Okay, so I’m straying from Captain Atom for this post. This has been bouncing around in my head for a while now. Bear with me, or skip this entry to get on with more Captain Atomy goodness.
Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe was a series put out by DC Comics to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 1985. It ran 26 issues from March 1985 to April 1987. There were a few update series released afterward, as well as spin-off titles Who’s Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes, Who’s Who in Star Trek, and Who’s Who in the Impact Universe. Each issue listed major (and some minor) characters in the DC Universe, as well as locations and other neat info. Usually, each character was assigned a single page which depicted them in an action pose and listed information about their history and powers. Some less-popular DC characters had to share a page with another character. The series was a personal favorite of mine and I am proud to say I own the complete run (the original 26 issues, all the updates, and the spin-offs). If you click on the “Captain Atom in Who’s Who” link at the top of the page, you’ll see an example of some of the artwork. Although I had a few issues of the title from its original run, I didn’t complete my collection until after I heard the first episode of WHO’S WHO: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe.
The podcast first aired May 20, 2012 and I loved it instantly. The hosts are The Irredeemable Shag of www.firestormfan.com, a blog devoted to Firestorm, the Nuclear Man (sometimes-friend, sometimes-enemy of Captain Atom) and Rob Kelly of www.aquamanshrine.com, a blog devoted to Aquaman. Together, they also host The Fire and Water Podcast where they geek out about their favorite super-heroes on a semi-regular basis. The Who’s Who podcast actually comes in on the Fire and Water RSS feed.
Each episode is devoted to a single issue of the series. They describe the pages in such a way that you don’t have to have the issue in front of you – but it helps. To describe it, the podcast doesn’t sound particularly compelling. But these guys are true comic nerds (and I mean that as a huge compliment) who truly love great work by great artists (particularly José Luis García-López [Praise Be His Name]).
I was a turned on to The Fire and Water Podcast by my life-long pal and co-host on my own podcast, Roy “Charlemagne” Cleary. Growing up in the 70s and 80s I knew who Aquaman was thanks to the various incarnations of the Super-Friends. Firestorm I knew primarily because of Charlemagne. I read the title briefly from 1987-1988 when John Ostrander was writing it. I liked Firestorm but never really took to Aquaman. I thought at first it was a strange mash-up for a podcast, but it works (of course, it helps that they both currently have their own ongoing titles). It was Shag’s passion for the character that drove me to add the series to my pull list. Since Dan Jurgens has taken over the book, it has become one of my favorites. As I said, I never cared much for Aquaman, but respect his place in the DC Universe and he is my wife’s favorite super-hero so I won’t bash him.
When I heard that first episode of the Who’s Who podcast, I was impressed. As I said in my iTunes review, the podcast itself is as ambitious as the Who’s Who series was. I love the way Shag and Rob play off each other and their good-natured (I hope) ribbing of each other. But most of all, their love of the art and the effort put forth by the creators of this series really shines through. They have a lot of fans, and deservedly so. And I can think of no better duo to dissect the Who’s Who series than these two. I listen to a fair handful of podcasts, and this one is always first on my list. When it shows up on my iTunes, it is like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one. And the theme song is catchy.
And there’s more to Rob Kelly than just Aquaman and Who’s Who. He is a graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art and co-creator (along with Dan O’Conner) of Ace Kilroy, a comic strip about a 1940s era secret agent. He won a 2012 Philadelphia Geek Award for Comic Book Writer of the Year and Ace Kilroy was nominated in 2012 for Eagle Award’s Favorite Web-based Comic.
Shag, on the other hand… I’m pretty sure he’s just got Firestorm on the brain 24/7. I joke but it was a lot easier to find info on Rob online than Shag. I’m not even sure what the dude’s last name is and that is probably by his own design.
I definitely recommend this podcast to anyone who love comics, loves DC comics, loves Firestorm and Aquaman, loves nerds, loves nerd fights, and loves to see two titans one-up each other with their knowledge of the art and industry. Honestly, I wish I knew even 1% of what these guys know.
You can subscribe to WHO’S WHO: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe on iTunes or Stitcher. Just look for The Fire and Water Podcast and you’re on the right path. Also, you can find them on tumblr, Facebook, and Google Plus. They also have their individual sites for Firestorm and Aquaman as well as a site for their original podcast.