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WHO’S WHO: Update ’87 Podcast, Volume 2

Who's Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC UniverseThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents… WHO’S WHO: UPDATE ’87 PODCAST, volume 2!

The second episode of our WHO’S WHO UPDATE ’87 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: UPDATE ’87, volume 2, discussing characters such as the Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, Doll Girl, Electric Warrior, The Flash, Fury, and more! We wrap up with your 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 second episode of WHO’S WHO: UPDATE ’87 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 (152 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 beautiful cover by Joe Brozowski and Dick Giordano! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who Update '87 #2 cover by Joe Brozowski and Dick Giordano

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  1. Anj says:

    Glad to see another Who’s Who episode. Some quick hit comments!

    1) Catwoman – meee-oww! Great art from Alan Davis. So fantastic. Would easily be the best page in the book if it weren’t for …

    2) Commissioner Gordon – Wow. This is the best art in the book. Mazzuccchelli is just a master. I love both DKR and Year One. But as time has passed, I feel like DKR is a great comic for its time while Year One is a great comic for all time. I am not knocking DKR, I love it. But Year One is just superior for me.

    3) Doctor Midnight – Her last name is Chapel! Her brothers are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John! Talk about laying it on thick! I bought a bunch of Infinity Inc issues because they were Crisis crossovers. This Dr. Midnight was a big presence in all those issues but I never really saw anything in the character.

    4) Dyna Mite – thanks for the ‘they found touching each other made them stronger’ comment Rob. I haven’t stopped cringing. I will never look at those characters the same. Ever.

    5) Flash- I agree that the art is a terrible showcase for the character. Is he tripping? Doing a jig? Skipping to school? While I am old enough to have read Barry as the Flash, Wally is my Flash. The whole thing about living up to Barry, growing as hero, becoming the legend … it is all great. And so I think it is a shame that this Wally has simply vanished. I got the early Baron/Guice issues but then went away until Waid came back on board. But Waid’s whole run is superior.

    6) Flying Fox – never really saw the Batman connection being a big part of his character although I guess if Thomas was hell-bent on plugging in versions of those erased, Fox fits the bill. I do like on the art that the inside of his cape is actually the white of the paper. Nice.

    7) Fury 1 – I am also a huge fan of this Fury, a great plug in for Diana. I especially like the sort of tragic nature of the character. She is Wonder Woman. But she is also the Hulk, becoming the monstrous Fury being. The chain mail suit is a nice design. And I like how the color scheme is riffed on by the daughter.

    Thanks for the show! And Shag … HYATHIS!!!

    If you say her name three times, she appears in a comic!

  2. Siskoid says:

    Chiller: Yes, I know about Boosteriffic, but what if I want to learn more about Ronald Reagan, Shag??!

    Darwin Jones: I haven’t done a Who’s This is a long time, but this guy might make a good entry. If the Updates were all Chillers and Chromas, characters who had recently appeared but didn’t have much history (or slim updates of characters that had already gotten entries), I’d have hated these volumes. The forgotten characters like Darwin Jones and Kite-Man were just enough to keep me happy.

    The Dome: The Batmen were complete unknowns at the time, and never registered. Quite fun to rediscover their bit in Who’s Who by revisiting this issue.

    The Duke of Oil: I know Rob only says my name at the start of Outsiders’ entries so I won’t skip ahead. I believe this character became Canada’s Prime Minister. Elections are in October. Let’s get the Harperbot out of there.

    Electric Warrior: I guess the text had to cover an entirely new world and tell us everything about it, which would account for the 2 pages. I guess.

    Fastbak: I’ve always wanted to read a story where someone puts a key into his head and unlocked it. Pretty cool Kirby pastiche art.

    Fay Gunn: The same way it’s almost impossible for an Outsiders villain to be cool or worthy of a second appearance, it’s very hard for a Batman villain (at least the ones that make it in Who’s Who) to NOT be cool and worthy of a second appearance. Batman already has the best rogues’ gallery in comics, and he keeps adding to it. Even the minor villains that were created in the late 70s, the 80s and 90s, were interesting. Fay Gunn is a footnote today, but she could be revived easily because, like the best villains, she’s got a clear, iconic concept.

    Flaw and Child: Also appeared quite a bit in the Hank/Dawn Hawk & Dove series. That is the end of my commentary on these characters.

    Flying Fox: One of the few (the only?) Canadian characters in the DC Universe at the time. An overwhelming number of Canadian superheroes (DC or Marvel, then and since) seem to be Natives, which probably says something about what comics writers think of my country. I don’t want to take any superheroes away from Natives, obviously, and I should be glad the country isn’t full of super-Mounties, but that’s always seemed rather limited a vision. Maybe it’s because not even Alpha Flight produced any heroes from the Maritimes.

    Goldstar: That even looks like Michelle in the lower right-hand corner. The entry really should have referenced both I and II in the personal data.

  3. Siskoid says:

    What fans should be called…


    You’re welcome.

  4. Xum Yukinori says:

    Shag, how did you know I was driving down a highway (a very long one in New Mexico, no less) while listening to your podcast? Seems like you packaged this episode just for me…

    Now that I am at my hotel with high-speed Internet, I can post a few quick thoughts:


    Ch’p first appeared in a few solo “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” back-up tales drawn by Don Newton, and he looked like an actual chipmunk in a standard-issue GL uniform (and he was so cute). He didn’t have his more cartoony appearance until Joe Staton started drawing him when he appeared in the regular GL title, and then in Green Lantern Corps, where he received his Disney-inspired costume (designed by Arisia) in issue #201.

    The most awesome appearance of Ch’p in my opinion is in the Green Lantern Animated Series episode “Reboot”. Here is a clip (starts at minute 2:40).

    Frances Kane:

    Shag, you were right about Frances Kane using a super hero code-name, which was “Magenta” (based on the color of her costume). This happened in a two-part story in Teen Titans Spotlight #16-17. Because of her powers, it is very easy to misread (and misremember) the name as “Magneta.”

