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

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 XXII!

The twenty-second 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 chat about WHO’S WHO: Volume XXII, discussing characters such as the Golden Age Superman, the Silver Age Superman, the Modern Age Superman, Supergirl, Suicide Squad, Swamp Thing, Starman, Star Sapphire, and more! We wrap up the show with your Who’s Who 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 twenty-second 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 (169 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 John Byrne cover for Volume XXII! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #22

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

First up is Starro by Ian Akin. Firestorm first encountered this penta-digited foe back in Justice League of America #189 (April 1981). Note you can see Firestorm in the surprint below with a starfish stuck to his face. Click to enlarge.

Who's Who Starro by Ian Akin

Next up is Steel by Chuck Patton and Larry Mahlstedt. While Firestorm and Steel never served in the Justice League at the same time, they did fight side-by-side during Legends (1986). Click to enlarge.

Who's Who Steel by Chuck Patton and Larry Mahlstedt

Then we’ve got the Suicide Squad by Luke McDonnell & Rick Magyar. Firestorm faced the Suicide Squad soon after their ongoing series premiered in Fury of Firestorm #64 (October 1987). Additionally, this was the final issue of Firestorm’s monthly comic to feature the original team of Ronnie Raymond and Professor Martin Stein as the Nuclear Man. I guess you could say the Suicide Squad (and Pozhar) were the original Firestorm’s final foes. Click to enlarge.

Who's Who Suicide Squad by Luke McDonnell & Rick Magyar

Finally, we’ve got Swamp Thing by Steve Bissette and John Totleben! The original Firestorm didn’t encounter Swamp Thing very much. However, while Firestorm was in his Elemental form (1989-1990), the two characters interacted more often thanks to their shared origins.

Who's Who Swamp Things Steve Bissette and John Totleben

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  1. Siskoid says:

    Cover… Nice enough cover, but it feels like they didn’t reduce the art enough to fit it on the printed space. The way the Star Hunters are cut off is ridiculous, but also see how Steppenwolf and Byrne’s signature are awkwardly cut off too. What’s “missing” is that despite the interaction of some characters, they are mostly “floating” in a void in different groups, maybe.

    Who’s Starfire *I? Carl Gafford starts off weak by NOT having the “not part of continuity” notice that began with this issue DESPITE THE FACT that the letters’ page specifically earmarks her for the label. More under Star Hunters… If you want to see her in new material, Shagg, you’ll find her in the Time Masters: Vanishing Point mini-series where she interacts with Booster Gold.

    Starfire II: “Starfire’s new adventures here [Earth] are now being recorded.” What a weird way to end an entry, like something that should be on the inside back cover. Between this and the new “not in continuity” notices, it’s like Who’s Who is embracing a more fourth-wall-breaking style. Is there someone in-universe recording superheroes’ adventures? Has the Monitor already been replaced?

    Star Hawkins: Ilda is a rare character not to get her own entry, nor be a member of a team, to still appear on a Who’s Who cover. Star Hawkins’ first appearance was reprinted in Detective Comics when it was a thicker book in the 70s, possibly more of them as well, maybe that’s where you met him? There’s a first volume of Showcase Presents Strange Adventures, right? If they continue stripping the series, they’ll get to Star Hawkins and other stars eventually.

    Who Are the Star Hunters? OK, picking up from Starfire I’s discussion. The last issue revealed that it DID tie into some kind of DC continuity through Moorcockian shenanigans, and that Donovan Flint was a manifestation of the same “eternal champion” that was Starfire in her universe and Claw the Unconquered in his. Now, the letters’ page says neither Starfire nor Claw are part of DC Continuity, except they both have since made appearances in the DC multiverse, so stands to reason the Star Hunters are somewhere as well through that metaphysical connection!

    Starman I: Weird to see him here before he became one of the greatest legacy heroes of the once-proud DC Universe.

    Starman II: There are several numbering problems on heroes, not just this one (or Superman… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves). Starfire I for example, is really Starfire III because it was Red Star’s original name, and there was a Supergirl villain with that name. Star Sapphire is II, because there was a Golden Age villain by that name. Steel is Steel II, because Commander Steel only called himself Steel. And so on.

    Who Are the Star Rovers? Sorry to contradict you, Shagg, but the Rovers had 7 whole times, not 4, all of which were reprinted in the 70s at least once. No need for a dark and twisted Garth Ennis book with them in it, just look at Howard Chaykin’s Twilight mini-series. (And here I thought I’d pushed out those Who’s This articles early enough for you to use the research… tsk tsk…)

    Who’s Steelclaw? He’ll get a Who’s This later this week.

    Stilleta: I wonder if they rubbed out some of the art in the surprint to play down the gory shot of a guy getting shot in the face by Hex.

    Stone Boy: Bruning’s credits in order – he occasionally did things beyond editing and creating logos. He scripted the 1990 Adam Strange project, for example.

    Strongbow: I think I’ll tap him for a Who’s This? feature. I love Badger’s art on this, much more restrained than his usual. Rob is correct that his first appearance is in the first Western issue of All-Star.

    Suicide Squad: Whatever the rules, this sets us up for Ostrander’s series. Belle Reve is hinted at, but more importantly, the choice of artist is a spoiler! McDonnell has nothing to do with the Legends stuff, but drew the upcoming series. The WWII Squad was introduced as a retcon in Secret Origins, but you’ll remember it better from Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier project. (Love the declassification, but again we’re breaking the fourth wall with it.)

    Sun Boy: I never recognize JLGL (praise be his initials) on this entry. The face maybe?

    Sunburst: I got into New Adventures of Superboy because of Dial H, but I have fond memories of SOME Superboy stories, chief among them Sunburst’s. But his having an entry is complete nonsense. The letters’ page says that due to Byrnification, Superboy will NOT get an entry (not even the Prime one despite being just as present as Superman I in Crisis #12), he doesn’t exist anymore. Ok, so why does Sunburst, a character who only ever met (at this point) Superboy still get an entry? Strange. He would later show up in Morrison’s Doom Patrol fighting the Brotherhood of Dada. I plan to give him a Who’s This? post.

    Sun Devils: Another entry that’s unlikely to be set in the DCU, but no label about that fact. The label seems too late with so few issues to go anyway… Scyla seems to prefigure the new Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck, doesn’t she? (Starbuck has another link to a character in this very issue, can you tell who it is?)

    Super-Chief: Not “Who’s This?” but still a good look at his original adventures and his legacy –

    Superman I: Loved that Funny Face story and how Roy Thomas used it to show how the Golden Age worked post-Crisis without a Superman. Wrote a piece about it –

    Superman of Earth-1: Mike did a great job creating the entry that should have been, with your helps, good sirs. We can dream.

    Superman II: While it doesn’t take the sting out of the missing Earth-1 Superman, I do like how each Superman entry teams up a seminal classic Superman artist with one of the Man of Steel’s new artists. It’s a nice way to pay tribute to the past and look forward to the future. But if this is a Byrned Superman, then Curt Swan’s Silver/Bronze Age Superman really has nothing to do with this history. Obviously, the best version of this book features 2 pages of Silver Age Superman, and a single page of Byrne Superman with what little we know, with the understanding that he’ll be covered more fully in Update ’87.

    Swamp Thing: The cover of House of Secrets 92 is (memorably) by Bernie Wrightson.

    Syonide: Anti-climax! What’s worse than the Outsiders? The Outsiders’ VILLAINS. “Mind-numbing” is right.

    Feedback: I’ve become fast twitter friends with Megan “Prince of Hope”, she’s definitely “one of us”. On the LSB stuff, I apologize for Shagg, Rob, but his singular power is Super-Promotion. It’s how he was accepted as a member.

  2. Keith G. Baker says:

    Ol’ MatchHead may not’ve served in the JLA w/Steel, but he fought beside his Grandpappy in WWII.

  3. wolfgang hartz says:

    No offence to Michael Bailey, but could shag and rob do like a volume 22.2 where it’s just those two talking about the superman entries? Or they could just cover those entries in the feedback part of volume 23.

