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WHO’S WHO: Update ’87 Podcast, Volume 3

Who's Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC UniverseThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents… WHO’S WHO: UPDATE ’87 PODCAST, volume 3!

The third 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 3, discussing characters such as the Green Lantern Corps, Infinity Inc., John Constantine, Justice League, Kite-Man, Lady Blackhawk, Lex Luthor, 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 third 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 (153 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 Eduardo Barreto! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who Update '87 #3 cover by Eduardo Barreto

Here is your Firestorm-related Who’s Who entry from this issue…

Justice League drawn by Kevin Maguire and Terry Austin! This is a snapshot of the early days of the JLI, the “Bwah-hah-ha” League. At this point, only five issues had been released of the series and no one knew exactly how popular they would become. While Maguire drew numerous crowd shots in this pose over the years, this is one of the few to include The Nuclear Man! Click to enlarge.

Justice League from Who's Who by Kevin Maguire and Terry Austin

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  1. Xum Yukinori says:

    Three hours well-spent gentlemen, as always.(Despite the few momemts that Shag was garbled…)

    To clarify on a few of your questions and comments:

    Katma Tui was (needlessly) murdered by the Carol Ferris Star Sapphire in Action Comics #601.

    My understanding is that Kite Man did not receive his “Charles Brown” identity until Hawkman v2 #4, which was also the issue where he fought Zatanna as shown in the surprint. While this was during the time when she wore the costume designed by George Pérez during super-hero missions, she battled Kite Man in her stage outfit because she was performing her act at the benefit Mr. Brown was robbing. (It was also no doubt a tribute by Tony Isabella to Zatanna’s original appearance in the first volume of Hawkman [v1 #4.])

    I am surprised that the listener tribute to composite characters did not include “Super-Duper”, an amalgamated Justice League creature with Wonder Woman’s head and lasso, Batman’s torso and utility belt, Flash’s legs, Green Lantern’s arms (and ring), and Hawkman’s wings. This creature was created by an alien Pthisthinian device called the panacomputer, that was wielded by a small-time crook named Joe Parry in Justice League of America v1 #31, and was somehow recreated by T.O. Morrow in Justice League of America v1 #65. And yes, you can expect a custom-made Who’s Who entry on Super-Duper by the 12th of Never…

    I am glad you liked the AquaRob entry, Rob. I am happy to make any corrections to it as you see fit. And my thanks to Shag for his time and assistance.

  2. Siskoid says:

    Recommended reading… Ennis/Dangerous Habits was where I started reading Hellblazer, though I’d read other issues. Jamie Delano didn’t do much for me though I appreciate what he set up, I read a friend’s issues, but only got the guest-written issues for myself (Gaiman’s Breathe, Morrison’s 2-parter). I stuck with it through Ennis, Jenkins and a little further. But Ennis was really my first; I know it’s a little controversial with John fans since the horror was more “obvious” than Delano’s.

    The cover: I think Rob is dead on for Lady Blackhawk’s pose, but how do we explain Katma Tui acting like a pin-up girl? Other fun bit: The relationship between Lionmane and Manticore.

    Guardians of the Universe: So Lady Blackhawk gets a lot of play for her upskirt, but these guys DON’T? 😉

    Hazard: It’s all well and good, the dice motif, but the way it’s layed out makes it look like dominoes. Terrible terrible costume too. It’s as if Zatanna worked in a fast food chain.

    Himon: You’re not making it too inviting to podcast about the New Gods with the low low level of love you should them.

    Ian Karkull: I covered his first fight with Dr. Fate in the Golden Age in Who’s Ian Karkull

    Injustice Society: I love how the older members are looking in three different directions, like the points of a triangle that contains the younger members.

    Iron Munro: Also played a rolle in the Kate Spencer Manhunter series as her grandfather-in-law. I think.

    Jihad: Great great great antagonists for the Suicide Squad. They’d only shown up once at this point, but their attack brings fond memories of Duchess/Lashina beating Manticore with his own tail. Shagg is right (hurts, right?) Suicide Squad is still super-readable, one of the best books of the 80s, and of all time. The concept was never done as well as Ostrander did it, and in fact, was pretty terrible in anyone else’s hands.


  3. Siskoid says:

    Constantine: So much mystique, we’re not allowed to know who did the art. Spooky.

    Kalki: On that Doom Patrol run… It certainly looked pretty under Lightle; the stories were very busy retconning Celsius and the Chief’s history and making everyone come together. Then, it turned into a sort of X-Factor rip with the team adopting various forgettable kids with powers, and the art assignments went to a young Erik Larsen. It would have been cancelled if not for Grant Morrison’s intercession.

    Kanto: On Mister Miracle… Yes, nice little series, at first drawn by Ian Gibson before Phillips came on. It was light-hearted and a good companion to what they were doing in Justice League.

    Katma Tui: Murdered by Star Sapphire, to answer your question.

    Kilg%re: I used to say Kilgore, but given his mechanical nature, I think it might be Kilgear. He was in the first issue of Wally’s Flash I ever bought and read.

    Kite-Man: I covered his first appearance in Who’s Kite-Man?
    Xum is right, he became Charlie Brown only in the 80s Hawkman series. Bill Finger and Dick Sprang are the guys who deserve the equity on the character, if not the alias.

    Lady Shiva: Oof, I hate it when they put the surprint OVER the main figure. Here, it looks like a really bad paste-up job. Gross.

    Subs: Ugh. Comet Queen. No 30th century DC character is more annoying.