    This costume first appeared in a two-page “New Teen Titans” spread in DC Sampler #2, though it was colored very differently. She actually first wore the costume (which was colored magenta and white) during the Church of Blood storyline in The New Teen Titans Baxter series — issue #28, I think. I do not have my longboxes with me on this road trip so I cannot check for sure…

    Flash III:

    I had always had a problem with Jackson Guice’s anatomy in the Flash series, and this Who’s Who entry was no exception.

    The idea of the coincidental nature of Wally’s origin to Barry Allen’s was actually touched on (though not clearly addressed) in the Messner-Loebs run of Flash. While I do not recall the particular issue, I do remember a scene in which Dr. Tina McGee explained to Wally her theory that when the lightning bolt struck Barry, the lightning actually consumed Barry’s body and essentially “became” Barry – referencing a paper by Jason Woodrue that connected this theory to the Alan Moore revamped Swamp Thing origin. This theory was undoubtedly a nod connected to the ending of the Secret Origins Annual #2 story whereby Barry became the actual bolt of lightning that gave him super-speed in the first place. Tina explained that “lightning Barry” (which I suppose was an “electrical avatar” that essentially resembled a human being) would explain how Barry Allen was able to do the things he could do without requiring extra food, rest, or adherence to the laws of physics. She also extrapolated that “lightning Barry” had subconsciously created the accident that gave Wally his powers, granting the wish of the 10-year old boy that wanted to be like his hero. Of course, this theory was only mentioned once…

    And tying in to Rob’s comment of Who’s Who fans being “a tough bunch,” I remember some letters in the original series taking issue with the Kid Flash entry in issue XII mentioning “unnamed parents” under “Known Relatives” for Wally West, reminding the Who’s Who editors of The Flash Spectacular in the 1970s (DC Special Series v1 #11) that named them for the first time, as well as re-introduced Wally’s other relatives, the Rhodes, which first appeared in The Flash v1 #152. And now in the Flash III entry, all of them are listed. (This has been noted by “Yukinceitus of the Borg of Who’s Who”…)

  5. Xum Yukinori says:

    Speaking of that Kid Flash entry, I recall back in the original podcast of issue XII Shag’s theory that the brown hair color change was created in Who’s Who to explain so-called coloring mistakes (of which there were several). However, this is not the case. In The Flash v1 #138 (the first Kid Flash solo adventure after he received his new hair-revealing uniform in issue #135), it is shown that Kid Flash’s costume ring actually contained a “hair color spray feature” to change his hair color from red to brown as an additional identity safeguard (the link below is a panel from that story, which takes quite a bit of time to explain this feature to the reader while showing it in action – one has got to love those charmingly goofy silver age DC ideas and expositions).

    Odds and Ends:

    So, the “Diabolical Double-Space” should be an upcoming villain to design for the AquaRob Who’s Who entry…

    Not sure about Roy Thomas writing humor? Was he not the writer and co-creator of the Captain Carrot series?

    And I cannot take the credit for the “Geoffcon” term. I recall coming across a brilliant “War Games” Defcon-like visual on the Interwebs years ago which listed the various stages as follows:

    Geoffcon 5: Timeline is safe
    Geoffcon 4: Minor changes apparent
    Geoffcon 3: Changes to minor characters
    Geoffcon 2: Changes to major Characters
    Geoffcon 1: Multiple timeline changes

    Perhaps another listener knows about this image and the source. My 5-minute Google search has come up empty, so I am relying on my memory…

    Brilliant show as always, gentlemen. I look forward to issue 3.

  6. Monday is always better with Who’s Who. Thanks fellas!


    The cover is kinda…meh. It seems like everyone else could be interacting in the proper space, except for Electric Warrior. Is this Joe Bro commenting on his non-existence in the DCU?

    Catwoman: Davis’ Catwoman made quite the impact on me at the tender age of 12. Meow indeed. Gorgeous.

    Cheetah: I’ve often wondered how DC got away with this design at the time. Tigra over at Marvel has essentially the same look, but she always kept her naught bits (barely) covered by a bikini. Hmmm…

    Ch’p: I think Ch’p worked better when he WASN’T drawn like a Looney Tunes character, ala Rocket Racoon. Don Newton drew him “straight” in those GLC backup tales. I always thought he was a squirrel as well, because chipmunks don’t have big bushy tails.

    Commissioner Gordon: Oh hell yeah. Just look at the movement in that main figure. Genius. Mazzuchelli’s Alex Toth influence has never been more apparent.

    Fay Gunn: Have I mentioned how much I hated Max Allan Collin’s Batman work? I mean, Fay Gunn teaches kids how to steal…Fay Gunn…Fagan? What a (Oliver) Twist!

    Flare: That is a nice piece for an inconsequential character. I wonder how many points of herself she had?

    Flash III: Guice seemed to be in a “wonky anatomy” phase on purpose. I remember his X-Factor work, and it wasn’t this insanely proportioned. Just look at the covers of his Flash run, and you’ll see arms and legs akimbo all over. That being said, this central figure ain’t pretty.

    Flying Fox: Rascally Roy no doubt remembered that Bruce Wayne had once been called The Flying Fox in a retcon story published in a Superboy adventure in the Silver Age! Young Bruce visits Smallville and dones an orange cowl and cape and helps Superboy out as the mysterious Flying Fox. Roy recounted this in the epic World’s Finest #271 a few years prior to this. So when building an analog (there’s that proper word you were looking for, Shagg), Roy at least had a name for him.

    Frances Kane: Frances Kane does eventually go by the name Magenta…not Magneta as you would suspect. I’m guessing someone at DC thought that was perilously too close to a certain male master of magnetism over at Merry Marvel, and went for the more colorful name, which kinda sorta matches parts of her costume. I think Frances’ costume appeared first in a DC Spotlight, but went unused for several years until shortly before this Who’s Who entry.