  4. Martin Gray says:

    Thanks for another show. I’ve not heard the whole episode yet, but it’s lunchtime and I have a typing finger to keep happy …

    Given that both female Starfires were sex slave rebel leaders, it’s odd that Marv Wolfman didn’t ‘simply’ conflate them. And can we have Leonid Kovar as a sex slave too? Preferably mine.

    Mind, I never liked Kory much too, she was a bit of a trollop. And when they revealed that she used a cat litter, eep!

    Corsair debuted in an April 1977 title, Donovan Flint in an October 1977 one, so the latter being a copy of the former is unlikely, Shag.

    How I miss Starman Observatory, I shelled out bigtime for a copy of the Archives so I could read along with my (other) podcast heroes.

    Prince Gavyn was Starman IV, not three – remember the Fifties Batman fella. I wouldn’t, but James Robinson did.

    Whatever his number, you’re reaching, Shag, in calling him ‘beloved’. Jericho has more fans. Or rather, fan.

    Starro guy Ian Akin never drew Rom, he inked it with Brian Garvey. I loved that team, they added some terrific tones and textures. It seems that after years of other projects, they’re working together again: Come on DC and Marvel, use them!

    I’m not surprised Star Rovers only had four stories, what a ludicrous, self-hobbling set-up (three answers to one mystery – but the true solution is a little bit from box A, a touch of Box B …). Who could manage a regular, clever eight-pager from that restrictive conceit?

    We never did see the offspring of the Guardians and the Zamorans, did we? Thank God. Little bald blue babies with massive tits…

    Oh, and the UK had a Steel Claw decades before DC.

    Back later!

  5. Siskoid says:

    Akin & Garvey are SO awesome, and a BIG PART of why I loved Rom Spaceknight and devote so much virtual ink to the series. Good catch, Martin.

  6. Kyle Benning says:

    Shag! Great Instock Trades pick! I actually have the original issue that the cover is from, Justice League of America #74, signed by both Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil!!! I love that cover!

    It’s too bad Byrne didn’t do more of these Who’s Who Cover, I absolutely love this cover! It is my favorite! But I am a biased Superman and Byrne fan. I love how he draws the Earth-2 Superman. He makes him noticeably bigger or bulkier and not as defined. I love it!

    Thank you for pointing out the letters section and DC Editorial noting that these changes weren’t all Byrne. I am constantly mentioning that a lot of these changes were editorial mandates instead of Byrne throwing out elements he didn’t like. The biggest one that is usually thrown out is people accusing Byrne of eliminating Supergirl. She died during Crisis, that wasn’t Byrne. It would be ridiculous for DC to kill her off, only to bring her back immediately afterwards, that sabotages and undermines her sacrifice in Crisis. Too bad the DC editorial staff during the mid 2000’s didn’t have this same respect, and thought it was a good idea to bring back Superboy Prime and Superman of Earth-2, and rub their good names in the mud. Those 2 characters had heroic endings after the Crisis, it’s too bad Geoff Johns felt like bringing them back only to sully their good names during Infinite Crisis.

    My surprising entry of the issue award goes to Starfire I, I really dig this entry. My knowledge of the character is limited to what’s here in the Who’s Who entry. Great entry with an action packed surprint. She’s hot. To she looks like she would have been a great member of the Starjammers from X-MEN, greaty entry by Vossburg but I’d love to have seen Cockrum draw the character!

    Something seems a little off about the Ted Knight Starman entry, are his legs maybe a little long or his torso too short. Still a pretty entry, but when I study it for a while, something just seems a little off.

    I really love the Starro entry, man the surprint on this entry is just glorious! Definitely one of the great entries of the entire series in my opinion!

    Man that Chuck Patton Commander Steel entry is just gorgeous. I love Patton’s art, I really wish he would have done more comic work before he moved onto animation. Speaking of his animation work, I rewatched the first season of the 2003 TMNT cartoon a couple of months back and noticed that Chuck Patton was the animation supervisor on the series!

    I love Ron Wagner’s art! Maybe I’m a little biased, since I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ron a number of times. He’s a super nice guy! He’s an Iowa Native, who lives in Des Moines and used to shop at the same comic shop I did when I lived down there a few years back. I think it’s ridiculous that Stilleto has her own full page entry, but I think she does look great in this entry.

    The Strong Bow entry leaves me cold. The surprint has some nice touches in it, but the main figure just looks too wonky. His front leg that is stiff and straight, and appears like he’s standing there with his knee a little hyper-extended. That foot also looks wonky. I would have liked to see Tony Dezuniga do the entry instead, I believe he was still working at DC as an inker on Infinity Inc at this time.

    I’m not sure how I feel about the Suicide Squad entry, there are parts of it that look great, there are other parts that I’m not a fan of. Why is Bronze Tiger standing on Blockbuster’s big toe? A lot of their faces looking a little wonky, but I’m not sure how much of that is the actual art versus the poor printing.

    Great Sunboy entry by JLGL! Sunboy got the royal treatment this issue, he looks awesome on Byrne’s cover, and looks absolutely fantastic in the entry here by Jose.

    HEY!!! I LIKE THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY!!!! That series while silly, is still a fun, all ages comic that maintains some of the innonence that DC started move away from during the 1980’s and has some great art by the often underrated Kurt Schaffenberger.

    Those damn Controllers, you can’t trust em, they’re always screwing things up. Making Sun-Eaters and being a Psuedo-Time Trapper, they are proof positive that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    I really dig Mooney’s art on the Supergirl entry, very classic, and simple but beautiful! On Supergirl, I never got why she needed a secret identity name? Why did she need a first name Linda? Why couldn’t she be Kara Danvers? Never got that one. She was a grown-up or late teen when she arrived on earth, and had a common human first name. The DC Silver Age, what can you do? I agree, Supergirl should have had a 2 page spread and they should have dialed back the Sun Devils entry. An Infantino entry would have been salvageable if they had Ordway on inks.

    I absolutely love the Earth-2 Superman entry, Ordway really ups this entry, and you can see his style all over this, which greatly improves the entry and makes it just gorgeous. I think this is my favorite of the issue. You can still see Wayne Boring’s classsic style, with Ordway’s amazing touch that makes all of the golden age characters look so great. I agree with Rob, I have always thought that this entry looks like the 40’s Fleischer Studios Superman. Great entry, I love it!

    As for the changes about the Daily Star to the Daily Planet, I believe this name change was due to the syndication of in the daily Superman newspaper strip. The Daily Star in name and look was designed after the Toronto Star, where Shuster has spent most of his life before moving to Cleveland as a teenager where he would meet Siegel. Since the Newspaper strip (which believe it or not, it was a much bigger deal to have a syndicated comic strip at the time than your own comic book) was going to be published across North America, they decided to change the name and look of the newspaper Clark Kent worked at so to not favor a specific newspaper publisher. I mean who would want to run a newspaper strip comic that featured one of your publishing rivals in a positive light? So the more generic or ambigious Daily Planet design and name change was made and stuck with.

    The Jose Luis Garcia Lopez art is gorgeous! I love the shots that were selected for the entry. The art used for the main feature of entry was on a Superman puzzle that was released in the late 80’s (which I have), it’s glorious. I like to think that the first Earth-1 Superman coincides with the acceptance that he spent his teen years as Superman, so whether that is Superboy #1 or if it is mentioned in an issue of Action or Superman shortly before that. I believe the definiteive origin of the Earth-One Superman is as it was told by Otto Binder & Al Plastino in Superman #146.

