Who’s Who in the DC Universe #5

It’s the fifth fabulous issue of WHO’S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE featuring the Batmobile, Cyborg, Dr. Light, Hourman, Jimmy Olsen, Martian Manhunter, The Penguin, Poison Ivy, The Riddler, Sandman, The Vigilante, and more! Plus YOUR Listener Feedback!

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47 responses to “Who’s Who in the DC Universe #5

  1. Still listening, as I forgot to pack a lunch, but I’m loving it so far.

    And yes, Shag, the Dr. Light origin was told in the Secret Origins comic (issue 37). I think the guy that did that podcast, may be found somewhere on your Network (and yes, the poor fool had me on to talk about Dr. Light).
    And while Dr. Light may be dead at this point in the DCU, he does return in issue 52 of Suicide Squad (out the same month as Who’s Who 9.
    Can’t recommend that issue enough.

    Also, in the New 52, DC replaced Martian Manhunter with Cyborg as a founding member of the JLA. That’s why they used him the JL movie, since he is “now” a “founding” member of the JLA…

    Anyways…. I’ve had my lunch and a nap, so it’s back to this episode of Who’s Who…..

    Keep doing the Lord’s work.

  2. DC published a Son of Vulcan mini in 2005 by Scott Beatty and it rocks. He also appeared in War of the Gods and it sucked.

  3. The James Robinson/Tony Salmons mini came out in 1995… was what I started to type, but you two realised it came later before I replied.

    It is a magnificent story. I bought the issues at release, and the trade that followed.

  4. Great to have Who’s Who back! Listening now, and just a few comments.

    First off, I loved the interviews Shag. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to when you guys get to that Flash entry Kesel inked over Infantino. One of my favorite classic meets modern artist combos.

    The Batmobile Rob loves is famously known as “The Batmobile of 1950”, because that was the name of the story it debuted in, from Detective Comics #156, designed by Dick Sprang. It replaced the previous 40s Batmobile which had a similar look, but was a stock sedan with the bat-head and fin added on. This is also my favorite comic-created Batmobile, followed by the 1978 “Super Friends/Super Powers” version also seen on this page.

    The more contemporary standard car with the painted bat-hood was designed by Neal Adams and used in the 70s. That huge bat-headed car with the yellow logos is indeed another Breyfogle creation that predated the featured version. Breyfogle designed multiple Batmobiles before settling on the one we see on the cover. All of these cars were made into die-cast replicas, first by Corgi and then by Eaglemoss in the last couple of decades.

    More later!

  5. Great episode. These always are.

    So many comments:

    1) Batmobile – mine is also the 40s sedan with the big head on the hood. It feels so film noir. Yes, there was a mechanic who Batman save who became the car guy for Batman. I remember him being discussed in the Untold Legend of the Batman mini-series. I’d need to dust that off to get to his name.

    2) Chemo – seems like a terrible idea to keep pouring random chemical experiments into the same jar … but they were simpler times. First met him in the DCCP issue with the Metal Men where he is shot into the sun to save the solar system. Then read his origins in the Metal Men Digest (yes you should cover that). As I say, those Metal Men stories gave me vocab like malleable, ductile, corrosive, etc. I would categorize him like a tornado – he doesn’t know or care what he is doing. But people in the way will suffer. Lastly, in an early issue of Supergirl (the Peter David run), there is an issue where he meets that version of SG and they have a sort of ‘are we real? are we truly alive?’ conversation. Worth reading.

    3) Hourman – the ‘Just Say No’ era made Hourman a tricky hero to write. ‘Hey kids, take a pill and feel unbelievable for an hour’ just wouldn’t work any more. (Alas, this fate befell Underdog’s secret energy pill stored in his ring as well.) Never liked this guy or his purple suit. Never understood what Jessie saw in him.

    4) Jo Nah – I 100% agree with Shag that the first 12 issues of the 5YL Legion book are magnificent and should be read by everyone. Daring and complex and wonderful. (You can read my reviews at the Legion blog to see deeper thoughts.) I liked Jo most in this incarnation. Here we learn his ‘I’m stupid’ personality was a ruse to keep Glorith from knowing he was tracking and thwarting her. His pain at the loss of Tinya was palpable. He really was a leader of that team.

    5) NIghtshade – I like her so much that my site became ‘Nightshade Comic Box Commentary’ for a day a few April’s ago. I agree that the Dark Dimension stuff became more of a weight on the character than anything else. And I totally love the original costume more than this costume from ‘Cats’/’All that Jazz’.

    6) The Peacemaker – I thought his tagline in the ads was “A Man who loves peace so much … he’ll kill for it!” That tylenol capsule helmet is crazy.

    7) Poison Ivy – That plant does seem like actual ivy. The old rubric about Poison Ivy – ‘Beware the leaves that come in three.’ How much of this origin was first seen in that Gaiman Secret Origins story. Pretty sure the Floronic Man stuff is all from there.

    8) Riddler – Shag, you saying Astin is the Riddler shows me that you must have significant brain damage. Everyone … I mean everyone … loves Gorshin’s take.
    Don’t you remember Senator Lloyd Bensten’s famous statement? “Mr Astin, I served with Frank Gorshin. I knew Frank Gorshin. Frank Gorshin was a friend of mine. Mr. Astin, you’re no Frank Gorshin.”

    9) Sandman – I have admitted this on other sites. I think Sandman is ‘okay’. Never understood what the big deal was. I know … you all hate me know.

    10) Toyman – I am a Schott guy, not a Jack B. Nimble guy. I am glad the ‘child killer’ was retconned. Hard to come back from that. And I did find that Prankster moment in the Alan Moore story chilling as well. And do love the giant toy head guy from STAS.

  6. Welcome back! It’s been far too long. Still listening to this epic poem of a podcast, but I’m glad to see Rob is still in his anti-LSH form! Such a confusing stance from a guy who likes the Omega Men. Pains me to admit that Shag is absolutely correct about those first 5 Years Later LSH issues.

  7. Still listening, but since I’m on my lunch break I’ll make some comments on the issue now, even though I almost unsubscribed to the show and left the network when Shag chose John Astin over Frank Gorshin. I’ve been told by Ryan that Shag makes amends by episode’s end, but I may not get to it for a few days, so here we go.

    Hourman: Rob, I totally agree. That Conway/Perez JLA/JSA vs. SSoSV crossover totally sold me on Hourman. James Robinson and others picked up on how cool the look and concept was and used him to great effect in The Golden Age, and in Starman for instance. Love his look, even if his cape has been called “a bath towel” by some.

    Mad Hatter: His continuity is VERY confusing. The Barr/Davis appearance of the David Wayne Hatter (I know he appeared before the show, but I alway think of him that way) seemed to fly in the face of where DC had decided to go with the character. Until BTAS I always preferred that version over the Alice inspired one, but Roddy McDowell’s performance and some great stories won me over to liking them both pretty equally. The first time I remember Hatter getting a truly creepy portrayal was in the excellent and underrated Robin: Year One mini-series by Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty and Marcos Martin.

    Poison Ivy: Great piece. Nice call on the logo Shag. I never noticed the “pot” leaves before. Someone at DC was trying to sneak something by the higher-ups. Great entry!

    The Penguin: I like the art on this, but I really hated the “he’s fat, but he’s tough!” bit with the Penguin. DC really struggled with how to make the character work in the now darker Bat-verse until Chuck Dixon made him a behind-the-scenes player with the Iceberg Lounge a few years after this.

    Riddler: Kieron Dwyer drew the “Dark Knight, Dark City” arc, and later drew the Riddler origin in Detective Comics Annual #8, again written by… Chuck Dixon! Dwyer really was the go-to-guy with Riddler for a while. “Dark Knight, Dark City” brought the Riddler back to prominence after Denny O’Neil had written him as a washup in The Question, and Gaiman had done his excellent Secret Origins tale with a retired Riddler lamenting the loss of the days of derring-do in Gotham City.

    Vigilante: LOVE this character, and I really need to get that run of El Diablo, just for him and Mike Parobeck’s art. I hate to say that I wanted to love the mini you guys are going to cover, but although I really dug Mark Chiarello’s covers, the Tony Salmons interiors left me cold. Maybe I will give it another shot. Great Robinson story either way, and I loved the 70s World’s Finest backups by Gray Morrow!!! And I can’t WAIT until we get to him on JLUCast. He’s my favorite JLU figure, as covered on Those Wonderful Toys.

    More after the feedback.

    Chris

    1. I forgot that Javier Pulido did most of the art on Robin: Year One, with Martin pinch-hitting in the last issue. Martin then did the follow-up, Batgirl: Year One (which is also excellent!)

