Who’s Who in the DC Universe #2

Shag and Rob's look at WHO'S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE continues, taking a look at the second issue featuring The Flash, Booster Gold, Captain Boomerang, Despero, Maxwell Lord, Metamorpho, Mother Box, The Mudpack, Starman, and more! Plus YOUR Listener Feedback!

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85 responses to “Who’s Who in the DC Universe #2

    While there may not be artistic evidence of Booster standing at 6’5″, it actually makes sense for the character given that Michael Jon Carter was a star football player. Most, if not all, of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game are well over six feet tall. Tom Brady is 6’4″, Peyton Manning is 6’5″, Joe Montana is 6’2″, Brett Favre is 6’2″, and John Elway is 6’3″. Tall quarterbacks have a natural advantage as they’re able to see above the line of defenders and further down the field, hence why they tend to be so successful at the position. Whoever decided Booster Gold is 6’5″, whether it was Jurgens or someone else, probably had that in mind. As you said, though, that bit of character trivia never made it to Maguire or Templeton’s desk.

    Had fate taken a different turn, episode 16* of MIDNIGHT…THE PODCASTING HOUR would have featured me and my wife, Angela, covering the first chapter of the “I…Vampire” saga. As much as Shag hated vampires in the 1990s, Angie loved them. We had the entire episode prepped and ready to record on the night of July 10, 2017. Then my son went and got himself born that day. The new plan is to cover that story as part of an all-vampires special episode later this year, perhaps for Halloween.

    * As consolations go, Rob covering “The Curse of Ozzie and Mary” on episode 16 isn’t bad.

    1. Look at Ryan with the Sportsball knowledge! Better be careful, jock, or these bad ass nerds will kick sand in your face!

  2. Now what you should have done for April 1 is put up the same pages you actually did, but have the actual podcast content be covering the !mpact issues.

    So, when you do those, I expect you to pronounce it with the glottal stop every time.

  3. Maxima: I liked this character from the start. She was introduced during the early days of George Perez on ACTION COMICS and that run was very exciting to the 13/14 year old me. It didn’t hurt that Maxima was an extremely hot red head but I also liked the idea that she wasn’t evil but just worked from a different playbook. I especially liked when they brought her back during PANIC IN THE SKY and she was a fun character during Jurgens’ run on JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA. I think my favorite story of hers was in ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN ANNUAL #3, which was part of ARMAGEDDON 2001 and featured a supposed future where Lois died (in a very sad and stupid way) and Superman left Earth and eventually was romanced by Maxima. A good story even though the idea of Lois being kicked by her unborn child and dying bothers me on just about every level.

    Oh…and I find it amusing that once again Curt Swan is drawing a character created by George Perez.

    And Brett Breeding is an amazing inker.

    FLASH: I had this entry on the front of my binder for most of the fall and winter of 91′ into ’92. I will respectfully disagree with Shag about Greg LaRocque. I LOVE his run on the FLASH and I will go so far as to say he is my favorite Flash artist of all time. His final storyline (THE RETURN OF BARRY ALLEN) was epic and I thought that while there were some great artists after him they never got to me like LaRocque did.

    NEWSBOY LEGION: In the late summer of 1988 I rode along with my Dad and older sister to take her to her first semester of college. I was given some extra money to buy comics for the trip and one of them was SUPERMAN ANNUAL #2. Thus began a decades long affection for the Newsboy Legion and The Guardian. They were fun supporting cast members and I think Karl Kesel did some amazing things with them during his time on the Superman books. I will recommend GUARDIANS OF METROPOLIS, a four issue mini-series written by Kesel which mashes up Fourth World concepts with the Newsboy Legion history and brings in Guardians grandniece as a member as well as the Female Fury Gillotina. I have since gone back and read the original Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen issues and they are as crazy as they are amazing. I love these guys. I will also recommend the issue of SECRET ORIGINS which told their origin. Fun stuff and something I read on another car trip.

    SECRET SIX: I liked the ACTION COMICS WEEKLY storyline. It was interesting.

    STARMAN: Love me some Will Payton. I will never quite forgive James Robinson for what he did to Will’s backstory though the rest of that series was so amazing that I overlook it. I discovered him around the time of INVASION and STARMAN was a favorite book that I would buy when I had extra money. I’m with Rob; I love the original costume more. The black one is neat but the first one was more distinctive and had a more old school feel to it. This is a great series that needs to be recollected. It may be one of the few DC series I keep during the great sell off.

    1. The Payton thing was during the Goyer co-writing period, right? I think someone could make a case that whole Payton/Gavin thing is when Starman went a little too off-course.

  4. To answer Shag’s question about who came up with the idea of Lex as billionaire industrialist first…technically Elliot S! Maggin in his novel Miracle Monday, which was published in 1981 around the release of Superman II because Warner Bros. didn’t want to pay any more money to Mario Puzo, so no novelization or comic book adapatatipn, which is a damn shame. Comic book wise Wolfman did have the Lex as owner of a company thing first but as you said it ended up being Vandal Savage until after the Crisis. While Wolfman may have pitched the idea of Lexcorp in the comics it was Byrne and then Stern that really cemented the idea.

    1. To start with, I thought this new catchphrase was a worryingly sexist new addition to “She’s Hot!”.

      Then I remembered that Shag has these entries filed in a binder, which mitigates things. A little.

  5. I never read the original I, Vampire but the New 52 series was surprisingly good. Well worth reading!

    Here’s a montage of the initial run:

  6. 1. George Perez more than doubled the sales of Wonder Woman, problem being that Wonder Woman was only selling 52K before he came on. Dazzler and Power Man & Iron First were posting similar numbers before they were cancelled to make room on the schedule for the launch of New Universe.

    2. Booster Gold was 6’5″ in the original Who’s Who Update listing.

    3. I personally use the Who’s Who covers as dividers for various sections in my binders based on the alignment coloring. No sense in spending money on covers that could go to the very appealing entries.

    A) Changeling’s mullet was deeply unfortunate, and I think it was only present from the Grummett run through the few Bill Jaaska issues where he became Menagerie after being infected with Trigon’s seed by evil Raven. He was largely absent in the Titans Hunt period and then forced into a heel turn for the rest of the volume. I prefer the name Beast Boy because Gar Logan sucks and doesn’t deserve a cooler name than that of a Legion reject. Tom Grummett is one of my favorite Chromium Age artists, though dependent on his inker. Grummett is often softer, rounder and less detailed without the right embellisher, which is fine for teen heries like Robin & Superboy. The incredible Al Vey was the Terry Austin to his John Byrne, which I guess would make Doug Hazelwood his Karl Kesel, and those pairing are my preferred Grummet delivery system.

    B) My first DC age was Pre-Crisis, when I abandoned them for Marvel. My second DC age was roughly 1987-89, when I half-assed followed a bunch of titles before returning focus to Marvel and smaller publishers. My third age was arguable 1992 through the present, at least in terms of awareness of the line, though I’ve largely abandoned substantial monetary support since Infinite Crisis. Deadline is from my Post-Post-Crisis blind spot of 1989-93, when I was more selective in my DC interest, and most specifically my Will Payton blind spot, because his ugly costume and stupid book made me want to gouge my eyes out before reading them. I most probably was introduced to Deadline through his appearance in an early PAD Aquaman or more peripherally through some other random comic or trading card usage. He was indeed a minor universal utility player in the vein of Bolt, except Deadline is gaudy in a very ’90s way that is so generic to a survivor of the Crisis of Infinite Comic Book Universe Start-Ups that my desire to see him dead is only surpassed by my apathy at his existence in any manifestation. Also, Tom Lyle was one of those “oh, that guys” who were the Don Perlins and Alan Kupperburgs of the bedazzled ’90s. It’s not necessarily a criticism, since I value these Clydesdales of Comics Storytelling more and more as I get older, but they never set the heart to racing, either.

