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

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 VI!

The sixth episode of our WHO’S WHO podcast is now available — 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 chat about WHO’S WHO: Volume VI, discussing characters such as Dr. Fate, Darkseid, Deadman, Doctor Mid-Nite, Despero, 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 sixth 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 (72 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 Ashton Burge with their 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 impressive Paris Cullins and Dick Giordano cover for Volume VI! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, volume 6 cover by Paris Cullins and Dick Giordano

Here are your Firestorm-related Who’s Who entries from this issue…

Darkseid drawn by Jack “The King” Kirby and Greg Theakston! Firestorm stared down Darkseid a few times in his career. Click here for more info on Firestorm vs Darkseid. Click the image below to enlarge.

Darkseid by Jack Kirby and Greg Theakston from Who's Who

Deadshot drawn by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin (plus you get Deathbolt drawn by Jerry Ordway as a bonus)! Firestorm faced off against Deadshot and the Suicide Squad in The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #64!

Deadshot by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin, plus Deathbolt by Jerry Ordway from Who's Who

Deadman drawn by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (praise be his name)! Firestorm and Deadman were co-stars in the popular maxi-series, Brightest Day!

Deadman by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez from Who's Who

Doctor Double X drawn by Rich Buckler and Larry Mahlstedt! Firestorm battled the not-so-good Doctor in the animated series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold!

Doctor Double X drawn by Rich Buckler and Larry Mahlstedt

Finally, Doctor Fate drawn by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt. The Ankh Avenger teamed up with our favorite Nuclear Man a few times, so he merits appearing here. Click the image below to enlarge.

Doctor Fate by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt for Who's Who podcast

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  1. Luke says:

    Just downloaded the episode, but I can see from the cover that we are in for a lot of New Gods stuff — Darkseid, the Deep Six, DeSaad… not complaining, as I really dig the New Gods. That and I did just buy this awesome Darkseid Hot Wheels.

    There’s something unspeakably hilarious about Darkseid driving a big van. As I said on G+, I can just imagine Frank Welker doing his Darkseid voice and growling “DeSaad! Kalibak! Get in the van!”

    And as I am the only person on Google +, you can see the picture directly here:×1500/hot-wheels-dream-van-xgw-darkseidmattel-203858700.jpg

    Also, sort of as an epilogue to #WarComicsMonth, we have Dinosaur Island! Neat!

  2. Siskoid says:

    THIS IS MY FAVORITE ISSUE OF WHO’S WHO OF ALL TIME. Now let’s see what I can add to your fine podcast…

    The cover: You know, I always thought Demonia was petting the dinosaur, but the perspective was screwy. I see now that she’s waving at the member of the Deep Six waving back at her. ROMANCE!!!

    Dark Circle: So are we ready to say they did the clone army thing before Star Wars?

    Dark Opal: Great skin effect.

    Darkseid: I love Kirby and his New Gods, but I was disappointed by some of his work in this issue (more when we get to the Demon). Darkseid’s pose is very plain and he’s got a huge head on a relatively small body. Look how dwarven he looks in the subprint. Though a huge villain, this was before he really started to bug the entire DCU and was still largely in the Fourth World ghetto. He’d appeared in a JLA/JSA crisis story (in other words, was considered as marginal as anyone on Earth-3, or historical comics who also got such Crises), and The Great Darkness Saga (30th century, so not quite there yet), and the Super-Powers NON-canon mini-series (love the toy though). It would be another year before Legends when DC followed Super-Friends into giving him a more substantial role in the DCU. So that explains, at the very least, why Dr. Fate trumped him on the cover.

    Dawnstar: It was all about the tragic romance. The issue where she leaves and Wildfire EXPLODES with grief is the awesome.

    Deadshot: A half-entry, which means he really did deserve his spot in the Suicide Squad. Shall we thank John Ostrander for making him the hit character he now is. He’s even been in Arrow recently (a second appearance is doubtful though).

    Deep Six: Trok is my favorite. I love me an axe blade on a rope.

