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WHO’S WHO: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe, Volume XXVII, The Victory Lap

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 XXVII!

The twenty-seventh episode of our WHO’S WHO podcast is now available — the show that dares to tackle one of DC Comics’ greatest publications! With the first volume of Who’s Who behind us, we celebrate by taking a victory lap! We conclude this run with a look at Ambush Bug #3, a couple Amazing Heroes articles, and a special bonus… an interview with Who’s Who artist Dan Jurgens! We wrap up the show with your Listener Feedback! This episode sponsored in part by InStockTrades.com!

Be sure to check out our Tumblr site for several pages from this Who’s Who episdoe: FireandWaterPodcast.Tumblr.com!

Have a question or comment? Send us an e-mail at: firewaterpodcast@comcast.net

You can find the twenty-seveth 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 play the podcast using the player below or by right-clicking “download”, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (123 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!

Below you’ll find the cover to Ambush Bug #3 drawn by Keith Giffen and Bob Oksner.

Ambush Bug #3

Come back next month when we tackle the first issue of Who’s Who Update ’87!

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13 Comments

  1. Que the Doors’ “This is the End”…

    I really need to track down that Ambush Bug comic. I’ll freely admit, I didn’t get Ambush Bug as a kid. I hated when he showed up in Action Comics. I think I was too young to want snarky humor in my serious super hero comics.

    Amazing Heroes was a great mag. I used to pick it up whenever I made infrequent trips to “the big city” and a comic shop back then. And yes, I wrote an article on Swashbuckler for Back Issue magazine. How’s THAT for obscure?

    I agree Element Girl should have got an entry. She does get one in the loose-leaf version, but it’s quite depressing, dealing with her appearance in Sandman, where she longed for death, and then met her.

    Speaking of the loose-leaf version, I have no idea what characters came in what issue! I organized my pages more or less by comic title/character, with Superman, all his friends, foes, locales, etc behind his entry, etc. For team characters who didn’t have solo titles, they went after the team entry. The left-over characters I put under hero, villain, supernatural, etc. Not that you asked…but there you go!

    Thanks for posting the pics of the DC/Charlton poster. Even though I had this poster hanging on my wall as a kid, I never noticed how Ted Kord is on his way to castration in that image. Just look at how the cord (no pun intended) from the Bug is hanging between his legs. When that line goes tight, Ted’s going to be in more pain than in his last meeting with Maxwell Lord!

    Oh, and Lyta/Fury first appeared in Wonder Woman issue #300, I believe. Earth-One Diana visits her Earth-Two counterpart, and we are introduced to her and Steve’s teenage daughter. This was by Roy (and I think Dann) Thomas, a few years before Infinity, Inc. So she definitely should have got mentioned in Wonder Woman 1’s Who’s Who entry.

    Thanks for all the great hours of entertainment guys. I have long-loved this series, and you guys reminded me of how much it meant to me as a kid. Every month was kind of like reliving that moment of purchase and discovery all over again. Looking forward to all the updates!

    Chris

  2. Joe X says:

    Wonder Tot: Oh, that DC baby talk. The “Impossible Tales” were Hippolyta watching the Magic Sphere.

    There’s at least 6 Julie Schwartz appearances just in Ambush Bug stories.

    Amazing Heroes kept Fantagraphics afloat for a number of years, at least until porn comics became a thing. If you have to choose any AH issues, try and find the Preview Specials, which give you all the upcoming comics for the next 6 months. It’s interesting to see the story lines that never came to pass. I also spent a lot more money on comics because of the AHPS.

    Mind Grabber Kid showed up in one of the JLQuarterly issues, as well as one of the Seven Soldier stories, and 52, where he was one of the few heroes willing to carry Booster Gold’s coffin.

    Grant Morrison loves all the old forgotten DC characters, and always digs up a few for whatever his new project is. You can tell he enjoys digging through the detritus of universes.

    If you’re going to list O.G.R.E., you need to add C.A.W. and all the other fake SPECTRE/THRUSH agencies as well. You could probably build a Fire and Water podcast around them, including the 2000 Committee and the 1000.

