

    Martin beat me to the Smile/Shake observation.

    L) When I tried to check out some Robin comics to see what the fuss was about, Don “The Dudikoff” Speakman over here was getting his John Kreese on. This is exactly the caliber of villain you create as a steppingstone for a neophyte hero that you kill off later on to prop up a more enduring foe. Also, there’s no way in hell King Snake should be Bane’s daddy. That math is almost as bad as Viper being Jessica Drew’s Spider-Mommy.

    Tom Lyle makes Dan Jurgens look like George Pérez. Sir Edmund Dorrance went so hard on cultural appropriation that white boy looks like a racist characture.

    M) Jason Pearson and Brian Stelfreeze were both based out of Atlanta’s Gaijin Studios around the time of their respective pieces, so there’s a good possibility they were competing with or riffing off each other. Ra’s won. I guess this was before the Showcase arc where they redesigned Kobra to really lean into the paramilitary Cobra aesthetic. I dig the dramatically lit dust jacket photo and Kobra’s logo game is so tight it brings even more shame to its company. I almost bought a set of the ’70s Kobra series as a show in February, but I forgot to go back to that table at the end of the day. Wish I’d known that was the last convention I may get to for a very long time.

    N) I can understand arching an eyebrow today when the Superman creative teams state that they had no idea of the impact Doomsday would have, but considering what a nothing the “death” of Lex Luthor was, I can buy that. Admittedly, it happened during one of the periods when I was entirely newsstand dependent, but I can’t say for sure that I was even aware of his demise before they’d already revealed the true nature of Alexander Luthor Junior. In fact, I may not have known until I was reading Reign and trying to get a handle on who Ginger Yanni was.

    O) Post-Crisis Metallo sucks. His whole thing is that he’s a cyborg powered by kryptonite, so he de-powers Superman and can kick most other people’s butt. The entire point is that he negates Superman, so that the Man of Steel either gets help or struggles to overcome without his usual advantages. If he’s not “The Man With The Kryptonite Heart,” who gives a toss? Nobody asked for a full strength Superman to fight a lackadaisical T-800. Why would that be compelling? Oh, he can absorb metal/machines? So he can become a Master Mold? Nobody asked for Superman to fight Sentinels. This is exactly why I dismiss the Triangle Number era. No sense of appropriate scale or understanding of how the mythos worked for the first fifty years. When you spend 35 years trying to fit a Superman into a Batman box, it’s no wonder all the kids treat Tony Stark as the patron saint of super-heroes these days.

    Boy though, Brett Breeding is so good he can make you want to see more Curt Swan entries.

  22. I see that Mr. Mxyzptlk was not just tugging on Superman’s cape, but had apparently spit into the wind and had pulled the mask off that old Lone Ranger.

  23. P) Mirror Master benefits from a nice, simple, seemingly functional costume relative to the other Rogues (but with more style than Heat Wave.) Aside from his ’70s heyday, I think most fans know Alan Weiss from the brief life of Defiant Comics or contributing to nine of the twelve issues of Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales (when even Art Adams swung ten*.) Enjoyed his hyper-realistic style, but he’s also one of those that put out a handful of issues a year even in his prime. I’m a huge fan of Mark Texeira, and at one point would have sworn this piece by him. I guess Weiss got around enough to being an influence, and I’m grateful Tex is much more prolific.

    2) Mac and I are both Kids in the Hall fans, and a long ways back saw them perform live. It was an hilarious show, and we didn’t mind being among the youngest people in the room while being near to or in our thirties. I believe they’re doing a revival on one of the streaming services.

    Q) Bog is a good fit for Myx, and I enjoyed the Dusty Abell J’Onn J’Onzz cameo about at much as Rob did the claasick Aquaman one (and surely more than the featured characters.) Psi-Draught continue the Who’s Who tradition of offering very recent vintage creations that sour on the shelf from then on. The equal and opposite Who’s Who effect is confirming through the showcase that a property has no appeal and does not gain prolonged publishing life from being part of a common reference point. Konventio the Mono-Aliens. Again, Brett Breeding is killing with his embellishments. When has Abell ever been confused with Jurgens, right?

    R) With a name like Psycho-Pirate, in such a bold costume, how do you still come up with such a sleep aid of a villain? I’m pretty confident Ambush Bug remembers the Pre-Crisis multiverse, and of course later on Alexander Luthor and Earth-2 Kal-L/Lois.

    3) Even if it never comes to pass, it gives me comfort to think that just maybe there’s still a Xum Zook entry forthcoming.