    Deimos: Mike Grell’s scantily clad heroes isn’t just tropically-based. Wasn’t he also responsible for those 70s Legion uniforms with plenty of peep holes? Action figures… I didn’t have Deimos. My only figure from that line was a purple lizard man called Gecko. I loved Gecko, but I don’t know that he was ever in the comics.

    Demolition Team: At the time, I was wondering why Rosie didn’t get a supervillain name, and it’s only much later that I got the Rosie the Rivetter reference. So the Demolition Team got BETTER with time. Not a whole lot better, but there ya go. You make a good point that Sportsmaster should form a team with a lot of these losers.

    Demon: Here’s the other difficult Kirby drawing with Etrigan looking stumpy. There’s no way he’s a 6’4″ character there. The Demon in his comics looks much better. Val Semeiks is the name you’re looking for, Shag, the McManus Demon came later when Garth Ennis wrote the book.

    Despero: His neck folds always bugged me, because if the pink is a mask, how the hell does he put it on?! I’ve since decided, for my sanity, that the orange shirt has a pink collar. Who are we to judge Kalanorian fashion?

    Detective Chimp highlight: His Secret Origin with art by Mark Badger. It’s the craziest thing ever.

    Dial H: The reason everyone talks about it when we were kids was because WE designed the heroes and villains (only in Chris and Vicki’s days, of course). I think it’s the ultimate superhero power fantasy. It’s you (a normal teen) with a gadget that turns you into superheroes you might be drawing in biology class instead of listening. The comics were pretty terrible, but the premise is all. Must’ve been a hoot for the original creators to see their creations again in the subprint. There were some future comic book creators who submitted, most often Stephan DeStefano who worked his Zeep the Living Sponge into Hero Hotline. Even Harlan Ellison has a character in there! The towns you’re looking for are Littleton for Robby, and Fairfax, Maine for C&V. And as for the new series, it’s yes, dark, and very weird, and just awesome.

    Doctor Double X: A clear target for my Who’s This? series.

    Dr. Fate: I don’t know what Computo is doing in the background, but great entry. I was a bit disappointed that half-helmet Fate wasn’t given a place in the subprint, because he was (also) appearing in DC Comics at the time (in All-Star Squadron). This is another beloved Super-Powers action figure in my sadly small collection. Squeeze his legs, he casts a spell!

    Dr. Light: I’m with Rob. It is unmentionable. To me, the story of Dr. Light ends in Suicide Squad, where he becomes Hell’s greatest loser.

    Dr. Light II: My memory of it is that she ditched the new Justice League in the first issue. So yeah, why create her? Trying to get more ethnic diversity in the new universe?

    Dr. Mid-Nite: The orthographically-challenged hero looks great, and I had the same thought about Matt Wagner’s interest in the character.

    Dr. Occult: Yeah, he didn’t appear in ‘Tec 500, but in ’85, he also appeared in All-Star Squadron quite a bit… starting the month after this issue of Who’s Who hit the stands! 1935-1938 then the longest hiatus in DCU history? At the time anyway.

    Reader comments… Yes, you ARE responsible for Who’s This. I thought I’d made that clear. You are my muses!

  3. rob! says:

    I’m with Rob. It is unmentionable.

    Thank you, Siskoid.

  4. Keith Samra says:

    Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (praise be his name)

  5. Frank says:

    A. This was the first and only issue of Who’s Who (any volume) I ever bought new, in this case from Waldenbooks. I was an OHOTMU fan, and wanted to try DC’s version, only to find it fit to bursting with lame ass characters with dumb names and goony looks. Read through the cover listing of entries and tell me those names aren’t painfully on-the-nose. The design was garish, the entries were undercooked, and the art was idiosyncratic in a way I found highly unpalatable in my youth. I love Who’s Who as an adult with a broader appreciation of art styles and history, but I also recognize that it tried to be a writer’s reference and art showcase without providing adequate space for either.