    C) Speed Round #1: Booster Gold has a fine looking entry for a character I can barely stand. Boomerbutt also looks good with the forced perspective ‘rang. Flash is neither running nor flying but rather Footloose Flashdancing to Queen.

    D) My favorite Despero, the more civilized and regally clothed bridge between the Silver Age and JLI versions, sadly never got his own Who’s Who entry. I think his reimagining worked because it was in line with the more murderous take on the villain Gerry Conway and Dick Dillin developed after reviving him in the 1970s. So long as you were a Bronze Age reader, it was a natural evolution of Despero (though in sharp contrast to the self-declared harmless version of Fox/Sekowsky, which itself did not track with the potentially lethal traps he placed the heroes in.) DC should have returned to the Conway/McDonnell version after his initial JLI arc, but due to its popularity, they played out the Pink Hulk take until the foe became as big of a toothless joke as everything else in the final years of that franchise. He’s still the Martian Manhunter archenemy of my heart, but even setting that aside, one of the truly epic Justice League villains. Imagine how much cooler the movie would have been with Despero or Starro as the villain?*

    I actually have a tiny, years neglected Despero Blogspot page called The Flame of Py’tar made up of character-specific runoff from the Idol-Head site with a few exclusive odds & sods. It was devastated by the Photobucket Purge like my other DC blogs, but it’s still out there.

    *But not the Appellaxians. It would have been worse with them.

    E) Gil Kane’s Dr. Polaris looks very dated next to these consciously contemporary entries, and the flat too-dark coloring makes it worse. I actually like his original Dread Pirate Roberts headscarf costume, but for an entirely different kind of character and with some serious tweaking of the color placement.

    The problem with the dual personality aspect of Polaris is that it’s shared by the magnetic Flash frienemy Magenta and was best used in the Green Lantern book by Len Wein & Dave Gibbons on an Eclipso subplot. Also, he has a giant horseshoe magnet going through his head like he’s doing Steve Martin on supervillain open mic night. Polaris isn’t cosmic enough to work the runway wearing Galactus couture.

    Finally, another reason the Will Payton Starman series was awful is that he appropriated so many other characters’ villains (including the aforementioned Bruce Gordon/Eclipso) in the immediate Post-Crisis period when said villains histories had been stripped from them. Suddenly, Blockbuster(‘s pedostache brother,) Parasite (in nauseating green & orange,) Polaris, and Bolt were exclusively Starman villains with origins tied to his book and in their worst interpretations ever.

    F) I’m sure Perez contributed to the Flamebird entry because of his alterations to the character in the Secret Origins Annual. Because of the success of the New Teen Titans series, the call went out early and often for a sister series to franchise in the manner of the X-books, and Titans West was the obvious choice (especially once the Avengers did it.) Of course, the characters associated with Titans West were all terrible Haney/Rozakis non-starters, so aside from some guest shots/flashbacks, it never truly happened. However, I believe Titans West were back in development around the time of the early Titans Hunt, and Rob Liefeld may have even been involved (as he’s often noted the Image Comics version of Youngblood was a mash-up of his aborted 1987 Megaton series and an abandoned Titans expansion team involving Speedy and Joker’s Daughter.)

    Anyway, I find Flamebird troubling, because she was the original Bat-Girl and an accomplished young woman reduced to an oft-repeated joke of a caricature whose entire life revolved around a call from Robin that never came. Her costume is also hideous, but she was given a better one in the early ’00s Beast Boy mini-series by an artist we shall not name.

    G) I’ll offer a third take on Hawkworld. It was written by Tim Truman as a Man of Steel/Year One examination of the flawed fascist leanings of DC’s Silver Age by a hippy part time bluesman who never cared for the super hero myth. I read the book while I was getting into DC hardcore and had a special interest in Hawkman because I loved his Super Powers action figure. When a detoxing junkie Katar Hol murders an alien priest to steal wings he was unaware were being made for him, it irreparably broke the character in my mind, and I’ve mostly wished him dead ever since. It didn’t make me hate the Hawkman concept, just this version of the character.

    As I recall, it was DC editorial who insisted on setting the Hawkworld ongoing series in the present day for commercial reasons, failing to realize how badly it would twist fanboy panties. It’s worth noting that none of the mini-series’ creative team were fully onboard, with Truman only co-plotting the first year. Despite some valiant effort in the inking department, Graham Nolan was still the artist who got Power of the Atom cancelled, and only found a steady gig in comics on the unsinkable Batman. I’d argue that the overextended Byth story arc was still the best part of Hawkworld, as it spent most of its second year trying to explain the knots it tied in Post-Crisis continuity and its final year trying to transition back into a super-hero title.

    Here’s the thing: there was already an ongoing Hawkman series that continued his old continuity and ran two years into the Post-Crisis era. Asking Hawkman fans to accept a radical reinvention of the property after the Hawks had already been appearing for years unmolested and were serving as members of Justice League International was too much for many. As a devout Post-Crisis follower, I was happy to either let Carter Hall become the sole Hawkman, or to embrace the gestalt Hawkgod that came out of Zero Hour. Again though, those options arrived halfway into the three year run of the ’90s Hawkman series that had already failed to deliver an accessible entry point for new fans and was reinventing itself at the dawn of the speculator bust.

    Far worse than all the continuity crimes Hawkman committed, his worst offense has always been timing. The original arrived too late in the Silver Age and was never the hit his fellows were (including The Atom!) His ’80s revival marinated in Bronze Age broth and was served pre-dated. When the runaway hit JLA could have been a relaunching pad, we got Zauriel instead, and the JSA spin-off series came too soon to benefit from Geoff Johns’ heat on Green Lantern.

    I’ve always pronounced it Gary Kwah-peas, by the way.

  7. Oh, and approaching Michael Eury at a convention is super easy. Nice guy. Interviewed him at the Metropolis Celebration in 2008. Even asked him some Who’s Who questions.

    So yeah…talk to him. He’s good people.

  8. H) As with many here, I was intrigued by the name, premise and biographical entries for I… Vampire without ever reading more than a story or two at most. Creature Commandos was possibly my introduction to DeMatteis. I share much of Shag’s antipathy towards vampires because of all those ’90s goths and Rice fans that haunted my shops, but also because of the overexposure fatigue with the premise many report today against my beloved zombies. I’ve just seen too much vampire stuff that trods the same uninspired ground, plus I watched all 80 episodes of True Blood to one of the bitterest endings of any TV series. Did they actually mean to validate their allegory for homophobia, or was the writing staff just that incompetent?

    I) Brett Breeding surely rescues Maxima, one of my favorite Post-Crisis Superman adversaries. Her unique motivations and raw power made her a valuable new addition to a somewhat anemic rogues gallery and the DCU as a whole. Of course they killed her off in a dumb crossover over a decade ago and then dumped her into the Supergirl rogues gallery in the New 52. I’m not slagging on the Maid of Might, who rightly took on Silver Banshee, but Maxima’s whole subtext was about male/female power struggles. Anyway, all of her costumes have been interesting to look at, even the more aesthetically challenged ones. Since you guys kept dwelling on the breeding aspect of the character, I’ll point out she also unsuccessfully wooed Captain Atom and found more, er, traction with Amazing Man II. I’ve heard some comment on the “lowered expectations” after Superman, but all three of these dudes were insanely powerful prospects, and I love the interracial near-kiss cover for Extreme Justice right before the entire Justice League line was canceled for JLA.

