Who’s Who Presents – Who’s That? #1: Crime Doctor


Welcome to WHO’S THAT?, a new addition to the WHO’S WHO podcast family! In this debut episode, Rob and guest Dr. Anj take a look at the four-color career of the Batman villain the Crime Doctor!

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Opening music by The Who, closing music by Robert Palmer.

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19 responses to “Who’s Who Presents – Who’s That? #1: Crime Doctor

  1. Great show fellas. This character spotlight episode of Who’s Who is a cool idea!

    I’m guessing Michael Fleisher probably learned about Crime Doctor when he was researching his great Batman Encyclopedia from the 1970s. I poured over that one repeatedly when I was a kid.

    On another note: I was interested in hearing about the use of “goddamn” on 1970s TV. Norman Lear was really pushing the boundaries of what language could be heard during primetime of that era. When I teach my “Television as Popular Culture” course we discuss the evolution of what is taboo on TV. Back in the 1950s, I Love Lucy could not use the word “pregnant” as that was considered too risque. One of the the more controversial scenes of All in the Family involved Archie Bunker repeatedly saying “goddamn” and CBS received a ton of complaints:

  2. Loved this first episode, Anj was indeed the perfect guest… but what excuse do we have to get him back to discuss Hyathis? He’s an alien, that’s it!

    Interestingly, in Bob Greenberger’s update on Fleisher’s Batman encyclopaedia he says it was the same version of Thorne, post-Crisis. I’ve just checked out Detective Comics #579 and Batman and the Crime Doctor have certainly encountered one another previously, so… maybe.

    I’ve just checked out Birds of Prey #95, I’d forgotten that one, like Anj, and I’m glad I did. Gail Simone makes him a flat-out sadistic killer. No thank you.

  3. Don Newton also had a brief run on Infinity, Inc. just before his death. In fact, he was supposed to become the regular artist on that title, but because of his death, the regular artist ended up being Todd McFarlane, which is probably what led to him becoming famous (I’m sure Rob is thrilled by that info).

    I think I found the Crime Doctor’s appearance in Crisis #9. On page 4, panel 12, where the villains are staring at the spot where Brainiac just vaporized the Earth-2 Luthor, there’s a character standing to Harlequin’s left whose head is obscured but he appears to be dressed like the Crime Doctor.

  4. How about this one for a future Film & Water: CRIME DOCTOR (1943) starring Warner Baxter. Apparently there was a 10 film series of low budget Crime Doctor movies from 1943-49. A radio series ran from 1940-47 and starred several actors in the lead role including Ray Collins & Everett Sloane. The Batman version of the “Crime Doctor” first appeared in 1943 so maybe DC was trying to capitalize on the name.

    Here is the basic premise:

    Originally a criminal himself, Ben Ordway got zapped on the head and lost his memory. With the help of a kind doctor, he began to build a new life and identity, studying medicine and eventually going into psychiatry. … He decided to specialize in criminal psychiatry because of his intense interest in, and understanding of, the criminal mind.

    The first film is available on Youtube.

  5. Cool episode, although Anj is lucky there’s a character named Crime Doctor. I expect a call when there’s a character named Crime Business Analyst.

  6. Now that some of the young Supergirls are attending college, I expect Anj to eventually become his own version of the Crime Doctor to make ends meet.

  7. Great concept for a spin-off, and great debut with a great guest! I too first encountered the Crime Doctor in part two of the Fleisher/Newton storyline.

    Crime Doctor as a revived Golden Age concept debuted in-between the Englehart/Rogers run where obscure and forgotten baddies Hugo Strange and Deadshot were revised to great effect, but before Gerry Conway, Newton and Gene Colan resurrected Dala & the Monk, Dr. Death and the Dirigible of Doom. After the critical success of the Englehart/Rogers run, there was a real push to relive Batman’s Golden Age through modern stories, which ultimately led to the introduction of the very Dick Grayson-like Jason Tood 1.0.

    Speaking of Englehart/Rogers, it’s surprising that it took BTAS to connect Dr. Thorne to noted Gotham ganglord Rupert Thorne. I bet if Roy Thomas had written a Crime Doctor story, HE would have made that connection in the comics years before.

