Who’s Who: Update ’88 – Volume 4

It’s the fourth and final issue of WHO’S WHO UPDATE ’88! Shag and Rob take a look at new and updated characters such as Ultra-Humanite, Zatanna, Alfred Pennyworth, Amanda Waller, Felicity Smoak, Jimmy Olsen, Maxwell Lord, Steve Trevor, Abby Arcane and more! We wrap up with YOUR Listener Feedback!

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68 responses to “Who’s Who: Update ’88 – Volume 4

  1. Perhaps that nobody does a full Spectre podcast, but there are actually quite a number of places that cover SOME Spectre content:

    The Parliament of Rooks covers all the magic & supernatural characters in the DCU, including The Spectre. The show is at: http://thomaslanese.com/

    The Spectre’s adventures in All-Star Comics are covered by Van Zee in The All-Star Comics Review Podcast, which only has a few episodes out, but I hope there are more on the way. The show is at: http://allstarcomicsreview.blogspot.com/

    And my great co-host Emily and I talked about the Spectre on episode 2 of our Dorkness to Light podcast. http://dorknesstolight.blogspot.com/2015/11/podcast-002-spectres-wrath.html

    We are also covering The Spectre’s appearances in Gotham by Midnight on the blog. Here is the link to the review of #1. http://dorknesstolight.blogspot.com/2015/07/comic-book-review-gotham-by-midnight-1.html

  2. Hey Mr Sensitive,
    Felicity is in a wheelchair. Perhaps, yes, it may be because of her uneven legs.

    Stay classy.

  3. This is one of my favorite Who’s Who comics, with Jonathan and Martha Kent hosting a cookout. It’s just perfect. Okay, one quibble; it looks a little too suburban, for the Kents. A farm cookout spreads out a bit more. The only other thing I would add is someone playing lawn darts. I think there is more to the illustration than we see. The Wanderers, on the left side of the back cover, are partially cut off and you don’t see all of them. I think the image was cropped.

    I was starting to think we were having a Sesame Street moment when Shag mispronounced Hoover. (RIP Mr. Hooper) I read that Wanderers book and can’t remember a single element. Same for The Weird. I picked it up because it was Bernie Wrightson, who had been absent from mainstream comics for a while; but, that’s all I can recall, apart from being greatly disappointed with it (story, mostly). Wrightson also did Batman: The Cult. I don’t recall him doing anything in Who’s who; but, he had some graphic novels at Marvel, which probably took up his time, as well as covers for Roots of Swamp Thing. Might have some other work out there, at the time.

    I believe Artis did some art for the Impact Who’s Who, for the WEB (the book he worked on); so, we may see some more, if you are going to cover it. He did cute women and that hairstyle and face turns up in some of his other work. I like the image; but, being a leg man, I miss the original costume.

    Zuggernaut sounds like the nickname you give someone in high school, whose name is Zugg or Zugger.

    From what I recall, John Ostrander based Amanda Waller, somewhat, on a woman he knew. She is very much of the type of community activist you find in Chicago, where Ostrander was (is?) living.

    Ugh, you can tell a civilian drew Etta saluting! George, I luv ya; but, the hand should come to the edge of the bill of the hat, with middle finger nearly touching, hand tilted slightly downward. Now drop and give me 20!

    Speaking as a leg man, cheers to JLGL (PBHN) for Jenet Klyburn! I particularly like the image in the surprint; very sexy pose. While we are at it, nice job Eduardo Barreto with Lana Lang! I would have just colored the shorts as a denim blue, for the Daisy Duke look. By the by, Rob, Mary Ann was the one in the short-shorts, not Ginger. Just sayin… Never underestimate those small farm town girls!

    I like the Kents ala Grant Wood; but would have had them smiling more, like they did this as a joke photograph. The Kents were just too happy a couple to pull off the dour look of American Gothic.

    I’m showing my age; what the heck is shipping? I mean, aside from what we do at my new job…..I’ve seen this elsewhere on a comics message board and I can’t quite make the connection between the word and character romances.

    What the heck is up with Eiling’s hat? Broderick, get down there with Perez and knock out 50! Thing is, an Air Force hat doesn’t have points; it looks like Broderick got it confused with a police officer’s cap. Even so, that’s hideous!

    One last thing: “Today (day-day-day-day) I feel like (like-like-like) the luckiest man alive (alive-alive-alive).” Something about the podcast reminded me of Lou Gehrig. :)

    1. Jeff-

      “Shipping” is when fans of a TV show/movie/book series actively campaign for two characters to be in a relationSHIP.

      The More You Know!

      1. ‘I was starting to think we were having a Sesame Street moment when Shag mispronounced Hoover…’ And then he mentioned the Wanderer, Elmo. OK, I made that up.

  4. I love that whimsical cover, even without Ed and Felicity. Maybe Ed has gone back into witness protection, and taken Felicity with him?

    At first I thought Felicity Smoak’s leg was weird, then I realised she and Ed are doing the Argentinian Tango, hence her tracing circles with her leg.

    I agree, that’s an awful Wildfire redesign – a rare example of an artist changing a look and making it more complicated to draw.

    I was amazed that so many positive things were said about that Zatanna entry. The costume is just horrendous, so matronly, apart from the wings, which are ludicrous. What next, a unicorn horn? It’s like something designed by Bizarro Paul Gambi. And the body, Lord, her head is hug and she appears to have no joints in her arms. I would have suspected you were being kind, Tom Artis being no longer with us, but then… Joe Brozowski.

    I disagree that Jenet Klyburn never found a home, she was exclusively in the Superman strip for years, then began branching out, just a little, before the Crisis and John Byrne did his thing of removing a supporting character and ‘creating’ a replacement to fill the same function (see Julia and Vanessa Kapatelis/Helena and Cassie Sandsmark and Ed Indelicato/Mike Schorr) in Kitty Faulkner.

    Lana Lang would not dress like that, she looks to have borrowed shorts from peasant swamp girl Abby Cable. Heck, of all the characters in this issue, Oberon is more likely to dress like this. Mind, isn’t the superb Eduardo Barreto from South America? He’d probably draw Ma Kent like that.

    Speaking of whom. The Ma & Pa Kent entry is my favourite of the issue, very cleverly conceived and nicely executed – and how handsome does Clark look in the surprint?

    That Oberon entry – yeesh. As for his proportions, mind, isn’t he a proportionate dwarf rather than a person with achondroplasia? There’s no excusing Ice’s face, though.

    The Perry drawing is indeed stunning, but I think the young guy in front is young Perry White, and he is smokin’ hot (as opposed to cigars).

    Mary West was the breakout character of the Nineties, bring her back!