    Fury: Roy DID create the Infinity Inc Fury, as he (and I believe his wife Dann) wrote Wonder Woman #300. So he pulled from his own inventory when selecting her for his Junior JSA.

    Goldstar: Hailing from the Ohio Valley area, every time I hear the word “Goldstar” I think of Cincinnati chilli coney dogs. But that’s just me.


  7. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Just started listening but I want to leave a few comments on what I’ve heard so far.


    Pure bliss. Alan Davis’ short run on Detective, with Mike Barr, will always live on in both my heart and mind as my favorite run on Batman (and Robin) ever. And Rob is right, that Catwoman story was heartbreaking. Very tragic. I was a kid when I first read it and it really bummed me out when she left with the Joker at the end (oops, spoilers). Batman’s reaction was very moving. It showed his human side, something we don’t see enough from him now. And man, Alan Davis was on fire in that run. He always is, but he was practically born to draw the Batman world, even though I bet a lot of people born after this era would disagree (“He’s not gritty enough!” they’d sneer.). But to me, it’s the best ever. I do find it interesting though that DC used Davis to draw Selina’s update because now I’d assume they would have been wanting to promote the recent Frank Miller revamped version of the character, which might have brought about a Mazzuchelli Selina drwaing instead. That would have been great too, but I much prefer the Davis version of the classic Bronze Age version of her costume.


    Well, from what I recall, ol’ Ch’p didn’t last long after this. He met an ugly end with a yellow tractor during that wild ‘n’ trippy series Green Lantern Mosaic, which I loved. I’ve always been a fan of the Green Lantern Corps and found Ch’p sorta cute and fun. Still, not sure he needed an Update entry.

    Commissioner Gordon:

    Gordon certainly deserved an entry, and this one’s superb. Rob nailed it when he pointed out how brilliantly Mazzuchelli drew the woman in the surprint with basically three or four lines. Brilliant! As someone who’s drawn most of his life, I’ve always struggled with the less is more approach and always envied artists who can make that work! Mazzuchelli is a master of that drawing philosophy! And while I preferred to see the Davis version of Catwoman to the Year One version, that has nothing to do with Mazzuchelli. He’s easily one of my favorites ever and I cherish his work on both Daredevil (which was even more than just Born Again, as he drew the book on and off for a year or two leading up to Born Again) and Year One. I too would have loved to see more of his work on the Batman title. Ah, what might have been.

    Duke of Oil?

    Really? I loved BATO but only read a bit of the book after Batman left the book. So I missed the Duke. Holy oil slick Batman that is one hilariously silly villain name and character design. And now I must go find the back issues with him in them because it looks fantastic!

    I wish I had time to do it, because dammit I’d really love to take up Shag’s challenge and start a BATO blog. Rob and I might be the only people who enjoy it, but so be it.

  8. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    A wee bit more:

    Electric Warrior: to me, that will always be an absolutely awesome T. Rex album. I’m positive that has to be where DC got the idea for the name of this character.

    Fay Gunn. I read those issues as they came out and geez they were disappointing. Following on the heels of the great Alan Davis Detective run and Year One (and I believe even Year Two, which while not great was still engrossing), this story line was a major turd. I recently reread a slew of those post-Year One issues written by Max Alan Collins. They did not improve with time. And, just because no one was demanding it, DC recently released a collected edition of this era of Batman called Batman: Second Chances. Yup, now you too can read about that time Bruce Wayne just dropped off Jason Todd at Ma Gunn’s, no questions asked. How this hillbilly criminal operated a criminal training school under the guise of a boys home in the middle of Gotham is still beyond me. The state department of education should be ashamed.

  9. Jeff R. says:

    Oh. More post-crisis Gemworld. Joy. With so many characters who were actually, you know, interesting in the pre-crisis part of that run left out of Who’s Who, those two clowns get an entry.

    So, for the Omission of the Month this time we have General Wade Eiling. You know, the Captain Atom antagonist who actually has a future in the DC Universe. And it’s not like people couldn’t have realized that at the tie. Honorable mentions for Flare, who has to feel singled out as the only new Fatal Fiver not to get an entry (and seriously, they ought to have just done a new Fatal Five Page in this issue rather than giving Caress and Mentallia pages.), Gangbuster and Film Freak.

    1. Jeff R. says:

      Oops, blinked and missed Flare actually being in the issue. Still should have put those three in one page. Something is up when you’re the least memorable out of those three characters.

  10. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Hmmmm. Just heard the listener feedback portion and Shag calling me out for my Batman & the Outsiders love. Now I really might have to threaten to start that BATO blog…

  11. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    As far as Mondays go this one was crappier than usual so a new episode of
    “Who’s Who” was greatly appreciated.

    Regarding the In-Stock Trades™ suggestions:
    “Batman: Year One” still stands the test of time. One of the Greatest
    Batman Stories Ever Told. “Batman:The Dark Knight Returns”, although
    still seminal and groundbreaking, seems a bit dated when re-read today.
    But I still remember the excitement when I stumbled across the first issue
    at Ravenswood Comics. It was nothing like I had ever read before in a
    Batman story.

    The Cover:
    My how we’ve fallen from the very first issue of “Who’s Who”…from
    George Perez to…Joe Brosowski?

    Catwoman: Much is made about Dave Stevens’ Catwoman in the first
    series of “Who’s Who”. But for my money Alan Davis’ version is right
    up there with it.

    Chiller: As much as I’m a fan of Booster Gold and Dan Jurgens, all of
    these Booster-centric entries don’t wow me. Booster is a character
    that got better over time (pun intended). Mike DeCarlo- I’ve never
    been a fan of his inks. Heavy-handed is an understatement.

    Ch’p: I think a GL Corps entry was enough…All of these GLs were not
    worthy of individual entries IMO. But Post-Crisis it was a concept DC
    was really trying to push so I guess that’s probably why.

    Chroma: Roy Thomas’ Infinity Inc. villains make Mike W. Barr’s Outsiders
    villains look like A-listers…

    Church of Blood: If you’re remotely interested in Elizabeth Bathory check out
    the Hammer Horror Film, “Countess Dracula” starring Ingrid Pitt. It should
    score points with Shag simply on the basis of Pitt’s hotness.