      Chris

  8. Who’s Who Thoughts

    Batmobile: I actually admire Rob for being honest with his feelings on this version of the Batmobile. I have a lot of fondness for it because it was Norm’s and I was buying the Batman books when it was around (during one of my Batman phases) but I can see where someone may not care for it. Having said that I love this entry and I agree with Shag that the main reason we got it was because of the movie a year or so before.
    Cyborg: Rob brought up a lot of good points about how prosthetics have advanced and, thanks to the last sixteen years, become more common place. I think Cyborg is a little different though. He didn’t lose an arm or a leg or even both his legs. A large portion of him is no longer him and it’s not Steve Austin where he could still pass for what we insultingly refer to as normal. I could see him still having issues, but again I have to agree with Shag (I’m going to need a Karen Silkwood shower soon if I keep saying that) that it seems like Mother Box has been his cross to bear. Then again there was the storyline where they had to get rid of his lungs to increase his power, which made him less human, so they can still play with the feelings of not being human thing.

    Daxam: Because I came up during the Post Crisis on Infinite Earths era Daxamites were always kind of fascinating to me. Superman didn’t have the Mon-El friendship anymore, so they weren’t a huge thing in the main comics, but they were still these aliens that had similar powers to Superman. I liked that they were more powerful than Superman but had this really basic vulnerability. I also loved their part in the INVASION! event, from being scientists that suddenly discovered they were supermen to them blowing away an alien ship because that ship trained their weapons on Superman.

    Jimmy Olsen: I started thinking about the idea of Jimmy created his Superman signal watch versus the Jimmy gets the signal watch as a gift from Superman and I have to fall on the side of Jimmy making the watch himself. I think it shows that the character had a brain in his head and that story in World of Metropolis #4 was really good. The Soul Search storyline where Jerry and Jimmy were shot was amazing and one of my favorite pre-engagement storylines. Rob brought up that Jack Larson was offered his own Jimmy Olsen series but he left out the creepy part of that story. They offered it to him after George Reeves died and wanted to use a stand-in for new shots and stock footage for shots of Superman in action. Larson thought that this was disgusting and turned them down.

    (Sidebar: I think it’s funny that Shag would think I would write in to complain about the “Byrne Era” comment. Oddly enough I was typing the notes above as I listened to him say that but I’ve really let a lot of pedantic things go. It’s true that I think referring to the entire Post Crisis era as the “Byrne Superman” is a little wrong headed but considering that most of what was in this entry was made up by Byrne I think it was a fair assessment.)

    Penguin: Shag made a big deal of the fact that they kept saying that the Penguin was a trained fighter and even though he was heavy he could throw down. Why shouldn’t they just let him be a fat strategist? Well, as someone that has been heavy since he was 12 and made fun of throughout his school years because of it the idea that the Penguin was heavy but could beat the seven bells out of his bully appealed to me. I loved that SECRET ORIGINS story because of that addition to Oswald’s backstory. Having said all of that kung-fu Penguin from THE BATMAN (the animated series from the early 2000’s) was rather silly. But the comic book version was awesome. Also, Rob mentioned that there was a Super Powers and Toy Biz Penguin figure. Isn’t that the same thing?

    Solomon Grundy: Shag mentioned that he was a cross between a zombie and the Hulk. This reminded me of one of my favorite episodes of the animated JUSTICE LEAGUE where they teamed up Amazo, Aquaman, Dr. Fate, Hawkgirl and Solomon Grundy and about five minutes it I shout, “Holy @#$%, they’re doing the Defenders!” The fact that they gave Grundy Hulk speak was the cherry on top.

    Toyman: I did not throw my Zune across the room at the mention of Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow because I haven’t had one since 2012. However, if I had thrown my Zune across the room, I wouldn’t have worried about it breaking because that thing was nigh unbreakable. Anyway, I agree with Rob that the Toyman and Prankster were used effectively in that story I don’t like. They are the least objectionable things about it. I also agree with Rob that the best version was from Superman: The Animated Series. I also liked the version done on Smallville, though he was more of a Green Arrow villain on that show. Despite liking Byrne’s take on the character and understood why Jurgens turned him so dark but he has never been one of my favorite Superman bad guys. The agreeing with Rob doesn’t stop because as someone who is 5’5” and well over two hundred pounds there is no way that this Toyman is 185 lbs. The Toyman Shag was searching for was Hiro Okamura, a kid that apparently just liked Batman and Superman and had resources for days. If I am correct Geoff Johns suggested that he was just another sophisticated robot built by the “real” Toyman, which is how he explained away the one that killed Cat Grant’s son. If that previous sentence confuses you just know what at one point Johns’ big move was “every version happened somehow”, which is how he redid both Toyman and Brainiac.

  9. Norm Breyfogle is my Batman artist. I agree with how Rob described his work; it’s stylized in such a way that only Breyfogle can pull it off and imitators beware! Having said that, not a fan of his Batmobiles. My preferences are the TV/cartoon and Super Powers toy versions.

    I like Matt Wagner and I like Hourman, but I don’t like Wagner’s drawing of Hourman in this entry. Not quite sure what it is, but something about the positioning of the right leg and the thinness of the lines make it look to me like it’s bending at a wrong angle. Also the heavy shading on his face is… weird.

  10. Shag-face didn’t like Mark Hamill’s version of the Trickster? He’s not qualified to comment on anything from now on.

    And yes, Prank totally was the forerunner for Harley Quinn. Good on you, Rob, for playing the Flash’s Trickster episodes in the store. That’s Film and Water fodder for sure.

    Shag is awful

    1. Prank turned up on The Flash CW series last season, again played by Corinne Bohrer. She’s the mom of the new Trickster. Also, Mad Hatter has turned up on multiple Gotham episodes.

    2. Perhaps I’m being too generous to Shag, but I’m happy to say that, while I loved Mark Hamill’s character on The Flash, it is probably correct to say that he wasn’t really “The Trickster” so much as a mis-named “Joker” before Hamill finally landed the Joker role for real.

      I’d never considered Prank as pre-Harley Quinn before, but I’m sure I’ll never be able to think of her in any other way again.

  11. The Batmobile steers at 300mph by launching a grappling hook into a building on one side or the other. Obviously.

    There’s a reason Cyborg’s entry stops after his origin: nothing else ever happens to him. There’s really only one story that even works for him, where he gets a new, more human-looking cyborg body, and they blew that on a three-parter during the lame duck Tales of the New Teen Titans year. He’s got an origin villain that’s an un-reusable mindless blob, a relationship with his father that’s only one dimensional, and a Red Tornado’s girlfriend but without the adorable little girl for whose sake they stay together despite having zero chemistry, too little to drive stories, but enough to keep him from having any romantic plotlines with the rest of the cast. All that he ever gets to do is alternate between ‘reliable team member’ and ‘Changeling’s Jimminy Cricket’. New 52 at least gives him a Fourth World connection, which means you can use his books to tell stories about more interesting Fourth World characters. Yes, I said ‘more interesting Fourth World characters’.

    Man, I don’t like the current form of the Riddler. Trying to elevate him to the same level as the Joker, in importance or in bodycount, was always a mistake. I prefer Reformed PI Riddler, or the Arkham Video Games version of the character.

  12. My favourite Batmobile will always be the BTAS version, but I have a secret love for the Superfriends/Superpowers one, because I had that toy. And it was a very decent toy, and one that got more play long after the other figures were relegated to the bottom of the toybox. The Batmobile and the A-Team Van used to have many adventures on the bedroom floor.

    This era of Batman really started amping up the psycho meter on many of his rogue’s gallery, but I think the “Iron Age” visited Batman earlier than it did other comics, and it worked (to an extent) better in Gotham than it did in the rest of the comic universe. Really digging that Mad Hatter picture!

    Gorshin was not only the best Riddler, he was my favourite villain on that show. As a kid, we watched that each day at lunch break at school (it was in syndication forever), and the Riddler episodes made you feel like you might actually figure out the Riddler’s plan if you were just a bit older and smarter, like Batman and Robin.

    On that note, the Arkham series of games did an awful lot to make the Riddler a good villain, and give him a presence in the game that was not only fun to interact with, but gave you a sense of the hell the Dark Knight would have to go through figuring out this maniac’s riddles!

    It’s okay for Shag not to like Hammil’s Trickster. He’s wrong, but he’s allowed to be wrong, it’s a free country.

    1. One additional thought. The Dark Knight, Dark City plotline was fantastic. I really liked the idea of *something* being responsible for shaping the Batman into what he is. Even though Batman rejects the idea, which I endorse, it gives a feeling that Gotham itself has a soul.

      The plot spoke about the character of the city, and the impossible nexus of crime and suffering that not only inspired the creation of the Batman, but needs the Batman – needs a Dark Knight to keep hope alive.

  13. A) I’ll open with heresy: Never was that big on Breyfogle, didn’t appreciate his excesses on Detective Comics, and this Batmobile looks like it was designed by Homer Simpson. I’m not a complete monster. He did a really nice Star-Spangled Avenger on Prime/Captain America that made me wish he’d had a run on that character. I like some of his Batman arcs, like “The Last Arkham.” I acknowledge his talent, but just not my bag. The Batmobile as a concept though is one of the all-time great comic booky things to exist.

    B) Mike Mignola on Chemo is inspired. Not my kind of character, and I often read Chemo as chemo, which bothers me.