    J) Speed Round #2: If Tom Sutton had drawn Hawkworld and Graham Nolan had drawn Grimjack both might have been more interesting. I still find Katana to be a problematic choice for Asian representation and wish DC Superhero Girls had gone with Dr. Light instead. Dean Motter’s King Faraday only earns a “nice try,” and I recall being very disappointed to crack open those sweet Gulacy Danger Trail covers to find ’90s Infantno underneath. I was not impressed by 5YL Laurel Gand but she had a remarkable arc in the “Archie” Legion reboot as Sister Andromeda. I believe Maxwell Lord’s aliases are derived from his super-hero daydream solo story in J.L. America #41.

  9. Another great episode guys! A few quick things:
    Rob, I’m surprised you didn’t mention the George C Scott ‘Changeling’ movie. It’s pretty damn good! Shagg, Bill Loebs was actually BORN with only one arm. Lastly, regarding King Faraday: I had an issue of the ‘I Spy’ run from Showcase, and it was a reprint from the 50s Danger Trail series. Great hard boiled noir with terrific art from Carmine Infantino, back when he was still working in the Milton Caniff style.

    1. Nicholas-

      I thought I DID mention “The Changeling.” Now I see I transposed it with 1980’s THE AWAKENING, a horror movie that DID star Charlton Heston. Of course, you’re right, the movie I was thinking of starred Scott.

  10. Thanks for a great episode. I am definitely loving this look back at the loose leaf. Like many, I flip through the original and updates much more frequently than this format. Just a few comments ..

    I have always loved Tom Grummett’s art, especially back then. His work on the Superman books and the Superboy comic was always top notch. I was very happy to meet him last year at Boston Comic Con and thank him for his work.

    Now onto characters.

    Flamebird – There is no reason why she deserves this page or deserves to have art this good. Certainly in the old Who’s Who she’d be a half-pager. She is completely hot here. And I never quite figured out why she would take on the moniker of the Kandor hero, unless DC just didn’t want the name to slip out of continuity.

    Flash – I was one of those people who thought Wally’s ‘I need to eat a lot because of my metabolism’ power problem made perfect sense. I was also one of those people who got sick of it after a while. Thank you Speed Force. As you say, this time for Wally was weird. Crisis ended with him reluctantly picking up Barry’s mantle. That angst could have been played up. Instead we have the self-centered, womanizing, millionaire, mopey Wally. Thankfully Waid picked up that Legacy issue.

    I, Vampire – His best story is definitely the Azzarello/Chiang Dr. Thirteen mini-series.

    Laurel Gand – Here is the big win for this issue. Laurel Gand was ‘created’ in the post-Glorith timeline in 5YL LSH #6, Keith Giffen’s universal rewrite to get a version of Supergirl into the continuity. And as Shag says, a lot of Laurel’s origin cherry picks from Supergirl’s. This Who’s Who came out when LSH #11 was on the shelves. Two months earlier, LSH #9 was ‘Laurel’s Story’ filling in the origin. Here is a link to my review if you want specifics: http://legionofsuperbloggers.blogspot.com/2014/11/5yl-legion-of-super-heroes-9.html
    I loved Laurel for her ‘no nonsense’ approach to heroics. At the time, there was a lot of letter column discussion about her thong costume, both praising and complaining. Gand herself was self-aware of how noticeable it made her, saying once that her codename should be Flying Butt-ress. And she was portrayed as being 7feet. In my mind, Brainy got chastised by HR for constantly saying in the Legion cafeteria ‘Can someone bring me a straw? I just saw a tall glass of water.’

    Maxima – Okay, she is supposed to be a scorching hot alien dictator who wants to have endless sex with Superman. So they get Curt Swan to draw her? Really???? Not hot. We should have flipped the art team with Flamebird. I did like her arc of becoming a hero to try and woo Superman in a different way.

    Mud pack – I just don’t get the fascination with the Mud Pack. Did they every team up or use that name again outside of that one story? Not only did they get a Who’s Who page but also their own solo Secret Origins issue?? The art is better than it should be. But I have to consider The Mud Pack the “Dexy’s Midnight Runners” of the 90s Who’s Who, a one hit wonder living on past glory.

    Thanks again for the rundown and the very kind words. By know Rob must know the Amethyst stuff was an April Fool’s gag for my sire.

  11. Going to comment a bit as I listen along, because if not, I’ll forget. I’m old!

    Flamebird probably got an entry because there was still rumblings of a Titans West spin-off series in the works. Barbara Kesel was the Titans editor around this time, and was also co-writing Hawk and Dove. The team reunited in a Hawk and Dove annual around this time as well…edited by Michael Eury! The idea was to have Cyborg move out to the west coast to follow his STAR Labs love interest Dr. Sarah Charles, and they would bring in some of the established Titans, and add in new guys like Chris King from Dial H for Hero (him again!).

    When Jonathan Peterson came in, he reinvigorated the Titans book with Titans Hunt, and he had spin-off ideas of his own. Titans West got lost in the shuffle, and Golden Eagle got strangled to death (he did get better)!

    And of course it is a bit odd that Bette went with the Flamebird name before Dick became Nightwing chronologically, but that was just a tip of the hat to us old geeks from Perez. But yes, she should have gotten Bette (Betty) Kane’s first appearance as Bat-Girl from Batman #139.

    Oh, and I wrote an article on Titans West for Back Issue editor Michael Eury, so this is all coming full-circle!


  12. Firstly, the Flash! FInally, DC’s greatest super hero gets the spotlight. I get why he didn’t get issue 1, Superman’s okay, I guess.

    Hawkworld: Loved this series. Didn’t mind that it made Katar Hol a murdering, recovering addict. And to mirror Shag’s comments, just how space cop-y were the Silver Age versions? Not very and not often. At least in the post-Crisis reboot we could see some real police procedural goodness. Once again, the blame lies at the feet of adherence to a wonky post-COIE continuity and trying to plug holes that don’t really exist. Who cares if Wonder Woman didn’t found the JLA again? Or that the Hawks were there at some point? Those stories were told and 1986/1987 was supposed to usher in a new age with new stories, not rehash or try to explain gaps in a non-existent history. So, to “Robert Fitzgerald Kelly,” I say this: No comics are “Necessary.” Not the Flash, not Aquaman, not Superman. None. But some are damn good, and Hawkworld was one of them. Hawkgirl was boring as balls until Ostrander and Truman beefed up her character. And Katar was just a boring chunk of walking winged meat with a mace. God forbid someone inject something new into your precious Silver Age. Who are you, Dan Didio? And the fact that I’m agreeing with my nemesis Diablu Frank* AND Shag shows just how you have fallen, Rob Kelly!

    Great episode. Keep up the good work.

    *Frank said Queen was boring, so everything he says is immediately suspect.

    1. I’m trying to imagine a scenario where I would call Queen boring. I think there must have been a context for that, like Oliver Queen is boring. I’m not a heavy duty fan, but I certainly enjoy most of their greatest hits and some choice misses/soundtrack cuts. Freddie Mercury was undeniably an electric entertainer, and Queen’s cultural impact is undeniable.

      1. You had knocked the Breakthru track Shag and I used on an Ultraverse Podcast episode. That’s why you’re dead to me.

  13. Oh, and the 90s Flash TV show was the greatest show that ever aired on TV that wasn’t Homicide: Life on the Street, The Muppet Show, or Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood

  14. A few more comments.

    Flash – We all know Flash can fly from Super Friends, so no biggie. Seriously though, I get that he’s momentarily got both feet off the ground.

    I liked Greg Larocque’s artwork, but sometimes his anatomy was a bit wonky (but not as wonky as previous Flash artist Jackson Guice). He tended to draw tiny arms on people form time to time. And big noggins. The forced perspective on Wally here works in this favor.

