Who’s Who: Update ’88 – Volume 3

It's the third issue of WHO'S WHO UPDATE '88! Shag and Rob take a look at new and updated characters such as Per Degaton, Rat Catcher, Shade The Changing Man, Sinestro, Starman, and more! We wrap up with YOUR Listener Feedback!

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60 responses to “Who’s Who: Update ’88 – Volume 3

  1. Re: Psi-Phon & Dreadnaught… Byrne drew their 1st (and brief) appearance but the main showdown was by Ordway in the story’s Part 2 (Adventures of Superman #442), which you should check out, Rob! Aquaman is a key player. Fun issue.

    Fujitake’s connection to Shade was that he drew him several times in the fan press, mostly in The Comics Journal. HIs style being very Ditko-esque made him a perfect fit. This was definitely the only time he drew for DC (never for Marvel), but he hasn’t done any comics in several decades. Absolutely one of my favorites: http://zegas.tumblr.com/search/fujitake

    Fuckin’ Brozowski — swiping his head off. Shag, you *cannot* like this guy, man… it’s like being a fan of a bad dream you already forgot, or a baby’s burp; it’s of zero consequence. This time his Stalnoivolk is shamelessly flipped & traced from, guess where — http://firestormfan.com/images/tumblr_ww19_royraymond.jpg — SACRILEGE.

    On the flip side, Ty Templeton continues to rule. I have to admit, though, that the absence of the Suicide Squad is painful. So what if Duchess, Nemesis, and Nightshade already made cover appearances; I would kill to see Ty the Guy draw the rest of the team (which he never has!) It’s difficult to complain when the Squad’s actual profile dominates the issue with their definitive artist, the mighty Luke MCDonnell.

    1. Michel – Regarding Brozowski, HOLY CRAP! I had no idea!! Swiping Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Praise Be His Name?!?! That’s not right. I even show those two to my wife. She was horrified that someone would copy like that. Thanks for letting me know.

  2. The main thing I remember about America vs the JSA is that the Flexographic process still had some major problems. That and GA Superman using his fingers to read the old wire recordings.

    I know if I was starting a super-hero comic line one of the first things I would do is hire Todd Klein to design all the logos.

    DC missed the boat by not turning Prankster into a reality show during the Punk’d days. I liked that Wolfman and Ordway *tried* to create new villains in their Superman run, but the execution was meh at best.

    If you told me that Punch and Jewelee were 70’s Flash villains, that would seem perfectly believable.

    Puppeteer was in one of the early New Teen Titans issues as well, and he’s wearing Kite-Man suit, that’s why it’s familiar.

    Presumably by this point the Who’s Who budget was less than the cover price, so lots of staffers doing lower level characters.

    Hector Hall was the male version of Duela Dent, picking up whatever legacy was lying around.

    Scott Fischer’s fate will be discussed in an upcoming episode of Siskoid’s First Strike: Invasion! podcast, a proud member of the Fire and Water Podcast Network.

    Shrapnel is such a Savage Dragon character it hurts.

    They later turned Vanessa Kapatelis into another Silver Swan, who attacked Wonder Woman for abandoning her for Cassie Sandsmark.

    Bonus points if Speed McGee shows up on the Flash series played by Corbin Bernsen.

    Tigress got killed and revived in YAS, and that’s what drove her to villainy.

    Shag and Rob are the Tigger and Eeyore of the comics podcasting world.

      1. Looking at my collection, apparently I never finished reading Young All-Stars! I guess even I gave up on that book. 🙁

  3. You guys are right. Ratcatcher’s first appearance was Detective Comics #585. Issue #485 was the one where Bronze Tiger defeated Batman.

  4. Did Shag use the word ‘sloth’ in the In Stock Trades bit?

    Punch & Jewlee didn’t stay platonic. They made their Suicide Squad team mates very uncomfortable on one mission with their in-mission fraternisation. She was eventually pregnant to him later in that run.

  5. That 1942 German pilot, Albert Hollerer, is an homage to the Hillman character, The Heap, which predated both Swamp Thing and Man-Thing, though came after Theodore Sturgeon’s short story, “It.” The Heap was actually WW1 pilot, Baron Emmelman, who was shot down in 1918, over a Polish swamp. The character debuted in 1942 (cover dated Dec), when Hollerer was supposed to have been shot down. At this time, the character was part of the Airboy revival at Eclipse, which featured many Hillman characters.

    Per Degaton has a great appearance in Batman, The Brave and the Bold, in the episode “The Golden Age of Justice.”

    Karl Kesel did a great Punch and Jewelee piece, for the loose-leaf Who’s Who, with an homage to the Saturday Evening Post covers, possibly inspired by one done by JC Leyendecker, seen here: http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/wp-content/uploads/satevepost/illustration_j_c_leyendecker_9330225_clipped.jpg

    Here’s the Kesel drawing: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/3/32/Punch_and_Jewelee_001.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20091019095707

    The original Queen Bee was Zazzala, an alien whi fought the JLA, back in the 60s. She later reappeared in 1999. This Queen Bee was a separate character; but, was, basically a revamp of the original.

    That was Alan Grant and John Wagner, on Batman, not Steven (or Stephen) Wagner.

    This version of Sandman was more of Roy flailing around, at the end of Infinity, Inc. The Simon & Kirby Sandman appeared in Wonder Woman #300, where the Garrett Sanford name and origin was given. Roy latched on to it to add a Sandman to the team. Hector as Dr Fate was really the only version of Hector’s identities that felt like a decent idea.

    I liked this version of the Secret Six, and Spiegle’s work on it, including this. The original series was also great, though the connection to Mission Impossible was blatantly obvious. The Action Comics Weekly series had some good stories and is my favorite of Spiegle’s work at DC; well, after Blackhawk.