  4. Siskoid says:

    Thanks for mentionning Lonely Hearts. We don’t make any claims to being experts on romance comics, nor on romance for that matter. So we discover them as we go along. From comments, I think people especially appreciate Romance Comics Theatre, dramatic over-produced readings of classic romance comics.

    And many thanks to Shagg who didn’t brag about it, but he WAS key to helping me put the thing online. His expertise was and is much appreciated. He’s the podcast’s godfather, basically.

    The 4th episode drops tomorrow (Tuesday) by the way and it’s all about Betty & Veronica.

  5. Siskoid says:

    Shagg should have been aware of hot Ingrid Pitt already from Doctor Who’s The Time Monster, where she played the Queen of Atlantis.

    Less hot and even very ridiculous is her appearance in the 5th Doctor’s Warriors from the Deep, where she plays a scientist who tries to karate kick a sea monster.

    The plan for Who’s Who in the Legion: Shagg basically fathered the Legion of Super-Bloggers so he could use use and abuse us when the moment comes. No worries.

    Flowers & Fishknots is the best Shaggism is a while! Ryan Daly is your Reign of the Supermen. Whether he’s Eradicator, Superboy, Cyborg or Steel to your Superman is up to you.

    Huh! While listening I was doing research for Who’s Magpie from the next issue, and looking for her cameo in JSA #28, I just saw the WHOLE of Hybrid from THIS issue on Roulette’s Wall of the Fallen. So that’s what happened to them. And double huh! Looking at Wonder Woman #175 for another Magpie cameo, there’s Touch-n-Go, Harpi and Sirocco in the fray of all female villains from earlier that year!

  6. Wolfgang Hartz says:

    Gotta love the L-shaped building in Lex Luthor’s surprint!

  7. Joe X says:


    Barreto does draw a nice butt. It seems the “No villains on the cover” rule is gone, since there’s a big fat Luthor right up front.
    No Infinitors or Justice Leaguers on the cover.

    JM DeMatteis’s Order/Chaos obsession was in full effect at DC at the time, and it still infects the occasional storyline.
    Gray Man was mentioned in Season of Mists. Mark Beachum was more famous for his good girl work on Flare for Heroic.

    I like that the Corps basically commandeered a stretch of prime LA beach real estate and built a house there.

    There was a cousin of hers that became the new Gambler, looking just like Grandpa. Probably right on the reference, since Roy Thomas was fully immersed in literary callbacks at the time.

    Host was one of those dumb stories that Byrne did for Superman that really needed to be culled by a strong editor.

    Hybrid was very much an attempt by Marv Wolfman to create a new X-Men. These characters only appeared once or twice, and were killed off screen by Roulette in JSA.

    Icicle did indeed end up married to Artemis/Tigress.

    Argondezzi doing a sad McFarlane on that Infinity pic.

    Iron Munro was in Aquaman as well, wasn’t he? There was a mini-YAS reunion with him, Neptune Perkins, and Tsunami.

    A new ISIS-created Jihad might make a good way to start tying together the New-Nu52 universe, maybe using Red Hood and Arsenal as the launch point.

    That’s John Ridgeway drawing Constantine, at least on the inks. The faces do look like Dillon though.

    Rocket Red and Captain Atom joined together, as part of the JLI expansion.

    The only good part of that Doom Patrol was Lightle, and he couldn’t do a monthly.

    There was a great bit in a Justice League story that had the Kilg%re and the Construct having a family in what was essentially a jail for AIs.

    Those ACW Blackhawk stories featured Natalie Reed, the Lady Blackhawk from the Chaykin series.

    I think the Shadow War version of Lionmane was forced into it by the eeeebil Thanagarians.

    OH that Marvel Fanfare issue (#40) by Mazzuchelli features the Angel, and is just brilliant.

    And I was wrong about Chroma. He was killed by Gog in Justice Society v3 #10, which was around the time of Death of the New Gods, which is what I thought it was connected to.

  8. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    I was just thinking the other day…”I wonder what those Who’s Who slackers
    are doing?”. Nice to see you back.

    Cover: I know there are a lot of fans of Eduardo Barreto’s work but I was
    never one of them. He succeded Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (PBHN)
    on “Atari Force” and “New Teen Titans” (Vol. 2) and that’s already
    a tough act to follow. I always felt let down.

    Hot > Super Hot > Smokin’ Hot…Got it. Good to know for future reference.

    Green Lantern Corps: DC was definitely trying to give this book a push,
    especially through Who’s Who. If Infinity Inc/Young All-Stars are the
    new Omega Men as Rob says, then the GLC is the new Atari Force as
    far as Who’s Who entries are concerned. Which leads me to wonder…
    Who are the new New Gods and the new Warlord characters?

    Host: Superman has always gotten picked on for having a weaker Rogues
    Gallery (conceptually, not physically) than other heroes like Batman,
    The Flash or Spider-Man. So when the time came with the Byrne reboot
    to create new villains for the Man of Steel what did we get? Host. Psi-phon.
    Magpie. Bloodsport. Milton Fine Brainiac. Ugh.

    Hybrid: Obviously DC (and Marv Wolfman) intended these characters to be
    more than they ever were. 2 pages?!!! See also: The Vanguard.

    Ian Karkull: If only Karkull had abandoned his “kill-the-future-presidents” plot and
    focused on the “kill-the-JSA” plot* we’d have been spared all of
    these useless Infinity Inc/Young All-Stars entries. (* I know this is blasphemy-
    I love the JSA but don’t always love what they spawned in later years.)

