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

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 IV!

Finally, the fourth 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 Captain Marvel, Cat-Man, Challengers of the Unknown, Cheetah, and many more! We wrap up the show with Who’s Who Listener Feedback!

Be sure to check out our Tumblr site for a few pages from this Who’s Who issue:!

You can find the fourth 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 (48 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 and Dick Giordano cover for Volume IV! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, volume 3 cover by George Perez and Dick Giordano

Here is your Firestorm-related Who’s Who entry from this issue…

Captain Atom, drawn by Denys Cowan and Rick Magyar! Firestorm met the Pre-Crisis Captain Atom in DC Comics Presents #90 (February 1986). Click the image to enlarge.

Captain Atom Who's Who entry by Denys Cowan and Rick Magyar

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  1. Frank says:

    A. The Cadre were the Vibe of super-villain teams: instantly dated hilariously misguided notions. It’s too bad they didn’t face the Detroit team again, as I’d have preferred them to Amazeskimo and Junior the wonder amoeba. I think the Gored Ox and Adam were the only other “new” villains, which did not help the JLD any. “Judgement Day” was not the end of the JLI franchise, just the start of the last major rejiggering ahead of Zero Hour but well before the Morrison relaunch. It led to Extreme Justice, the permanent “young heroes” line-up of the JL Task Force, and Wonder Woman’s inclusionist team based on Overmaster’s spaceship.

    B. The glory days of House of Mystery were still a tepid Bronze Age revival of EC Comics by way of Hammer horror.

    C. Calculator was a biggish deal for a few years after Identity Crisis revamped him, but doesn’t seem to have maintained. Again, a major bone I have to pick with this book is that it insured that no Martian Manhunter characters would get dug up specifically because they were left out of the go-to reference for DC creators for the following couple of decades.

    D. I never did read Camelot 3000. I liked the house ad with the Lady of the Lake, but it was before my ability to access a comic shop, and I never felt compelled after. Mike W. Barr no doubt influenced this apathy. It was a big deal that DC released a retailer poster just to announce that #12 was finally ready.

    E. I have never listened to the podcast on an MP3 player– only my desktop and laptop. Anyway, if I ever visit F&WP again, I could totally discuss the merits of Charlton versus Post-Crisis Captain Atom in a Firestorm context. I became a fan of the character through Bates & Broderick’s reinterpretation of the hero, but as an adult I see the Gill & Ditko original as the more valuable take. What would really be intriguing, especially in light of Dr. Manhattan becoming more famous than Captain Atom, is an integration of the two origins.

  2. Frank says:

    F. Where is there an issue of Captain Boomerang throwing himself? I WANT! There are tons of boomerang wielding characters, but that’s got to be pretty dang unique. And inane. Emphasis on inane. That hairline was certainly present in Suicide Squad, where Digger was a lovable loser scumbag cutthroat. Captain Cold got some nice down-on-his-luck play in the first issue of the Ostrander/Rice spin-off Manhunter series, playing into his treatment by Messner-Loeb in Flash as a holdover from a gentler age. Then along came Johns…

    G. This was probably the first issue of Who’s Who I ever saw, because I specifically remember reading the Captain Comet entry at Waldenbooks and seeing the special notation of his being the first mutant. As a Marvel reader, that really stood out for me, but the book’s overall silliness in comparison to the Marvel Handbook was off-putting. I never forgot Adam Blake though, and I remain a fan. He became a sort of stealth Captain America, as he was always a man out of his own time, through either evolutionary quirk or his lengthy trips into outer space that saw him miss most of the Silver Age. I love his power set, his curious place in history, and his ability to infiltrate the SSoSV because of both. Comet is one of DC’s great untapped resources of the Bronze & Post-Zero Hour periods, but the New 52 has rendered that moot.

