Sunday, June 14, 2015

Who's Who: Update '87 Volume 1

sgThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents: WHO'S WHO UPDATE '87: VOLUME 1

Shag and Rob kick off the WHO'S WHO UPDATE '87 series! We take a look at new and updated characters such as the All-Star Squadron, Batman, Bizarro, Black Adam, Booster Gold, Carcharo, and more! We wrap up with your Listener Feedback!

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

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Our fantastic opening and closing themes by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas!

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  1. Gentlemen,

    Congratulations on your brand new podcast show. I enjoy it just as much as the old show.

    A few points for me to mention:

    Axis Amerika: Shag, you may be on to something with Fledermaus and Kid Karnevil. While I do not believe it was explicitly stated that they were both the same character, it was stated that Karnevil had died and was apparently so bad that he was kicked out of Hell. Fledermaus was actually crushed to death by a knocked-down plane in Young All-Stars #6. Whether he was killed by Fury (who in her “Blood Avenger” form knocked down said plane) or by Sandy the Golden Boy (who actually placed the unconscious Fledermaus beneath the plane thinking he would be safe from a nearby fire) is up for debate. While I would not think Roy Thomas’ Fledermaus as a character so vile even Hell wouldn’t want him, characterizations have been known to change in many “lower-string DC characters during the Naughties (‘00s). A question for Bill Willingham for sure, though connecting the two characters would sound like a typically logical “Geoffcon” (Geoff Johns retcon).

    Batgirl: Rob, you misread the final paragraph of the entry. The “tennis champ” statement was actually referring to the Betty Kane Batgirl, which means this entry was essentially acknowledging that the Kane version of Batgirl as well as the Kathy Kane Batwoman still existed post-Crisis – at least until DC editorial changed their minds (leading to the creation of Bette Kane: Flamebird in Secret Origins Annual #3).

    Batman: Regarding Leslie Thompkins, she first appeared in the 1970s classic: “There Is No Hope in Crime Alley!” And while it was revealed in that story that she had comforted Bruce the night his parents were murdered, she wasn’t originally Bruce’s guardian until later stories (I seem to recall it was actually in the 1980s before the Crisis that this change was made, but I cannot recall the actual issue. Anyone?).

    Shag, the Robin portrayed here is Jason Todd. Tim Drake doesn’t appear until the “Batman: Year 3” storyline.

    Bizarro: I too also favor this Bizarro story in Man of Steel #5, but that may be because of the respective nods to the original Bizarro story in Superboy v1 #68.

    Blue Beetle I: The Fox Publications version of the Blue Beetle did indeed have a radio serial: You can listen to a number of his melodramatically exciting adventures here:

    And a fun fact: the DC story you had mentioned was not the first time Ted Kord fought the Dan Garrett Blue Beetle since his death in Charlton’s Blue Beetle #2. In AC’s Americomics #3 in the early 1980s (which happened to have a Pat Broderick cover), Ted Kord fought his predecessor, though it was revealed to be a “prototype super robot” duplicate built by Ted’s crazy uncle on Pago Island. Ted also encountered a “Gods resurrected” Dan Garrett (that obviously channeled a bit of Jack Kirby) in a separate story in the same issue. I love how “The Gods” (there were two of them) left the resurrected Dan a handwritten note in his apartment wishing him luck in his new job, which was signed, “The Gods” with a postscript: “P.S. Try not to get killed this time.” Ted seemed to take the whole resurrection thing in stride… ("I don't know how you came back from the dead... but it's been a honor [fighting beside you].")

    FireShag: Glad you enjoyed this finally-finished “end of your old show” parting gift to match Rob’s “Earth Two Aquaman” entry. Guess we will have to wait a while for an entry on “Color Hold”…

    And “Firestorm the Atomic Man” is not the only Who’s Who entry I had created for “The Line It Is Drawn”. I had done a “Kid Lantern” entry a few years back (using red dots instead of yellow for some then-valid reason that escapes me at the moment), and there is another unfinished entry from a previous week that will be ready for an upcoming “make-up week” that is held twice a year. And perhaps one day we will see an entry for… “Professor Xum”! (Wouldn’t I like to be a surprint too…)

    Cheers. Until episode 2.

  2. My ears were burning so I came over here to see what’s up! I listened to this inaugural episode of this brand new podcast! How exciting! I was especially happy to hear Batgirl featured on her Who’s Who in 1987! It certainly is a ‘revision’ from her previous Who’s Who entry. I would like to correct Rob on one thing that made me turn my head…Babs is not the tennis star, that is from Bette’s Who’s Who (Xum above also mentions this). While Babs may have some tennis abilities, she is most well-known for her gymnastic abilities (until the new-52, which I shan’t talk about).

    Since you asked, I would like to explain some of the differences that this ‘revision’ makes to Babs’ history.

    1) She grew! Originally she was 5’6” and 121 lbs! I think she may have undergone some sort of torture on the rack to grow 5”!

    2) MAJOR changes to her family! Originally, James Gordon was her biological father, her deceased mother was Thelma, and her brother, Anthony, was a US spy who was killed by some Chinese Supermen! (He previously faked his death but this was for real). Barbara Kesel was the one to fully retool Barbara’s origins in Secret Origins #20 (1987) and the 1988 Batgirl Special. Suddenly, Babs has a tragic backstory, with her mother (Thelma) being killed and her father later spiraling down to alcoholism which would take his life. At least her aunt (now Barbara Sr. is married to Jim) and uncle took her in, and her cousin is the creepy James Jr.