    Infinity Inc: The Generations Saga is one of the most under-rated story arcs
    ever IMO. However, after that everything goes downhill pretty quickly.
    The second wave of legacy characters that Roy Thomas introduced
    (Hourman II, Wildcat II, Dr. Midnight II) just didn’t have the same appeal
    as the earlier Nuklon, Jade, Fury and…Northwind (?).

    Injustice Unlimited: In “Secret Society of Super-Villains” much was made about
    The Wizard acquiring his cloak, amulet and glove of power that I don’t
    know why DC later abandoned it in favor of his original top-hat outfit.

    Justice League: This is without a doubt, one of the greatest pieces of art
    in any edition of Who’s Who. Silver Age, Bronze Age, Detroit Era, JLI…
    Maguire makes it all work and mesh together quite nicely.

    Kilowog: At one point, wasn’t a “Who’s Who In the Green Lantern Corps” on the
    docket, along with “Who’s Who In the Legion” and “Who’s Who in Superman”?
    I wonder if all of these GL-centric pages were originally designed to appear

    Kite-Man: I first encountered this character in “Batman” #314. Len Wein was bringing
    back some of the older villains like Kite-Man and…Calendar Man. I’ve always
    had a soft spot for this type of gimmick character. (In fact I made custom Mego
    action figures of several of Batman’s “lamer” foes several years ago, including

    Krypton/Kryptonite: As much as I like this spread, it makes me sad that such
    majesty and attention wasn’t given to these concepts in the original Who’s
    Who, considering how often they were used. Instead we got Howard Bender.

    Lady Blackhawk: Not only a Ka-Pow moment but a Schwing moment…

    Legion of Subs: When you have to create Subs for the Subs you know you’ve
    run out of ideas…

    Lex Luthor: The only time Lex was really muscular instead of being portrayed as
    a bit overweight was when he wore the green and purple super-suit in the
    70s. He was really quite hefty as drawn by Wayne Boring in the 50s/60s.

  9. Anj says:

    Great show as always! Some brief thoughts ..

    The cover is an interesting amalgam of saucy lasses and guys inability to act right around them. Zinda sure seems fine showing off her assets. (She was something of a free spirit in Simone’s BoP. I wonder if that has always been her default). But even Luthor below is sporting … well maybe a cigar is just a cigar.

    Guardians of the Universe – there was nothing a young lonely Anj wanted to hear more than that the wizened short blue Oans were suddenly getting play with the gorgeous Zamarons. If they could get a date and I couldn’t, how unloveable was I? (Puts in a Smiths tape).

    Himon – I agree with Rob’s linguistic dilemma. Is is ‘Hi Mon’ like me trying to sound Jamaican? Or like a female anatomic part? Reminds me of a joke. What does Bekka sleeping with Orion have in common with her moving into a place alone? No Himon.

    ‘Iron Munro’ – favorite part of this entry is the description of his powers, a copy of Superman’s original set. Jump an 1/8 of a mile. Resistant up to a bursting shell?

    John Constantine – definitely Ridgway on art. The solo title (which he drew early on) was right around the corner. Shag is right, the mystery of Constantine was the hook around this time. What happened at Newcastle? Did he have ‘powers’? How did he know so much. Jamie Delano’s John is my Constantine, all the swagger but it is just a facade to cover a tormented soul. I thought Ennis’ stuff was okay. But I would even rank Paul Jenkins’ run over Ennis. I am prepared to be carved up.

    Kalki – these Doom Patrol issues are fun in a ‘standard’ way. Kalki, however, is something of a mess. I do advise you guys listening to Waiting for Doomed.

    Lady Blackhawk – just the best page of the book. Perfect stuff by Bolland. I liked what Simone did with her in BoP. As for the ‘mini series’, are they talking about Chaykin’s Prestige series? A Lady Blackhawk does appear in that … but it is Russian pilot Natalie Reed, not Zinda.

    Lady Shiva – I loved her in O’Neil’s Question, the first place I ran into her. I don’t like that somewhere along the way she has devolved into a yardstick character, someone used only to measure someone else. You know how tough White Canary is? She beat Shiva! You know how tough Prometheus is? He beat Shiva ..

    Can’t wait for next issue when you cover another of my bizarre character obsessions … Lodestone! Thanks again!

  10. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Great episode, fellas!

    The cover – Lady Blackhawk certainly deserves a “Yowsa!” here. Or, maybe a “Holy Chowder” from Shagg? Or just his usual “She’s hot.” Smokin’ hot, sorry. All of this is a lot of text for me to say that she is indeed smoking hot on that cover and while I’m surprised too that it made it past the DC censors, I don’t think it’s that out of bounds in comparison to the the types of poses that artists were using for super-heroines at the time (and nothing compared to today, of course). As for the rest of the cover, it’s fine but I don’t love it. I like it fine, but besides Lady Blackhawk, I find it mostly forgettable. Oddly, even though Katma Tui is posed seductively, she mostly just looks silly. But back to the star of the cover – Lady Blackhawk looks FANTASTIC! Okay, I’m done. Until her entry.

    Injustice Unlimited – stunning! That’s such a classic (claaaasic) image for such a D-list group! It makes them imposing and powerful. I’m with Rob, Jerome K. Moore was terrific back then. I still have a large number of issues of Detective Comics where he drew the Green Arrow backup feature (written by Joey Cavalieri, I believe) and I hadn’t looked at them in ages until recently. I loved Moore’s art in that run as a kid, and I’m happy to report that upon my reread I still love it. It’s just perfect, strong superhero work that just screams “DC in the 1980s” to me. I have no idea why he never had a solid run on a high profile book (or at least I don’t know of any he did).

