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WHO’S WHO: Update ’87 Podcast, Volume 4

Who's Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC UniverseThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents… WHO’S WHO: UPDATE ’87 PODCAST, volume 4!

The fourth 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 4, discussing characters such as Lois Lane, Marine Marauder, Mon-El, Moonbow, Power Girl, The Question, Parasite, Protector, 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 fourth 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 (150 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 wild cover by Todd McFarlane! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who Update '87 #4 cover by Todd McFarlane

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

First up is Moonbow by Steve Bove and Dick Giordano! Firestorm’s very own archer landed a Who’s Who entry this time! Click to enlarge.

Moonbow Who's Who entry by Steve Bove and Dick Giordano

Next is Parasite by Joe Brozowski and Steve Mitchell! While Parasite is traditionally a Superman foe, in the Post-Crisis universe, Firestorm is where Parasite first appeared! Click to enlarge.

Parasite Who's Who entry by Joe Brozowski and Steve Mitchell

Finally is Power Girl by Mary Wilshire! A long time ago on a satellite far, far away… Firestorm and Power Girl were very nearly an item! Don’t believe me? Then check out this post! Click the image to enlarge.

Power Girl Who's Who by Mary Wilshire

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

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. Siskoid says:

    Drinking game: When Shagg calls Mentalla “Mentalia”, lose your freaking mind!!! 😉

    The cover: It’s dynamic and colorful enough, and there are some fun gags, but all I can see is Mon-El wearing a cape that’s three times as long as he is tall.

    Madmen: I’ve had them in my collection since forever because I had the Modern reprints of Charlton’s Blue Beetle. I did a Who’s This on that very issue:
    But you bring up an interesting point about how first appearances are referenced in Who’s Who. I mean, no other Blue Beetle character started out in “vol.3″, right?

  2. Xum Yukinori says:

    “A sigh is still a sigh…” and a sign of Rob’s impending disproval… 

    I enjoyed the banter immensely, gentlemen. Some quick “lettercol-esque comments”:

    Marine Marauder: Rob, as you may be aware, Alan Davis had this version of the character tangle with Aquaman in his first “Justice League: The Nail” Elseworlds series, in a brief team-up with Ocean Master.

    Mentalla: Rob, your story about this entry inspiring you to seek out the comic story reminds me of what I have loved about DC Comics in the 1970s and 1980s: where a mention of a past story in the narrative being footnoted with an “editor’s note” would inspire a new back-issue hunt (and the back cover on this issue serves as the helpful “editor’s note” for this entry).

    Metallo: Shag, the woman who was grabbed by Metallo in the surprint was indeed “Super 1980’s Lois Lane(TM)”, in a re-depicted scene from Superman v2 #1.

    Mr. 104: A character that should have been included in the first volume, and was most likely added to the update because of his upcoming appearance in Suicide Squad-Doom Patrol Special. Of course, now I feel cheated that Animal-Mineral-Vegetable Man did not have a proper “old school 1980s” Who’s Who entry as well…

    Mr Bones: …must have watched a lot of “Underdog” as a kid…

    Moonbow: Moonbow’s “logo” is from the cover of Fury of Firestorm v1 #48, her first costumed appearance. This handling was similar to the entry for “The Top,” as well as “Tomahawk’s Rangers” and other Who’s Who entries that use the Ira Schnapp lettering in their “logos.”

    Paradise Island: While the letters page said there is only one Wonder Woman, Who’s Who still had the Wonder Woman I and II entries in the previous series, so the “See X” notes still have to use that numbering designation to point the reader to the correct entry…

    Power Girl: I do not believe this was mentioned – Mary Wilshire illustrated the Power Girl revised origin story in Secret Origins #11.

  3. Xum Yukinori says:

    Protector: “For more on the Protector: look here…”

    Shag, you are correct. George Pérez did originally draw Robin in the first New Teen Titans drug issue. Here is an excerpt from an interview with Andy Mangels printed in Comics Interview #50 (pages 47-49):

    “…But the only other change was that Robin was drawn and inked as leader of the TEEN TITANS because of an incredibly ridiculous bit of trouble with licensing. Keebler, the cookie company, was sponsoring the first drug book, and through the licensing of super-hero cookies, Robin was licensed to Nabisco. So we couldn’t use Robin on a Keebler-licensed product, even though it was a totally different type of marketing. Dave Manak – who was editing that book – whited out the entire costuming on Robin and drew this costume they quickly designed, and renamed him the Protector. So you have the Protector doing all the Robin-type things, like flying the T-Jet, and giving all the orders – and who is this guy? Every single pose he’s in, that was Robin in the original pose. Anyone who has the original artwork can see all the whiteout on that Protector figure and, if you hold it up to the light, you can see Robin’s costume underneath.”

    As to why they decided to keep the character in later books, Mr. Pérez said: “Now you had a character where they’d say, ‘This character was designed *specifically* for these drug books,’ to cover their tracks, so he was utilized over and over again, because now he was the binding tie that made these stories different from the TITANS stories [in DC comic books].”

    So yes, it is true.

    And on your sidenote about the animated drug advert: I actually had a PAL-VHS of that PSA as part of a TV advertising archive back when I was working in Asia in the 1990s. Unfortunately, it had succumbed to mold damage and became unplayable. I also remember “Teen Titans” being a planned ABC Saturday morning series, and my understanding was that the plans fell through for some reason, and the team behind that pitch were asked to take over the animation for the Super Friends franchise which led to the Super Powers Team season, to which they carried over the Cyborg character and design.

