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

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 XXI!

The twenty-first 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 XXI, discussing characters such as Shrinking Violet, Sinestro, Slipknot, Solomon Grundy, Space Cabbie, Slipknot, The Spawn of Frankenstein, Spectre, Speedy, Slipknot, Silver Deer, and many more! Plus Slipknot! We wrap up the show with your 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 twenty-first 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 (71 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 Ernie Colon & Dick Giordano cover for Volume XXI! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #21

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

First up is Silver Deer, Firestorm foe and sometimes ally of Black Bison! Art by Joe Brozowski & Rodin Rodriguez! Click to enlarge.

Who's Who Silver Deer by Joe Brozowski & Rodin Rodriguez

Next, one of Firestorm’s “greatest” foes — Slipknot, a.k.a. the Lasso of Larceny! Art by Joe Brozowski & Jerry Acerno! Click to enlarge.

Who's Who Slipknot by Joe Brozowski & Jerry Acerno

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

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  1. This cover is comparatively awful. The Spectre should have been the star of the cover, and if not him then Roy Harper who had the connection to the Teen Titans and would have his own Action Comics Weekly feature a few years after this issue.

    Solomon Grundy,
    Let himself go on a Monday,
    Ate a pint of Cherry Garcia on a Tuesday,
    Devoured a box of Krispy Kreme donuts on a Wednesday,
    Drank a case of Pabst on a Thursday,
    Spiraled into shame and popped pills on a Friday,
    Suffered a myocardial infarction on a Saturday,
    Buried on a Sunday.
    This is the end of Solomon Grundy.

  2. Slipknnot’s entry omits his power of precognition. Clearly, he foresaw a future lousy with Tumblrs devoted to pictures of side-boob and designed his costume with that in mind.

  3. Siskoid says:

    Shrinking Violet/LSH blogs: Yeah, the Legion Omnicom hasn’t posted since 2012… Where were you, Shag, when a majority of my readers told me they’d rather I cover some tv show or other instead of doing the complete LSH in daily blog form after I wrapped Doctor Who?

    Silent Knight: The real tie-in is that he’s yet another of those Hawkman reincarnations.

    Beautia’s first appearance: Ok, it’s a typo. What it SHOULD say is that she first appears in Whiz #3, but it’s actually #4. Why? Because there are three Whiz Comics #3, though the indicia inside says the second is #4 (and #4’s interior says it’s #5 and so on). Beautia shows up in what collectors call Whiz #3B, i.e. the fourth issue of the series.

    Skartaris: Like Challengers Mountain, it’s a reuse of an image printed in the comics themselves. The map appears in Warlord Annual #4 and was drawn by Krystovar. You see that red circle in which they put “The Inner World of Skartaris”? On the original, it’s a cutaway of the Hollow Earth. Check it out on my (Formerly) Daily Splash Page blog:

    Skyman: I know this was his identity at the time, but I miss him on a later page for Star-Spangled Kid. All-Star Squadron fan, but not Infinity Inc. fan, I guess.

    Space Ranger: Cryll (sounds like a kind of shrimp) also has an entry in Ambush Bug #3 where we find out about his plastic surgery…

    The Spectre: I love the image of the Spectre getting hit in the head with the Earth wherever I see it. LOVE. IT.

    Plenty of Who’s This? potential: Signalman, Silver Ghost, Son of Vulcan, Space Cabbie, Space Museum, Spanner’s Galaxy, Spawn of Frankenstein…

    The Red Bee won (me) something? Well, he is insanely popular for a character no one takes seriously.

    Sorry my comments are so short this month, but Shag knows why I’ve got so little time.

  4. rob! says:

    Before it gets out of hand, let me admit up front: I goofed several times during this episode:

    1)Sinestro was not the only character to appear in live action. He, Sivana, and Solomon Grundy were in the 1979 live-action LEGEND OF THE SUPERHEROES TV specials. I just totally blanked.

    2)The Spectre is not the only “other than Superman” character created for DC by Siegel and Shuster: they also created Slam Bradley–which I forgot to mention–but also Robotman.


  5. Martin Gray says:

    Wow, I’m buried under a sea of emails from Space Ranger fans, thanks for the shout-out to my zine!

    Skyman. >sigh< What a boring, generic name to replace a Golden-Age classic. Sighman.

    I'd not heard of this Spook insensitivity business until a couple of years back, when I learnt that the excellent BBC tellybox show Spooks was called MI5 in the States. Honestly!

    It's a guess, but I expect the Speedy shooting-up image isn't on his entry because DC didn't wish to put it in front of the kids, even though Who's Who, like that GL/GA issue, wasn't actually a Comics Code book.

    Stalker showed up in Gail Simone's Wonder Woman run. Interestingly.

    That cover, perhaps the Spectre is inflating Grundy, and Sinestro's head, to make them explode?

    The business with Santa not being in Who's Who in large part because he wasn't copyrightable, Rob … I never knew it was possible to find an argument so unconvincing! If someone at DC had thought of it, he'd be in there, along with Treasury Edition star Rudolf. Now, see Timmy safely home for me, won't you?

  6. Anj says:

    As usual, I entered this episode (and thumbed through this issue) thinking I wouldn’t have a lot to say. But … also as usual … I have more to say than I anticipated.

    Shrinking Violet: I agree that this entry is a way better Hernandez entry in comparison to Phantom Girl. Vi’s relationship with Ayla was hinted at in the Baxter series but was much more out in the open in 5YL books. She became way more aggressive after the reveal that she was replaced by the Durlan Yura. Even stranger, Yura began a romance with Colossal Boy while replacing Vi and ended up marrying him! It led to some awkward moments between Vi and Yura later on.

    Silent Knight – I would be proud to run a Silent Knight site. I first encountered him in the Brave and Bold digest comic.

    Silver Deer – if she could alter games of chance, why not head to Vegas, make a ton of money, and fund an army. Wouldn’t that be better than hanging all your hopes on Black Bison??

    Silver Ghost – he actually had two pretty prominent panels in Crisis #9, ogling Phantom Girl. I didn’t know who the heck he was, something odd given how many DC books I had read even back then. Strange he got that mini-scene and half a page.