    Justice League – gorgeous! Any chance to see the great Kevin Maguire draw any assemblage of JL members is always a treat. In my pantheon of all-time favorite JL artists, Maguire is tied at the top with Perez. Dick Dillin was the workhouse and I absolutely love him, but those two were like the Michael Jordans of their day, whose work was brilliant and unlike any others working in comics at the time when they were at their peaks.

    Katma Tui & Killowog – love these! I love both characters and the Englehart run on GL/GL Corps back in the 80s are some of my favorite comics of that era. I know they haven’t aged especially well but they are loaded with melodrama, silly but fun villains, and great action scenes. Plus Dave Gibbons and Joe Staton on art! And I’ve noticed a lot of folks online aren’t big fans of Staton’s – Shagg, you seem to think he was worse during his GL phase, in fact? I don’t see it. I think his cartoony style was awesome and a real highlight of any story I read that he illustrated, throughout most of his career. And Katma Tui is easily one of my favorite underused Women of DC characters. I loved that long story arc about her training John when he took over for Hal. I still can’t believe they killed her off like that. Awful. Her portrayal in Justice League Unlimited was fantastic, too.

    Lady Blackhawk – I didn’t think anyone could top that Barreto cover image of her, but I think Brian Bolland did so in her listing. Good grief this is a great Who’s Who entry. Seriously, one of the best. Beautifully rendered with a classic pose and the surprint is awesome too. And her name – Zinda – is super cool. Very unique.

  11. Siskoid says:

    Joe X: Was there ever a villain rule like this? Pre-Crisis Lex and the Joker both figured prominently on their Who’s Who covers.

  12. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Oh boy, I just heard listener feedback, with Shagg calling me out on that BATO blog threat of mine. I confess, I’ve done absolutely nothing in the past month or two since that comment. I still have dreams to do so, my friends, I do. One day maybe I will make them real 😉

  13. Xum Yukinori says:

    Joe X and Siskoid:

    And while not a fully enforced “rule”, there was a tendency to not include featured teams or groups on the cover unless the members do not have individual entries (e.g., The Crime Syndicate).

  14. I grew a beard while listening to this episode of Who’s Who! And I’d just shaved it after listening to a Secret Origins episode!

    I can’t get over that Aquarob Who’s Who page by Xum. I knew my riding the coat tails of Rob and Shagg would one day bring me glory…and it has. I got mentioned in a Who’s Who entry! This is the most meaningful thing to ever happen in my life. Don’t tell Cindy.

    Seriously, that is a fantastic piece, Xum. Love the Domino entry as well.

    Onto the comic!

    Lady Blackhawk is definitely evoking the pin-up girls of the 40s…but Katma Tui makes no sense. I never saw her as the cheesecakey type. Love Baretto’s stuff, though. One of the better covers from any of the Updates.

    Gray Man: Harlan Ellison goes more evil?

    Hippolyte: They spelled her name wrong on the cover…even for this version.

    Host: Is this the beginning of the generic, fill-in font? I hate those “logos”. Isn’t he the infamous “Mummy Rocket Boots” guy (TM Michael Bailey)?

    Hybrid: This team was supposed to get their own spin-off title…no fooling. This was during Marv Wolfman’s infamous “writer’s block” period, but he was still trying to make the Titans THE hot book. That train had left the station with Perez, sadly.

    Ian Karkull: Despite Shagg’s protests, this guy deserved his entry. Love All-Star Squadron Annual #3. A classic.

    Infinity, Inc.: As much as I think a lot of McFarlane’s stuff is ugly nowadays, I think he would have brought some dynamics to this very dull team shot. Looks very phoned in.

    Injustice, Unlimited: Man, the Infinitors get p’wned by their own evil analog here. Jerome K. Moore is SOOOO underrated. Where was Shagg’s hot comment on Hazard here? She definitely is.

    Justice League: Now yer talkin’. It’s a bit odd to see dead characters like Barry Allen interacting with current teammates, but that’s just a Who’s Who thing, I guess. Superman’s League status was up in the air (was he or wasn’t he) for years until it was decided he was more or less a reserve member, called in for special cases. Creeper’s inclusion here stumped me as well. He seemed a perfect fit for the BWAHAHA League, but, some creator must have called dibs on a solo project that never materialized.

    Kanto: He made some appearances on Superman: The Animated Series, voiced by Michael York, no less!!! Cindy and I will definitely be covering some more STAS on Super Mates.

    Katma Tui: Man, someone really hated this late 80s GL Corps team, didn’t they? Her and Ch’p were just mercilessly slaughtered, in such forgettable ways, most of us don’t remember how!

    Kite Man: Thanks for the Brave & The Bold stinger! I wish Mattel had made a figure of this guy with real flying action!

    Lady Blackhawk: Am I the only one getting an Elizabeth Shue vibe from her portrait? Maybe that’s due to my serious crush on her as a kid. Even back then, I got the whole “looking up her skirt” thing. Who can blame them? Oh and Shagg, she’s got a skirt and bare legs by her second appearance at least:

    She was indeed great in BOP.

    Lex Luthor: Lex was a fat guy in a suit in the later Golden and early Silver Ages too, so the Kingpin influence may just be coincidence more than anything else. Byrne built in a great motivation for Lex to hate Supes. I like how the Animated Series (that again!) and then Justice League/JLU detailed how Lex started here, and turned into the mad scientist/power armor Lex from the Bronze Age eventually.

    Thanks for making Monday bearable once more, gents!