    Also, a “Government Issue” episode for the Fire and Water Podcast sounds like a great idea, gentlemen…

    Rampage!: So John Byrne employed the “cut and paste” technique. I believe this was during the time John Byrne was starting using the early version of the Machintosh computer to create imagery for his art. I wonder if he created the pattern on his computer first…

    I have to pause for now. I will listen to Listener Feedback tonight, and may have more responses then. Thank you again.

  4. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Um, Mentalia? Huh?

    Definitely not one of the better covers from the series. I enjoy certain elements of it (the Magpie and Metalla bit on the lower front is pretty fun), but find the majority of it pretty dull. And yeah, that’s easily one of the most boring renditions of Power Girl of all time.

    Magpie! I’ve always thought she was ridiculously hot. Rob’s right, smokin’ body, especially when drawn by Byrne. Obviously the fishnets and the abundant cleavage have a lot to do with that. Her hair always caused me to wince too, though. But I’ve always had a soft spot for this character, beyond reason, really. I think that most characters can be salvaged and I’m sure someone could do a good job with her (start by revamping that hairdo). But I really think a big part of my attraction to her is just how hot Byrne drew her. A common theme with Byrne females for most children of the ’80s, I suppose. She did appear in the recent and short-lived Beware the Batman animated series and I thought they did a good job with her there. Her costume redesign was pretty sweet:

    Much better hair, right?

    Marine Marauder’s entry is gorgeous. Ty Templeton is amazing. Every time I see his art I’m impressed. And I’ll have you know, my nonexistent Batman and the Outsiders blog is flourishing…in my mind.

    Mr. Bones. Hmmm, not a bad entry. I agree with Shag, I enjoyed McFarlane to a degree back then (mostly during his Spider-Man run and parts of Batman: Year Two) and then quickly realized his style was not really my thing. But I find his Mr. Bones to be pretty cool. Except for the very tiny ankles and feet.

    I’ll be back later once I’ve heard the entire show!

  5. Siskoid says:

    Magpie: Not her real hair, it’s a crazy wig. She’s a distillation of what the 80s were like (as much as Youngblood designs were a distillation of what the 90s were like). I did a Who’s This on her too, you’ll see she DID appear again:

    Marine Marauder: In my fairly recent DCHeroes campaign acting as a 28th century sequel to the DCU (or prequel to the Legion), I used the “Marine Marauder” persona as Atlantis’ protector and an “Aquaman” as a villain “terrorist”.

    Mentalla: Wears a costume that looks a lot like Saturn Girl’s original green costume! I caught that late in life. And yes, the Baxter series is really vol.3 because there was a 4-issue series in the 70s that was the actual vol.1

    Mr. 104: A cool villain who was sadly killed in the Doom Patrol/Suicide Squad Special. 12 years later, he reintegrated his molecules yay! and appeared in Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant, Joker’s Last Laugh and Superman.

    Mon-El: I don’t think there was a hero who was considered “Hot” as strongly as Mon-El in the LSB’s Hot or Not feature.

    Muse: The arm coming out of the bandolier is freaking me out.

    Outsiders: No gonna bash ’em (this time), but had Dr. Jace betrayed the team yet? This came out before Millennium, didn’t it? Or did she betray the team multiple times, not just as a Manhunter? Warning: I’m not certain I care that much about the answer.

    Overthrow: See? He was a Manhunter too, and it doesn’t say that here.

    Parasite as Lois sleeping with Superman: The thrust of it? Cough, cough.

    Persuader: An Action Heroes blog/podcast? Availability of the original comics is an issue, but could be cool. For someone. I’m not saying that person is me.

    The People’s Heroes: Which one loses fingers fighting the Suicide Squad? Check out the early short arc in which the Penguin is a member of the latter.

  6. Siskoid says:

    Phantom of the Fair: Ryan Daly and I talked about this character on the Secret Origins podcast, and his origins as a Centaur Comics character (as the Fantom of the Fair) are very interesting. Who’s This?

    He would later appear in Sandman Mystery Theater, but this version of him never really got anywhere. Roy dropped the storyline when All-Star Squadron became Young All-Stars.

    Power Girl: Mary Wilshire worked on the Firestar mini-series and some Red Sonja for Marvel, as I recall. She does Power Girl here because she drew the PG origin in Secret Origins #11.

  7. Xum Yukinori says:

    And I am back. Great episode all around, as always…

    Rob, Alan Davis is a comic book writer as well as an artist, he wrote the brilliant aforementioned “Justice League: The Nail” series as well as Clandestine and his later stories on Excalibur, to name a few.

    Ah, my Who’s Who debut on “The Line It Is Drawn” is a few weeks away… November 27th to be exact. Mark your calendars.

    And you are a tease, Shag, to mention the name “Super Duper” with such enthusiasm and then knock the wind out of the sails less than twenty words later. I suppose there is only room for one composite character in your fandom life…

  8. Siskoid says:

    Protector: Who’s This?

    If you’re going to give an entry to Lords of the Ultra-Realm, you can’t complain about an out-of-continuity character to get an entry. The idea that Protector was drawn over Robin seems ridiculous, because Protector is SPECIFICALLY a soldier in the war on drugs, with a back story to match. So Robin had a junkie cousin Wally West had to keep an eye on?! That’s just weird, so I’m not sure I believe it no matter what that article says, Xum. The link above has a link to the PSA with sound, it’s part of a featurette on the anti-drug campaign.

    The Question: Definitely lifted Shiva from her entry. I guess there was some dead space there.

    Qurac: I’m fine with comics using fictional countries, but it’s very weird that Qurac contains real cities like Abu Dhabi.

  9. JoeX says:

    Who’s Who time! Insert 5 quarters for 156 minutes of 80s DC memories.

    If Mr. Bones and Hooded Justice from the Minutemen seem to have similar costumes, it’s because they were both based on the Black Terror from the Golden Age.

