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

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 XIV!

The fourteenth 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 XIV, discussing characters such as Lex Luthor, Madame Xanadu, Man-Bat, Manhunter, Martian Manhunter, Mary Marvel, and many more! We wrap up the show with Who’s Who Listener Feedback! This episode sponsored in part by!

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

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

You can find the fourteenth 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 (66 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!

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

Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe, Volume XIV cover by George Perez

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

First up is Martian Manhunter of the Justice League of America drawn by Luke McDonnell and Larry Mahlstedt. Firestorm and Martian Manhunter have met numerous times, going back as far as Justice League of America #200. J’Onn has been connected in one way or another with nearly every incarnation of Firestorm. The original Firestorm teamed-up with Martian Manhunter during the Mars invasion. Both the Elemental Firestorm’s and Martian Manhunter’s monthly comics were done by the team of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake. Martian Manhunter was one of the first superheroes Jason Rusch ever met. Ronnie Raymond and Martian Manhunter were both resurrected during Blackest Night. And so on… Click the image below to enlarge!

Martian Manhunter from Who's Who by Luke McDonnell

The Blank Slate Firestorm fought the Manhunters during the Millennium mini-series… Click the image below to enlarge!

Manhunters from Who's Who by Kevin O'Neill

Firestorm battled the insectoid Mantis in the Super Powers mini-comic that came with the Firestorm action figure! Click here to read that mini-comic! Click the image below to enlarge!

Mantis by Jack Kirby from Who's Who

Support Firestorm (and the WHO’S WHO podcast)! Fan the flame!

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  1. Martin Gray says:

    That 1954 business as regards ginger Lex is nonsense, he was shown as a slaphead from very early on. I’m too lazy to type, so I popped over to Wiki:

    ‘In his earliest appearances, Luthor is shown as a middle-aged man with a full head of red hair. Less than a year later, however, an artistic mistake resulted in Luthor being depicted as completely bald in a newspaper strip.[9] The original error is attributed to Leo Novak, a studio artist who illustrated for the Superman dailies during this period.[10] One theory is that Novak mistook Luthor for the Ultra-Humanite, a frequent foe of Superman who, in his Golden Age incarnation, resembled a balding, elderly man.[10] Other evidence suggests Luthor’s design was confused with that of a stockier, bald henchman in Superman #4 (Spring 1940);[10] Luthor’s next appearance occurs in Superman #10 (May 1941), in which Novak depicted him as significantly heavier, with visible jowls.[10] The character’s abrupt hair loss has been made reference to several times over the course of his history. When the concept of the DC multiverse began to take hold, Luthor’s red-haired incarnation was rewritten as Alexei Luthor, Lex’s counterpart from the Earth-Two parallel universe. In 1960, writer Jerry Siegel altered Luthor’s backstory to incorporate his hair loss into his origin.’

  2. Siskoid says:

    A new Who’s Who? Hey, that seemed quick! #NotaComplaint

    Cover: I’m expecting Frank to still complain about Martian Manhunter here because while he’s the central figure, the focus is on his weakness/fear of fire. Are the Mad Hatter’s hats all hats that belong to other DC characters. There’s definitely Uncle Sam’s and Congo Bill’s!

    Luthor I: I notice the Brainiac quote is inconsistent, calling Luthor “Luther” like Shag does. Prison uniform? Now there’s a villain who plans for his defeat.

    Luthor II: I’m glad the Superfriends costume at least shows up in the surprint.

    Luthor III: Lois as Superwoman was introduced in Morrison’s JLA Earth-2 as a tribute to Lois being the very first person to be called Superwoman in a Golden Age issue of Action Comics (#45), and then sporadically in Earth-2 Lois stories. Morrison also pulled this trick in All-Star Superman.

    Luthor IV: Am I right in thinking he’s currently sitting in one of those cells seen in Vibe? Or do they only have Pariah?

    Maaldor the Darklord: I skipped doing this guy in Who’s This, seeing as his every appearance is described in tedious detail in the entry.

    Machiste: Google shows me a Remco Machiste action figure, but he looks nothing like Machiste! Repurposed Hercules or somebody, with hair and both hands.

    Madame .44: Who’s This?

    Madame Rouge: May I just give positive reinforcement to Shag for not calling her Madame Rogue. What I find completely absurd is that Rouge is French for Red, yet she dresses in Blue. Quick translation: L’École des filles means School for girls, nothing too complicated.

    Madame Xanadu: From horror host to member of two superteams, including a Justice League. Bet Cain and Abel are jealous.

    Mademoiselle Marie: Andy Kubert channeling his dad here, I thought for SURE this was a Joe Kubert pic. Shag is confusing her with Ona of the Losers.

    Magnetic Kid: In case Cosmic Boy’s costume wasn’t pink enough. I prefer the surprint, actually. The arms on the main pic are really short and funky, and the Pol in the surprint is moving that logo. Pol was necessary because Cos and the other founders retired. Similarly, Light Lass was allowed to become Lightning Lass again. Pol was the kid brother who’d gone through the Academy, toiling in the shadow of his brother. Just because they have the same powers doesn’t mean they’re the same character, after all.

    Major Disaster: His greatest disaster was, of course, assembling the Justice League Antarctica.

    Mal: Who’s This? (Shag is thinking of the Herald identity, which was a retcon of Hornblower in Secret Origins Annual, which has Who’s Who pages for Titans West.)

    Malagigi: Those are soft Gs, Shag. gee-gee, not guee-guee, or can’t I read the pronunciation gide? Ernie Colon’s work is great, can’t believe he spent most of his time on Richie Rich and such.

    I’m drying on Mammoth and Man-Bat, and it’s the halfway point, so I might as well post this now. More to come!

  3. Siskoid says:

    Man-Bat: Francine is once again a Man-Bat and more dangerous than Kirk.

    Manhawks: It’s very mythological, isn’t it? You could almost imagine them fighting the Golden Age Hawkman instead of Katar.