    DC needs to reintroduce Soyuz in The Authority, so that Soyuz can link up with Apollo. Only people who were kids in the 70s will probably get that.

    I enjoyed the Will Payton Starman; but, that costume always looked like something rejected by an Olympic downhill skier. Tom Lyle was a heck of an artist, though; I miss seeing his work in comics.

  6. 1) After my frustration and loathing toward the repetitiveness of the previous issue, it was a relief to find this one had mostly new or justifiable returning characters. Plus, next issue is mostly supporting players, so it won’t be a slog, either.

    2) The Who’s Who covers with a background color weird me out because they feel like they’re going off-model… by which I mean the same crowd scenes without background or color pioneered by OHOTMU. I’m mostly indifferent to the actual art, though I really like Templeton’s take on Shrapnel.

    A) I respect what Alan Moore did on a book about sentient vegetation, but when I look at the Congress of Cucumbers all I see are the Guardians of the Universe’s Produce Aisle.

    B) As drawn, there’s no way Per Degaton is the same height as Wolverine is never drawn at either, but it’s an evocative image of a guy who could pass for not being a Nazi while totally still looking like a Nazi. Any chance Mekanique sounded like Katherine Hepburn, because that would be perfect (and practical, since Metropolis wasn’t a talkie?)

    C) I have never read a Prankster story that was worth the paper it was printed on, but the day someone figures out how to make villains like this and Mxyzptlk and Terra-Man work in a modern context wins at Superman. Why does Jim Mooney’s Superman in the color hold look like John Buscema?

    1. Regarding the cover: I like that the Trees are so prominent that everybody gets to play around on them, but I agree that the background color should’ve been white.

  7. Prankster: Love this Prankster. Like a lot. His back story as a children’s host and using the stuff he got from his sponsors was genius and this is one of my favorite Byrne revamps. Superman #16 was a pretty big deal actually. Not only did it introduce the new Prankster but also the new Morgan Edge and on the very last page the first Post Crisis Supergirl.

    Jeff and I actually put together a joke ad for one of Prankster’s sponsors incorporating the fact that Oswald used their product to get back at WGBS.

    Psi-Phon and Dreadnought: While their first appearance was great (bring on the guest stars, including Ordway drawing Captain Marvel, which is always great) their follow up by Dan Jurgens is amazing. It was a great example of Dan asking, “Why do characters always do this in comics?” and having Superman deal with it. The ultimate payoff with the characters wasn’t the best but I like seeing Superman tussle with these guys.

    Silver Banshee: I love this character. LOVE her. I have had a thing for Silver Banshee since Superman #17. She had a great background, an interesting power set and was a great addition to Superman’s rogues gallery. Her appearances on JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, SMALLVILLE and SUPERGIRL were a lot of fun and I liked to see how she moved from fighting Superman to fighting Supergirl, so at least she was kept in the family.

    And Shag is right. The live action version from Supergirl was smoking hot.

    Skyhook: Well…Maggie Sawyer really. Skyhook is one of those characters that had a purpose, served that purpose and moved on, which was nice to see. As for Maggie’s playing for the home team, so to speak, that was something that went COMPLETELY over my head when I was 12 to 13 years old. Now it’s pretty apparent but Byrne played that very close to the vest. At no point does she come out and say she’s a lesbian but if you read between the lines it’s there, so there probably wasn’t a whole lot of push back from DC UNLESS that push back came in the form of Byrne wanting to say she’s a a lesbian, DC saying no and then him dancing around it. Maggie was always one of my favorite supporting characters and while it’s nice that she found life in GOTHAM CENTRAL and then BATWOMAN she also represents one of the elements of Superman’s world that was sold off at auction when DC decided it didn’t give a crap about maintaining Superman as a character.

  8. Sleez: Another character I like for what he did more than what he was. Sadly he’s now more associated with younger readers that like to talk about comics from the past in terms of the lolz they produce than actually talk about the material (this is generational, I know) but the whole “SUPERMAN AND BARDA DID A PORNO” has become more of a punchline than an actual story point. There is a moment at the end of that two parter where Superman asks if they did anything and the answer is really ambiguous so it’s left up to us to decide. So if you wanted Barda and Superman to make the Rhondor with Two Backs then they did. If you don’t, they didn’t. Shazam,

  9. D) I’ve read at least one of Psi-Phon & Dreadnaught’s earlier appearances, but I don’t recall if it was the Ordway or Jurgens one. Martian Manhunter was definitely on their loose leaf Who’s Who page, so I made a point of checking to see if they qualified for the Vile Menagerie, and when they didn’t I lost all interest. The little guy looks like the controller of Warstar from the Imperial Guard.

    E) I can’t believe there was demand anywhere at any time ever for a Punch and Jewelee pin-up, so I think the safer assumption is that Rob Liefeld didn’t get the mechanics of a Who’s Who entry and this was the result. It’s not bad though, and seriously, if Harley Quinn hasn’t dealt with these guys before, that needs to be addressed in one of her three ongoing series or spin-off minis. Again, not due to demand, but just to provide low hanging fruit for her overworked creative teams. It’s like that time the Inferior 5 never met the JLI.

    F) I’m with Shag in thinking the Pupeteer should have had more traction as the first villain of the ’60s Green Lantern book, but then I’ve never understood why Xotar the Weapons Master didn’t get more play and actively campaign for Martian Manhubter villains, so I’m an easy mark.

    G) Queen Bee II was an alright foe, but she felt very small as a threat to the JLI, relying as she did on dodgy proxies, and it bums me out that she replaced one of the few decent Silver Age super-villainesses.