    The huge amount of white space on the cover doesn’t help. Maybe a light blue?

    Oh, I forgot all about Bones being a rapper!

    Now he’s Mr 118! Would be a great Metamorpho or Firestorm bad guy.

    And the pocket universe leads into the whole 5 years later thing, and no one who isn’t already a Legion fan needs to go down that rabbit hole.

    One thing about Jim Aparo is that no one else can really draw those Outsider costumes well.

    We’ll be seeing the Parasite on the Supergirl TV show.

    Vostok’s agency turned into Checkmate, didn’t it?

    I would love to see someone being back all the cheesy 80s Soviet villains.

    Roy Thomas intended to have the Phantom battle the Young All-Stars, but got bogged down in character origins and adapting mostly public domain stuff.

    Qurac was one of those generic Middle East countries that popped up to breed super-terrorists, These days, it’s been replaced by Umec, which stands for Unnamed Middle Eastern Country.

    A Who’s Who podcast drinking game, where you drink every time Shagg and Rob mention a fake blog or podcast, will kill you halfway though one episode.

  10. Xum Yukinori says:

    To be clear, Siskoid, Robin was originally drawn in the first drug issue only, and had to be replaced by the Protector as per Mr. Pérez’s retelling in Comics Interview (which was conducted just a few years after the first book came out). The Protector was intentionally used in place of Robin for the second and third issues, so that is where his “character” and backstory was mostly developed.

    Many original art listings for that first drug issue on the ComicArtFans galleries mention whiteout or paste-ups on the Protector panels.

    1. Siskoid says:

      Well sure, but that first issue is the one with the junky cousin and Protector working with the Feds. How much dialog had to be changed, I wonder.

      1. Xum Yukinori says:

        I thought the “cousin” story was the second Titans drug issue that was not drawn by George Pérez, and not sponsored by Keebler. The second issue also had Kid Flash replace Speedy’s role (Kid Flash was not in the first drug issue).

        The only dialogue change I recall in the Pérez issue was when the whole team charges in and Wonder Girl thanks Protector for joining them on the case, to which he replies that he always wanted to work with the Teen Titans.

        I will need to relook at these to be sure…

        1. Siskoid says:

          Yes, you’re right. They aren’t properly numbered, the confusion was mine.

  11. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Moonbow – my only experience with this character is from this issue. But I loved this entry. Shag, how can you say she’s not hot in this entry? That surprint image of her face is beautiful.

    The Outsiders – Agreed, Rob, the team was definitely beyond their selling point at this point. I don’t even remember this part of the run, frankly. I’d lost interest at that point. For my hypothetical blog I’d have to hunt these down again and try to make myself re-read them (See? Even a big BATO fan finds the later years dismal). Looker’s new costume was terrible and such a downgrade from her sleek, simple, yet striking original one.

    Overthrow is awful. I can’t say anything else besides the costume design is pathetic.

    That is a pretty sweet Power Girl entry. Love the action shots in the surprint, and her hands-on-hip pose in the foreground – which looks stiff and boring when drawn by McFarlane on the cover – looks alive and appropriate here. She seems to have a real authority and presence in that stance. I love it. I’ve seen some images of Mary Wilshire’s Power Girl Secret Origin online before and I’d love to pick up that issue one day, just for her art (plus that issue features Hawkman, so that’s cool too).

  12. Shag says:

    Getting some fantastic feedback today via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, & comments here on the blog! Y’all rock! Best podcast listening community in the Multiverse! Keep it coming!

    Rob and I really appreciate all your comments!

    1. Siskoid says:

      Shag actually answered on the blog. These are the end days.

      I’m alone and afraid.

      1. Shag says:

        Hey! I spent over 2 hours rambling about these characters already! It’s your turn!

  13. Man, you guys are on Fire (and Water) with the comments! I really have very few points left to make. But that’s never stopped me from jawin’ before, so here we go.

    The cover: Todd McFarlane’s art reminds me of a lot of the things I liked as a teen that I can’t understand now. It’s like my teenage self was a totally different person. His work had a raw dynanism to it I can still see…but other than that…yeah, it’s ugly. You can trace the progression of Spawn through characters he drew along the way, and Mr. Bones was certainly a stepping stone.

    Lois Lane: Lois looks happier here than in any comic Byrne wrote or drew. I believe Byrne went too far with the strong assertive Lois, and honestly made her pretty unlikable. I preferred the character once Ordway, Stern and Jurgens fleshed her out.

    Magpie: She could have been a contender…but then Max Allan Collins used her. And his touch of death on Batman is well known.

    Mentalla: She has a very distinctive face. I’d say Lightle had a model for her, or based her on some celebrity. Her outfit colors are similar to Saturn Girl’s original outfit from the very first Legion tale. Take that Legion of Super-Blogger members! :-)

    Minute Men: I LOVE how Mothman is scratching his nose. I bet his eyes are closed in the actual photo…not that you could tell.

    The Muse: This character influenced a comic creation of my own, The Mask, years before I knew of the Dark Horse character made famous by Jim Carrey. My character had a mask that was half comedy, half drama. So even morts can inspire.

    The Outsiders: I think Dr. Jace betrayed the team in Millennium, so she hasn’t done that yet. She ends up being a Manhunter agent, I believe. Why is Metamorpho so shiny here?

    Overthrow: I can honestly say I’ve never heard of that sport you are referring to. Remember your audience guys. How many of us play or watch sports? I know, I’m stereotyping.

    Power Girl: Yes, she looks like someones hot mom dressed as Power Girl. Mary Wilshire drew the Secret Origins story you mentioned. I said it over on Ryan’s show, PG’s post-Crisis origin never worked, and Shagg’s solution was the no-brainer one DC should have went for.

