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WHO’S WHO: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe, Volume II

Who's Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC UniverseThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents… WHO’S WHO: THE DEFINITIVE PODCAST OF THE DC UNIVERSE, Volume II!

The second episode of our WHO’S WHO podcast — the show that dares to tackle one of DC Comics’ greatest publications! Each episode Rob and I cover a single issue of the legendary 1980s series, Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe. This time around we discuss characters such as The Batman Family, Blackhawk, Big Barda, Bat Lash, and many more! We wrap up the show with Who’s Who Listener Feedback!

You can find the second episode of WHO’S WHO: THE DEFINITIVE PODCAST OF THE DC UNIVERSE on iTunes. Each episode is released as part of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST feed. While you’re on iTunes, please drop us a review. Alternatively, you may download the podcast by right-clicking here, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (49 MB).

Thanks to my co-host Rob Kelly, Sea King of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE, for doing all the post-production on this episode! Special thanks to Daniel Adams and his band The Bad Mamma Jammas for our fantastic Who’s Who theme song!

Have a question or comment? Send us an e-mail at:

One of the coolest aspects of each Who’s Who issue was the amazing wrap-around cover! Check out this gorgeous George Perez cover for Volume II! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, volume 2 cover by George Perez

Finally, here is your Firestorm-related Who’s Who entry from this issue…Black Bison, drawn by the amazing Pat Broderick! A foe going back to The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #1 (June 1982). Click the image to enlarge.

Black Bison Who's Who entry by Pat Broderick

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  1. Frank says:

    A. It says something about me that when Rob mentioned which character would get the most play this issue, my mind played the clip from Prince’s “BATDANCE” with the soundbite “And where– and where is…dum dum dum– The Batman!”

    B. I liked the yellow/white dot matrix because it made Who’s Who more distinct and friendly.

    C. Do they list any of the 1,001 Uses for a Dead Hukka?

    D. I wish Joe Kubert had been doing commissions at Comicpalooza. Balloon Buster does look like Owen Wilson, who I also like. Was Steven Savage ever connected to the Savages of Opal City?

    E. Jim Aparo was literally losing his sight by the early ’90s, which was why he had such heavy-handed inkers from then on until his death. He was a bit anachronistic in the ’80s, but he still looked great with strong inkers like Mike DeCarlo. Besides, even Alan Davis struggled to make the Outsiders look less turdy. Chuck Patton did a better Baron Bedlam, though.

    F. I LOVE Baron Blitzkrieg, in part because he pulled off an uncommon color scheme, and was obviously a Nazi without looking anything like any other goosestepper. He got a great redesign as simple “The Baron” in Damage.

    G. I never could get into Night Force, and only read one terrible issue of The Barren Earth. I bought a set for chump change, too.

    H. I was quite happy about Earth-Two Batman getting killed off, since that paved the way for Huntress and Robin to step up and take the mantle. I wish the New 52 JSA had the same courage when it came to Green Lantern and the Flash, who divorced from a historical context are rather redundant. I liked the Dave Gibbons art, but the modern one by Dick Giordano was unimpressive. He looks like he’s on a rooftop, far from a Bat-hroom, clenching his butt cheeks and suffering $#!+ chills. If you couldn’t tell, I also grew out of Batman.

    I. Jack Edison also created the Devilmobile.

    J. Green Lantern’s “imp” was Itty, and Martian Manhunter’s Zook, though that uses the term loosely. One was a sentient plant, and the other a pet from an alternate dimension. Bat-Mite married Star-Mite, by the way.

    K. I had to learn to appreciate Jack Kirby’s DC work as an adult, and the only corner of the Fourth World I followed all the way through was New Gods. None of this Kirby streak involved New Gods characters, but I’ll give Barda her deserved shout-out.

    L. Did Klaus Janson ink Infantino very often? I like that team far more than Carmine on his own. It’s weird that he has such severe spikes while wearing flip-flops. Given how things turned out in JLI, Gorilla City best stick to their invisibility technology. Their brain work always seems to backfire.