    George Perez managed to ruin both Steve, by making him old, and Etta, by making her a thin whiner, then both, by getting them together. Just bring back the Marston archetypes.

    Terry Long. Ugh. Creepy git with ginger minge.

  5. Another 3 hour tour into the depths of the DC Who’s Who.

    A bunch of the Wanderers are missing from the cover too. NO ONE NOTICED FOR 30 YEARS!

    Didn’t DC have the same yellow dot pattern in their offices at the time? Seeing it every day for years could cause anyone to lose their minds.

    Was there ever any connection between Scarface and the Golden Age villain the Dummy?

    The Wanderers: Gah. Dartalon appeared in one panel of the Five Years Later Legion, pitching Silverale, and that was it for them. Good riddance.
    Was there ever a Controller in a Legion story that wasn’t a “renegade”?

    I liked the idea of the Weird, but the printing on that series was absolute garbage. Total waste of Bernie Wrightson.
    Starlin used him again later, and no one else could be bothered.
    There was no Wrightson in Who’s Who.

    Wildfire: Another lazy Giffen drawing. I guess there wasn’t a Jose Munoz piece to swipe.

    Tee-bare. Great art. There’s a lost Nightwing mini from the early 90s that he wrote and drew.

    That may be the most homoerotic drawing of Bruce Wayne ever.
    Alfred became the Outsider one last time in the DCCP #80 featuring BATO . Man did Jim Aparo draw a great Superman.

    Etta and Steve eventually got married.

    Jenet was going to be part of Marv Wolfman’s aborted Flash series, which was dropped for the Wally West series.
    John Byrne’s Kitty Faulkner (Rampage) always struck me as a stand-in for her.
    Her first appearance was Superman 304.
    Was she named after then-new DC publisher Jenette Kahn? Gerry Conway should know.

    The Kapatelises were replaced by the clone Sandsmarks once Byrne took over.

    Martha’s first marriage to that Wayne, er, Fordman guy, was in the World of Smallville mini.

    Too bad the Supergirl series didn’t use the Innovative Concepts corporate name.

    This is the only art credit for Augustyn outside of the Invasion! Daily Planet special.

    Barreto is definitely getting his Byrne on in this issue.

    The Terry Long art is nice, in that it seems like the girl is imagining the surprint scene.
    And isn’t he the spitting image of Len Wein?
    Hey! He’s the future father of future super-villain Lord Chaos, so shouldn’t he get an entry?

    Eiling was probably the biggest bastard in comics at the time, and for whatever reason, all the political intrigue in all the DC books were dropped about the same time.

    Alex Ross will always use the SuperFriends version of anything.
    I totally want Guggenheim to scoop up Snowflame for Arrow.

    I may put together a cbr of all the annual pages, if anyone wants that.

  6. ‘Jerry R’?

    I thought I would be off omissions for a while, (and obviously not going to be any for the Annuals), but I might be able to do something for the specialist volumes. Speaking of which, I notice you never talk about the !mpact volumes when you talk about plans, which would be a sort of sad ending to this podcast but shouldn’t get left out entirely.)

    But to wrap up this volume, the two supporting characters that got left out of the supporting character list are, in a tie, Chaz from Hellblazer and Father Richard Craemer from Suicide Squad, both of who are cornerstones of their respective books and that was already clear for both cases at the time, two people who could have been in this issue rather than Terry Long.

  7. Oh, and I’ve been a Velvet Tiger fan since before Stella was born… if anything, I’ve made Stella into a fan, look how often she gets mentioned on the excellent Batgirl to Oracle podcast!

    And it’s a shame the Raymond’s page was so cack – you never got to say Felicity was Smoakin’ (I’ll get me coat).

  8. This feels like the end of something huge. I really wish you were moving straight on to the loose leaf series. I’ll listen to the Star Trek & Legion episodes mostly for the personalities of the hosts, rather than the content.

  9. A few thoughts on some of the Superman supporting characters presented in this issue.

    Lana Lang: I am going to disagree with Martin Gray about how Lana is dressed in her entry. I could totally see Lana wearing this during the summer as she’s relaxing on the porch after a hard day working around the house. I will totally agree with Shag that the Manhunters back story did a lot of damage to this character but frankly Byrne did a pretty good job of hobbling her at every turn. Even before the Manhunter angle was added she had issues. As presented in the MAN OF STEEL mini-series she was a small town girl that thought she was going to marry her high school sweetheart and then he comes in and tells her about these powers and leaves town which is problematic enough as it is probably only late fall and graduation usually takes place in June though apparently this was explained in the series bible Byrne came up with but while interesting it wasn’t in the books. I had to learn about that in the second Mayfair source book. Lana apparently can’t handle Clark doing this because she just up and leaves too, wanders around like a hobo and then eventually returns home. Then they tack this whole Manhunter thing on top of that.

    Where I will disagree with Shag is that it took a decade to get the character turned around. Like Lois once Byrne left Superman the creators that followed did a lot of damage control on the character. Even though it wasn’t a huge deal by 1990 Lana and Clark were in a good place and her marriage to Pete Ross always made me happy though now as a cynical, bitter adult I have to agree with my co-host Jeffrey Taylor that Pete was Lana’s Silver Medal. Having a husband and then a child did a lot to make Lana a good supporting character whenever she was used. Now, a decade after the whole MILLENNIUM fiasco Jeph Loeb started writing the character and she really took off. His ret-conning of her in FOR ALL SEASONS did a lot to repair the damage Byrne did to her and in one of the stories from the Lex Luthor becomes President Secret Files Loeb wrote a short story where Lana informs Superman that she named her son Clark after Martha, not him. This is often overlooked by people that don’t want to do the research.

    I could go on and on about how Chuck Austen took all of that great development, threw it in the dumpster and set it on fire with his bull**** “Lana still has a thing for Clark because I as the writer don’t like Lois and instead of doing some more research I’m just going to make her a huge b****” sub-plot during his ACTION COMICS run which was still better than the FOR TOMORROW story going on at the same time but that’s like saying getting kicked in the nuts is better than the broken leg I have going on at the moment.

    Perry White: Again I find myself disagreeing with one of the hosts. Unlike Lois and Lana I think Perry benefited from the backstory Byrne developed. I am somewhat familiar with the Perry in the comics before the Crisis but largely I am familiar with him from the Chris Reeve movies where he is more of a prop than a character. Having him grow up with Lex gave their relationship a real depth and justified Perry not liking Lex one bit. He watched this man go from a good friend to an evil man over time and I like that sort of thing. It doesn’t have the same zing as Clark and Lex growing up together but it works for me. The whole soap opera aspect of Perry’s wife having been involved with Lex and Lex manipulating her by letting her believe Perry was dead worked for me when I was 12 and it works for me now. It also made the relationship Perry had with his son more complicated, especially when everything comes to light after Jerry is shot in a night club. This is all B-Plot material but it is one of the things that attracted me to this era of Superman.