    The Protector: YES, it’s true. The cookies. The white out. Nancy Regan. All of it. The weird thing is the Titans thank Protector for joining them on the case in that first special, but that doesn’t match the visuals of him flying the T-Jet and flipping switches, standing heroically in front of the group, etc. like Robin would. I remember seeing posters for this first comic in the hallways of my school, hoping my class would get them…but we didn’t. Apparently they were for the older kids. And I was flummoxed by this doofus taking Robin’s place!

    Rampage: Shagg may be on to something (God help us) with Byrne using paste-ups for Ravage’s chainmail. Byrne is obviously a fan of photo collage, given his current Star Trek fummeti series. This is maybe one of the first signs of that.

    Great show as always guys. You took me beyond lunch break!


    1. Siskoid says:

      Overthrow’s sport of lacrosse is, believe it or not, Canada’s national sport, to the great ire of hockey fans. I have never seen a lacrosse match, never had it taught in school, never met anyone who plays it, and have never come across an arena built for it.

      There are many instances of Byrne’s cut and paste and other shortcuts. Anyone remember Alpha Flight’s snow blind issue?

      1. Shag says:

        Actually, Overthrow’s sport is Jai alai. It’s right there in the text. Reading… it’s fun-damental! =P

          1. Siskoid says:

            Ahhhh yes. The sport of gangsters. I guess that proves that 1) I didn’t read the entry. And 2) I really DON’T know anything about Canada’s official national sport.

    2. Xum Yukinori says:

      Chris, the “shiny’ Metamorpho in the Outsiders entry is a depiction of his then-current state as a result of Dr. Jace’s first stage of “curing” Rex Mason in Outsiders #25. In the comic, Dr. Jace said she “unified” Metamorpho’s molecular structure, and he was colored in a silvery-sheened flesh tone. Obviously, the colorist for Who’s Who did not receive the memo…

      Of course, the “cure” was really an evil plot by Manhunter Dr. Jace to turn Metamorpho into a weapon…

  14. Oh, and I didn’t quite grow a beard, but I did get some peach fuzz going. If Cindy were here, she’d punch you Shagg.

    Also, I loved when Rob told Shagg to “Shut the Hell up.” Mommy and Daddy are fighting again!


  15. Jeff R. says:

    Omission of the month:the First Honorable mention goes to Pozhar, who didn’t get a very long career before becoming part of the Firestorm matrix. The second goes to the Outcasts, a non-universe DC maxiseries that was a lot better than most of the ones that did get who’s who entries, because if you give two pages to Lord of the Ultra-Realm they need to get one either in this update or the next, but didn’t. But the top spot goes to Maxwell Lord (which might have been an awkward entry given how much of the character’s backstory was being kept deliberately mysterious at the time, but that’s no real excuse, is it?)

    The People’s Heroes would go on to fight the Suicide Squad at least once, so they’ll likely show up/have shown up in that podcast.

    Interesting to see two complicated retcon origins with extremely short shelf-lives in Power Girl and Mon-El in the same issue.

    And if the Protector actually gets his own listing, I’m going to retroactively insert an Egregious Omission of the Month for the Trs-80 Whiz Kids back in the original series.

    Again, I’ll mention that at this time Qurac was located, on the map, as an about-Syria-sized country sitting between Iraq and the Persian Gulf, overwriting the location of a couple of real-world countries that would never wind up being politically significant including, um, Kuwait. The DCU gulf war that Hitman and some other characters fought in had to be pretty weird…

  16. rob! says:

    I’m going to retroactively insert an Egregious Omission of the Month for the Trs-80 Whiz Kids back in the original series.

    Xum, are you reading this? 😉

    1. Xum Yukinori says:

      Yes. Let me just locate my TRS 80 Microcomputer…

  17. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    Are you guys on the letter “Z” already?
    ‘Cause this issue was a real snooze-fest… (not your fault, DC’s)

    Anyway, a few thoughts…

    • Lois Lane: I always found Byrne’s Lois to be very unlikeable and, um, bitchy. And that’s saying something considering the portrayals that came before her (like Phyllis Coates or Kurt Schaffenberger’s version).

    • Lords of the Ultra-Realm: Doug Moench must have had some incriminating evidence on a DC exec in the 80s to explain how he got all of these lame high-concepts greenlit as mini-series.

    • Madmen: Although others may disagree, after several viewings I find that I am content with the fact that Don Draper was responsible for creating one of the greatest commercial jingles ever. Oooohhhhhmmmm…..

    • Metallo and Parasite: I prefer the original versions to these Byrne-era reboots. Superman is often criticized for not having the greatest rogues gallery but I don’t see how these modern versions were improvements.

    • Minute Men: How fitting that Dollar Bill is featured in this issue…considering the plethora of extra-long capes on the McFarlane cover. Syndrome syndrome, anyone?

    • Mr. 104: Sounds like the mascot for a lite radio station…

    • The Outsiders: I’ve never been a fan of adding a character (Atomic Knight) from another book to a failing title (The Outsiders) in an attempt to boost sales. Imagine if the Fonz left “Happy Days” in 1984 and moved to Boston to hang out with the gang of “Cheers”…

    • Overthrow: Len Wein must have indeed been a fan of jai alai. He not only created Overthrow but
    also Scoopshovel of Demolition Team.

    • What is it that makes me LOVE Mike W. Barr concepts like The People’s Heroes but HATE Roy
    Thomas concepts like Phantom of the Fair?

    • The Question: I question why this mort is the cover star and NOT Lois Lane who goes all the way back to Action Comics #1.

