It's the third issue of WHO'S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE featuring Alfred Pennyworth, Brainiac, Brainiac 5, Count Vertigo, Deadman, Deadshot, Gorilla Grodd, Green Lantern, Ice, Madame Xanadu, and more! Plus YOUR Listener Feedback!
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54 responses to “Who’s Who in the DC Universe #3”
Let give you some sugar first by saying how much I enjoyed this episode. It always feels like an eternity between episodes. That kitana banana sounds as freshly annoying the eighth time as it did the first!
Looking forward to next episode, when you cover a real hero of the DCU – not some lame ass.
To clarify – that “lameass” being Hal Jordan
Hey gents, great restrained episode. I just want to comment on Rebis appearing in Doom Patrol TV. The character is an evolution of Larry Trainer as Negative Man, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if it was a change they introduce once they have a few seasons under their belts. I just hope the show doesn’t suck like DCLoT does now.
You’ll have to excuse me, gentlemen, but I’m really thrown by being so early in the list of replys. I’m used to being in the last quarter of responses, so this is a new experience for me. I know it is only a day old, but hopefully you didn’t scare everyone away with your comments about how much we commented on the last episode. Anyway, just a few thoughts:
1. Congrats on your special guest status with Baltimore Comic Con. I can only hope that you remember us little guys as you are out doing the convention circuit.
2. I’m surprised that neither of you brought this up, but the reason Bruce is without his cape and cowl in that wonderful Alfred entry is because the butler is carrying the clothing item away on his tray. Luckily, the entry wasn’t drawn by Todd McFarlane, or Alfred might have thrown his back out. Also, as a complete aside, this entry really makes me want to attempt to customize an Alfred action figure out of a Super Powers Joker figure, since apparently the two have similar fashion tastes.
3. The Brainiac 5 entry was serviceable at best. The character has been a fun addition to the CW Supergirl series as of late, though.
4. Shag, I’ve admittedly never been to Britain, but I’m 100% confident that you are the first person in all of history to use the phrase, “chalk and cheese.” Sorry, brother, but it just isn’t a thing.
5. The real star of this issue were some stellar logos. Ice’s was simple, but pitch perfect, and I loved the reverse shadow effect with Rebis. This is definitely a lost art form and comics are poorer for it.
6. I’ll continue with my contrarian spirit. First of all, Shag, I’ve warned you about mentioning Titans Hunt. It didn’t happen. Period. End of Story. Second of all, I completely disagree with you about the Madame Xanadu Vertigo series. Much like the Phantom Stranger, Madame X is a character who works best when her origins are shrouded in mystery. At the risk of having Tom King sue me for gimmick infringement, “Madame Xanadu is”, and that is all you need to know.
7. The Manga Khan “error”: I’m not so sure. Yes, the entry is labeled Manga Khan, but the entry itself reads like a joint entry (like Gunner and Sarge or Punch and Jewelee entries in previous entry). I really believe that the second paragraph under powers and weapons is about Lron, especially since it is LRon and not Manga who was the pacifist. So, yes, there is an error, but it is in not labeling the entry “Manga Khan and LRon”, not confusing the two characters in this one spot.
8. I feel like the New Guardians are characters I should really like, but I’ve never read anything with these characters in it (actually this isn’t true. I read Millennium, but I’ve suppressed that bit of trauma). I’ve also decided to track down the issues Kadaver appears in and make him my new favorite villain.
If you are asking, my favorite entries this issue (solely from an art standpoint, mind you) were Gorilla Grodd, Silver Swan, and Speedy.
Anyway, I’ll look forward to the next one.
‘Chalk and Cheese’ is totally a saying in the UK and even in the colonies, though it means things that are incompatible rather than complimentary. So Shag is still an idiot.
I was talking about Ice and Guy Gardner as a couple. While we fans might like that pairing, those two are completely incompatible. Therefore, I stand by my usage of Chalk and Cheese! Dang, I was right for once!!
The commonest form of a chalk and cheese idiom is: X and Y are as alike as chalk and cheese, meaning that they are not alike at all. It is kind of the opposite of “as alike as two peas”. The first recorded use of a chalk and cheese idiom comes from the middle fourteenth century (so, it is slightly before my time), but I have heard it in English movies from before the war (WWII).
Shag is entirely correct. I make that twice this year.
Look at Shag, being all edumuhcated!
Correct: I’ve heard in Canada.
Anj, I did make an Alfred from a Super Powers Joker for the very same reason! I even used a Lex Luthor head, so Alfred is constantly scowling at Master Bruce!
Just a quick note regarding Starman (Will Payton).. I don’t know if they have plans for bringing this great character back, but in Metal (issue 1 I think), they show Will in the later black costume…
Hopefully he’ll show up
And now that I’m on my laptop, I can post some more comments…
So it seems between Shag and Phylemon, you guys have some things wrong.
1) Joey aka Jericho was awesome… Not as happy with this New52 usage but during Wolfman/Perez’s run… Awesomesauce…..
2) Titans Hunt. A great story line. Might have went on a little long, but it started off strong…. I have problems with Joey being the main villain and being killed, but that’s because.. well, see #1.
3) I agree with both of you liking the name Changeling…. Going back to Beast Boy, seems like a step back to me.