    Laurel Gand – I know Shag loves the 5YL era, but geez, I really dislike the way Giffen drew people during this period. Everyone has their face scrunched in their neck like they’re imitating Roger Moore from that Zero G scene in Moonraker. Laurel’s costume of 30 pounds of clothing up top and a strap across her crotch is ridiculous. The later Andromeda costume is a HUGE improvement.

    Max Lord – Great entry. When I see paddle balls I think of Blazing Saddles. Max probably gave the JLI paddle balls in lieu of paychecks. Probably why Booster quit.

    Speaking of Booster- Great entry, but again, why are the colors so washed out? Flesh tones are REALLY pale in Who’s Who so far. Was it the slick paper throwing things off? This is almost like flexographic printing all over again. Instead of psoriasis, now everyone is suffering from anemia. Dr. Polaris also suffers from lack of red blood cells.

    Which brings me to I, Vampire – I remember that late Brave and the Bold issue where Batman met Andrew Bennett. Great comic, and it piqued my interest in the series, but I was too much of a wieney to give it a go back then. Is it collected anywhere? Something about Bennett always reminded me of fellow reluctant vampire, Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows, and since I’ve been binge-watching Dark Shadows on Amazon Prime nightly, I could go for some DeMatteis/Sutton gothic horror right about now.

    Starman – Technically, Will Payton’s Starman numbering would depend on how you look at it, toward the end of Robinson’s Starman series starring Jack Knight. Ted Knight is Starman I, Dr. Mid-Nite became Starman II (Batman in the pre-Crisis DCU). A time displaced David Knight filled in for Charles McNider in that costume, so technically that makes him Starman III. Mikaal is Starman IV and Prince Gavyn is Starman V, making Will Payton Starman VI…unless you lump Mid-Nite and David in as one Starman. And of course this makes David both Starman III AND Starman VII. Phew!!!


    1. Beat me to it with the detailed explanation of Starman numbering, which I was planning to add in my own comment. But of course, at the time of this publication, Payton would have been Starman either V (if you count Batman and Mikaal, neither of whom were acknowledged in any previous Who’s Who) or III (if you don’t count them; he’s labeled III in Update ’88). Also, what about the dude in the NES Pro Wrestling game from the ’80s?

  15. “Long time listener, First time caller” here, not least because this is the first copy of any Who’s Who that I own! I have a smattering of the loose leaf edition, picked up randomly at cons long after they were first published (I also have the ’93 updates and – God help me – two of the Who’s Who in the Impact Universe!), so I’ll try and comment on all the editions that I have tucked away.
    This loose leaf series was published at exactly the same time as I started getting into comics at college, so holds loads of great nostalgic memories for me.

    Booster Gold: This is a strong, powerful image of Booster – perfect for the first entry of the book, and I don’t think that’s supposed to be Skeets on the “futuristic” side of the cityscape background. Is it just me, or is Booster’s right knee internally rotated in a way that knees aren’t designed to internally rotate? (Someone’s going to be off to see Dr. Midnite for some cruciate surgery… just saying.)

    Captain Boomerang: The art is dynamic and detailed. Geof Isherwood isn’t an artist I’m familar with – did he do any other DC work outside of Suicide Squad around this time?

    Deadline: I share Shag’s dislike of the No Entry sign on this character’s forehead (nor the Deadpool eyes, come to mention it). The rest of the costume is OK, but it screams “generic goon”, so he does need an emblem of some sort. I’m sure that Hook-hand Aquaman fought Deadline at some point – I seem to remember their battle as the issue in which Aquaman tried out the abilities of his first cybernetic hook (as opposed to the harpoon-stuck-in-the-bloody-stump first attempt).

    Despero: Later editions of Justice League America were my first exposure to Despero, specifically when L-Ron tranported his brain into Depero’s body… and the final issue of ‘Breakdowns’ when Despero’s mind in L-Ron’s spindly robot body is pure hate. That hatred is captured brilliantly in the artwork of this Who’s Who entry. (If you’re an 8’5” magenta hulk whose every fibre burns with fury, the IRS become weirdly disinterested about what exact tax code you use.)

    Doctor Polaris: The pose is dynamic, but his logo looks like as though it was stolen straight off the cover of a Carl Barks “Donald Duck” comic. I do have a soft spot for this character, as he was integral to the early issues of “Damage” – a comic I was seriously into (and the only comic book I ever had a letter published in.)

    FLASH: I would absolutely listen to a 1990’s era Flash podcast! Messner-Loebs & LaRocque were the creative team on the first Flash book I bought around this time: Issue 54 of their run, entitled “Nobody Dies”. Wally’s on an airplane and befriends a stewardess (in the way that early ’90’s unenlightened Wally West ‘befriends’ women – he’s totally trying to hit on her.) Midway through the flight, there’s a fight with some generic supervillains, a hole gets punched in the fuselage of the plane, and the air hostess gets sucked out into the void. Despite what this Who’s Who entry would have you believe, the Flash can’t fly… but he is a hero, so Wally launches himself out of the plane in midair. What follows is an inventive use of Flash’s powers, in an environment totally alien to the character, as he tries to get himself and the stewardess down to the ground safely. It is one of my all time favourite ‘one-and-done’ issues and the cover – showing Flash and the stewardess falling to their doom – is highly memorable. http://comicbook.com/2015/01/19/flash-at-75-20-greatest-flash-stories-part-two-/

    KATANA: I don’t remember this massive shoulder pads costume at all. (And did she borrow her boots from The Creeper?)

    LAUREL GAND: The image shows her standing on an asteroid, but the rock behind her is carved into the shape of a head, Mount Rushmore style: does anyone know who the carving is supposed to represent? (I would suggest that the egregious omission from this issue is the failure to give an honourable mention to Laurel Gand’s bikini-waxer.)

    MAXWELL LORD: Given his difficulty / near-death experience with computers in the early issues of Justice League, it’s surprising to see Max with not one, but two early ’90’s computers in his office. His Maximum Force alter ego does appear in an issue of JLI (the costume includes some sort of nasal tubing to drain away the blood!) – but from memory, I think it might be in a dream sequence.

    MUDPACK: There may not be a live action version of Clayface, but he was a freakin’ awesome addition to the Lego Batman movie.

    1. Isherwood was really more of a Marvel/New Universe/’Nam artist. He didn’t do any other work for DC, and notably, was working on Dr. Strange at the same time as Suicide Squad.

  16. You weren’t far off from what I would do if I did a comics website. Half right; it would catalog the various completely unrelated different versions of both Supergirl and General Zod that showed up between the Crisis and the final return of the original models. With a running backup feature of every time someone informs Superman and/or the reader that they’ve never actually seen the real Brainiac yet.

    The difference between Wonder Woman and the Hawks is that DC decided to reboot Diana as part of the Crisis, but only made the decision to do Hawkworld/make it in continuity a few years later, and during those few years, the original model Hawks made a few appearances, wrapping up their Shadow War pre-crisis storyline in the Superman books and being established as members of the early post-crisis Justice League. Add to that the decision that there should not be any hard retcons (this story never happened) during that post-crisis era means that they had a huge mess to weave together using only soft retcons (this story happened, but it doesn’t mean what you think it did) So there had to be someone fighting (or pretending to fight) a Shadow War, someone in Hawk suits in the Justice League, etc…

    And even when they finally did get the one-shot hard retcon hall pass in Zero Hour, they sort of wasted it.

  17. Another excellent episode, gentlemen. I have a few nonsensical comments to add to the discussion.

    Deadline: My only encounter with this character was in Issue #9 of Peter David’s Aquaman run (as previously referenced by Frank and Chris Lewis), where he plays the utility villain giving Aquaman an excuse to show off his new cybernetic hook. I can’t imagine why Rob didn’t mention this important appearance. I can only assume it was a late night recording, and Rob was tired.