    C) At Shag’s urging, I read the Cyborg entry, and his assessment was correct. I’ve never particularly liked Demographic Desirable Ben Grimm, but this telling of his origin was more compelling than any actual Cyborg story I’ve ever read. Wolfman puts forth such an intriguing premise, only to immediately turn Vic into a vegetable for the next few years, then infected him with the Transmode Virus and shipped him off to Cybertron or WTF ever. It took Geoff Johns to finally right that downward trajectory over a decade later, but no one ever gave him the Aquaman treatment, despite Ivan Reis also (briefly) taking a turn at the character. As one of DC’s most prominent POC, I’ve done a lot of thinking about how to make Cyborg the black icon DC keeps trying to sell audiences on. I do think it’s possible, and this Who’s Who entry is one of the best starting points in that direction, not least of which for the prime Grummett/Vey art. That said, I’ve read some of the New 52/Rebirth stuff and haven’t seen any traction there, which only adds to the list of nonomotion Jeff R. provided.

    D) I love Pat Broderick’s no expense spared scenic entries, and have always dug Daxamites as super-spoilers with an easily exploitable vulnerability. They’re a lot like Martians in that respect, but they’ve maintained more respect by not being clowned at every turn.

    E) I wonder what kind of impact this podcast’s treatment of Dr. Light will have on the midterms?

    F) The Extremists did Extreme Comics better and first. Despite my disdain for the excess analogues that began sprouting like weeds in the late ’90s (distinct from outright rip-offs, BTW) I can’t help but get swept up in the fun of an unusual sampling of Marvel villains cloned for the DCU. Besides, after all that exploitation of Squadron Supreme, turnabout was fair play. Also, no one in human history has ever pronounced the word as “Ex-trim-ists” but you, Shag. Clearly they’re impregnated with nuclear radiation.

  14. Hi Rob & Shag,

    First off, loving the continuing coverage of The Who’s Who.

    The loose leaf edition is my least favorite iteration of the concept, but your show more than makes up for any shortcomings the new format has- that’s a true testament to the quality of your show, cause some of these entries are AWFUL!

    But if you’re still taking people’s “origin stories” for Who’s Who than please allow me a little self indulgent naval gazing as I look back at the beginning of my comics fandom.

    Born in ’72 I was a bit of a late comer to comics. I bought G.I. Joe for a couple of years before I migrated over to (Marvel) Super Heroes, really getting into the middle of Secret Wars (thanks to the toys) and then comics bug hit BIG and my life was changed forever. I didn’t have much experience with DC outside of the mandatory usual stuff – the Superfriends , Superman movies and of course the Batman tv show (Julie Newmar!!!!).
    Like many a young snot back in those days I considered DC to be cheesy, square, lame, whatever – you know the “DC stands for dumb comics” type of kid. I DID like a couple of the “lesser” guys Aquaman (my only Super Powers figure) and the Flash.
    Why those two as opposed to Batman or Superman I’m not sure, but I thought they were cool, always preferred 2nd stringers to the stars, probably explains my fondness for the bass over regular guitar too.

    Anyway I saw the first issue of Who’s Who on the stands with that big Aquaman image and I… passed on it. Something about it seemed intimidating and a little unreal, I wasn’t ready for the insanity of the DCU just yet. A few months passed and my nascent comics knowledge started growing by leaps and bounds and with prodding from a schoolmate who showed me issue #4 I felt emboldened enough to check out issue #5 and I was HOOKED!

    I was blown away by how cool and crazy everything seemed to be, there was a lot to take in: Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth3?!?!!? Wha….?!?!?, the far future, the ancient past, Composite Superman?!?!? But I loved it all (well maybe not Composite Superman) and couldn’t wait to get the next issues.

    I was fortunate enough to find a $20 bill on the floor of the local Food World™ and after checking with Mom and the manager it was decided I could keep the money (which was big bucks for a 12 yr in ’85) Luckily they were behind on their comics and still had issue #4 on the rack. I snatched it up and somehow found #3 shortly after. Issues 3-6,8,9, 13-18 form the core of my love for Who’s Who, such good, fun and amazing artwork. I collected the series until the end but have a special fondness for those issues in particular.

    Like most things that make an impression around this age, I can vividly recall the moments in my life when these issues came out, whereas now I sometimes can’t remember a comic I read 6 months ago.

    Who’ Who (and OHOTHMU) were great for learning which artist I liked and which ones were less to my taste. I learned that Jerry (the Extraordinary) Ordway, Jose Garcia Lopez (PBHN), Eduardo Barreto , Joe Kubert, Keith Giffen, Steve Lightle, George Perez and Gil Kane could be counted on to knock it out of the park EVERY time. I also learned that Curt Swan, Jim Aparo (Sorry Rob, my opinion changed later), Don heck and (OMG )Jack Kirby were not “my guys”. Over the course of the series, as my comics knowledge grew I moved Jack Kirby over into the “winners” side eventually becoming my all-time favorite artist. As I matured I came to respect almost all the artist I once dismissed in my clueless youth (though Swan still leaves me rather cold).

    I eagerly picked up the updates and could feel they were a little different but still had the same spirit as the original series. Those Ty Templeton covers on the ’88 series are fantastic, esp #4’s cookout.

    The looseleaf hit right after I graduated high school, I bought the first issue, but did not care for the presentation – I hated the full page illustrations and the weird non alphabetical ordering as well as the overall state of the DCU just felt off putting to me and that was the only issue I bought.

    In the end I was still much more of a Marvel kid, but I made several forays into the DCU that I might not ever have made if not for The Who’s Who. Plus it taught me about a lot of great comics history, classic story lines and artist who are still faves to this day PLUS it introduced me to the work of Steve Rude, which that alone would be reason enough to like the series.

    A few things to comment on from your coverage of the series as a whole

    1. No, there can never be enough New Gods characters covered (except for the Forever People).

    2. Man, Bill Sienkiewicz was amazing and I was too young/stupid to realize it at the time.

    3. The first two issues STIll give me faint butterflies in my stomach, just remembering how disorienting they were to me at the time.

    4. Sorry Shag, The Dick Giordano inked covers look great to me and better than the Perez alone issues, too much detail…

    5. George Perez is vastly overrated – his work on the series is fine, even great at times but all that clutter….

    6. JGL (PBHN) is probably the single most “perfect” comics artist of all time, everything he draws looks like the platonic ideal of what it’s supposed to be.

    7. Not to be “that guy”, but I just don’t care for Breyfogle’s artwork, it’s not horrible, but I just don’t get what everyone loves about it so much. Of course I am sad for his too early passing and happy that he touched so many people with his artwork. He leaves a rich legacy of his work. As an artist myself, we should all be so lucky.

    8. Who’s Who is Fun and you’re coverage of it has been entertaining me for years now.

    ALSO: Regarding Craig Brasefields artwork, he was a local guy here in Birmingham, Al and even had some coverage in the local newspaper (along with Mark Martin of Gnatrat “fame”), not sure what happened to him, but I was really rooting for him to make it big.

    ALSO: Your show (original edition episode #5 in particular) helped me deal with the sudden death of a beloved pet, so for that I thank you.

    Sorry this is sooo long, I’ve been meaning to write it for a long time.

    All the best and thanks for such a great show!

    LRR

  15. That Kevin Maguire cover (sorry, not a cover) makes me miss the days when Poison Ivy didn’t just wear a handful of leaf-shaped stickers for a costume. But hey, I also liked her better when she wasn’t linked to a bunch of planet elemental mumbo jumbo. What, a tolerance to poisons, some poison lipstick, and a fixation on plants isn’t enough to get you arrested in Gotham City these days? Geez.

    Anyway, great episode as always. Who’s Who was my origin story for the F&W Network, so I’m always glad to hear more. Also: I was so glad to hear Shagg correct his Riddler preference by the end, there.

    Remember, folks: the Penguin’s belly is made of mixed martial arts fighting moves! :)

  16. I think I tweeted you a photo of a batmobile with the cover of this issue a while back, but apparently neither of you give a crap about a loyal listener.

  17. Thanks for a typically tremendous episode. Have a few random thoughts.

    Much as I like the work of the late Norm Breyfogle, that’s a truly rubbish Batmobile, it looks like a gumball machine. You can’t beat the Batmobile of 1950. Actually, any of the models shown beats it for style.

    I adore Chemo but he’s such a simplistic design that he’s a waste of Mignola’s talent. He looks like Mr Blobby. Mind, the colourist deserves praise for making the image look 3D. Clever logo though

    I like the Forties stylings of the Daxamite woman but overall the image is very, very boring. Where’s the wonder of an alien civilisation? Most of this image is just, as you folk would say, a random dude.

    Hourman II is almost brilliant – what’s with the massive head and lack of neck? Go on, take a look, you won’t be able to unsee it.

    Gil Kane’s Sonar was the best thing in the book, that costume remains one of the finest in comics.

    Who wants to see a fat Vigilante? You chaps, apparently!

    Loved LANOS, nice one Xum!

    I suspect the reason none of Cyborg’s history after he became a superhero is included is because it was as boring as Victor Stone himself.

    I always liked Girly Doctor Light’s costume; more people might have used her had creator Marv Wolfman not set her up as unlikeable.

