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

Who's Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC UniverseThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents… WHO’S WHO: THE DEFINITIVE PODCAST OF THE DC UNIVERSE, Volume V!

The fifth episode of our WHO’S WHO podcast is now available — the show that dares to tackle one of DC Comics’ greatest publications! Each episode Rob and I cover a single issue of the legendary 1980s series, Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe. This time around we discuss characters such as Cyborg, Clayface I-III, Commander Steel, Cosmic Boy, Killer Croc, Crime Syndicate, and many more! We wrap up the show with Who’s Who Listener Feedback!

Be sure to check out our Tumblr site for a few pages from this Who’s Who issue:!

You can find the fifth episode of WHO’S WHO: THE DEFINITIVE PODCAST OF THE DC UNIVERSE on iTunes. Each episode is released as part of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST feed. While you’re on iTunes, please drop us a review. Alternatively, you may download the podcast by right-clicking here, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (56 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 his band The Bad Mamma Jammas for our fantastic Who’s Who theme song!

Have a question or comment? Send us an e-mail at:

One of the coolest aspects of each Who’s Who issue was the amazing wrap-around cover! Check out this gorgeous George Perez and Dick Giordano cover for Volume V! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, volume 5 cover by George Perez and Dick Giordano

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

Commander Steel of the All-Star Squadron drawn by Jerry Ordway! Firestorm met Commander Steel in Justice League of America #207 (Oct. 1982) during the JLA/All-Star Squadron crossover “Crisis on Earth Prime!” Click the image to enlarge.

Commander Steel by Jerry Ordway from Who's Who

Cosmic Boy of the Legion of Super-heroes drawn by Richard Howell and Karl Kesel! Firestorm encountered Cosmic Boy while they each battled Brimstone during the Legends crossover (Nov. 1986)! Click the image to enlarge.

Cosmic Boy of the Legion of Super-heroes by Richard Howell and Karl Kesel from Who's Who

Killer Croc drawn by Ed Hannigan and Romeo Tanghal! While Firestorm never tangled with Croc, the villain was created by Gerry Conway and was originally slated to appear in Firestorm vol I #7. At the end of Firestorm vol I #6 (originally unpublished, but recently included in the Firestorm the Nuclear Man trade paperback), you’ll notice the next issue box states, “The Reptile Man!” Gerry Conway confirmed during an interview we did together that he created Killer Croc originally to battle Firestorm, and then repurposed the idea with Batman after Firestorm had been canceled.

Killer Croc from Who's Who created by Gerry Conway and drawn by Ed Hannigan and Romeo Tanghal

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  1. Siskoid says:

    Looking at the cover with you guys… And it’s the first time I notice the Citadel guard has two arms?! What’s up with that?

    Chronos: Time travel only became his thing, I think, in Power of the Atom, a couple years after this, where he changed his costume for something a little less… garsish.

    Cinnamon: Brent Anderson’s girls look so sad. His Batgirl and Catwoman have the same expression.

    Circe: I love the Base of Operations. The Bermuda Triangle!

    Claw: Yeah, Giffen drew the latter half of the series, including 2 unpublished issues (until Cancelled Comics Cavalcade).

    Composite-Superman: If I may, the Reign of the Supermen entry where all is explained. Well, as much as can be explained anyway.

    Congo Bill: Was NOT in Action #1. This mistake was later corrected in Who’s Who’s letters page. His actual first app. is in More Fun Comics #56 (June 1940). This guy was apparently so popular he got his own movie serial in the 40s!

    Reaching the hour mark. Have to take a pee break. I’ll be back with more.

  2. Siskoid says:

    Congorilla: Does he think he’s Monsieur Mallah, there, in the surprint? (And on the word “surprint”… since the image is really UNDER the character, shouldn’t it be “subprint”? What’s the prefix for “behind”? Don’t change it on my account, I’m just playing with semantics.

    Construct: Wireless Internet is ALIVE!!! The reason he’s so silly is that the glow around his eyes looks like biew-tiful eyelashes. Puts me in mind of Futurama, for some reason.

    Controllers: Would go on to form their own police corps, the Darkstars.

    Copperhead: He’s got a superheroic physique in his first B&B appearance, but yeah, I much prefer him thin, slinky and creepy. The loose leaf Who’s Who version was so, so awesome. well, Matt Wagner.

    Council: I HATE THE COUNCIL. Not because they look like they came out of the crayola box, but because they’re really a combination of two other entries, the Gang (thus the G) and Matrix-Prime. That all three ideas had entries is ridiculous to me. I’d have left it at just the Council, or just Gang + Matrix-Prime. Sorry, brings out the rage.