    Manhunter I: Will be the focus of this week’s Who’s This? column. Later stories turned Thor the dog into a robot, so NOT long dead after all. The most recent Manhunter’s son inherited it!

    Manhunter II: As cool as he looks, I’d always be tripping up on those leg sheaths. It doesn’t really look like it here, but his Golden Age costumes looked a lot closer to the robot Manhunter look. I mean, how else could these two look the same unless there was a connection? Or am I thinking of Manhunter 2070? Or are they all the same?

    Manhunters: Kevin O’Neil! Wow. This was a long time before I experienced Martial Law or LXG. And this entry of course predates the tainting of the Manhunters via Millennium.

    Mantis: Did the new Mantis appear in continuity after this?

    Mara and Mariah: All babe page! DC has a Mariah and a Shakira, who’s the next big diva?

    Mars: Well, that was the Greek Gods’ whole shtick, looking like idealized humans! They invented it! So, we all agree Ares is better than Mars then?

    Martian Manhunter: Frank declined? I think he’s losing faith in his fetish character… Nice drawing, but lacks some superheroics in the surprint.

    Martin Champion: The First Appearance is kind of misleading. They should say it was the first of two series here, no?

    Marvel Family: The only superteam running into danger with their eyes closed. I love the Three Marvels, Uncle Marvel and Hoppy! It’s hilarious! Uncle Marvel I met in the cartoon series, so I have more affection for him, but the others are fun too. Where else could they have had an entry?

    Mary Marvel: Her base of operations implies the kid sister wasn’t allowed to get out of the one suburb.

    Master Jailer: I’m thinking him worthy of a Who’s This? entry because I’ve never read any story with him in it. There was someone with a similar shtick in post-Crisis Superman comics, but Master Jailer’s costume is much more memorable.

    Masters of the Universe: The Outsiders as a whole didn’t deserve Alan Davis art, but he worked on the book. It happened. Maybe Mike Barr has some dirt on him.

  4. Siskoid says:

    Crisis on Captive Earth may have been a placeholder name for a project later called Crisis of the Soul, which was slated to follow Crisis on Infinite Earths and have art by Extraordinary Jerry, who had this to say about it :
    “The Crisis sequel was Crisis of the Soul, and featured the Corruptors from Legion continuity, I think. It was meant to be very personal to the heroes, showing them the darkness and having them deal with it and reject it or not. The Corruptors basically quarantine the Earth and that’s all I remember off the top of my head. Paul Levitz and I plotted out the main beats, and it was all set to go, until the editor ran into resistance from the other editors who didn’t want to have to cross over with it. Then when the editors changed, I bowed out. It became Legends, but it was fairly different from what we originally planned.”

  5. Frank says:

    A) The revived Paul Kirk Manhunter appeared in six short back-up strips from Detective Comics plus a feature length team-up with Batman. The touch of Ian Fleming and Bruce Lee was all over it, but it was still revelatory for its time and industry– an obvious influence on creators like Frank Miller. The lackluster sales of the first printings have been surely made up for by its numerous repackagings. The first was in 1979 as a black and white magazine from Excalibur Enterprises. My preferred format was second, the $2.50 1984 Baxter stock one-shot. DC’s $9.95 squarebound tpb included 23 pages of new material, left “silent” because Archie Goodwin died before he could produce the script to go with his and Walt Simonson’s story. It’s fun if dated, and I’ve found I prefer reading about Paul Kirk more than following the episodic adventures, but it’s still worthwhile to own for the early, experimental art.

    B) I suspect Shag either never read of didn’t like Showcase Presents: Martian Manhunter Vol. 1. The stories within are without a doubt an “acquired” taste and the epitome of DC Silver Age nonsense. I personally prefer the second volume, which features most of the Diane Meade and all of the Zook adventures, plus the entire Diabolu Idol-Head and Vulture periods. Only during his time as Marco Xavier chasing Faceless throughout Europe does the more grim Martian Manhunter we know today begin to surface. Previously, he was a lightweight Superman knock-off without all the Weisingerian pathos and Shazam familiarity. The truth is that there are no objectively “good” J’onn J’onzz series available in an English language trade paperback, though that will change in January with the release of Ostrander & Mandrake’s “Son of Mars” collection. There won’t be a “great” collection until American Secrets gets the treatment, though. If readers would like a combo recommendation, Madame Xanadu Vol. 3: Broken House of Cards features John Jones. I bought it a few months ago, but haven’t read it yet.

    C) I’m so glad Perez was back and gave us a Martian Manhunter central cover. That said, I’m not sure that Paris Cullins ever drew the Alien Atlas, which is bittersweet, given that I like his work overall (just not on Who’s Who.) The Sleuth from Outer Space really is an odd choice too, since he wasn’t a Super Friend or even a major part of Super Powers, and his middling role as the Justice League of Detroit’s team leader was about to be taken over by Batman (for all of one story arc.) Lex Luthor, Man-Bat or the Paul Kirk Manhunter would have been more obvious choices. Say, it just occurred to me that Green Lantern Hal Jordan was the only founding member of the JLA to not receive the cover spotlight. I’m telling you, a single volume Martian Manhunter Who’s Who would have been the shizzle.

    D) If I remember correctly, the Ultra-Humanite was the bald Superman villain, and Lex the soulless ginger. Around 1941, an artist mistakenly drew Luthor bald in the newspaper script, and continuity demanded he stay that way from then on, followed by the tail wagging the comic book dog.

    E) I’m a fan of Lex Luthor, but he’s another one of those “buffet” characters where I like to pick and choose favored elements across numerous incarnations. I do like the purple & green disco suit criminal scientist from the late Silver-Bronze Ages much more than the armored one. Superman peaked in the Silver Age, so it’s no surprise his players were at their most iconic then. All that extended family stuff was stolen from Dr. Sivana though, and it’s poorly suited to Lex.

    F) I have no use for Richard Howell, so Mike DeCarlo deserves all the credit for making the Earth-3 Luthor profile image work. Four Luthors certainly strengthen the case for Lex deserving the cover spotlight.