Since you both love Will Payton, we need to get you two on the same page of being right… you’re both a little right, a little wrong…. See things my way, and we’re good to go.
Also, Phylemon… check out my Starman/Manhunter Adventure Hour and let me know what you think. There I cover the Will Payton Starman….
And for more on Count Vertigo see upcoming episodes of Task Force X. 8)
Congrats on being guests at the con. Is there some formal thing happening? Panel about podcasts and social media?
I am glad the 5YL Legion is getting such a push here. As Shag said, LSH #12 was out this month is a huge issue in that run. It includes my favorite moment in that series, with Element Lad saying the Legion needs to spare Roxxas despite his crimes. (Feel free to find my discussion about it on the Super-bloggers sire as well as my questions to Giffen about that very moment). Just brilliant. I like the Brainy picture the best. Cham becoming a bull seems like a bunch a bull to me. Why have him becomes something as mundane as cattle? As for Spider-Girl, I’ll need to look back at the issues. I know that she was skulking in the catacombs for a while. She definitely wasn’t a big member by issue #12. She wasn’t even in the team poster in issue #13, so you know this was advance planning by the creative team.
I was ready to hear you guys talk up Kestrel as a key part of the tremendous Hawk & Dove book. No such luck. I get the Liefeld pain … but Kestrel rules.
I have always liked Jade. Sort of the ‘girl next door’, Betty of Infinity Inc. She was the GL equivalent in Robinson’s legacy League before the New 52. I like that run a lot more than most.
The Rebis page is great and I definitely like the white stripe which was the cover motif on the book at the time. Love the Morrison run as a whole so can’t wait to see the rest of the pages.
And yes, there is something that just doesn’t jibe with the Silver Swan page. Thompson and Perez is like asparagus and ice cream, two great things that just don’t work together. I loved the Sienkiewicz one from the original as that had the sort of beautiful/ugliness contrast you need in this tormented character.
A couple of thoughts:
Green Lantern: I’m with Rob, the anatomy is weird. Considering we’re both artists and you’re not Shag, we win.
Speedy: Tom Grummet was like George Perez in many ways. Just as Perez could draw an adult Dick Grayson in the classic Robin costume and make it look cool, Grummet does the same for Speedy here. And now I’ll never be able to see this entry without imagining Batman and Robin leaping from the roof just seconds before!
Brainiac: I REALLY didn’t care for Milton Fine as Brainiac, from his original Svengoolie look to his hideous bald/ponytail pink radiation suit design. We gave up the awesome Super Powers era look for THAT? When we got to this look, NOW we were getting somewhere. “Panic in the Sky” is a GREAT Superman storyline, and I always associate this look with that series. The Superman titles at high-tide.
Kestrel: I will admit I liked Liefeld’s art on the Hawk and Dove mini, when he was reined in by Kesel’s inks, but by the time Who’s Who came around, he was fully formed into his EXTREME self, so yeah….this is awful. The portraits on the back where no one has pupils is disturbing.
Gorilla Grodd: Art Adams is to gorillas what Bernie Wrightson was to decaying corpses. A master. DC Direct based their later Gorilla Grodd figure directly on this image. He even came with the same accessories!
Magna Khan: I know Shag doesn’t want to hear this, but I never really got into these characters. Whenever JLI focused too heavily on them I kind of checked out. This entry isn’t helping matters. Sorry.
Kadaver: It’s kind of odd that he gets an entry, but the Grant/Breyfogle team was hot stuff on the Batman titles at the time, so anything they created was up for grabs. Kadaver was obsessed with death, so he would often stage these elaborate death scenes to shock and horrify his stooge that we see here. He always reminded me of Drac from the Groovie Goolies meets Vincent Price from Theater of Blood.
New Guardians: When I saw what the “real” chosen looked like, I wanted my money back on Millennium even more than before!
Fun show as always fellas! Thanks for making the Tuesday back to work after a long weekend bearable!
Oh, and Sinbad by Curt Swan: At this point, I give up. Rob and I agree on a lot of things, but Swan just isn’t one of them. I think it’s a nice, not great entry for an unfortunately forgettable character. I think creating a young Middle Eastern hero was a nice move by DC, but he doesn’t even rate a footnote in Superman history.
I will say this is a much better outing for Swan than Ocean Master, which was admittedly kind of weak, but I think Who’s Who early washed-out coloring didn’t help.
Agreed on the Hal Jordan anatomy. The legs don’t seem to have the proper foreshortening so he looks like he’s supremely top-heavy. I’ll even make an Alpha Flight reference to illustrate my point: remember Box (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Roger_Bochs_(Earth-616))? Hal Jordan looks like the human-proportioned equivalent of Box.
Make no mistake: I love me some Pat Broderick, but these proportions are a bit off.
It’s not Magna! It’s Manga! Like the Japanese comics! You’ve been affected by Shagg’s word virus!
One more comment about Brainiac, or more specifically Panic in the Sky.
Yes Panic in the Sky is great. But it was one more bullet in the gut for Supergirl fans.