    Commissioner Gordon: I’d love to see a “Who’s Who In Batman ’66” mini-series
    released by DC. That way I can get a pin-up of Commissioner Gordon AND Chief
    O’Hara standing by the Batphone under the cake saver.

    Darkwing: Hawkworld couldn’t come fast enough by this point…

    Deimos and Phobos: You have to give George Perez credit for trying to
    amp and expand Wonder Woman’s Rogues Gallery…Alas sometimes I think
    he got too heavy into the Greek mythology and it wasn’t easy to access for the
    occasional reader.

    Dr. Moon: Dr. Moon and Phobia became a couple in the dreaded “Identity

    Dr. Ub’X: Was named after Ub Iwerks, an early animator who was a co-creator
    of Oswald the Rabbit and Mickey Mouse with Walt Disney

    Duke of Oil: When I was a kid our next-door neighbors were an elderly,
    childless couple. Their whole lives seemed to be devoted to their extensive
    yard-work. They wore the same matching blue button-down shirts and Chinese
    hats everyday in the sun as they toiled with their immaculate lawn and garden.
    Their names were Earl and Julie Loss. My father took to calling the husband
    “Duke of Earl” after the old Gene Chandler song. Years later, after my parents
    had divorced, my father would every so often ask us “How’s Dukey?” Which has
    nothing and yet everything to do with Duke of Oil…

    Electric Warrior: Boy, DC did everything and anything they could to make this
    mort into something. Doug Moench wasn’t firing on all cylinders with a lot of
    his new concepts: Electric Warrior, Slash Maraud, Lords of the Ultra-Realms…

    Esak: Wait? What? I thought we were all done with New Gods in the last volume
    of “Who’s Who”? You mean there’s MORE?! Ugh….

    Flare: Wow. I’ve never known Rob to talk at such length positively about a Legion

    Flying Fox: It was in “Adventure Comics” #275 where Superboy meet a young Bruce
    Wayne who was operating under the identity of The Flying Fox.

    Frances Kane: Polaris wanna-be that became Magenta. In-fact, her early
    working name was Polara. Imagine that…

    Fury I and II: Roy Thomas actually created Lyta Hall in “Wonder Woman” #300
    (February 1983). Fury debuted in Infinity Inc’s first appearance
    in “All-Star Squadron” #25 (September 1983)

    1. Thanks for the Flying Fox tip, Anthony! I was too lazy to go to Mike’s Amazing World for that. And yes, go watch “Countess Dracula”. I bet Rob’s seen it. Great Hammer flick. But I’m a sucker for Hammer…and Miss Pitt. Make it a double feature and watch “The Vampire Lovers”.


  12. Joe X says:

    Woo! Another Who’s Who Update podcast! Although I seem to be having some trouble accessing the site, it’s just blank off and on.

    Catwoman: “She’s hawt.” Well duh, Alan Davis draws some sexy women. This is just after Catwoman was “revillainized”
    (a real word according to Denny O’Neil), and Barr and Davis were deliberately riffing on the TV series.

    This is of course the post-Crisis Ch’p, as the first one was a more realistic depiction by the late great Don Newton.
    Even Gerard Jones regretted what he did to Ch’p in Mosaic.
    All those Alan Moore Green Lanterns have been thoroughly strip-mined by Geoff Johns.

    Chroma was retconned into a New God just in time to get killed.

    Blood devotee Bethany Snow is the main reporter for Channel 52 on Arrow.
    Zandia, a country run by super-villains, was a great idea never developed. In Young Justice they sent a team of super-villains including Artemis Crock and Merlyn to the Olympics.

    Darkwing Dork: Yes, designed by Howell.

    The main problem with Perez designs is that no one else can draw them.

    La Garra! That was the original name for the new Wildcat.
    That Dr. Midnight costume was designed by McFarlane, and was based on a choir robe.

    Spectro showed up in Multiversity in his original costume,
    which I first thought was the Rainbow Raider suit.

    Dr. Ub’x was named after early Disney collaborator Ub Iwerks.

    Ken Penders is well known to Sonic the Hedgehog fans.

    You can’t mock Outsiders villains enough. Or members, for that matter.

    Fay Gunn – Fagin. Max Allan Collins could be just as lame as Mike Barr when creating villains.
    Yes, part of the post-Crisis Jason re-imagining that made people happy to kill him.

    Guice for some reason always drew Wally’s head way too small in costume.
    Thanks for mentioning Bill Messner-Loebs, who wrote some great Wally stories that have fallen through the cracks.

    Frances Kane became a villain in Geoff Johns’ run on Flash.

    Fury II’s adoptive mother was the Quality/DC Miss America, who Roy retconned into JSA as the Wonder Woman analogue.

    Goldstar was of course Booster’s original codename.

    The reason I suggested links to the podcasts and blogs is that a lot of the ones in the sidebar are dead.

    1. Joe X says:

      One more thing about Flying Fox: that was also the name of an aviator strip named Rex Darrell back in More Fun Comics 37-51.

  13. rob! says:

    I honestly don’t remember if I’ve seen Countess Dracula. I saw a lot of Hammer films in my teens and 20s and they start to run together in my mind after a while. I remember boobs.

    1. It’s hard to forget those. It’s not a historically accurate movie, but not quite as “out there” as you would expect from Hammer at the time. But plenty of skin, for sure.


  14. Clark says:

    For Who’s Who fans I think it’s pretty obvious, we should be called “WHO-LIGANS”

    Get it?


  15. While Alan Davis’ Catwoman is stunning, like Michael Chiaroscuro I was surprised to see this depiction of Catwoman used for the update. I think this is the last time she ever appears in this outfit, because Batman: Year One came out immediately after the Barr/Davis story. Miller and Mazzucchelli redesigned Catwoman’s look, which was further tweaked in ACTION COMICS WEEKLY in 1988 and then her miniseries in ’89.