    M. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons also pitched a Martian Manhunter mini-series that was torpedoed by both “Jem: Son of Saturn” and Gerry Conway bringing the character into the JLA. Sad face. :(

    N. As mentioned, Blackbriar Thorn had a fantastic looking entry, but it makes my blood boil to think of how little impact he’d had in the DC Universe up to that point. There was a real lack of historical context in Who’s Who when it came to chasing down these nothing recent characters for entries while leaving series regulars of yore out in the rain to rust. The ease of reference here for writers/artists/editors meant Thorn kept coming back, but other characters with dozens of appearances remain forgotten to this day.

    O. My copy of the Black Condor entry has perfectly fine text. The art (and Black Bison’s as well) is absolutely fantastic. Just to make sure it’s clear, Condor’s origin here is exactly as it was in the ’40s, which makes me wonder when exactly absinthe was outlawed. Also, please note that Condor took over Senator Wright’s entire life, including his girlfriend, who never objected if she noticed at all.

    P. For more information related to Shag’s opinion of the Gil Kane Black Hand page, see Comment P from WHO’S WHO: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe, Volume I.

    Q. Dave Cockrum always had issues with stiffness in his figures that Burne Hogarth student Murphy Anderson corrected in this Blackhawk piece. They’re a great concept that have suffered from decades of misguided interpretations, unsurprisingly beginning with DC’s acquisition of them from Quality. It’s worth noting that DC bought Plastic Man at the same time, only to cancel his title and mothball him for about a decade while the Blackhawks continued in their own title.

    R. Are podcast fans Whovian Whovians?

  2. Ben says:

    Great podcast. I’m enjoying it a lot, although I’m curious why it feels like, in some ways, you’re distancing it from the Fire and Water podcast, talking about them as if they are two differ podcasts. Did I miss something? To me, while originally what drew me to the podcast was because of Robs involvement through the Aquaman shrine, and the fact that Firestorm was an interesting character I was curious about when I was a kid (and have now been converted into a fan, because of the podcast), you covered more than that. Your fandom reaches back, and has always been a part of the podcast. So while most everything you talked about, even when you were talking about Justice League of Americe story arcs, dealt with Aquaman and Firestorm, the podcast feels like it goes beyond those two characters. The Who’s Who episodes are not beyond the subject matter of Fire and Water, unless my impression of the podcast are way off. I’m glad you kept it as part of the same feed, and I don’t mind that the Who’s Who episodes have their own theme song, but to me it’s all the same: Rob and Shag talking DC comics. That’s what brings listeners back, not necessarily the character emphasis (or me, anyway). Like I said, maybe I missed something. But I wouldn’t mind hearing an episode now and again talking about other favorite characters or current reads. Of course, I wouldn’t want you to stray too far from your roots — I love the Firestorm and Aquaman talk.

  3. rob! says:


    I think we talk about WW as a different show because we sort of think of it as a different show. Yeah, it’s on the same feed and has the same basic set-up as F&W, but I think Shag and I wanted people to know that they don’t “need” to listen to the WW shows to keep up with the main F&W podcast–which is why we don’t overlap the listener feedback, for example.

    For those people who like both, then you can think of it all as one big show. But for people who only want to listen to one or the other, we’re trying to allow for that by our half-hearted attempts at making them separate.

    Thanks for the comment for following along!


  4. I loved the second episode, guys! I was listening to it as I was scanning stuff and following along with my WW.
    I have to agree that the Batman Mythos was a bit on-off this issue; loved Gibbons’ E2 version, hated Giordano’s E1 pose. Bat-Mite was obviously a labor of love.
    As a stand-alone issue, I wouldn’t say this is one of my favorites.

    Favorite character entry this time is probably Black Condor because Jerry Ordway did such a great job and I was always a huge FREEDOM FIGHTERS fan.

    PS Add my name to the list of people who HATED Black Canary’s Flashdance uniform. Yuck!!!

    Your pal,
    Little Russell Burbage

  5. […] Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe, Vol II – Firestorm Fan […]

  6. Charlemagne says:

    Finally got around to listening and I loved it as well. Last year in need of some cash I sold the majority of my comic book collection including the Whos Who. When this podcast came about i went on ebay to find the original 26 issue run. I had to bid on 3 or 4 different lots because there was a lot of competition for them. I’d like to think it was because of the podcast folks were out looking for the run. And they weren’t going cheap either. I had to pay around $30 for mine…so a buck a book is a good deal I suppose.