  15. Xum Yukinori says:

    Regarding the… ah… focus of the cover, perhaps Zinda is teaching Katma some “male-Earther-attraction techniques” so Katma can enhance her relationship with John Stewart…

  16. Martin Gray says:

    (Oops, posted at the other plac first!)

    Thanks for another great episode. Mind, I’ve not heard the Feedback yet!

    Shagg protesting about the ‘sexualisation’ of Lady Blackhawk on the cover is bloomin’ hilarious, given he’s making jokes about Arn Munro fingering her – 13-year-old kids can listen to this podcast too. And besides, Rob is right, it’s just a Forties-style Peekaboo pose. I had a look at that proto-Lady Blackhawk story in Military Comics, and ‘Sugar’ sounds rather fun.

    I tweeted a pic to you lads of the first time I saw a Bolland Zinda, from a 1981 UK fanzine, I’m pretty sure he drew her a few other times before working for DC

    Good spot about the Hippolyte first appearance error, Shagg, but definitely, in the updates it should always be first post-Crisis along with first historical appearance, logic demands it. And how sad were the Greek gods that they had to create their own worshippers?

    It’s incredible that ‘Host’ is three whole letters away from ‘mort’

    Promethium first appeared not in Blue Beetle, but in New Teen Titans #9. Fascinatingly.

    I’m with Xum, surely Kite-Man was named by Tony Isabella in the Eighties? I’ve seen GCD entries mentioning his name as Charles Brown before Hawkman V2 #4, but I think that’s just overzealous chroniclers. And here’s Tony Isabella on Kite-Man’s secret ID on Twitter: ‘@MartGray That was my idea and one of my proudest moments in comics.’

    Arn Munro, yawn. Gladiator was adapted by Marvel Comics in Marvel Preview #9, under the title Man-God (to avoid confusion with the X-Men Gladiator, because readers are stupid?), it was a very sexy read from Roy Thomas and Tony DeZuniga. I’ll tweet you the amazing Earl Norem cover.

    Brian Azzarello ruined John Constantine by bringing him to the US, I dived off then and didn’t returns for years. Can Azzarello never write the characters without changing personalities and scenarios?

    Thank the stars Creeper wasn’t in the Justice League – he is so rubbish. Just the Joker with a bad rug – literally, it’s around his neck.

    Shagg is entirely correct, Rob, that Justice League entry isn’t taking a swipe at Aquaman – the ‘lowpoint’ was the fact nobody showed up, not that Aquaman ran a version of the League.

    The Kupperberg/Lightle Doom Patrol was pretty good – then Eric Larsen came along…

    Thank you Rob for saying nice things about Swamp Thing before I move it – I love that run.

    The murder of Katma Tui was just a horrible, horrible moment. She was sliced and diced – I think it was off-panel but, like Janet Leigh in Psycho, all the nastier for it. Zamoran gem influence or not, that moment ruined Carol Ferris forever after.

    Kilg%re isn’t Warlock, Warlock is him. And Kilg%re is just a new version of The Construct from JLA. Gawd, I HATE Warlock 2.

  17. Jeff R. says:

    A slim issue for omissions this time: no honorable mentions come to mind at all (again, given that these have to be characters whose first appearance was too late for the first Who’s Who but not for this one). The winner would have been the Firestorm-Related pick of the month as well: King Crusher. (Out of all the spider-man-villainy Firestorm Foes, King Crusher may well have been the spider-man-villainest.)

    Things could have been worse, Green Lantern-wise: Alan Moore was introducing a dozen or so characters to the GLU who would eventually almost all become hugely prominent but who at this time would be a Who’s Who entry that at best recaps an eight-page story. (At the other end of the scale, there are about a dozen who were literally only a name mentioned in one line of dialog.)

  18. Martin Gray says:

    @Joe X, Suicide Squad is currently doing a DC Isis spin, with a kinda sorta Jihad. You may be surprised at how good it is.

  19. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    And I just have to ask. I’ve been listening to the podcast for years now but I cannot for the life of me remember what the significance is of repeating the name Buck Roulette (I have no idea how you spell it either)? Can someone fill me in? Every time I hear Shagg say it I know I’ve missed something and it’s finally happened enough I just have to ask.

    1. Martin Gray says:

      I don’t recall ever hearing ‘Buck Roulette’ but doubtless it’s a synonym for ‘she’s hawtttt’

      1. Michael Chiaroscuro says:


  20. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    I just realized that I missed an opportunity for shameless self-promotion…When Shag referenced several terrible DC titles that began with the letter “S” in the 80s/early 90s and coming across something on-line, I believe that was probably my Facebook page: Secret Origins of a Comic Collector ( I’m not much of a blogger but it’s a recollection of my comic collection, with memories dating as far back as age 3 in 1970. Please check it out if you’re so inclined.

    As far as the “S” titles go, it was a handful of series normally set outside the DCU proper that I bought but rarely got past the first issue: Skreemer, Sovereign Seven, Slash Maraud, Sonic Disruptors, Silverblade, Spanner’s Galaxy, Shazam:A New Beginning.

  21. rob! says:

    what the significance is of repeating the name Buck Roulette

    The first time we read an email from Buck, he mentioned how thrilling it would be to hear his name on the show. So we’ve now made it a thing, to mention him as much as possible when he does write in.

  22. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    @rob Thanks for the explanation! My curiosity has been sated.

  23. Just a couple of quick thoughts, this time.

    1. Speaking of “dark mirror” characters, for my money, “Shadowstorm” was always a far cooler version of the concept vis-a-vis Firestorm (even if it WAS the Elemental version) than “Deathstorm” ever was. Of course, Deathstorm *was* created as an intentional parody of 90s excess in comic characters….