  18. Martin Gray says:

    Hello boys, as Eva Herzegova would say. Ta for another epic podcast, I don’t understand the idea that this show might be too long, it’s the highlight of my day when it shows up.

    I’m no Todd Macfarlane fan but I like this loads more than Rob. It’s a grabby image. I don’t mind that no one dominates, as so often the wrong person is foregrounded.

    Shagg, remember you were trying to put your finger on who that Lois Lane surprint reminds you of – I’d say Duela Dent.

    Again with the Outsiders characters, it’s amazing to think the popularity of this lot (apparently) rivalled that of the Titans and Legion. As for the teams Mike Barr made up, like him, I like puns. Unlike him, I don’t turn them into stories. And I’m not a big Jim Aparo fan, though I do appreciate him (he used to sometimes give Batman dotty eyeballs, didn’t he?)

    Hey, I’ve an idea, Shagg – instead of telling us when a woman is hot, why not save time by mentioning when she ain’t? It finally happened this month, Rob became your mini-Me…

    Mohawks are never hot. Not on anyone, ever. And especially not on Magpie, who looks like an elderly male clown. Mind, the design is better than that Beware the Batman redesign Michael shared – oh good grief, talk about pandering to a straight male audience. That’s one for the Who’s Who in the Victoria’s Secret catalogue show.

    Good idea about Power Girl and Daxam, Shagg, we all had it 30 years ago (ducks!). ((No, I’m not ducking, we Brits call people ‘ducks, really’))

    Why DC and whoever that other company was didn’t use Speedy as lead for those drug stories is beyond me, who better? Been there, done that, kids.

    Quraq, Kandaq, Bialya… it’s all Madeupistan to me.

    1. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

      I think the Batman and the Outsiders concept intrigued fans at the time, the idea that Batman would renounce membership in the JLA (I’ve had enough of your two-bit Justice League!”) and start up his own group was incredibly shocking at the time, at least it was to me and other folks at the LCS I grew up shopping at. That famous cover to issue #1 – one of Aparo’s finer moments in a career full of them – really stood out on the stands. That said, did the series live up to all of that hype? I’m not sure it did. I still enjoyed the hell out of it though. But it was just enough of a pastiche of the other hugely popular team books of the time like the Titans and the X-Men that there were enough fans salivating for more team book action and this one satiated some of that spillover. Just my two cents.

      Eh, I suppose so, re: the Magpie animated series redesign, but honestly I didn’t see much difference in the elements of either costume: both have tiny underwear, one has fishnets, one has thigh highs, both expose lots of cleavage, etc. I guess what I’m getting at is I don’t think the animated show exactly sexed her up compared to her original design–Byrne did that just fine on his own when he created her, only filtered through an ’80s fashion aesthetic.

  19. Martin Gray says:

    Oh, and I agree with my chums above, Byrne’s Lois was a right old bag.

    The green Parasite is terrible, like a bad rip-off of Marvel’s Radioactive Man, when we’d all rather be looking at Radiation Roy.

  20. Frank says:

    1) I bought the first edition of the DK Encyclopedia, and it’s an exceptional reference. There’s an emphasis on catching characters from the late ’90s on that were missed by Who’s Who and Secret Files, without the distraction and poor sorting of sites like ComicVine that go hyper-obscure with questionable references and low writing standards. That said, no Professor Arnold Hugo, no Mr. V, no Zook, etc.

    2) I fall between Rob and Shag on the cover, in that it’s objectively terrible art, but I still kinda like it in an Ed Wood way. The biggest offense is all the crappy wannabe Perez/Byrne rocks that look fake even as a drawing and I don’t buy the dodgy perspective or spacial relation for a second. It’s obvious McFarlane doesn’t want to do the figure work on most of the characters, so he cheats by shoving them a mile in the distance and treating most of the characters like stick figures. That said, McFarlane captures the comics scene of 1987 a hell of a lot better than Joe Brozowski, Ed Barreto or Pablo Marcos, and the characters he does bother to draw are uniquely rendered in his distinct style. Regardless of his quirks and cheats, I’d rather look at McFarlane’s Peacemaker than Todd Smith’s.

    A) I gripe a lot about how John Byrne ruined Superman as much if not more than Frank Miller ever did, but I wouldn’t touch a Superman comic in 1985, and I did happily buy both of Byrne’s books for 1/4-1/2 of his run. Byrne certainly reinvigorated the titles, and it isn’t his fault the Superman office slavishly mimicked his approach for twenty years under lesser talents. Also, I never had much use for Lois Lane before Byrne, and then he made her smart, capable, and a fine compliment to the Man of Steel. It’s probably his best legacy on the titles. My favorite Lois creative team was Louise Simonson & Jon Bogdanove. They really nailed her as a reporter/adventurer.

    B) I read an issue of Lords of the Ultra-Realm decades ago, and couldn’t make heads or tails of it, other than it seemed surprisingly dark and metal. The view from 2015 is a sea of long expired white boy frank & beans nobody wants to swim through. I look at the Madmen as a crowd of Joker cosplayers. It doesn’t matter who the main one is, I want to punch them all, and none seem especially sturdy in taking said punches.

    C) I actually like Magpie as a product of the ’80s, but I’m not exactly sure why she exists. Maybe Byrne wanted a neutral villain for the first pairing of Superman & Batman, or maybe he wanted a Catwoman type for Supes and thought better of it? I do know that the only artist who could draw her as anything but ridiculous was Trevor VonEeden, who was still leaning into the necessary abstractions to work this design. She totes should have been kacked in Suicide Squad.

    D) I have no strong opinions about Marine Marauder, and yes, she should have fought Aquaman at some point. Mentalla looks more realistic/referenced than most Lightle characters, and I dig that. Sometimes breasts are set far apart, Shag, but maybe it’s just that her cape has a pointy, non-contouring front flap?