    S) Raʾs al-Ghul was easily the best entry, from the fine logo placement to the pimp posture, and just all-around bring epically shirt-worthy. Flaming Sambuca has got to be the only overlap between the tastes of Ra’s and Andrew “Dice” Clay, surely? Now I want to hear David Warner do “Hickory Dickory Dock” (with the “OH!”) Anyway, the correct pronunciation is “RAYSH,” and I’ll tell you why. A lot has been made of using the Arabic pronunciation of “Rā’s,” but Denny O’Neill has stated that the intent was for the character to be of indeterminate ethnicity, hence the Hebrew twang on the Arabic name. It’s stuff like that which makes him inscrutable to the world’s greatest detective. Also, the name and concept were suggested by Julie Schwartz (pronounced “Jew-ly”,) co-creator Denny O’Neill said that’s how it’s pronounced, it’s a name rather than a noun, and with repeated explicit insistence “Raysh” is how the definitive portrayal of the character was represented. I wasn’t awake for all of my second and final time watching Batman Begins, and Liam Neeson is Darkman, so whatever to all that. Even if you don’t trust me, surely you do trust Kevin Conroy?

    T) It takes a Flash Rogue to get me to looking at a Steve Lightle piece and not feel particularly excited about it. He skimped on the multi-image speedsters on the back, too.

    4) If all Shag needs is to research the appearances of DC characters in Who’s Who, Mike has a solid chronological listing for hundreds of characters under the “Characters” tab. You can supplement this through GCD, particularly for more recent appearances, by searching after setting “Character” in the drawdown, sorted by “Date” in the second drawdown. The main problem with GCD is that it’s too comprehensive, including hits for foreign editions, house ads, etc. This can be mitigated by filtering through the “Advanced Query” tab. Comic Book Db was simpler to use, but my main cause to visit there was that they sorted creator credits clearly by discipline, extremely helpful when vetting for cons (interviews, commissions, etc.)

    U) Shrapnel certainly displays Erik Larsen’s capabilities while also totes being cannon fodder for a Mayfair campaign.

    V) Not trying to be rude, but even with the faces covered by Starros, I don’t understand how folks couldn’t recognize Jim Aparo (or moreover misidentify him as Bart Sears.) Clearly based on the suggestibility of a recent JLE arc rather than what’s on the page. Also, Aparo Martian Manhunter drawings are mighty damned rare (just this and the digest cover, I think?) so that stands out.

    5) The best thing about Shag comparing my tracts to Mein Kampf is that according to Godwin’s Rule of Hitler Analogies, I’m made automatically right in any disputes. That said, association with, say, Thomas Paine on the manifesto tip would be more pleasant than the usual, more Ted Kaczynskiesque allusions.

    W) Terry Austin and John Workman are exemplars in their disciplines who are fun when they do ladies fashion pin-up, but should leave the super-hero stuff to others.

    X) That there is a nice panoramic view of the Batcave. Awful cluttered, though. Bruce should let a vehicle or two go.

    6) Appreciate the shout-out for The Marvel Handbook, a show Shag has never listened to. If he had, he’d know that the “crazy Frank” aspect doesn’t really fly, because it’s the best possible Rolled Spine podcast for people who can’t stand me. OHOTMU or Not is most literally the “sister show” to Who’s Who, with Who’s That and now Who’s Editing clear siblings. The Marvel Handbook is more of a cousin (Oliver?) that is unquestionably inspired by but also a response to Who’s Who. One has the same two guys covering the entire DC universe, one full issue at a time, with color and relative brevity. Handbook is admittedly drier and more informational, taking a deeper dive into multiple disconnected entry-centric segments with dozens of guests in a time based format of under 45 minutes per episode; 3-5 entries per. People you actually enjoy listening to like Michael Bailey, Dr. Anj, Angela from Wonder Woman: Warrior For Peace, Al Sedano, Shawn Marek, Derek William Crabbe, Delvin “The Dark Web” Williams, Ruth and Darrin Sutherland, Kyle Benning, Mark Blair, and Sean Ross have all made appearances, with many more to come. We’ve hosted the podcasting debuts of Odell Abner Dracula, Caroline Wells, and the 108th Sage, as well as featuring folks from shows further out of our sphere, like MegaSheen and Negro Justice League. Luke Jaconetti offered one of the finest technical breakdowns of a comic book device I’ve ever heard, and I’m trying to get more out of him. Fire & Water All-Star Ryan Daly is more often than not featured, and the show owes as huge a debt to the format of his Secret Origins Podcast as it does to Who’s Who. I’m basically the Joe Rubinstein or Mark Gruenwald of the thing, a consistent guiding presence that doesn’t overwhelm the actual stars, the guests and properties. Our ninth episode comes out this Wednesday, and we’re almost done with the first issue of the 1983 volume.