    I always hated everything about those villains from Angar. They ruined several recent issues of Steve Orlando’s Justice League of America.

    I didn’t get Shagg’s gag about Son of Vulcan having triangle numbering on his mini series. I read a few issues, I wasn’t keen. Give me the hunk in a mini skirt any day.

    Every time you talk about ‘Barter’ I have to do a verbal double take because I hear ‘Barda’.

    Shagg, the Wonder Woman Impossible Tales with Tot and Girl weren’t facilitated by time travel, it was dear old Wonder Queen splicing together Amazonian home movies.

  18. I have to say I’m a bit dumbfounded by Shagg’s lack of knowledge about using a brush for inking.

    I get that not everybody keeps up with the tools of the trade of a cartoonist, but I just thought it was common knowledge that a brush was used for inking for much of comics history. I in know way mean this as a put down, it just goes to show that we all approach this hobby/obsession from different angles. When you think about it why SHOULD someone know the difference between the lines of a pen vs. those of a brush, if you’re not an artist why should you care?

    Brushes provide much greater line variation than a crow quill pen , while a crow quill pen provides much more variation than a standard inking pen and inking pen provides more variation than a rapidiograph.

    I much prefer artwork inked with a brush, generally it has more life and vitality to it.. There are wonderful pen artist: Art Adams, Simonson, Gil Kane, Mignola to name just a few, but the Image guys and their clones used pens so poorly that it basically made my eyes bleed.

    Unfortunately much of todays comics continue with the “pen look”.
    Such ugly, repetitive sterile lines…..uuuggghhh Give me Joe Sinnott or Mike Royer over that any day!

    LRR

  19. Fb) I used to really enjoy Bart Sears’ work, and he drew the imaginary run of a Martian Manhunter I wrote in my head a decade or two back, but I’d say I actually prefer his primary acolyte Andy Smith these days. Sears first decided that he didn’t need to follow Keith Giffen’s breakdowns anymore (debatable,) then decided he should write for himself at Ominous Press (he chose poorly,) before finally deciding he didn’t need to follow any writer’s scripts at all faithfully on anything (indefensible.) I suspect he’s been Matt Broomed as a result of producing too many after market portfolios out of nigh-incomprehensible comics, and that’s why his credits now trend mostly toward covers. It’s worth noting that Sears was the John Buscema of the Chromium Age via his Wizard Magazine art instruction column Brutes & Babes, which had an appreciable impact on many second wave Image artists. I’d argue the worst of his imitators was Audwynn Jermaine Newman, who drew the final issues of Eclipso, which are made even worse through direct comparison with Sears brief run. You know a book is bad when you think back wistfully to the Luke McDonnell run, especially in early ’90s, Armageddon: Inferno, no-figs-left-to-give mode.

    Also, DC doen’t do a great job of building and supporting high functioning utility villains in their universe, which helps to explain why they keep going back to The Extremists despite their more-or-less one & dome concept. Liam Sharpe even turned Lord Havok in Death’s Head for his own titular mini-series (which all things considered wasn’t half bad.)

    1) You really need to incorporate the Impact Who’s Who into the run of the looseleafs rather than having it serve as the deeply misguided coda to this show. I don’t want Rob shrugging 30 times per episode for three straight episodes before faking his death to become a lumberjack while Shag only makes token appearances on Ian Fletcher & Max Traver’s The Next Who’s Who: Secret Files & Origins. Ryan retired from Secret Origins to make babies. What are you sorry S.O.B.s going to do with all your free time?

    G) Hourman works better for me as a lo-fi Vertigo-adjacent period vigilante than he ever has as An Iconic Golden Age Super-Hero, so Matt Wagner’s a great fit (and as I recall, he wrote Hourman into Sandman Mystery Theater.) Then again, maybe I’m just responding to that “Don’t you think Palatino is a bit too ostentatious” non-logo I’m registering as sub-The Jam caliber caping? I agree with Shag that the color reversal on the modern day Hourman marked a huge improvement over the original local-supermarket-sales-circular design (“Double Coupon Tuesday Man wants you to save on pork loin!”)

    H) Given how much I have, in the parlance of #FWPodcasts, “waxed the car” of Kerry Gammill, it just goes to show the inescapable potency of Jimmy OIsen’s ability to induce yawns that I’m unfazed by his entry. Imagine what could have been done with all the resources squandered on trying to put Fauxchie Andrews over with a repelled public since about 1965. I mean, Jack Kirby couldn’t make him happen again. And also the triangle number creative teams, I guess. Since we were just talking about Hourman, Snapper Carr in that series destroys anything done with Jimmy Olsen in comics for half a century, and that was just pretending like he was PAD’s Rick Jones for a couple years. Hell, I’d trade his life for Jerry White’s and he’s just John Jameson without any of the astronaut or Man-Wolf stuff.

    I) I’m with Rob on the 5YL Legion. Cut your hair and put on a proper costume you scraggly bums. I read most of the Giffen run straight through and then skimmed the rest of the Bierbaums’ stuff, and I just don’t get the praise. It’s fine. It’s a Bold New Direction. It’s very much a product of its time that was already a bit tedious just few years on, and I never appreciated how unfriendly and uninviting the storytelling was, given the return on the investment Giffen demanded. It’s the same corny lightweight science-fantasy, but with a crusty layer of grimdark deep fried over it. “We’re still going to have space pirates and literal punching through the space-time continuum, but now we’ll offer some blood deaths and we’ll retcon a supporting character trans and blow up the Earth for some post-crossover bathos.” Put What If Peter Parker Was Eaten By A Radioactive Whale Instead in some Doc Martins with a Lorenzo Lamas bro-nytail and suddenly this is Very Serious Science Fiction. Oh sure Timeshare Superboy, you’re totally making Asimov clutch his master’s degree like a purse in a bad neighborhood.

    J) I enjoyed Giffen on L.E.G.I.O.N. more than on Legion, but Lyrissa Mallor was still The Blue Chick, full stop. I honestly thought she was Lyrl Dox’s brainwashed babysitter, but I guess that was her daughter, and I know for certain that I do not care.

    K) Up next is Mark Badger, whose art played a major role in deferring my Martian Manhunter fandom for another eight years because of how violently I disliked the one issue of the ’88 mini-series I bought new. I prefer the Jervis Tetch Mad Hatter to the other guy, but I also prefer Sprite over 7-Up without actually drinking lemon-lime beverages all that often, and typically going with a Mountain Dew or Sierra Mist when I do. He’s my third favorite Uncola of Batman villains, which means that after I think of a dozen or so guys I do like and a bunch more that I don’t, and then look up a list of Batman villains on Wikipedia, I’m reminded he exists and go “oh yeah, he’s okay, too.”

    L) I really appreciate Rob’s take on the Martian Manhunter entry being a rare instance of displaying actual heroism instead just doing another flashy pin-up shot, and I’ll try to remember that the next time I shrug at it. Continuing a bizarre theme of this comment, I prefer Luke McDonnell’s entry art. Even the Mark Badger, come to think of it, and I rarely do. Also, his saving a little blond girl reminds me of Patty Marie from American Secrets, which reminds me of who wrote that mini-series, which causes my shrug to slump along with my lower lip. Finally, Adam Hughes did such a swell Alien Atlas during his JLI run, but that headshot isn’t that hot and we get obscured or altered J’Onns on the other back page images.

    M) I know it is very basic, but I really dig the oh so ’80s Nightshade. She looks like Patrick Nagel designed an Annie Lennox-Jane Fonda spandex hybrid for Jamie Gertz. I always mistake Eric Shanower for Collen Doran here and I like it. I completely understand preferring the retro-weird of the Charlton skirt, but I think the ’80s suit best contains the dichotomy of interdimensional martial arts heiress spy shadow witch. She’s a lot like Black Canary in being a grounded vigilante character that works in realistic scenarios, but she can also routinely hit a mystery box with a Super Mushroom inside to operate in the Justice League sphere. She’s also the rare DC heroine with no explicit derivation of a male hero, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she turned up in the DCEU sooner rather than later, like maybe the James Gunn soft reboot. Finally, that logo was suh-weet, as is the next Derby, Connecticut ex-patriot’s…

    N) As a Wonder Woman fan, I have an easier time than most resolving the conflict of a “man who loved peace so much that he was willing to fight for it!” I just don’t buy it from Christopher Smith, who was more like his Watchmen analogue than any of his Charlton fellows, by which I mean he was a blood-thirsty horror show on two legs peddling propaganda without conscience. As far as I know, I have a set of his original solo series, but have only read one or two, and he was a Paleo-Con wet dream. Kupperberg made him a conflicted nutter, and even with the Nazi ghost daddy element, DC’s Peacemaker was far more conventional and less compelling… Possibly to the greater good of society, given the current climate and how readily Charlton Peacemaker could be Pepe-memed. Obviously the helmet is his most distinct element, so it is obviously the first thing to go in every redesign, though in this case I approve. I just wish they’d leave the rest of his snazzy and uncommonly colored duds alone. Boy, Grant Miehm is just giving that profile piece all the dynamism his talent can muster.