    E) Having been introduced to Metallo through an issue of Blue Devil, I never took to this T-800 pretender. He should be The Man With The Kryptonite Heart, and he should have a color scheme besides chrome. Ever since this revamp, and even on to the Superman Animated Series, creators have tried to sell this basic cyborg as a threat, and I could never buy it. On sheer visuals, the Post-Crisis Metallo is simply nothing special.

    F) I’ve read much of the O’Neil/Cowan Question run, but not in order or more that a few issues in one sitting. I think I read the one with Mikado, but he didn’t make much of an impression, and did not rate an entry. Mindancer definitely has a cool name and design, but seems vaguely aquatic, and might have suited Aquaman.

    G) The Minutemen are likely artifacts of the development of Watchmen from before they were at DC, when Moore earlier on considered the project for a revival of the MLJ/Archie line. Moore wanted to use preexisting characters to give the premise of a murder mystery centering on a super-hero immediate emotional resonance, with The Shield his planned victim. Hooded Justice looks like an amalgam of Black Hood and Hangman. Mothman was likely The Fly. The connections become more tenuous from there, with Captain Metropolis perhaps Steel Sterling and Dollar Bill maybe Blackjack, and the rest are the Golden Age versions of the Charlton Action Heroes already in use as the Watchmen’s template. I figure the worst decision of Dick Giordano’s career was convincing Moore to go with creator owned analogues rather than unambiguously corporate owned properties, but then again, DC would have surely pissed off Moore some other way inevitably.

  21. Anj says:

    Boy! Be late by one day in listening and come in to find that 29 comments have already been posted. I guess better late than never. I’ll keep my comments brief.

    1) Mentella – as said above, the colors of her costume do mirror the original Saturn Girl costume colors from Adventure 247. Her idea of mind control (she wasn’t a very good telepath) was felt to be a bit too intrusive for the Legion which is why she was rejected as an applicant.

    2) Mikado – His face as the Mikado is actually a mask, a mikado mask, hence the while clown circles on the cheek. Spaulding was African-American. The issue where he is introduced is chilling. “The punishment fits the crime.’ So he flays the flesh of an overweight guy who hoards food and doesn’t let his wife and kids eat. The issue opens with him slowly lowering a guy (who is awake) into cauldron of boiling water. He cooks the guy! Brrr …

    3) Power Girl – Mary Wilshire drew her in the Secret Origins issue explaining her art here. Shag, great minds think alike as I mentioned the Daxam solution on the Secret Origins podcast as an easy out for hero origin as opposed to the convoluted Arion version.

    4) The Question – I loved the new series, reading it monthly when it came out. He does indeed ‘die’ at the end of the first issue, battered by Shiva, shot in the head with a .22 bullet and dumped in the river. But through a bunch of medical coincidences, he survives and is brought to Dragon for training. It is all Zen and liberal ideals, perfect for the adolescent Anj at the time.

    Lastly, I read the Avengers 1959 book by Chaykin, which is very Chaykin. But if looking for a pulpy book, might I recommend the Marvel mini-series Mystery Men by David Liss and Patch Zircher. Great stuff.

    1. Siskoid says:

      Mystery Men was very cool. Marvel put out a couple of oddball team mini-series around the same time that I liked, but didn’t lead to more stories. True Believers comes to mind.

      As for the 29 comments by day 2, half of them are me being wrong about something. Ignore at your leisure.

  22. Wolfgang Hartz says:

    Sorry Rob, but I agree with Shag about Todd Mcfarlane. I love the way he draws capes and his unique panel layout on things like Infinity, Inc.

    1. Wolfgang Hartz says:

      Oh, and I have a question about Power Girl. I think at some point she had a son, does anyone remember what happened to him?

  23. CanadaClark says:

    No love for Moonbow? I really thought Shag would have had a soft spot for her considering she is super-stacked and a natural redhead. Besides, how can you not love a girl with an obvious “Jem and The Holograms” moon over her eye? I literally fell in love with this character for those two issues. It cemented my love for tall gorgeous women, the taller the better. If I remember correctly, she did appear in some later Firestorm issues where she was also a student with Ronnie and the Professor at Vandemeer University, dabbling in investigative journalism.

    Keep up the good work!

  24. Phylemon says:

    Another great show as always, gentlemen.

    I have been in a bit of a funk about the podcast as late, since the update to Who’s Who just didn’t have the gonzo crazy characters that were such a common occurrence in the original series, but I really love large parts of this issue. A couple of specific items:

    1. Madmen- These guys are the perfect example of the sort of fun characters that I’m talking about and proof that this run of Blue Beetle was the last great comic that DC put out before everything became dark and gritty. Look at those colors! I made a custom Super Powers action figure of the lead Madman (Fleeter) and, although quite challenging, it was my most rewarding figure to create.

    2. Magpie’s fascination for shiny things: Didn’t this get grafted onto Selina Kyle’s personality at some point, basically becoming the reason why she had to be a thief, that she just couldn’t resist stealing the pretty things?

    3. The double shot of Marine Marauder and Mentalla is definitely a highlight of this issue. The color schemes and art for these two are quite stunning. On a side note, I’m impressed that neither of you defaulted to Outsider hate when covering MM. Maybe you have matured.

    4. I learned something from you today!! This issue’s entry for Metallo is really the only contact I’ve had with this version of John Corbin. Therefore, I had always assumed that the art was a depiction of how he really looked, half human looking and half robot. I’ve never been capable of investing in John Byrne’s run on Superman. If he isn’t helping Jimmy Olson not be a giant turtle man or fighting the menace of sixteen different varieties of Kryptonite alongside half a dozen animals from his home planet, why would you read a Superman story? Seriously, though, I like Byrne and I like Superman, I just have never been able to overcome that this isn’t the Supes I grew up with.