    Ma and Pa Kent: Again, love their backstory with Martha having been married to another man after thinking…that…Jonathan…was…dead. Hey…WAIT A MINUTE! That’s the same sort of thing that happened with Perry and Alice! The scenarios played out differently (Fordman, Martha’s first husband was actually a good egg) but wow. I never put it together before. Weird. Oh well. That doesn’t change how much I love this version of these characters. Jonathan’s service would be moved from World War II to Korea by the time the death of Superman rolled around but largely this remained the history for most of the Post Crisis era. Moving the war actually works to make Jonathan and Martha a bit younger and was a soft retcon that you had to notice as it was never presented as a big deal.

      1. It was hinted at earlier than that. One of the sub-plots running through Wolfman’s run on ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN was that Jerry was running with a gang. Lex was looking for subjects for an experiment that essentially created doped up bruisers and Jerry was one of the kids that was screened. His bloodwork was flagged because reasons and Lex knew that Jerry (actually Perry White, Jr. but he hated the name) was his son.

        Jerry was actually a sad character. He went down a bad path but Jose Delgado (the once and future Gangbuster) helped him out and eventually he turned his life around until he began working for a woman that turned out to be the demon Blaze. I remember reading the issue where he died and it was really moving albeit wrapped in a fight where Superman goes to Hell and fights demons.

  10. Etta Candy WILL be in the Wonder Woman movie, and played by Lucy Davis from the original Office. (Will that make her a Brit in the WW1 context?) I do love that actress.

  11. Joe Brozowski was indeed a notorious swiper. As you will eventually see, much of his FIRESTORM work pulls faces and poses from Rafael Kayanan Firestorm panels, as well as various Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman stories (a la Rich Buckler). As “J.J. Birch” he was still swiping poses but rendering them in a Keith Giffen-esque style… at least at first…

    Given your response to that information in this episode, as well as the past ire directed at WHO’S WHO entries that reprinted comic book panels, I do appreciate your tolerance to my approach for most of my XUM’S WHO entries… which mostly involves reconstructing stock art or comic panel art — and in some cases flat out tracing (“re-inking”) them. My intent is to essentially create a missing WHO’S WHO volume as if it were published in 1986, which included recreating the format of multiple artists contributing to the entries. I do intend to create some more original Xum Yukinori art for upcoming entries (a la Satin Satan and Lady Cop).

    A few XUM’S WHO clarifications, by the way:

    LADY COP: The “lecherous” male head behind Liza’s headshot was meant to be Hal, the “ill-suited boyfriend” from FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL #4. Looking back on the issue, the artist did not give us a straight full-on shot of his face (and it almost looked like his hair style shifted from straight hair in one panel to a feathered look in another panel).

    BOUNCER: The surprint image is a lift from a panel illustrated by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (praised be his name) in BATMAN v1 #336, the second and final appearance of the Bouncer in pre-Crisis continuity. This is why I created the main pose by piecing together JLGL (PBHN) DC Comics Style Guide art. In BATMAN v1 #336 the Elastalloy suit was red; in his first appearance in DETECTIVE COMICS v1 #347 it was a very unflattering brown color (the creators may have called it “copper brown”; the readers would have used a different metaphor…).

    REDBUBBLE MUGS: All of you who have purchased these mugs are too, too kind. Just to clarify, my RedBubble store closes down on Wednesday June 29th, so those who still want to obtain one of these mugs can do so today and tomorrow…

    (unabashedly conceited plug…)

  12. One last item of note:

    TERRY LONG: According to THE NEW TEEN TITANS v1 #20, Terry Long was 29 when Donna Troy was 19, so that is a 10-year age difference…

    But I am not one to pass judgement, for in the interests of full disclosure, I am 53 and my wife is… not yet 40…

    Okay, almost-full disclosure…

    1. Sure, May-September romances are common. I think it’s because the word TEEN is in the title, so it comes as creepy. And I think it would work if Terry himself had been a different character. The show’s experts are quick to point out he’s not an engaging character, that they can’t see why Donna would be with him. We can’t see the attraction, so we find fault with the age difference.

      But I think the problem is way deeper than that.

  13. The Ventriloquist: Wasn’t there a fan-made film set in the Nolan Batman universe that featured The Ventriloquist and Scarface? Or am I just imagining that?

    The Weaver(!)- Because The Tailor and The Seamstress were preoccupied. How did this guy get a listing and Paul Gambi didn’t in the supporting cast entries? Gambi only sewed ALL of the costumes for the Flash’s Rogues.

    Wildfire- Anytime you stray too far from the Dave Cockrum LSH designs is never a good thing. Little tweaks are fine but this re-design was unnecessary.

    Jimmy Olsen- You know it’s time to call it a day when Jimmy Olsen gets the best entry in the book and he’s segregated to the uninteresting supporting cast back section.

    Lana Lang- I’ve always thought of Lana as more of a Betty to Lois’ Veronica…

    Terry Long- When my brother was in 4th grade he wanted a perm (because you know…the 70s). Kid in his
    class said he “looked like a pervert”. I think that story somehow applies here as well…

  14. Late to the party, but I have to speak up for Terry Long (I can’t believe I’m doing this). The whole point of Donna dating and then marrying Terry was to show that Donna was the most grounded of the Titans. She was the den mother, the most normal (well, aside from Wally, but he had issues with wanting to be a super hero back then, so that was his bag). So normal Donna, who somehow was a high-paid fashion photographer at age 19 (she always was mature for her age, even going back to how Nick Cardy drew her in the 60s), started dating an older college professor. But Wolfman NEVER made the Titans feel like teens, except for Changeling and Terra, so in his mind, Donna was probably in her mid 20s, but he had to say she was 19, because Jenette Khan stuck him with that title. So, it’s not as intentionally icky as it seems.

    Having said all that, once Wolfman and Perez were gone, yeah, the guy became kind of a d-bag, and then they killed him and his kids, which is just wrong. I have nothing against shipping (and it was a long time before I knew what the hell you people were talking about), but I think its refreshing when a fictional character finds romance outside of the spandex set, or even the main supporting cast. It broadens the world. I think a lot of the hate directed towards Terry is exemplified by what Shag said: He had a crush on Donna, and this perm-haired schlub was dating her. Hence all the fan-gressions against him. And Tom is probably right, he was a proxy for Marv. But he looked more like Len Wein!