    Can you imagine if Mazzucchelli had stayed on BATMAN during the Max Allan Collins and Jim Starlin runs? Instead of merely streamlining the Caped Crusader’s origin, he could have re-defined the entire look and feel of the character going forward the way John Byrne did for Superman.

    Darkwing was an awesome idea for a Hawkman nemesis that failed because A) the design is godawful, like “Stop, Or My Mom Will Shoot!”-level bad; and B) Tony Isabella left HAWKMAN in the middle of the climax of Darkwing’s saga. It resulted in no less than three “final battles” between Hawkman and Darkwing in three consecutive issues, one of them being ACTION COMICS for some reason.

    If Duke of Oil doesn’t become a villain on ARROW, THE FLASH, or SUPERGIRL I will retroactively take back every good thing I ever said about the shows. He’s perfect for a show like ARROW with its conservative take on costumes and its love/hate relationship with the wealthy elite. Plus, robot hands!

  16. rob! says:


    If there WAS a BATO blog, I’m not saying I would contribute, but I’m not saying I WOULDN’T.

  17. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Yes to everything you just said Count Drunkula. You’ve blown my mind with the alternate universe version of those Batman issues drawn by Mazzucchelli. Those stories would’ve taken on an entirely new tone under his artistry. Because while the Collins stories were not my favorite the Starlin run leading up to Death in the Family was actually intriguing and very interesting stuff. But he and Collins had some subpar art for large chunks of their runs. Now I’m imagining it all drawn by Mazzucchelli!

    And holy bell you’re right Duke Of Oil would be perfect on Arrow.

    Oh Rob I’m already tempted to start that BATO blog. Stop encouraging me!

  18. Frank says:

    1) If Who’s Who volume one was the DC Universe in its full early adolescent glory, ranging from extra goofy kid fare through youthful pretensions toward pseudo-sophistication not yet reached, the Updates are the first awkward steps into puberty. These issues are zit-faced and attitudinal with bad hair, unfortunate bold sartorial misfires, and questionable hygiene. Volume One is Dick Grayson, while the Updates are Danny Chase. I kind of hate them, especially the inferior covers.

    2) Last time I read Batman: Year One, I liked it better than Dark Knight Returns. Need to reread both again, as it’s been a decade or so since the last time. I’m still rocking a beat up early ’90s copy of DKR, but I sprung for the more recent Year One hardcover with the stupid Chip Kidd redesign that includes a diagonal dust jacket that I’d have surely ripped by now if I ever pulled it off the shelf.

    3) I like the cover well enough. It’s not flashy, but it gets the job done. Flash and Ch’p are sappy, but I like the intense Catwoman that dominates the back cover. Ub’x coming out from behind the logo is also nifty.

    A) Only Dave Stevens could cast a large shadow over an Alan Davis Catwoman, but this is still a good looking entry. I do think the line of drrrty gets crossed when your dress is dual slit past the vulva into loincloth territory. Dr. Moon’s creating the swerve that sends Selina away from an Earth-2 ending is a bit sad, but quite frankly she and Batman had descended into domesticity in the pre-Crisis period. It saved Catwoman from becoming Mrs. Batman. I was a defender of Year One continuity for a long time, but with age and perspective I found myself strongly opposed to Frank Miller turning Selina out. It’s misogynistic, it diminishes Catwoman, and it flies in the face of her established canon in service to Miller’s forced pulp prejudices. I’m glad Jo Duffy retconned the retcon into a dominatrix cover in pursuit of a heist.

    B) I really liked Perez’s Cheetah, which was probably the first I read in the comics after being introduced to her through Super Friends. Her savagery was uncommon in those days, but plays as excessive when I revisit those books today. Perez Cheetah wore an animal skin as part of her transformation ritual, and presumably absorbed that covering, hence no nipples. There are so many anthropomorphized she-felines in comics that turning Cheetah into another wyfcat now seems unimaginative. I also wish DC would let the Cheetah mantle pass on from Barbara Minerva, who was already fairly used up by the end of the ’90s, and it’s a title that she was the third bearer of besides. I’m totally going to cover the Perez run on my theoretically ongoing Wonder Woman podcast. Got every issue and need to validate my purchases.

    C) Chiller is a poor man’s Clayface married to a Bronze Age mercenary type like Taskmaster or Deathstroke, but nowhere near as cool or capable. He’s a Dengar on his best day. I kinda dig that, but I tend to forget this dude exists.

    D) Rob is way too hard on Ch’p, who is a more interesting character than the majority of Green Lanterns, including that tired novelty act Mogo. He’s a Disney character drafted into mainstream comics, and Steve Englehart mined that rich vein where later writers missed the point (as with his supposed replacement, Bd’g, who serves to diversify crowd scenes of GLs but does little else.) Ch’p also had one of my all-time favorite deaths in comics. Ch’p looks extra cartoony here, but was less jarring in actual stories.

    E) There’s no excuse for Chroma being created in the late Bronze Age. As an art form, comics had moved past unironic Chromas by that point. I look at Chroma, and I think we need to reevaluate whether Infinity Inc. was a worse super team concept than The Outsiders. At least Outsiders villains were intentionally tongue in cheek with a degree of metaphorical value, but Chroma is an artifact from the dregs of Silver Age writing, and he is about par for period Roy Thomas.

    F) As I’ve mentioned in the past, the Church of Blood is a cool concept still awaiting proper execution. Arrow should play with it. I don’t go for that bloated, stiff, wrinkly Commissioner Gordon foreground image, but the color hold is swell. You guys already forgot Mazzucchelli’s Riddler?

    G) I don’t recall Darkwing from anywhere but this entry. Darwin Jones pops up here and there. Decay was an okay one-off villain, but I’m glad she’s mostly stayed that way (Byrne sort of briefly revived the concept.) Deimos and Phobos served their purpose as early Perez Wonder Woman villains who showed off her warrior prowess by being cut to pieces (you will know fear at the sight of a flung tiara!) I’d say both entries are over-rendered, so my eyes glaze at them side by side as I move on.