    Space Museum – this is another reason for you to finally read the Chaykin/Garcia-Lopez Twilight book. Chaykin does take a warped look at all these innocent sci-fi characters and locales from the Silver Age.

    Space Ranger – what a terrible page. He is pushing a button? And looks backed up. That is his splash page moment??

    Stalker – I will admit I am semi-obsessed with the 70s DC Sword and Sorcery books. And Stalker might me my favorite (although Beowulf is a close second for sheer insanity). I would be proud to run a Stalker site. Heck, I covered a ton of it on Frank’s Bloodlines site: The art is by Ditko and Wally Wood!!

    Quickly, the Silver Swan page is the best of the book. Just beautiful. Slipknot ends up being literally ‘disarmed’ in Suicide Squad and then became a disciple of Kobra in (yuck) Identity Crisis.

    Thanks again for a great show!

  7. Phylemon says:

    Is episode 21 really early, or was I just that late to episode 20? Regardless, another fine episode. On to my thoughts:

    1. Great choices for your in-stock trades recommendations. I particularly love the Mystery in Space anthology. Great survey of a genre too often ignored today.

    2. Who should be the featured character on the cover of this issue is a tough choice. Spectre is probably the right choice. I think Sinestro would have been a better choice than Solomon Grundy. It could have gone to a Legionnaire. If it was my choice, I would have chosen Space Ranger because that costume is awesome.

    3. Now that I know the backstory, whenever I see an Ernie Colon cover to Who’s Who, I wonder if there is an alternative cover floating around out there somewhere. Anyone?

    4. Signalman: One of the biggest impacts that Who’s Who has had on my comic reading is to make me appreciate Batman’s so-called “lesser” villains far more than I do Batman himself. If I’m looking through a back issue bin, I will pass on dozens of The Dark Knight’s adventures, but if Signalman, The Calculator, old school Calendar Man, Crazy Quilt, or the upcoming Ten-Eyed Man are on the cover, I’m at least going to strongly consider buying the issue.

    5. It’s probably just the Jurgen’s art, but I really love the Skull entry. They probably don’t deserve it, but I want to read more about them.

    6. Slipknot: I’m not used to Shag stealing my bit. Glad it was short-lived.

    7. Snapper Carr: is one of the most essential characters in the DC universe. He is our point of view into the fantastic world of super heroes. Hate him if you want, Rob, but he is the main protagonist in all of the early JLA issues. He is, in essence, all of us.

    8. Space Cabbie, Space Museum, and Space Ranger: God, I miss DC Silver Age Science Fiction!

    9. Is the surprint of the Space Museum entry the first appearance of Booster Gold in Who’s Who?

    10. Everything I said about Signalman goes double for Spellbinder. I love that costume!!! The Infantino art, less so.

    11. Omega Man BBS. Check! On it.

    12. Love the Star Boy artwork, particularly the surprint.

  8. A few quick notes before my usual long-winded reply:

    Jerry Siegel has one more creator-credit in this issue: He co-created the Star-Spangled Kid, aka Skyman.

    Stalker was the antagonist in the 5th week event “The Justice Society of America Returns” which led into the new JSA title in the late 90s/early 00s.


  9. Frank says:

    1. Did Shag use a microphone jacked into his telephone, or simply the receiver? At first, I thought you had a celebrity call-in endorsement. Turned out to be a regular old talk show call-in. From the co-host.

    2. Pulp Fiction Library: Mystery In Space was an odd title for a non-series of collections. I guess this one didn’t do so hot.

    3. This could have been an okay cover, but for three huge, glaring errors. The Solomony Gutney is so grotesquely disproportionate that you look right past the nicely rendered Spawn of Frankenstein. I was going to compliment Dick Giordano on that, only to find Colón had done a better riff on Dick than his studio usually does. Anyway, the second issue is that Spectre cape, which makes Spawn’s look conservative as it dumps a formless blob of green across the cover. That leads to the final issue, all the wasted space. There are far too many gaps between characters, and I’m not here for the yellow background. Lots of quick crowded waist-ups at the bottom of the page.

    4. If the “starring” character was meant to be a villain, Sinestro has the bona fides. If a hero, why not the Spectre or Speedy? The only excuse I can come up with is that Solomon Grundy was featured prominently as a protagonist pseudo-member of Infinity Inc. around this time.

    A) I appreciate the retro charm of the Shrinking Violet entry, especially the way the logo contracts downward. I wasn’t into Vi at this time, but she was one of my favorites in the Zero Hour reboot Legion, not hurt by actually wearing friggin’ purple like her name says. Appealing artwork from Xaime! The Legion Omnicom blog petered out in 2012 (guys should have replied to my crossover invitation,) but it’s still available online.

    B) The Signalman hasn’t been “around” a long time. He only exists because he was created a long time ago, in a simpler, more glaucoma afflicted era, and for all intents and purposes ceased to exist beyond serving as a cautionary tale against poor design. He’s a single story gimmick concept unworthy of inclusion here, being treated like an actual character. Isn’t it strange that even a costume as horrible as this looks better under George Pérez than characters he himself designed?

    C) In a storytelling medium where sidekicks became omnipresent because even Batman needed someone to talk to during adventures, it seems like Silent Knight was hobbled coming out of the gate by his defining characteristic. As with most people, I find this guy seems coolish in crowd scenes during time-spanning events. Drawing is nice, but the perspective makes it look like the Knight has a miniature hand.

    D) Silver Deer’s Canary cosplay is weak. “I made that one up” has a dual meaning. Silver Ghost strikes me as one of those all too common patronizing conceits where a “modern” creator decides to get meta with a new “period” character designed to be quaintly generic looking. They won’t even try to do a new Captain “Shazam!” Marvel, so they do a new Captain “Split!” Marvel. They’re geldings.

    E) I kind of thought Silver Scarab was supposed to be a Silver Streak pastiche, but I can’t articulate that very well because I never read Silver Streak comics and I don’t care enough about Silver Scarab to spare any more thought for him beyond “he’s probably a rip-off of something that wasn’t that interesting in the first place.” Infinity Inc. was lame from beginning to end, but it got away with it when Jerry Ordway or Michael Bair were the mashed potatoes smuggling less savory vegetables under cover of their buttery goodness. I can see the Machlan in that stocky figure.