    More on the rest of the issue a bit later.

    Chris

  15. As for Joe Browoski and swiping, it’s funny you should mention him swiping JLGL, because, I hate to say it Shag, your favorite Rick Hoberg swiped a LOT from JLGL as well. Just check out Hoberg’s issues of All-Star Squadron and you’ll find MULTIPLE figures swiped directly from JLGL’s DC Style Guide work. Now, in his defense, DC MAY have been directing artists to swipe those poses since they were basically model sheets. Heck, Gil Kane swiped JLGL poses for issues of World’s Fines, Wonder Woman, and even Green Lantern (Kane’s own co-creation!). And both Hoberg and Kane worked in animation, where obviously you do swipe from model sheets constantly, so maybe it’s less sinful than Brozowski, but still, its there.

    But I do really like Hoberg’s work, despite what I wrote above.

    Chris

  16. Tom Artis draws a cute Zatanna, but I’ve never been fond of this costume re-design as revealed in SECRET ORIGINS #27. There’s nothing objectively wrong with the new costume, but I dislike the pants, the puffy sleeves, and the high collared-shirt. It smacks of the androgynous fashion style in pop music of the late ’80s and early ’90s that I never cared for (Prince being the obvious exception). My personal taste: I don’t want Zatanna looking cute; I want her looking sexy and beautiful. To me, cuteness makes her seem younger, which is fine for her early adventures, but by this time in her history, she needs to be a fully formed and formidable adult, lest she always linger in the shadow of her father.

    1. This look was my introduction to Zatanna as a character and I firmly believed for about a year or two that she was some kind of nice vampire girl that just so happened to have magical powers. Ah how you piece together things when you are in middle school.

  17. About the Krypton appendix; I rather liked the idea that thousands of years in the past an organization set into motion a chain of events that would lead to the planet’s destruction. It shows a level of commitment that says, “I can’t kill you now but I WILL KILL YOU ALL LATER!” I also liked later finding out that the terrorist organization Black Zero was a call back to a Silver Age concept. That was the name of a villain that was kind of, sort of, maybe, most definitely, let’s let E Nelson Bridwell sort this out responsible for the destruction of the Pre-Crisis Krypton.

  18. Just a quick note on Etta Candy:

    Anyone who is enjoying the brighter DC Rebirth books needs to read “The Legend of Wonder Woman” by Renae De Liz ASAP!! The origin story (set in WW2) is a beautifully written & drawn update of Diana’s Amazon heritage, meeting with Steve Trevor, & fighting Nazis. Etta is returned to her roots as a zaftig co-ed, but here she’s a confident& self-assured young woman who helps Diana transition to “man’s world” & even whips up the Wonder Woman outfit ( and does indeed look like Rebel Wilson). I picked this up on a whim and was thoroughly enchanted by it. A sequel has just been greenlit by DC. This is a must-read for anyone who loves Darwyn Cooke’s “New Frontier.”

    http://www.dccomics.com/comics/the-legend-of-wonder-woman-2016/the-legend-of-wonder-woman-4

    1. Wonder Woman Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette did a similar job in providing an incredibly fresh take on the Amazon origin that is inherently true to the source. Etta, as well as being a key player, is absolutely magnificent in that story. It also avoids all the Morrison habits and tropes and gives you a really accessible read. It’s my fave Morrison work in over a decade.

  19. The end of an era! Long live the loose-leaf Who’s Who!

    Let me just say, I look forward to both the the Star Trek Who’s Who (which I never read) as I’m curious about what the Star Trek comics tackled (which I never read), and the Legion Who’s Who (which I never read) and how it reflected the reality of the LSH at the time (which I did read).

    As for the Terry Long issue — much like Chris Franklin, I had no issues with Donna Troy dating the dude (I felt she was older than a teen, most of them really seemed to be older than their title let us believed). I did feel, however, the he was unusually wise and patient. However, in many cases the ‘normal’ significant others of superheroes are shown to be super-exceptional in order to be seen as equals to their partners.

    It was only when the writing changed the characterization of him, and he became a completely horrible person, as well as collateral damage to drive a main character through emotional turmoil that I totally disavowed that version of him.

    In my mind, wise and friendly Terry Long still exists with Donna Troy, alongside Roy Harper’s daughter Lian, and Ralph and Sue Dibney — in fact, they probably regularly attend Ma & Pa Kent’s cookouts!

  20. Sorry for being late to the game.
    You guys should seriously take a victory lap. I know you did after the first series. But there is some feeling of finality with the end of the second update.

    I also noticed the spelling miscues and minor preCrisis references which makes me agree that Waid may have checked out. Just a few comments.

    Wanderers – I bought the first half year or so because I’m all about the Legion and was especially crazy about the group then. The best thing about it was the Hoover art which had a nice style to it. Quantum Queen definitely has a 90s design in 88. So maybe something cam out of this book other than the ‘bird sex’ issue.

    Weird – the alien race Zarolatt was name dropped in an episode of Supergirl this year making the Weird be in the DCTV continuity. I bought it for the Wrightson art and thought the story of the alien having residual feelings of the dead man’s son was a nice touch. But overall I thought it was pretty mediocre.

    Wildfire – this isn’t a suit. It’s a body Wildfire was able to make with Quislet’s help. This body sort of removed the one thing that made Wildfire unique so I was glad that it was a short lived plot for the character (my fave Legionnaire).

    Wotan- best art in the book

    Zatanna- or should I say Adam Ant. She is a goody two-shoes. But I’m not sure if I’m allowed to comment since I like the Sindella costume best for Z

    Zuggernaut – sounds like a candy bar. Tasty coconut, almonds, and nougat!

    Abby Cable – I love Abby, especially in the Moore stuff. I almost feel that DC should have cancelled Swampy when Moore left, let it rest for a year or so. The pregnancy story went on a bit too long in the book, really sucking the momentum out of it.

    Lana Lang – hubba hubba. The midest farmers daughter really makes you feel all right. Agreed theManyunter story was a bit toxic. And the Pete Ross relationship didn’t help. I we glad when Sterling Gates brought her into Supergirl as a mentor.

    Ma and Pa Kent, Perry White – I agree that there was a bit too much backstory for these characters back then. The business of Perry and Lex seemed needless.

    Terry Long – brrrrr. Creepy! But, like Shag, I think many hetero guys feel that ay because we all had crushes on Donna and wanted her to date a guy just like us. And I was not an old dude (at least back then) with an Afro and kids.

    Appendix – I’m surprised you didn’t comment on how much Forever people there was in the Appendix. They each got a paragraph saying they were now from Earth.