    H. If it helps Shag, Captain Marvel was the Blue Devil of the 1940s, but successful. While everyone else was shooting for dark and violent super-heroes, Shazam emphasized light comedy, supporting players, serialization and a growing inventive rogues gallery. So much of what became standard to comics came out of Captain Marvel’s adventures, that as a developing concept, he was as influential as Jack Kirby was as a creative force. Shag can correct me, but I suspect his disdain comes not from the raucous Fawcett stories, but from DC’s and especially Denny O’Neil’s pathetic ’70s revival. In the ’40s, Captain Marvel was ahead of his time, but DC’s myopia with regard to the character has consistently and contemptuously treated him as a throwback. Do you think it’s an accident that so many awesome books were inspired by the Big Red Cheese, but published by anyone but DC?

    I. If not for Art Adams drawing his entry, Catman would not mean anything to anyone today. I never liked the character, but I love his rare color scheme.

  3. Frank says:

    J. Did they ever confirm Celsius as being married to Caulder, or was she a fraud?

    K. Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf came out a year before Captain Carrot, who by 1988 wasn’t getting around much anyway. I liked the novel when I read it in middle school.

    L. The Challengers always struck me as a bland all-American update of the Blackhawks, who were still in print at the time.

    M. Garth Logan colored red does not work, and only happened because of this Rot business in the New 52. Hello morons– kids already know green Beast Boy from the cartoon!

    N. Another thing I hate about the New 52 is that Barbara Minerva is in it. Priscilla Rich was the Golden Age Cheetah who turned up in the Silver. Deborah Domaine was the Bronze Age legacy. Barbara Minerva took over in the late ’80s. Where’s our new modern Cheetah? Minerva wasn’t that great, y’know?

    O. I always dug Cheshire, that crazy b.

  4. Ryan Daly says:

    Nobody talks for two hours about characters I mostly don’t care about better than Rob and Shag! You piqued my interest in CAMELOT 3000 enough to add it to my Amazon wish list. Also, if not for this podcast, I would never have seen Dave Stevens’ Catwoman, and for that I am in your debt forever. Terrific work, fellas! And thanks for mentioning Flowers & Fishnets: A Black Canary Blog!

    @Frank – I wholeheartedly agree that there are better Cheetahs than Barbara Minerva. I love Priscilla, and I think the Alex Ross version of her from JUSTICE was a thousand times more scary and formidable than the feline woman we’ve had since CRISIS. (Having said that, I did like JUSTICE LEAGUE #13 much, much more than I thought I would.)

  5. rob! says:

    “Nobody talks for two hours about characters I mostly don’t care about better than Rob and Shag!”

    Now THAT’s a pullquote!

  6. Sean Koury says:

    Oooh, a Black Canary blogsite! I’ll be checking that one out for sure. Hope it’s heavy on the fishnets! 😉

  7. Luke says:

    About halfway through the episode and thought I would make some comments.

    Captain Comet, as just plain “Comet,” had a good stint pre-Flashpoint in the Jim Starlin cosmic books Rann-Thanagar Holy War and Strange Adventures. He was one of the “Abberant Six” along with Adam Strange, The Weird, Hawkman (later replaced with Bizarro), Eye, and the Prince Gavyn Starman as they battled Synnar The Demiurge and his servant Deacon Dark. I am the only person I know who dug these stories.

    A new version of Captain Fear popped up in the first issue of Outsiders by Dan DiDio and Philip Tan. He was a modern pirate harassing shipping, but he still dressed and talk like a classical buccaneer. He was taken down by Black Lightning and Katana and I do not think he appeared again.

    As far as Captain Marvel being called “Shazam” in the New 52, this was the case pre-Flashpoint as well. The Trials of Shazam miniseries established Freddie Freeman as “Shazam” instead of Captain Marvel Jr following the changes made to the magical realm after Infinite Crisis. And he still couldn’t say his own superhero name.

    Rob’s line of Captain Nazi “pointing his finger like a Nazi would” was hilarious. Thumbs up.

    Captain Storm is best known as the peg-legged, eye-patched member of the Losers, but he actually started out in his own strip as a PT Boat captain who was thematically tied to Captain Ahab (hunting down his prey obsessively). When his strip, along with the strips for Johnny Cloud and Gunner & Sarge, ended, Orlando and Kahniger put them all together into one strip and they gelled.

    I for one loved the New 52 Challengers of the Uknown revival and hope it is revisted again soon. The Challengers represent to me the transition between the pulp heroes of the 30s and 40s and the superheroes of the modern day. Hence why I loved their role in New Frontier, where they were exactly that. Also, I want to say that the theme music to the Superman and the Legion Of Superheroes cartoon would have been perfect for a Challengers show.