    B. I didn’t much care for this cover, despite liking Paris Cullins in general. It’s the sort of bland style DC was known for at the time (not that Marvel lacked for journeymen, but they didn’t force them to compete directly with George Perez or John Byrne.) You know whose covers did all merge into one massive image? OHOTMU.

    C. I said the same stuff as everyone else about Darkseid, then decided to edit it out before publishing this comment. Um, is Doctor Cyber sexually harassing Deimos on the cover? His loincloth is conspicuously absent.

    D. Fun Fact: Neal Pozner was a partial inspiration for Christopher Priest’s characterization of Triumph.

    E. I believe Wein is “Wean,” like a babe off a teat.

    F. God, you podcasters are stupid moron idiots. There was no “Adventures of Superman” comic in 1985. The title came from the TV series and was used to continue the numbering on “Superman” while John Byrne relaunched the eponymous series. RESEARCH FIRST, DOOFUSES!

    G. Was the Dark Circle a precursor to goatse? Another something it has in common with the Prequel Trilogy.

    H. Dark Destroyer? On good, another licensed character that DC doesn’t even own screwing people’s head up about continuity and wasting the effort of Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez on a property with no future.

    I. I never really read Amethyst, and neither did anybody else, but DC should have ganked that character and spread him all over the place with no regard for his creators’ wishes as they did with Darkseid based solely on how cool he looks.

    J. One of my favorite Darkseid stories was in an issue of Eclipso written by Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming, drawn by Colleen Doran. When Jack Kirby reminds me of Colleen Doran, he’s doing it wrong (no offense implied toward Doran, who just does a whole other thing. Rob needs to thank me for not going all Shag while referencing a redhead, BTW)

    K. Name a contemporaneous DC team that wouldn’t have been improved by the inclusion of Dart, another character DC paid DC creators to create and then paid Atari for the privilege of giving up to Atari. Another improvement OHOTMU made was in only doing this with the ROM entry, and Marvel got to keep the Dire Wraiths.

    L. I always wanted to read a Dawnstar story in which I walked away with any idea of who she was supposed to be as a person and why she needed to exist beyond a team needing a girl. A girl like Dart.

    M. I’ve also always wanted to like Deadman more than I do. Great look, great artists, great powers, great hook, meh character.

    N. I liked Deadshot on sight, and while he never ascended to favorite status, it pleases me when he turns up anywhere, even when they ruin his great look.

    O. I did not like Deathbolt on sight, but he’s one of the more convincing looking Golden Age retcons.

    P. I have often stated my belief that Jack Kirby intentionally created goofy characters in the ’70s specifically because he wanted them to stay dead after he killed them off (as he did the Deep Six in my single favorite Orion moment.) If my suspicion is correct, his hopes were thwarted by stupid fan-pros and corporate DC, who will leave nothing alone. Do they even know what “deep six” means?

    Q. I had a Deimos action figure by Remco. It did not come with a Polaris collar, wizard sleeves, or a floor length loincloth (who’s he trying to impress?) I don’t remember if he had booties, but probably not, because every Warlord action figure was based on the same mold with only head sculpts and accessories to differentiate them.

    R. I have started the past seven comments with the letter “I.” I think the Demolition Team are silly.

    S. Were they trying to squeeze that Demon image until Etrigan’s head popped off so we could see what color his jaundiced insides were? I haven’t read enough of Kirby’s Demon to have a strong opinion, but I like the character mostly for the Garth Ennis/John McCrea run, which was in no way Kirby-like. I hated the Alan Grant stuff, surely in part because I loathe the art of Val Semeiks. Kirby created the Demon to help run out his contract with DC after the Fourth World folded. I thought I heard Kirby hated other people using his characters, and believed the greatest compliment you could pay to him as an artist is to be equally creative and original yourself, not stamp your feet on his ideas.