    But the big thing in the appendix, skipped by you guys, was the discussion of the new Supergirl. This was a true revision marking the beginning of a tough stretch for Supergirl fans. The protoplasmic, ‘thought I was Lana’, slightly unhinged Supergirl had a tough run up until Reign of the Supermen. She initially shape changes and impersonates Clark while he has exiled himself, ending up snapping and believing she is Superman. Then she becomes Brainiacs slave. Then she becomes Luthor’s lover. It wasn’t easy. So if I am riding high on Supergirl love right now, I deserve it!

    Thanks again for a great run of shows. Looking forward to the next wave!

  21. A) When I hear a name like Brad Vancata’s, it takes me back to the extraordinary but legitimately fan-oriented hype surrounding the rise of artist-centric comics. Vancata was Rob Liefeld’s colorist, I think he was one of the first to sign his work (as a color hold!) and he was active during a major upward shift in coloring technology. By virtue of association, he was a minor name himself in what was otherwise a thankless craftsman job in comics. And like a lot of notables in those types of jobs, he started out as a reasonably good artist who for whatever reason shifted disciplines. It’s a nice shot of Ultra-Humanite, though I also prefer John Statema’s entry.

    B) I was introduced to Ventriloquist and Scarface through Batman: The Animated Series, and I think I initially thought he originated there. It’s a solid concept and I love how Breyfogle skirts the line between realism and broad caricature in the art here. Not a character I particularly want to read comics about or see as the primary villain on a cartoon, but good for side roles and vignettes. Oddly, the shift from Starlin & Aparo being the primary Batman team to Grant & Breyfogle (despite being on Detective) shook me off those books. I’ve never been a fan of Grant’s writing, and Breyfogle was too stylized with a distinct noir mood kind of like Gene Colan’s, but with a heightened cartoonish reality that was less on my wavelength. Between that and Knightfall, it was the end of my “Batman stage.”

    C) After our beloved DC Samplers were no more, the next bit of free DC advertainment I devoted too much time and memory space to was DC Focus. It was basically an issue of Marvel Age, but since DC’s universe was so unfamiliar to a young Zombie like me and their faulty hype machine only spit things out once every other blue moon, it proved a rare gateway to another continuity. I think the damned thing sold me on Millennium, or at least the first month’s worth before I wised up. It also introduced me to The Wanderers with an intriguing tagline along the lines of “They’re trying to solve the greatest mystery of all– who killed them?” It was a great premise along the lines of the noir classic D.O.A., but then you read about the stupid characters who still looked like morts after a radical redesign and whose names sounded like NPCs from an especially lazy gamemaster, the answer was still “no thank you very much.” Despite the sweet Robert Campanella inks, that’s also my general reply to the art of Dave Hoover (sucking is right there in his name. Like the vacuum cleaner.)

    D) The Weaver.

    I got nothin’.

    E) I assume Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson were bros, going back to Captain Sternn helping to fill pages in Dreadstar when Jim would come up short on the lead feature. Aside from The Cult, their pairing never felt right to me, and I’m sure my being repelled by attempts to read The Weird contributed to that bias. It didn’t read as weird to me, just a lame slog, and a little derivative of the Jeff Bridges/Karen Allen movie Starman. Syzygy Darklock wants his costume back, and pass the word on to Kid Cosmic too. I loved Starlin so much in my early days, but this period of his output put that love to the test. Anyone who made it through Gilgamesh II should feel me on this.

    F) I love me some Titans Hunt, but you’re never going to convince me a team of villains shared a high tech armor that, incidentally, was covered in coarse horse hair to fool people into thinking they were a single were-creature. It takes a Wildebeest society to make Jericho look like a plausible arch-villain by comparison. Baby Wildebeest finally made this concept sensical.

    G) A redesigned, semi-minimalist, Giffen drawn Wildfire with a head like a candlewick fairly screams Legion of Substitute Heroes. The surprint looks like he was farted out of his old costume.

    H) Wotan looks seriously dangerous here, and I prefer Art Thibert drawing like Continuity Studios over Homage Studios.

    I) Tom Artis draws the cutest, most vibrant Zatanna, and this costume design is so much better than Esteban Maroto’s Bauhaus fangirl take. Aside from the batwing cape, as drawn here, this might be my favorite Zee look. Classy and stylish and unique.

    J) Zuggernaut is an Aliens xenomorph as a super-villain. I find that hard to resist. Even Joe Brozowski couldn’t screw that up.

    K) I never committed to following Swamp Thing, so my exposure to Abby Cable was limited, but I could always dig on the whole albino hippy chick in cut-offs deal.

    L) Tom Grindberg says it all with this image: Alfred Pennyworth is an old queen who taught Bruce all the love Frederick Wertham would deny them, and even though Wayne has moved on to a twink of his own, Alfie can still take pleasure in watching the Master suck down a milkshake shirtless in the gym. Fellas, don’t hesitate to show this entry to your significant other of either gender if you’re interested in creating your own entry 2-nite.

    M) Look, it’s Amanda Waller! It feels like years since I’ve seen The Wall, one of the greatest comic book characters of the modern era, drawn correctly.

    N) Were Ed & Felicity Raymond in the same comics as The Weaver?

    O) I like conventional-bodied Etta Candy as the reserved, supportive military liaison to Wonder Woman. I also dig the boisterous, wooping, lettingitallhangout thick Holliday Girl. Why those two completely different characters have the same name as a third Etta who looked like an underwear model (because no version of slimy Steve would marry her otherwise) and was dull as dishwater, I do not have clue one. Lucy Davis? Hmm. Okay? I agree with Rob that classic Etta is more of a Rebel Wilson type.

    P) Harvey Bullock is another one of those guys that to me was added “late” to the Batman canon nearly forty years ago that I never 100% accepted into the fold. Still, Gotham should have a slovenly, adulterated but not quite corrupt cop for their more heroic officers to play against. Also one of the main supporting characters in Spawn comics (Sam Burke of the duo “Sam & Michael Jeter” as written by Bendis in their spin-off series) is obviously a Bullock lift, so he’s iconic to some degree. Maybe Felicity Raymond could donate some of her excess leg to Bullock, as his torso and legs appear to be the same length.

    Q) I remember Jenet Klyburn mostly from New Teen Titans, in as much as I remember her at all, despite this lovely entry. Is she wearing an ankh or a femme symbol as a necklace? Either indicates an interesting personality. I’m a total Terry Long for Jena Malone, so I’m disappointed that the best part of The Hunger Games doesn’t have a meatier role in the DCEU. I still plan on seeing The Neon Demon, despite the reviews, but then I’m one of the only three guys that liked Only God Forgives anyway.