    O) I’m sure I’m repeating myself from previous Who’s Whos all over this comment, but The Penguin would be one of those dozen Batman villains I can speak warmly about without involving a Google search. The way he was sold to me years back was that he’s the one who wasn’t nuts, and was more like a Dick Tracy villain in being a stone cold killer crook when the Dark Knight’s rogues was populated by gimmick goons. He’s underutilized and underestimated, so it’s more fun to see him do well than another Joker enshrinement. But he is a little fat guy, so spare us the Sumo-Kingpin kewl-splaining.

    1. Rob and Shag can just read and reply to Frank’s postings to keep this train going. Frank can reply to the R&S commentary ad infinitum.

  20. P) Has Poison Ivy ever had a good costume? We all recognize her in the variations on the floral theme and green leotards, but objectively, has she ever had a particularly good look? Isn’t it really just sex appeal and the quality of a given rendition that sells her? Anyway, Ivy is like my third or so favorite Batman villainess, which means she’s somewhere behind Penguin and Riddler in a unisex contest, but that’s still good enough to be in a top dozen-ish. Maguire definitely recalls the Silver Age in this piece, which reminds me that DC hadn’t started trying to give her a makeover yet, and aside from the Bride of Green Giant take I applaud those efforts. I like a lot of things about Ivy, including her LGBTQ representation, but she still doesn’t feel “finished” yet. What she was worked okay on Earth-1, but I feel like we’re still waiting on the Post-Crisis Poison Ivy. Enslaving her origin to Floronic Man (of all people) and serving as a supporting character to Harley Quinn ain’t that.

    Q) Finally, the right comment letter landed on the correct character in the instance that most demanded it. Frank Gorshin played my favorite male Batman ’66 villain, and he was menacing in both the tights and the blazer, so I wish modern creators could figure out how to do the same. All this reformed P.I. and lame lackey and possessed by a baby-sacrificing demon stuff has dealt so much damage to a name brand hood. If riddles are too hard, just take The Dark Knight track and make him The Ethicist, creating real-world Trolley Problems to morally challenge our heroes. Dixon & Dwyer’s Year One annual is still the best Riddler story I ever read. Chuck Dixon truly was one of the greatest Batman writers whose work I’ll never buy again because he contributed to the Richard C. Meyer GoFundMe campaign. Anybody want to buy an Ethan Van Sciver Zook sketch?

    2) Shag is probably just mutilating the rhyme to serve his joke, but in my head canon, he just doesn’t know how to pronounce “banana” any better than “nuclear” or “extremists.”

    R) I figure Neil Gaimam benefited from a post-Alan Moore air of appeasement, plus the man has demonstrated a tenacious willingness to lawyer up, but DC ultimately holds all the copyrights. Anyhow, I came onto The Sandman with the final issue of Season of Mists, but it was Distant Mirrors that expanded my understanding of what a comic book could be. I bought most of the trades that came before and every issue of the ongoing series that came after. I wore one Sandman shirt weekly until it evaporated and was heartened when Dabid on Roseanne seemed to do the same. I read my favorite arc The Doll’s House many times, but I found as the series progressed rereads in general became the exception and my affections cooled. By the end, it was an obligatory purchase, but I still have a shirt that was leftover when my shop closed that I’ll pull out on occasion. I really ought to buy one of those omnibus editions and revisit at least the first chunk in whole and chronologically for once. Oh hey, Dringenberg drew topless statues and nobody said boo? Cool entry all around.

    S) And I also always think Craig Brasfield on Solomon Grundy is Colleen Doran, but here’s that’s a knock on the innocent lady. Zombie Hulk really is a terrifying premise, and I’ve liked that Grundy since I was first exposed to him. Over-embracing that with the PAD-like permutations of Hulkyness, not so much.

    3) I tried to avoid it, but since everyone is ranking Batmobiles, I’ll go with ’66 for best and Nolan Tumbler for worst.

    T) Sonar is another dude that people think of as dorky, inspiring awful redesigns like Beige Magneto and Metronome Metallo, but I adore his bolero Napoleon scene. His whole thing is what happens when a child picks up a tuning fork and goes “pew-pew” and I am here for that. Not everybody has to be a homicidal maniac, and if Hal Boredan is too much of a hipster doofus to rock with Sonar, slide him over to Starman XVII and get some fun back in the funnybooks.

    U) Even by 1990 DC had to be aware of Who’s Who role as a menu for creators to make appearance selections out of, so even if his entry was a budget cut New Talent Showcase, it had value to inspire use in some trademark maintaining material like War of the Gods. I’ve never read a Son of Vulcan story and have only heard bad things, but hearing that he made so few appearances makes me want to read them, if only for ease of “exhaustive” research. David Williams went on to launch the !mpact Jaguar series and he’s done a fair amount of G.I. Joe work for IDW, but he’s never been what you call prolific. He did a painting of an original character of mine at HeroesCon ’17 that makes my heart sing every time I look at it, though.

    V) I continue agreeing with Rob that the best Toyman was of S:TAS, although I do have a soft spot for the Super-Friends version, but I most importantly want nothing to do with Winslow Schott. Here’s the second villain this issue to murder a long-lived usurper of his name, but this one was the wrong outcome. Not the most appealing entry, either. This did get me to thinking about Nightwing, though. See, Dick Grayson is one of the most beloved and recognizable super-heroes on the planet, yet he walked away with the Robin role without custody of virtually anything from his first half-century of crime-fighting. I feel Nightwing should take on revamps of all of the lesser loved Batman & Robin villains, since they were his foes, too. But also, Nightwing derives his name from Superman’s lore and direct influence, so as a combination of elements of the World’s Finest, why doesn’t Dick deal with some of the Man of Steel’s cast-offs as well? Wouldn’t Toyman best serve in that capacity, especially post-endarkening into a child murderer?

    W) Maybe Debbie Does Macramé was another one of Trickster’s tricks? Nightwing’s expanded scope could allow room for James Jesse, as well.

    X) I’ll always prefer the Adrian Chase softcore Punisher over Greg Saunders in a clear reversal of my defense for Sonar, and to add to my flip-flopping, I have a greater tolerance for old fat villains like Penguin than Ned Beatty with a laser pistol on a motorcycle. Cowboy Vigilante is an amusing relic, but I’m not showing up for his nostalgic revivals or supporting character turns unless it involves his obituary. Cute Parobeck art, though.

    4) Emmy Rossum at 32 years old has played the quasi-matriarch on Shameless for nine seasons, so she’s older than and has served in her role longer than Donna Troy, yet Rossum still looks twenty years younger than post-Titans Hunt soccer mom Troy. We all tend to react harshly to the obvious writer’s insertion Terry Long, and there’s probably an element of “is she really going out with him?” While he’s skeevy and plays a bad role in a lot of lousy stories, my biggest problem with Long was his crippling Titans’ character dynamics. Troy enters the NTT packaged with Long, so we don’t see their courtship, and there are very few relationship complications before they’re married. With Kory & Dick immediately shaking-up and Raven’s seduction of Wally West, the only Titans that got any subplots out of dating were Cyborg and Changeling. Every woman on the team was promptly “married” to someone, with no love triangles or interesting challenges for years. It stunted the book’s ability to do any soap opera.

    But also, Terry was such a little whiner throughout Titans Hunt…

    1. I appreciate Frank’s opinions on Greg Sanders (the original spelling before someone decided to give him the needless ‘u’ – geze, DC, he’s not Canadian!). Frank’s wrong, but I always appreciate the great thought he puts into his rants.

      You don’t have to worry about revivals much, Frank. Since Crisis, DC has rarely used him as more than an extra in crowd shots. El Diablo and the 90s Robinson miniseries were one of the few exceptions. What I loved about Prairie Justice was putting him back in 1947, in his prime, without cosmic explanations or having to age a down to earth character.

      JLU sed him to great effect, but I’m disappointed that the Arrow show can use the word ‘vigilante’ a million times per episode, but among their many Easter eggs, can’t figure out how to portray a cowboy on a motorbike that owns the name.

  21. Nothing to say that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll just add that John K Snyder III fans may want to look for his recent adaptation of Lawrence Block’s Eight Million Ways to Die.

  22. I’ve been really enjoying the show and have managed to listen to all the Who’s Whos in slightly under a month. I’m very excited to finally be able to share my comments rather than just shouting them at you as I listen. My fiendish plan is to make my comments so long that you can’t maintain the Dick Van Dyke accent you like to give to comments coming from the UK. I also plan to balance Shag’s irredeemableness by notifying you of any hot male totty – Gay Pride!

    I’ll start with my Who’s Who origin story. Finding US comics was always difficult in the small town I was brought up in (Harlow) and it required trips around town on my bike looking for comics in different newsagents who would all have different issues. I never saw Who’s Who on any of those trips. Then one day me and my Mum went to visit some friends in a nearby town called Hoddesdon and I snuck off to the newsagents with my pocket money and picked up Who’s Who Update ’88 issue 4 and Who’s Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes issue 7. I instantly fell in love. Over the next 30 years I managed to pick up all the other issues except the Hawkman issue of the original series and issue 3 of the loose leaf. Luckily Shag and Rob have been able to plug my collection by their descriptions of those issues but I still check out the longboxes at every comic shop or convention I visit. One day!