    Flamebird: I’ll preface this comment by saying that my wife enjoys quilting and sewing. I must have learned something from her through osmosis, because the first thing I thought of when I saw Flamebird’s entry was, “that cape would be a major pain in the backside to hem.”

    I…Vampire: Shag, I always preferred Mage: The Ascension and Changeling: The Dreaming to Vampire: The Masquerade. I guess vampires were too cool for me back then.

    Mud Pack: Clayface has one live action appearance of which I’m aware. Basil Karlo appeared in Season 2 of Gotham, where he impersonates Jim Gordan as part of a plot by Hugo Strange. On a related note, does anyone know what Karlo is supposed to be holding in his right hand in the posted image? Is it a blob of clay?

  18. K) Clearly the Mother Box needed its own entry, since it’s far more interesting than a bunch of super-heroes souped-up conveyances, and screenwriters desperately needed to then read this entry. It’s the Smartest Phone decades before Apple, an Image Inducer, an megataser, and a portable Firestorm besides! Way cooler than a bunch of Tesseracts, it’s a literal god(dess) from out of (or rather into) a box!

    L) Speed Round #3: Mark Nelson was in town as part of the Aliens 30th anniversary celebration with the entire creative team of the first Dark Horse mini-series, and I got a couple of Xenomorph drawings from him (Yas Queen!) Speaking of Xenomorphs, look at Mordu’s cauldron and tell me Awesome Art Adams didn’t smuggle the Giger design in there. The logo isn’t ready for prime time, but I totally dig Paris Cullins’ Metron profile shot with that pimp body language, the thrusting energy, and his “bish pleez” expression. The first part of the stupid Mud Pack story arc with the pullout poster was the last regular format Batman comic I bought for several years. The Newsboy Legion was exactly the sort of hokey crap that kicked me right out of a DC story back in the Chromium Age. Steve Lightle is one of those artists who’s so magnificent, he can make you think a team as sucky as the Secret Six could actually work.

    M) I hate the Will Payton Starman with the kind of purity that only comes from willful ignorance. I barely ever read anything with him in it or know all that much about him, but I damned well don’t want to, either! I’ve already griped about him elsewhere in this thread, but I’ve got more to give.

    You want to know what DC Comics hasn’t needed more of since about 1970? Another straight white male middle class, middlebrow, middling peckerwood with an unobjectionable personality and unexceptional motivation/origin being gifted unimaginable if unoriginal unearned power from the heavens to do absolutely nothing to upset the status quo. Will Payton is a younger, less accomplished, unfashionable and overall dimmer Hal Jordan with worse hair. He’s another starchy honky written by Roger Stern and drawn by an Oh Yeah That Guy* in the late ’80s whose book didn’t sell and was hopelessly out of step with the times, but still turned up his nose at JLI membership in a big showy performative way. DC has a sordid history of giving people of color featured in this very edition of Who’s Who super-human abilities like “cybernetically enhanced speech” and “stabby sword,” but when it comes time to do a powerhouse combination of Captain Atom and Martian Manhunter, they’re all like “we really need a Willie Aames type for this gig. Also, a sure fire star like him is no welfare case, but let’s gift him notable members of Batman, Superman & Green Lantern’s rogues galleries, because he just deserves a little leg up, just because.”

    Further, a black & red costume may be shorthand for “kewl badazz,” but it’s also the official colors of “we’re desperately trying to salvage a character who was wearing an all time hideous costume and have given up on any pretext of trying.” Wonder Man and Vibe also pulled a Payton, and all three died in relatively short order after making the switch.

    * Two more excellent examples of white men failing upwards are Tom Lyle going from Starman to The Comet to Robin and Dave “Vacuum Suck” Hoover going from Wanderers to Starman to Captain America.

    4. The math on “The V Minute Podcast” was exquisite. Cover every minute of “V,” for exactly five minutes, one podcast per week. Shag & I would only have to commit to producing four hours worth of shows per year for 28 years. Where exactly was the problem? You’re just lucky I’m concentrating on a weekly Buck Rogers in the 25th Century series for next year instead!

    5. Wotan is a villain with magical powers. Jeez Shag, try a hard one. The easiest Jeff Foxworthy way to determine whether or not a character might be a supernatural is “did this thing debut in a mystery/horror title or within the Vertigo imprint?” Also, “has this property appeared in a mainstream, shared universe DC title?”

    1. Frank, I thought it was only blond white guys you hated with a passion?

      That was kinda a default rant, especially when you’re having a pop at Tom Lyle. Presumably he worked hard to impress DC and had some good luck, and if the readers didn’t like his stuff – I certainly did – he’d not have gotten bigger gigs (wasn’t he a Spider-Man artist for awhile?). A guy can’t help his race – I don’t actually know Tom Lyle’s background – but unless you know that he’s white, and a non-white artist of equal or greater talent was passed over for him, why get bad-tempered in a perfectly pleasant thread?

  19. You guys crack me up! Shag, nice effort with all the “new” websites, blogs, podcasts, and MySpace pages. If only you could kept a straight face while reading them!
    1. Changling film referral: The Boy With Green Hair!
    2.Flash. Sorry, Rob, at this point, and at that point, the name is Flash, not The Flash. Wally is not The Flash, he is only A Flash. One on a series, collect them all. Yes, he is NOT running in the image! He’s a low-flying craft. Even an after-image of a foot on the ground would give the indication of running.
    3. Flamebird. Let me get this straight; in this universe there IS a Bette Kane, but she has NEVER been BatHyphenGirl? Flamebird met the pre-Cyborg Teen Titans, but did she have adventures with Batman and Robin, and Bat (Kathy Kane) Woman? Titans West may not have included the most star-studded line-up of super characters, but as (give your favorite personal example here) has shown, a good creative team can find a way. I can understand DC wanting to keep the name Flamebird, but giving it to Bette is really stretching the point too far.
    4. I disagree about Ty’s portrait of Max. I think there is just too much empty space in the picture. It’s a lovely drawing of a desk, if you like that sort of thing, but Ty got have conveyed the insouciance of Max better with a tighter focus on him, not so much of his boring office.
    5. Who sang the theme to Xum’s Who? It was very good. They have a voice made for comic books.
    6. The F & W Podcast toy line. Will the second round feature any of the OHOTMU girls? Asking for a friend.

    1. The shortsighted folks at Kenner short-packed the Cindy figure, making it look like the toy didn’t sell. Hence, the oHOTmu girls were never put into production, despite prototypes being shown at Toy Fair.


  20. Excellent episode once again from the Dynamic Duo of Pretending Not to Like Each Other Very Much. However, I must offer one correction: the title of my new YouTube Channel is “Kalibak and I…Vampire!”
    (Kalibak voiced by Rob Kelly, Vampire Vocals provided by Xum Yukinori)
    As to the actual Who’s Who issue, I’m sad to say I don’t have a copy of this issue yet, but based on your gallery, I’ll chime in with this:
    1) I actually don’t like that Despero page at all. It’s by a great artist, sure, but Despero looks like he’s relieving himself on a planet. (Keeping it classy, I know)
    2) That Newsboy Legion page, however, is, as you both said, downright amazing.
    Thanks for 3 hours and 2 minutes of “fun!”

  21. And also! Xum’s Woozy Winks page is the GREATEST THING EVER! I really need a printed copy of the Xum’s Who in my house.

  22. • Booster Gold- Booster is such a great character, one of DC’s better post-Crisis creations. I wish they’d give him a monthly again. Dan Jurgens is free, now that he’s off the Superman titles.

    • Captain Boomerang- Why don’t *I* remember being in a movie with Minnie Driver? I think I’d remember that? Especially if she used her natural accent. 😉

    • Changeling- Much like MANY pictures of ME from this era, the mullet dates EVERYTHING. Ugh.
    I bet Rob much feel very much at home when he watches old Twilight Zone episodes and they refer to “Ro-Butts”.