    R) I keep a mental list of artists whose work I so detest that it will keep me from reading books involving characters and writers I love. Chris Wozniak is near the top of that list, and unlike some other folks on it, I can’t think of a single book he ever did that I could even halfway let him slide on. His oeuvre gets something like 0% on my Tomatometer. I could draw better entries for Jim Corrigan and Kim Lang despite liking neither character or anything about this period of Spectre comics and sucking at doodles.

  22. A few quick comments and one long rant. Be forewarned.

    1. This cover is a total break from the usual style of Who’s who, so I should be against it, but it is just so charming. It is definitely my favorite of all of the updates.

    2. We do not talk about Wildebeest around the Phylemon household. For my money, the whole debacle was an imaginary tale, or some nightmarish fever dream. Jericho is the greatest, and most loyal, titan of them all.

    3. In my mind, Jenet Klyburn is solidly a Titans supporting character. I’m not sure I even knew she appeared in Superman titles. I may have to check those issues out. You know, for research.

    4. A Jim Corrigan entry was as necessary as a Clark Kent entry. Body splitting issues aside, Corrigan’s story was told in the Spectre entries.

    5. Completely agree that the Jimmy Olsen entry is stellar and would have made a great cover. Probably my favorite entry in the book.

    6. The Lana Lang entry. No specific comment to make here, but I thought the entry deserved another mention.

    7. Terry Long- Okay, here it goes. I LOVE Terry. I love the Terry / Donna romance. Everything about him is awesome, even the stupid 70’s Orange afro. Here is my argument. Does anyone spend any great amount of time analyzing what Superman sees in Lois Lane? Depending on the writer, she is often characterized as bossy, deceitful, and inept (probably not the right word, but what else do you call it when every scheme she hatches results in her being kidnapped and needing Supes to save her). How about Batman and Vicki Vale? I couldn’t even tell you what character traits she possesses other than being generally “hot”. My point is, no one complains about male heroes’ choices in civilian girlfriends. Female super heroes, though, always need someone who is their “equal”. Black Canary? Of course she needs another, similarly capable crime fighter like Green Arrow. Mera? Has to be paired up with Aquaman. Ice can’t even go on a date with some average Joe (unless he has a power ring on, of course). Wonder Woman especially, as the paragon of the female Super Hero, can only be attracted to Steve Trevor if he proves himself to be adequately heroic by fighting the Nazi’s or spies.

    Then comes Donna Troy and her love for Terry Long. It’s a breath of fresh air. No, Terry isn’t a crime fighting hero. Donna doesn’t need a hero, she can bench press a city bus on her own. But, someone who makes her laugh? Terry is shown often in Teen Titans to have a sharp sense of humor. Someone who respects and honors the culture that is so important to Donna? Remember that Terry and Donna met as he was teaching Hellenistic history and was shown often to be immersed and knowledgeable in its culture. Someone who is nurturing and kind? Just look at how Terry is looking adoringly at his daughter Jenny in the entry. I don’t care who you are, a man who is good with kids is always attractive. Yes, the age difference (as others have said, about 10 years) is concerning and, as a teacher myself, the idea of them meeting as instructor and student is unpleasant to consider, but the relationship between these two not only makes sense, but it broke barriers in comic books that no one else was doing at the time. I love the idea that Donna saw qualities in Terry beyond just the physical and was drawn to the internal goodness of this man. Seems like the sort of thing an Amazon would be capable of. End of rant, other than to say that if you can’t understand the Terry / Donna relationship, just read New Teen Titans #50, their wedding, and notice how well paired they are.

    Although I strongly believe we are on the downward slope now that the “comic book” version of Who’s Who is at an end (although I am interested in how the Star Trek and LSH issues are handled), I will look forward to your next ‘cast.

    1. The Lana Lang entry–Makes me think of a cross between Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” video and Flashdance. Somebody needs to make a song parody about this.

      “Just a Smallvile girl on a Saturday night…

      She’s a Manhunter, Manhunter that’s for sure.
      And we all want her to be like she was before.”

  23. All this talk of Wildebeest and the Wildebeest Society… I have a vague recollection of the whole Titans Hunt story not maintaining consistent internal continuity with who the Wildebeests were and what they knew/could have known. Can anyone who’s read it more recently or often confirm this?

    1. I feel like there’s always been the potential for a ‘Life of Reiley’ style oral history of the Titans Hunt, but it has yet to materialize.

  24. Another totally enjoyable ep Rob and Shag/Shag and Rob, good work BUT I have had the Who’s Who intro music stuck in my head for the past 3 days!!! Do you have any idea how awkward it is when you randomly burst into song singing “Who are all these people man? They’re all part of the DC Who’s Who”.

    On the Ed and Felicity Raymond entry, is her left thigh on an angle towards Ed, this might account for the length difference, maybe maybe not but either way if it takes this much discussion to work it out then yeah it’s clearly not a great drawing. Abbey Cable – Smoking hot and she is clearly not worried about how people look so hey I’m in with a chance. Lana Lang – Smoking hot.

    Your comments that the Sutherlands have some kind of a murder/rape dungeon were completely disturbing because of the sense of truth and accuracy I felt when hearing them. Clearly I’m joking, well kind of…

    See you next time gang!!

    1. Your mention of the theme song brings up an excellent point. Will there be a new theme song for the Star Trek (and Legion) episodes??!??

      1. “They’re all part of the DC (Star Trek) Who’s Who”…

        “They’re all part of the DC (Lee-gion) Who’s Who”…

        “They’re all part of the DC (Loose Leaf) Who’s Who”…

        1. “James T. Kirk and ‘Bones’ McCoy, Miles O’Brien and Christopher Pike….”
          “Awwwww, man…..We forgot Q”

          1. I’d like to see them try to fit “Humpback Whales” and “the mum from seventh heaven” in there

  25. I can’t believe I’m the one to share this information, but the third Ventriloquist aka Shauna Belzer was introduced in the New52 in the pages of Gail Simone’s Batgirl. She was a terrible villain and yet another cause/symptom of the dark tone during that run. Shauna’s puppet Ferdie was a pervy doll who would threaten people with terrible sexual acts. Shauna’s backstory is just as violent and dark. She was a terrible character and one reason why I disliked the Batgirl run when it started. One Google image search is probably all you need!

  26. 1) Where is the Yellow Dot for Tom and me? We went to all that hard work!

    2) Don’t think I didn’t notice Remington being cut out of the recording! What’s up with that?

    1. Your hard work?!? You drank coffee, bad mouthed a guy unilaterally disliked by the entire geek community, and talked about my cat! Hard work?!?