    Which came first? Well, after Peter Sanderson finished his research for DC’s Who’s Who, he went to work for Marvel on OHOTMU.

  3. Anj says:

    Just a great capstone to the run. You guys definitely deserve a victory lap!

    Just a couple of comments.

    1) I have been waiting for this episode because you have been talking about this Ambush Bug issue for some time and I had no idea about it at all. Now I have to try to find it. Since I don’t own it, I went to the Tumblr site hoping to see all the pages …

    2) I love Amazing Heroes and still have several of them in my collection, mostly the Superman and Supergirl related issues. But a couple showcase Howard Chaykin and I have them as well.

    In terms of their entries, ‘He Who Never Dies’ actually came back as an Animal Man/Vixen/BWana Beast villain in the Grant Morrison Animal Man. He actually *does* die when he is deconstructed from finished art to pencils to thumb nail to ovals.

    3) The Reactron art is indeed by John Byrne, from the Secret Origins Annual #1, the Doom Patrol issue.

    Looking forward to the upcoming updates,etc. especially the Legion book!

    Quick story about the loose leaf edition. I was completely boring and just alphabetized. Within the last year, my father said he found something of mine in the old house as they were cleaning out the basement. He handed me a large binder with the loose leaf sheets A-L. Alas … he didn’t find M-Z. MADDENING !!!!

    Thanks again for this!

  4. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    Congrats on completing Phase 1!

    I wish there was a true Who’s Who or DC Encyclopedia that listed ALL of their characters. Over the years, we’ve been given versions that seem to satisfy the current company view but nothing that truly celebrates the rich depth of the company’s 75+ year history. The original Who’s Who is probably the closest we’ll ever get. But it’s still at the expense of Binky, Sugar and Spike, Quisp, Ace the Bat-Hound, Lena Thorul, The Eraser, The Batman of Planet X, Silver Age Superman, The Molder, The Ringmaster, Mazdan, Clive Yorkin, Nubia, and more. Granted, many of these characters are dated and silly by today’s standards but at one point, they all meant something and it’d be nice to see them get their due one last time in a Who’s Who style format. After all, how many characters that may have once been deemed throwaway have been dusted off and revised by writers such as Geoff Johns,
    Grant Morrison and others. I’ve always been of the philosophy that there’s no BAD characters…just BAD writing.

    Looking forward to the Updates, Trek, The Legion (there’s some cool art in the listings, although the
    feature stories are sometimes a bit stiff), and the Loose-Leaf*. !mpact not so much.

    (*I had two binders for the loose-leaf… the white one had the heroes and the supporting casts while the black one had the villains and the supernatural. I recently got the first Perez binder which I’m using for all of the covers and a new giant binder for all of the pages, which are still broken down by the color tabs)

  5. Jeff R. says:

    Did I miss something, or did you not actually get around to giving your own picks for most Egregious Omission of the seires? (Midway through you said you’d get to it later, but unless I missed something you never did.)

    Been thinking about that, and I have a few ideas. Breaking it down by categories, with several that never made it for my thing in a month:
    Kirby: Dubbilex, hands down.
    Legion: Reflecto. Firstly, because he managed to be an important part of Legion mythology without actually appearing for a long time: the name first showed up associated with a statue in the hall of dead legionnaires in an Adult Legion story. And secondly, because as the story he was in finally played out, doing an entry for him would have allowed Who’s Who to sneak a pre-Crisis Superboy entry into the series.
    Supporting Characters: Commissioner Gordon, obviously. Would have made my list last time except that there was no way I was giving up the Composite Superman gag.
    Omitted Versions: It’s down to Earth-1 Superman and Wonder Woman here, but I’m going to have to go with Wonder Woman just because that version of the character was erased more utterly by Who’s Who, while there’s a lot of Earth-1 Kal-related characters throughout the series.
    Teams: The Seven Deadly Enemies of Man.
    Villains: Slimmer pickings here, but I’ll go with the Spirit King
    Heros: Gotta be Vibe here. the only full JLA member to be overlooked.
    And finally, Places: While Metropolis and Gotham are both important, I’m going to skip over both of them for the Fortress of Solitude, which, unlike the other two, was promised in earlier issues.