    2. Count my vote for “Whonatics” (but I’m guessing the emphasis should be on the FIRST syllable, rather than the second, so that it rhymes with “lunatics”).

  24. Clark says:

    This is what the original Justice League entry should have been.

    Did we ever come up with a name for us fans to be called?

    I need to know, I must be labeled!!


  25. Xum Yukinori says:

    I am adding “WHOnatic” to my business card, right after “Armchair Superman” and “Sensual Valiant Goddess Warrior”…

  26. Benton Grey says:

    Howdy guys, I’m glad you’re still making these! I really do enjoy these podcasts. The DC Universe is just such a fascinating place, even if it does have more than its fair share of Morts.

    I enjoyed this episode, but I have to ask, what’s with all the Hawkman hate? Ha, why the disregard for Hawkman Vol. 2? Those are, for my money, the best Hawkman books around. They gave the character and his world some great development, made boring, one-dimensional characters from the original series interesting, and introduced some really compelling story arcs. What Isabella did with The Gentleman Ghost, and the mystery he set up for Comissioner Emmett were both really intriguing.

    Yeah, Darkwing has a RIDICULOUS costume, but despite that he was a pretty good villain, the anti-Katar. The dark reflection is always a fruitful archetype for a villain.

    Even the Kite-Man story was a lot of fun, despite how lame the villain himself was.

    It’s one of those books, like Dreamwave’s Transformers and Aquaman vol. 4 that ended way too early, and I’ll always wish that I had gotten to read the rest of the stories that team had in store.

    On other notes, that GLC book is one I vaguely remember, and I basically think of it as a great example of the trends I don’t like from this period.

    1. Xum Yukinori says:

      It is too bad we never did see “Emmet’s Story”, and what Tony Isabella originally had planned…

      1. Benton Grey says:

        I know! I really want to know what the heck was in his backstory.

  27. Tim Wallace says:

    I know I’m late…but I was on vacation and just finished catching up with most (but not all) of my favorite podcasts.

    So…the Hybrid. I just finished covering the 3 part Blue Beetle arc featuring the Hybrid and Teen Titans on the blog. What can I say? It’s over…and I figured I wouldn’t have to think about them ever again until I listened to this episode. Thanks a lot guys!

  28. Frank says:

    1) My copies of the Who’s Who updates are hard bound, so the back cover of Vol. 2 faces the front of Vol. 3. The incidental explicitness of a splay-legged Catwoman swinging a cat ‘o nine tails at Magenta is fine by me. The artless, tacky exploitation of Lady Blackhawk on the front cover is not. It makes it look like her purpose among the Blackhawks was “entertaining” the squad. Katma Tui’s pin-up posing is also demeaning of a character who was in no way prone to such pandering, and given her murder a couple of years later, marks her as a poster girl for misogyny. This cover is frankly pathetic, as the prostitution of heroines is clearly meant to obscure how boring and lifeless all the other garbage characters are on the front piece. The back cover (again, completely separate in my bound copy) is much more palatable, with a host of diverse characters and interactions that do not make me feel skeevy.

    2) I was so adamant in my opinion that you should have no guest stars on the original Who’s Who that I refused to appear when asked. You guys should get guest stars for the updates, if only to fill the space currently taken up by Rob sighing across 26 of the 32 pages in each issue.

    A) I didn’t follow the credits on many creators in the early years of my collecting comics, but Mark Beachum was one of the first artists to fascinate me with some of the very best OHOTMU entries and the occasional sequential interiors. He’s still among my favorite artists whose work I rarely support because all he wants to do is porn pin-ups these days, but he still does it with style. It’s funny too, because I was very into Neal Adams as a kid, and still enjoy a lot of guys like Beachum that came out of Continuity Studios, but I tend to prefer the ones who veered farthest from Adams, and the man himself doesn’t have a lot of impact on me anymore. Beachum really captures the ’80s feel of the early JLI and that first story arc’s attempt to disguise all the comedy behind a dark central plot. Also, I’m confident Beachum has never before or since drawn J’Onn J’Onzz, unless it involved tentacles.

    B) The lead-up to Green Lantern Corps #200 that tied into Crisis was one of the all time best runs of the property, but a few highlight aside (U’bx!) Steve Englehart indulges stupidity from then on unto the death of that series. John Stewart was the best corpsman, and seeing him sidelined by seven others all moronically stationed on Earth fighting losers like the not-Wrecking Crew and Baron Tyranowhatever caused capillaries to burst in my eyeballs. For every instance of Kilowog turning out to be from a communistic society and helping create the Rocket Reds, there was a villain who got his powers from snorting cocaine or an HIVampire. I don’t think Englehart’s career ever recovered from the one-two punch of getting GLC cancelled and launching New Guardians. So much text in the Guardians entry that no one wants to read covering material everyone decided to forget about featuring off-putting Staton art.

    C) How many thighs does Hazard have, because Tyson Chicken wants McFarlane’s secret recipe. As I recall a John Henry Irons villain took over the Hazard trademark, and didn’t Sharpe go on to become Roulette from JSA? John Ostrander actually made Himon an important part of Martian Manhunter’s extended origin once he decided that the Alien Atlas wasn’t strong enough to support his own title, so he’d just turn it into a quasi-Fourth World book (but only after Superman: The Animated Series concluded the same thing about the Man of Steel and his rogues gallery.