    As for how my loose leaf is sorted. I initially had it in alphabetical order within categories so poor Adam Strange has gotten a little damaged from sitting at the front for 28 years. Over the years I must have had too much weight on top of my binder because the rings have slightly bent so it is quite difficult to flip through. You have to individually turn the pages. This was making it quite difficult to keep up with Rob and Shag so I spent a fun hour recently resorting the entries into the order they appeared on the covers so I can more easily keep pace with the show. Doing this I ended up with a spare entry who isn’t mentioned on the covers so that’s interesting. I’m sure he’ll be mentioned when you get to his issue. Unless you choose to skip him, he is a Hawk and Dove villain.

    Onto my comments on issue 5.

    Batmobile – I wish they’d just used Breyfogle’s cover from Detective 601. Most dynamic image of the batmobile ever. Weirdly my favourite Batmobile is the classic version with the Bat-shaped cattle catcher on the front. It’s just so bizarre that it has to be loved.

    Chemo – Mike Mignola rules. I’d have loved to see him do a Metal Men run. As of yet no-one has ever managed to surpass Walter Simonson’s Metal Men for me but I bet Mignola could do it.

    Cyborg – Really interesting that Perez is listed first and Wolfman second. I had read previously that Cyborg was the character who most resembled George (inner-city, working-class kid) and was the character who Marv was the least involved in but it is strange to see their names reversed. It’s like that controversy a few years ago when there was a Beatles greatest hits where some songs were credited McCartney/Lennon instead of Lennon/McCartney. Even when it reflects who had the primary influence on the finished product you’re so used to one formulation that it jars.

    Daxamites – I know I’m going to get hate-mail but I really don’t like this era of Broderick’s work. There was always something rubbery and soft about it but as he got more and more popular and particularly after inking himself on Sunrunners you could see this coming to the fore. Always preferred him with a slightly overpowering inker like Bulanadi on Micronauts, Rodriguez on Firestorm or Tanghal on Legion. And he made Laurel and Lar ugly on the small panels. Laurel should be making Shag say “She’s hot” and Lar Gand should be having a similar effect on me but it’s just not happening.

    Dr Light – I wish they’d got Parobeck. He’d drawn the Secret Origin that was much referenced in the entry and would have knocked it out of the park. Mike Clark did some good work on the later issues of All-Star Squadron but this just isn’t working.

    Extremists – I feel a bit silly that I never noticed the Marvel parallels. Particularly as I picked them up immediately with Blue Jay and Silver Sorceress. I never really got behind the Extremists though. Those issues of JLE are amongst my least favourite they just felt a little too extreme.

    Hourman – Matt Wagner is always a win for me. Nearly as good as his Granny Goodness. I love the amount of character he is able to bring to the small panels. You really get the idea of the spoilt rich kid from the body language of him leaning against the bar. Genius.

    Jimmy Olsen – I love how interesting Ordway, Stern and Jurgens had managed to make Jimmy post Byrne. And along comes Gammill to smash it. I know it’s sacrilege but I think this might be superior to the JLGL (PBHN) version from Update ’88 and I lurve JLGL (PBHN).

    Jo Nah – 5YL is my favourite iteration of the Legion, Jo is one of my favourite Legionnaires and Dan Jurgens is one of the best artists from Who’s Who but I hate this entry. Maybe it’s just his freaky nipple, do they have odd mutations on Rimbor? Someone needs to ask Russell Burbage to spot check his neighbours. And on the small panels what is going on with his heat-vision. He looks surprised that it works. WTF Dan. Bad day?

    Lyrissa Mallor – My first issue of the acronym LEGION was her death issue. Alan Grant really could rip out your heart when he wanted to. I would heartily recommend the first 40 issues of that series. They were always interesting and often genius. Great entry.

    Mad Hatter – I was listening to this entry on my headphones sat on the sofa next to my husband and his reaction to this entry was “What is that man doing to Batman?” I had to pause the podcast and explain Mad Hatter to him. His summation was that the pictures were “Good Weird”. I think Mark Badger would take that as a compliment and I thank God that I managed to marry a man who can appreciate Mad Hatter.

    Martian Manhunter – J’onn was amazing in JLI/A and this entry sums him up. Great to see an action shot on the cover it sums him up as one of the more purely heroic DC super-heroes. Booster is looking Hot in the photograph J’onn is holding, I wonder where his other hand is.

    Nightshade – Eric Shanower is a star and would have been the perfect artist for the classic Nightshade look but he doesn’t do justice to the McDonnell redesign. I wonder if he requested to draw Nightshade and was surprised to discover that she’d been darkened in Suicide Squad. I wish Shanower had drawn her Secret Origin which was very much about the fairytale version of Nightshade and they’d got someone else to do this entry JKS3 would have been appropriate as a previous Suicide Squad artist.

    Peacemaker – He’s got a toilet cistern on his head, and it talks to him! Move away, he’s got a gun! Someone throw him out a window before he hurts himself.

    Penguin – Aparo looks so much better when he inks himself and is the perfect artist for the classic Bat-villains. Interestingly enough Penguin is pictured with lots of birds which ties in with a then recent crossover between Batman and Detective which was drawn by Breyfogle and M D Bright as Batman was fortnightly over the summer and Aparo needed a break. I remember back in 1990 being bitter that it wasn’t drawn by Breyfogle or Sam Kieth (who did Penguin’s Secret Origin) but I’m glad it was Aparo. It’s great to look back and remember what a genius he was.

    Poison Ivy – I love the inclusion of the calamine lotion and Maguire does a very Batman ’66 take on the character but I wish they’d got Mark Buckingham to do his creepy, disturbed Queen of the May version from the Secret Origin. I like my Poison Ivy scary not fun.

    Riddler – I really want a question mark chair although I’m not sure the feet would be strong enough to take my weight (I am not a skinny guy like the Riddler). I agree with all the love for Frank Gorshin. I recently went to the DC Comics exhibition in London and they had the blazer he wore in the Batman series displayed alongside an Allred Batman ’66 cover. It was fabulous. So colourful and it was like my childhood coming to life. I love how animated Dwyer has managed to make a sitting character. Apparently drawing people sitting is really difficult. Mike Grell talks in the Twomorrows Legion Companion about an Aquaman story he drew very early in his career with Aquaman sitting on the throne that all his artist friends ribbed him about. Apparently they thought he drew him looking like he was sat on a toilet. Some of them still call him the guy who put Aquaman on the toilet 40 years later.

    Sandman – Phenomenol art. I agree that Greenberger did a good job capturing the feel of Dream. Can you imagine being asked to write in Gaiman’s style? Intimidating.

    Solomon Grundy – Nope! Brasfield never seemed to be able to get faces right. I always felt like he was aiming at Kevin Maguire expressiveness but his reach exceeded his grasp. Even Perez couldn’t save it. I never really got SG until the great Steve Yeowell drew him in Starman and you really got zombie Hulk. Then Peter Snejberg took it further with a permanent creepy grin. Menacing.

    Sonar – I genuinely think this is Kane’s best from any iteration of Who’s Who. It probably helps that I’m predisposed to like Sonar after his appearances in the Hughes issues of JLA and the amazingly beautiful Parobeck/Templeton Elongated Man mini. All the talk of pens vs. brushes for inkers reminds me of a Terry Austin anecdote. Back in his Continuity days Giordano and Adams used to tease Terry because he could only ink with pens and wasn’t able to control the brush. In the 1997 Adventures in the DCU Annual Terry inked a story about Rose and Thorn that was pencilled by Dick Giordano. Next time they spoke Dick said “I see you finally learned to use a brush” and Terry replied “No, I just got better at faking it.” I love the idea that an acomplished artist could trick Dick Giordano into thinking he was using different tools. It proves that the artist is more important than their equipment.

    Son of Vulcan – I’m sure he got an entry because War of the Gods was in the planning stages. Supposedly it got delayed in part because Karen Berger’s maternity leave coincided with when the contracts needed approval and Perez couldn’t work on it until the contracts were finalised which is why when it eventually happened it came out at the same time as Infinity Gauntlet. Under the original plans Perez should have finished it before he started working for Marvel. I’m surprised you guys weren’t familiar with David A Williams. As mentioned above he was the artist on Impact’s Jaguar and also drew the Flash TV special and the Kid Quantum issue of the 5YL Legion. In recent years he’s done quite a bit of cover work for Marvel. I particularly liked the ones he did on Wolverine First Class.

    Toyman – I adore Steve Purcell’s work. Sam and Max rules. I loved the friendly uncle version of Toyman. There’s a great Stern/Gammill issue of Action Comics where he was kidnapping deprived kids and looking after them. He was creepy but he came from a good place. I always felt the later darkening of him was editorially mandated. Jurgens did an amazing job of telling the story, you really empathised with Cat Grant’s pain and suffering, but it never felt like it belonged in Superman. I like the fact that Mignola’s inks come to the fore on the picture of Superman.