    The Curt Swan and John Byrne Superman entry is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. I can’t believe you guys didn’t like this one! The Suprint is dynamic and exciting and captures a number of important elements of Superman’s mythos and vital parts of Clark Kent’s life. Byrne is a great inking fit for Swan, much like the Klein-Ordway entry for Superman of Earth-2, matching Swan & Byrne is the perfect blend of the classic style, with some modern, more detailed inking, that produces this just gorgous and modern take, while still having this iconic and classic look and feel. This one is a very close second to the Earth-2 Superman entry for favorite of the issue, and I will goes as far to say that I think both entries are among the top 10 most gorgeous entries for the entire Who’s Who series! One of my favorite parts of the Byrne origin was that Kal-El was technically born until he was pulled from the birthing matrix once he landed in Kansas. Eliminating the whole “meh Superman’s an illegal alien blah blah” argument. It doesn’t matter what country (or in this case planet) that you’re conceived in, it’s where you are born. So Superman was born when he was removed from his artificial womb once he landed on earth. This makes Superman American, while still maintaining his Kryptonian Heritage, and his Krytonian heritage had never been mapped out as completely and effectively as it did during the Byrne era between Man of Steel and World of Krypton, and built upon in Action Comics annual #2 in the midst of the Exile story. I think the idea that Superman doesn’t crap, would be due to people like us, who have to argue about everything, and I’m sure there had been people that claimed that Superman’s crap would be indestructible since it is Kryptonian in nature, and thus be unflushable.

    The Swamp Thing entry seems stiff, it is far from my favorite of the issue. I know that Bissette was currently working on the book, but I wish they would have had Bernie Wrightson do the entry instead since he co-created the character. I know he was still working at DC around this time, as I believe the four issue mini-series “The Weird” written by Jim Starlin with art by Wrightson had to have been released relatively close to this time period.

    Another great episode of Who’s Who!

  7. Kyle Benning says:

    Wow Siskoid and I reached Frank levels of feedback there. Jeesh!

  8. A few quick thoughts:

    I bet Wolfman wrote the Starfire (Kory) entry. He also put that weird “He now believes in the Church of Brother Blood” sentence at the end of Nightwing’s otherwise excellent page. Way to keep it timeless Marv!

    Starman’s rod being created by another person was Roy Thomas’ idea. Starman never had an origin before the issue of All-Star Squadron where Thomas gave him one. Years later, Robinson used this in the Starman series, with Jack explaining that his dad didn’t refute this erroneous story, despite the fact that he really did create the Gravity Rod on his own.

    At the time of Who’s Who, Starman II (Mikall blue guy) had only appeared in that one First Issue Special. So he joins the Dingbats of Danger Street and Codename: Assassin in not getting an entry.

    Shag, aka Mr. Legion of Super Bloggers ought to know Sun Boy wore the same costume from his first appearance into the 5 years later period. So Firestorm ripped HIM off.

    Where was Kara/Powergirl in the Earth 2 Superman entry? She’s not listed under known relatives!

    Good call on the Fleischer lighting Rob. I never thought of that before, but it makes a whole lot of sense. Also harkens back to Ordway’s Wally Wood influences.

    Loved Michael stopping by to talk Superman. I suspected he’d have a hand in this episode.

    You guys kept that Earth 1 Supes gag going far longer than I anticipated. It’s no secret this is Who’s Who’s most notorious moment. As a kid I was flummoxed that MY Superman got the shaft like this. I’m with Michael and have serious problems with ending of “For the Man Who Has Everything”, so I’m not sure about that being in the entry. After all, it IS an imaginary story. But aren’t they all? Well, not to me, Alan Moore! 😉

    Somewhat pertinent to this discussion, there is a great double Superman team-up in Superman Family #186-187, written by Gerry Conway where the Earth-1 and Earth-2 Superman merge, and are forced to kill an all-powerful alien to stop him from destroying the Earth. No one goes off moping into a Gold K vault at the end, either.

    Great job on the Earth-1 entry Xum. Pitch-perfect.

    Berni Wrightson drew that House of Secrets #92 cover with Swamp Thing menacing Weezie Jones/Simonson.

    I believe JLGL (PBHN) DID design Kole.

    I don’t think Grundy’s Food Network series got picked up. He’s quite upset.


  9. Anj says:

    I have a lot to discuss about this issue but truncated overly long comments because I have a lot to say about the Supergirl entry … no big surprise.

    On to the entries.

    First off, I love that you guys talk up Landry Walker and Eric Jones’ Supergirl Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade. I loved that book to pieces and all my daughters did as well. I even bought an original page of the book to give to my oldest 2 Christmases ago. Walker had a great take on Supergirl and stuffed the book with Easter Eggs for Kara and Superman fans. Head to my site for very indepth coverage. Saddest of all, Walker/Jones had multiple sequels in mind and DC never picked them up.

    On to the entries-

    1) Starfire 1 – I love this character. You are right that this was a solo female adventurer title which was rare then. But she was also half-asian! That was even rarer in the comic world then. Remember my love of 70s DC sword/sorcery obsession. Starfire was sci fi/fantasy so I lump it into that group.

    My thoughts on Starfire on Frank’s Bloodlines book:

    2) Star Hawkins & Star Rovers – yes Shag, I was yelling at my computer that Hawkins indeed does star in Twilight. And Ilda is very very different looking in that book. And believe it or not, the Star Rovers are also major players in the Twilight series as well. It is definitely worth reading! And you better read it before we get to the Tommy Tomorrow entry in Who’s Who!

    3) Star Sapphire – Is Carol Ferris the only character with 2 entries in Who’s Who? Isn’t Predator also listed as Ferris?

    4) Sterling Silversmith – I used to love how comics used to slip in education into books to try to make kids learn. In the Silversmith story, Batman comes across a dead photographer. When trying to figure out who killed the guy, Batman spies him clutching a bottle of AgNO3. He says something like “AgNO3 is the chemical compound Silver Nitrate. His dying act was to implicate Sterling Silversmith”.

    5) Suneater – Shag is right, the Suneater is a huge character in the Legion Lore for that story. The formation of the Fatal Five, the death of Ferro Lad … big history. But remember a suneater is the ‘villain’ in Final Night. Another Suneater was being made in Baxter Legion 7 and 8. And Superman is raising a baby suneater in All-Star Superman!

    6) Supergirl – okay … settle in.

    It made me misty to hear Rob say that Supergirl deserved a 2 page spread. I agree. Hard to believe, but Supergirl was the back up feature in Action from 252 to 359! She then headlined Adventure Comics from 381 to 424! Then off to Superman Family for that run and then on to her own title. That is quite an unbroken string of monthly stories!

    As Mooney drew Supergirl in Action 253 (second appearance) to her last Action Comics appearance in 359, I think he was the right choice. His look of Kara, with the big blue eyes, the campus cuddlebun hair style, the personality quirk of holding her finger to her cheek when thinking, etc … he was the guy. I understand this is a ‘boring’ art pose. But Supergirl had just died in the comics. This looks more like a memorial piece. I thought it worked fine. I also believe that it is the Anti-Monitor in surprint.

    The history does a nice job covering Kara’s history. Yes, it was anti-kryptonite (a green K that effects non-super powered Kryptonians) that killed everyone. That Kara came to Earth knowing Earth customs and Superman because of a long range Space Telescope they used to follow Superman’s adventures.

    You can tell that DC had a hard time figuring out what to do with her. She has 6 bases of operations. And she has a paragraph discussing the changes in her life – midvale, stanhope, San Fran as a cameraperson for the news, then acting school, then guidance counselor, then soap opera actress, then back to school. Nutty.

    You can tell that the page was written when someone must have reminded the editor that her Kryptonian parents end up being alive. That paragraph sounds like it was pasted in last minute. It starts with ‘meantime’. Meantime?

    Anyways, I have talked so much about her that I won’t bore you with my thoughts on the rest of the book other than to say I was also floored with the Bronze Age Superman page. Unbelievable. Deserved 2 yellow dots!!

  10. Siskoid says:

    Kyle: Did our comments have to be spread over multiple posts? No? Then they have not reached Frank levels.

  11. Jeff R. says:

    There’s actually another Superman skipped in there, the one I call the Lame-Duck Superman, who appeared in comics between the publication of Crisis #10 and The Man of Steel #1. This is a sort of problematic Superman, allowing himself to be reduced to Ambush Bug’s straight man in his own main book(Action) a third of the time, and one who has to sometimes be the Earth-1 Superman unchanged and sometimes be the post-Crisis Superman in load-bearing roles in guest star’s stories. (This is not unrelated to the Hawkman continuity snarl).