  27. Just want to thanks Shagg and Rob (giving Shagg top billing for once 😉 ) for an excellent Who’s Who series – always forget to leave a comment but have listened to all the episodes and they have been outstanding – will look forward to the Annuals, Legion and Star Trek episodes before we get to the loose leaf editions. Will comment more on the episode later, but just wanted to make sure I note my thanks for your sterling efforts on this show.

  28. Regarding my iTunes review, I did have to edit it. I spell Jericoh about as well as Shagg pronounces words.

    Terry Long. *sigh* His entire entry should have just been “Lucky bastard who managed to marry Donna Troy. Later life events include yelling about how Donna’s superheroics endanger their child and dragging out a custody battle longer than the Trial of Barry Allen.”

  29. Rob, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

    For a long time I have been trying to remember what the name of Nickelodeon show (Video Comics) that would show read through DC comics in the early 80’s. I remember watching them as a kid when ever I was flipping through the channels and came across it. The one I remember the most was of Green Lantern. My life’s quest is now complete.
    Now to start a new one and see if there is any place on this world wide web that I can watch the shows again. If anyone can help a fella out on this I would be much appreciative.

    Greta show guys, keep up the excellent work.

  30. S) I respect the role that Jimmy Olsen played in the development of Superman and I hope that someday he can be made remotely relevant to modern audiences, which hasn’t been the case at any point in my lifetime. Smallville and Supergirl TV have come the closest. Outside of Jackie Cooper, Perry White is in the same boat. He’s a good father figure/mentor to Lois Lane, but not enough has been done with her in ages to give Perry an opportunity to shine as an extension of her. Perry isn’t close enough to Clark or Superman to really count as a friend, so when his personal dramas would play out in Superman books, I felt like they didn’t belong there or matter in the grand scheme of things.

    T) It’s a sad statement that my two episodes of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman are still the go-to recommendation for #FWPodcasts, but last time I checked, there wasn’t much else out there. The third show was supposed to get produced over a month ago, but I got bogged down in other projects. I was also trying to wait to see the Ultimate edition of Batman v Superman, but this week I realized that only the theatrical version will be available to rent anytime soon, and I was perfectly happy to delay my viewing that much longer. Then Mac wanted to see it and we pooled together the $20 before recording a 105 minute podcast with about 5 minutes of Wonder Woman talk. So maybe I can cobble together a third episode about Earth One and the early issues of Legend of Wonder Woman over the holiday weekend.

    As for Julia Kapatelis, she’s Wonder Woman’s Aunt May. She had her own child late in life and is an academic, so she’s the soft, safe, supportive matron that contrasts against Hippolyta the taskmaster. She’s also part of The Perez Problem, which was placing a naive young Diana in a sexless environment so that her male creators could cast her in the role of noble virgin. Besides kissing Superman that one time in the first year of the book, I can’t recall Diana so much as going on a date for well over a decade. I think it was when Eric Luke introduced a Hindu God quasi-suitor in the 140s, and that didn’t go far before retreating to a crush on the safely married Superman. The reigning theory in Wonder Woman fandom at the time was that Diana was a closeted lesbian, and prior to Byrne, talent and editorial did nothing to dispute that theory. Then Byrne tried to marry her off to a cop character he created, and failing that, he made Hippolyta Wonder Woman and let mom have all the heteromances. Julia and Vanessa were nice enough people and were useful supporting characters, but they were also treated as an old maid and an early adolescent barely starting to have an interest in boys, so they didn’t threaten Diana’s chastity. See also the disciplined military officer version of Etta Candy getting married off to Pappy Trevor, removing the two major prompts for Diana to confront romantic relations. Julia helped make sure Diana was good “clean” little girl for the patriarchy.

    U) The problem with Lana Lang and Ma & Pa Kent is that they are part of Superboy’s story, not Superman’s. I don’t know why Byrne felt the need to treat Kal-El like a Marvel mutant, not getting any powers before puberty and not enough to be a superhero until adulthood. It played a big role in making Superman lame to anyone who wasn’t drinking Kool-Aid out of a triangular glass with a number on the bottom. Aside from raw power, and even that was arguable for a while, what set Superman apart from any other random hero? Not only had he been the first super-hero, but he was also set apart from and careful around weak humanity because he was born with abilities far beyond those of other men. Kal-El had a Kryptonian mind and took necessary precautions that isolated him from humanity as he knew it, making him a singular being in all of existence. Superboy had a full solo career complete with its own supporting cast, rogues gallery, and time spent as the greatest member of a Legion of Super-Heroes from a thousand years in the future before he even became Superman. Marking that transition was the death of his parents and moving on from his small town sweetheart to the big city love of his life. By removing Superboy from continuity, Byrne hobbled the Man of Steel by having all these lingering elements from Smallville floating around, extending his adolescence and cluttering his cast. It made him much less super, and even cast doubt on his manhood, when the simplest personal conflict sent him back to the farm for advice.

    V) Rudolph & Mary West answer the questions “why is Wally West such a louse” and “why would a decent guy like Barry Allen hang out with a louse like Wally West?” Obviously, Barry felt bad for a kid with such rotten parents, and seeing that in the Mike Baron run made me slightly more sympathetic toward Wally.

    W) I kind of like Ross Andru & Chris Wozniak’s drawing of a shady salesman or arms dealer or wait why does it say “Steve Trevor” in the bottom right corner? Steve was such a bastard in Silver Age comics that they killed him off right around the beginning of the Bronze Age, but he kept bring resurrected. I understand if Perez thought he was such a blemish to Wonder Woman that he aged Trevor out of being a viable love interest, and consigned him to a largely vestigial role in the book. My issue is that we never got a replacement in that key role, lessening Diana’s very humanity through the absence of adult love in her life for essentially the entirety of her Post-Crisis volume (about twenty years.) We don’t talk about non-starters like Trevor Barnes and Mike Schoor (totally had to look up Mike Schoor’s name on a wiki page.)

    XXX) Terry Long (birth name Terrence Archibald Kreps) looks like he auditioned unsuccessfully during the 1970s Golden Age of Porno and brought his own script revisions to “really jazz things up.” Terry Long, already having managed to play on the insecurities and sympathies of a much younger and more beautiful woman than he could have ever gotten without having read “Influence: Science and Practice,” still angles for a threesome with her alien supermodel best friend. Terry Long would have had Terra babysit in exchange for cigarettes if she’d had the free time and come across as “game.” Terry Long remarried to Chuck Traynor in the fires of Hell.