Think of the history for the Supergirl of that time:
Matrix from pocket universe, protoplasmic being
In care of Kents as Mae, featureless, childish, traumatized
Shapeshifts and takes over role of Clark during Superman Exile, comes to believe she is Clark
Fights Clark and banishes herself to space
Then in Panic in the Sky, brainwashed to become Brainiac lackey …
But Panic In The Sky was the first time I felt *this* Brainiac was approaching old Brainiac threat levels. And it did have a crossover feel to it.
It’s also the first place Matrix Supergirl really started to come back into being Supergirl. She had a rocky path until David’s run, but I bought the entire saga because Supergirl was there and she did a lot of good stuff by the run’s end.
• Alfred Pennyworth: I’m glad I’m not the only one who prefers the Alfred that’s a former Shakespearean actor as opposed to the modern former black ops guy. Sarcastic Alfred did indeed start with TDKR. Frank Miller patterned him after Sir John Gielgud’s character from “Arthur”.
• Apokolips: Are there ANY issues of Who’s Who that don’t have at least one Kirby 4th World entry?
• Black Racer: I’d like to formally announce a new addition to the F&W family of podcast…
“Back to the Bed: An Extensive Look at The Black Racer”
• Brainiac: I’ve always preferred the original Silver Age/Challenge of the Superfriends version, followed by the pre-Crisis/Super Powers revamp. The Milton Fine reboot just made the character…messy. Kinda like the unnecessary changes made to Hawkman.
• Brainiac 5: I think Brainy’s 1st appearance was the Legion’s 6th appearance. The math gets fuzzy early on. Weren’t Supergirl and Brainiac 5 inducted (together) before Superboy, even though the story appeared afterward? Either way though, he’s the 11th member of the LSH.
• Count Vertigo: DC should have rebooted him as the host of an anthology title under the Vertigo imprint. Seems like a natural.
• Deadman: Hands down my favorite version of Deadman is the one drawn by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (PBHN), even more so than Neal Adams, who basically defined the character. JLGL’s Deadman popping up in Adventure Comics or DC Comics Presents is what originally made me a fan of Boston Brand. Jim Aparo’s version wasn’t bad either.
• Deadshot: Floyd Lawton is a perfect example that there aren’t bad characters. Before Englehart and Rogers worked their magic he was a one-shot character left behind. If they hadn’t, John Ostrander wouldn’t have probably used him in Suicide Squad and Will Smith would’ve made one less movie. Which might not have been a bad thing…
• Gorilla Grodd: IMO DC Comics is leaving money on the table by not having an Art Adams drawn Super-Ape Team-Up comic. Grodd! Titano! Congorilla! Gorilla Boss! Monsieur Mallah! Beppo!
• Kadaver: Even though I was buying the books occasionally at this time, I’m not really a fan of the Bat-characters created in this era…Especially in retrospect.
• Manga Khan: Characters like this is where the JLI bwah-ha-ha era started to lose me. I HATED Manga Khan and L-Ron.
• New Guardians: I bought the 1st issue of New Guardians and that was one issue too many.
• Regis: I could tolerate him on Who Want to Be A Millionaire but other than that I’ve never cared for his antics.
• Reep Daggle: Listing the LSH characters under their real names just doesn’t work.
• Sinbad: Anyone remember when he was on “A Different World”?
• Speedy: Speedy AND Nightwing actually DO the Infantino/Anderson rooftop thing on the cover of
Action Comics Weekly #618.
• Spider-Girl: Marvel never had issue with this name? They went after Filmation for Web Woman if I recall.
>• Sinbad: Anyone remember when he was on “A Different World”?
Sure. And how about when he starred in that genie movie, “Shazaam”?
Sinbad never starred in a movie called Shazaam. It’s a case of collective memories being incorrect.
Shaquille O’Neal starred in Kazaam, and somehow no one can tell him and Sinbad apart.
A) The Alfred entry is fine. It’s always tough to get excited about supporting players, and Eric Shanower’s mild mannered art doesn’t quicken the pulse. I usually like Paris Cullins, but the Apokolips entry also just lands on “fine.” I never felt he brought the right energy to New Gods, and you need more pizzazz for fascist cosmic hell. I always found Silver Surfer a tough sell, but Steve Lightle demonstrates that even the best artists can’t pull off “death as an Alpine skier.”
B) Kerry Gammill is vastly underrated, surely due to his low productivity, but his Brainiac piece is nice. Logo looks good, but doesn’t necessarily suit the character. I couldn’t get into the Milton Fine Brainiac, which came across as trading in the original Ultron only to drive off the lot with a second hand Mesmero. Brainiac 5 is one of the great Legionnaires, but you couldn’t tell from Chris Sprouse’s entry art.
C) Chunk. Yeah. I like the perspective on the Count Vertigo entry. I naturally gravitate toward the more heroic looking Deadman because of social programming on the heroic model in power fantasies, but Kelly Jones’ take better reflects the type of presentation that best suits the concept. Deadshot entry wasn’t pretty. These are all characters already discussed in previous episodes, so I’m not compelled to expound upon them again.
D) Art Adams’ Gorilla Grodd is gorgeous, and I’m the happy owner of the DC Direct adaptation Chris Franklin referenced. Hal Jordan’s dimensions are fudged up like a half-melted sundae. The Ice entry is cute,
1) Shag could have saved a lot of trouble by just saying of Ice and Guy “opposites attract” and charmed us with an MC Skat Kat reference, but he just had to play the Whovian anglophile card.