    * Researched via ComicVine

  24. 6b) I forgot to mention that The Marvel Handbook is also our most all-ages friendly show, with any no-no words bleeped out. I’ve become increasingly conscious that Rolled Spine’s naughtier nature could be a liability to guests, so I wanted to make sure that this was a “safe” show where nobody would lose their jobs if Mike Cernovich decides to dig through old recordings. Too late for Shag, though. He’s totally screwed if they ever come for us. Sorry, bruh.

  25. Excellent, as always…

    ARKHAM ASYLUM: You discussed when/where the Arkham backstory was established, and I believe a lot of it was written by Wein specifically for the first Arkham Who’s Who entry, in the very first issue of the original series. Not sure where I read that, so I might be full of it.

    DR. PSYCHO: Can’t believe you both don’t love this entry; I think Thompson created an absolute masterpiece of creepiness here. BTW, Psycho has another very prominent TV “appearance”: He’s referenced in an episode of the fourth season of Orange Is the New Black (specifically the fact that he’s a misogynist); the ep is even titled “Doctor Psycho.”

    ERADICATOR: Rob, I’m with you (and Michael Bailey) in that I can’t hear that name without thinking of the Kids in the Hall sketch. (“I slept here all night to get a feel for the court.”)

    HEAT WAVE: Shag, I find it hilarious that when you hear “November 1963,” the major news event you mention is the premiere of Doctor Who. #nerd

    THE JOKER: Not only is he the subject of an Oscar-winning movie, but he’s ruined one my favorite Oscar trivia questions: What’s the only role for which two different actors have won Academy Awards? (Joaquin Phoenix’s win means there are now two roles that fit the description—and yes, his Joker is the same “character” as Heath Ledger’s, I can’t believe that someone on Twitter argued about that with me.)

    BATCAVE: Breyfogle + the Bat Universe = I love this entry. But I’ve always wondered why Batman has a giant Joker card hanging from the ceiling. Does he really want a constant, oversize reminder of the guy who murdered his sidekick, crippled his friend, slaughtered hundreds of innocents, and represents perhaps his greatest failure as a crime fighter? (Maybe it’s a motivator.) Also, yes, the subway rocket was established as taking advantage of a long-forgotten spur of the Gotham underground. And finally, your question of how Bruce and Alfred built that whole thing on their own is somewhat referenced in the Mayfair Games Watchmen companion; we see Dan Dreiberg’s plans for the Owlcave, and he muses to himself that “there’s almost no way I can do all the work myself” and he’d have to come up with some great cover stories to feed the contractors.

    MR. MXYZPTLK: Another live action appearance of the character was in Smallville, where he’s recast as a foreign exchange student from the Balkans (to account for the unusual name). Sometimes I think that show tried too hard to shoehorn in characters from the comics.

    SUGAR AND SPIKE: Yes, this is perfect. And yes, Rob, they deserved an entry, because they were such a major part of DC’s publishing history, which the original Who’s Who was ostensibly created to showcase. I really think the series failed in that regard, by leaning almost entirely on the superhero genre. I still think they should have thrown a bone to the company’s humor-comics history by featuring two double-page-spread entries: One dedicated to various comedy characters (S&S, Binky, etc.), the other to funny animals.

    Thank you, stay safe…

  26. Finally found my long misplaced Who’s Who hinders! In perfect condition & intact as I’d never consider rearranging the various entries. I always much preferred the original format & historical overview. Thanks for another great episode!

  27. Jaws that unhinge are a commonly known snake-anatomy feature: this allows them to swallow their prey whole. A king snake’s diet includes other snakes, and sometimes a king snake will kill and eat a snake that is longer than the king snake is. It will fold that snake in half to eat it. Of course Sir Edmund Torrance also has this ability … that is to gulp down other, sometimes taller, snake-themed characters. Yes, I read the entry, which describes his martial arts and street gang leadership. No matter — in my head canon, he’s King Snake so I need to have him be able to devour Jake the Snake Roberts or whoever. I mean, the entry doesn’t say he CAN’T do this, does it?