    And for the all-time-pick, for me it’s down to Commissioner Gordon and the Fortress of Solitude, and I’d give it to the second of those, again because it was promised and never delivered on.

  6. Wolfgang Hartz says:

    In defense of Carmine Infantino, not all of his entries were hands on hips. His early work for who’s who was more varied (like detective chimp in volume VI for example). Anyway, fun episode as always. I give ten syonides out of ten.

  7. Tim Wallace says:

    I love that DC/Charlton house ad/poster! I may have to post it on my blog…if I ever go back to Blue Beetle.

    After listening to this episode I immediately started wracking my brain for characters I wanted to see that were missed…and then, after double checking, found that nearly all of the ones I came up with DID get entries (either in the original or the updates). Oh, well…

  8. Xum Yukinori says:

    A well-deserved “victory lap”, gentlemen.

    A few points of clarification:

    There were several “Wonder Tot” (and “Wonder Girl”) stories in the Silver-Age Wonder Woman comics which were essentially adventures of Princess Diana when she was younger. These were not the “impossible stories” you mentioned, but essentially retcon stories (at the time) because the younger version of Diana was wearing a variation of the Wonder Woman uniform that she had yet to earn from the tournament — and that may be part of the reasoning behind Robert Kanigher essentially doing away with Wonder Tot and Wonder Girl in Wonder Woman v1 #158. The “impossible stories” are essentially the ones in which the adult Wonder Woman would team up with her past versions of Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot (and were, as Joe X explained, told via the Magic Sphere). These stories were “impossible” because of an immutable time travel “law” in the Pre-Crisis DCU: when a time-traveller visits an era in which s/he already exists as a living being, s/he will be rendered into an intangible, inaudible phantom that can only observe and not affect the timeline in any way (The Flash explained the reasoning behind this being that it is “an impossibility for anyone to physically co-exist in two places at any one moment in time” in The Flash v1 #309).

    The special Julie Schwartz tribute issue of Superman that you had mentioned was v1, #411, for those which want to go back-issue-bin diving…

    Besides Glop, Wonder Woman had another “imp” character in the Golden Age stories: Shaggy the Leprechaun. I believe Shaggy was the representative “imp” character that appeared in the Bat-Mite DC Super Friends story mentioned in Shag’s In Stock Trades recommendation.

    While the Mopee story in The Flash v1 #167 was essentially disavowed, Mark Waid paid a brilliant homage to it his “The Life Story of the Flash” book. I also recall the Grodd and Gorilla City Who’s Who entries made a similar dismissal of the retconned origin in DC Super-Stars v1 #14, which claimed the super-gorillas were aliens from the planet Calor who used Hal Jordan’s power ring to transport them to Earth.

    I too recall the Icarus introduction and death in The Shadow War of the Hawkman #2. That was a criminally short-lived story concept. I understand Tony Isabella had a five-year plan for the Shadow War that was cut short by DC editorial…

    Mind-grabber Kid re-appeared in Grant Morrisson’s Bulleteer and Zatanna mini-series, 52, and Dc Super Friends #19.

    And yes, Marvin White’s connection to Wonder Woman was the work of E. Nelson Bridwell, who explained the connection in a column printed in Super Friends v1 #1. In the same column, Bridwell also stated that Wendy Harris was the niece of detective Harvey Harris, the man who mentored a teenaged Bruce Wayne, who hid his identity by wearing the first version of the Robin costume (see the story, “When Batman was Robin!” in Detective Comics v1 #226).

    And I wholeheartedly agree with your podcast numbering system; it should follow the published book so we instantly know which issue to pull out.

  9. Siskoid says:

    Super late this time around, sorry. Crazy month…

    Ambush Bug, yes yes yes yes yes… and my first issue was ALSO #3, and I tracked down the first two issues in a 7-11 in Texas that summer, and HAD to have them even though one of them was stained by Slurpee juice. It’s somehow perfect like that.