    Anyhow, this issue is where the dual mission of Who’s Who bites the series in the ass, where it finally has to choose between documenting DC history and providing a reference for the post-crisis universe, and it fails to make that decision in any clean manner at all (if it were the latter, then Supergirl and Kal-L should have been left out.) So the Egregious Omission of the Month is going to come predictably out of that decision (leaving aside the Earth-1 Superman here). They explicitly mentioned one of the Honorable mentions, The Superman Revenge Squad. The other HMs belongs to characters I know you both love and appreciate, Steve Lombard and Superboy Prime (who wasn’t called that yet or for that matter awful yet. He would have been Superboy II I guess.). But the actual winner this month is Superwoman. No, not the Lois Lane one. No, not Luma Lumai. Not the Earth-3 one either. (Also not the one in where Superman visited a gender-reversed universe, but the trinity of hoaxes, pranks, and imaginary stories don’t get entries ever, and this turned out to be the middle one, by Mr. M.) No, the Superwoman who deserved an entry is Superwoman IV, Kristen Wells. The mere fact that the numbering goes up that far indicates that the concept deserved some mention.

    Lena Thorul, clearly a practicioner of the Alucard school of aliases that aren’t fooling anyone with half a brain.

    Supergirl is a strong candidate for hottest legionaire, by the way.

    I, of course, disagree on Whatever Happened’s end. The entire point of that conceit (which, by the way, isn’t Moore’s; Superman kept that chunk of Gold K for that exact reason since the bronze age) is that a Superman who is willing to kill is a far greater threat to humanity than anything he’s ever fought against. Of course, Silver/Bronze Age Superman’s robo-racism completely undercuts this whole idea, but what can you do. And also that there are now plenty of more heroes around to pick up the slack.

  12. Jeff R. says:

    Oh, one more Egregious Omission, not an entry but a person who by every right should have been mentioned in an entry: Salkor, Supergirl’s husband, who should have been listed in the “Relatives” section if not as a paragraph in the entry.

  13. rob! says:

    I’m mad at myself I forgot to note that this is the issue Sugar & Spike SHOULD have appeared in, right between Strongbow and Suicide Squad.

  14. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    Cover: If I can’t have George Perez, I’ll take John Byrne. Could have been
    filled up a bit more but that’s a minor quibble…

    The insides: Thank Rao for the Super-Entries because this would be a lackluster issue otherwise.

    Starfire I: Probably one of the more interesting characters from DC early-70s sword/sorcery/sci-fi period. DC has had such a rich history of characters that aren’t necessarily standard super-heroes that it’s a shame they can’t make them work in today’s paper-free digital era.

    Starfire II: I don’t think any of the new New Teen Titans characters (Cyborg,
    Raven or Starfire) did anything for me individually, but collectively I was a
    huge NTT fan during the books heyday. Out of all the new additions I think
    Changeling was my favorite and he wasn’t exactly new.

    Star Hawkins: Star Hawkins was one of the “Whatever Happened to…”
    features in “DC Comics Presents” (#33). That might be where Shag read it…

    Star Hunters: Star Hunters, Starfire I and Claw WERE all shown, briefly, to exist in the DC Universe.

    Starman I: I always liked the character visually but he was pretty much a blank slate until James Robinson worked on him in “The Golden Age” and later the classic “Starman”.

    Starman II: Technically he’s Starman IV. Because David Knight went back in
    time and briefly operated as Starman II in the 50s. Mikaal Tomas would have
    been Starman III.

    Starro: I prefer this iconic version over the one that was recently introduced as a humanoid space gangster…UGH!

    Star Rovers: Full page? And only 4 appearances prior? C’mon! I call shenanigans.

    Star Sapphire: The version shown in SSOSV was Remoni-Notra, an alien chosen by the Zamarons to be their queen. She refused the honor and escaped to earth, where she stole Carol Ferris’ sapphire gem and adopted the identity of Deborah Darnell, frequent girlfriend of Captain Comet. She ALSO masqueraded as Camille, a French real estate agent. Not sure what the motivation for that was. If it was ever revealed I don’t recall.

    Sterling Silversmith: Jim Aparo would have been the natural choice for this character.

    Stone Boy: Hold the phone….we’ll lambaste the Legion for allowing membership
    to a character like Stone Boy and yet Mr. JLA has no issue with characters like
    Manitou Raven, Tomorrow Woman, Triumph and Major Disaster infiltrating the ranks of the
    Justice League? Tsk tsk…

    Stripsey: What a degrading nickname for an ADULT sidekick…

    Sun Boy: Dirk Morgna has worn this costume since the dawn of time (actually “Action Comics” #276).

    Sun Devils: Dan Jurgens brought The Sun Devils into the DCU proper with “Superman” #86 (Vol. 2)

    Sun Eater: If a Legion film is ever made by DC/WB I think they should adapt this storyline. Draft 10-12 characters for a suicide mission and after the Sun-Eater is destroyed have it shake out that the survivors form The Legion and The Fatal Five.

    Super Chief: Briefly a member of the version of the Justice League shown in “52”, along with such stalwarts as Firestorm and Ambush Bug.

    Supergirl: Still one of the best comic-book death scenes…

    Superman I: One of the best listings in the entire Who’s Who series. Boring and Ordway (Bordway?) is a combination that can’t be beat.

    Superman II: What a travesty that the editorial direction of Who’s Who changed from cataloging the company’s history to laying out the bible for the post-Crisis universe. The omission of the Silver Age/Bronze Age/Earth-1 Superman is probably the biggest injustice but certainly not the only one.
    (And we never got the “Superman’s Fortress of Solitude” page we were promised.)

    Swamp Thing: I was an avid reader during the Moore/Bissette/Totleben era but in retrospect I think I prefer the Wein/Wrightson version. Ofttimes after reading a Moore Swamp Thing issue I felt like I needed a shower.

    I can’t believe there was no mention of the fact that Sugar and Spike were overlooked for an entry.
    While none of the DC humor characters made the cut for Who’s Who, S&S did have a cameo in
    “Crisis On Infinite Earths” so that should could for something. Not to mention a 98 issue run. After all it’s not like I’m asking for Windy and Willy to be included.

  15. Anthony says:

    I posted on this on Twitter, but guess should write it here with more space…

    Supergirl: As someone noted above, anti-kryptonite was a variety of green-K that only affected non-powered Kryptonians. A later retcon, no doubt after someone remembered that Green K only affects powered Kryptonians, which the Argonians (Argonites?) wouldn’t have been.

    Yes, she should’ve gotten two pages, too.

    Superman of Earth-2: the discrepancies between the Golden Age and actual Earth-2… yeah, think everyone just rolled with things, knowing the Planet was in actual Golden Age stories. Few fan suggestions I’ve seen proposed: the Star’s owners also owned a lesser paper called the Planet, like real-life newspaper owners did in the 40s/50s; eventually the Planet was closed. (Plus, Perry White “filling in” as editor occasionally…)

    Superman of Earth-1: Yeah, omitting an entry for Earth-1 Supes just to push then-brand-new Byrne Superman was Who’s Who’s biggest “crime” IMO…and feels reminiscent of the New 52 push. Nice mock-entry you guys made for this, though. I would like to have seen a Superboy entry too, or at least a Superboy section for Superman.

    Re: the Kents: two separate stories for how they died vs how they got young: a late 60s story had an alien in another dimension pour youth serum into the Kents’ water supply to de-age them (he was selling interdimensional footage taken of Superboy’s deeds he sold as a “TV show” there; the alien’s bosses at the network wanted “younger actors” to play the Kents, feeling they were too old to believably be his parents). The serum took, and the Kents stayed young until just before their deaths from that cruise. Thus, Superboy stories/flashback stories from that point on usually drew the Kents as young, even in flashbacks to *before* that youth serum story took place (say, Clark as a preschooler).

