Saturday, January 9, 2010

Who's Who In The DC Universe

I have been following with some interest all of the news that has been revealed about the upcoming DC projects as we enter the company's 75th year. In particular, I have been pretty excited to read that a new History of the DC Universe and Who's Who will be coming out this year.

Over on the source, Dan Didio gave the most info on the projects that I have read to date. Here is the link. As always, the entire piece is worth reading, but I am focusing on the Who's Who piece here.
http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2010/01/07/dan-didio-talks-legacies-whos-who/

A new WHO’s WHO is currently in production with the first issue hitting the stores in May. Like the original series, this is a massive undertaking: 18 issues, over 800 entries and featuring, literally, a thousand characters. Former DC Editor Bob Greenberger has returned to the fold (Bob worked on the original Who’s Who as well) and is taking on the incredible task of building this series so that it has the same lasting impact of the first one.

Believe it or not, I am old enough to have collected the original Who's Who when it came out in the mid-1980s. I enjoyed reading about all the characters and their origins. I liked that DC did their best to get the character's 'signature artist' to draw the entry page. It meant we saw a lot of Curt Swan and Jack Kirby ... but those guys are masters. I also liked how the entries were somewhat vague when it came to describing powers. A character might be listed as having super-strength or maybe vast super-strength. But there was never anything finite like 'the ability to lift 64,ooo tons' as was seen in other companies' character directories.

As a DC history nut, I am definitely planning on getting this run of Who's Who.

The issue cover above is the Who's Who from 1986 that includes Supergirl's entry, released months after her death in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7.

While most of the covers were drawn by George Perez, John Byrne drew this one. I believe by this time, Byrne had already been named as the successor to the Superman reins. So it was natural for DC to promote his version of the Man of Steel.

Supergirl takes up a big part of the back cover as she stands with Kal-L. I always thought Byrne drew a good Supergirl. And, remember, he did bring her back as Matrix.



And here is the actual Supergirl Who's Who page. I thought it was great that DC got Supergirl legend Jim Mooney to draw her. This may be the only published picture by Mooney of Kara in the 'headband' costume. Mooney's version *was* Supergirl for so long I don't know who DC would have asked to draw her instead.

I also like that a background picture of her as Linda is so prominent. Supergirl was Linda too. And Mooney even has Linda in the famous 'campus cuddle-bun' style that readers voted on in the 60s.

I know that DC came out with a larger format Who's Who sometime in the 1990s. It was in a format that you could arrange them however you wanted to in a 3 ring binder. If there was a Supergirl page from that version, I would love to see it.

13 comments:

John M said...

Thank you for sharing the news about Who's Who for 2010! I'm looking forward to this!

The Who's Who from the 1980s I don't own, and it is a treat to see the pages from the issue with Supergirl. John Byrne did a nice job with Kara! I like how she is standing with Kal L. And very cool to see Jim Mooney's version of Kara in her headband style costume! Even though he was not drawing Kara in the 1980s, this gives a wonderful sense of Supergirl growing up from her first issue in the 1959 up to 1985.

I wonder who will draw the Supergirl page in 2010... I hope it is Jamal Igle! His art represents the modern version of the character very well.

Mauricio said...

Jim Mooneyalways did a great Supergirl. I was lucky to exchange a few emails with him, he sent me a Supergirl drawing. :D :D :D

I also got a signed pring in the movie costume.

:D :D :D :D

Anonymous said...

I dunno that Jim Mooney page always struck me as a calculated rebuke to the Supergirl fanbase. I recall her run in the Superman Family dollar book when she was limping along with D-list artists like Don Heck and Win Mortimer depicting her storyline.
Crappy artwork being the main problem with her late 1970's twilight.
So this page is akin to DC saying; "Oh we've run your favorite into the ground, expunged her from continuity, thrown YOU out of the DC audience, but here is a nice tombstone for Supergirl by an artist you really like...Ya Happy Now?"
You know, I like having Supergirl back on my pull list, i do, and the work done on the character has been exemplary especially in the last year. But the shabby and insolent treatment that was meted out to us for twenty five years is pretty much reason one why I will never ever trust DC ever again with Supergirl or any of my other faves.

There I feel better.

John Feer

TalOs said...

John Byrne actually once told me that he doesn't like the idea of Supergirl being "yet another" (as he puts it like) surviving Kryptonian and would much rather write/envision her as being that of the human/Kryptonian hybrid daughter of Lois and Clark's instead. (Read his Superman/Batman: Generations first trade to see just what I mean by this too.)

Byrne also told me that his Post-COIE era Matrix/"Mae Kent"/Supergirl was actually intended to have fiery RED hair instead of blonde, yet the colorist (who took Byrne's joke about Matrix looking like Kara to heart) mistaked Byrne wanting her hair to be that of blonde and not red, thus why we get a blonde haired Matrix/Supergirl in "The Supergirl Saga" as such.

