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.

RandoMonday: Who’s Who in the DC Universe (1990) #5

Here’s a cover image chosen at random from my collection.

Who’s Who in the DC Universe (1990) #5

Remember this series?! DC took the who’s who/directory series and turned it on its ear by giving us pages that we could tear out and rearrange ourselves. While I didn’t actually care for this format all that much (The paper was too thin. How do I store it with my collection? How do I organize it? I guess I’ll have to buy the special three-ring binders that DC also put out…), I still love the directory idea and wish DC & Marvel would do it again.

This issue was, as you can see, a “special” collection of bat-villains, but there are some old favorites of mine included, such as Cyborg, Jo Nah (Ultra Boy), and Martian Manhunter.

RandoMonday: Who’s Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes #6

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

Man, I love me some DC Who’s Who. Add in the Legion of Super-Heroes, my second favorite super-team, and I am loving it even more! This particular issue starts off with the “Wonders of Metropolis”, i.e., a tour of the most famous areas of the city that takes up over a third of the issue, including a page each devoted to the Legion Academy and the Time Institute. The rest of the book is filled, among other entries, with Legion characters, including Sensor Girl through Shrinking Violet and Superboy through Timber Wolf, with others in between (including Size Lad, who would go on to put the 30th century equivalent of the maker of Viagra out of business). ;) As far as villains, we get entries for the Servants of Darkness (probably the best storyline during the Levitz-era), Starfinger, and the Sun-Eater (which is really just a force of nature, but now I’m picking nits). The issue ends with an inside back cover reprint of the Legion Constitution, part 8, Voting. The only thing that mars my enjoyment of this issue is Ultra Boy’s costume: everyone else looks just fine, but that vest thing on Jo looks horrible!