    Y) Wade Eiling is another excellent supporting character (Captain Atom’s J. Jonah Jameson but with Norman Osborn’s malevolence) and utility player in the greater DC Universe. It was an utter waste turning him into The General. Despero did an excellent job of cosplaying Eiling in this profile, but the hat’s a dead giveaway.

    —————————
    ***APPENDIX***
    —————————
    I left an extremely long and uncommonly flattering comment about Maxwell Lord on The Secret Origins Podcast Episode 35.

    Oberon will be discussed in a future episode of JLI: Bwah-Ha-Ha Podcast.

    Thomas Kalmaku was discussed in comments for The Secret Origins Podcast Episode 36.

  31. Dear Rob and Shag,

    The Who’s Who podcast is my favorite pop culture podcast. In fact, I tell my friends that I consider it is the ultimate geek podcast since who else but board-certified geeks would spend hours going through what is basically an encyclopedia of DC characters and events and spend so much time talking about each one individually. These conversations, in fact, have led me to haunt used book stores and dollar bins to rebuild my collection of Who’s Who’s that I have lost or misplaced over the decades.

    My perspective on Who’s Who is probably different from yours since I was a junior in college when both the Crisis on Infinite Earths and Who’s Who started hitting the stands at the comic book store I frequented, and it was very cool to have the Who’s Who’s on hand as I read through Crisis so I could look up obscure characters as they popped up in the pages of that event. I then kept purchasing Who’s Who and its updates over the next few years to keep up with all the changes that were occurring post-Crisis throughout the DC universe. It was a very exciting time to be a fan of DC comics, and Who’s Who was an integral part of that excitement. So thank you to both of you for rekindling that excitement through these very entertaining podcasts.

    I know on one early episode, Shag mentioned that these podcasts were not going to be permanently recorded for posterity. I just want you to know that I’ll be holding on to them for a long time since once I’ve recollected all the issues I no longer have, it’ll be fun to go through those issues while listening to your running commentary.

    As much as I am looking forward to future episodes of Who’s Who, I do have a comment to make about the proposed format. You had mentioned possibly covering Who’s Who in Star Trek in one episode and Who’s Who in the Legion in maybe three or four. I’d prefer that you stick with the one issue per episode format. It gives each episode a good structure, a sense of true beginning, middle, and end, just like other indexing podcasts which go issue-to-issue even when dealing with a multi-issue story arc.

    And, lastly, I’d like to hear Rob on the Who’s Who in the Legion podcasts. I don’t mean to torture him, but we in the Catholic Church have someone called a “devil’s advocate,” whose job is to dig up the dirt, if you will, on persons who are being promoted for sainthood, to prove that said persons are not worthy of this title. Rob could serve as a “devil’s advocate” towards the Legion, pointing out all he dislikes or just doesn’t “get” about the Legion. Such interplay between Rob and Shag over the Legion could be fun.

    In the meantime, I’ll keep on listening and saving the Who’s Who podcasts and share them with my sons when they are older. After all, Shag does get a bit saucy from time to time, and Rob did have that memorable comment about the listing for the Golden Age Aquaman.

    Peace and good.

    P.S. Rob, due to a comment you made on the Phantom Stranger episode of Secret Origins, I found your Phantom Stranger blog and have been following it and really enjoying it. I also followed the link to your “Digest Comics” blog, which I truly loved. I still have many of my DC Blue Ribbon and Best of DC digests, and it was great to see someone else share the enthusiasm I felt when I found these collections of older stories and could fill in missing parts of my knowledge of the DC universe for only a buck or a bit more. Great job!

  32. Hi, Rob and Shag-

    Eagerly awaiting new episodes of the Who’s Who podcast when you cover the loose-leaf editions. Like you, Shag, that was a major era for me with DC Comics, so I have fond memories of buying the first five or six issues, obsessively classifying and reclassifying the pages in a binder, and then getting bored with the concept and forgetting to buy the rest of the series. Glory days, am I right?

    To tide me over, I’ve been relistening to earlier Who’s Who podcast episodes, and I’m realizing something that really bothered me about the series: As much as I worship it, it really did a pretty lousy job of chronicling DC’s entire publishing history. (The effective omission of arguably its most iconic character—the Superman of Earth-One—is only one example.) If we truly consider the first five decades of National/DC, the nearly exclusive focus on the superhero genre (though I suppose there’s decent coverage of Western and war comics) is a real shame. Take, for example, funny animals: a genre that was a tentpole of DC’s output from the ‘40s through the ‘60s, which was completely omitted from Who’s Who (unless you count the Zoo Crew, which I don’t, because they’re superheroes). Naturally, it wouldn’t have worked to have three funny animal characters per issue, but imagine a two-page spread in issue 8, labeled “Funny Animals,” and featuring a beautifully drawn montage of 10 to 15 of the company’s most successful characters from that genre—Fox and Crow, Doodles Duck, a bunch of others I can’t remember—plus brief paragraphs describing them all, along with maybe some slightly meta text explaining how the genre was a DC standby for a considerable chunk of its history. Similar entries could have covered the genres of humor comics (including—yes, Rob—Sugar and Spike) and maybe even romance (though I gather there weren’t many recurring characters in those books). This would have gone a long way to truly making the series a comprehensive chronicle of DC’s publishing history, beyond the few genres it happened to still be publishing in the mid-‘80s.

    That brings me to the other monstrous omission from the series: supporting characters. I still don’t understand why people like Alfred, Lana Lang, etc., were left out beyond their stupid superpowered alternate identities. I suppose DC probably felt if they included Alfred, it would open the floodgates for dozens of other “ordinary people,” taking valuable space away from immortal villains like Steelclaw and the Invisible Destroyer. But I can literally think of fewer than 20 supporting characters who—considering their staying power and importance during DC’s first 50 years—would’ve merited an entry: Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Jimmy Olson, Perry White, Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, Alfred Pennyworth, Commissioner Gordon, Iris West, Abigail Arcane, Snapper Carr, Tomas Kalmaku, Jenet Klyburn, and let’s say five others I’m overlooking. (Maybe Vicki Vale, but that’s only because hindsight tells us how important she became in the late ‘80s.) That’s probably still fewer entries than the series included for villains from The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl.

    Despite all this, Who’s Who was still the greatest thing ever.

    While I have you, please plug my own podcast: I Don’t Get It: The Pop Culture Get-Off-My-Lawn-Cast. My friend Bill and I, both 42 years old, take a serious look at something young people are currently into and talk about how it fills us with rage and/or admiration and/or jealousy. Only one comic–related episode so far—all about Riverdale, which actually isn’t bad—but we’re hoping to do more.

    Keep up the good work…

    Noah Tarnow

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