    Crazy Quilt: Isn’t really color-blind (you’re thinking of Rainbow Raider), quite the opposite. He can only see bright vivid colors. His mind (and fashion sense) cracked under the strain. You don’t know how happy seeing him as a recurring villain in the Brave&Bold cartoon made me.

    Creeper: There’s some Ditko in the later issues. Shade the Changing-Man, certainly. And Starman II. The Question maybe?

    Crime Doctor: The smock is catching on his belt! Come on, Rob! Crime Doctor definitely needs to feature in my new Who’s Who thing, “Who’s This?” because he really seems like a villain that should have recurred more, and yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen him.

    Crimson Avenger: I was always confused as a kid that he was pictures twice in the subprint, but missing his chest emblem in one of them. Didn’t know Wing, what can I say?

    Croc: So everybody gets their junk mentioned, but NOT Croc? Come on, Shag!

  3. My Dixie Wrecked says:

    Another great episode! I love that you guys are pointing me towards comics that I missed out on. Last month I bought Camelot 3000, which was amazing by the way. After listening to episode five I immediately went on ebay and bought the full 12 issue run of Claw the Unconquered. Can’t wait for next month! Dr Fate was my first and favorite Super Powers action figure way back when.

  4. Siskoid says:

    Agree with Dixie! Volume VI is probably my favorite issue of Who’s Who ever, for sentimental (where I actually started the Super 7 thing) and quality (such great artists contribute to this one) reasons.

    Flipping through it again, there ARE weaknesses though. But we’ll see what you guys think.

  5. It’s always so much fun listening to this podcast because while I listen I’ll find myself agreeing with Rob about something, then the very next character I’ll agree with Shag against Rob (LOVE the Legion!!!), and then I’ll agree with Rob again….it’s like I’m a Composite Rob-Shagg or something. But without the stupid costume, and I don’t have any alien named Zan in my life.

    Anywho, I have to say I was disappointed that Rob knows almost no Legion history. :-( Because we share so many other similar likes and dislikes, it seems sad somehow that Rob doesn’t appreciate the Legion Goodness. However, it was awesome to hear Shag school Rob on Legion lore. You tell him, Shagg Lad! It seems like my favorites are also Shag’s (Rokk Krinn is def one of my all-time favorite characters).

    Regarding Commander Steel, I thought the reason that his grandson was not mentioned was because the profile was about the WWII character, and as so it says “the details of (his) exploits between 1941 and the present have not been officially recorded.” Atleast, that’s the way I thought his profile was written. Besides, him turning into an S.O.B. is a few months in the future, so maybe DC didn’t want to commit to that atrocity here?

    I could never tell if Cinnamon was wearing a white suit or a black suit. It looks white on the cover but black on the profile. I could never get past the odd inking of her suit. I, like Shag, liked that she and Night-hawk ended up being earlier versions of Shayera and Katar.

    The best Creeper story I’ve ever read was one of the first: the end of the “Bat-Murderer” story-line where he guest-stars in DETECTIVE. I have not liked him in really any other story.

  6. Frank says:

    A. Dick Giordano really futz the inking on this cover. I rarely liked or understood his embellishment of Perez, though it was better than those early Romeo Tanghal issues. There’s a partial equivalency to Vinnie Colletta here, in that several primary figures are given the expected Perez sheen, and then Giordano just hacks out the rest in his own style. Eyeing the margins first, I thought this might have been one of the Ed Hannigan covers.

    B. Great catch on Congo Bill!

    C. Killer Croc in his original incarnation was one of my favorite Batman villains. He was basically a slum kid with a skin condition who grew up to become a brutal Tony Montana style crime lord by killing his way to the top. Rob would have been distrubed by Waylon being beaten by a racist cop with a belt buckle as a child. Dan Jurgens did some outstanding early art on the character.

    D. When do you tend to hear a B/C-list villain’s name? In team surroundings. What teams has Chronos been on? Exactly. He was in that group of time-themed villains during Zero Hour, but otherwise, his touch is little felt outside the Atom’s sphere. For instance, if I recall correctly, Chronos didn’t start doing time travel stuff until the ’80s, during guest appearances in books like World’s Finest Comics and Blue Beetle. Before that, he was another of Atom’s long line of sub-Batman goons with a gimmick– timepiece weaponry. In our Halloween crossover, I featured a story where Chronos stole the Time Pool from Professor Hyatt, which wouldn’t have been necessary if he had that area sewn up. The time travel really kicked in after Chronos cut a deal with Neron during Underworld Unleashed and fought the Legion of Super-Herores. Really great Jansonesque inking on his entry, and you’d hunch too if your nemesis was half a foot tall. Finally, Chronos has to be up there with the worst costumed characters anyone has ever heard of. What a mess. Finally, how did you guys miss the fact that Chronos’ facial features were based on Richard Nixon? Kane modeled Hal Jordan after a pre-fame Paul Newman, as well.