2) For whatever reason; and I think Rob’s lethargy and the comparatively light comments bear this out; but there was an overall sense of “blah” to this edition. I never quite checked into this episode. I’m also going to have to call Shag out on calling me out about Will Payton. I’ve read a few of his solo comics and assorted appearances, and it’s the height of fanboy gatekeeping b.s. to vacate my conviction because I didn’t choose to read more lousy comics about a crappy hero to offer a better informed condemnation of him. Shag’s never read any Gerry Conway or Roy Thomas Wonder Woman stories despite being a fan of the men, but that never stopped him from trashing related Bronze Age entries in the old Who’s Who. “Nuh-uh, poopyhead” is not an effective counter argument for reevaluating that loser.
Fun show, but we need a rule that Rob has to find something to say on every entry. WORK, DAMN YOU!
Oh boy, though, Rob you genius, I want a Darkseid Muppet
Is Yuga Khan related to Manga Khan? Is he Darkseid’s less embarrassing brother?
That Count Vertigo pic is amazing, fantastic depth. We need a story in which Count Vertigo, Sonar and Geo-Force get involved in a Mittle-European war. Have you seen the Count’s current look? Oh dear.
I hate hate HATE skeleton Deadman, it’s an artistic interpretation too far. Boston Brand became Deadman the minute he died, there’s no reason for him to have a rotten, emaciated look. That Deadman Rama Kushna retcon is awful, up there with Grant Morrison’s ruination of the Chief in Doom Patrol.
Brainiac 5 isn’t a descendant of the original, Shag, because the original was an android, who adopted a Coluan boy to seem human-like.
I love that Chunk’s full name is Chester Runk.
Deadshot’s Seventies redesign was amazing but I like his original Mandrake the Magician look. More heroes and villains should strut their stuff in formal wear.
What the heck is going on with Madame Xanadu’s hair, that’s a front mullet! And what’s that splotch on her face?
The Ice entry is all kinds of lovely. I’m off on a cruise up the fjords next week, I shall bring you all back an ice goddess?
I don’t like the presence of speech balloons in the Manga Khan piece and I agree with Rob, the drawing is pretty blah. And here we have the old ‘no logo’ thing, Boring mechanical lettering, yet Rob had a go at the at-least-trying Speedy logo! Mind, I never liked Manga Khan, he should have been an eight-page back-up villain, then gone.
And Shag, if you’re going to have a pop at Arlene Lo, Kevin Dooley deserves a >sigh< too, for getting it wrong in the first place.
Silver Swan. Oh look, George Pérez drew his midlife crisis. Hang on, it seems that the composition is by Jill Thompson. I do apologise. It's still a weak entry, just embarrassing in it's seediness. Swanny and Looker. could have a Vain-Off
I remember Sinbad! He was meant to come back when Chris Roberson took over from (ugh) JMS with a less fun name, but Editorial or someone higher nixed it. Chris Sims over at Comic Alliance had theories.
Oi Shag, New Adventures of Superboy was fantastic fun from Rozakis, Kupperberg and Schaffenberger, imaginative main stories, good subplots and an original girlfriend for Clark!
Weirdly enough, James Robinson spent so much time troubled by the visual change in Deadman’s appearance that he engineered a continuity patch for it. This appeared in the Batman/Deadman Death and Glory ogn. Short version, Batman did it to him.
Oh wow, I must look that up. Ta.
I had seen this Brainiac image somewhere in the mid 1990s, but I am not sure where — although Shag mentioning the Panic In The Sky! trade makes me think it might have been collected in the back of that book. I started reading the Superman titles a little after the Reign of the Supermen, but later went back and filled in some stuff before that, including Panic. As such I have a lot of affection for this version of Brainiac, who has been my favorite Superman villain since I was a little kid (thanks to Galactic Guardians). I very much like the flat, matte black used on his body stocking in this image, which looks strange and is thus eye-catching.
Similarly, the Gorilla Grodd image is familiar to me, specifically him measuring the skull with the calipers. I believe this image was featured in Wizard’s “Dark Book” special edition, which was focused entirely on supervillains. Being published in 1993, the cover features… Carnage. Naturally. 😀
I had never seen the Kestrel image ever before, but I have to say — as someone who never read New Mutants, never read X-Force, never read Youngblood or any other of Rob Liefeld’s self-published books, and first bought a Liefeld comic with New 52 Hawk & Dove #1 — I dig this pin up quite a bit. It captures the character well and Liefeld’s art has always worked better as pin ups rather than sequential, especially back at this time. I liked his work on the New 52 Hawk & Dove for the most part, although his Savage Hawkman covers were nothing special. (Contrary to what I had digitally screamed at me repeatedly for several months in 2012, Liefeld did no interior art on Savage Hawkman.)
Thanks for the fun show guys! Looking forward to more in the future.
I found your discussion of Black Racer as an analogue of the Silver Surfer to be very interesting. Back when I first was reading Marvel comics, I went through a phase where I followed a lot of the cosmic characters like Silver Surfer, Adam Warlock, and Quasar (specifically my comic reading phases 1.2.b – 1.2.f, for anyone who’s curious). I’ve often thought about checking out the New Gods, as they seem to fill a similar niche in the DC universe, but have never gotten around to doing so. Does anyone have any suggestions regarding a good place to start with these characters?