    F) You quite literally can check out Diabolu Frank’s Diana Prince is the New Wonder Woman blog for more on the BRONZE AGE VILLAINESS Silver Swan, because while my output for that joint is a constant personal disappointment, I did manage to extensively cover her earliest appearances in Wonder Woman #288-290 (1982) by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan, as well as Thomas’ 2011 sequel to that arc with Rich Buckler in DC Retroactive: Wonder Woman – The ’80s. Swan was an interesting and textually rich villainess as conceived, but then George Pérez completely missed the point of the character with his soggy reboot of the concept Post-Crisis. Now there’s been a couple or three other Silver Swan attempts that failed by the dubious virtue of carrying on from Pérez instead of Thomas. Badass piece by Bill Sienkiewicz that actually does a better job of conveying Helen Alexandros that her co-creator did (Colan made her too pretty.)

    G) As one of the most vocal Gil Kane supporters hereabouts, I apologize in his name for the Sinestro entry.

    H) Doctor Sivana is so much more fun than Lex Luthor I can’t even tell you. Rob mentions the 1950s Captain Marvel stories being reprinted, but DC’s Archive Editions never made it past 1942, which is a travesty. The original Captain Marvel series lived longer and/or was better than anything from DC’s Golden Age.

    The first two proper issues of Whiz Comics did not have issue numbers on the covers, only dates. Because Bob Overstreet decided that the indicia was the final authority on comic book cataloging, and the indicia to Whiz Comics initially continued the numbering from the undistributed ashcan, but the cover numbering reflected the actual publishing/distribution sequence, issues #3-4 are officially #4-5 per the indicia, until they synchronized in the second #5 (per cover & indicia.)

    I was immediately turned off by the Harry Potter movies when the nice kids were all future models/lead actors and the average British children were House Slytherin.

    Speaking of my failures as a blogger, I wrote synopses of the first two Beautia stories over three years ago, which were intended to be linked to posts on my other blogs, enough of which were never written that the Shazam material has simply sat in queue all this time. In order to be less of a loser, I posted one of them while listening to the podcast, so you can read it at DC Bloodlines.

    I) I don’t know about Skartaris, but as a person who hates fantasy as a genre and would like to pimp slap the corpse of J. R. R. Tolkien, I’m telling Shag that he needs to watch Game of Thrones. I occasionally watch the YouTube channel devoted to Shakira, but it’s not actually on YouTube, and I typically have to use the “Vintage” category link to get there.

    J) Surprised you didn’t give Dan Jurgens his usual waxing on the Skull piece. Giving a full page to a gang related to a Bronze Age revival of a lesser Superman villain seems like a stretch. Every semi-major DC hero had their own SMERSH in the 1960s, even Aquaman, but none of those got entries, and this was one of Superman’s spare SMERSHes besides. I think they look nifty, and I’d like to see them clash with Kobra as mentioned in the bio, and they even have a Houston branch, but they also bear the brunt of animosity for all similar but omitted fictional crime organizations dearer to fans’ hearts.

    K) I’m going to side with Rob on the “I don’t know where you’re getting this from.” Star-Spangled Kid probably did need an ’80s update, but it’s difficult to get excited about Syl Pemberton of the 1984 Men’s Olympic Gymnastics team and his flat nickname of “Skyman,” which sounds like something out of one of those upstart specialty stores in Colorado. Several of the Infinitors got new monikers/costumes/powers because they were flailing in fail sauce, desperate for any old sop. If he’d waited until the ’90s, he could have been “Red Glare,” and run around with a laser pistol. Pouches and shoulder pads would have helped him look more filled out. I think calling 5’8″ “tiny” is a bit harsh, especially for a guy who lives in the aforementioned Houston which is brimming with men of 5’8″. I always forget how much I like Tom Grindberg, probably because I favor so many other artists of the Neal Adams school who strayed further from the master, but he’s also got the goods.

    L) New Fun Comics was full of original comic strip characters, all of whom would therefore predate Slam Bradley. I love this entry, from the Aparo art to the logo. He’s been used well in recent years.

    M) I’m the Slipknot/Green Arrow shipper. Also, Javelin. They all need to get together and dangle their respective tools in each others’ faces. Slipknot kind of looks like the Constrictor.

    N) Do not diminish the importance and charm of Rick Jones by associating him with Snapper Carr. Even Joe Brozowski recognized that Snapper Carr was beneath his talents. Tom Peyer and Rags Morales did not though, as they redeemed the character in Hourman. You know, I wonder if Peter David took all his unused Snapper Carr ideas for Blasters and used them for Rick Jones in Captain Marvel?

    O) I’m fond of Solomon Grundy, from the cartoons and comics, but I’ve found that my interest has dulled across time and incarnations.
    I was drawn to the simplicity of an evil nigh-unstoppable corpse crook, but all the variations and complications bummed me out.

    P) It’s a sign of the infinite wisdom of the ’90s that they changed Sonar’s costume to that of a sub-Graviton Magneto clone so he could battle Justice League Europe. The sole appeal of Sonar is that he has a spiffy Napoleonic uniform with the complex to match, and tries to live it out through a tuning fork gun. But they recognized their mistake within the 1990s when Sonar went back to being a Green Lantern villain by changing him into some sort of topless cyberpunk Klaw. The actual character was die cut with foil enhancements. Radikewl x-treme.

    Q) Son of Vulcan by Andru and Tanghal is one of my favorite pieces from this issue, so it’s too bad I’ve heard nothing good about the few comics he’s appeared in. I think he improves on Thor’s origin, and tackling wartime amputation while Vietnam was ongoing was ballsy, but my understanding is the property was otherwise terribly executed. Regardless, DC’s handling of the property has seemed contemptuous, callously treated as cannon fodder in a manner not a little metatextual.