    I am surprised your victory lap didn’t include either the Argh!Yle entry and the ones from DC’s various Annuals that had entries at the back. Or am I off on the timeline? I might be. I guess they’re for the Updates’ victory lap.

    Fun interview with Dan Jurgens. Nice surprise! Anyway, the craziness isn’t over, so I’ve got to run. Bring on volume 2 of the podcast!

  10. Martin Gray says:

    Congratulations on your achievement, boys! Managing 27 whole episodes without killing one another, I mean.

    Kryll isn’t pronounced ‘Cyril’, Shag, look at how it’s spelt.

    Didn’t Booster Gold feature the first official post-crisis Superman?

    Stargirl was even seen watching Yankee poodle on TV in, I think, Justice League of America.

    But you didn’t sing along to the song at the end! That’d have been a great way to make the occasion!

    I never sorted the binder Who’s Who entries into any order, couldn’t be arsed. Left them as they came.

    Were there Magic Sphere Impossible Tales, Joe and Xum? The ones I recall saw Wonder Queen splicing together home movies.

    I always think of Mr Genie as Wonder Woman’s imp, but I think he was specific to Wonder Tot.

  11. phylemon says:

    Another great episode, guys! I know I promised to be insufferable, but I said every glowing comment I could in the comments of the last show. I will confess that part of my, “comic book bucket list” is to get the first appearance of each of the characters mentioned in this issue of Ambush Bug. So far, I’ve gotten none of them, although years ago my comic shop had the Wonder Woman issue featuring Glop, but I couldn’t swing the $100 price tag back then.

    For what it is worth, Binky is supposed to be trapped in one of the domed cities in Convergence (along with Sugar and Spike). If he does show up, it will justify all of the money I am putting in to this “event”.

  12. Xum Yukinori says:

    Martin,

    I was going from memory, and now that I’ve pulled out my old Wonder Woman comics, I have confirmed that you are correct that the first two “Impossible Tales” involved splicing home movies in “Forrest Gump” fashion (these were is Wonder Woman v1 #124 and #129). What I was misremembering, and perhaps Joe X was thinking of this as well, was the tale in Wonder Woman v1 #128, which involved not the Magic Sphere from the Golden Age, but it’s Silver Age equivalent, the Time and Space Projector, which was essentially used as a time-travelling Skype for Wonder Woman to communicate with her two younger selves in the past. Since Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot were in their respective points in time, this was not an “Impossible Tale.” (However, the tale in the issue about how the invisible plane was actually the mythical creature Pegasus was eventually deemed impossible and eventually “Mopee-fied”).

    The next “Impossible Tales” that occurred in issues #133, #135, #138, #140, and #142 were also also co-labelled as “Wonder Woman Family” adventures. In these stories all three versions of Wonder Woman appear together with no film splicing, no time viewer, and no explanation whatsoever. And then, while the story in issue #145 was labelled as another “Impossible Tale,” the story states that Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot are now Wonder Woman’s *sisters* instead of her past selves. This new status quo of the Wonder Sisters continued in the rest of their appearances together in issues #147 and #149-155, which were no longer referred to as “Impossible Tales.”

    (These “Wonder Sister” stories may be why Murray Boltinoff and Bob Haney believed Wonder Girl to be an individual character when they included her in the first version of the Teen Titans.)

    Then, again, it all ended with issue #158, when Robert Kanigher essentially did away with the whole “Wonder Woman Family” concept. He had also gotten rid of Glop at the same time.

  13. Frank says:

    1) I use Zook as my catch-all example of Martian Manhunter slights in Who’s Who, since he appeared far more times than many other entry choices, even as a cover featured co-star of House of Mystery. However, there are plenty more I could reference as oversights, including Professor Arnold Hugo, who started out as a Batman foe in Detective Comics before switching to the Manhunter from Mars strip (facilitating the only instance of the two strips ever crossing over) then made the jump to HoM. Michael Fleisher included him in the 1970s Batman Encyclopedia (though admittedly incorrectly as Professor Hugo Arnold.) I bring this up because Professor Hugo’s only appearance in a DC Comic since the 1960s was in the DC Super Friends series.