    • Deadline- I battle this guy every week at work. Such is the fate of Super Graphic Designer. Sigh.

    • Despero- Who’s this Adam Hughes guy? Was Len Wein busy this week?

    • Flamebird- I would’ve bought an 80s/90s era Nightwing & Flamebird mini-series starring Dick Grayson and Betty Kane. Just sayin’.

    • Hawkworld- I love the Silver Age Hawkman but he has suffered as a character ever since post-Crisis. What are we on now…the 5th or 6th hard reboot of Hawkman since post-Crisis?

    1) Hawkworld
    2) Zero Hour
    3) Johns/Robinson
    5) New 52
    6) Dark Nights:Metal

    4) Wasn’t Jim Starlin supposed to tell us everything we knew about Hawkman was wrong but then editorial and New 52 got in the way?

    • I, Vampire- House of Mystery was always one of those comics that I’d buy when nothing else looked good. Can’t go home empty handed. I only wish I had bought more of them (and Sgt. Rock and Jonah Hex). They never disappointed.

    • Katana- According to the cover of the recent TPB “Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 2”, Katana is the break-out star of the Outsiders. So there’s that. Much love here for BATO. I was disappointed at first when it replaced Brave and the Bold, but soon grew to love the title. One of my favorites of the era.

    • King Faraday- I was first introduced to King Faraday via Wolfman & Perez on “New Teen Titans”. The stories in “Showcase” are just reprints of the ones in “Danger Trail” IIRC

    • Laurel Gand- I think it’s pronounced K’Hunds. Not Kuh-Whoons.

    • Max Lord- Never liked this douche. So glad he disappeared from the Supergirl show.

    • Metamorpho- A Silver Age favorite of mine. But weirdly I’ve never been interested in the majority of his solo appearances outside of that era or guest spots in The Brave and the Bold. I guess it all boils down to the creative team for me on Rex Mason.

    • Metron- It may be blasphemy but sometimes I think “What if Jack Kirby NEVER created The New Gods”? Because for fringe characters from “The Fourth World” DC seems to like to use them an awful lot in everything they do.

    • Mordru- Mordru was the first Legion villain I encountered back in “Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes” #245, which was a few months prior to his appearances on the infamous “Legends/Roast of the Super-Heroes” specials.

    • Mud Pack- There were only 5 Major Bat-Villains in the ’66 TV series: Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler and Mr Freeze. Others like False Face, Clock King, and Zelda may have been adapted from stories in the comics but they were never major in the first place.

    • Newsboy Legion- I myself hated being a paper boy. Lots of deadbeats on my route. Ugh.

    • Secret Six- I remember their stint in “Action Comics Weekly” as one of the features I actually enjoyed. All the covers were nice though.

    • Starman- Ugh. I’m so thankful for Jack Knight.

  23. Because Who’s Who has covered a lot of these characters before, I think I’ve said my peace on most of them. So what’s left?

    Deadline: Stole some costuming from Gangbuster, but even José Delgado decided against the armored jock strap.

    Despero: That MAY be his first appearance, Rob. His retconned first, with Black Canary part of the team, but no Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman.

    Hawkworld: Not a huge fan of the Hawkworld mini-series that rebooted the Hawks, but I did like the ongoing series where they were cops on an exchange program in Chicago. Their retcon to explain the classic Hawks being in Invasion etc. was… believable if not entirely convincing. It’s when they abandoned this for a Native America/Hawk avatar concept that everything went wrong.

    I… Vampire: Not Sutton’s only entry, we still have Hacker Files to go. Great main image. The New52 series was pretty cool too.

    Laurel Gand: Who’s Who and the 2996 Legion DC Heroes RPG sourcebook had a LOT of background told for the fist time, either to cover the five missing years, or as in this case, the character’s entire history. Cheating? I don’t think so because the 5YL Legion had a lot of text pieces, so these feel of a piece.

    Maxima: With Swan doing Ocean Master in issue 1, it’s really weird that he insists on putting her under water. What kind of clauses did Swan have in his contract? (Yes, I know there’s an aquatic scene in her first appearance.)

    Mother Box: When they decided to create a Technology category, they had to justify it with a certain number of entries. That’s how they got the Bug and Mother Box (though she did get an entry in the original too).

    Mudpack: This storyline is when I finally started buying Batman comics with any frequency.

    Newsboy Legion: Interesting that there are two entries in this issue with a blue and yellow hero and an image straddling two eras. I recently posted a Krypto entry on my blog that shows the Whiz Wagon realizing its true potential as the dog whizzes in it.

  24. A version of Clayface II appeared in live action in the “Feat of Clay” episode of the WB “Birds of Prey” series. He was portrayed by Kirk Baltz. While he resembled the Matt Hagen version of the character, his actual name was not revealed and his origin was different…

    The character’s son had the ability to turn people he touched into breakable clay statues — essentially a live-action version of Clayface III…

  25. Laurel Gand’s entry isn’t the only one with a miscolored category bar; Maxwell Lord IV’s is also, only reversed: red, even though he’s supporting cast. Also, according to JLI#4, Page 1, Max had a birthday this past Sunday (Apr 1, same as Mxyzptlk and George McFly)

  26. Another excellent episode, gents. I’m honored that you pegged me for a fictional Mudpack blog—I absolutely worshiped that story arc. I love villain team-ups, I love the Clayfaces (Clayfii?), and Wagner/Breyfogle is probably my all-time favorite Batman creative team. Funny bit of trivia: I wrote my college thesis on the history of Batman as a pop culture icon (no lie), and when I was in the editing phase, I labeled various drafts of the essay “Clayface I,” “Clayface II,” etc. I think the final version was “Clayface IX.” (And yes, I got a passing grade, even though the sociology prof who was one of the evaluators complained I didn’t focus enough on the movies. But it was the year of “Batman and Robin,” so eff him.)

    Sorry, I must be the only one who doesn’t love that drawing of Flamebird. Kevin Maguire (my former improv-comedy classmate, if I may brag) is a great artist, but her piggy nose ruins it for me.

    Agree with Shag that the black-and-red Will Payton costume is better than the PB&J one. And see my response to Chris Franklin above re: proper Starman numbering: At the time Payton was either III or V, post-Robinson he was probably VI, post–DC reboots I have no earthly idea.

    Yes, Rob, in that drawing, Flash is flying, not running. What bothers me more is the headshot on the opposite side, where his cranium looks excessively large and it’s like the Flash as hyperevolved man from the future. (Or maybe it’s the shadow in the inking.)

    Nerdy fact-check: The foot in last issue’s Geo-Force picture belonged to Heatstroke, not Heatwave (who is a Flash villain, of course), as Shag said.

    Incidentally, you asked who’s the biggest Bat-villain who’s yet to appear in live action. Good question. The ’60s show covered only six of the comic villains: Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler, Mr. Freeze, and Mad Hatter (though False Face had been in one comic story, and Killer Moth was in that Batgirl test film). The Burton/Schumacher series added Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Bane; the Nolan movies added Scarecrow, Ra’s, and (spoiler!) Talia. Harley, Croc, and Deadshot were in Suicide Squad, or so I’ve been told. But then it seems like Gotham has worked in everyone else (I’m not sure, I gave up after one season). Has Man-Bat been in live action? Cluemaster? Dr. Phosphorus? The Eraser? We’re scraping the barrel here…

    1. Good one; I don’t think he has. I remember reading something several years ago that imagined the Ventriloquist in a Nolan movie, played by Robin Williams, which would have been excellent (alas). Williams had a magic touch playing crazy people with an undercurrent of anger, which is exactly what would have made that character work in the Nolanverse.