  28. Another delightful instalment, gentlemen. First, I must address Shagg’s surprise that someone who has never read Who’s Who would listen to this show. It’s consistently one of my favourite shows on F&W, but I’ve only ever held in my hands one issue – Who’s Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes #1. I think I probably picked it up in an attempt to figure out what the hell was going on in 5YL. It didn’t help at all (though I live 5YL nonetheless). Still, I absolutely love hearing about the issues and referring to the shots you post afterwards. Though OHOTMU is still the Bible. Sorry.

    On Eradicator: The first thing that always springs to my mind is, of course, Kids in the Hall. The same thing also happens whenever Depeche Mode are mentioned. The second thing that springs to mind is the old and seemingly forgotten Flash villain of the same name, who went around reducing people to puddles of goo. He appeared in one of the few American comics I read years before actually getting into comics properly, and it freaked me the hell out and made quite an impression.

    On Mirror Master: Mention of Rory Calhoun must always be followed by the phrase ‘That fellow who’s always standing and walking’. It’s the law. (It’s a Simpsons thing. But you knew that, I’m sure.)

    On Dr Psycho: Not much to say here, except that I was amused by your discussion of how taboo the C-word is, because I live in Glasgow, where it’s in extremely common usage, with functions ranging from formal punctuation to polite greeting.

    Finally, thanks for the kind words on my Geek Fitness contributions. It truly is a lovely community you’ve created over there. Glad to play my part!

  29. Like most of my favorite pod casts, I keep listening when I cant comment. Then forgetting to comment later. I’ve been enjoying this show a lot so far. Wanted to drop a quick “great job” before I forget a 13th time.
    Thanks

  30. Female Furies: Karl Kesel did fantastic on this piece. But to answer: why are they beating up Parademons. Because “Girls just wanna have fu-un!”

    King Snake: I “like” him as a villain since he was Tim Drake’s first original foe. He felt promoted as someone who could go toe-to-toe with Batman, making him a crazy difficult challenge for the newbie Robin. But his “big move” is to turn off the lights before killing his victims. When he tried that on Batman, the hero just put on his night-vision goggles and got seriously trounced. So he’s just not in Batman’s league.

    Kobra: Rob, I remember that bit from Batman and the Outsiders, too! That Mike W Barr/Alan Davis story was my first encounter with the Naga-Naga. It sold me on this villain right away.

    Thanks for the shout-outs, guys, but “legally actionable”? I can’t imagine what you mean.

  31. Hey guys! Another great episode. I wish I had more to say about the individual entries this month, but villains have always bored me compared to the heroes, so I can’t bring myself to exert energy on them.

    I have an idea for a Who’s Who contest. If you were to revive Who’s Who today, how would it you design it? Not who is in it, but how would you approach it? Would it look like the original? The loose leaf? Secret Files? A combo? I think it would be cool to see what people come up with for their designs. Shagg suggested I run it up the flagpole to see what others thought.

  32. I can’t believe that I missed that you had dropped a new Who’s Who episode! Glad to have you gentlemen back.

    I don’t know if it is just the usual Phylemon-shtick or Quarantine blues (bet that will be a dated reference the next time you post an episode), but I’m struggling to be positive about issue #13. The villain focus is partially to blame for my blah attitude, but there just doesn’t seem to be much here to praise. The Arkham Asylum, Dark Circle, and Ra’s Al Ghul entries could be really good, but the coloring is so muddy that the line work is lost, in my opinion. Others have mentioned it, but the logo design is as boring as can be. Cat-Man, although a perfectly acceptable character (and I do like the cats in the entry), is in the most embarrassing version of his costume ever. And don’t get me started on whatever is going on with that Dr. Psycho entry (although Shag is right that the character is hilarious in the Harley Quinn series). Okay, here are what positive comments I can muster:

    – Brian Bolland is a master and his take on the Joker is frightening and realistic. I will forever consider the character the Clown Prince of Crime, though.

    – I quite like the Metallo piece. The coloring benefits it here as well as the clean line work from Swan. Superman’s pained expression demonstrates that Rob is just off on his “draws one face” comment. I think Shag presented it as a negative, but the depiction of Metallo as the anatomical doll with the skin pulled off is a creepy positive in my opinion.

    – Mirror Master is the other entry I really like. I don’t think I’m super familiar with Alan Weiss, but I like what he is doing with the shading and musculature on McCulloch, and those Flash reflections in the mirrors will occupy my nightmares for a while.

    – Can anyone explain the jokes on Mr. Mxyzptlk’s buttons? Who is McGurk? What is V-WL-S and why should it go down?