    H) I don’t think Quislet’s entry art is as bad as Shag made it out to be, and at least he has a decent logo, but yeah this is exactly the sort of redundancy that got my blood boiling last issue. I agree with everything you guys said about Rat Catcher, but I’ve never read one of his stories and he was always one of those people that mostly only shows up in bad guy crowd scenes. Red Trinity were a big part of my first attempt to follow the Flash book, and I dropped that book hard, but they weren’t a major pro or con there.

    I) I enjoy the the Golden Age gaiety of Vince Argondezzi’s Sandman drawing, but Hector Hall was like a cross between the least interesting aspects of Hank Pym and Scott Summers combined with all the flare of a dollar store action figure. To me, Scott Fischer has always been that guy who died during Invasion! right before Paul Kupperberg gave the book up, and nothing more.

    J) When I collected Action Comics Weekly, I though the Secret Six had the coolest name and a great premise with the mystery of Mockingbird and the cybernetic enhancements. Too bad the only thing keeping it from being the dullest, ugliest, most inept strip in the book was the two page Superman segment.

    K) I do wish Dennis Fujitaki had done more mainstream comics, or any comics, but I also think Shade is another good argument in favor of Stan Lee’s role at Marvel Comics. Shado was such a part of the ’80s ninja fad, and she was one of the many reasons I couldn’t get down with Grell’s Green Arrow.

  10. Re Puppeteer: I think Shagg was remembering the later appearances of Puppeteer when George Perez had moved away from the book, Before then, Puppeteer had appeared in New Teen Titans #19 (http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/New_Teen_Titans_Vol_1_9). If you follow the link, you can see the cover. I remember reading it at the time and being happy that Marv Wolfman and George Perez were bringing back forgotten villains (which seemed to be a thing for Marv Wolfman for a time) to bedevil our heroes. It really gave DC a feeling of depth and history that felt really refreshing.

    1. Not sure what I was remembering, but I think Anj and Siskoid (on Twitter) helped me figure out who Puppeteer looks like!
      Gangbuster + Goldface = Puppeteer

  11. I can’t get behind the idea that Update ’88 served only to promote what was on the stands at the time. What else were they supposed to do? The book had already covered a good chunk of the DCU in the first series and gave us updates on the major changes with characters like Batman, Captain Atom, Captain Marvel, etc. with Update ’87. The whole point of doing updates is to do new entries for the new characters and updated entries for the characters who were either reintroduced or changed over the past year. By that very mandate Who’s Who had to talk about what was going on in the books that had been on the stands within the last year. More to the point what’s wrong with self-promotion? I can’t fault DC for wanting to get people to read their other books. It’s entertaining and for the most part the art is gorgeous so what’s the harm?

    It seems like the options are:

    1. DC does the Updates as they did and people complain that it’s promoting the current books, which they did in every issue of the first two series on the last page anyway.

    2. DC does the Updates but only includes brand new characters and shortens the run to an annual and people complain that they aren’t giving any attention to the other characters that had changed in the past year.

    3. DC doesn’t do an update, which I can’t get behind because I was heartbroken in 1989 that the Who’s Who entries were relegated to the annuals.

    So DC is in a lose-lose situation here.

    And, for the record, I loved that Toyman story from Superman #13, enough of his backstory warranted an updated entry and while the artwork wasn’t as good as the original it wasn’t terrible either. So he totally needed a new entry.

  12. Punch & Jewelee: A proto-Harley Quinn? I’m not sure what you’re getting at, Shagg, when you say DC didn’t know which side they come down on… It’s not like Harley existed in ’88, so I don’t think DC had the option of going for one or the other…

    Quislet: I don’t get the Rich Rankin/Bass joke…?

    Red Trinity: Terrible for more than the art, I don’t think the characters’ names are attributed correctly! Might there have been surprint that just wasn’t printed? Because the art credits are equally missing and would have been in the color hold.

    Stalnoivolk: Captain X did appear in the original series, in vol.26, as one of the characters annexed after Z. (The Brozowski swipe! OMG Michel, shocking!)

    To talk about Strobe more, his next biggest appearance is in a DC Heroes RPG collection of adventures – Hot Pursuit – one of which featured the Atom.

    Starman: Don’t know about PB&J, but I we used to buy two-color lollypops that were those exact colors.

    1. Siskoid,

      Rankin/ Bass were the guys who made a ton of stop-motion (plus some traditional cel) animation Holiday TV specials in the U.S. during the 1960s/ 1970s, along with the occasional movie. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming To Town and Frosty The Snowman were theirs. They did the Mad Monster Party? movie and the great live-action TV movie The Bermuda Depths.

      Unless that’s not what that joke meant… Then, please, someone explain it to us. Is it fish-related perchance?

  13. My favorite part of this episode was Rob’s laugh during the Speed McGee discussion.

    I’ve always wondered how deformed the character was supposed to be. Guice’s art on the early issues of Flash had the wonkiest anatomy this side of Mike Sekowsky, so I’m not sure how much damage the roids did to him, versus Guice’s style. Clearly Larouqe just ran with that look, and he was pretty banged up.

    I hate to say it, but yes, Who’s Who Update 88 is like Star Trek and Batman in their third seasons. The budget has been cut, and it shows. There are some stand-out entries here and there, but the use of convenient fonts instead of newly designed logos, and hiring of DC staffers instead of legendary comics pros points that Who’s Who was no longer the prestige title it was in 1985.

    Oh, and Shag, the Creeper’s origin WAS connected to the Joker on The New Batman Adventures (the second version of BTAS), so that may be where you are getting that from.