  27. And the hits keep on coming. I appreciated you giving the “normal” excellent coverage and discussion of the issue, just sprinkling in the wacky bits for April 1st. “Blowing Deadlines.” Oh man, I was driving and almost had to pull over from laughing so hard! Thank you, Shag!

    So much great artwork. Lyle’s Deadline. Hughes’ Despero. Maguire’s Flamebird. Giffen’s Laurel Gand. Templeton’s Max. Adam’s Mordru. Freakin Breyfogle’s Mud Pack. Kesel’s Newsboy Legion. My comic collecting was at its peak in this era, so lots of fond memories. So good.

    Will Payton is my Starman. This costume is good, but I still prefer the PB&J original.

    How did Phoenix end up in Who’s Who? Oh, that’s Maxima. Right. She always looked more like Phoenix than Mera to me. Maybe it was George Perez’s original designs that did it, and the wing-like cape and gold boots. But when Rob mentioned it, it’s true Maxima did spend a lot of time underwater for no real reason.

    Thank goodness lawn mowing season is coming so I’ll have more time for these episodes. 3 freakin hours! Sheesh! Loved it, but SHEESH!

  28. Re Flamebird: she was about to become a semi regular on Hawk & Dove, mostly as Bette, and there was even a Titans West tease in one of the annuals.
    And Maguire did some cover and internal art down the line

  29. Deadline – He joined a bunch of other DC assassins in a group called the Killer Elite. Deadshot and Merlyn went on to better things, and Deadline got shot in the head. (He got better.)

    Despero – He was one of the bad guys in Kurt Busiek’s Trinity weekly, which no one really paid any attention to, since it was running at the same time as Final Crisis.

    Laurel Gand – That’s probably Darkseid’s head, which he had carved into the surface of Daxam in Great Darkness Saga.

    My favorite Bill Loebs story I heard was that he, Don Simpson, and another artist were at a Michigan comic convention, and an aspiring young man came up to them and asked how to break into drawing comics. “Well,” Simpson said, “first you have to be left-handed.” “Really?” the young man asked. “Yes,” replied the second artist, who was also left handed. “It’s true,” Loebs added. “I wanted to be a comic artist, but was right-handed, so ….” and pointed to his missing arm with his pencil. The kid gasped, and they quickly assured him they were just kidding.

    Oh man, Mordru and his Hat in their vaudeville days, that takes me back.

        1. Structurally, it was 3 or 4 different series. The first was that philosophical stuff, then there was the planet where the trinity were god-like beings, and the big crossover event thing where they don’t exist in our world. Each had their pleasures for me.

  30. Let me start off my apologizing to Rob, and other non-gamers, since he’s probably going to go to sleep with this message.

    Hearing you guys talk about the problem with the labels (Hero, Villain, etc) on the Binder Issues of Who’s Who struck a cord with me. I played the West End Games Star Wars RPG for a long time. (A long time.) Part of what I liked about this was that it wasn’t a “Class and Level” game, meaning that your character was the sum of it’s skills. Later on, when Wizards of the Coast took over the game, they made it “Class and Level”, which always bugged me.

    Here’s my reasoning: What “Class” is Han Solo? Soldier, since he used to be an Imperial Officer and became a Rebellion General? Scoundrel for being s Smuggler? Fringer, since he was often on the outside of normal society? It really doesn’t work. The same applies here, such as with Catwoman, who goes back and forth, or the Pied Piper, who was a villain then reformed.

    It would have made more sense, in my mind, to either not do any labels or, if they had to, create “families”. All the Batman related entries are blue, all the Superman related ones are yellow, all the Flash are red, etc. They could have had a “catch-all” for those, like Starman, who are really stand alone. Anything would have been better than forcing characters into a label just to have a color code on the page.

    1. Rob may be asleep, but stories like this make me wish Hero Points could sometimes range beyond DC’s superhero games and become a proper (but still not nuts an bolts) role-playing podcast. Like you, class/level is not my preference (which is why superhero games have cropped up so often in my gaming life), though it can be fun in certain contexts. Star Wars really isn’t one of them. And “Supernatural”, if it’s a “class”, doesn’t really work, as we’ve seen. I like your categories (not far from what they did with Legion, LEGION and Doom Patrol).

      1. WEG Star Wars, Marvel Superheroes, and Pendragon are all games that solidified my stance against “Class and Level” games. Not that I don’t still play them, but I lean heavily toward characters as a sum of their skills/abilities as opposed to “I’ve killed enough goblins, so my lockpicking skills are now better.”

        As to Hero Points, I guess we’ll have to rely on Dr. G and the Pulp to Pixel guys to carry the more general RPG podcasting load. If the conversation he and I had the other night is any indication, there’s plenty for them to cover. 🙂

        1. As for me, the games I’ve most run have played in both camps:
          AD&D type stuff (campaign went from homebrew to Arcanum to AD&D 2nd): class/level
          DC Heroes: No
          Dream Park: class/level, but it’s a meta-element
          GURPS: No
          Paranoia: No (haha as if you’re gonna survive the session)
          Savage Worlds: class/level
          Doctor Who (DWAITAS): No

          I’ve played other things, but these would be the main ones.

          1. Here are the main ones that I’ve played/ran:

            Class & Level:
            Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition
            Adventures Dark & Deep (written by my friend Joe Bloch)

            WEG Star Wars
            Marvel Superheroes

  31. Like Rob, I was delighted by the Curt Swan / Brett Breeding Maxima piece. I’ve become a big fan of Swan’s over the last several and, while I begrudgingly understand Rob & others’ point about his work looking so outdated by the late ’80s/early ’90s, I still adore seeing his art – especially when it gets a good reaction out of the “naysayers.” Was also delighted with Karl Kesel’s Newsboy Legion page (he was a great inker but I really enjoyed his rare pencil art), and like Rob my eye for whatever reason went right toward that newspaper headline as well. I swear, I’m not a German National Socialist. O_o

    Regarding Metron – and btw, one of my favorite parts of this Who’s Who is that New Gods show up ALL OVER this looseleaf series – something you didn’t touch on much is his overall status in the 4th World, which perhaps ties into your glum view of him. He’s absolutely an outsider amongst his own people – a Watcher who meddles, and not always for good, but always in the pursuit of knowledge. As a result he comes across as a sometimes noble / sometimes noxious figure, but folks from Kirby to Byrne to Simonson have moreorless stayed true to the character’s design. Even Starlin, who despite his equally noxious DEATH OF THE NEW GODS “culling” gave Metron maybe the best death we could’ve possibly hope for: as he meets his fate he declares “I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’ve finally seen enough.”

    ….perhaps my defense of Metron comes from the fact that, at times, I’ve felt like a sort of Metron figure – a Watcher of New Gods comics both good and OH BOY not good (who meddled, even! I was amongst a credited few who helped behind the scenes during Walt’s ORION run). Just without the sweet green chair that lets me float over others and judge them in silence. And not as smart. Oh and less noxious, obviously…..right?? O_o

  32. Well done gentlemen. I do have to say that I’m surprised Rob hasn’t gotten more grief for joking about having a 45 minute show and then delivering the longest episode in recent memory. Anyway, my quick thoughts.

    1. The kablam moment of the issue may be this first entry of Booster Gold. Great Jurgens art and I loved using a split image to denote the “man of two times” bit. I know I get mocked for my love of Jericho (a cross I’m happy to bear), but Booster is a character I truly love. His original series is one of the first that I collected to completion, and I actually refer to my comic book room as Reilleau towers, Booster’s base of operations in that original run. In keeping with that motif, and with the help of my incredibly patient math teacher wife, I painted one wall with Booster’s emblem. The wall was featured years ago on this blog

    2. I’m also a big fan of Changling, as I am of all the Titans, although even I can’t spin the mullet in a positive way. Grummett’s art is enjoyable, though, especially in the bottom right picture (hey, look! A Jericho cameo!) For the record, Gar Logan will always be Changling to me. We do not speak about Titans Hunt, though, Shag.