    Trickster – Blah!

    Vigilante – Parobeck – Yay!!! Fricke – Yahoo!!! Great image. I only wish I had more issues of El Diablo. It’s never going to be reprinted now.

    Anyway, thanks for patiently reading my comments. I’m looking forward to issue 6. Can I finish by asking if Shag is fully aware of the implications of his nickname in British slang. It really makes it sound as though his wife is a very unlucky woman.

  23. I posted this in response to Ward Hill Terry’s post from episode #4, but since it was listening to episode #5, I thought I should also stick it here.

    Although I listen to lots of comic related podcasts, with the lion’s share being from this network, this show is my favorite walk down comic book memory lane. Who’s Who proper series came out at the apex of my comic reading, when I was in my late teens/early 20s, and I have every issue, allowing me to follow along each episode page by page. The loose leaf editions, however, started coming out the year I got married, so as you might expect, my attention was shifted elsewhere. In fact, the only issue I have of the loose leafs is #1…which came out about 4 months before my wife and I got married.

    As I mentioned, I listen to all of your comic related podcasts (although I am going to start listening to Rob’s M.A.S.H podcast and Ryan’s Cheers podcast, as they are two of my favorite sitcoms); however, I have only commented on Shag’s JLI podcast, Rob’s TreasuryCast and Prof. Xum’s Done-in-One Wonders. I am the guy who, to this day, sings the lyrics to Def Leppard’s “Rocket” song (“Rocket…yeah!) in my head when I hear Rocket Red’s name).

    What prompted me to comment today is actually in response to Ward Hill Terry’s comment in Who’s Who in the DC Universe #4 episode regarding Phantom Lady and your resultant request for more information on the ownership of the character. It just so happens that yesterday I bought a copy of Phantom Lady #2 dated Feb-Mar 1955. The cover indicates it was published by Ajax/Farrell, although the publication information inside the cover listed Excellent Publishing, Inc. as the publisher. I was interested (and a little perplexed) by multiple names of publishers so I did a little research of my own.
    It turns out that Farrell Publications put out several imprints in the 1940s, and by 1951 had rebranded itself as Farrell Comics Group, with financial backing by Excellent Publishing, Inc. In 1954, it acquired the rights to Phantom Lady from Fox Feature Syndicate. The whole transition of ownership from Quality to Fox to Farrell is a tangled mess, but essentially the Eisner & Iger studio created the character for Quality back in 1941. Quality stopped publishing her stories in Police Comics in 1948, so Eisner & Iger, believing it owned the rights to the character, sent her off to Fox Feature Syndicate. This is when Matt Baker’s good girl rendition of Phantom Lady made her “popular”, you might say…and caught the attention of one Dr. Fredric Wertham. Shortly thereafter, she (and the rights to her) went back to comic character limbo until Ajax-Farrell published 4 issues of the second Phantom Lady title, where she maintains the Sandra Knight alter ego, but wears a notably more conservative costume (at least in issue #2, which I have now). So the answer to Ward’s question about whether this is same character as the in Quality’s Police Comics and Fox’ Phantom Lady is yes. Issue #2 also happens to be the last pre-code issue. I was tickled to have picked this issue up because it is so immersed in the history of the medium.
    I better end this dissertation before you guys confuse me with Diabolu Frank!

    Thanks once again for a great show!

  24. Another fine episode. My thoughts…

    Batmobile: The late, great Norm Breyfogle will always be my Batman artist No. 1, partly because he was drawing the character during my formative years as a Bat-fan, but also because I found his style to be perfectly tuned to the character: Rooted in realism enough to make it resonate, but with the right amount of gothic flourishes to suit the DC Universe. (I spent a couple weeks after his death rereading some of his work; dear Lord, absolutely no one drew a better scene of Batman kicking ass.) His Batmobile is likewise fantastic. I get some of the other commenters’ criticisms, about it looking silly, but anytime NB drew it in motion, my breath was taken away.

    Chemo: I like the character, I like Mignola, but this drawing doesn’t work for me. Why is Chemo squeezing his hands together? He looks like Andre the Giant threatening to choke Hulk Hogan.

    Daxamites: Sorry, I hate this one. Pat Broderick isn’t bad—I liked his work on Green Lantern and the third Sword of the Atom special—but in a static shot like this (you’re right, it looks like a travel brochure), all I see are blocky heads and bulging eyes. Also, the kerning on the logo is a mess.

    The Mad Hatter: Great image. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point the character was established to be a pedophile, which was such a bad idea on every level.

    The Sandman: This entry was my first exposure to the character, beyond posters in the comics store, and it made me curious to read it, even though this brand of fantasy literature had never been my thing. (I wouldn’t actually dive in till I got to college three years later, when I borrowed the TPBs from the goth girl in my dorm.) I was particularly intrigued by the entry’s mention of Dream’s friendship with Hob Gadling, the guy who refuses to die; that story has since become my single favorite one-issue story ever.

    Riddler: Yeah, no, asking whether you preferred Gorshin or Astin as the Riddler is not a valid question for anyone with a soul; sorry, Shag. (Though I loved Astin in The Addams Family and Night Court.) As I recall, Rob was right, they only drafted in Astin because Gorshin (who had been nominated for an Emmy for playing the character) was tied up with a movie. Astin’s performance was so poorly received, they lured Gorshin back for one more episode in the third season. (Trivia note: John Astin is the last surviving male actor who played a Batman ’66 guest villain; there are four remaining women.)

    Son of Vulcan: Other people beat me to it, but yes, he’s in here because War of the Gods was imminent, and they hyped the crap out of that. (Written and drawn by Perez, after all.) Also, it shows how long you guys have been doing this podcast that both Rob and Shag seem to have forgotten that Rob told that same Jerry Bails story when you covered the SOV entry in the original Who’s Who series.

    Finally, as you do with so many others, if you read my comments on the air, please mention my own podcast: I DON’T GET IT: THE POP CULTURE GET-OFF-MY-LAWN-CAST: http://www.idontgetitpodcast.com/

    Much appreciated!

  25. Another great episode. But holy lack of brevity, Batman! (says the guy who is writing a dissertation).

    Really bummed I missed Shag at Baltimore Comic-Con, but I got to take my friend to his first-ever con, and he loved it. It was my 7th year going and as usual I had a blast. I too got the Section Zero book, and I got to finally cross “Meet Tom Grummett” off my bucket list.

    Regarding Phantom Lady and her roots: There is a website, digitalcomicmuseum.com that is dedicated to preserving the golden age of comics digitally. Specifically the public domain stuff. There you can legally download a bunch of comics, including three volumes of Phantom Lady comics. They have some great text pieces in them about the Fox years and the Quality years. Worth checking out.

    Hearing Rob talk about the comics he blocked blacks for reminds me of some of the comics I too did that for – to help out Mark Lipka. I was a little later on, but I got to help out on Star Wars (the first Ki-Adi-Mundi story), Aliens v Predator, Joker: Last Laugh, Swamp Thing (the Tefe Holland run), Green Lantern: Circle of Fire, Harley Quinn and a few others. It was always a lot of fun. Sadly, Mark is no longer inking comics having moved on to other things. I miss the late nights watching “This is Spinal Tap” while filling in blacks.

    One more note on inking, The brushes I learned to use and Mark swore by are Schraff 300 fine line #3 brushes from France. Mark always said, “Do what feels right for you. If you can successfully ink with a fence post, do it. But these things are the bomb.”

    On to notes from the actual issue:

    Chemo – I like this look a lot more than the “updated” version where he looks like a giant green Borg.

    Cyborg – What a character with so much potential that always just misses the mark. He’s been forced into the JLA (where he is ok as a member, but not as a founder), only to be more-or-less pushed to the side as a glorified exposition character. He’s given his own series, which fails. And they keep revising his look to be more and more bulky. If he’s supposed to represent human/tech integration, then the artists designing him should look at the current trend of tech – which is sleek and minimal.

    Also, they need to stop making his villains exact matches for his power set. Look at all the good rogues galleries. The ones that are successful (Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, The Flash) have rogues that run the gamut of abilities. Making all of his villains variations on the same thing makes for boring and un-inventive stories to set the drama against (which also needs punching up by giving him some honest-to-goodness supporting cast members who are likable).

    Hourman: His purple costume actually came first. He later adopted his dad’s costume after he went to Limbo to fight in Ragnarok.

    Mad Hatter: for me, the B:TAS version will always be the gold standard. I’d argue it was his appearances on that show which brought him back to prominence.

    Peacemaker: I never liked the insane warrior idea because it really doesn’t apply his whole notion of “loving peace so much he kills for it.” I always thought he would be better served almost like a tortured zen master who longs for peace, but sees no way to achieve it without embracing the paradox of war.

    Riddler: I love what they did with him in the Arkham games. That to me is the best version of the character.

    Sandman: What is there to say about this character that hasn’t been said already? He’s iconic in comics, and rightfully so. They could have done a whole who’s who series just on the characters from his corner of the DCU. Imagine enteries for Hob Gadling, Merv, Lucien, Eblis O’Shaughnessy, Destruction, Mad Harriet, etc. It would be glorious.