    D) I can never remember which closing vowel direction the name of Wonder Woman’s mom went under Perez, but he always favored the purest Greek mythological names on his run (hence Mars becoming Ares.) Unlike with most super-heroes, Wonder Woman had a not just living but immortal parent aware of her dual identity and exerting a strong influence on her adult life. I disliked Phil Jimenez’s run because he did a lot of correct things for Wonder Woman in ways that I didn’t find particularly artful or entertaining, but killing off Hippolyte in Our Worlds At War was just plain wrongheaded and irreparably damaging. Not only did it make Wonder Woman more like everyone else (especially Thor,) but it was also the exact point where Wonder Woman became yoked to the Superman family. The single most important supporting character in her history was killed by a Superman villain during a Superman crossover. Now she’s under the Superman group editor in a team-up book where she’s second billed under Superman in which he recently dumped her. Ironically, one of the Byrne Superman comics that featured Host also included Clark’s wet dream about Wonder Woman before they met-up for her Action Comics #600 appearances that settled their romantic feelings. Which was a lot more interesting than Host.

    E) Eduardo Barreto is excellent at drawing realistic period pieces, so of course he’s best known for depopulating the audience of a once top selling contemporary super-hero team book he never should have been assigned to in the first place. Titans editor Jonathan Peterson was developing a Hybrid ongoing series with Art Nichols, which went down the drain with the Nightwing mini-series after he bolted DC. Which sounds like a fair trade.

    F) I like to imagine Roy Thomas looking at Vince Argondezzi’s two page spread of Infinity Incorporated, fully realizing what he had created, and promptly began killing as many of them off as he could in his remaining time with the title. It would be like the end of Schindler’s List, except with Thomas on his knees, tears streaming down his face, naming off all the other characters he could have killed off if he’d just given his all. “Here! Take this watch! Use it to buy me one more issue of Young All-Stars! I can kill them too! Please God!” Dick Giordano, Jeanette Khan and Paul Levitz look down on him, smiling, telling him he killed as many as he possibly could, and that there would always be Diablo Island and Zero Hour, and that they would never forget his good service in murdering Infinitors. So maybe more like Munich?

    G) Firstly, I’m glad they revised the Shade’s costume, because he looked a bit Morty in the Golden Age. Secondly, if that’s the same Wizard that was in the SSoSV, I’m glad they de-vamped him. Thirdly, Artemis’ fuchsia-fortified uber-80s design actually works great in giving the team some extra pop and allowing her to stand out without overly much standing apart. That also works for Hazard to a lesser extent, leaving Icicle the gaudy odd man out. Fourthly, Jerome K. Moore should have drawn more comics in general, but especially tricky period specific super-villain teams. Fifthly, the Fiddler is on this team, and he wears a green suit and I didn’t want to leave him out despite having nothing more to say about him at this time.

    H) I really dig Iron Munro as the low-powered early Superman/Gladiator riff that went on to become a poor man’s Doc Savage as government stooge to the thriftier segments of the DC Universe, mostly meaning Damage. He’s one of those pleasingly utilitarian characters that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things but are a real friend to writers working in a shared universe. I always wanted to write a 50s set series where Control/Argent forms a sort of Cold War plainclothes Espionage Squad out of lesser heroes who complied with HUAC and then were recruited to serve their country in secret. Either Arn Munro or King Faraday would be the hand-wringing “good cop” of the group, and Hank Heywood Sr. would be the flattop hardcase racist “bad cop.” Now that DC hates its own history with the passion of a thousand self-conscious Image era fanboys in denial, I can file that premise in the same thoughtspace as Mark Waid’s Superman run.

    I) The Jihad are a solid premise that fairly screams “Islamophobe cannon fodder” in execution, so I prefer the Giffen/Medina version. I’m with Shag in finding the beginning and end of my real interest in John Constantine within the Ennis/Dillon run, and now he’s just another common media type. The Justice League entry reinforces my long held opinion that Kevin Maguire was the perfect JLI artist who would have been stiff and mediocre had the JLA stuck around in their stead. He needed the permission to cut loose on non-icons and embrace humanity/comedy. However, we deserve a Maguire Aquaman series, or at least another run as cover artist.

    J) Kalki is one of those designs that looks cool under the pen of the designer that I’m certain nobody else could be bothered to realize. Kanto was inserted into Martian Manhunter’s origins and became the primary New God baddie to interact with the character outside of Darkseid, which I read as John Ostrander wanting to write any other book but the one he was assigned to. Not a bad character, but one who belongs to the Fourth World, which is best left on its own or as an adjunct to Superman’s sphere. Katma Tui was a good supporting GL and lover of John Stewart that should not have been treated as refrigerator meat, but could have been killed in a more ennobling story. Let a powerless Tomar Re get slashed to death in his apartment by the homicidal ex-lover of an associate Green Lantern for pure shock value, and Katma Tui can perish in the line of duty during a universal crisis. Kilg%re is most notable for the spelling of its name than as a weaksauce Warlock, selffriends!

    K) I recall being bummed when Hal Jordan killed Killowog, but in retrospect it wasn’t that big of a deal. Steve Englehart did some interesting stuff with him, but in the years since he became a tough drill instructor with a heart of gold that said “poozer” a lot. Geoff Johns once offered a theoretical grimdark revamp of Kite-Man that involved his wings being made from human flesh and I couldn’t care enough to be offended. Anyone remember the movie “Night Patrol” where the Unknown Comic was debilitated when anyone said “crap tonight,” his Kryptonite? That’s a real nice drawing of Lady Blackhawk, but I don’t remember that book trading in cheesecake, so that may have been a later application. The character never seemed to amount to much, even in Birds of Prey, where she was mostly a device to facilitate group transport.