    R) With Anj currently reading DC Challenge, I’m disappointed he didn’t cover Space Cabbie’s prominent role there. Dude took on Mongul and was pivotal to narrative. The art in the entry is almost too straight, and I wish Scott McCloud had done him instead. I seem to recall Jones & Jacobs spending a disproportionate amount of time on Space Museum in The Comic Book Heroes, so they liked it. Wasn’t it featured in a “Whatever Happened To” or something that revealed Kamandi grew up to become Kamandi? Or maybe the kid from Space Museum became Tommy Tomorrow and Kamandi was an ancestor? Screw it– I don’t for serious have cares. Space Ranger is the guy with a goofier helmet than Peacemaker who is always on the periphery of 1950s DC sci-fi revivals/pin-ups who doesn’t do anything. Amazing how long he was published without any professionals having fond memories to inspire further exploration. I’m more familiar with Cryll due to “The Ambush Bug History of the DC Universe.” I read an issue of Spanners Galaxy afflicted with the Flexographic color printing process either as a cheapie bin dig in 1987 or a friend’s grocery sack o’ comics in 1989. It left no impression beyond what I just told you.

    S) I don’t think I’ve ever read Spawn of Frankenstein in context, but wicked Mike Kaluta art. I don’t have the strong aversion to literal literary lifts as Shag, but I tend to think less of the umpteenth Frankenstein or Dracula that appears than I would a new creation built up to be a modern successor in scale. I tend to think of the time Dracula showed up on Buffy and was played for laughs, whereas The Master was a huge villain in the early going that would have been ruined if he had been Dracula instead. If you play to the baggage and cultural dissonance, I can appreciate it, but most just try to milk them stones. It’s worth noting that I read Mary Shelly when I was much too young, and it scarred me a bit. Also, I was into the Universal Monsters as a kid, so there’s a soft spot. Frankenstein was often the sympathetic one, and Dracula the heel, so I’m much more forgiving of one’s overuse than the other.

    T) I have a bagged set of the 1988 Baxter paper reprint series Wrath of the Spectre sitting in a longbox waiting to be read, but I only know the Fleisher/Aparo run from its reputation and Wertham-style image selections in magazines. That cover where the terrified, emptied woman is hacked to pieces with a flying cleaver is more disturbing than most any restricted access horror movie I’ve ever seen, and DC OK’d it to print? The Spectre is a concept I like with a spare costume that has never worked for me when stretched out as a feature. Not the Golden Age material, nor the Silver, nor Moench’s ’80s series or Ostrander/Mandrake. The ’70s run is kind of my last shot with this guy. I wish DC would just do occasional specials or mini-series where they don’t have to come up with lame restrictions on the character’s abilities, and I have no use for Jim Corrigan. Most Spectre projects have inspired ideas that are diminished by the demands of serialization. The grindhouse Spectre cartoon was cool, but still, kind of biting Phantom Stranger’s burger, right? Finally, Machlan/Ordway resembling Jim Aparo = Shag’s “internet problems” being that he’s on the streets of a bad neighborhood calling from a burner phone while scoring smack with the money he was supposed to pay Comcast.

    U) You may be surprised to learn that Speedy is among my favorite DC characters (top 20 or so.) His life struggles are fairly unique to comic book heroes, and I always loved characters who had a logical, immutable life progression. Then Cry for Justice happened, followed by the New 52, and I kid you not forgot he existed anymore until you guys brought up the Arrow TV show on a previous podcast and reminded me Roy Harper is in Red Hood & the Outlaws every month. So he’s just dead to me, then.

    V) Spellbinder and Signalman just had a team-up where they murdered my eyes. Try to focus on the awesome Kev O’Neill Spider Guild art, which is so good that it retroactively validates the Omega Men. Now, Irv Novick & Bill Wray’s The Spook looks a lot like Jim Aparo. Here’s a guy who rated resurrection from Who’s Who, but maybe the name jockblocked him. The funny thing is that only people too old to be reading comic books with their Social Security money ever experienced Spook as a racial epithet firsthand. Today, it would be more puzzling than offensive, especially now that “spook” is prevalent in popular culture as a term for C.I.A. agents/spies.

    W) As you say, Sportsmaster succeeds (modestly) against all odds amongst comic book nerds apathetic toward gym class. He’s the paterfamilias of one of the few multi-generational super-villain legacies. You guys do know that Chuck Beckum is the birth name of controversial writer/artist Chuck Austen, right? And not just controversial because X-Men fans didn’t like him, but for being a pioneer in direct market porno comics.

    X) Anj has written fairly extensively on Stalker at DC Bloodlines. The debut issue of his comic was one of the first I ever owned, but I have no recollection of how I ended up with it. I thought it was a solid origin story that gave me a tinge of angst as a young’un. This would have been a nice 100-Page Spectacular collection if DC still did those. Ditko looks off without Wally West inking him on this character.

    Y) Star Boy never did it for me in any incarnation, so I was at least heartened by the race-swap in Waid’s second Legion reboot. I first heard about that star field effect in a Jae Lee interview.

    Z) I never heard of Martin King, and previously assumed Starfinger was drawn by Paris Cullins. Don’t think I’ve ever read him in a comic, either. Is starfinger what happens to the digit you’re flicking the White-Out off the toothbrush with?

    5. Looking forward to the “Whatever Happened To” podcast. Curious to see if anyone tops Crimson Avenger on story or Johnny Thunder on art.

    6. I hear “Tudy Man” or “Tooty Man,” but I’m reasonably sure the theme song references “2-D Man” of the Fantastic Four analogues the Terrific Trio from Batman Beyond, who ironically isn’t even part of DC Comics continuity, much less a Who’s Who candidate.

    7. My mama always told me “Girl, a man’s gonna treat like you think you demand be treated. You got to lay down the law and the p-control, pretty baby!” If you think you’re disposable, others will be more inclined to agree. You currently have people who discover you and go back to listen to the entire series in order, just like I have a complete set of the second volume of Wonder Woman, then bought occasional trades or checked out from the library the increasingly erratic cycles of successive volumes. If the “collector mentality” works to your benefit and is a well documented characteristic of your audience, and more importantly a “new #1″ serves you no likely benefit, can’t you even be trusted to look both ways before crossing the street without me taking you by the hand? Shag argues, and all I hear is “Florida.”