    3. I know this shocks and surprises everyone, but I preferred Despero when his fin ran parallel with his shoulders. In any form, though, he is a classic JLA villain and should be used again in current continuity.

    4. As a Titans fan, I wholeheartedly endorse the Flamebird character. Maguire’s art is just gravy (sexy, sexy gravy). The Titans have so many great characters and secondary heroes like Bette don’t get enough love.

    5. Flash- Sorry, Shag, but I agree with Rob on this one. Flash is definitely flying.

    6. Like most characters who appeared in it, I…Vampire’s best appearance is in the brilliant Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality story. Andrew Bennett’s original stories from House of Mystery have also been collected and make for an enjoyable, if largely forgettable, read.

    7. It never occurred to me the King Faraday’s name was a play on the “King for a day” phrase. Who says this show isn’t educational?

    8. This entry was my first exposure to Maxima and the bubbles on the front image always threw me. I went for awhile assuming that she was an Aquaman villain despite reading the text at the time. It’s an interesting test of whether you are a visual learner or an auditory one.

    9. This is my Maxwell Lord! Definitely egocentric, but not a villain. He would have become a far bigger player in the DC universe, in my opinion, if they continued his redemption story instead of having him not only revert to his old ways but devolve into a full on villain before being killed by Wonder Woman.

    10. The front page art for Metamorpho, Metron, and Mordru are all just breathtaking. I’m still underwhelmed by the loose-leaf editions, but I have to admit that they can deliver on the art front in a way that the original run couldn’t.

    11. The Newsboy Legion and the Secret Six are concepts I like a whole lot despite not ever really having read any of their stories.

    12. Since the last time he came up on the podcast, I’ve read the Will Payton’s Starman series, and I have to admit that Shag was right! The series was quite good, although it was clearly running out of steam right before it ended.

    Anyway, it’s good to see y’all back to a semi-regular schedule. I’ll tune back in next month.

  33. I need to make a comment about Norm Breyfogle, I also know that I may get blasted. I think he is an amazing artist, especially during his Batman days. However, I think his entries in Who’s Who were TERRIBLE! It looks like he just phoned those entries in. They look unfinished and they are missing some elements. I remember being super excited for the Batman entry and was sadly disappointed. The Mudpack was a great storyline, but an awful entry.

    I agree that that the Starman entry is fantastic. However, since I am from Arizona, there was no way I was gonna read a book about some noob from Tucson. That place is a DUMP and a half and the people there are like Floridians, methy. (I’ve been harassing congressmen for years to try and return the Gadsden Purchase to Mexico). He did however, come to his senses and relocate to Phoenix, but that didn’t help his book sales.

    Karl Kesel is amazing, just wait until the Punch and Jewlee entry. Hi-larious.

  34. “Despero seeking Sue Dibney”?

    That’s not a bad idea Shagg – better than my idea of a podcast combining Despero with a Teri Hatcher podcast entitled “Depero’s Housewives!”

    Some comments on the characters highlighted:

    Booster Gold – great listing. Is it me though, but when Dan Jurgens wrote Booster in the period from his first series to the post-Infinite Crisis/52 series, he tended to write him as a bit of a jerk? In Superman, Justice League America, a fill-in on Green Lantern, Booster never really came across well in Dan’s writing. Maybe he didn’t have the space to develop him in those stories like he did in his own series, but my impression was that Booster was not treated well in those tales.

    Captain Boomerang: Another great listing. All of the history in that listing was taken from his upcoming solo issue in Suicide Squad that came out that month or the month after.

    Despero: Can’t wait for Shagg to cover the Despero storyline in the JLI podcast as it was one of the strongest storylines in the Giffen/deMatteis run, with awesome art by Adam Hughes.

    Flash: While everyone raves the Waid run (which is an excellent run; however a recent re-read does show that whiny Wally was not shelved to the bin after the Return of Barry Allen storyline – he came up a lot thereafter), it was the Messner-Loebs run which got me into the character and made him much less of a money-grabbing idiot that he was when he first started out in the Baron run).

    Hawkworld – excellent series. The first 25 issues of the title was an excellent run by Ostrander and Nolan and would make an excellent omnibus with the original mini-series.

    I Vampire – would echo the comment above about the New 52 series – that was an excellent series that was cut too quickly.

    Maxima – another future JLA member. She was interesting as a hero in that period. I believe they turned her back into a villain in the superman series subsequent to Extreme Justice being cancelled.

    Max Lord – Great listing and Templeton drawing. Maximum Force was the name Max Lord came up with himself in JLA 41

    Metamorpho – Would highly recommend the 1992(?) miniseries by Waid and Nolan – great art and a great Indiana Jones type storyline which brought Rex all around the world.

    Mud Pack – Great storyline in Detective Comics.

    Anyway, need to think of a theme song for the new podcast – how about “Depero-cito”? 😉

  35. Hey guys, I’m way behind, but am about an hour into the episode. You guys just discussed Hawkworld. I only read the series in 2014, having missed all of the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over the reboot. So I approached it on its own terms without the context of the time, and frankly I really enjoyed it.

    As far as being so caught up in its own continuity, I’ll grant you that. But again, when I was doing my read-through, that was just fine because I was not interested in the other DCU stuff going on.

    I do find it odd that the entry is “Hawkworld,” when it should be “Thanagar.” The term “hawkworld” was a recurring theme in the series, referring to a planet where the strong prey upon the weak. Thanagar was specifically a hawkworld, and Earth had a lot of traits of one, although Katar and Chayera discovered many differences between the planets.

    I did a blogpost summarizing my thoughts on the series which can be found here:


  36. Another great episode. Sorry I’m so late chiming in: it’s taken me a while to have the chance to listen to this episode.

    One thing I had forgotten about with this version of Who’s Who was that it had the room in the text to add character moments and tidbits to the entries that couldn’t make the cut in the original format. A lot of these helped give a more well-rounded bio of the characters, allowing for nuance and personality. When it originally came out, it transformed them from cookie cutter super-heroes/villains into individuals. This was especially true for characters in books I wasn’t reading (I was 11 – I couldn’t get every DC comic).

    Laurel Gand & Maxwell Lord – Re: color mess-ups: I got the second printing of this issue (yes, it went back to print), and when they did that reprint, they fixed the color errors. So when I got issue #16, I wound up with exactly identical repeats of these pages.

    Metamorpho is a part of the new, excellent The Terrifics series.

    Metron – I have the same problem with him that I have with other “high intellect” characters like The Thinker, Brainiac, etc. I hate the idea that the higher the intellect, the less emotional they are. Especially when there are so many studies that strongly suggest higher intellect corresponds with more compassion and empathy. Can we please give this “emotionless thinker” trope a rest?

    Mud Pack – I liked the idea that the villains had legacies like the heroes. Too often the multiple versions of villains stem from the writers/editors not remembering if a previous version was dead or not. The Mud Pack was one of those few instances where they seemed to embrace the various versions. Though not long after this they would muddy the waters with Claybaby, Claything, Ultimate Clayface, etc.

    Secret Six – I have wondered if Bruce Wayne had a city ordnance passed in Gotham that forbade medical advancements through technology. How else can you explain how these Mort characters ran around with fake legs and epilepsy-negating tiaras while Barbara Gordon remained in a wheelchair?

    Finally, are there any other places besides iTunes to leave a review? I’m not part of that cult, and won’t join it (I listen to your podcast through MusicBee).

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