RandoMonday: Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #4

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe (1985) #4 by Len Wein (writer/editor), Marv Wolfman (contributing writer/consulting editor), Robert Greenberger (assoc. editor/researcher), Peter Sanderson & E. Nelson Bridwell (researchers), Paul Levitz & Mike W. Barr (contributing writers), Todd Klein (production), Len Wein, Tom Ziuko, & Tatjana Woods (colorists), Brenda Pope (proofreader), Neal Pozner (design director), and George Perez & Dick Giordano (cover)

For someone who likes trivia, the Who’s Who series from 1985 was a treasure trove. While not as “factual” as Marvel’s Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (lovingly referred to by its fans as OHOTMU [oh-hot-moo]) in that DC’s approach was not to define exactly how fast Superman could fly or how many pounds Batman could bench press, it still provided essential information for DC’s 50-year (at that time) history of characters and related items. In fact, the inside cover even provided a pronunciation guide, setting to rest just how B’Wana Beast was pronounced (it’s Buh-WAHN-eh, not BWAHN-eh), but I do take exception to how Chameleon Boy’s name is indicated: it should be Keh-MEEL-ee-ehn, not Keh-MEEL-yen.

Volume IV gave us the first part of the characters whose names started with C, including Cain (who would go on to play a reinvigorated role in the Vertigo line), Camelot 3000 (which seems an odd inclusion as I don’t think that the series was ever established as being part of DC’s Universe, but I could be wrong), Captain Marvel (and ten other characters with Captain as part of their name), and Changeling. This issue also tells us that the Calculator’s head gear can form solid objects out the dust in the very air, or that Chameleon Boy’s antennae emit radiation to analyze objects into which he would transform. Finally, when there were significant characters who had a Golden and Silver Age version, we got separate entries, so there were two Catwomen and Cheetahs.

It was great to read all this information every month for a couple years, not to mention see all of the wonderful bits of art. This issue includes Jack Kirby and Karl Kesel presenting the Challengers of the Unknown, Art Adams drawing Catman, John Byrne showing us the Doom Patrol’s Chief, among others (for the list of artists, check out this issue’s entry at Comic Book db). I really wish DC would publish an updated version of Who’s Who for its New 52 universe. I may have my issues with the New 52, but having a collection of characters would make this long-time fan very happy.

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