    G) Has anyone ever asked George Perez why he was so obsessed with perms in the early ’80s? Why does Alexander Luthor look more like the son of Maaldor the Darklord? Anyway, I was perfectly fine with this character in Crisis on Infinite Earths but Johns missed the point entirely with Infinite Crisis.

    H) DC Comics Presents tended to create its own villains, since you needed someone powerful enough to battle Superman and his +1 credibly. Several of these guys got cycled through numerous guest appearances. The obvious best case scenario for this method of operation was Mongul, who managed to hold off the Man of Steel, Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, Starman, the JLA, and the Legion of Super-Heroes across five of the finest issues of the series before starring in “For the Man Who Has Everything” and backsliding into pure Thanos wannabe status. Maaldor was… less accomplished, appearing in three non-consecutive issues across two years involving Power Girl, Madame Xanadu, the Joker & Phantom Stranger. Curiously, he’s still had Post-Crisis and New 52 incarnations. All hail the difference a Who’s Who listing makes on character usage.

    I) A nigh-unrecognizable two-handed hairy version of Machiste was part of Remco’s Warlord action figure line. I didn’t buy him or Arak because latent unrecognized racism, I guess? I had all the white guys. In my defense, those two were the most boring (no winged helmet, wicked goatee, fangs or… well Hercules was named Hercules. Hercules was boring enough that racism might be preferable to admitting the poor taste to have bought a guy dressed in a spirit ribbon with a rubber chopstick for a weapon.) Despite his historic love of black characters, I don’t think Christopher Priest used Machiste in the JLTF story arc that took place in Skartaris (and would have legitimized Shag’s accidental Manhunter reference.)

    J) Madame .44 is hot.

    K) John Byrne was long gone from X-Men before Rogue appeared. I’ve come to appreciate the Doom Patrol thanks to the Giffen/Clarke series, but no one has convinced me to care about Madame Rouge yet. Also, why Rouge?

    L) I think that Madame Xanadu logo first appeared on her 1981 special, which I believe was the first book DC ever created specifically for the direct market/comic shops. When DC chose not to continue the series, Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers created Scorpio Rose to finish the story they had in mind. Never liked M. X as much as I wanted to, in part due to her primary competition being Zatanna.

    M) Mlle. Marie was the secret fourth Battle Star in a Brave & the Bold team-up of Sgt. Rock, Johnny Cloud and the Haunted Tank. I look forward to her guest appearance in the Gravedigger Showcase I’m planning to pre-order next month. She deserves better than to be defined by Alfred’s penisbirth.

    N) Nice Mad Hatter art, but I don’t care about any of the villains Batman borrowed from Lewis Carroll. Magnetic Kid is a waste of space.

    O) I like Major Disaster from his punny name to his kooky costume to his origin sounding like the introductory chapter of a Barry Allen/Hal Jordan slash-fic. I’m surprised Rob failed to note that Major Disaster mistakenly killed Thanatos while attempting to assassinate Aquaman in an Underworld Unleashed tie-in, plus Shag neglected to mention the Major’s face turn after the rest of the Injustice League was massacred in the first issue of Giffen’s Suicide Squad volume.

    P) Was Mal the character Marv Wolfman wanted to introduce in his first ’60s Titans story, but got blocked by Carmine Infantino? Regardless, I never liked Mal Duncan, as he was always a token black supporting character in search of a reason to exist as a super-hero. Conversely, I fell for Bumblebee through Doom Patrol, and enjoy seeing the surprising amount of cosplay love she gets. Malagigi is a testament to how little anyone wanted to deal with a Mal full page profile. Also, why is it okay to give Mal a profile under his own name, but not Jimmy Olsen?

    Q) Mammoth was the stereotypical big dumb brute on a villain team, but he knew his role and served it, so he’s alright with me. Points for the weird incest vibe, too.

    R) From the late ’70s until the early ’90s, Neal Adams was essentially exclusive to Continuity Studios. He finally started doing outside covers and pin-ups again around 1991-92, but I don’t think he did any non-Continuity interiors until his two pages in 1999’s Fanboy #5, followed by an eight page story in 2005’s Giant-Size X-Men #3 and six pages for 2009’s X-Men: Magneto Testament #5. I’ve railed against Man-Bat in previous podcast commentaries.

    S) Did you guys get the glossy DC Comics poll insert in your copies?

    T) The Manhawks are creepy cool and some of my favorite Hawkman foils.

    U) Magnanimous of DC to list Dan Richards as the first Manhunter, even though he sucked. Thor was the best thing about his strip, and you may recall that the dog turned out to be a cyborg plant from the Manhunter Corps. Paul Kirk had the two best costumes under the Manhunter name.

    V) I have a nostalgic fondness for the Manhunter Corps thanks to having collected Millennium off the newsstand, and their sleeper agents being the best part of that crossover. This is the Kev O’Neill of Nemesis the Warlock, and an inspired choice. For the record, Manhunter 2070 was a boss Bronze Age strip by Mike Sekowsky, who drew like Don Heck but wrote like Gil Kane.

    W) Jim Starlin does the best job possible on Mano, the silliest looking member of the Fatal Five, which is saying something.

    X) Mantis was never any damned good. He’s the Diablo of the New Gods, if you know your Stan Lee anecdotes, except his design isn’t at all strong.

    Y) Paul Kupperberg must have lobbied his fellow editors hard to get the likes of Mara an entry. Mariah had a better case, since I occasionally remember that she existed outside of instances where I thumb through this Who’s Who. My Mariah costume counter-argument is Shanna the She-Devil. I sometimes wonder, given Jan Duursema & Tom Mandrake’s history with the Warlord, if M’yri’ah J’onzz wasn’t named after this character.

    Z) Mark Moonrider of the Forever People. “Z” is such a perfect letter for him to land on in my comments.

  6. Siskoid says:

    Just got to the end. Stand by for a Nick Fury end credit bonus! (Or Nick Fury’s equivalent in our particular community.)