    Solomon Grundy: It is pure coincidence that I was out with a group of (non-comic) friends last night and he actually came up. Somehow the old nursery rhyme came up, and that led to discussion about the character, which then led to his wanting of pants. Good times.

    Trickster: You missed that as he is fighting Blue Devil, Devil is stealing his shoes. I just find that ridiculous and charming at the same time.

    Vigilante: I miss Mike Parobeck’s art so much. I think about the great work we get from Michael Cho and Dave Bullock and his work would just fit in so perfectly with theirs.

    Can’t wait for the next one. Keep it up!

  26. I’m back to comment on Issue 5 – the next issue I own in my incomplete collection of loose-leaf editions.

    But before I start, that mini-interview with John K Snyder III was great! So much love for Ultra the Multi-Alien… who knew! Ultra the Multi…media franchise, here we come! Allow me a second to pitch you a podcast idea – just as you have ‘It’s Midnight…’ as a horror anthology show, surely there’s room on the Network for a sci-fi anthology comics podcast covering the likes of Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Space Cabbie, Ultra the Multi-Alien, a very, very, *very* short podcast strand for Chris-KL 99?! C’mon… tell me there’s no audience for that – it’s like you’re leaving money on the table, guys!

    Right… to the entries:

    BATMOBILE: Stylized is the word here. I didn’t get “electric razor” so much as Blue Beetle’s Bug – those back fins look exactly like Stag Beetle horns to me.

    CHEMO: I love this character as a twenty-story high kaiju, full of radioactive slop, and I’m with Rob on the cool, minimalstic character design. Sure, you could interview Michael Eury at the end of the series, but I have a feeling that – for the real inside scoop – you’ll snag an exclusive kiss-and-tell interview with Brenda Pope!

    THE EXTREMISTS: This entry is *chef’s kiss* MWAHH! JLE was right in my sweet spot as I started reading comics in the early 1990s, and this story line was a particular JLE highlight for me. I knew about the link of this team to the villains of the Marvellous Competition – I always wondered if the interlocking D’s on Dr Diehard’s chest was another hint to the source material, what with it being a big ol’ rip off of Daredevil’s logo and all. Bart Sears’ art was never better than when illustrating this team, and the JLE story and art worked brilliantly together to show the cruelty and brutality of the Extremists. Can’t wait for the Bwah-ha-ha podcast to get around to this arc. (mid-2021, right?)

    HOURMAN: Matt Wagner’s art is awesome on this entry – I love the blocky colours and stylized cape folds. There’s a feeling of genuine power that radiates from the character here (in a way that the purple costume can’t hope to replicate). I know him best from the 2000’s JSA book, and I too loved later Android Hourman book. I would watch the crap out of a Hourman “it’s like 24 but with superheroes” TV series.

    JIMMY OLSEN: In complete contrast to the Hourman entry, the Jimmy Olsen entry is beautifully clean – I love the details and he is truly a terrific supporting character.

    MARTIAN MANHUNTER: I’m glad you pointed out that J’onn’s supporting a safe here. What with his eyes closed, and his hand rubbing his right temple, I immediately thought poor J’onn was struggling with a really bad migraine! One thing that looks strange in this image, is how the central circle on J’onn’s belt looks folded – I always thought it was like a solid belt buckle – obviously, it’s more flexible than I thought.
    Is there any set of images on the back page of the entry that shows such disparate images? Here, we have J’onn as a fifties-style detective, J’onn as the weary JLA leader and J’onn as shapeshifted Martian serpant creature worshipping the stars: each image captures an aspect of his character, but each is completely different!

    PEACEMAKER: Fashion faux pas of the issue: Peacemaker’s weird helmet makes me think he’s accidently gotten his face stuck in a toilet seat. And those strange knee-high boots? It’s a no from me.

    RIDDLER: That throne the Riddler is sitting on is definitely going to overbalance with that enomous question mark on the back. And why does his throne come equipped with a gas pedal? The Riddler himself looks deeply sinister in this image, with his his bowler hat casting shadow over his face – really menacing. There’s a touch of Frank Gorshin in the mugshot on the back page, which is appropriate, as that dangerously manic portrayal of the character is always the idea of Riddler I default to in my head.

    THE SANDMAN: The black back page is a cool idea – I was worried that the printing might make it illegible, but it’s fine. The front image is outstanding – one of the best of this issue, IMHO. Neil Gaiman is a great writer – he seems to be genuinely interested and supportive of creative endeavours at all levels, and is an inspirational figure for writers of all abilities.

    SOLOMON GRUNDY: This image of Solomon Grundy looks like a Hannah-Barbera version of the character; I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on an episode of Scooby Doo. I enjoy the idea that he’s resurrected through the swap in a different persona every time he dies – it makes him far more useful than the simple zombie character he could easily be.

    SONAR: I have great memories of reading the Elongated Man mini-series during lectures at University. I’m sure I should’ve been concentrating on something much more important, but that series was soooo good!

    SON OF VULCAN: I love the sketchy cartooning of this entry. I have only come across the character tangentally – didn’t he have a role in “The War of the Gods” event? Like Shag, I also enjoyed the early 2000’s manga-esque miniseries. I have a vague recollection that the character had a later cameo in a couple of issues of Titans – I thought the character had more milage in him, so it’s a shame that he’s languishing in obscurity.
    I remember the Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt series well, and bought the whole run – it was written & drawn by UK artist Mike Collins. I had no idea that DC had no rights to the character at that time… ooops!

  27. By my count, Shagg talked about hanging out with me for almost 5 minutes, so … GREAT EPISODE!

    Seriously, Baltimore was awesome. I was indeed at John K Synder’s table when Shagg got that interview, so I was the hype man for this podcast. So much fun.

    There’s so many great covers (I mean “pages”) in this issue, it’d almost be easier to say which ones I *didn’t* like. But that goes against “find your joy”, so I won’t actually do that. This era had plenty of fantastic artists, that’s for sure.

    Well done, gentlemen!

  28. The prodigal sons return! I had almost given up hope that we would get a new Who’s Who episode, but then I remembered we were in the midst of the looseleaf edition and it softened the blow.

    Couple of quick thoughts unrelated to the issue at hand:

    1. I did read *sigh* Titans Hunt and, at the risk of writing a manifesto that would make Diablo Frank say, “Dude, learn to be more concise” I will summarise by saying it still sucks. I will grudgingly agree with Shag that it was better than the Titans issues that preceded it, but that is a low bar. Constant interruptions by other universe-wide crossovers and the lobotomizing of Cyborg are definitely negative marks against recommending it. Needless to say, any storyline that sees Jericho die and Danny Chase stay alive (in any form) is a bad story.

    2. Not sure if anyone has made this comment yet, but when is Prof. Xum going to make a “Tutti-Man” entry?

    Okay, on to issue five:

    1. Chemo- Am I the only one who thinks there is a missed merchandising opportunity here? I would use the heck out of a plastic or glass Chemo cup that could double as an action figure. I know it is a long shot, but I did get a Starro sleepmask in my latest World’s Finest subscription box, so there has to be some market for obscurish super-villian products.

    2. Cyborg- Rob is not wrong about the advances in prosthetics, but I’m not sure there needs to be any changes to the character to make him relevant. The issue was never that Vic was Frankenstein (I can only hope that when I’m attacked by a multi-dimensional blob that the reconstructive work done on me would be so symmetrical and well applied), but that Vic perceived himself as a Frankenstein. In some ways, this is what made him so relatable as a teenager, this near obsession with what other people were thinking about him. I can’t tell you how often as a teacher I have students come and complain to me when I change the seating chart and they are forced to sit towards the front of the room. 9 out of 10 times when I talk with the kid, it comes down to the fact that they are absolutely convinced that the kids behind them will be watching and judging them. Trying to convince them that everyone else is too focused on their own junk to even notice that pimple on the back of your neck or that you are wearing last year’s Jordans is just a lost cause. I feel this issue is magnified when you add the racial aspect of the equation. Vic Stone, well before the accident, was hyper aware of every judgemental set of white eyes on him when he walked through the mall or went for a burger at Big Belly’s. How much worse is it now that he looks abnormal? Explaining to him logically that there are hundreds of people in similar predicaments would do absolutely nothing to change his point of view.

    3. 5YL- Shag claimed that the first three years of this series stood up against any other comic series “of the 90s.” You do realize how that qualifier lowers the bar significantly, don’t you Shag? Even then, I feel JLI proves you wrong.

    4. Sandman-. NEXT!!!!!!!!!! I’ve read some of Mr. Gaiman’s prose work and he is a truly phenomenal author. That being said, I’ve never had a single urge to pick up any of this “Dreaming” nonsense and I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.

    5. Toyman- I love that you remember the young inventer Toyman from Batman / Superman, and yet you have both apparently completely blocked out that his invention in that first arc was a mech version of Composite Superman!

    Alright, until you finally get around to covering issue 6, I’ll occupy myself fantasizing about what Who’s Who in the Golden Age would have looked like.

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