  14. 3) I’ve got a fourth option: Skip Update ’87 entirely since DC was still getting its stuff together Post-Crisis, and most of the new characters that didn’t make it into the first volume weren’t that great. Build a page of Who’s Who profile art into the submission process for a creator participation contract. Start again with Update ’88 as a 6-12 issue volume as demanded and repeat every other year. Incorporate supporting character entries into the main series instead of dumping them all in one issue or scattering them across a year’s worth of annuals. Take “The Definitive Directory” as a mandate to continue digging into DC’s rich history and as a byproduct create an inventory catalog of your intellectual properties to maintain your copyrights and fuel creative/licensing/etc.

  15. Let’s talk about Sleez. Says the crazy person who fell into that Fourth World trap years ago and never truly escaped.

    I must say, I did enjoy how you went from complementing Byrne for the progressive nature of the Maggie Sawyer backstory he define directly into talking about…….Sleez, the depraved flasher troll whose grand perverted plan convinced Darkseid – DARKSEID OF ALL PEOPLE – to quickly give his location up to the heroes so they could stop him, just in time to stop an event that Kirby found out about and decried while still on our mortal coil. Just talking about Sleez this much gives me douchechills, yet it’s a New God so I’m inclined to talk about and warn others of him.

    Although, Sleez had the honor of being maybe the best part of COUNTDOWN – despite being killed a year or 2 after this Byrne story in a Superman annual while fighting the Newsboy Legion (THE NEWSBOY LEGION OF ALL PEOPLE), he was inexplicably brought back and then swiftly killed again as part of that Dan Didio & Jim Starlin-driven “mercy killing” that we (who could only stand in horror and bear witness to) know THE DEATH OF THE NEW GODS.

    (FYI, since this is my 1st time posting on your site – because I guess tweeting replies was the best I could do before now? – if you’ve ever wondered if a listener of yours is crazy enough to talk about New Gods more than a sane person should, then wonder no more. Thank goodness they’re all over the WHO’S WHO looseleaf edition, so I can keep commenting on them and generally annoying you like a New Gods fan would and probably should.)

    Keep up the great work guys, and please PLEASE don’t cancel those plans to cover the looseleafs because of this comment. :p

  16. The Sutherlands… Must all their podcasts be tongue-twisters Rob can’t pronounce? Are they just trying to make Shagg feel better about his pronunciation flubs?

    I’m sure the reason Xenozoic Tales became Cadillacs & Dinosaurs in other media.

    Also look for Ruth and Darrin on Lonely Hearts TOMORROW!

    1. We both laughed today when we heard poor Rob stumble over our Xenozoic Xenophiles title. At least maybe that will make it memorable 😉

      And so excited to know we’re on Lonely Hearts tomorrow. I’m sure we will be sufficiently embarrassed by our attempt at acting 🙂


  17. First off, yes, I am indeed the same guy as iTunes reviewer “G.B. Blackrock.” Long story short, it’s the name I use in the Transformers community (if you’re interested in the reasons, check out: http://blackrockstoybox.blogspot.com/2012/01/a-brief-history-of-gb-blackrock-part-one.html).

    I don’t have a lot of experience with the Will Payton Starman, but such as I did certainly highlights that DC *was* trying to put a lot of marketing weight behind the character. He was a participant in the 1990 Superman “Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite” storyline (officially four parts, but Starman #28 was considered part “2A” and featured the same red border around the cover that the four relevant Superman-series issues were using). The gist of the story is that Mxyzptlk had created a red version of Kryptonite to give to Lex Luthor. With it, Mxyzptlk could use his powers remotely while he was having fun in another dimension (later revealed to be the Marvel universe as the Impossible Man, albeit revealed without directly violating any intellectual property laws). Luthor was encouraged to make a wish, and did so by wishing for he and Superman to become physical equals. Somehow, Luthor expected to be granted superpowers, but what happened instead was that Superman lost HIS powers, becoming a mere mortal. After being thrown on the street by Luthor, Superman endeavored to continue his fight against crime and hide the loss of his powers to the rest of the world. This is where Starman came in. Originally brought in to attempt to recharge Superman’s powers with solar energy (an attempt which naturally failed), Starman filled in for Superman for a while by changing his face to resemble Superman’s and, wearing a spare Superman costume, flying out to make public appearances and fight crime in Superman’s name. This didn’t last too long, but bought Superman some time before he could finally discover that Mxyzptlk was behind it all and set things right.

    Will Payton’s Starman is little-remembered today, but the Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite storyline is important for another reason: the final page of the crossover features Clark Kent’s engagement to Lois Lane. I’m still annoyed that the New 52 nullified that, relegating post-Crisis Superman’s marriage to “alternative” status (even *with* the current Lois and Clark comic).

  18. Oh, and something stood out regarding Steven Bové, who did 2 of the art profiles in this issue…..

    He was a graphic designer at DC in the late ’80s/early ’90s, who worked on creating logos for several titles. BLACK CANARY, the WORLD OF miniseries, HELLBLAZER, the BATGIRL one-shot, the FLASH (Wally West)’s 2nd logo…..

    …..oh, and 2 logos you guys would definitely care about: FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN, and AQUAMAN (during his LEGEND OF and miniseries phase).

    And what stood out most when I learned he was a logo designer is that his profiles in this issue have the most plain-jane font’d logos possible. Certainly not a slight on his design work, just bad luck it seems.

  19. You guys deserve a yellow dot award of your own for making an issue that you were both obviously underwhelmed with into an episode that was just as enjoyable to listen to as every other episode. Kudos!

    Plus, a big thank you for playing the promo to Xenozoic Xenophiles! We just posted that promo a few days earlier and it was so nice to hear that the two of you played it at the very next opportunity. Thank you both … though sorry for the tongue twister Rob!