Anywho, come 2010's incarnation of Who's Who, specifically come it's Supergirl entry you can add my vote for wanting to see both Sterling and Jamal being given the honor to work on her official bio page. :)

Mart said...

There's an interesting piece about the new project on Bob Greenberger's blog, currently it's second entry from the top:

http://www.bobgreenberger.com/

John, that's some lingering resentment you have there . . . I read the Who's Who page being given to Jim Mooney as a treat for longtime fans and a courtesy to her artistic father. I don't think you can easily link the Eighties' Who's Who editor's artistic preferences to those of Superman Faamily editors a decade earlier in some overarcing conspiracy theory - generally publishers do actually want their characters to be successful. And some of us like Don Heck and Win Mortimer.

It would have made sense for Matrix Supergirl to have red hair, what with her starting out as a Lana Lang. And given that she was a shape changer, she could easily have had it swapped back.

Anj said...

And very cool to see Jim Mooney's version of Kara in her headband style costume! Even though he was not drawing Kara in the 1980s, this gives a wonderful sense of Supergirl growing up from her first issue in the 1959 up to 1985.

I agree. I think he did a great job of encapsulating her career on that page.

Anj said...

I recall her run in the Superman Family dollar book when she was limping along with D-list artists like Don Heck and Win Mortimer depicting her storyline.

I agree not many classic stories sprang from Superman Family. But her characterization just prior to Crisis was in Daring New Adventures and I thought Paul Kupperberg did a good job with her writing wise. And I have grown to like Infantino's version as well.

So I don't think the Whos Who page was an apology but more of a love letter to the fans.

Anj said...

Byrne also told me that his Post-COIE era Matrix/"Mae Kent"/Supergirl was actually intended to have fiery RED hair instead of blonde, yet the colorist (who took Byrne's joke about Matrix looking like Kara to heart) mistaked Byrne wanting her hair to be that of blonde and not red, thus why we get a blonde haired Matrix/Supergirl in "The Supergirl Saga" as such.

Interesting. I think she is colored as a 'strawberry blond' in the first issue. I'll have to look at that tonight.

Anj said...

There's an interesting piece about the new project on Bob Greenberger's blog, currently it's second entry from the top:

http://www.bobgreenberger.com/


Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

Well I don't think of it as a conspiracy theory so much rather it is an ennunciation of what I felt when I saw the entry at the time. the record seems clear that Marv Wolfman, Dick Giordano and Jeanette Kahn all disliked Supergirl, they did what they wanted to do and the heck with what the fans wanted, hardly "Operation Valkyrie".
***
Anj, I liked Kupperberg's run on SG as well. But lets face it the writing was on the wall even then, snuffing superheroines was all the rage back then thanks to the Phoenix Saga over at Marvel. In retrospect, we should have seen it coming. Kupperberg was no Sterling Gates but his heart was affixed to the right place IMHO.

John Feer

Rick said...

Funny, I picked up that 1986 who's who issue not too long ago at a book store.

Anonymous said...

John Byrne actually once told me that he doesn't like the idea of Supergirl being "yet another" (as he puts it like) surviving Kryptonian and would much rather write/envision her as being that of the human/Kryptonian hybrid daughter of Lois and Clark's instead...

Yeah and he wasted no time in killing off said character in his meshugginah Superman-Batman "Generations" miniseries. Tells you what Byrne really thinks of Supergirl as a concept. It also stands in stark contrast withe build up he gave the otherwise colorless and somewhat useless Sue Storm during his run on "The Fantastic Four".
To think in 1964, Supergirl looked like a all out women's libber compared to the silly and subdued Sue Storm. And yet Kara gets killed off amd John Byrne collects plaudits for "revitalizing" Sue Storm...
Funny how all that works.
:D
John Feer

Anonymous said...

"John Byrne actually once told me that he doesn't like the idea of Supergirl being "yet another" (as he puts it like) surviving Kryptonian and would much rather write/envision her as being that of the human/Kryptonian hybrid daughter of Lois and Clark's instead. (Read his Superman/Batman: Generations first trade to see just what I mean by this too.)"

Of course. John Byrne is a staunch supporter of the creator's original intent. The creator got it right... unless he did something that John dislikes.

Byrne thinks Peter Parker must always be a schoolboy because he was a kid when Lee and Ditko came up with Spider-Man... even though Peter graduated during Lee/Ditko's run.

Byrne thinks The Vision is an unemotional android rather than the original Human Torch... even though that was always Roy Thomas' intent.

Byrne thinks Supergirl shouldn't be Superman's Kryptonian cousin, even though she WAS.

Then again, JB hated/disliked/deemed outdated Supergirl, Superboy, Krypto, the Legion of Super-Heroes... so he eliminated all of it. Forty years of continuity. Because HE did not like them. And yet he complains when his stories are retconned.

Although I find funny how he used the Legion of Super-Pets to justify his changes, fourteen years after their disappearance.