    5. Like everything Booster Gold, I love Mindancer. Jurgen’s ability to craft a villian’s appearance always makes me happy. I’m surprised that neither of you brought up the big reveal for this character, though. Despite all of Shag’s comments about this character’s hotness, don’t we discover that under the mask that she is actually skeleton faced, or in some other way horribly disfigured? I remember that being a huge surprise to me when it was revealed.

    6. Shag is right (I know, I know, Shag. We can stop right there.) that Mr. 104 does look very much like a Legion villain. Flipping through the book, that was my first thought as well.

    7. New Atlantis: I must have blocked this out, but I have no memory of Power Girl showing up in Warlord (even though the back cover proves that to be true). I remember that these were dark days for Kara, almost as bad as the post crisis was to Donna Troy, but I did not know that she ever appeared in the Warlord books. I might have to look into those appearances.

    8. Olympian Gods: George Perez makes characters that I couldn’t care less about much more palatable. And, yes, Aphrodite is hot in this picture.

    9. The Outsiders: I have the entirety of the run of these characters from the 80’s and filing them is next to impossible because of the number of times the title shifts from “Outsiders” to “Batman and the Outsiders” to “Adventures of the Outsiders”. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an “Adventures of Batman and the Outsiders” at some point. They seemed to be very fond of trotting Batman out whenever sales dipped.

    Side note: I miss the days when DC felt they had to limit Batman’s appearances based off of what a normal human being could realistically do. In order for him to start “Batman and the Outsiders”, he had to quit the JLA. When he rejoined the League, he dropped out of the Outsiders. There was no thought of giving him 15 different titles like he has today.

    Side, Side Note: I don’t think Atomic Knight was ever really a member of the team. I remember he appeared in a number of issues (I blocked most of that out because if you are not riding on the back of a Giant Dalmatian drawn by Murphy Anderson [God rest his soul], are you really an Atomic Knight?) but I don’t think he was ever offered or accepted membership on the team.

    10. My Wonder Woman will always come from Paradise Island. In my DC Universe, there is no such thing as Themyscira.

    11. Wow, we again got through an Outsiders entry without an overabundance of loathing. I also love me some themed villain teams like the People’s Heroes.

    12. I have very fond memories of the Protector. I, like every other comic book nerd who was handed one of the anti drug issues in the 80’s, wondered who the heck this kid was and what had happened to Robin, but as I read the issues, with their objectivist morality that spoke to my young soul, I looked past the cognitive dissonance that everyone thought of this newby as the leader of the Titans and began to be won over by the Protector’s single minded determination. As a matter of fact, when I played super heroes in my back yard as a younger kid, the costume I envisioned myself wearing was patterned after Jason Hart’s, and my backstory was similar to his. I led a super hero group called “The Drug Busters” and we fought against the evil pushers that populated my very white, middle class suburban neighborhood. I feel it really important to say at this point that, despite everything I just wrote, I still somehow wound up married to a wonderful woman who lets me occasionally touch her in romantic ways.

    Back to the point, however. As much as I loved the Protector, they really should have redrawn Robin to be Jericho and then everyone would have been happy.

    And, on that note, I will sign off until next time!

  25. Frank says:

    H) I first saw Mr. Bones in the promotional comiczine DC Focus, in a panel from a Millennium issue, smoking a cigarette and saying something like “Push that button, pull that lever, who the hell wants to live forever?” How could I not like him? He’s also proto-Spawn by way of the Black Terror, which is teenage boy cool. I dug him in Chase, where D.C. Johnson still wrote his dialogue in rhyme, but a more subtle form than the doggerel he was known for. I recall the writer being a bit put out that other scripters of Director Bones missed that when they continued his storylines without his input. I wonder how he feels about Supergirl’s use of the D.E.O., and whether he gets a check anything like Gerry Conway’s, given the less generous and more contract savvy times Chase was created in? Also, for the record, Mr. Bones is African-American, just like Spawn.

    I) I have very little experience with or interest in Mr. 104, but the drawing is amusing. If you asked if I liked Mon-El, I’d say yes, but I’d struggle to explain if you asked me why. Probably because he was a Daxamite touted as more powerful than Superman at a time that was rare, although he still got his blue trunks handed to him in Eclipso: The Darkness Within. Moonbow has an alright name and look, but I don’t see her as a Green Arrow foe just because they have an m.o. in common. Give her to a different street level vigilante, and not a freakin’ Nuclear Man. I like the boldness of Muse’s costume. I have some of those later Warlord issues with Power Girl and New Atlantis, but I’m not sure I ever stayed awake all the way through reading one. George Perez’s fidelity to the Olympian Gods was a buzzkill, because he was so into the mythology that it got in the way of telling good Wonder Woman stories.

    J) This is not a good drawing of the Outsiders, and their expanded line-up halves any reasonable argument for their continued existence. As little as I care about Halo to begin with, giving her an all-contrast/no-color costume manages to make her even less appealing. Don’t make fun of Overthrow… to his face, as SDCP needs the billings since they lost Lucky Strike. I don’t see how Perez did Wonder Woman any favors by forcing everyone to try and pronounce Themyscira when Paradise Island worked fine. “Robin, to the Lemuel Schibi Memorial Underground Cave Network!” K.I.S.S.