    Cant remember if was this show or Fire and Water, but Shags I am with you on Will Payton. He is in my top 5 favorite super-heroes (but you probably already know this from listening to my very own podcast…right?).

    Anyway, good job as always. Looking forward to the next!

  7. Shag says:

    Thanks for the great feedback! We’ll be sure to read it (or some portion of it) on the next Who’s Who episode. And those of you that know your WHO’S WHO know that next issue is the Blue Devil issue! Yeah for Dan Cassidy! And thanks to Frank for the great reminder that Jack Edison also created the Devilmobile.

    Ben – Rob addressed your question exactly as I would have. Well, I would have mis-pronounced a few words, but other than that it’s the same.

    Will Payton totally rocks! And Black Condor’s crazy pre-Crisis origin FTW!


  8. Luke says:

    Hey guys, really enjoyed the episode. I have never read Who’s Who so these entries have a whole lot of surprises in them for me. A few notes:

    Balloon Buster – At this point, he was a supporting character in Enemy Ace’s strip, which was appearing as a backup in Unknown Soldier. Balloon Buster only had a few starring roles; I think he only had 4 installments of his own strip. But he did have his rivalry with the Enemy Ace, and the two of them are forever linked because of it.

    Baron Bedlam – Not sure which Baron you guys are thinking of, but Baron Bedlam was seemingly killed at the end of the second issue of Batman and the Outsiders, and has barely reappeared afterwards. He would show up for another Outsiders story right around when Batman left the team, and again in the Baxter series, then randomly in a few other issues. He is often named as one of the Outsiders major villains, but that’s not really accurate; he was just their first foe. (Ask Frank how much I like the Outsiders.)

    Bat Lash – Man oh man do I like Bat Lash. He’s a lot like the character Maverick from the eponymous TV show. He’s a lot like the anti-Jonah Hex — where Hex was a violent man who tended to end up doing the “right thing” in the larger scale of justice, Bat Lash was a scoundrel who cheated at cards, pulled hesits, escaped from prision, and generally got himself into trouble. He did appear a few times in the modern Jonah Hex series (pre-New 52). And he is a dandy FER SURE.

    Forever People – I may be the only fan of these characters. I know I am the only one I know. Big Bear is a great character, one of Kirby’s best “big men” from his whole crew of “big men.” He looks like he should be a bruiser but he’s more Ferdinand the Bull than Ben Grimm. I did a whole blog entry on them which you guys might enjoy reading:

    Thanks for the show and keep up the great work on both shows!

  9. Siskoid says:

    So late. Time pressures at work made me neglect a lot of other people’s blogs, and I mistakenly took you at your word in episode 1 when you said it might take a long time for episode 2!

    Catching up now. Just finished episode 2 (again, thanks for your shout-outs, too kind), now let’s talk Volume II. I’ll keep it short by just telling you who I “dialed up” in my Super Seven 9th grade social experiment: I was Black Condor. That is all.

    Oh that reminds me! Frank! Infantino was inked by Janson in a number of Dial H for Heroes strips in Adventure Comics.

    Great podcast guys, I’ll try to listen to #3 this afternoon.

  10. Siskoid says:

    Who’s This? continues to follow in the Who’s Who podcast’s polka-dotted margins with Who’s Automan?, the tell-all to end all tell-alls!

  11. Siskoid says:

    Gotta throw you a proper “B” character though : Who’s the Balloon Buster?

  12. Al Sedano says:

    I just recently heard about you guys and the Who’s Who episodes (from the Legion of Substitute Podcasters I believe) and I’m enjoying them enough that I will start on the regular Fire and Water episodes when I’m caught up on the Who’s Who eps. A note about Balloon Buster (who else?), he is either the son or grandson of Scalphunter (western character, but better known as the Shade’s best friend from Starman).

  13. […] My buddies Shag and Rob covered this entry on their most excellent podcast Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe.  You can check the episode the Atomic Skull was featured in by clicking on this link. […]

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