    H) I’m a sucker for the simplicity of Space Ghost’s design, and The Director is one of many Space Ghost In All But Name. I liked Charles McNider fine, but hated Pieter Cross as an unnecessary carbon copy Mid-Nite. Beth Chapel didn’t impress me in print, but she had potential, and at least she wasn’t just another proto-Daredevil.

    I) Glad you guys applaud Doctor Moon, because– is he? Could he be? Why yes, Doctor Moon is a BRONZE AGE WONDER WOMAN VILLAIN, you muthas! Plus he debuted during the so-called “white jumpsuit” (she only occasionally wore white) non-powered period I have great fondness for (plus Doctor Cyber!) That is one rigid, blah entry though, and the logo is ’80s black and white boom bad.

    J) Doctor Spectro definitely dates back to Charlton, and his costume was somehow much worse there (think Rainbow Raider without a mask and in white.) Pat Broderick went nuts fleshing out the background art on what was obviously a mort in the fore, and even his logo font is better than he deserves.

    K) Dr. U’bx was the sympathetic villain in a quality Steve Englehart story where his lighthearted funny animal adventure strip antics were use to demonstrate the destruction of genre opportunities in the Post-Crisis DCU. Basically, he went from being Ch’p’s nemesis to the only other being in the universe who could understand their mutual loss of a Disney-style existence in favor of the new, grim, “DC Comics Aren’t For Kids Anymore” reality. Rob’s so busy dismissing the characters that he falls right into the stereotype of the intolerant fanboy with no use for the Sugar & Spikes of Pre-Crisis publishing. Curiously enough, I don’t believe Dr. U’bx was ever addressed again after Englehart’s run, so he’s presumably still alive playing High Evolutionary in Africa.

    L) As reflected by her lack of usage at DC Comics, Doll Girl was a late addition to the Doll Man book, only appearing in the last ten issues of its run (1952-53.)

    M) I love the concept of The Dome as a Hall of Justice for international heroes like the Global Guardians & Batmen of All Nations. As soon as I learned of its existence, I wanted to see it get more use, and it mostly hasn’t (or when used, served as a nationalistic punchline by Keith Giffen.) Entry artist Ken Penders went on to infamy as one of the primary creators on Archie’s Sonic comics, who traded lawsuits with Sega over copyrights and ultimately won back some characters due to vagaries in his work-for-hire contract.

  19. Tim Wallace says:

    Fun side-note, and shameless blog promo, I just covered appearances by both Chiller and the Director in “Booster Gold” #8-9 over at the Legion of Super-Bloggers!

    Electric Warrior…was I the only one hoping for an article about Marc Bolan & T. Rex’s 1971 album? Y’know…the one that brought the hits “Jeepster”, “Get It On (Bang a Gong)”, “Mambo Sun”, and “Cosmic Dancer”.

    Firefist! Man there’s a lot of Blue Beetle action in these updates!

  20. Wolfgang Hartz says:

    It’s interesting that Chroma came to Earth-Two to sing about the world’s end in 1985, just before the crisis would wipe it out. Did Chroma know about the upcoming event? If so, it was clever foreshadowing by Roy Thomas.

  21. Martin Gray says:

    Top episode as ever. My apologies, it’s 2am on a school night here in the UK, I’ve just had a really frustrating few hours sorting out my contribution for Apa 247, the UK’s LSH apa, and I’ve not had time to read the comments. So please excuse any repetition. Especially if I’m insulting Shagg…

    Much as I revere him, I have to point out that Alan Davis draws ridiculous women’s hair. Like 1940s meringues. And that is one very tarty Catwoman, still, that is when DC were making her a hooker.

    I always get Dr Moon confused with Professor Milo, despite their being different races and one of them having a pudding bowl haircut.

    Jonathan Peterson was a DC editor so at the time of this issue, so maybe he just fancied drawing Firefist. As you would.

    Oh well DONE, Shagg. I could hear you gritting your teeth and gripping the desk as you tried to avoid saying: ‘I gotta say, Faye Gunn is HAWT!’

    I suppose, having the same origin as Barry, Wally is lucky they didn’t redo his beginnings after some Crisis and have him introduced stealing Barry’s test tubes, or scrawling graffiti … oh, hang on.

    Francis Kane was indeed Magenta. She never became a full Titan because she was a bleeding lunatic

    The reciting of Fury’s history dstroyed the character. Thomas should’ve just kept Lyta as she was and dropped references to her parents. They didn’t have to be the basis for stories. Helena, Fury II/I was OK, but should’ve been her own character, not a patch.

    Given that Roy Thomas created Lyta Trevor in WW #300 I think we can safely assume Roy Thomas as seeding stuff. And quit pretending you don’t know the kangas!

    Charles Anthony Coletta? Come on, we have to know…

    Oh Shagg, I could hug you for learning how to pronounce Blackguard!

  22. rob! says:

    Man there’s a lot of Blue Beetle action in these updates!

    Tim, did you stay for the stinger?

    1. Tim Wallace says:

      Yes I did! Loved that little snip of Golden Age Blue Beetle joy!

      Did you listen to any full episodes? What did you think?

  23. Shag & Rob:

    I’m relatively new to to the Fire & Water podcast but you’ve got me hooked now thru the Who’s Who episodes. It’s been a blast listening to you guys and your enthusiasm for this series and the DCU. This was a pivotal era for DC and I’m glad your chronicling it. You’ve inspired me to dig out my old issues that I bought back in the 1980s and now I’m reading along with you and spending too much time thinking about long forgotten characters, plots, and questions like “Why didn’t the Purple Pile-Driver (Action #464) rate an entry?”