  7. Kyle Benning says:

    Much to Frank’s chagrin, I agree that Luthor should’ve probably trumped MM in the cover spotlight, for all of the reasons you two stated. He is right after the Joker, the most famous villain in all of comics, and as Rob mentioned a star in other media, starring in 4 Blockbuster Superman movies, where as Marty Manhunter is filmless.

    Shag, the story you’re referencing regarding Luthor of Earth One & Two teaming up, resulting in Earth 3 Luthor becoming Earth 3’s first hero (Crime Syndicate World) occurs in DC Presents Annual #1, which is an absolutely awesome story, and a must read. I really recommend it to everyone who hasn’t read it before, I can’t praise it enough. Yeah the Revenge for the hair loss thing is weak, if they insist on Lex growing up in Smallville or knowing Superboy, I prefer Smallville’s take on the dynamic with Lex losing his hair as a result of Kal-El’s rocket coming to earth and bring a meteor shower of Kryptonite with it. Smallville missed the mark on a lot of things, but I think that’s one of the things they did right. Definitely agree with Rob that Byrne’s take on Luthor was the best there was, he really set Lex right and made him a relevant, and very real villain. His motives were clear, not a weak revenge scheme based on adolescent baldness.

    C’mon Rob, how could you falsely accuse Mark Waid of that attrocity of tainting the heroes of the 80’s with Infinite Crisis. It should have been obvious that Infinite Crisis is another example of the “That’s not how I remember it” Story telling method Geoff Johns uses. My biggest beef with Infinite Crisis stems from that, you have these handful of characters, who are the remnants of DC’s past rich Multiverse history, who faded from the comics as heroes, and pure in 1985, are revived, only to be tarnished, and their heroic actions negated by this new evil. It’s tragic. I wish they could’ve created new characters, instead of ruining existing ones. Would that have been tougher? Yeah you bet, but I thought that was a job as a writer, to tell a good story, that makes sense, even if it requires a little more effort by the writer. If it was easy, everyone could do it right?


    I’m a little disappointed it took Shag 5 whole seconds to pick up on Rob’s Hillbilly Marvel joke.

    Punch me? Wow! What can we say? We love Who’s Who podcast and never want it to end. A Cosmic Card episode 17 years off shouldn’t be too intimidating. I mean you’re already halfway there! You said it yourself, you’re on the back nine of the Who’s Who golf course!

    Frank isn’t alone in his Marvel Universe Handbook thoughts, Michael Bailey has also stated that in a podcast before. I think both have their strengths and shortcomings, but with loving the DC Universe more than the Marvel U, Who’s Who will always be my favorite, if for nothing else, nostalgia alone.

    Great episode guys! Thanks again for making Mondays a little more bearable!

  8. Jeff R. says:

    I have to wonder exactly what the authors meant by the editorializing ‘so-called’ before mentioning the Crisis on Infinite Earths. (Are they suggesting that there was only a large, finite number of actual Earths involved? Or that it was all swamp gas and hallucinations?)

    Egregious Omission of the Month: The Mad Mod Witch.

  9. Okay, I know this will come as a shock but I am going to defend the Earth-1 Lex Luthor and his origin.

    The knee jerk reaction to the origin as it is commonly told is to treat as a silly, Silver Age thing but in all honesty the whole Luthor becoming bald was only part of the story. Sure that happens but after that the town of Smallville pretty much turns on Lex. They mock him in the streets and when he makes a couple of attempts to help the town and those attempts fail the mockery kicks up to 11. They treated that boy like crap and that in addition to the whole bald thing is why he turned to crime.

    Elliot S! Maggin told several great Luthor stories in the Bronze Age. One showed moments from Clark and Lex’s friendship that actually made that work for me and another had Lex showing his admiration for his idol, Einstein. Also Lex as he appeared in the novel LAST SON OF KRYPTON was a fairly engaging character. Likewise Cary Bates used the character in some interesting ways. You guys were laughing at the idea of Lexor but the destruction of that world was extremely tragic and all Lex’s fault. In one of the stories from ACTION COMICS #544 (“Luthor Unleashed”) Lex escapes Earth after a really nasty fight with Superman and goes to Lexor to discover that he has a son. He finds the Super Powers armor hidden on the planet and through the course of the plot the world is destroyed because Lex can’t get past his hatred of Superman. He has EVERYTHING he could ever want and his ego destroys his wife, his son and an entire planet. It reinvigorated Lex as a character and led to some really cool stories in the pages of SUPERMAN until the Crisis came along.

    Speaking of the CRISIS…while John Byrne is commonly given credit for the creation of business man Lex he wasn’t the sole father. It was one of those ideas that had many fathers, so to speak. ACTION COMICS #544 not only featured the first appearance of the new Luthor but the new Brainiac as well. Superman editor Julius Schwartz asked for revamps for the two characters from his writers. Wolfman conceived of Luthor as the owner of a major corporation, which would allow him to hide behind the guise of a businessman in a way that is nothing like The Kingpin from Marvel except that it is pretty much The Kingpin from Marvel. That idea was shot down and he reworked it with Vandal Savage. When Byrne and Wolfman were tapped to revamp Superman after Crisis Wolfman wanted to use the businessman bit with Lex. The way Byrne tells it over on his forums…

    “It went like this: Marv Wolfman was offered the Second Chair on the Superman relaunch, to write what was then going to be ACTION COMICS, with a new title to be created for the team-up book.

    Marv called me to discuss something he had in mind for Luthor, a “fix” he had been working on in his head for several years. Before he would tell it to me, however, he had a couple of stipulations:

    1) It must be all or nothing. Either I accept his proposal in its entirety, or I take nothing from it. He was very insistent on this point: he wanted my promise that I would use nothing from his proposal if I did not take all of it.

    2) If I decided I did not like his version of Luthor, he would decline the Second Chair and we would have to find someone else to write ACTION.

    I agreed to both these terms, since they seemed very fair, to me. Plus I always like it when all the cards are on the table up front. That’s how I play.

    Then he told me his version of Luthor in exactly these words:

    “Outside Metropolis, on a high mountain, in his palatial Xanadu-like estate, lives Lex Luthor, the world’s richest man, and his mistress, Lois Lane.” He paused, for dramatic effect, I suppose, then said “See, she’s drawn to power!”