    T. The art on Demonia looks good, shrunk down so far that it gained a finely detailed Perez effect where it might not have impressed as much at more reasonable dimensions. Shame it’s a monstrous lizard alien girl named Demonia. Surely we can come up with something even less imaginative? Why not Lucivera or Satanella or Lizard Girl? No, I guess Demonia really is the absolute nadir of wretchedly derivative monickers.

    U. DeSaad and Emperor Palpatine were two of the most useless action figures I ever played with. When they weren’t getting their asses kicked by good toys, they were little old women getting saved from better action figures by better action figures. A character named DeSaad should be sexy and dangerous, not a wimp in a robe cowering behind his master. He’s Abel in drag.

    V. Despero was the poster boy for my childhood disdain for the greater DC Universe. A fuschia-colored bad guy with a third eye and fanned head-fin wearing tan pajamas? He was everything repulsive in the eyes of an adolescent weaned on ’80s cinema and Bronze Age Marvel comics with no taste for ’50s b-grade sci-fi. Anyway, not to look a gift plug in the mouth, but why does Shag say “Despair-o” after having read the pronunciation key at the top of the show which clarified the more obvious and easy to say “DEHS-pur-oh,” as in “Desperado” minus one syllable? I like the drawing, though I figure Giordano contributed mightily. The neck skin fold, like the blue gloves, was a unique mistake. The Despero story against the Detroit League remains my favorite, but the character always raised the League’s game, even when he looked like a dork. Who can forget the classic chess game iconography from his debut, or his brutal 1990 rampage in JLI while wearing the U.N. flag as a cape? One nifty but forgotten ’70s tale had Despero murder an ersatz JLA. I hate the idea of Darkseid being the villain in the first JLA movie, but it all but guarantees Despero a run in a sequel, as he’s one of the few villains that can be treated as an at all comparable “big bad” in threat level, especially as handled immediately after his transformation by the Flame of Py’tar.

    W. Speaking of Destiny, Ed Barreto inhabits a weird space between modern detail and very old school newspaper strip that kept him from ever being a fan favorite, despite DC trying like hell to make it so.

    X. I did appreciate Detective Chimp as a kid. How could you not, at any age? Rob makes a great point about remembering that comics are meant as an escape from reality, not an opportunity to wallow in its most sordid elements (at least not unless your fantasies run that way.) Bill Wray rocked the inks, as he did over Luke McDonnell during their JLA run. Wray was much missed by me for the rest of McDonnell’s career.

    Y. Screw Dial “H” For Hero. A gimmick strip that fails every time allowing a two page spread for Howard Bender to draw oodles of tiny, crappy characters? Also, Robby Reed drove Martian Manhunter off the covers of House of Mystery during their shared run before they both got dropped in favor of Joe Orlando’s EC revival. Thom Zahler’s a nice guy, though. Good for him.

    Z. Nice Creature Commandos cameo on Dinosaur Island, and technically, there was a movie via Justice League: The New Frontier. Speaking of which, Shag totally distorted my ’50s series idea. What I wanted to see was non-JSA members who, instead of resigning from public heroism in protest against HUAC, either bought in to the Red Scare and became government agents or otherwise worked clandestinely in plainclothes. There were elements of that in Cooke’s book, but his focus was on origin stories of the big name Silver Age heroes being grounded in the times of their publishing debuts. I’m more interested in what he skimmed– the decline/comprise of the Golden Age heroes once society moved past their ideals.

    Aa. Mike Vosburg’s rendition of Doctor Alchemy did the character no favors, especially (once again) in my eyes as developed by 1985.

    Bb. Oddly enough, I thought Doctor Bedlam was decent, given his company in this issue, but I don’t know that I’ve ever read a comic in which he made a noteworthy contribution. NoMan was my favorite T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agent, so the idea works when spotlighted.

    Cc. Doctor Cyber rocks! She started out as a Bond villain in the white jumpsuit era, got disfigured, and became fixated on stealing Diana Prince’s face. She figured into some fantastic ’70s covers. In the ’80s, she embraced technology to compete with Wonder Woman’s mythology, making her a highly appropriate contrast, like a reverse on Iron Man versus the Mandarin. I think she’s one of the Amazing Amazon’s best villains, and criminally underutilized.