Thank you for another entertaining episode, gentlemen.
This may be an obvious answer, but I think for the New Gods / Fourth World, your best bet is to go back to the Kirby originals. DC recently published a massive Omnibus of the entire saga; you can find it on In Stock Trades at $87 for 1500+ pages of comics.
I have mine coming via In Stock Trade’s associate site DCBS.
That’s one impressive looking book! Thanks for the recommendation.
Eric Shanower did a series of Oz graphic novels for First Comics, and AGE OF BRONZE for Image. (Insert InStockTrades links here)
I like the idea of Brainiac being a title of Coluan honor, although I would modify it a bit so Querl’s the fifth of the Dox line to be awarded it.
Chunk ended up dating Wally’s supermodel ex-girlfriend, so yay for fat guys!
They never did much more than hint that Jade also had her mother’s plant controlling powers.
I like Maguire a lot, but the Madame Xanadu piece screams for either Mike Kaluta or Kelley Jones. She was in the recent Demon miniseries.
Speaking of recent appearances, Manga Khan showed up in the Young Animal Milk Wars crossover.
Still more: even Extrano’s been revived in the Love is Love benefit book.
Not Anj, but I’ll play him on TV. 5YL Spider-Girl showed up in LSH v4 #27, so more than a year in the future.
Before Love is Love, Steve Orlando used Extrano in Midnighter.
I knew I’d seen him somewhere else, thanks.
While I have been absolutely loving this podcast, I feel like such an idiot because I stupidly sold what few loose leaf editions I had as part of a sell off around 1999 or so. I never finished my run or got a notebook, and gave up on finishing it. The 80s Who’s Who was before I started collecting DC so maybe that’s why I didn’t feel an attachment,. As you cover various entries, I’ve been looking them up on your website or checking them out online and there is so much good art, I am kicking myself that I didn’t keep these and complete my set. This era is probably when I was most immersed in DC comics so I don’t know why I didn’t get around to completed the set. But now I am determined to go back and pick them up. Hearing you discuss them is bringing back to many memories…well…hearing Shagg discuss heroes like Starman and Damage is anyways…Rob is less enthusiastic of the particular heroes but his views on the art are still interesting and I do find myself often in agreement. Thank you for inspiring me to go back and search out a complete set.
Oops, I think my comment in reference to Rob was poorly phrased there. I was intending to emphasize how much I enjoy hearing his perspective and opinion on the art in these entries.
E) Jade, huh? Kadaver… who? Kestrel always struck me as the answer to the question “What if you wanted to do Venom, but based on one of Steve Ditko’s worst creations instead of his best one?” I still find Rob Liefeld’s art to be fun, and I think several of the entries so far in this edition would have been a lot more interesting if he’d drawn them (*cough*Deadshot*cough).
F) I have a strong aversion to the Madame Xanadu entry art. I can’t deal with that Trump wet dream Aquanet crow’s nest hair; the windchimes in a tropical storm earrings; the triangle hands with the Charles Schultz penis tips; the dangling scalloped Vampirwhatevers on her arms; the vague resemblance to John Belushi… which only serves to remind me that this thing is like Kevin Maguire’s personal 1941.
G) I’m still trying to pinpoint the malaise cast by this edition, and Update ’88 alum Manga Khan is helping to get me there. I’m not wild about dialogue balloons in the entry art, and this character was always a bridge too far into outright lame Brand Echh parody (which is partly why I dropped JLI after the first issue of his debut arc.) Joe Phillips is my least favorite flavor of Gaijin Studios to boot.
H) I’m just going to say what we’re all thinking: Extraño was kinda hot after he got cut. Wait– just me? Eh, I’m probably just reaching for anything nice to say at the metaphorical gravestone of the New Guardians careers. Did any of these characters do anything besides die in the years since?
I) Rebis is contributing to the Who’s Whonnui. It’s the ’90s, so we can’t have a nice simple concept like a Negative Man. Got to validate those college courses that went to waste when you became a comics scripter and drop the single $10 word codename wrapped in a trenchcoat and sunglasses. We don’t have a Liefeld, so we’ll go art house with binary code and androgyny.
J) Did Reep Daggle have to form a bison out of his own intestines? Did he get way too into The Smiths in the 5YL timeline? Also, the Legion doing the X-Men shtick and exclusively going by their terrible alien birth names? Quit smoking that Rebis and get your head straight.
K) Wonder Woman has an okay rogues gallery. It’s not great, and there aren’t that many all-timers that could be stood up next to big league villains, but it’s solid with a lot of unrealized potential. Roy Thomas and Gene Colan created a contender in Silver Swan, who starred in the best arc of their brief run. George Perez completely missed the point of that character, and recreated her as a total loser who utterly failed as both a villainess and a heroine by never committing to either role. I never remember the post-Crisis’ version’s alter ego, so Blameless Woman-Child’s absence of self-worth was exploited by the fake loving support General Patriarchy and the military-industrial complex to fight Wonder Woman for reasons until she learned the error of her ways almost immediately and was rendered utterly useless. She didn’t become Diana’s sidekick and she was never much of a bad gal, so she was just somebody to draw in retrospective collages when anniversaries rolled around. And don’t get me started about the time Phil Jimenez turned Nessie into a Silver Swan for pure shock value!