    2) Who’s got a Showcase Presents Ambush Bug? This guy. Anyway, my counter-argument to Rob’s rebuttal of my criticism of George Perez’s run of Wonder Woman is that two things he and his acolytes disallowed was Amazing Amazon adventures involving enormous Chinese egg men with prehensile mustaches and anthropomorphic devil monkeys with human heads. At least he kept Cheetah and (late in his run) Dr. Psycho.

    3) Re: Renumbering: Chowderheads. There’s always legacy voluming, I suppose. You guys don’t use track numbering on your downloads anyway, so that’s an easy fix.

    4) Shag’s going to have perhaps his lengthiest monologue in Who’s Who Podcast history when it comes time to talk about the bonus features in the History of the DC Universe hardcover.

    5) I was perhaps lucky that I started collecting Ambush Bug with “Son of…,” in that I have a soft spot for my introduction to Giffen & Fleming, despite its generally being the worst received of the Irwin Schwab Funnybookography. It was more weird and obscure than humorous, but I could accept it under those terms, then enjoy the better material that bookended it. I think I put together my set of the first mini-series in 1987, and still have what’s left of my original copies, though my current #3 is a replacement copy (easily determined by its still having a cover and all it’s original pages.)

    6) Now that digital (often cell phone) photography has become so cheap and common, there appears to be a renewed interest in the picture as physical memorial, hence the revival of the photo booth from near extinction.

    Egg) This comic was of course my first exposure to Egg Fu, and I don’t think I ever read his actual story, though it’s probably in one of the Showcases on my shelf. Now called Chang Tzu, he’s made regular appearances in the Didio years, including several in New 52 Harley Quinn stories.

    WoT) Wonder Tot appeared A LOT, and she’s even sorta kinda turned up in Post-Crisis stories, as part of Wonder Woman’s youthful tales. In fact, I think Jill Thompson has an original graphic novel coming out about her (or somewhere in between Tot and Diana Wonder Girl.)

    Zook) As you folks mentioned, most of the DC imps turned up here, but not Zook. Giffen made up for it by including the character in several issues of Year Nothing as a suicide bomber. No, it didn’t end well, but how could it?

    $) This was obviously my first exposure to the Green Team, which led me to buy the first issue of the New 52 series, which was okay. It was written by the guys from Tiny Titans. Gail Simone did a thematic companion title, The Movement.

    CHEX) Cheeks was one of Xavier Roberts’ (pronounced Zayvyer by Siskoid) Cabbage Patch Dolls, and was blown up in the first issue, then resurrected as a doll-eating cannibal for the Stocking Stuffer, plus his misadventures throughout the Multiverse dictated by The Interferer.

    Itty) Turned up during the Gerard Jones run on Green Lantern in the ’90s,

    Sitting duck.

    Schwartz) There’s no way Julie only appeared in 8 comics. I think they did eight or more comics called Julie Schwartz Presents where he often appeared, and he quite probably turned up in as many Ambush Bug comics. He was the closest thing DC ever had to a Stan Lee.

    52) The war between Moopee and Johnny DC has defined the entire comic book continuum in the modern era, and they’re both wrong. Also, I think Moopee is Roy Thomas’ secret identity. Or maybe Steve Englehart’s. Moopee is the Mockingbird of Bronze Age writers.

    0) I don’t think anyone has spoken on the record as to why Year None #6 was scrapped, but DiDio was a major adversarial character in the Giffen/Fleming issues. The long delayed #7 was produced by the same Tiny Titans creative team behind Green Team. Conspiracy!

    Yarn) You missed the ARGH!yle Who’s Who entry (from the Stocking Stuffer?) He was miffed when DC forgot him the first time, so you boys are playing with fire, or at least a highly flammable policotton blend.

    S) Ambush Bug appeared in two mostly serious stories as a murderous wackjob written by his co-creator Paul Kupperberg before fellow creator/artist Keith Giffen ran buck wild with him. His appearances in Superman titles from that point until his solo mini-series are as good as anything else featuring the character. I’m also fond of the highly underrated “Nothing Special” from the early ’90s.