    And yes, we’re thrilled to add another Twitter account in our never ending competition with Kyle Benning 🙂

    As for Shagg’s ridiculous and inexcusable comment that the character of Shado was overused in Mike Grell’s run on Green Arrow … I’m just asking, how do you like your new pierced ear Shagg?!? 🙂

    Thanks as always for a great episode!


  20. While I was happy to see that there was a new episode of the Who’s Who podcast to download this morning, I wasn’t happy that it, for some ungodly reason, seemed to also come with a plethora of Pod Dylan episodes as well. Ugh. I’ve never had any use for Dylan, be it Pod, Bob or the Luke Perry character from “90210”. What a bait and switch that was. It felt like the Superman Salutes the Bicentennial tabloid all over again.

    I give you guys credit for pushing through this lackluster issue. As you’ve already pointed out the majority of art, “logos” and entries were terrible. DC was really going through the motions at this point with Who’s Who. Maybe I’m jaded but I really can’t think of one standout entry that had that “Kapow” moment previous issues had. It only gets worse next issue…

    1. Hi Anthony – Now, now. Let’s not make Rob cry. Even if we’re not big Dylan fans, I applaud Rob’s efforts with the podcast. He’s producing a great show and people love it! But don’t tell him I said that. I like to pick on him.

      Sounds like you are subscribed to the “All-in-One” Fire & Water Podcast Network feed. If you just want Who’s Who, try subscribing to just that show through one of these links:

  21. Rich Rankin was probably best know at the time for inking Bill Willingham on Elementals, and Matt Wagner on Mage.

  22. Late to the game. As usual.

    1. Cover. I love it, especially hat Sinestro is pointing a cannon at Quislet. Quis was annoying enough to merit it. Also, love Speed McGee trying to swat the yellow energy away.

    2. The Parliament of Trees actually shows just how much faith DC had in Alan Moore when he took over Swamp Thing. The new origin of Swampy being a plant is in #21. The reveal there have been other Swamp’s was in #33. The Parliament isn’t seen until #47. But hints were sprinkled before. Long form writing like that is rare these days.

    3. Scott Fischer is slashing his way through Graguax’s PlastiMen in the surprint. He is dead 5 months later.

    4. Shade the Changing Man is one of my faves. Love all his incarnations. But since this is revised, shouldn’t it be Shade, the Changed Man

    5. Silver Banshee is now a Supergirl villain, without a doubt. She has fought Supergirl in the PAD era, the Gates/Igle era, the New 52 Kara, and now on TV. Since the New 52′ she’s been Siobhan Smythe, not McDougall.

    6. Silver Swan is a great villain for Wonder Woman because the character defined herself by her looks. She felt she was ugly as a human, and therefore worthless and so made the deal for her beauty. It is that superficial take on being a woman that Diana fights against. Thematically, Therefire, i think she is interesting.

    7. Sleez makes quite the memorable mark in that Supes/Barda story. If I recall, initially he has Superman under control but feels he can’t make a movie yet because Supes would hurt whoever was the costar. Sleep thinks he’ll just film Superman as a ‘solo act’ but then he captures Barda.

    How the Hell did that story get published??

    Anyways, this was a rough issue. Thanks for taking us through it.

  23. L) As mentioned by others, Shrapnel is so very much an Erik Larsen villain design, and I liked him best as one of the slew of c-listers who got their ass handed to them by J’Onn J’Onzz in a highlight issue of Justice League Task Force tying into Underworld Unleashed.

    M) Silver Banshee is probably my single favorite thing about John Byrne’s Superman comics. An excellent design, which is why it vexes me when people muck with it. She’s been very handy as a Supergirl foe, as well. I don’t want to get too much into her appearances on CBS because Anj promised me six months ago in a single tweet that if Supergirl got a second season we would do a podcast together, so I totally need to save it for a future show that’s for sure going to happen. But yeah, Amell’s fiancé is more my type than Supergirl herself, to the surprise of no one. Shag’s unfortunate comments also reminded me that Chris Evans just started dating Bernie Rosenthal in real life, who he has much more chemistry with than the chick from Revenge, and they’re just adorable.

    N) Anj kind of covered this already, but the Pre-Crisis Silver Swan is among my favorite Wonder Woman villains because of her subtext as an ugly duckling who turns out to also have a heart of coal, busting the comforting stereotype while also tying closely into the misogynistic Dr. Psycho and the ongoing conflict with Mars/Ares. Roy Thomas even made a point of finishing that story thread in his return for the Retroactive special. The Post-Crisis version of Silver Swan is a lot less interesting, as the typical ugly duckling with a heart of gold made beautiful by a manipulative representative of the military-industrial complex. She was too sympathetic from jump, swiftly made a quasi-face turn, and then started handing the mantle down to numerous but more potent legacy adversaries. At least she played into Wonder Woman’s ongoing themes of female infighting and the power of redemption.

    O) I like Sinestro fine, going back to the Legion of Doom, but I’ve never been like “woooo, Sinestro!” He’s the guy who fights Green Lanterns without getting punked out, and I respect that. I also dig the quasi-Kane homage art by a pair of inkers.

    P) I don’t remember if I caught the thinly-veiled allusions cast in either the Skyhook or Sleez stories when I read them new. I was aware of homosexuality, but only as filtered through ’80s pop culture. So every gay man talked like Paul Lynde and any woman was potentially a lipstick lesbian if you put a blue filter over the lights and played some sax. I got that Maggie Sawyer was a tough woman with severe hair and a single parent, which was good enough for me. As for “sleaze,” that was a common TV-safe putdown like f** and re****… It was a different time, Chad. I think I thought he was making Superman and Big Barda make out to make Mr. Miracle jealous. I was such a sweet sweet thing before they got ahold of me. Anyway, the Skyhook story was decently creepy with a bit of body horror, but it was still one of the last Byrne Superman stories I read before jumping ship.