L) So he’s from a fictional Middle-Eastern country and they call him “Sinbad?” And his whole story is about how he’s a menace until he learns to trust the good intentions of an avatar for “The American Way” before being disempowered and cast aside? And what the hell, let’s get a semi-retired thirty-odd year Superman veteran to draw this kid in the stiffest, least fresh way possible? I think perhaps this entry is the Anti-Life Equation.
M) Ohthankgodit’s Speedy by Tom Grummet & Al Vey! Woo-hoo! Love Roy Harper and this version of his costume, which was also well done by the same creative team on one of the best Cosmic Cards! And then we’re on to… sigh… Not-Medusa. I swear, the Legion are the New Gods of the looseleaf edition.
3) I’ve got to join Phylemon in mourning the lost art of comic book lettering, a.k.a. calligraphy, a.k.a. not what you’re doing when you’re just tweaking a font, hack. Brian Linton, there’s a $30 full color collection of Kirby’s New Gods, including his final graphic novel Hunger Dogs, coming soon to a store near you.
Thanks for the heads up. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for that collection.
Also for more on Count Vertigo, you can check out Task Force X, as he’s in the issues I’m currently covering…. (since Shag didn’t want to say it.. LOL)
So, three issues in and we still haven’t seen anything from L.E.G.I.O.N. ‘9x.
Count Vertigo goes on to be extremely important after Suicide Squad across several Ostrander books. He ends up ruling Vlatvia as a figurehead, then as a puppet controlled through his medication. This leads to a total breakdown when the people controlling him turn to genocide, where his power grows to the point where it’s affecting the whole country. which leads to the Spectre killing everyone in Vlatvia except Count Vertigo, who he cures at least enough to be aware of what’s happening. This is what will lead to the Spectre separating from Jim Corrigan, which leads to Hal Jordan’s Spectre…
Great episode, as always. And as far as I’m concerned, never watch the clock and keep them going for hours on end.
Once again I come to share in the Curt Swan love…..erm, um….. and reveal that Sinbad actually did appear one more time after his 3-part story across the Supertitles…..
And that’d be in Legacy of Superman, the anthology one-shot that came out in the wake of the Death of Superman. Because when you think of the Legacy of Superman, you think Sinbad. Of course.
But again, drawn by Curt Swan – so I don’t mind that this linked one of the last living Superman greats into the Death of Superman event, at least in a small part.
Hey, I know Flash is not covered in this particular issue, but he showed up in the comments so much I want to throw in a note…
Flash looks like he’s flying, or taking a very very long leap. That was my first thought when I saw it many moons ago, but that’s not too strange a power stunt for a speedster. Over at Marvel, Quicksilver “could “fly” for short distances by flapping his arms or “vibrating” his legs” (http://marvel.com/characters/44/quicksilver). If Quicksilver could do that power stunt, it’d be pretty easy for Wally to do it because the Flash Family were all more powerful and skilled speedsters than the Marvel speedsters.
My comments came in too late last issue to be included (posted them the day before #3 was released). Not going to happen again.
Excited to see you guys at Baltimore Comic-Con: I go with my father every year.
Rereading these, I feel like the info is so much more dated than the original run. Maybe that is because this is “living history” to me: i.e. this was the real start of my prime comic book buying time, where the original run encapsulated all that “came before from the long, long ago.”
Anyway, choice comments on the individual entries:
Brainiac – I swear he stole that middle panel costume from Bwa-ha-ha era Black Canary – chopped off the shoulder pads and died it pink. It isn’t any more becoming on him.
Chunk – He didn’t just end up dating Wally’s super model ex-girlfriend. He ended up marrying her. I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t shown up on TV yet.
Deadman – Echoing the chorus of least favorite version of the character. And for a dead guy, he has some serious upper leg muscles.
Ice – This is hands down one of my all time favorite Hughes drawings. I absolutely love it.
Madame Xanadu – I didn’t know Madame X’s shop was a 90’s Vietnamese Nail Salon.
New Guardians – Jet and Gloss have been name checked in Doomsday Clock as part of the international response to the USA’s metahuman explosion. I will say this: as bad as Millennium was, it could be worse. These guys could have spun out of Genesis.
Rebis – the left hand stripe Shag was talking about wasn’t Dave McKean – it was Vertigo trade dress. Dave McKean didn’t like it because it messed up his cover aesthetic, particularly as it was introduced right in the middle of Brief Lives. he tried (unsuccessfully) to have them wait until the end of that story arc to implement it.
Sinbad – he almost made a comeback during the “Grounded” story line. After JMS dropped the ball, Chris Roberson picked it up and turned it into something. Issue #712 was supposed to be a story about Superman meeting an aged up Sinbad – now a superhero in LA called Sharif. But it was pulled at the last minute and a story of Krypto by Kurt Busiek was placed there instead. There are differing versions of why this happened, but most seem to point to not wanting to have a Muslim superhero in Superman.