    Dd. Rudy Nebres is an unsung great. I wish he’d gotten around more. I’ll always give Dr. Destiny the benefit of the doubt because I was introduced to him by this drawing. Doctor Destiny was just a regular dude in his first appearances, and was part of the first team of villains to battle the Justice League (which included the first appearance of a previously established Martian Manhunter villain in any other strip, the Getaway Mastermind.)

    Ee. Doctor Double X. Yeah.

    Ff. Sweet Doctor Fate image. I sometimes forget how awful his origin is, though.

    Gg. The surprise sex sodomite looks much better thanks to Barreto’s inks than he would have with Cullins alone.

    Hh. Doctor Light II could have been something special, but she went from a potential Mary Sue to the whipping girl of the JLI (after Power Girl, so abused it made me wonder about the creative teams’ psych issues.) Really though, who expected more to come from out of the Doctor Light brand? I wonder if Dr. Light was a repackaging of Marv Wolfman’s deep-sixed idea to create a new energy-powered Flash for the Post-Crisis universe.

    Ii. I’ve always been fond of Dr. Mid-nite’s look, even if the character never amounted to much beyond helping to separate the JLA from the JSA at get-togethers. I too would consider cosplaying as Charles McNider, since I refuse to wear contacts, and bespectacled heroes are few (with often dire quality.)

    Jj. Even as a kid, I found the Dr. Occult entry stunning, and mourn his never living up to the potential on display here. Occult totally played to Barreto’s strengths.

    Kk. Killer Croc was almost ill-conceived as one of the many ridiculous animal-themed Firestorm villains before being reworked into one of Batman’s most memorable foes. Doctor Phosphorus proved too far-fetched to function in the Dark Knight’s sphere Post-Crisis, but I think he could be a desperately needed New 52 addition to the Nuclear Man’s rogues. Swell Simonson art. The guy is clearly wearing ’70s men’s cut-offs of a length closer to jorts than Daisy Dukes. Were it the latter, his ball sack would have its own energy aura.

    Ll. I just used this not-a-surprint as the basis for a proposed Silver Age Triumph. I always thought the bandana mask was cool, even before TMNT. The main image is thwarted by a poor costume and bitter beer face, but the “subprint” (not actually a word) is classic Kane.

    Mm. Good to hear the reign of Rob’s misuse of “surprint” has been brought low, so that I can stop mangling it myself and go back to the proper term, “color hold.”

    Nn. I’d be curious to know what Legion material Rob’s been exposed to. I strongly suspect he’d love Levitz/Lightle/LaRoque if given a proper sampling. It’s Aquaman-y in the DeMatteis/Skeates sense.

    Oo. I write a lot. A lot of a lot, even. Shag might want to edit out the extraneous stuff in that Listener Feedback word document instead of trying to scan through to key soundbites while on air. Otherwise, you’ll need a spin-off show just to address my comments.

    Pp. In an issue of Aztek, the JLA had an induction ceremony that involved swearing oaths over a Crimson Avenger uniform.

    Qq. As much as I’d like to end on peepee, this seems the perfect time to announce my new podcast, “DC’s Secret Files & Origins Live!” I’m not going to say that it’s better than this podcast, but I can say that each broadcast is only 38 seconds long, so you can fit the entire series into the length of this episode before the Listener Feedback period in the third hour. Tune in at http: //

  6. Frank says:

    Um… don’t click on that last link. I was just kidding, but it automatically hotlinked to an Asian real estate site.

  7. Sean Koury says:

    What? No Doctor Double D? :(

  8. Keith Samra says:

    Dr Fate as a superhero without Nabu. Sounds great, I think I need to find that run.

  9. Siskoid says:

    Who’s Doctor Double X?

    Off to Whos-This Vol.VII… almost caught up with you guys!

  10. […] be sure to check out this episode of the Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe hosted by my friends Rob and Shag discuss this […]

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