    1. If anyone wants further explanation of my “unfortunate comments” about Silver Banshee in real life and her fiance, message me privately. I can explain. I was trying to say something on the show, without actually saying it. 🙂

  24. Omission of the month comes again from the proto-vertigo corner of the DC universe, John Constantine’s iconic antagonist Papa Midnite. (Papa Midnite managed to achieve his iconic status largely by being in JC’s first solo story, surviving the encounter, and then not appearing again for decades. But it worked out. The surviving helped, and he still made lists of JC “rogues” even during that extremely protracted absence, and was there for the TV series and everything.)

    I disagree on the Suicide Squad. The roster of that book changed enough year to year to justify entries each time.

  25. An admirable effort on a very average issue, gentlemen. A few comments:

    1. Shag, despite our “playful” disagreements over the course of the show, my heart breaks for you and the story of the Great Maytag Deluge, as any geek’s ought to. I’m hoping that, at the very least, most of the damaged issues were penciled by Rob Liefeld.

    2. I agree with most of your criticism of the cover, Rob. I might take things a step further and say that, with the exception of the Parliament of Trees, all of the characters are too far from the “camera”, as it were, but that is really a minor criticism. The colors do make this one stand out.

    3. I remember as a kid being captivated by Mark Waid’s comment in his response to the mentioned letter that he was, “surrounded by bound volumes” of DC comics. I envisioned some great library at 666 5th Ave., available only to those lucky enough to work for the publisher, where one could find every DC comic ever written. Of course, if 14 year old Phylemon knew one day the same thing would be available on a dozen torrent sites on the internet, perhaps I would have been less captivated by the idea.

    4. Try as I might, I can not make up my mind which quasi-mystical overblown concept reeks more of horrid ninety-ness, the Parliament of Trees or the Lords of Chaos and Order. Given their enduring stench, I guess I would have to vote for the Parliament. All I can tell you is that I have enjoyed the most recent Wein / Kelley Swamp Thing run largely because the story has progressed so far without using these morts.

    5. I don’t believe that I have read any of the issues in which Punch and Jewelee faced off against Hawk and Dove (probably because they involved the creative involvement of Mr. Liefeld), but that does seem like a natural match up. I guess from now on I will envision the puppet inspired tandem as part of Hawk and Dove’s rogue’s gallery as well, Shag.

    6. The first Queen Bee was also a Justice League villain, going back to 1963 (if Wikipedia is to be believed). In every imaginable way, Lana Lang’s Insect Queen is superior to either that version or the one that appears in this issue. Red Head. Girl Next Door. Hot. Case closed.

    7. I think you were overly critical of the Red Trinity entry. They are boring to be sure, but the line work of the art is fine, and is certainly an improvement over the Blue Trinity’s frog man.

    8. I’m going to *sigh* agree with Shag that update 88 is really showing that this franchise was on its last legs. The lack of surprint specifically is beginning to bug me. Just in this issue, Punch & Jewelee, Red Trinity, Secret Six, and Shado all lacked the signature artistic characteristic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Who’s Who is not Who’s Who without surprint and the yellow dot border (that second part, by the way, is one of the reasons that the loose-leaf versions will ultimately disappoint.)

    9. I so need to read my Will Payton Starman comics. They’ve sat in my collection for years. Shag, I’ll trade you. You take the time to read the New Teen Titans, and I’ll crack open Starman. What do you say?

    10. I think the only reason that the Suicide Squad warranted a third entry is because they were emblematic of everything DC was aiming for at the time: gritty violent books where everything was some shade of gray. Don’t get me wrong. I’m four trades into this run and I’m enjoying it just fine, but if you ate a solid diet of this sort of grimness, it would warp your perspective on life in a hurry.

    11. I am a big fan of Trident. His origin story in New Teen Titans #33 struck me as clever at the time and the cover is very visually arresting. Again . . . you’re really missing out Shag.

    Can I give feedback on your feedback to my previous feedback? Tough, I’m going to do it anyway.

    *Gasp* You’ve revealed my secret identity to the world. You villains! I guess I will now have to wait until Mephisto comes by to offer me a corrupt bargain (Man, am I going to have some explaining to do to my wife). Hey, I can make at least one marvel reference!

    Sorry, guys, your fans are wrong about the cosmic treadmill. What they don’t realize is that every time the Flash used it to “time-travel” he was really transported to different dimensions whose time flow was out of sync with his own, much like the Freedom Fighters going to that world where World War II was still going on. Seriously, I have no excuse. Every geek is entitled to that one nerd trivial pursuit question that he (or she) just flubs. And, not to appear like I’m too casual a geek or anything, but I’m far too busy keeping the details straight about important heroes like Jericho or the Forever People to memorize minutia about B-listers like Barry Allen.

    I’m really impressed by how quickly this episode came out, by the way (although it may just be because the gap between issues one and two was longer than the lifespan of many species of bird). I hope the next episode is presented with similar alacrity. Until then . . .

    1. Re point 5: Punch and Jewlee appeared in issue 18 and 19 of Hawk and Dove which was 18 and 19 issues after Rob Liefeld had moved on after completing the mini series. This makes these issues CERTIFIED LIEFELD FREE. The two parter is a wacky adventure where the Creeper, Mad Men, Punch & Jewlee and the Vice President all converge on Georgetown and wackiness ensues. Hawk and Dove play the straight men in these super fun issues.

        1. If you get issue 20 too, you’ll get a fun ‘Die Hard in a department store’ story with wonderful Kevin Maguire art.

  26. Wow look at all the comments!! Look how long they are. I will keep it short. Another great ep with a healthy portion of Paul Hix bashing which is always great to hear. Keep up the good work.