    K) Speaking of which, it takes a special kind of stupid to turn The Parasite into a near nude large hulking green-skinned menace. The purple guy was one of the first Superman villains I encountered in comics, so I’ll always have a soft spot for him, and it bothers me that other heroes borrowed a lesser version of him away for a number of years there. I’d just assume stick with the Neal Adams look from the ’60s, but if he’s going to be modernized, let’s stay away from the sucky leach/obese Venom take and hew more to Alex Ross’ scaryass screaming-man-in-a-wrinkled-garbage-bag version. Also, this guy never comes up in fan movie talk, but he’s translated to animation better than virtually any other Superman foe, and he has obvious advantages in an Injustice Gang/JLA story as well.

    L) So Keith Giffen plotted the Menthor strip in Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, in which the psyche of the deceased original bearer resided in the helmet that gave him and his successor their powers. After that book was prematurely canceled due to lawsuits, Keith Giffen worked on the Peacemaker strip from the aborted Blockbuster Weekly, and I think he recycled the premise of a hero’s helmet containing the identity of a dead predecessor, which Paul Kupperberg picked up on when Peacemaker reappeared in Vigilante/Checkmate/solo mini-series.

    Kupperberg seemed to share Alan Moore’s reaction to the hard right politics of the original 1960s Gill/Boyette series, as each portrayed the character type as a psycho/sociopathic abomination. Taking a firm political stance while writing mainstream super-hero comics was still novel in the 1980s, but I feel the demonization of right wing ideology by the commonly left wing creatives (at least the working writers) has contributed to the contraction of the industry. “He loved peace so much that he was willing to fight for it” is obviously intended to be a dichotomous statement, and one that would naturally rub hippy peaceniks the wrong way, but super-heroes are an inherently right wing concept that appeals to people of that persuasion. It isn’t fair that a sizeable segment of the comics audience is consistently backhanded by scripters with agendas. In facts, I think DC missed an opportunity to set themselves apart as an alternative to Marvel’s targeting collegiate liberals in the late ’60s by holding fast to their longtime conservative inclinations. Instead of, say, giving Steve Ditko a platform for his objectivism, they had scripter Steve Skeates undermine the artist at every turn until he gave up expressing himself on widely distributed books. By continuously marginalizing right wing readers, they pushed many of them out of comics instead of providing them their own space with characters sympathetic to their philosophies, like Peacemaker.

    All this is to say that Peacemaker was unnervingly hardcore in his time, and would have contributed more to DC creatively and economically if his creators’ vision had been upheld rather than ridiculed, making him a nutzo hearing the voice of his Nazi father as he became cannon fodder on Diablo Island in a stunt that failed to save the Eclipso series. Also, brown, white and blue is a surprisingly strong color scheme, and I dig the goofy but practical helmet on a guy who wore a jet pack and was constantly being shot at.

    M) I looooove un-American super teams, and to a much lesser degree, regional ones. Comic books are so U.S.-centric that I always perk up for characters in our continuity but from someplace else. The People’s Heroes are flatly colored, one dimensional and painfully obvious Mike W. Barr excretions, but because they’re Russkies and showed up in Suicide Squad, I’m still down with them as recurring villains in the Global Guardians ongoing series I want but will never get. Pravda means “Truth,” by the way. Their new team leader today would be Oligarch, and their costumes would be track suits.

  26. Frank says:

    N) The Phantom of the Fair screams “rough trade.” I dig the simplicity and potency of his costume, which would scare me a lot more than a dude dressed like a bat. He didn’t amount to much as a DC character, but when Dark Horse fetishized him even more and rebranded as the even less ambiguously leather fiending X it worked out reasonably well for them. Boy, the Tea Party would go nuts for an X movie. It would make The Dark Knight Rises look Marxist.

    O) I liked Mary Wilshire’s art on the Secret Origins story fine, but looking at Power Girl in that static pose, she just isn’t cutting it. Too meek, no personality or passion. Though the actual story was garbage, I never minded Power Girl tying into Arion and ancient Atlantis. Anything is better than her being the Diet Mr. Pibb Xtra on Earth-Only-Stocks-Coke-Products when we all know Supergirl is a true Pepper. I prefer Anj’s ancestor-to-Andromeda Daxamite alternative though, and I have another under my hat.

    P) You know those three packs of comics they used to sell at grocery and toy stores? Well, there was a little thrift store in Pasadena when I was growing up that made their own, and that’s how I got two of the three Titans drug comics (I’m not sure I knew of a third until you guys brought it up.) Perhaps not objectively in hindsight, but as a kid I preferred Protector’s look to Robin’s. Today, he looks like an NPC from the Champions RPG, but I like him for the nostalgia and old school aesthetic, if not for the drug drama (what is his stance on medicinal marijuana, is what I’m asking?)

    Q) That is one awkward Question profile, and the recycled Shiva does not help. Those high waisted pants and the boxy midsection make Vic Sage look more like The Penguin. I always wondered if O’Neil ever intended to tie Vic to Mr. Szasz? Anyway, though I’ve never sat down and read the full run of this volume, the out-of-sequence and years apart portions I have read were the best material Denny O’Neil and probably Denys Cowan ever produced.

    R) Qurac rocks, and got tons of usage in late ’80s DC comics. They’ve killed everybody in Qurac and Bialya at various points, but they keep coming back because you need fake Middle Eastern nations for super-heroes to jack with to address global concerns without ticking anyone specific off.

    S) Ugh. Rampage. What was the point of porting the Savage She-Hulk over from Marvel? Has she been killed off yet? Has no one cared enough to bother with killing her off? Just throw her corpse into a pile of massacred z-graders for shock value and we can never speak of her again outside statistics. She can take Peacemaker’s spot.

  27. Xum Yukinori says:

    For those curious, my Who’s Who page is finally online, plus an all-new bonus entry…

    I also created an additional Who’s Who entry “just because.” Enjoy.

    That makes 12 entries, 15 pages total. Almost halfway to creating one volume…

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