    Anyone interested in comics history may be interested to learn about the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University (in OH). I teach in the Dept of Popular Culture and regularly hold a superhero and comics history class for undergrads. I wish all my students were as engaged as you two. The Browne Pop Culture Library/Archive has one of the largest comics collections in an academic setting. The public is welcome to come for research or just pleasure reading. We are going to have to acquire these Who’s Who issues for the archive if we don’t already have them. Keep up the good work!

    1. Martin Gray says:

      Oh wow, Charles, count me impressed. I used to live with a bunch of Jesuit priests who subscribed to the Bowling Green journals, the range of subjects and quality of writing made for an amazing, rich read.

      And I’m just going to ask – Vince Colletta … any relation? Oh hang on, different spelling. Dang?

  24. Frank says:

    N) So… Duke of Oil… No. No, sorry. Can’t deal with the Duke of Oil. I’m skipping Dan the Dyna-Mite and his disturbingly disproportionate eyes as well. If I recall correctly, Bitter Andrew did a solid write-up of Electric Warrior and its Shamalamadingdong ending on Armagideon Time. Congratulations to Esak for maintaining my desire to not comment at length on a fifth straight page, with able support from Fastbak, who I thought was the turtle in the Zoo Crew.

    O) I’m surprised by the harsh analysis of Fay Gunn and the brief Batman run of Max Allen Collins. I’ve read several issues from that period over the years and liked them all, especially the two parter (more truthfully, two closely related but self-contained issues) where a mental patient replaced Batman drawn by Jim Starlin and then Denys Cowan. Never read the Gunn story, but it sounds like a Dick Tracy tale instead of a Batman one, and surely irritation at the sea change in Jason Todd’s characterization couldn’t have helped. Collins had been writing the Dick Tracy newspaper strip, and eventually had a run on the Batman one as well. Figure my mileage may vary.

    P) Firefist was drawn by Jonathan Peterson, who thankfully traded in his black pencils for blue as the editor who revitalized the Titans franchise, then left abruptly and took Kevin Maguire with him to launch the creator owned Strikeback, thus ruining the Titans franchise through his absence. Seriously, the three titles in the line soon imploded and planned projects like the Art Thibert Nightwing/Starfire mini-series fell apart. Gee, all those sentences about Peterson and not another word about Firefist.

    Q) The Flare entry is sick work by LaRoque & DeCarlo. I’m pretty sure I read some of her appearances, but remember her not one bit.

    R) I recall the Guice run of Flash having a lot of wonk anatomy/poses, and liking them for being so different from the smooth shots usually favored for speedsters. Wally was a low level hero and a screw-up in his first year, which I bought off the newsstand and enjoyed. It was the only time I regularly purchased a Flash comic on purpose and was happy about it.

    S) Whenever I see Flaw and Child, I think they’re trippy characters from the pre-Vertigo mature/supernatural DCU. Then I’m reminded they’re from the Giffen Amethyst series, and I forget all about them again. Flying Fox is another one of those characters I just say “no” to. Black Tar heroin, pegging, Flying Fox– I don’t even have to think about my answer. Just say no. Francis Kane has had some snazzy costumes, but she’s another magnetic character with the meaningless name Magenta, plus she’s crazy and she dated Wally West. No thank you.

    T) The problem with Infinity Incorporated wasn’t that it got screwed over by the Crisis. The problem was that it was a prefabricated team with monodimensional characterization that only had the conceit of “children of the JSA” to prop it up. Fury was never worth a damn as a character, but she once had the promise of being Wonder Woman’s daughter, and without that she was a throwaway Neil Gaiman could use as he saw fit (and only bothered because of the Sandman connection.) Thanks to a strong origin and association with some dark myths, the “original” Fury of WWII proved a much stronger prospect than her daughter/namesake, and turned up in Jimenez’s Wonder Woman run. The two generations of heroine each have the raw material for a good costume, but neither seems to have been finished.

  25. Martin Gray says:

    I thought Butch Guice was the least suitable flash artist ever – his bodies were so clunky, there was no sense of graceful movement. And if memory serves, didn’t he avoid speedlines? I bet Shagg liked Wally’s girlfriend Connie making an ‘exercise video’.

    Faye Gunn was such a rubbish name, I thought it was a pun on raygun. And like Xum, I thought Max Allan Collins’ Batman work was awful. I would say, well, this is the man who gave us the execrable Wild Dog – but I did like Ms Tree. And didn’t he like terrible puns?

    As for the Dark Knight Returns vs Batman Year One, I never liked the latter. It’s Batman for people who don’t like Batman, whereas Year One was simply a harder-edged take on the stories. Though, as Frank says, the changes to Selina were crap and say more about Miller than the character. Oh, and he wrecked Gordon a bit. Give me Barr and Davis any day. And I remember O’Neill pushing the ‘revillainisation’ non-word at the time. Bah.

    Is Bd’g meant to evoke badger? It needs an ‘r’ so as not to read as badge. Unless it’s a cartoon animal version of Thaddeus Bodog Sivana. And yes, I’m now commenting on Frank’s comments rather than the show.

    The best Decay was the earlier version from The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl.

    I liked Flaw and Child. I think I’m in an Amethyst lettercol saying as much.

  26. Kyle Benning says:

    With Regards to Wally West, and how long he had been around, yes he did make his first appearance in just the 6th issue of the revived Flash Comics series (#110) from 1959.

    The Flash title starring Barry didn’t pop up until after Barry had appeared in more issues of Showcase and proved popular enough to get his own ongoing. In addition to Barry’s first appearance in Showcase #4 in 1956, Barry was also featured in Showcase #8, 13, and 14. Barry made the jump to his own series in late 1958 (cover date 1959). Flash was bi-monthly, so issue #110 with Wally’s first appearance didn’t end up going on sale until October 1959.

    However, like the Flash series, Showcase was also Bi-Monthly, so Flash #110 dropped the month in between issues #23 and #24 of Showcase (both of which were Hal Jordan issues).