    V) “Faceless,” better known as Mr. V, appeared regularly in the last year or so of Martian Manhunter’s House of Mystery run, plus an issue of Justice League of America and on the bio card of the Super Powers action figure. Like C.A.W. & O.G.R.E., J’Onn fought his own international crime organization run by Faceless, Vulture (not an acronym, though often misremembered as one by fans.) Marco Xavier was also referenced in the Amalgam JLX comics. Even through all that, I don’t recall him appearing in any DC reference books, including the encyclopedias. Definitely an omission in my view. Comic Vine currently uses a commission I got from Phil Hester of Mr. V for its listing on the character, and I Xum’d my own Who’s Who page for the character a few years ago:
    http://idol-head.blogspot.com/2010/10/vile-menagerie-mr-v.html

    7) Congratulations to Rob on complete his crusade for validation of Sir Print. I’m just happy color hold got a mention, as well. Also, Dan Jurgens is quite a guy. Nice interview! DC hardly gave Jurgens a blank check for his Zero Hour #0 cover, since he also provided the art for the gatefold back cover timeline.

    8) I’ll always have a soft spot for Booster Gold because I bought the second issue off the newsstand, and I’ll always resent him for not getting the button I was promised by house ads for doing same (even as I recognize Circle K was most certainly not a participating retailer, and again it was #2.) Still, Booster serves a unique and valuable role with the DC Universe that should not be denied.

    9) It was extremely common for children of the 70s & 80s to hold Jack Kirby (and to a lesser extent Steve Ditko) in disdain while lauding contemporary artists who owed him an enormous debt. I got right with Kirby once I checked out his New Gods and Silver Age work, but we all have our pet artistic peeves, so I can understand a lack of enthusiasm for The King. Not dissimilarly, I don’t even try to expose people to Elvis Presley, because divorced from his time, it’s very difficult for the uninitiated to enjoy his work unironically or to recognize how enormous a force he was. All they perceive is the bigness– the camp factor.

    J) If nothing else, we need to get a commission done where Johnny DC and Jonni DC are paired off in the center of a page with parallel listings at the top and bottom. How many appearances were made between the two of them? Also, Jonni was hot, but real girl approachable hot, which is at least hotter than Starfire. You just better have your place in the Multiverse sorted out first. Say, where is that perverted flasher Jakeem DC for the New 52?

    SO) I initially mistook Shag’s reference to the poor sales on “Secret Origins” for an abbreviation of “Secret Files & Origins.” The latter was a decent hybrid of two very different entities, “Who’s Who” & “Secret Origins.” You should cover them after !mpact. Of course the sales on a New 52 Origins series begun two years into the New 52 and only featuring the most popular and well documented characters without much elaboration wasn’t going to sell, as it’s pointless featherweight tripe. No barometer for a New Who’s 52.

    10) I’m bummed out over that custom hardcover collection. I have the updates collected in two volumes I picked up cheap from an estate sale on eBay many years ago, but they just have nondescript red covers. I can hardly crow about them now that I’ve seen such a luxurious compendium with a signature foil-stamped logo.

    11) I’m looking toward to the looseleaf coverage, but it will be burdensome for me to follow along. I too have my sets divided into folders by moral alignment, but also by approximate color coding (I made some “corrections”.) I think I have three thick binders, since I bound in my Mayfair versions, too. But see, I don’t think I have complete sets of either the DC or Marfair editions, including at least one where I only got a partial volume of pages. Oh, did I mention that I separated out female characters, and that I did some groupings by team (particularly the Legionnaires, which constitutes temporal segregation as well?) Whoo-Boy!

    12) I had near immediate cause to hate Wizard Magazine, since its full color glossy stock speculator servicing put the vastly superior editorially but colorless on cheap paper Amazing Heroes out of business. I own a few dozen issues, and it’s one of the only things I actively seek from retailers at conventions. They’re still swell reads, and they sometimes had lovely covers. Bolland Wonder Woman, Jim Lee X-Men in formal dress, Kevin Nowlan Supergirl– so many favorites.

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