    8. Hey! No Stalker in The Disposables! He was created by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Wally Wood when they were all doing great work. Stalker should be on the villain team who kills members of The Disposables, avenging the death of G. Wilbert Wolfington or whatever that pasty turd was named.

    9. Missed opportunity: Cutting the “Aw man, we forgot Slipknot” from the closing theme.

    10. Phylemon is in the wrong for bringing up the possibility of an alternate cover to this issue without getting out there and investigating online for hours/days first. Must I do the work myself, or can I slip it into a copy of Atlas of the DC Universe and trick Siskoid into earning another Yellow Dot?

    I’m going to restate that Dick Grayson should have had unfettered access to all Batman & Robin B-grade or less villains as part of the divorce settlement ahead of any Nightwing series launching. That’s where Geoff Johns could have done his Crazy Quilt story involving a new suit being made of patches from his victim’s skin, ala Jame Gumb.

    11. For Xum Yukinori: Hippolyta the mother of Wonder Woman and Queen of the Amazons is mentioned after Lightning Lass.

  10. Xum Yukinori says:


    Really? Hippolyta? I wouldn’t have guessed, for in my rehearing of the theme, it sounds like the name was pronounced as “Hippo-LAH” in the song instead of the “Hip-POL-lit-tah” pronunciation that I am used to.

    Thank you for clearing that up.

    BTW, I do not recall “2-D Man” actually having a Who’s Who entry…


  11. Jeff R. says:

    Solomon Grundy appeared on Smallville, also.

    Starfinger is a really odd inclusion, honestly. Enough legion villains who were far less obscure got left out, and by this point the Legion Who’s Who was already a thing that everyone knew was coming. Probably filler to stop from splitting up two characters with the same name next issue.

    This month’s Egregious Omission is conspiracy time, someone who I’m pretty sure was deliberately omitted with malice aforethought on the part of DC. But first, the runner-up: The Source. Gods and god-like people have a poor track record of making it into Who’s Who, even if they are demonstrably real in the books. Except the Greek Pantheon. (Who, I might add, are also not copyrightable, but that didn’t stand in their way.) (Skeets was on my short list too, but you covered that.)

    But the winner is a character who is clearly important enough to make the cut, but who’s entry would have been a bit problematical: The Spirit King. I bet DC left him out to avoid ending an entry with “Murdered Mr. Terrific and is still at large because nobody seems to have bothered to try and track him down.” Again, after Mr. Terrific’s own entry. (A plot dangler that wouldn’t get picked up for another 5 years or so in Ostrander’s Spectre. And again even later in Johns’ JSA.)

  12. Stalker being done by Steve Ditko is pretty perfect considering that Ditko’s style is so ingrained in the book. I love Stalker much like I love the other DC mid-70s barbarians (*waves to Siskoid*) such as Beowulf, Claw The Unconquered, and Tor. One interesting tidbit is that despite the book seemingly taking place in a fantasy environment, during the final battle with the demon D’Grth, we see a spaceman firing a laser rifle in the melee. I have not had much luck in tracking down this series, having only issue #2, and being unable to find any other issues at HeroesCon earlier this month.

    Sonar would later go on to become Hair Metal Sonar, which sadly I suspect is not represented in this profile entry. For more information on Hair Metal Sonar, check out Shawn Engel’s Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner centric Green Lantern podcast, Just One Of The Guys, at

    Sportsmaster has a minor Hawkman connection — his daughter Tigress menaced Hawkman and Hawkgirl during Volume 4 of the Hawkman book and the modern JSA comic. I also loved the pastiche of the Sportsmaster which we got on the Justice League episode which featured the Justice Guild.

    Shag, if you don’t like the Frankenstein Monster, may I suggest the Hammer series of Frankenstein films, wherein the main baddie is Peter Cushing’s amoral, coldly brilliant Baron Frankenstein, and the monster is secondary to his mad science. Best bets include The Curse of Frankenstein, Revenge of Frankenstein, and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed.

  13. Also, interesting to hear that amongst all of the podcasts, blogs, groups, boards, fanzines, channels, threads, pages, and fantasy leagues mentioned, apparently I run none of them. Considering the crop of characters this time out, I am not sure if I should be offended by this turn of events or not.

  14. Anj says:

    Hmmm … I think it is time for me and Luke Jaconetti to again heap praise on the absolute psychedelic insanity of Beowulf!

    Is there any better book on the planet?

  15. Xum Yukinori says:

    Regarding the Silver Ghost: The history was essentially the plot of the “Secret Society of Super-Villains” story that featured the Freedom Fighters that would have been published in issues 16-18 if the series wasn’t cancelled. The writer, Bob Rozakis, summarized the plot here:

    And yes, Silver Ghost and Firebrand were supposedly changed to silver permanently. Interesting that the end of Rod Reilly was mentioned in the Silver Ghost entry but not in the Firebrand I entry.

    As for Silver Ghost’s later appearance in Crisis, I would chalk that up to time displacement, which explained how other characters like the deceased Cheetah I (and perhaps the Molder) were shown in the story.

    And Rob, the Captain Marvel story whereupon Sivana won the Nobel prize (and was nominated for the following year’s Nobel Peace prize) actually happened in 1981… in World’s Finest #273 to be exact. Enjoy.

  16. Xum Yukinori says:

    Rob, the Speedy II account where Roy Harper’s arrows were magnetized happened in his Silver-Age origin story, “The World’s Worst Archer,” from Adventure Comics #262, reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #9 (Secret Origins of Super-Heroes), which may be what you had recently read.

    Regarding Spanner’s Galaxy, it is a hoot — once you get past the flexographic coloring. I’ll have to check out that MySpace page you mentioned, because I only thought Xum Yakitori was known for his eatery stall in Yūrakuchō…

  17. John says:

    1) I have a theory about why there’s no artist credit on the Skartaris page. The artist credit is always printed in the same color as the surprint … and the Skartaris page has no surprint, hence no artist credit.