    It took me about 3 nanoseconds to say “No.” I said I liked the “world’s richest man” angle, but what he was proposing was more of a reboot of Lois than it was of Luthor, and I already knew who I wanted Lois to be — or, more exactly, what I wanted Lois to be: likeable ! And the Lois he presented was not my definition of “likeable”!

    So I said “Thanks,” and suggested maybe there would be some project in the future that we might work on together, and I was about to say “Good-bye” when Marv said “Well, we don’t have to use that part!”

    “But you said we have to use all of it,” I reminded him.

    “Oh, no! If you don’t like the part with Lois, we don’t have to use it!”


    So I told him I would think about it, and over the next few days, after discussions with a number of people (including Roger Stern and Mark Gruenwald) who all heard the story as I have told it above, and who had suggestions on what I could do with Luthor as “the world’s richest man”, I decided that basic four-word seed was a good place to go with the character. Of course, since I saw Metropolis as New York (quite literally) I didn’t want any mountains poking up along side the city, so that went away, and I built the character as a cross between Donald Trump, Ted Turner, Howard Hughes and maybe Satan himself!

    Later, when everything was launched, and ACTION COMICS had become the team-up book and Wolfman was writing ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (the title was my suggestion, to invoke both the George Reeves’ TV series and the old ADVENTURE COMICS home of Superboy), I found out that he was claiming sole credit for “creating” Luthor. I shrugged it off. It did not seem important enough to worry about.

    Years later I found out Wolfman got paid a bonus for his “creation” of the new Luthor. Something that, somehow, no one at DC had thought necessary to tell me about.

    After a most unsatisfactory first year of “collaboration” Wolfman’s contract was not renewed, and I took over writing ADVENTURES, with Jerry Ordway doing a fair bit of the plotting.”

    So there you have it…from Byrne himself.

  10. Martin Gray says:

    I think Shag is daydreaming – No one ever called Mal Black Guardian!

    And Major Disaster was a member of JL Antarctica before he as with JLA.

  11. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    The cover: I think Martian Manhunter got the prime spot because this is primarily the “M” issue. Luthor is just carry over from the “L” issue.

    Luthor I: Great to have Wayne Boring on the art but I would have preferred Jerry “The Extraordinary” Ordway as the inker in lieu of Giordano to complement the Earth-2 Superman’s page.

    The discrepancy with Luthor’s hair: It was an artist’s error. In one of Luthor’s earliest appearances he had a shock of red hair while his lab assistant was portrayed as being bald (Superman #4- Spring 1940) When Luthor was scheduled to reappear in a later issue (Superman #10), the artist (Leo Novak) mistakenly referenced the lab assistant’s appearance and drew Luthor as bald. It has also been speculated that Novak may have confused Luthor with the Ultra-Humanite who also was originally shown as being bald. Either way, it stuck…

    Luthor II: This page deserved to have more space devoted to the artwork IMO. And although the “battle suit” was new, I would have also preferred an added color shot of his previous Legion of Doom era costume.

    (As far as Superboy meeting Lex as teenagers…Superboy seemed to meet EVERYBODY before he became Superman. In fact, there was a DC Digest devoted to such a topic, featuring the Boy of Steel’s early team-ups with Lois Lane, Aquaman and Green Arrow. Ah, the Silver Age…)

    Luthor III: The original Lois Lane of Earth-3 first appeared in issues of “Secret Society of Super-Villains” in the 70s. The Lois Lane as Superwoman idea didn’t originate until Grant Morrison’s “JLA: Earth 2″ and then it was an alias assumed by Superwoman, similar to how Princess Diana appropriated the “Diana Prince” identity upon her arrival in “Man’s World”.

    Luthor IV: “At the end of the so-called Crisis”…. So-called? Was it or was it not a Crisis? C’mon DC! Commit already!

    Maaldor the Darklord: If I recall Maaldor had two different looks. The one hated by Shag is his 2nd incarnation.

    Machiste: Even though someone DID deem him worthy of a Remco figure, I could do without characters like him from “Warlord” getting all of this prime real estate in “Who’s Who”.

    Madame Xanadu: Michael Kaluta was the original designer/cover artist for Madame Xanadu in her “Doorway to Nightmare” appearances, while Val Mayerik handled the interior art.

    Mademoiselle Marie: As a kid I always thought her name was Mille Marie because they usually abbreviated it as “Mlle. Marie”.

    In addition to her dalliance with Alfred Pennyworth, it was retconned in Len Wein’s “DCU Legacies” mini-series that Marie may have had a child with Sgt. Rock.

    Mad Hatter: The breakdown (pun intended)- Version 1 appeared in Batman #49 (1948) and then disappeared.

    Version 2 appeared in Detective #230 (1956) and several times throughout the Silver Age, inspiring the TV version as well in the 60s.

    Version 1 returned in ‘Tec #510 (1980) at which point he claims to have disposed of the “impostor”.

    However, Mike W. Barr revived the impostor for a one-time only shot in ‘Tec #573 (1987).

    Since that point it has been the Version 1 incarnation in all media.

    (David Wayne had two shots at trying to score Batman’s cowl on the ’66 series)

    Mal: Even Titans artists extraordinaire George Perez and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez
    didn’t want to touch this jive turkey….

    Malagigi: I was an avid “Arak, Son of Thunder” reader but this character doesn’t even rate a half-page entry. The only other character besides Arak that was worthy was Valda the Iron Maiden.

    Mammoth: Perez knows how to rock a page…Sadly though he didn’t do the art for
    Baran’s sister Selinda.

    Man-Bat: If Neal Adams wasn’t available this spot should have gone to Jim Aparo.

    I never made the connection with The Lizard. (Good call, Shag). Interestingly when he was paired up with a Marvel character during the Amalgam Age they chose Man-Thing, probably just because of the Man prefix in both names.

    Man-Hawks: Inspired Silver Age Julie Schwartz nonsense. I love it!