Speedy – Tom Grummett needs a superlative like JLGL (PBHN). He is that damn good. However, I’d say he really needs a specific style of inker. The last few things I’ve seen from him have been with too heavy inks, and Grummett always does better with lighter embellishments.
Spider-Girl – I was bummed when she was turned back into an out-and-out villain by Geoff Johns. I liked her as the Legion’s Catwoman.
Comments – Death of the New Gods was a spin off of Countdown to Final Crisis. Does more need to be said?
Astralad was used in JLA: Another Nail, but was called Astral Mage.
Finally, I asked this on my last comment (again, which was too late to make the recording) – Is there anywhere besides the Cult of Apple where I can leave a review?
“Sinbad – he almost made a comeback during the “Grounded” story line. After JMS dropped the ball, Chris Roberson picked it up and turned it into something. Issue #712 was supposed to be a story about Superman meeting an aged up Sinbad – now a superhero in LA called Sharif. But it was pulled at the last minute and a story of Krypto by Kurt Busiek was placed there instead. There are differing versions of why this happened, but most seem to point to not wanting to have a Muslim superhero in Superman.”
I had not heard this story before. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
What is strange to me is that Kurt Busiek previously introduced a Muslim superhero in the pages of Superman a few years earlier — specifically the character Sirocco who debuted during the Camelot Falls storyline in Superman #657. Perhaps they did not want 2 Muslim heroes in the same family of characters?
I think most of it comes down to timing. This was right after DC had gotten all kinds of crap from the Far Right because of Superman renouncing his citizenship in a (mediocre) back-up story in Superman #700. The conjecture is they were worried about the optics in the light of that. (There is another theory about Superman rescuing a cat in a tree and how the editors didn’t like that – they felt it wasn’t befitting Superman). DC has never officially commented on why they pulled the story, as far as I know.
Besides having introduced Muslim superheroes like Sirocco, this was not long after DC had finished a 6 part crossover miniseries with The 99, a series by Teshkeel Comics about a group of Muslim superheroes. So it really boggles my mind if they did indeed pull it because of the Muslim superhero optics.
The issue was totally finished – penciled, inked, lettered, colored. So who knows? Maybe one day it will see the light of day.
You’re correct on the timing. And how ridiculous it all is. Of course, we’re still living in this darkest of timelines.
So much good artwork again. DC was certainly not short of talent in the 90’s.
Snyder’s Count Vertigo is indeed awesome. JKS was my favorite artist on Suicide Squad. Granted, McDonnell set the tone for the book very well, but his style just doesn’t grab me. (Sorry Deadshot.) Snyder’s artwork has so much energy and mystery. Love, love, love.
My first intro to Deadman was an issue of World’s Finest, where he’s using the body of Bruce Wayne’s long lost brother (wtf?) to perform in a circus. So basically, Deadman’s a jerk. The story ends with the brother throwing himself in front of a bullet to save Batman. My copy was lost in a flood decades ago, but does anybody else know this issue? It can’t possibly still be in continuity, or even acknowledged any more, can it?
Oh Ice. This is a beautiful image of our Tora, and captures her personality to a tee. How great that Hughes did both Ice’s and Fire’s entries!
Kadaver: OH, THAT GUY! Sure, I remember him! Hand print on his head! Right. And that’s … everything I remember. Says it all right there.
Another angle on the “mistake” in Manga Khan’s entry. I can’t remember, but for Booster Gold, was Skeets listed in BG’s “Powers and Weapons” section? If so, that’s completely consistent with putting L-Ron there. It just reads a little weird since Dooley making the entry conversational/interesting. A nod to L-Ron’s status as Manga’s “loyal servant, secretary, and lackey” would have cleared that up.
Additional artist faves: Gammill, Grummett (there is no Section Zero), Adams, Case, and Yukinori.
Seeing the length and number of comments to this show, I never want to hear Shag whine about my JLI podcast feedback ever, ever, ever again!
World’s Finest #223 and 227 are the issues you’re looking for.
Yet another nicely done episode, gentlemen. I, for one, loved Kadaver (and loved this drawing), and I wish he’d stuck around in the Bat rogues gallery. One of the (many) excellent things about the Grant/Wagner/Breyfogle run was how they weren’t afraid to leaven their scary villains with a classic sense of humor; the Ventriloquist is the best-known example, but Kadaver is another: Imagine a dirtbag crook as a cross between Vincent Price and Alice Cooper I’ve always loved the two-part “Human Flea” story in the early run of Batman: Shadow of the Bat, in which Kadaver was the main villain; that might be his final appearance, which is a shame.
When you listen to Who’s Who late, you have far less to say because the comments are so strong.
So just a quick shout-out at Xum for doing an Astralad entry. I was a New Adventures of Superboy reader too, but from a bit later, so my own choice would have been Dyna-Mind. Love his look still.