    2) There actually is a Space Cabby blog! Well, sort of. The character is a particular favorite of Dave Lartigue of Dave Ex Machina and makes frequent appearances on that blog. Back in 2009, Dave reviewed every one of Space Cabby’s appearances to date, and since then he’s posted many Space Cabby commissions and convention sketches. You can find all the relevant entries here:

    3) I was taken aback hearing Shag say Eric Shanower was best known for his work on Nexus. More than his Oz books? More than Age of Bronze? But listening to it again, he seems to be saying Shanower was best known for Nexus at the time this issue of Who’s Who was published, which may well be true, since his first Oz book for First appeared shortly after this Who’s Who issue was published.

  18. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    Little late to the party apparently….

    My thoughts:

    Cover: Ernie Colon should never touch a Who’s Who cover. EVER.
    Even a Spellbinder mind-bend can’t explain this fiasco. Makes a Paris Cullins
    Who’s Who cover look like it belongs in the Louvre. Bring back PEREZ!
    (Which, spoiler, we know won’t happen…)

    Shrinking Violet:
    • I always forget about Salu Digby when the subject of Hottest Legionnaire comes up.
    After Saturn Girl, I think Vi’s 70s costume is my 2nd favorite of that era.

    • Low grades in combat training and yet part of the Legion Espionage Squad.
    I would have thought the two would have gone hand in hand…

    Signalman: YES! Another favorite C-lister Batman foe in the same gimmick
    mold as the legendary Calendar Man. Like it or not, these are the types of foes
    Batman fought frequently in the 50s and 60s before he was re-envisioned as
    The Darknight Detective after the New Look era in the late 60s. They’re a part of
    history and personally I’d rather see them than space devoted to Anarky, The
    Ventriloquist, Zsasz and others.

    Silent Knight:
    • If he was worried about his voice giving his identity away, he
    should have used the Christian Bale approach. Because that totally works…

    • The Silent Knight was retconned as one of the past identities of Carter Hall
    aka Hawkman.

    • Mark Waid hinted at a connection between Brian Kent and Clark Kent in his
    run on Brave and the Bold (with George Perez)

    Silver Deer, Silver Ghost, Silver Scarab, Silver Swan: Somewhere in space,
    The Silver Surfer is lamenting what he brought forth. Just because you add
    “Silver” to a character’s name doesn’t make them cool.

    Sivana: I’m reminded of how Sivana and other foes of the Marvel Family seemed
    to get a major push in the 70s at the expense of other villains. There were a few
    pin-ups of super-villains at the time and the Shazam Rogues Gallery seemed to get
    more attention than those of Aquaman, Green Lantern or even Superman.

    SKULL: So Marvel gets Hydra, A.I.M. and The Hand and DC has SKULL, The 100 and H.I.V.E.?

    Skyman: I had lost interest in Infinity Inc. by this point and prefer his Star-Spangled Kid identity.

    Slam Bradley: I guess I better get working on that fanzine…

    Snapper Carr: Snapper seems like the type of character that Bob Haney
    would have had a field day with…Dig it,Daddy-O!

    Solomon Grundy: As a member of the Legion of Doom, he was basically there
    as a representative of Superman’s Rogues Gallery, based on his appearance
    in “Superman” #320 I think.

    Space Cabby/Space Museum/Space Ranger: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE DC’s Silver Age Sci-Fi concepts!

    Space Ranger: His original book was Tales of the Unexpected (1959-1964) until he shifted
    to Mystery In Space in 1964. Tales of the Unexpected eventually shifted from sci-fi to weird
    mystery sci-fi and became one of DC’s horror books, The Unexpected.

    Spanner’s Galaxy: I bought the first issue but I think that’s about it. Along with Sonic Disruptors,
    Silverblade, Slash Maraud it’s another DC mini-series “S” book that I don’t think I’ll ever read again.

    Spawn of Frankenstein: He has the dubious distinction of appearing one month (Feb. ’73) after Marvel’s version, “The Monster of Frankenstein”, got his own title in January ’73.

    The Spectre: Jim Aparo may not have drawn this entry but I think he did one in a Who’s Who update.

    Spellbinder: See “Signalman”….

    Sportsmaster: The best Sportsmaster story I ever read was the one in DC Super Stars No. 10,
    where the heroes battle the villains in a baseball game.

    Star Boy: He was a bland character until he got involved in time travel, Kingdom Come and
    Geoff Johns’ run on JSA. What did Dream Girl ever see in him?

    Starfinger: I have a hunch his name was inspired by the James Bond “Goldfinger” movie from a year prior to his introduction. “STARRRRRRRR…..FING..ER!”

  19. rob! says:


    Re: Starfinger: See, now I go the other way. This is what I hear when I see that name.

  20. @Anthony

    “Just because you add “Silver” to a character’s name doesn’t make them cool.”

    Umm… Silver Sable, Silver Fox and Silvermane beg to differ! 😉

    I want Paul Dini and Joe Quinones to do a sequel to Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell where the ladies square off against Silver Deer and Magpie. Kidding — I never want to see Magpie again.

  21. wolfgang hartz says:

    Hello, I hear you like to hear stories of how discovered who’s who, so here’s mine. I wasn’t born yet when the original who’s who came out (I was born a few months before the 1988 update). I guess you could call me a post-crisis baby, which is distressing because I live on earth-prime, which hasn’t existed since 1985! Anyway, I first discovered this series around the beginning of the current millennium from a giant box of comics my dad bought. Anyway, for this who’s who podcast episode, spellbinder also appeared in the batman beyond cartoon, what did you two think of his look in that series? And about the lack of a sgt. rock/all-star squadron crossover, there was an issue of crisis with sgt. rock where he mentions the all-star squadron this placing him on earth-2, (which was probably a goof because it took place in markovia, home of earth-1 hero geo-force, but let’s not get into that.)

  22. Anj says:

    I also completely love the Cockrum era Shrinking Violet costume! I forgot to mention that in my prior post. Just fantastic!

  23. Martin Stein Returns says:

    LET THE DEBATE BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I haven’t listened to this edition of Who’s Who yet, but I don’t need to, because I’m posting in anticipation about what’s NEXT to come.