    Manhunter II: Another entry were I wish the artwork was larger.

    The Manhunters: If “Who’s Who” was published today, there’d be NINE pages
    devoted to characters with the Manhunter name…

    (If the Khunds are the Klingons of the DCU, then these guys surely must be the Borg)

    Mano: What are the odds that in the 30th Century, on the planet Angtu, a villain who has immense power in the palm of his hand has a name that sounds exactly like the Spanish word for “hand”?

    Mantis: This One doesn’t care for either design of this character…

    Mara/Mariah: BAH! If all of these Arion and Warlord and Omega Men characters deserve listings, then most assuredly Aunt Harriet does as well!

    Mark Moonrider: One of the least remembered alliterative names in all of comics.

    Mars: This character seems lucky he was snuck in at this point, because the Perez version known as Ares was just around the corner.

    Martian Manhunter: Such a bland entry. The artwork is uninspired. They should have given this to Pat Broderick who did a nice job with J’onn in Justice League of America #200.

    Martin Champion: I read Atari Force back in the day but even then I thought this was a wasted entry.

    The Marvel Family: The SHAZAM! moment of the book? (Not to be confused with KAPOW!)

    Mary Marvel: I really like Bob Oskner’s work on this and wish he had been doing more DC at this point.

    Master Jailer: Not crazy about the art (I’d have preferred Curt Swan). This concept of a former friend
    of Clark Kent’s from Smallville seems like it was grafted on to Conduit in post-Crisis continuity.

  12. Phylemon says:

    I waited too long to get my comments on Issue 13 included (which is too bad for y’all, because I had some real gems), so I won’t do that here.

    Another great podcast gentlemen, despite the unwarranted attacks on both the Forever People and Jericho. For the record, I’d always prefer to see Batman getting blasted than Big Bear (who I do care about).

    Your discussion of pets and wanting to name them after heroes reminded me to mention that I have named two cats after Teen Titans. Kori is named after Princess Koriander, aka Starfire, and then of course there is Jericho, who is my favorite Titan even if he isn’t my favorite cat. Someday I want a complete set of cats named after the Titans, but my wife has thus far won that argument.

    I think others have mentioned it, but I’m sad there wasn’t more mention of Giffen and DeMattis using Major Disaster in the “Bwah-Hah-Hah” Justice League first, as his face turn started there.

    Ernie Colon’s Malagigi is an incredible example of how much can be done in so little space. Definitely my favorite piece of art in this issue.

    Mammoth is just a striking figure. I love this clean shaven look. It may be just nostalgia, but I always preferred this look to his current long hair and beard appearance, which makes him look like Kalibak and countless other rip offs. Have we talked about Mammoth and Shimmer joining the Fearsome Five by answering an ad in the newspaper? I love the idea that villain teams would resort to such mundane means to form up.

    Great moody artwork for Martian Manhunter. Very happy with this.

    Shag, you just can’t convince me. I might be able to see the goofiness of Fat, Tall, and Hillbilly Marvels, but Hoppy the Marvel Bunny is just an incredible character. The only injustice here is that Hoppy wasn’t part of the Legion of Super Pets.

    I hate what DC has done with Mary Marvel. The fact that we can’t keep her as the one truly pure, innocent, and decent character in the DC Universe is proof that there is something systemically wrong with comic books themselves.

  13. Shagg, since you called me out regarding Magnetic Kid I will try to answer as well as I can. Magnetic Kid as a character was around for years as Cos’ younger brother. After their mother was killed, however, young Pol began to think that he wanted to master his magnetism like his elder brother so that he could help “do good.” Then, when Cos decided to quit the Legion Pol was asked to take his place. I think Paul Levitz did this to show the differences between the two young men, specifically how Pol embodied the “hero worship” that many later Legionnaires had for the Original Trio. Of all the later Legionnaires, he was one of the few who was “young” like most of the original members were. He had a great moment in Levitz’ last 80s LSH story, “The Magic Wars.”

    Does that answer your question, Shagg?

  14. Sean Koury says:

    Is Shag dissin’ on Hoppy in this episode? Bad Shag! I better listen to it right away!

  15. Frank says:

    ♂) You muthas are starting to tick me off with the Wonder Woman disrespect. Mars is the actual Roman god, who debuted in the first issue of Wonder Woman, was a threat for decades, a featured villain in classic stories, was Nubia’s “father,” and then was revised post-Crisis as Ares.

    ⎈) Then you chase Mars with that weak sauce Martian Manhunter commentary? Rob had nothing at all to say? We expect better from you guys than this. I expect vastly superior commentary here in the listener text section of the show.

    The Martian Manhunter logo seen here was not commonly used at this time. Mike Nasser designed the “Manhunter from Mars” logo seen from 1977-1982, and then I think this one was created for the Super Powers Collection. It appeared on the figure card, the cover the the accompanying mini-comic, and then here. A new logo was designed for the 1988 mini-series, and that was commonly employed until 2006. Curiously, this retro logo has turned up a lot more since, through merchandise and its usage in the Showcase Presents volumes.

    I think that this was the first time J’Onn J’Onzz was listed as standing 6’7″, four inches taller than Superman. While I’m all for his towering over the Man of Tomorrow, pretty much every male Leaguer was drawn as the same height in the Silver Age, and J’onzz survived on the charity of guest appearances in Superman books throughout the Bronze Age where they were comperably tall. To this day, it’s difficult to find comics that back up the 6’7″ and easy to find ones where J’Onn is within an inch of Kal-El, give or take.

    Solid dark blue eyes are my favorite of J’Onn J’Onzz’s many hues. He had human eyes for most of the Silver and Bronze Ages. I don’t think the red eyes were seen much before JLA.

    The first two paragraphs in the history section are from a couple of pages of retcon exposition from 1969’s Justice League of America #71, which violentely contradicted the previous thirteen years of Manhunter solo stories. The fifth paragraph is drawn from thre same single issue.