    E. Who’s Who: Claw The Unconquered

    F. I think Carlo Barbieri did a good job of reforming what little worked about Clock King’s costume. Great origin for such a doofus.

    G. Infantino self-referenced his own New Look Batman story in posing Cluemaster for his entry.

    H. I’m with Rob on Colossal Boy. Not nearly collosal enough.

    I. I think I’ve said “Dominators” when I really meant “Controllers,” like, a lot, for a very long time.

    J. Ideas I fell in love with but will never get to see: A 1950s set series involving plainclothes period super-heroes who agreed to work with the government rather than retire to combat BEMS/UFOs/fugitive Nazis/etc. Commander Steel would have been like Violent Marv– the team’s resident angry bigot misogynist who can still be relied upon to take and bring the pain. Conversely, he’s the idealistic speechifying right winger who clashes with King Faraday’s cynical, pragmatic, quiet leftist. The New 52 rendering moot super-heroic ties to decades of real world history has smothered much of my love for the universe, to the point where DC Bloodlines has essentially become a pin-up blog. It just doesn’t matter anymore.

    K. Copperhead is one of those villains that is either intense or ridiculous, depending entirely on the artistic interpretation. He looked creepy-cool on his debut cover, “The Brave and the Bold #78,” relishing squeezing the life out of Batman after felling Wonder Woman and Batgirl. His Underworld Unleashed redesign was pretty solid, but eliminated the disturbing quality of an oversized head on a lithe body. The broadness of the face and flat nose is what mutes the recognizability of Broderick’s style. Broderick is usually more pointy, where this better resembles Bob McLeod.

    L. Cosmic Boy was the prototype for Cyclops, and is basically what would have happened if Scott Summers had stayed clean cut and pure hearted, instead of a scumbag.

    M. Count Vertigo is a great looking villain who transcended Green Arrow’s rogues gallery, by not by enough to register with broader audiences. I adore ’80s Trevor Von Eeden, before he took on more of a Neal Adams influence in the ’90s. It was so stylized and minimalistic– true pop art as much as comic art. Von Eeden claims credit for designing Black Lightning, which Tony Isabella doesn’t count as “creating,” but most fans would dispute (especially Kirby/Ditko ones.)

    N. One of my early comics featured the Creature Commandos, so I have a soft spot. I think DeMatteis laid down some pathos for these guys.

    O. I don’t think Ditko did any Who’s Who, either. He was working at the indies like Pacific at that time, and likely was militant about it. Dennis Fujitaki of Delgado fame did the Shade entry. I’m actually 100% behind Shag, having tried to read Creeper stories from Ditko to the ’70s back-ups to his run as a supporting player in Eclipso to the various deconstructions of the ’80s/’90s/’00s. He was created as a Shadow riff with Joker madcap outlandishness. It does not work. It has never worked. Creators have tried to will the Creeper into being something viable, but the character is just a collection of incongruent bad ideas. From Keith Giffen to Vertigo, it just won’t run. Anj will try to explain the appeal at a later time on DC Bloodlines through a series of posts.

    P. Gail Simone did some good stuff with Crime Doctor, then weirdly killed him off.

    Q. “Whatever Happened To… The Crimson Avenger?” (10/1981). Definitely a better character in dying than in life, and I agree about this springboard being better that the one Johns eventually used.

    R. DC has tried to make Cyborg happen for decades, as I complain in Victor Stone: Affirmative Action Cyborg.

    S. Loved the DIY Spanish Who’s Who anecdote! Makes me feel less insane my own self.

    T. Since the original X-Men were failures consigned to reprints prior to the All-New, All-Different relaunch, I don’t think things could have gone better for the Doom Patrol at a slight turn of fate. The New Doom Patrol bears this out.

    U. How bad does it suck to name your kid after a super-heroic identity that is striken from continuity? Please answer in essay form.

    V. My returning to the podcast= Chinese Democracy? The Two Jakes?

  7. Siskoid says:

    @Russell: I think it would be a different story if the Legion had a real underwater character. Then Rob would be all over it.

    Why no Aquaman legacy a millennia on, DC?

  8. Siskoid says:

    Sorry Frank, I’m looking at Ditko’s Shade entry right this minute. Fujitake did the Shade entry in the Updates.

    And… yep, confirmed on Starman II as well.

  9. Siskoid says:

    And it just hit me that Ditko also did Stalker and the Question.

    Completist Siskoid

    Will also beat dead horses for money or room and board.

  10. […] sure to check out Episode Five of the amazing Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe hosted by Rob Kelly and […]

  11. […] sure to check out Episode Five of the amazing Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe hosted by Rob Kelly and the […]

  12. […] sure to check out Episode Five of the amazing Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe hosted by Rob Kelly and the […]

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