    And as a parent of a diabetic child, I have to ask Dr. Anj, how is that cure coming? 😉


  8. Great first Who’s Who spinoff episode. I once had an idea for a character spotlight podcast, but after listening to this, it is now officially crossed off my list. LOVE the concept of spotlighting characters that Rob and Shag first encountered in Who’s Who and then covering some of the books that character appeared in. Fantastic! I read the original Who’s Who as it was coming out and was introduced to tons of characters I had never heard of before. I loved when those characters would then show up in a book I was reading and I knew who they were (and their backstory) – and could show off that knowledge to my friends! I remember Shag mentioning a similar experience over on the Secret Origins podcast when discussing Rex the Wonder Dog.

    As for this specific episode, I really enjoyed it. Always great to hear from Dr. Anj!

    Like you Rob, I first encountered the Crime Doctor (CD from here on) in Who’s Who. The first story I remember reading with him in it was Detective Comics #579. I always liked Beyfogle’s rendition of the CD on the cover of that one (as seen in the gallery post for this episode). Like Anj, I have those Birds of Prey issues but don’t have much recollection of CD’s part in them. I’m going to have to pull and re-read I guess! I really like the idea of the educated professional who is a villain purely in it for the thrill (ie he doesn’t actually keep his ill gotten gains)…but who still has a very defined code of ethics. A very unique character for sure. Lots of ways he could still be used creatively and effectively in today’s books.

    Thanks guys for a great first spinoff episode. Can’t wait for more!

    1. Guess you missed my comment above, Scott – an ethical guy is NOT what Gail Simone gives us in BoP. I am a Simone fan, but she goes to the psycho-sadist well far too often.

      1. Hey Martin.

        I did miss your comment above. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. That characterization is probably why I have no memory of his appearance in those stories. Not the character I actually liked and found interesting – so I just put it out of my head. I agree about going to the well too often with the psycho-sadist motif. I think Simone and lots of writers probably go there too often. Sad that a strangely layered and interesting character had to be changed to a character type we see time and time again. Based on your thoughts, I won’t rush back to read those issues any time soon – I have lots of other things to read. Thanks again for your input!

  9. If I could pick the next character to spotlight it would be BALLOON BUSTER. That entry always stuck with me but I’ve never seen this guy elsewhere!

  10. Great summation of the modern day Crime Doctor. Wish you could’ve discussed more about the golden age version.

    Aquaman of Earth-Two and Queen Eeras forever! Hope one day they meet like Arthur and Mera.

  11. This is a great idea for a spin-off series. I’m looking forward to learning a lot more about characters I know nothing about.

    As others have already mentioned, it was great to hear Dr. Anj on this episode. He brought some great medical insights to the discussion, as well as enthusiasm for this character.

  12. Love this idea, and love this episode. Since “Who’s Who” was how I discovered the F&W Network, I am always glad to see it continue in some form or another. Besides, this was a major function of the series for me back when it came out: I learned so much about characters I had never seen in the actual comics at that point, it made me feel so much more connected to the DCU, and it gave me reference material to use whenever an unfamiliar character did appear in a book I was reading. Looking forward to many more of these, and as always, Dr. Anj was a fantastic guest. I loved his anecdote about mercury poisoning.

  13. What a wonderful idea to expand the Who’s Who series. Great job on to Rob and Dr. Anj for this debut episode.

    In previous episodes of Who’s Who, its often been commented that the original Who’s Who run really didn’t give you a scope for how important characters were. Crime Doctor’s entry was just as big as Joker’s and Catwoman’s. So when “Paging the Crime Doctor” appeared on BTAS, I was super excited that a “major but forgotten” Batman villain was getting the spotlight.

    I can’t wait for future episodes, especially the ones that dive into the Forever People and the Omega Men. Seriously though – are you going to take suggestions for characters, or just pick them out at your whims?

  14. I am getting caught up on the F&W feed and I would like to say I really enjoyed this concept. I would love to hear more episodes to highlight certain Who’s Who entries. To me, that’s what I loved best about Who’s Who. I would turn the page and see a crazy concept like The Atomic Skull or The Calculator and it would make me want to search out their first appearance issue, if I could afford it.
    Anyways, another great job with a great guest! Keep up the great work!

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