    The small American city John Jones patrolled was finally named Middletown in one of the last stories set there after going for years without a name. A few issues later, John Jones was “killed” by the Diabolu Idol-Head.

    The listing fails to mention the J’onn J’onzz had revisited Mars several times before the end of his period of exile, without Pale Martians, the exile itself, or any other conflict ever coming up. J’onzz just liked living on Earth better by the time he could return home at will.

    I think this Who’s Who listing is what screwed me up about “New Mars.” Superman just blundered in an issue of DC Comics Presents and called Mars II that, but it was never used before or since, and certainly not by anyone from Mars II.

    In his earliest appearances, J’onn J’onzz looked like a Matt Groening character– sort of a cross between Abe Simpson and Lenny Leonard. In the early stories, John Jones was the hero, so his Martian appearance was more alien on the occasions it was seen. After the Flash started making waves, the Martian side showed up more, and was increasingly more of a handsome humanoid, though John/J’onn were more burly and thuggish in that period. By the sixties, the green skin and bald head were the only things seperating J’onn J’onzz from Hollywood movie stars. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that Nasser brought back the beetle brow, and other artists made him more alien again, though never as weird as early Certa.

    “Martian Vision” was basically a catch-all name for “Superman’s suite of vision powers.” Telescopic, microscopic, x-ray, laser, heat, telekinetic pulse– whatever works.

    I cannot believe they left off the Martian Manhunter’s #1 power as a member of the classic JLA: Super Breath. J’onn J’onzz was blowing everything in his Martian sight in those Gardner Fox stories; left, right and center, blowing everyone and everything he could, and boy could he blow like a champion! Superman didn’t blow even half as much! Every Fox story, all Martian Manhunter did was punch, fly, and blow.

    The Powers & Weapons section really needed a second page to cover all the abilities demonstrated in the Silver Age (who can forget his extracting gold particles from out of the sea or creating an ice cream come out of thin air via “all the powers from the void of space?”) The profile gives over so much history to a handful of Bronze Age Denny O’Neil, then ignores the actual “Manhunter from Mars” strip. Most of this stuff belonged in a Commander Blanx entry to allow room to cover more of John Jones and Marco Xavier.

    I totally dig the subdued, moody Luke McDonnell art, though I wouldn’t have balked at Anthony Durso’s suggestion of Pat Broderick. Still, Broderick would have looked backward toward Burroughs where McDonnell anticipated the shift toward Bradbury under J.M. DeMatteis.

  16. Frank says:

    Jeez, I can’t close html code to save my life this episode, huh?

  17. Siskoid says:

    @Anthony: 9 pages of Manhunters? Probably more if you want to a really complete Who’s Who! Dan Richards, Paul Kirk and the robots, as normal, and then Mark Shaw, Chase Lawler, Kirk DePaul and my very favorite Kate Spencer, that’s obvious. Who else are you counting? Manhunter 2070 needs his own entry (the Kirby connection alone…) and you could have Ramsey (Spencer) Robinson, who is shown to become a future Manhunter in his mom’s series’ final issue. That’s 9, 10 if you count J’Onn J’Onzz, which I do. And then I’m pretty sure I’d add a page to the robots’ issue to cover the various agents they used in Millennium. Do you also count Paul Kirk’s clone from Secret Society? He’d be covered in the main Paul Kirk entry, surely.

    But then, you could go through all of Who’s Who and its updates and count up the number of agents who turned out to be Manhunters and make that your true page count – Overkill, Lana Lang, Laurel Kent, Dr. Jace, and so on.

    @Frank: Obviously, J’onn is a shapeshifter and must’ve tried to blend in with the JLA by reducing his own size.

  18. Anj says:

    Looks like I am a little late to the game so will keep my comments relatively brief.

    (Alex) Luthor (4) – As someone who thought Infinity Crisis was pretty awful, I only wish that Geoff Johns read the ‘stripped of his powers, cannot reopen this portal without destroying all reality’ piece of this entry. Also, I never really like characters that magically age quickly but then stop when young adults. He went from infant to young adult in a week … why not become elderly in 2 more weeks?

    Maaldor – Another one of this characters that is so powerful that only a lame ending can save the day. After thrashing Superman and Power Girl, he defeats himself by looking into the madness of his own soul and imploding? I always thought that Maaldor would look into his own soul and be pretty self-satisfied. Then he would kill them and rule the universe.

    Madame Xanadu – Just the best art in the issue. I found the origin listing interesting as it reads more like a pitch for the character/series than a true origin. The Wagner/Reeder title did much more to fill in the gaps.

    Mal – have to laugh at Rob’s use of the phrase ‘salad days’ when discussing Mal’s younger thinner past. Works on all levels!

    Mano – Love this Legion character especially for his first appearance. He destroys his whole planet by putting his antimatter hand to the crowd … and all because he was bullied! When the Legion meets him, his hand is about to be cut off by a rocket-powered guillotine in space (his hand where the head would typically be). Seems a bit medieval and bizarre. He had been caught by the Science Police when he tried to shake the hand of a dignitary! Silly silver age stuff at its best!

    And then (I am sure I am opening myself up for more ridicule – especially given my defense of The Gang and Hyathis), my favorite entry of the issue:

    Manhawks – I know you guys like comic ‘origin’ stories. When I was young … maybe 7 or 8, somewhere along the way someone got me an issue that had reprints of early Hawkman stories including the Manhawks one. I can remember thinking they looked visually jarring with the bird body and human masks. I wondered how bizarre they would look to see without the masks. Images of the end of the original Fly movie, a human head tacked onto an animal body, were in my head. I thought it was going to look horrible and awesome at the same time. I couldn’t wait to get to the end to see what that would look like. And then … at the end of the story … they are unmasked to reveal they are (dun dun dun) plain old giant hawks.

    Mind blown!

    Like major. I was dumbfounded.

    I couldn’t believe the switcheroo that had been pulled. I was expecting something and got the reverse. They’re JUST giant hawks. At first, I was pretty pissed thinking I had been cheated of a ‘shock’ moment.