    1. Oh and btw, Bronze Tiger appeared on Arrow I think season 2 so he should have been credited with the “TV Star Bronze Tiger”. Yes!!! My first pointing out of an error!! Way to go guys. Really should do more research if you are going to a podcast about something like omg, totally lame guys ggaawwddd…. *insert sarcastic snotty nosed teen hipster tone here* P.S. this may have been pointed out in an earlier comment but they are too long to read 😛

  27. Hey guys,

    Logos – Yeah, mostly lame. Though I do like the ones for Shrapnel and Sleez. Those characters/books that had their own series weren’t bad.

    Puppeteer – Yeah, he appeared in the Wildebeest story when everyone knew the Titans were floundering. I think Wolfman used him again to try to recapture the earlier magic the Titans had going when he first used them in the Titans (#9 I think, pre-Baxter).

    Quislet – Did he already have an entry? If so, yeah, he probably didn’t deserve another entry, though that story was the only one that gave Quislet’s character any depth. I’m a Legion fan and he’s pretty low on the list of favorites. Maybe they needed to fill a space so the Starman and Suicide Squad entries got 2 page spreads?

    Scott Fisher was written out and died in the Invasion crossover. That was probably already written by the time the Who’s Who issue came out. His death scene stunk – he passed away as a victim on the gene bomb and “heroically” succumbed during a coma (<—ISH! (Insert Sarcsm Here)).

    Lady Cop – Just beautiful. Nicely done Xum.

  28. Q) I think the last time teen teams were a selling point unto themselves was the Golden Age. Most kids want all the power and responsibility of adults, and teen teams are usually defined by their limitations within a shared universe. Solo characters still work because of reader identification, and fantasy/sci-fi settings divorce characters from our modern societal rules. Even the Teen Titans struggled until they were clearly demarcated as freewheeling young adults in contrast to an older, staid DC universe. It’s also why the Titans struggle today, because all their mentors have been de-aged into their more accomplished virtual peers. All of this is yo say, I never read about Soyuz, and I don’t want to.

    R) Speed McGee was also a big part of my first, brief attempt to follow The Flash, and considering he’s just another speedster with the only real distinction of being a whackadoo, reenforces my prejudice against that heroic type.

    S) I’ve read Stalnoivolk in some of Ostrander’s books, and dig him as basically KGBeast played straight. Makes me wish we had that ’50s plainclothes super-hero book I premised on a previous show so he could be the opposite number of Hank Heywood Sr.

    T) I haven’t read much Starman, but I do recall one friend having a new issue once and seeing it occasionally on the stands, but wanting nothing to do with it. Will Payton has an uncommon costume that would look a lot better on a lady type person instead of such a doody dude. He reminds me of a George Perez character design in that he looks like he’s from the early part of the decade, but debuted in the late part, so he’s already on the cusp of being outdated from point A. Armagideon Time’s Andrew Weiss often talks about published heroes that look like they stepped out of a Champions RPG campaign, and that’s exactly how Starman comes across to me in his basic bro civilian guise, “motivation,” and standard issue super-hero power set with WTF extras like moderate shape-shifting (The Matrix Supergirl, Nemesis and the Human Target would like to have a word…) Roger Stern was a highlight at Marvel, but I never felt like he fit at DC, as with the extra lame Power of the Atom series featuring Strobe which I never once recommended to anyone as evidence by my appearance on the Secret Origins Podcast from The Fire and Water Network. With the exception of The Comet, Tom Lyle didn’t do much for me in general. Plus, I specifically bought the arc with the Mike Mignola covers, but only for Eclipso.

    U) I think we should skip a year for each Suicide Squad entry, and then keep it to one page noting the new members with simple head shots of the ongoing ones. Also, the dead get a solo entry, in memoriam. At the time, the retroactive heel turn from Tigress to Huntress was still kind of novel, but we’ve seen so many “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way” supposedly blameless femme fatale in the years since that it bothers me. It gets back to agency, and the assumption that women can’t choose to act in a manor condemned by society without something outside their power forcing it upon them.

    V) Toyman is like The Penguin in that he’s a classic but fairly outdated and modern creators struggle to sell him to modern, image-conscious audiences. They’re different in that The Penguin plays a major role in Batman history and is a rich character worthy of the effort made in trying to get him over today. The Toyman is old-timey sucky-suck, and morons need to allow any of the many better options presented since the 1970s to carry on the trademark instead of continuously default back to this pinstriped vomit bag of a character.

    W) Trident is alright, but I’m more of a Doublemint guy.

    4) Good to hear Shag join me in embracing the dark side of the Update ’84 commentary. Sic.

    5) Shaggggg is just going to have to deal with being the Costello to Mr. Kelly’s Abbot in the billing department. “Rob & Shag” sounds like an outlaw country take on rap music. “Shaggin’ Rob” sounds like slash fic out of the U.K. Is that a door you boys want opened?

    6) Thanks for the Martian Manhunter 60th Anniversary Special shout-out!

  29. Look how late I am to the party. No more holidays for me. (Is it true most North Americans only get a couple of weeks vacation per year? Surely not? We get seven weeks.)

    Anyroadup, as the gang says, you made a silk purse out of a Flexigraphics ear. Not the best issue, but still, it’s WWU, so there’s going to be some fun to be had via Messrs Kelly and Matthews.

    I rather liked the Parliament of Trees, but as a Brit I just got excited seeing Alan Moore bring in such UK things as ‘Parliament’ and ‘Sunderland’. That apart, the concept was epic, making sense of the original Swamp Thing story and widening the scope of the series.

    Per Degaton was always welcome in comics, I adore time travelling baddies, and it’s heartening that a titchy ginge could be so intimidating.