    Here’s the subject for debate. Should Superman have gotten THREE entries and not two? One for the Golden Age, Earth-2 Superman, one for the Silver/Bronze Age Earth-1 Superman, and one for the Byrne Superman?

    I say unequivocably, yes. There are those who are under the misguided and utterly wrong viewpoint that Earth-1 Superman and Byrne Superman are the same entity and that one merely got transmogrified into the other. No, no, no. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    I debated this on the DC Comics Message Board (may it rest in peace) for weeks on end with a number of jabronies who refused to see sense. After Crisis was over, there was obviously a second wave. (Roy Thomas, who felt really, really, really, really bothered by this, tried to incorporate this wave into proper DC Comics continuity through All Star Squadron, so as to be canon, which, like it or not, however obscure those issues were, are perfectly canonical.)

    This wave retconned Silver/Bronze Age Earth-1 *out of existence*. The Silver/Bronze Earth-1 Superman, the man who had Krypto the Superdog, the man who was once the boy that inspired the Legion of Superheroes, the man who had to contend with all the colors of the kryptonite rainbow occurring on every single square block of Metropolis— that man was not morphed into the Byrne Superman. He was *consigned out of existence*. As such, he was his own entity— an entity that was DC Comics’s flagship character for thirty years. He, above all, deserved his own entry in Who’S Who.

    I understand the quote-unquote “logic”. Somebody at DC probably felt that, gosh, Batman only had two entries: Golden Age and “Modern.” Flash only had two entries, Golden Age and “Modern.” In fact, this was essentially the format for all of Who’s Who: Golden Age and “Modern” versions of the characters, and *that’s it*.

    What DC failed to grasp was that the Byrne Superman was *doing nothing short but inaugurating a brand new era in comicdom.* As such, certainly, the Byrne Superman deserved an entry too. But it should not have been at the expense of the Man of Steel, the Man of Tomorrow, the Action Ace, the Metropolis Marvel, the former WGBS anchorman whose adoptive parents were long dead and who wouldn’t get within thirty planet-moving light years near a wedding altar with dumb-dumb Lois Lane who never for one moment could recognize a similar face if it had glasses on it. It’s a good thing Silver/Bronze-Age Lois never saw Martin Stein without his glasses on, she might have mistaken him for Perry White or something.

    What would have been the harm of three separate entries? DC might have shown that it actually understood the quantum physics implications of alternate realities? That its above-all inaugural superhero actually kind of sort of rated a little? Oh, but! The format! Golden Age and “Modern” and that’s it! Two entries, and that’s it! We must slavishly follow the format!

    I think we all now know what REALLY happened to Brenda Pope. Like Sally Field in Norma Rae, she bravely stood on a table with a sign saying “Three Entries” for all to see, and was consequently thrown out a thirty-story window by Len Wein. She was a true martyr for all of us who can see sense, who understand the tropes of speculative fiction, and who sensibly agree that Earth-1 Superman is a distinct and separate entity from Byrne Superman and warranted his own Who’s Who entry. Maybe Earth-1 Superman and Byrne Superman could’ve arm wrestled on the cover or something, with old Earth-2 Superman as the referee.

    And can I say how much I hate circular lenses for Clark Kent’s glasses? He needs square glasses. Because he’s square. Trying to make Clark hip and groovy with circular glasses was a mistake. Clark is not Curtis Mayfield.

    Well, that’s enough ranting. The only thing else I can say about the error-ridden next issue is that it also was an obvious oversight that Stein, Martin did not get included in his own entry separate from Firestorm. Stein, Martin is the pre-eminent genius of the DCU and should have received his own entry too. So there.

  24. Xum Yukinori says:

    I agree with Martin. There should have been a pre-Crisis Superman II AND a Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman II as well. Not just in respect for the years these two characters have been in existence — but also that these particular characters have been referenced in the histories of earlier Who’s Who entries, e.g., Cheetah, Luthor II, Brainiac, Silver Swan, Doctor Psycho, Legion of Super-Heroes, and even Supergirl, which was in the same issue as the revised Superman II and referencing the wrong character.

    Meanwhile, Sunburst, who had fought and later befriended the pre-Crisis Superboy, had his Who’s Who history revised to a post-Crisis history, where Superboy’s role was filled by Rising Sun of the Global Guardians.

    Oh, the confusion…

  25. Frank says:

    Martin Stein Returns, you buffoon! You flippin’ moron! You couldn’t be more wrong if you sided with the Nazis in a blind taste test preferring Diet Shasta over Dr. Pepper while awaiting the 2012 Mayan apocalypse! As should be clear to any simpleton who licked paste in home school, there should only have been TWO Superman entries in Who’s Who— one for Golden Age Earth-Two Superman, and one for Silver/Bronze Age Earth-One, and then save the Byrne Post-Crisis reboot for Update ’87.

    Sorry for the ersatz vitriol. Stein put so much effort into taking down a straw man I doubt exists as a commentator in this forum that I felt like humoring him for a little bit. No one here actually disagrees with the basic premise of there being at least three separate Supermanses in ’87, right? Ditto Xum’s assertions on Wonder Woman. Barry Allen, and Hal Jordan were the same characters from the ’50s, and there was no need to waste the entry space on as irrelevant and forgettable a character as the Earth-Two Aquaman.

    Welcome to the party, wolfgang hartz! Chad Bokelman needed someone to pick on.

  26. Tim Wallace says:

    Silver Scarab…I always thought he looked cool, but I never read that much of Infinity Inc, to know if he actually was cool or not. Interesting story though…apparently when Mike Machlan and Jerry Ordway were designing him, they took inspiration from…BLUE BEETLE! Ordway is quoted in Christopher Irving’s “Blue Beetle Companion” stating the initial look of Silver Scarab took the basic costume of the golden age Blue Beetle, and added the scarab motif and goggles of the silver age Blue Beetle.

    Now you know…and knowing is half the battle!