    L) Back when I was very concerned about taking the full measure if the DC Universe, Lady Shiva was hugely important to me as the yardstick by which all other martial artists were measured. Anyone who could match or defeat Shiva gained access to the upper echelon of comic book fighters alongside her, and those who could not were immediately placed in the second tier. Shiva was an especially useful gateway to esteem for characters like Cassandra Cain and Connor Hawke, since they were able to level up over the likes of Batman and Black Canary through their superior showings with Shiva. She was also a walking, talking story engine, because if Lady Shiva showed up you knew a challenge was forthcoming, functioning in the manner Pariah was intended to but never fulfilled. Shiva is also an excellent verbal sparring partner, as you knew she walked the talk, and she talked hard. When I get my proper DC Bloodlines podcast going again, she’ll be a reoccurring subject through her appearances in books like Kung-Fu Fighter and The Question. Lovely art in this entry by Jan Duursema that makes me want to overlooked the major fail in the not-very-surprint.

    M) Nice bid to restore the good name of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, except the name wasn’t ever that good, so just bring the funny already.

    N) I could never get into Slimfast Kingpin, and after recently being prompted to do some research, it turns out Black Condor’s archenemy Jaspar Crow was even closer to the archetype Byrne’s Luthor was aiming for. Anyway, I never liked the Gene Hackman take on Lex, and only got into the character after his Underworld Unleashed revision. Superman’s rogues gallery was already overstuffed with visions of human frailty, and he hardly comes off as a Man of Steel while battling non-powered middle aged diabetics with sartorial insanity, bad teeth and worse hairlines. When Neron remodeled Lex Luthor as a sexy Mr. Clean hybrid of physical Legion of Doom dynamo and untouchable businessman/politician, that finally struck the proper note for me.

    O) You guys leave Lionmane alone. He’s pretty near the only Hawkman foe who looks cool while engaging in evenly matched physical clashes. Byth overdoes it by going full kaiju, and looks like a scrawny geek in his normal form. Gentleman Ghost is an intellectual fancy pants, and Shadow Thief is immaterial. I just named every Hawkman villain anyone cares to remember, and Lionmane is all that stands between us and the likes of Dorkwing or I. Q.

    3) Xum’s Domino entry is excellent, and that character was the best thing from what I read of the Evanier/Spiegel run. My only quibble is that her outfit fairly screams sixties super-spy, not forties Nazi agent. I tend to forget about that while she’s high kicking with cleavage, though. Also, Aquarob’s entry was very well designed. I especially liked the adversarial placement of Fireshag right behind him, and his dispatching of Double Space.

    4) Whenever I hear “Buck Roulette,” I think of touring palaces in and around London, since that’s what I was doing when I heard the podcast where that joke was born.

  29. Martin Gray says:

    Oh come on Frank, you forgot Hyathis!

    And the Man-Hawks, the creepiest villains ever.

    And Mavis Trent.

  30. Stella says:

    1) Wasn’t I suppose to be the co-host from now on?
    2) It will not take decades for Batgirl to Oracle to get to Zinda! How rude!

  31. I recently discovered the Who’s Who Podcast and I am tearing through the episodes. So much fun. Thank you.

    My Who’s Who story? Funny you should ask because I have one… December 1984. Irondequoit, NY. A suburb of Rochester, NY. Throughout the 1980s in December, generally on a Sunday, my family would go to a local mall and all us kids would do our Christmas shopping. It was a good time. Sweetened by the fact that we would round off the gift buying by getting ourselves something. One year I got a Monty Python record. One year I got a Samantha Fox (the pop star) poster. One year I bought Peter Gabriel III on cassette. In 1984, I bought some comics.

    I was 11-years-old. I was a comic fan. We had a place called Empire Comics near us that I would visit every once in a while and buy whatever struck my fancy. But, I was no regular collector. (Plus, my mom thought the comic store was shady. I never quite figured out why.) So, on that Sunday in late December 1984 (the day after our local PBS station aired the Doctor Who story The Awakening for the first time), I bought two comics: Batman and the Outsiders #19 (Who’s Afraid of the Big Red S?) and Who’s Who #1.

    The Outsiders issue was Christmas-related and fun. Who’s Who, however, completely fascinated me. I knew that DC history went on forever but this was pretty astounding. I’ve always been a fan of encyclopedias and in-depth reference materials. But, to encounter a reference work of that sort all about comic book characters… The Best! I, obviously, loved the issue. Thanks to Who’s Who, for the next 2 to 2 1/2 years, I became a crazy comic collector.

    At my collecting height, I was getting about 10 titles a month. That included Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Challenge, Secret Wars 2 (and the endless crossover issues), a Red Tornado miniseries, the Doctor Who comic, The Official Marvel Index comics, several titles in the Marvel New Universe line (remember those? No? OK.) and everything Ambush Bug-related. In fact, Ambush Bug remains my favorite comic book character to this day, alongside Dr. Strange and The Flash. All of this happened because I kept going back to Empire Comics every month to get the new issue of Who’s Who.

    In late 1987, I discovered horror movies and girls. My interests in comics waned. But, now, after listening to the first ten episodes of your podcast, my interest is returning. I want to learn more about Calendar Man, take Dolphin to a movie and go trick or treating with Gentleman Ghost. Thank you for all your hard work. Onto Who’s Who in The Legion! (Comic Confession: I’ve never read an episode of the Legion of Super Heroes. But, I have read an issue of the Legion of Substitute Heroes.)

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