    And yes, I liked “New Adventures of Superboy” too… Superboy was my entry into the Superman mythos, and probably comics at large, as a kid (watching his 60s Filmation cartoon). Thus I’ve always liked the Boy of Steel, even if he seems to be the one comic character that’s been permanently “disappeared” (Kon-El’s OK, but….).

  16. Frank says:

    1. I listened to episode #100 on a train from Amsterdam to Berlin. I listened to the first new Who’s Who in months on an intercontinental flight. I hope to listen to episode #101 on the toilet in my apartment, and I hope it’s under two hours.

    2. I don’t think anybody is going to argue against John Byrne in favor of Paris Cullins or Ernie Colon, because it’s a pretty artist in his prime. However, Byrne stands so far apart from the other cover artists in style that I always find it distracting when I thumb through my copies. This was one of if not the last issues I needed to complete my set, so that probably also plays into it feeling less of a piece to the rest. The layout isn’t as thoughtful or dense as some, and Byrne is unambiguous about which characters he’s most concerned about featuring prominently, but there’s nice touches like the roll call of Sun Devils. John Byrne’s worst ever inker remains John Byrne.

    A. I find Starfire I’s origins a little too similar to II’s to ever give Marv Wolfman full credit on the second character, and I’m bound to like the original better by virtue of not being friggin’ Koriand’r. Don’t think I’ve ever read a comic with her though, but Anj has, and his link should be followed. Starfire II is basically George Perez’s most famous pseudo-Latina creation, and she’s a hot-blooded, fast-loving, kind of ditzy Space-Charo. Unfortunate minority representation: not just for well-meaning but misguided white liberal writers anymore. Also, she’s a Storm rip-off, without ever receiving any of the development of Ororo over the years. She got all the in-text attention, but Donna Troy was the hottest Titan.

    B. I’ve read a few Star Hawkins, and they’re pretty cool. He also came out of Chaykin & JLGLPBHN’s Twilight among the least molested. Wait– didn’t he find Ilda and the thought of human/robot love repugnant, driving her to a dire circumstance? Never mind about that, then. Dig the Kane profile art, but that logo is the pits. Siskoid reminded me that I’ve twice been promised reprints of Captain Comet’s Strange Adventures, and twice foiled. Star Hunters were the books I left in the quarter bin even when pickings were slim.

    C. Chris Warner was one of the foundational creators at Dark Horse Comics, who helped launch the company with Black Cross and drew much of the early Aliens/Predator material that helped define them as the place where licenses get taken seriously. I spent several years in my teens wearing a Warner Aliens shirt roughly once a week. Warner was also one of the architects of Comics Greatest World, helping to design the four cities and major characters like X and Ghost. I assume he drew Starman because his quote was low and nobody cared about Ted Knight in 1986.

    D. I didn’t care about the Levitz/Ditko Prince Gavyn strip, which sounded like pure filler, but I did enjoy his one DC Comics Presents story that wrapped the character’s narrative with Mongul and James P. Starlin. The Ditko profile is unclassic ’80s Blech. Ian Akins’ Starro is nice enough, but it owes such a debt to Brian Bolland that I just want him doing the art instead.

    E. I tend to associate Mark Wheatley with First Comics’ Mars, which explains his well considered employment here. Very spiffy entry, so of course they were thrown into the Silver Age sci-fi underground chop shop that was Twilight.

  17. Mistakes I made in this episode…

    1. Jor-L was first mentioned in the comic strip. I finally got around to saying this but I am putting it out there. For a minute I thought it was also in SUPERMAN #1 from 1939 but I apparently I hallucinated that.

    2. The Fortress of Solitude made its first appearance in ACTION COMICS #241, not 248. Brainiac made his first appearance an issue later and then in #252 they introduced Kara Zor-El. There is the line of thinking that Action #241 is the introduction of the Silver Age Superman because it was there that the Fortress made its debut but in all honesty you could make the same argument for More Fun Comics #101, which was the first appearance of Superboy. That issue also saw the first comic book explanation of Superman’s origin even though it had been explored in the comic strip, the radio series and the Lowthar novel. While some might think arguing about this is a little silly…well, they might be right but still, it’s fun.

    A few other things…

    Rob and Shag talked about how the Earth-2 Superman and Supergirl looked a little cozy on the cover. The joke was essentially asking how close were they and this might seem creepy but remember Power Girl seemed to want to hook up with Superman in one of the JLA/JSA crossovers. Because they’re not cousins if they’re from different realities, right?

    Oh, and I will echo the “what the hell?” over New Adventures of Superboy. While some of the early issues were hit and miss that series got really good into the twenties and thirties of the series. I mean you get to see Clark Kent knock someone flat on his ass for talking smack about Ma Kent and everything.

  18. Okay…had to come back. I understand making fun of Snapper Carr. I get it but I will rise up in defense of the BLASTERS special. I loved that book. No, seriously. I did. I remember picking it up off the stands soon after it came out and really digging this weird team. To be fair the Hulk joke that Peter David wrote went a long way to winning me over but I loved the idea that this group of misfits that were almost casualties of an inter-stellar war banded together because they didn’t have anywhere to go. I am not saying it should have won an Eisner but it was a lot of fun with some great James Fry artwork.

  19. Phylemon says:

    I said it on twitter and I’ll repeat it again here: Freakin’ Finally! The last Who’s Who was June 30th, making this entry six weeks late. Alright, some quick thoughts:

    Cover- Not even I can argue that the main spot belongs to anyone but the Big Blue Boyscout. I will say that both Starfire II and Starro deserved a secondary position. This cover is fine, although it is no Perez.

    Starfire II- I don’t know when y’all will come to understand this, but there are no bad Titans, and if there were, Starfire would not number among them. Danny Chase is about as close as you get to a bad Titan. Oh, and the bastardized versions seen in the Teen Titans Go cartoon! Those guys suck.

    Star Hawkins- Rockford Files in Space. I would buy a title with that premise today!

    Star Hunters- we could look at publishing dates and other “facts”, but there is no way that Donovan Flint is anything other than a Corsair rip off.

    Steel- Growing up, I read JL Detroit, not All Star Squadron or Commander Steel’s 70’s series. Therefore, I am much more familiar with the first Hank Heywood being the creepy and abusive bad guy. I recently read All-Star Squadron, however, and am now seeing the original Steel in a more sympathetic light. He was put in a concentration camp, used as a pawn by Der Fuhrer, and lost the love of his life because of the accident that turned him into a hero. He is a surprisingly complex character for an 80’s super hero, and it makes me sad that this is the final chapter in his story.

    Super Chief- six or sixty appearances, it doesn’t matter. I think this character looks awesome and I want more of hiim.

    Superman I- Simply beautiful art!

    Superman II- Thank you so much for this!! My wife and I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what was going on. There may or may not have been internet research done on whether international versions of this issue included additional pages. The idea of an “updated” issue may or may not have been discussed. We were both impressed with your commitment to the bit.

    Swamp Thing- I will join with other voices calling for Supergirl to get two pages, but I will say that the extra page should have come from this entry. Swampy does not deserve a two page spread.

    Feedback, etc- Did Rob really say something about almost being done? Has he seen all of the updates, Star Trek, Legion, Ambush Bug, etc.? This show is a long way from being over.

    I will take 1000 Howard the Ducks over Citizen Kane. Most overrated movie ever.

    As my token contrariness for the month, I will tell you that I read every single issue of Trinity. They were Gawd-Awful, mind you, but I still read them. For the record, Shag, they did not get better after issue ten.

  20. Holy crap, Xum designed that Earth-1 Superman spread?!! That is incredible! I don’t have the book so I was just following along with the Tumblr and remarking about how much better it looked than the Swan/Byrne pages. I did note that it said “praised be his name” beneath Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (praised be his name), but I figured Rob or Shag edited that in. This is a crazy custom entry and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Well done, Xum!

    1. The Cover – I frequently have mixed emotions when it comes to John Byrne’s work, and this is another case. I think Frank nailed it in the comment above: Byrne’s figure design looks swell and poster-esque, but the layout and architecture of the piece looks lazy compared to what we’ve seen before in this series.