    Enjoying the show, more to come as I listen to it…

  8. Frank says:

    Added Black Canary to the blog roll.

    Thanks to Luke for the Losers background. Did not know that, and found it quite interesting.

  9. Luke says:

    Went out on my lunch break to buy a pair of headphones… walked out of Walmart with $40 worth of James Bond DVDs and two Monster Energy drinks and forgot the headphones. Dammit.

    Chemo’s origin is complete and utter nonsense and that is why I love it.

    As far as Chesire, will always dig her if only for her look on the Teen Titans cartoon series. I think she only appeared in group shots of the extended Brotherhood of Evil, but with her cat mask she looked very neat.

    If there was any justice in this world, Doom Patrol would have been the success and X-Men to forgotten property. But I guess it works out, having the DP being the weirdos in real life as well as in 4 Color World. At least they are more successful than the original Outsiders, the group of misfits from that one issue of First Issue Special who James Robinson brought back for ONE PANEL in his Superman run.

    “Chris KL-99, Home of the Hits!” had me laughing uncontrollably.

    A Black Canary blog! Woo! The world’s toughest florist finally has her own site! And the DC Blogging Multiverse grows!

    Frank, I too thought of Who Censored Roger Rabbit when they mentioned ‘Roger Rabbit,’ and tried to remember when it was published. And I think Celsius was in fact married to the Chief in the pre-Flashpoint universe, if only because of their encounter during the Blackest Night tie-in issues of the Giffen Doom Patrol (wherein BL Celsius froze and then shattered Chief’s legs!).

    And I am with you on Cheetah. Bring back the original! Although I must admit that I liked the super-speed version from around Infinite Crisis, and the human looking one who had the cheetahs for pets from Diana’s previous solo book had a great look.

    Great show guys, keep up the good work!

  10. Siskoid says:

    Is Who’s Who the only DC series that could have the words “Captain Marvel” on its cover? I can never look at this issue without my mind going to a legal place.

    Captain Boomerang: I can’t believe how much I hated this character based on his entry (my only exposure at the time), given how much I loved him later in Suicide Squad.

    Catwoman I: I never realized before that Dave Stevens was really drawing Julie Newmar in the surprint.

    Challengers Mountain is an odd one because it’s really a REPRINT. It appears in Challengers of the Unknown vol.1 #87 (1978) as is! Recycling!

    Did I just spot a mistake in the Chameleon Boy entry? The text credits Karl Kesel as inker, but Larry Mahlstedt seems to have signed the piece!

    Annnnnd I’m all caught up. Gotta try not to miss the next one!

  11. Leenovak16 says:

    I only have one small thing to add, it seems all the posters before me have covered just about everything there is to cover.

    I’m a video gamer and I spend some time in the “DC Universe Online” game. There, when you create a character, you are introduced to a guide type of figure who talks you through the tutorial, the controls, etc…and basically communicates with you throughout the entire game with mission specifics and so on. For the heroes, the guide is Oracle. If you play a villian, your guide is….

    DA DA DUM….

    The Calculator.

    Just my own little tidbit of info to add to the “C” episode. Keep up the great work!

  12. Phiveball says:

    Didn’t Captain Comet make his New 52 debut in a recent Action Comics issue? I thought I read that somewhere. I loved the new take on Captain Comet in the more recent Mystery in Space series. I’ve always been a sucker for the Sci Fi heroes like Green Lantern and Adam Strange.

  13. Siskoid says:

    Who’s This gets to Vol.III and I ask Who’s Captain Compass?

  14. Siskoid says:

    And by that I mean Vol. IV

  15. Celsius says:

    Yes he was my husband. Im on Facebook…come find me.

  16. Martin Gray says:

    I’m a bit late, but this cannot stand! Chemical King wasn’t a Legion traitor, you’re thinking of Nemesis Kid.

    And Chlorophyll Kid wasn’t created as a joke, he was as serious as the other subs, originally, and later.


    But hurrah for another fantastic edition.

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