    So as far as where that puts Kid Flash with other DC Silver Age mainstays, Wally West appeared:

    -Just 7 Months after Rip Hunter Time Master debuted in Showcase #21 (3-17-1959)

    -Just 3 months after Hal Jordan Green Lantern debuted in Showcase #22 (7-28-1959)

    -2 Months before the Justice League was formed and appeared in Brave & the Bold #28 (12-29-59)

    -7 Months before Shag’s favorite team the Sea-Devils debuted in Showcase #27 (5-26-1960)

    -14 Months before Katar Hol Hawkman’s debute in Brave and the Bold #34 (12-29-1960)

    -21 Months before Ray Palmer the Atom in Showcase #34 (7-27-61) So yes Shag was correct

    Other DC Silver Age characters and teams that Wally West beat to the punch include the Metal Men, Enemy Ace, Doom Patrol, and many many more.

    So yeah Shag was right, and holy crap has Wally been around for a long time!

    All publication dates courtesy of Mike’s Amazing World of course

  27. Phylemon says:

    Several quick thoughts:

    1. Lots of Booster Gold love this issue. Goldstar, The Director, and even Chiller are beloved characters to me that I would love to see used more often. Trixie, in particular, is one of my favorites.

    2. Chroma is a character that I should love. Visually, I think he is great. Despite that, I’ve read all of Infinity Inc. and I don’t remember him at all. Total Mort.

    3. Dr. Spectro, on the other hand, is a great villain even from his Charlton days. He has a brilliant design, no pun intended.

    4. The Church of Blood doesn’t deserve an entry here, but I do love this concept and am glad to see the Titans’ foe getting some love.

    5. Darwin Jones seems like a fun concept that could be revisited today. Maybe we could get a Geoffcon that his son is Genius Jones. I’d buy that series.

    6. I think each of us have our collections within our collections. All of us collect comics, but maybe we focus on Superman comics or the like. My collection within a collection are the 80’s DC Baxter Books. Titans, Outsiders, Omega Men, Vigilante, I want them all. All of that to say that, although they are part of that beloved process, I have never picked up an issue of Electric Warrior and likely never will. Nothing in me is interested in this series.

    7. I love the New Gods and am happy to get two more entries in the form of Esak and Fastback, and I’m not just saying that to live up to my reputation on this show.

    8. I loathe the Lords of Order / Chaos nonsense and everything associated with it, but with that being said, I have to admit that the art on the Flaw and Child entry is my favorite in this issue. Some nice work from Ernie Colon there.

    9. I wanted to mention that this podcast has inspired my summer reading. After last episode, I dug up my issues of Young All Stars, which were as average as I had remembered them being, ostensibly because Roy Thomas was trying to make the best of a bad situation instead of indulging in his Golden Age passion as he did with All Star Squadron. I’m now halfway through Blue Beetle and have already encountered Firefist, Carapax, and seen a glimpse of Catalyst. Some good stuff there. I suppose after this episode, I will have to track down some GLC issues to catch up on the Ch’p saga.

  28. Frank says:

    U) Back when I deluded myself into thinking that I would one day write crossover events for DC Comics, I plotted to kill off Booster Gold to galvanize Blue Beetle and Goldstar into a new, more heroic duo. I figured it might be nice for once if the male version of a heroic mantle bit the dust in favor of a female legacy, plus Goldstar had a better costume and less unsavory backstory. The clarity of age made me realize that Booster Gold is more valuable as an object lessen in lousy fame-whoring money-grubbing pseudo-heroics than his sister would be as another underdeveloped background figure in crowd scenes.

    4) The looseleaf Who’s Who managed to come out during the gap period between my losing interest in Byrne-Superman, Perez-Batman, JLI, Titans, etc. and my full return to DC in the Doomsday/Knightfall period, and I therefore didn’t start collecting them until the mid-to-late ’90s. However, the early ’90s period it covered was my (not joy but) jam. From that point up through the first half of JLA’s run was MY period as a devout DC fan, although with hindsight I recognize this was also the peak of DC’s Marvelization, meaning they were rife with the flavor, burdensome continuity, and many of the estranged creators from Marvel’s Bronze/Iron Age. I turned on DC for the same reason I did Marvel– they fully embraced the eccentricities, banalities, superficiality, and shameless LCD pandering of the Chromium Age 10-15 years later, and still do to this day. As much as I’ll enjoy the show catching up to the looseleaf volume, it will be bittersweet, because I think Marvel and DC have both been so compromised by their final, full absorption into corporate entities and mentalities that even the ’90s will feel like a bygone era of innocence and integrity by comparison.

    5) I was wrong about Alan Davis working on the second Aquaman mini-series because I let head canon confuse my facts. See, years ago, Rob Kelly promoted an appearance in an article for Comic Book Artist where fans considered a Post-Crisis DC Universe by different creative teams. I was very intrigued by the premise, but then the magazine actually came out, and with the exception of Rob was just variations on unattainable big name comic artists on the most obvious iconic characters. I was doing mindless drudge work at the time, so I spent the next several months fixated on a massive expansion of that idea where I’d assign new realistic creative teams to books from 1986-1989, mapping out event series and creative turnover in a continuity that continued from the Bronze Age uninterrupted but still from a single Earth (meaning the multiverse was destroyed, but everyone from the relevant worlds knew their history.) I’d stay up way too late at night looking for art reference to match my “assignments” and fabricating behind the scenes editorial details. It was basically temporary insanity, and ultimately collapsed under the weight of my unfettered ambition until nothing at all came of that brain juice. Long story slightly longer, Alan Davis drew the second arc of the Aquaman ongoing series after Craig Hamilton faltered in my construct rather than work on Batman & the Outsiders, and that notion polluted my memory of his role on the first mini-series.

    6) More on Captain Thunder:

  29. Frank says:

    That should be Starlin-Batman and Perez-Wonder Woman, but something went terribly wrong in the typing.

  30. Siskoid says:

    Who’s Dr. Ub’x?

    Where I pretty much mount a defense of him.

  31. […] sure to check out Episode Two of the amazing Who’s Who Update ’87 Podcast hosted by Rob Kelly and the Irredeemable […]

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