    But then I thought that I actually got the best shock of all … a truly unexpected surprise. And that’s when I realized this was great story-telling.

    Lastly, Shag I completely understand that the ‘hottest Legionnaire’ discussion is not based solely on the Who’s Who page. I do. It is the character as a whole. I just think it will be interesting to hear you say that Phantom Girl is the hottest Legionnaire when you review her Who’s Who page which might be one of the roughest representations of her.

    Thanks again for a great episode. Would have loved to hear Frank dissect the Martian Manhunter page.

  19. Anj, to READ Frank disecting the Martian Manhunter page, go up a few comments on this page. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m fine with reading what Frank has to say instead of listening to it. That way I can skip the part where he takes a bumpy ride I don’t want to take. 😉

  20. Frank says:

    Unlike Anj, I have no inclinations toward brevity.

    Aa) I had some of the Gil Kane drawn Martin Champion appearances in mini-comics boxed with Atari cartridges. I don’t see a lick of James Fry in the art, and it’s signed Villagran/Campos.

    Bb) Whenever I’m tempted to use the r-word, I try to make it a less common comic booky term, like “nincompoops.” The extended Marvel Family is very nincompoopy. I wouldn’t have shed a tear for their getting pushed into a background color hold.

    Cc) I like Mary Marvel, but I prefer her played younger to avoid redundancy with Supergirl.

    Dd) I’ve always liked the premise of the Master Jailer. He should have been brought back earlier in the Post-Crisis era (he said, then recalled what they did to Terra-Man.)

    Ee) The Masters of Disaster were as good as a team created to lose in fights to the Outsiders could be. Windfall was easily the worst of the lot, so of course she became a heroine. Didn’t New Wave murder Shakedown in an issue of Starman or an early JSA?

    Ff) Turns out my copy of this Who’s Who has the “Captive Earth” poll insert Shag referenced. Didn’t catch that earlier.

    Gg) My YouTube channel includes three Comic Reader Résumés running a total of less than 18 minutes and a bunch of cover countdowns that all run less than a minute, none of which have been updated since mid-September. That’s a fraction of the time I devote to listening to any single F&W Podcast. Rob can be such a… such a… such an Aquaman fan sometimes.

    Hh) If you want a reference book, get OHOTMU. If you want a pin-up book with sparse instantly out of date notations, Who’s Who.

    Ii) I’m a cat person. None indoor.

  21. I always liked the Manhunter robots. They would have made for such a better villain in the GREEN LANTERN movie than that amorphous cloud monster.

  22. Siskoid says:


    Cc) Young Mary from the recent all-ages efforts is awesome.

    Dd) Yes, it’s a case of being careful what we wish for. DC just announced Stephanie Brown will be returning to the DCU. Can I get a loud “Uh-oh!” ?

    Ee) Except I think they won those fights more than half the time! Because the Outsiders suck as–I mean, are nincompoops.

    Gg) I don’t think our You-Tube channels are going to make the Internet crash because of length, no. I think our word count is much heavier.

  23. It’s too bad Master Jailer and Lock-Up never got to team up.

  24. What would you do for a Klondike bar? Would you listen to a podcast about Who’s Who?

    Regarding Machiste and “sword and sorcery” vs “sword and sandal:” Warlord is very much a sword and sorcery title, filled with fantasy elements and monsters; sword and sandal would be a “peplum” style adventure like a Hercules movie, or a “biblical epics” like The Ten Commandments, Spartacus or Samson And Deliliah. Early stories had Machiste with two hands — this is the basis for his Remco figure. (This is the same as Arak, who’s toy has a full head of hair like he did early in his series, not his more well known mowhawk.) Machiste’s name is derived from Maciste, a hugely popular Italian film character. The Maciste character is a super-strong adventurer who starred in a string of peplum films from the silent era through the 1970s. Now, why don’t we know Maciste in this country? Because his films were typically retitled during dubbing to star Hercules, Goliath, Samson, Atlas, Ursus, or one of the many Sons Of Hercules. So you may have watched a Maciste movie, and not known it! (Most likely Hercules Against The Moon Men.)

    Mlle. Marie had a great one shot back in 2011, in the “5th week” Veterans Day event. In the issue, titled Star-Spangled War Stories #1, Marie had an adventure battling the Nazis and the Vischy French. Mlle. Marie is often forgotten about when talking about the classic DC War properties, mostly because she had a lot less appearances, but I’ve always liked her stories, as the French Resistance is ripe for story mining. The image of her “cliff hanging” while firing her machine gun is a reference to the cover to SSWS #88. She would get replaced as the cover feature in SSWS by The War The Time Forgot! I personally assume that this is due to DC not wanting a woman on the cover of a War book.

    Major Disaster, one of the only guys improved by Underworld Unleashed. Waid and Augustyn did great stuff with him in Flash.

    Malagigi is Arak’s companion and in many ways a mentor during Arak’s travels. Before that, he was a member of Charlemagne’s court and a close friend to Valda, the Iron Maiden. A long storyline involving Malagigi being held prisoner by the Queen of White Cathay dominated the second year of the title. He is something of a lighter character, but he also quite wise and can use magic to great effect.

    Ironically, I just read the Manhawks-Lizarkons story in Showcase Presents Hawkman v.2! It’s one of the final stories from the Fox/Anderson run on the character in the 60s. I like the Manhawks, but you know me, I am more prone.

    I like the Forever People, and even I have a hard time working up any sort of interest in Mark Moonrider. Compared to the other 4 kids, Moonrider barely even rates. Infinity-Man, who purposefully had no personality as he was a gestalt entity, was still more interesting than Moonrider.

    Thanks for the show guys, enjoyed it.

  25. By the way Shag, you said the only thing the Masters of Disasters needed was a mudslide character. In the Dan Didio-Phillip Tan Outsiders run, the Masters did resurface, with new character Mudslide joining the team. Also joining was Dust Devil, bringing the count back up to 5, along with New Wave, Coldsnap, and Heatstroke.

  26. […] sure to check out Episode Fourteen of the amazing Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe hosted by Rob Kelly and the […]

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