Sadly, I have to add my voice to the critical chorus concerning that cover image. I like Pat Broderick’s work a lot, but the longer I look at that Hal, the more wrong-looking it gets. The Alfred entry is great, and I agree with those who prefer the not-an-ex-badass version of the good Mr. Pennyworth. As for Count Vertigo…I can’t get past his arms: it looks like he has fleshy versions of Spider-Man’s old arm-pit webs going on. Maybe it’s just me. Also, I love Kelley Jones, but never liked this rendition of Deadman. In other Dead news, I was a huge Suicide Squad fan, so for me, Luke McDonnel is “the” Deadshot artist, and the character never looks quite right drawn by anyone else. I have to thank Shagg for that Byrne/Grummett connection: it really put the finger on something I’ve thought about those two artists for a long time. Also, I really enjoy how much enthusiasm Shagg has for the Grant Morrison Doom Patrol, and how quiet Rob is whenever Shagg gushes about it. As usual, I enjoyed the heck out of both “Xum’s Who” entries, as I am a human being from Earth. As for the general distaste for New Adventures of Superboy, I must add that I have started collecting some issues of that run, as it features the continuation of the “Dial H for Hero” Adventure Comics story-line. I know that didn’t do a lot to win Shagg over, though. Oh, well! Thanks!
Sinbad will always hold a special place in my heart for two reasons:
1. When Jeff and I got to the three issue arc that introduced the character we thought we were going to hate it. I don’t despise Curt Swan and have a lot of respect for him but I remember liking the story back when it came out but not liking the art. So I thought it was going to be a slog but holy crap was it so much fun to talk about. Jeff and I use it as our gauge of how much we think we’re going to like something before we cover it.
2. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the art in 1990 I loved the fact that this was part of CURT SWAN MONTH. SUPERMAN, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS all had art by Swan and this was the month he took over the art on SUPERBOY THE COMIC BOOK, the tie in series to the syndicated series. I thought it was neat that DC gave the man his own month.
Sinbad popped back up in THE LEGACY OF SUPERMAN, an anthology special that came out the same month FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND was wrapping up. It’s a fun book and I remember liking the Sinbad story.
I am late to the party but I will voice my disappointment that Chris Roberson’s story with the return of Sinbad was bumped in favor a “lost” Krypto story by Kurt Busiek. I would have liked to see that as Roberson made a silk purse out of the sow’s ear that was JMS’ GROUNDED storyline.
LOVED the Brainiac entry. I think I’ve agreed with Rob before but he and I are on the same page as far as Kerry Gammill is concerned. He was the perfect artist to follow Byrne on SUPERMAN and I have a soft spot for this version of Brainiac. Sadly Rob cannot use me as a reference point for his look this time out as I have not lost that much weight, still have hair and am not green skinned.
Despite my fondness for the New Gods, I really didn’t care for either the Apokolips or Black Racer pieces in this issue. Cullins and Darkseid don’t mesh well for me, while Lightle feels like he phoned in the Racer. Also Black Racer’s designation as HERO feels off to me.
Count Vertigo is one of the best pieces of design work in any Who’s Who piece so far, but John K Snyder III is maybe as great a designer as he is an artist.
I actually really like a lot of Kelley Jones’ work on Deadman, but this piece falls flat for me. He just looks a bit off here.
For as much as Luke McDonnell did for Deadshot, this piece just feels flat here. It very much feels like he’s dashing off a quick pin-up rather than the definitive take on the character I think we would all prefer here.
Arthur Adams and Gorilla Grodd are a perfect mix. Just a stupendous piece.
Pat Broderick is a great artist but his Green Lantern piece is much like Breyfogle’s work so far. It feels like he phoned it in.
Ice by Adam Hughes doesn’t quite match his Fire, but it’s definitely one of the most clever pieces in the book.
I generally like Dan Jurgens, but I don’t care for his Jade at all.
I will defend the heck out of Liefeld from now until the end of time. He’s not the greatest at anatomy but his energy is always apparent. I really like the Kestrel piece, though the uncostumed close-ups on the back of the page are a bit creepy.
Kevin Maguire’s Madame Xanadu always left me feeling flat. I’m not sure what possessed him to mess up her hair so much.
I feel like Manga Khan should have been handled by Maguire or Templeton, though Joe Phillips does just fine here.
I’m the guy that loved the New Guardians conceptually but always find their series a bit of a letdown. I really feel like it’s about a half of a great team. I think they made a huge mistake by not lifting a few existing supporting cast members for the team as well.
I just started reading all of Grant Morrisson’s Doom Patrol recently. I will say that Rebis is by far the most interesting character of the bunch and this piece suits him/her well. And you can’t beat the straight up Madonna “Vogue”.
Jill Thompson and George Perez’s Silver Swan is gorgeous, but I’m always a bit weirded out to see Jill doing superhero work at this point. She’s highly capable of it, but it’s not in her wheelhouse like her weirder stuff or wresling t-shirts.
The Sinbad entry really shows Curt Swan didn’t really have a great handle on the post-Kirby style of art. Sinbad with his back to the camera is a terrible way to present the character here.
The abilities of Tom Grummett are always quite impressive. He actually made Speedy’s costume look damn cool, which is itself a quite impressive feat.
Am I the only one that thought this issue felt weird coming to an end with Spider-Girl? That’s awfully early in the alphabet.
This is probably my favorite Who’s Who simply because it embraces the weird pushing its way into the DCU through the pre-Vertigo books. I’ll be curious to see how much Rob grumps when we get to the all Vertigo issue later in the run.