    – In the absence of new comics, I have been working my way through the 1960s Justice League of America comics. Starro is a surprisingly minor villain. He gets the distinction of being the enemy they face in their first recorded adventure (although not the first they face “in-story” as it were). After that, he doesn’t challenge our heroes again for nearly twenty years. Conversely, the Lord of Time shows up a bunch. I think this is one of those things that, for whatever reason, gets confused when we get our history from Who’s Who. Minor characters become huge and major threats are seen as insignificant based on how much text they were given, or which artists were chosen to draw their entry, in the sacred Who’s Who.

    – I appreciate Rob bringing up that the hunchback in the Bat Cave entry isn’t mentioned in the text itself. That has always bothered me. Since I wasn’t reading Batman at this time, I still have no clue who this is.

    – Shag, buddy, I promise to not tell Phylemon that you agreed with him as long as we don’t let out that he sometimes agrees with you as well. Side note, you really should give the Metal Men series a chance (although calling it the “current” series is a bit of a misnomer in our current climate where there are no current series). I also was turned off by its connections to the whole Dark Metal nonsense, but those connections are almost immediately minimized in the story itself and replaced instead with some fun, silver-agey nods, like the heroes constantly spouting out scientific facts about what their metal make up is capable of. I know Didio is a polarizing figure, and rightfully so, but he does have a fondness for these characters that is obvious.

    ** Sugar and Spike**
    This is the only comment that I really felt strongly about making this time around. I would happily sell all of my Who’s Who issues to buy a real comic that had this Sugar and Spike entry in it. It is absolutely pitch perfect and would seamlessly fit into the original series. I would also sell all of the rest of the comics I’ve collected if it meant the Professor was still around to keep producing entries like this one. His loss still hurts. Knowing we will have more of Xum’s entries upcoming eases that pain some small amount.

    Alright, I promise to be in better spirits when you review issue #14. I’ve already looked ahead and there are some fun entries. I’ll even try not to moan too loudly about Shag’s effluent praise of the Titan’s Hunt story when we get to Wildebeest.

    1. The button with McGurk’s name references the first comic-book story with Mxyztplk. The whole “McGurk, where are you” sequence was also adapted into Mxyzptlk’s first episode on Superman the Animated Series. In case you’d like to look up either that comic or that cartoon, I won’t spoil who McGurk turns out to be.

  33. Another great episode, gentlemen! I’m slowly getting caught up on the F&W network shows and was delighted to see a new Who’s Who episode (though I guess not so new anymore). I will say, though, that you two have ruined me as a collector. I was at a comic store awhile back (when we were allowed to go outside) and I bought a copy of original Who’s Who #1 and a “new” Who’s Who #9 Loose Leaf edition. It was still in the original shrink wrap! Why am I buying Loose Leaf comics? This show is a bad influence. I wish I could stop any time I want to, but that would be a lie. Anyways, on the the entries……

    I agree with everyone else, there is some wildly fluctuation in quality of typefaces. My only guess is, because it’s the ’90’s, maybe older ’70’s and ’80’s logos were just not “cool” anymore? Was just this just the style for the ’90’s or were they just lazy?

    Ra’s was one of my first experiences with graphic novels with Son of the Demon. I remember finding out there was a place where I could just buy comics that wasn’t the drug store or grocery store! A comic store! I’m with my people! And what’s this, fully contained stories in a prestige and oversize format (Rob, do these count as Treasuries?)? I immediately bought Son the the Demon and the Death of Captain Marvel and have not looked back since……. though getting Batman:Digital Justice might have been a mistake.

    I enjoyed the Reverse Flash entry as he is another example of my love for variations on a theme. Much like Captain Marvel has a bunch of similar heroes and villains in the same costume (i.e. – Captain Marvel Jr., Black Adam), that’s why I like Reverse Flash. It’s almost like my 10-year-old self got to be the writer and when tasked with coming up with a new villain, just said, “flip the colours and call him the Backwards Flash, or Reverse Flash, or something.”

    This show is greatly appreciated during these times and I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Keep up the great work!

  34. It’s been so long since I listened to this episode that I’ve forgotten all the snide comments I was going to make! Put me down as agreeing with Frank about 75% (even though i only get about 30% of his references!)
    I’m in the The Kids In the Hall group.
    Why is the hunchback in the Batcave so prominent? Is it Bruce Wayne’s forgotten brother?
    Xum rules. I am so pleased and honored that I was able to get a copy of Xum’s Who!

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