    2. Starfire II – “It’s the only cheesecake character that doesn’t do anything for me.” Well said, Shag. I completely agree. I’ve never had any use for this character, although I also don’t have the same love for New Teen Titans that a lot of people do.

    3. Starman – One of my favorite Golden Age characters in look and power set. I was listening to the podcast, thinking about how I would comment on Ted Knight having an affair with Black Canary when Rob suddenly proclaims, “Starman’s rod has many uses.”

    4. The Star Rovers – Okay, the art looks nice, but if five-sixths of the page is art and only one-sixth text, maybe, mmmmaybe these guys didn’t deserve a full page entry.

    5. Steel – “Occupation: Troubleshooter.” “I’m Winston Wolf. I solve problems.”

    6. Steelclaw – Yep, Jerome K. Moore drew most of the Steelclaw appearances in Detective Comics. Moore created the character with Joey Cavalieri.

    7. Strong Bow – Holy $#@%! Walt Simonson meets Howard Chaykin! I had never heard of this character before tonight but this is damn near the best art I’ve seen on this entire series. (Not the very best, of course. That honor belongs to Dave Stevens’ Catwoman. Mmm…)

    8. Suicide Squad – I have to imagine Luke McDonnell and Rick Magyar drew Bronze Tiger and the other new members separately and then spliced them together in one group shot. That’s the only way my brain can make sense of the composition of bodies.

    9. Supergirl – I like this art a lot, but I agree it would have been nice if Mooney or another artist could have spread it out over two pages.

    10. It’s always a treat to hear Michael Bailey join an episode of Fire & Water but did we really need to spend 45 minutes on Superman’s entries?

    11. The Swan/Byrne pages suck so much compared to the Boring/Ordway pages. And, of course, there’s the faux JLGL (PBHN) page that knocks Swan/Byrne out of the water.

    12. Nice of Rob to give Shag a hard time about plugging the Legion of Super-Bloggers for three episodes. Are you guys ever going to mention Ace Killroy or “Hey Kids, Comics!” on this show?

  21. rob! says:

    All of Phylemon’s opinions below this line: I will take 1000 Howard the Ducks over Citizen Kane. Most overrated movie ever. are hereby rendered INVALID.

  22. rob! says:

    Are you guys ever going to mention Ace Killroy or “Hey Kids, Comics!” on this show?

    Doesn’t matter, because Ace Kilroy and Hey Kids, Comics! are awesome, and as we all know the Legion of Superheroes SUCK. Make sure to read the one post in October I wrote, but don’t bother with the site after that.

  23. Joe X says:

    You know, I listened to this episode last night, typed up my comments as I went along, then had other stuff come up before I could post it. I come back today and almost every single point I had was made by another poster. I don’t know if means great minds are thinking alike, or if we all have way too much DC Comics trivia jammed in our heads.

    Another 3 hour tour into the depths of the DCU with Rob and Shag.

    That Supergirl in the 8th grade series would make a great TV show, either animated or live action.

    You know who drew a great Superman, but never really had too many opportunities to do so? Joe Kubert.

    Nice touch on the cover with Starro kind of recreating the Brave & Bold 28 cover, and should also count as one of Byrne’s many recreations of the FF 1 cover.

    Carl Gafford’s better known as a colorist, and was one of DC’s Junior Woodchucks, along with Mike Uslan, Paul Levitz, Bob Rozakis, and Firestorm’s own Pat Broderick.

    Starfire of the Titans: one of those costumes only George could draw correctly.

    Star Hawkins was New52’d in the Threshold comic.

    Ted Knight’s FBI contact was named Woodley Allen.

    That JLA facehugger cover by Brian Bolland was actually done on spec, if I remember, and the story was written around it.

    If Dale Gunn looks like Chuck Patton, that explains why Dale got to hook up with Zatanna. Oh let’s face it, Zee was hooking up with just about anybody back then.

    I remember Roy Richardson from some Booster Gold issues. He now works on the Brenda Starr strip with his wife, June Brigman.

    Stiletta’s costume looks like one of Jim Aparo’s rejected Looker designs.

    I’m surprised they didn’t tie in Karen Jace with Dr. Jace from the Outsiders. Roy Thomas or Nelson Bridwell would have done it.
    That villain Squad piece does looks like it was pieced together from a bunch of pinups. The Captain Boomerang looks like it was traced from the Infantino Who’s Who piece.

    That Funny Face story was in Superman from the 30’s to the 70’s, which I stole from our local library as a young comics fan.

    Dick Dillin could definitely churn out pages. He drew Blackhawk back then as well.

    Bah! I read every issue of Trinity and enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s still better than Countdown.

  24. Frank says:

    F. Lovely Gil Kane art on the Carol Ferris entry, with a sweet period logo. Star Sapphire was basically an update of the Alan Scott villainess-with-benefits Harlequin, and she worked fine until the ruinous Predator concept was introduced in the early ’80s. It should be a taboo premise, because no writer ever told a good Predator story, and more importantly, every writer that tried basically killed their own run. Hal Jordan left the Corps after a Predator arc that came not too long before Len Wein was replaced by Steve Englehart, then one of Gerard Jones’ last and least arcs was a Predator, and Extreme Justice was cancelled shortly after the birth of the Predator-Baby (don’t ask.) Heck, Jones & Ivan Valez Jr. basically left the industry after their Predator tales. I also tend to associate the Predator with Star Sapphire’s woman-on-woman refrigeration of Katma Tui, even though it wasn’t directly related, but somehow all rotten Sapphire stories have to involve the Predator somehow.

    G. Man, Chuck Patton brought major A-game to the Steel profile page. I’ve said it before and shall repeat, Steel II had everything he needed to be a solo hero laid out for him as part of the Detroit Era League except a personality or compelling motivation. The legacy aspect, Dale Gunn, sweet logo, the disturbing familial relations, The Bunker, the not-Quinjet, a quality costume redesign… it’s all there except a character anybody cares about.

    H. Steelclaw is one of those guys who lives or dies based on whether his awesome artist draws him, in this case, Jerome K. Moore. The look and premise is taken right off the Shroud’s back, who was himself just a Green Hornet update. A nice bit of history for the Black Canary canon, but nothing anyone needs today.

    I. Don’t know how I managed to not buy the Super Powers Steppenwolf figure, with the bitchin’ metal name and ax. I remember pulling it off the peg many times, but something else always went home with me instead. He wasn’t nearly as cool in the comics, and I couldn’t understand how he could be dead while Vermin Vunderbar and Funky Flashman lived.

    J. From top to bottom, Sterling Silversmith is a Who’s Who: The Definite Directory of Footnotes in the DC Universe entry. The Brozowski/Richardson art is a nice send-off to an uninspired, severely dated character who’s all packed and ready to go out on the ice floe.

    K. Elektra happened, so we got the couture criminal that was Stiletta, and it was abysmal. The only good thing about Hex was the art by Mark Texeira in the early going and Keith Giffen in the late. Even for a Mad Max rip, it was too cheesy with hoary sci-fi trappings to be any fun.

    L. Can’t believe how ginchy the Stone Boy art is for a one-joke Substitute, and he even got his own boss logo to stand on! Karl Kesel clearly had a strong impact on the finished art, but kudos to Richard Bruning all the same.

    M. Stripesy will always be the grown ass man in a striped shirt and short pants who played second-fiddle to a minor teenage boy super-hero. This guy was tailor-made to be killed in a JLA/JSA mystery team-up, or be revealed as a murderer in a Brad Meltzer arc, yet nobody ever took the bait.

    N. Very strong art by Mark Badger on Strong Bow, a character I don’t recall anyone doing anything with ever. Wasn’t there a Secret Origins Annual early out of the gate around Legends that covered a lot of Suicide Squad retcons/backstory? That love triangle thing got resolved pretty definitely during Millennium. Sun Boy is the Warren Worthington III of the Legion, and lo, he even pulled a sort of Archangel. The JLGLPBHN art is so, so, sooo much better than he deserves. Sunburst is so a “that guy,” and being the dude you get confused with Rising Sun has got to be the four color equivalent of a level of Hell. Why does Denys Cowan draw him like an extra to be gunned down by Charles Bronson in The Evil That Men Do? I think I might have read an issue of Sun Devils, but I can’t remember for sure, and that is the entirety of my commentary on the Sun Devils.