    The Prankster is one of those low-powered – well, no-powered – baddies whose presence meant the writers had to get ingenious. It’s good he got an entry, though he has a case of the Jokers on this cover, looking a tad too wide.

    Psi-Phon and Dreadnaught? Psi-Phart and Dreadmort more like. Please Rob, make that dismissive snort that comes up when the Legion is mentioned.

    Punch and Jewelee were my favourite new additions to the DC Universe pantheon of villains post-Crisis, being hugely entertaining. I quite like the Liefeld image but the editor should have send it back for tweaks to make it fit the WWU style.

    The Puppeteer didn’t appear for years and we were all fine, that tells us something.

    I hated the new Queen Bee, she’d have been OK with a different name, but her presence meant the extraordinary ZZazzala couldn’t show up. As for the image, she looks ridiculous lying there in a pair of drapes. The obvious old tart.

    I’m a massive Legion fan and even I couldn’t abide Quislet, with his annoyingly cutesy speech patterns and Hoover body. Kill him, Skeets!

    Rat Catcher is just creepy, especially in this picture – I wonder if the Pied Piper could see him off.

    Red Triniity were just more of DC’s deadly dull Russians.

    Sandman III had no chance of catching on, given he was Hector Hall. Roy Thomas should have written a story called ‘Hector, thy name is hopeless’. He only kept Northwind around to seem slightly less rubbish by comparison. Nice pin-up, though.

    Hot Hands is just awesome, as Flanger would tell you. Bring Scott Fischer and his Fuzzy Felt eyebrows back at once! I love the typically wonky image Larson gives us (and despite myself, I rather enjoyed his Aquaman run – go, Lagoon Boy!).

    The second Secret Six were a bit rubbish. Not Wild Dog-level awful, but not worth spending any time on.

    Shado… zzz, DC’s obsession with karate chicks was almost as bad as its Commie fetish. Did she wear that hankie over her face to cover the Shado nose?

    The picture is OK, but Shade the Changing Man was pants on every level. Shame he didn’t wear any.

    Sinestro was a classic villain, terribly overused today but back then he had some cachet and I’m glad to see him here.

    Shrapnel was indeed a fun baddie, having a great gimmick and an idiot persona. Perfect for bashing. Larsen’s pic is terrific.

    Unlike Mignola’s Silver Banshee, who looks horribly warped of frame. I like the character, though.

    The Silver Swan – ugh, what a tacky Tina! She may have gained looks but you can’t buy class. Not one of Pérez’s best images.

    Skyhook should have been forgotten, no need for him here.

    And while I like the Carlin/Ordway Sleez image, do we really need to be reminded of Byrne’s horrible fantasy?

    Fascinating to hear Shagg tell us Soyuz was meant to be a big deal – they were utterly generic, just a bunch of boring teens in Red Guardian cosplay. Mind, Firestorm’s whole Russian romp was a dead loss.

    I really felt for Speed McGee, he should have punched that cuckolding Wally West into next Tuesday. I’m not keen on the pic at all. Do you think the name was based on that cartoon character who came up in the episode? Spurtle McGoo or something. And wasn’t the inker Kez, Keith Wilson?

    Stalnoivolk Russian Firestorm villain in art-flipping scandal. Nuffski said.

    Strobe was utterly forgettable, though Power of the Atom was a wonderful book. He needs to go on a diet.

    Starman was another great Roger Stern series, and I love his costume colours, though asymmetry in outfitting is a nasty no-no. His second costume was no better. I love his random powers, one of which gave him something else in common with Superman – well, the Golden Age one, at least – facial morphing.

    The Suicide Squad entry is excellent, bar that man pretending to be Vixen.

    I never read Young All-Stars, but the presence of the original Huntress, as Tigress, has me intrigued. She starred in one of my favourite giants ever, the Supervillains Vs Superheroes Strange Sports Stories DC Special. Such fun, even though it was something to do with rounders. The Manna/Giordano art is sumptuous, if only they’d gotten to draw the sublime Velvet Tiger.

    Toyman was a classic villain, and while the Nineties story with Adam Grant was powerful, and led to Cat Grant becoming a more well-rounded character, it was wrong for him.

    Trident had a good look and fun gimmick but was strictly jailbreak mob scene fodder.

  30. Hey guys! As always, great episode. I love this podcast so much I started re-downloading it from the beginning. You guys kept me company on the road on my way to and from MegaCon this past weekend, so thanks for that. 🙂 Anywho…. the reason Im writing: As we get close to the end of Update ’88 and (hopefully) with the Loose-Leaf edition on the horizon, some people may be wondering where they can pick up copies. Well, I was in my hometown of Richmond, VA a few months ago and I stopped by Dave’s Comics (http://www.davescomics.com), and they had TONS of copies all of the Loose-Leaf editions. They even had some binders. So… just wanted to share with all my Who’s Dudes. Keep up the awesome work guys… and praise be to Brenda Pope.

  31. Yes, I was just kidding when I said I wanted a new guardians movie. I noticed that you guys seemed really horrified at the idea that someone actually liked that team, is their series really bad or something?

  32. All this love for Sleez, despite looking like he stepped right out of the pages of Rob’s favorite comic ever: Spawn. Seriously he looks like a prototype for the Violator before the decision was made to give him separate human and demon forms and were trying to do it all in one. Staying on the Image bandwagon: Shrapel – stupid awesome.

    And finally… Scott Fischer’s eyebrows. Good grief. I be he could detach those and throw them at people and they’d be just as likely to slice through people as his hands are doing in the surprint. Trim that stuff back ya murdering little psycho.

    1. After looking at that image today, I realized Scott Fischer looks just like Mr. Peepers from Saturday Night Live.

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