    By the way…another “cool” silver character? “Silverblade” by Cary Bates and Gene Colan

  27. @Martin and Frank:

    This discussion is timely for me because I just made a point in an email to another podcast (Hey Kids, Comics!, which is a fantastic show over on Two True Freaks and is strangely unrelated to Rob’s book) that the motivation behind the Crisis was a strong desire to make the DCU “modern” and “real” and have “consequences” and to purposefully distance themselves from the “silly,” “kiddie” Pre-Crisis DCU. Hence why the Byrne Superman (for good or for ill) jettisoned so much of the stuff which Martin refers to in his post.

    The current meme is that the New 52 was done so that DC could “darken” or “roughen up” their superhero universe, and as such they are distancing themselves from the Post-Crisis Universe as much as possible. I posit that the Post-Crisis DCU did the same thing, only with even more of a denial of the previous universe. The trend of the DCU to be “darker” and more violent and more “real” began after the Crisis, which serves as the last hurrah for the way “things used to be.” So there was no way in the Seven Hells of Thanagar that DC would so publically acknowledge the age they were so desperately trying to make everyone forget.

  28. Even as a kid in 1986, I felt cheated that the Earth-One Superman didn’t get an entry. Having Swan draw the entry for “Superman II” was DC’s sneaky way of skirting the issue, but it didn’t work. Even beyond his importance to the company, his omission in the series is criminal for a series trying to be somewhat authoritative. Every entry that referenced (see Superman II) before the issue in question hit was pointing us to a Superman that had almost no connection to that version of the character.

    In my little fanboy dreams, one day the Earth-One Superman will return and knock some sense into whatever version of him is currently mucking up the name at the time.


  29. Jeff R. says:

    At one time I had an elaborate theory about Earth-One Superman’s fate; basically that after the Crisis he achieved something fairly close to godhood, becoming too powerful to interact with mortals, and that his solution was to recreate himself as the Byrne version. The changes make sense from Earth-One Superman’s subconscious psyche: of course he would rather Krypton had been something too sterile and soulless to be worth mourning, of course he would rather Kara never existed is she was doomed to die young, or that Luthor was never in any way his responsibility, or that his Clark Kent persona was more central and was a person Lois could love more than his Superman. You then interpret the late nineties/early 00’s as his repressed memories breaking out, one by one…

  30. Jeff R. says:

    (Oh, and the big one: of course he’d want his parents to still be alive.)

  31. Phylemon says:

    So, did anybody catch this? Looks like Jeff Lemire has read an issue or two of Who’s Who based off of the accompanying pictures. It could be horrible, but these pictures make me want to pick up at least a first issue.

  32. Frank says:

    Looking forward to the Lemire series, Phylemon.

    Meanwhile, I was flipping through Detective Comics #500 today, and who should I see illustrating the Slam Bradley story but Jim Aparo. There’s the connection.

  33. ^Yep, I meant to bring up that Tec #500 connection, but never got around to my lengthy list this time. Aparo drew Slam and just about every other gumshoe that ever graced Tec in that one story.

    Jeff, I like your Superman theory. Makes tons of sense. Better than him going off into a room full of Gold K, which I never bought that Superman doing.


  34. Kyle Benning says:

    I’m so late to this party it isn’t even funny. Another great episode of Who’s Who….and we finally get Slipknot! I’m just waiting for a Slipknot ongoing series. He’d be perfect for the over the top New 52 DCU. Hey if Vibe can get his own ongoing, so can Slipknot. I think he’d have a few cult following thanks to this podcast alone.

    Great Instock Trade choice Rob! I just recently tracked down the few issues I was missing from this run. I love this era of the Spectre! Hmm, I’ve never heard of the Mystery in Space collection that Shag mentions, that sounds awesome, I need to track this one down! That sounds just like an all around awesome collection! I must have this!

    Yikes, wonky cover, and I agree, why no cover centerpiece love for the Spectre? His Starboy looks a little goofy.

    Wait…what? I have a Batman blog? That talks about Signalman? Huh? I don’t get it.
    Interesting theme Shag carried through the episode, I guess you have to admire his commitment to it. Why is my Batman Blog the only one that warrants an “ouch” or “ooh” response from Rob whenever it’s mentioned? What are trying to say?!?!?

    I would guess the reason you hate the Frankenstein character at DC would have more to do with the actual DC New 52 than Frankenstein’s monster and the baggage that title may carry, but I get what Shag’s saying.

    This Spectre entry is my favorite of the book, but damn I wish it could have been either all Ordway, or Aparo pencils with Ordway inks (imagine that entry! WOW!) I love all of Aparo’s Spectre covers, how can you not love that first Adventure cover Aparo did (#432) featuring the Spectre. My second favorite Spectre cover has probably got to be that gorgeous Ordway cover to All-Star Squadron #28. Love that cover & issue! Yes that DC Animated short with the Spectre was freaking awesome!!! My wife really enjoyed that one as well! I would be all over a full length Spectre animated movie that was done in that tone and style!

    I’m sure this has been corrected in the posts above, but the issue of Green Lantern/Green Arrow that features Speedy the junkie is issue #85 which came out in 1971, so it was one of the more iconic covers of the 70’s, not 60’s. (Doesn’t this suck having every sentence you say in each podcast being scrutinized by your adoring fans? :P)

    How did Shag not know that’s how you do the star effect? Has he never watched an artist do sketches at conventions? I agree, once you have a man beard that prolific, you are no longer Starboy, you are Starman.

    Heck yeah! I can’t wait to hear you guys cover all of the “Whatever Happened To…” stories! That sounds awesome!

    Another great episode guys! I can’t wait for the next episode, which covers my favorite issue of Who’s Who!

  35. wolfgang hartz says:

    Who is Chad Bokelman?

  36. Joe X says:

    Space Ranger showed up again in Kurt Busiek’s Trinity weekly, where it turned out he was really the Martian Manhunter.

    Spellbinder’s costume was a mish-mash of 60’s Op-Art gimmicks, including Go-Go Checks. He also showed up in Batman 336, which resurrected a bunch of random Bat-villains, drawn by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (praised be his name).

    Star Boy’s first appearance was originally a rewrite of an earlier story featuring Mars Boy.

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