  25. Martin Gray says:

    I finally got to the end of the podcast and must thank Xum for the fantastic Superman of Earth 1 entry. DC’s logic for exclusion doesn’t even last one page – they want to concentrate on the new Byrne version, so aren’t acknowledging the last guy – but are nodding towards the equally discontinued Golden Age chappy? It’s nonsensical.

    And it was great to hear Michael on the show. Did he leave your settee all sweaty, Shag?

    And one more vote here for the (‘Electrifing’) New Adventures of Superboy, they were just delightful tales, nicely written by Cary Bates and Paul Kupperberg and beautifully drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger and Alex Saviuk. We got some good new supporting characters in Lisa Davis and Bash Bashford, decent subplots such as Jonathan’s council business, fun guest stars a la Zatara and the Jordan boys, Dial H for Hero back-ups (leading to the wonderful giant Anniversary issue 50 with Golden Era Giffen), a guest appearance from King Neptune for Rob, lots of the real, cute Krypto, Master Jailer as a teenager, Yellow Peri, the prequel to the utterly classic Miraculous Return of Jonathan Kent, the (obviously much-needed) origin of Superboy’s cape pouch, beautiful Gil Kane covers, freaking Dyna-Mind…

    … I quite like this series.

    I really want Superboy back, the real Superboy. Sure, the Kid’s series was good under Kesel and Grummett, and the Lemire Kon-El series had huge charm and inventiveness, but darn it, Superboy is Superman when he was a boy. The post-Crisis Superman is gone, there’s no reason to say Superman never was a public superhero until his twenties. How much more impressive, how much more trusted, would he be were he to have been saving lives and inspiring since he was a boy?

    Oh, and I don’t think anyone has mentioned it, but Stripesy’s name is misspelled on the cover listing.

  26. Xum Yukinori says:

    First, I am doubly honored to not only have my Who’s Who Earth One Superman faux entry featured on your podcast as if it were an actual entry, but to also have it covered not only by your good selves but by Superman podcast authority Michael Bailey. My thanks for both that and the Yellow Dot award (which shines proudly on my desk when the glare from my computer monitor hits it just right…).

    Yes, I pulled the art from my copy of the 1984 DC Style Guide, except for the Clark Kent vignette, which is reconstructed from a Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (praised be his name) panel in DC Comics Presents #4. The text was a meld of various sources, including the Superman Sourcebook and other Who’s Who entries, and my rereading certain stories covered in the History — in particular, E. Nelson Bridwell’s “The Origin of Superman” from my Secret Origins of the Super DC Heroes hardcover (which in this later reading I saw Jor-El portrayed by Bill Nye the Science Guy and the Kryptonian Council by GOP congressmen), and the two issues of “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.” Though I agree somewhat with Mister Bailey on the ending of the latter story, since these issues pretty much closed the book on the pre-Crisis Superman, it seemed appropriate to use them as the ending of the Who’s Who History section.

    And yes, I did forget to mention his “super costume” under Powers and Weapons — despite being inundated with references to “my invulnerable cape” in many a silver age Superman story. I suppose that is what age does to you. I am wondering if there should have been a mention of the Super Mobile as well. Maybe that should have had its own entry. That was a pretty cool device in its day…

    I created this piece because I could not let the injustice of slighting the Earth One Superman in Who’s Who continue. So it should come as no surprise to anyone, given my association with Shannon Farnon, that I am already under way in creating an Earth One Wonder Woman entry for episode XXVI…

    Again, my thanks, gentlemen.


  27. Xum Yukinori says:

    Other random thoughts:

    1. I wonder if Lewis Call checked back with DC after reading History of the DC Universe… (cue Shirley Bassey music: “It’s all just a little bit of History Repeating…”)

    2. I can take solace in the fact that my multi-page “Superman’s Fortress of Solitude” entry is still intact in my “Superman Versus the Flash” tabloid book, drawn beautifully by Neal Adams (who I am sure also designed the three-tier structure) — even though it did not feature the top floor. Did DC ever revisit that in a future Superman tabloid as promised?

    3. I liked Starfire II. She may have first appeared in the New Teen Titans book as a stereotypical sex symbol, but she soon had a fleshed-out backstory that made her a well-rounded character…

    (Why is my wife laughing after what I just typed?)

    … well, until Crisis and the Tamaranean Royal Wedding and Brother Blood subplots, at least. But then, all of the Titans characters seemed to go downhill for a while “at the time of this writing” in Who’s Who.

    4. I bought the Prince Gavyn Starman run of Adventure Comics more for the Plastic Man stories, but I remember enjoying the Starman segments as well. I thought it was a pretty solid story and had some interesting twists. I also was pleasantly surprised to see the character appear in the Bruce Timm produced “Justice League Unlimited” cartoon. One point that wasn’t quite clear in the Who’s Who recap was that Gavyn’s powers are actually internal. The gauntlets do not give him powers; they help him direct his solar energy powers into his heat and stellar blasts. Gavyn is essentially the solar battery that makes the gauntlets work.

    5. I liked how you did the New Adventures of Superboy recap of Sunburst on your podcast, which is how I remember him. Unfortunately, the Who’s Who entry itself had started to retroactively insert the “Crisis #11 earth” history, with Rising Sun of the Global Guardians filling Superboy’s role.

    6. Sterling Silversmith obviously was living in the late 1700s — which is when the US did adopt the silver standard, I understand…

    The “corpse in the Batman statue” story was in Detective Comics #446, with amazing art by Jim Aparo. I remember liking this story, even though I am still scratching my head at Batman’s solution for preventing himself from being shot in the head (you will know what I am talking about when you read it; I will say that the “What in–?” word balloon attributed to Batman was actually for the off-panel Silversmith).

    I do think Shag is correct about the state of the gold standard at the time of the original story. The U.S. abandoned it in 1973, two years before this Detective Comics issue – though I think some people at the time thought this was a temporary measure and it would be reinstated.

  28. Xum Yukinori says:

    7. Superman I: I believe that is the Superman of Earth One punching the asteroid in the surprint, and not the Superboy of Earth Prime.

    8. Superman II “doesn’t go poo.” I seem to recall a mention of Superman having a “super-efficient system” once or twice in the John Byrne comics, which would count as an in-comics reference. I also recall Superman stating a number of times that he does not feel hungry — which suggested to me that Superman absorbing solar radiation provided his body with sustenance and thus he didn’t need to eat at all. Another item of note is that the John Byrne Superman was essentially a “normal child” in his early years until long-term exposure to the sun developed his powers. Thus he broke his arm at age four while he survived a bull charge at age eight. So did this “super-efficient system” develop over time, or was it always… um, there? I’d like to believe the latter, as Superman v2 #2 states that Clark Kent was never sick. I suppose Jonathan and Martha probably felt that the non-necessity of having to change diapers was one good benefit to come from those “awful Russian experiments”…

    (And I am spending way too much time on this subject…)

    One other item of note: The mention of long-term exposure to Kryptonite being fatal to humans in this entry essentially spoiled the “big reveal” in the Lex Luthor story in Action #600 for me. I essentially saw it coming since Luthor first wore the Kryptonite ring in Superman v2 #1.

    Again, my thanks, Gentlemen. I await the next episode.


  29. Xum Yukinori says:

    Full disclosure, this was not my first Who’s Who page. This was:



  30. Jeff R. says:

    Xum: There was a Fortress of Solitude tabloid, of which I have fond memories and can’t imagine not having mapped the whole thing, yes.