    3) One of the problems I have with this ‘revised’ origin is the fact that Barbara wanted from the get-go to be a sidekick to Batman. This stems from the fact that she was hiding in her father’s office one night when Batman came in to talk with Jim. She apparently ‘got a crush’ on Batman, and this fueled her desire to be a hero. Bah, BAH, I say! Originally, Babs was already training her mind and body, thinking she wanted to do SOMETHING to help her city. She made her Batgirl costume to prank her father at the Policeman’s Masquerade Ball. By pure happenstance, Bruce Wayne, on his way to the Ball, was being robbed by Killer Moth. Babs stopped to help him and the rest is history. This at least is kept true in the ‘revised’ origin.

    I don’t like the fact that Babs based all her decision making on Batman and wanting to emulate him. While she technically is a derivative of Batman, she originally started off on her own, which I think makes her more powerful and special. She was working for herself and her city (and her father), not for Batman. When you suddenly say she became Batgirl because she was carrying a torch for Batman when she was younger, you create a weaker character, almost a woman just following a man’s lead. That is NOT Barbara Gordon!

    To be continued...

  3. 4) Her resume remained the same EXCEPT the fact that in the ‘revised’ version she has suddenly lost her PhD! How does that happen?!

    5) The last difference is a major one and one that gets my goat! Shortly before the Crisis, writers decided to pull down the character, practically making her useless to herself and others. I still have not figured out why this happened, but I have three theories:

    a) Writers or DC in general were getting tired of the character and were slowly trying to write her out of existence in order to focus on another character.

    b) There was a desire to heighten the tragedy of Supergirl’s eminent death during Crisis, so they put her up on a pedestal while contrasting her with the flagging character of Batgirl.

    c) The idea of The Killing Joke was already floating around the DC offices, so the character of Barbara Gordon was minimized and separated from the identity of Batgirl in order to make THAT STORY work.

    Unfortunately, the ‘revised’ version of Who’s Who focuses on her ‘failure’ during Crisis, and cites that as the reason why she is in semi-retirement. Before the change to the character, Babs lost her Congressional seat and was pretty disappointed and feeling like she could no longer help as she could. Her father (Jim Gordon) pushed her to reevaluate her attitude and she started working with the Humanities Research and Development. This all lines up with the ‘revised’ version as well. Where it differs is the fact that pre-Crisis, Jim was forced out of his position by some crooked politics in Gotham, and he was taking it pretty badly, which impacted his health. Babs decided to not go out as Batgirl as much in order to take care of her father. She would continue to fight in other ways, however, the best example being Detective Comics #533 where she protects her father in the hospital from some baddies AS Barbara Gordon. It may be sad to see Babs ‘semi-retired,’ but at least she had a purpose and it was for a good reason. How disappointing that Crisis changed it to make it seem like her ‘semi-retirement’ is a cop-out.

    That’s it! I could go on and on, but those are the major points! Thanks for asking, and thanks for a fun, engaging, and informative first episode! You guys may be younglings in the podcast world (with this being your first show and all), but I think you’ll go far!


    (The End!)

  4. Great to get the latest edition of the Who's Who podcast.

    I really like that cover, it's pretty clean considering it's so busy - most appealing.

    Leslie Thompkins never raised Bruce Wayne pre-Crisis. She was in that one classic story, then became a footnote until the Batman Special introducing the Wrath (who was wrubbish). She was a nice old lady, not a doctor. And now she's about 20 - the Benjamin Button of Batman non-continuity. One thing I've always hated is that while they change her job, her age, her role, no one fixes her ruddy name. Leslie? Then again, maybe she's transgender.

    There's a great presentation of the Perez Ares in the recent digital Sensation Comics, with art by Jamal Igle.

    Was Rob kidding? He knows Babs wasn't the tennis player, surely?

    Shag, I think you're getting Bizarro confused with Nineties Solomon Grundy - Bizarro didn't change with every appearance, he was the loveable version pretty consistently for decades.

    You lads, learn to read. It's Danny Bulanadi - 'A' in the middle.

    'Blackguard' is pronounced 'Blag-gard', Shag. Do you not listen when people yell it at you?

    I laughed at your comment, Shag, when you said an artist had 'made it' after noting he'd been in the film and TV industry. Did you really mean that's the measure of success?

    You are entirely correct, Rob - an entry for Belle Reve? I loved Suicide Squad, but come on!

    Shag, if that's Tim Drake in the Batman illo, that's some foreword planning - he didn't debut until 1989.

    Love you guys!

  5. Oh, apologises to Xum and Stella for being an inadvertent parrot, I should have read the comments before posting myself - but I was just SO excited. I think the Leslie Thompkins as guardian change came in that Wrath issue.

    I can't wait to find Xum's Kid Lantern entry - I still can't believe Dc never did a Teen lantern, it's so darn obvious.

    I totally agree with Stella, the changes to Babs simply weakened her character and achievements.

  6. Here is the link to the Line featuring my Kid Lantern entry, Martin. Enjoy.

  7. That is just brilliant, Xum - I thought the ring was going to be carved from the Starheart - I like that you surprised me.

  8. Glad you enjoyed it, Martin. I did consider the Starheart meteor angle, but I figured this was a better way to connect Isamu to Hal Jordan.

    I did a "sequel spot illo" of this character for week 168 of The Line... I was happy with how the costume design worked out and just wanted to draw it again.