  31. Tim Wallace says:

    Ok, finally finished (I need a longer drive to and from work apparently…eh, maybe not) and I’m sure everything I wanted to say has already been said, but here goes…

    Star Rovers…I know Mark Wheatley! I met him when a mutual friend recommended I intern for him at Insight Studios, and now think of him as a good friend! Anyway, as soon as I could I hoped on Facebook and asked him how he got the gig…he said “Somebody knew I was a fan of space opera – I think I had been asking about the aborted STARWOLF series by Edmond Hamilton that was planned as a DC comic in the 70s. And later an editor remembered that conversation and asked if I wanted to do the STAR ROVERS piece.” So there you go…he knew someone who knew what his interests were and boom, a Star Rovers entry was made!

    Stiletta…I bought an entire run of the Hex series after you guys covered that entry (damn subliminal messaging)…still haven’t read it, lol

    Suicide Squad…I know I’m probably alone when I say this, but I really enjoy Luke McDonnell’s work. This entry though…for all my support, even I can’t deny this looks wonky! I think Count Drunkula is right…each character must have been drawn separately and then spliced together.

    Supergirl, Superman I, Superman II…beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!

  32. Steven Byrd says:

    The Superman of Earth-1 entry was an amazing and wonderful surprise. I’ve read the entire run of Who’s Who over and over literally since I bought my first issue of the series from a flea market back issue bin when I was eight years old. I know all the issues and entries inside out, backwards and forwards. When I heard you guys talk about an Superman Earth-1 entry, I quickly went from confused to ecstatic. Thank you for correcting an almost 30-year-old mistake.

    And what an entry it is! Just amazing work from everyone involved, from Xum Yukinori for the awesome creation to Michael Bailey dropping Kryptonian-quality bits of information to, of course, you, Rob and Shag, for bringing it all together for us fans. In fact, I love the entry so much I’m actually inserting the jpeg of the entry into my digital copy of this Who’s Who issue, so Earth-1 Superman can finally take the place he was always meant to occupy.

  33. rob! says:

    I’m actually inserting the jpeg of the entry into my digital copy of this Who’s Who issue, so Earth-1 Superman can finally take the place he was always meant to occupy.

    And THAT’S why DC needs to rerelease the entire WHO’S WHO series as digital comics!

  34. If I could do that, I’d also take Batman and Robin’s art from the 87 update and insert them into the original series. Nothing against Dick Giordano, but that Batman art was too small. Not a fan at all of Tom Mandrake’s Jason Todd, but I guess I’ve beat that horse to death.


  35. Frank says:

    O. I like the Sun-Eater specifically because it’s an amorphous pinkish space gas of death without personality or greater goal than to eat your suns. Super-villains invariably wear out with use and multiple defeats, but Sun-Eater is a mindless entity that can be employed by anyone who can activate it and then all hell is breaking loose. To clarify Shag’s comments, the Controllers are from the same base race as the Guardians of the Universe, but they evolved into talk pink-skinned technofascists instead of slightly more benevolent short blue-skinned technofascists. Besides the Sun-Eater, the Controllers also created the Darkstars.

    P. I used to confuse Super-Chief and Apache Chief, but I read up on them, and now I don’t do that anymore. Red Wolf remains the coolest Native American super-hero who wears an animal’s skull on his own head.

    Q. I like Supergirl’s origin and it’s very nifty seeing Jim Mooney draw the least Jim Mooney costume and have that work. Solid logo, too. I want to go back and read The Maid of Might’s Pre-Crisis adventures, but every time I’ve tried, I find them very ungood, so it’s no wonder Dick Giordano dropped the blade on her neck. It’s possible Mooney “came back” to DC because he was considering whether or not to retire from comics in the early ’80s, and infamous E.I.C. Jim Shooter passive-aggressively left him a note that succinctly stated “Retire.”

    R. I never appreciated Earth-2 Superman, who lacked the dynasty and dramatic developments found amidst the Batman Family of that world, plus Infinite Crisis. Even the Boring/Ordway team grates, because go Shusteresque or go home when it comes to the Golden Age Man of Steel. (Was Jon Bogdanove in the industry yet? Only just, at Marvel.) Earth-1 is the “real” Superman, in that he had all the core lore during his watch, and the concept of Superman never recovered from the loss of so many hallmarks of generations of fans. Even though I wondered why there was so much stock art in the entry, and noted the JLGL praise and even the serious digital “clean up,” dummy me was still taken in by Xum until I got home and opened my copy of XXII. I was quite taken by John Byrne’s relaunch when it was coming out, but I’ve since reevaluated its impact and overall quality, finding it wanting in the extreme. The combination of Curt Swan and Byne doesn’t work, either. I agree with Shag about Super-free JLAs.

    S. Don’t find the Bissette/Totleben Swamp Thing entry as appealing as you guys. While I respect the changes made to the character, my interest has always rested with the early Wein/Wrightson material. The later version looks messy and the surprint seems like a sketchbook hash.

    T. Luke Cage and Black a Lightning books had an unparalleled ability to generate awful lame-o villains with ugly costumes and names that are just dumb variations on kewl stuff like knives and poisons. Still, this was the golden period of Trevor VonEeden art, so he could even make Syonide seem viable.

  36. “I never appreciated Earth-2 Superman, who lacked the dynasty and dramatic developments found amidst the Batman Family of that world, plus Infinite Crisis. Even the Boring/Ordway team grates, because go Shusteresque or go home when it comes to the Golden Age Man of Steel. (Was Jon Bogdanove in the industry yet? Only just, at Marvel.).”

    With the exception of the INFINITE CRISIS part I disagree with this statement on just about every level. Superman and Batman are different characters and how you handle their dynasty and dramatic developments must be treated and judged differently as well. It’s kind of weird too because the two characters were kind of the inverse of each other. The Earth-2 Batman had relatively few appearances while his daughter was not only a member of the JSA but also had a lengthy back up feature in WONDER WOMAN. The Earth-2 Superman had a lengthy feature first as a back up and then as an ongoing feature in SUPERMAN FAMILY while his cousin was a member of the JSA but only had a three issue stint in SHOWCASE to show for her solo efforts. So as far as a dynasty they are pretty well matched and in terms of dramatic events…Superman’s not going to have the tragic events piled on to more tragic events because that’s not his bag. Having a life with Lois…having some push back from his cousin…that works for Superman.

    And as far as the whole “go Shusteresque or go home” thing…well, that’s just silly. Just because everyone didn’t pull a Bogdanove doesn’t make it a grating image. Between Perez and the Boring/Ordway team I think that character looked dynamic, exciting and just plain awesome.

    You write that you have reevaluated the Byrne Superman revamp and found it wanting. What haven’t you found wanting in your reevaluations? That seems to be your thing.

  37. Michael Bailey says:

    Upon further review I believe my final comment might be misconstrued as being meaner than intended. I have thrown a flag on my own play and moved the game back ten yards.

    The whole thing was supposed to be playful and in the cold light of text it might not be seen that way. My bad.

  38. Let me just step up and defend the science of the Yellow Sun (aka One Sun, Two Sun, Red Sun, Blue Sun).

    If we are agreeing to the idea that the Red Sun of Krypton makes Superman less “super,” and that the Yellow Sun makes all Kryptonians MORE “super” because of how brightly it glows, then it’s true that the white and blue suns would make them even MORE strong. (In fact, I just reviewed a Super Friends story where Aquaman, Zan, and Gleek all get super-powers becuase they are stranded under a Blue Sun.) Blue flames burn stronger and more consistently than yellow flames, which is why blue flames (via natural gas) are used in science labs all over the world.

  39. […] 22nd episode of Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe, which you can find by clicking on this link.  It’s a fantastic show and I was lucky to be on this particular episode for a bit to talk […]

  40. Frank says:

    Well Michael Bailey, so far I’ve been positive about the 2004 Warlock mini-series, the first appearance of Iron Man, Annihilation Prologue, the 2006 Super-Skrull mini-series, and The Cat #1, while more measured about the Golden Age appearances of Sub-Mariner and Ka-Zar, but outright frothing at the mouth hated Drax the Destroyer: Earthfall, Annihilation: Silver Surfer, and The Cat #2-4. Also, I found major fault in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

    What? I just find plugging The Marvel Super Heroes Podcast to be a good tension breaker. You prefer fisticuffs under the Queensberry rules, you gaggle of ruffians?

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