|'Who's Who in the DC Universe' #2|
This week’s “Comic Book of the Week” is “Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe” #2, which was published by DC Comics in April 1985. This 26-issue limited series, which ran through April 1987, catalogued the wide variety of superheroes, villains, headquarters, buildings, weapons, groups, etc. that were part of the “DC Universe” group of comics. It was basically an indexed reference encyclopedia in comic book form.
The creative team included Len Wein, writer and editor; Marv Wolfman, writer and consulting editor; Robert Greenberger, associate editor and researcher; Todd Klein, production; Brenda Pope, proofreader; and Neal Pozner, design director. Mike W. Barr and Gary Cohn also served as writers, and Peter Sanderson and E. Nelson Bridwell served as researchers. Helen Vesik, Shelly Eiber, Tatjana Wood and Bob LeRose were colorists.
A variety of artists worked on this issue including Brent Anderson, Murphy Anderson, Jim Aparo, Terry Austin, Eduardo Barreto, Howard Bender, Pat Broderick, Dave Cockrum, Gene Colan, Mike DeCarlo, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Dave Gibbons, Dick Giordano, Rick Hoberg, Carmine Infantino, Klaus Janson, Gil Kane, Karl Kesel, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Gary Martin, Kevin O’Neill, Jerry Ordway, George Perez, Ron Randall, Marshall Rogers, Alex Saviuk, Bob Smith, Curt Swan, Romeo Tanghal and Greg Theakston. Perez was the cover artist and the issue sold for $1 at newsstands.
“Who’s Who” #1 was a 32-page issue that contained 36 entries. Entries in this issue included:
- Balloon Buster
- Baron Bedlam
- Baron Blitzkrieg
- Baron Winters
- Barren Earth
- Batman I
- Batman II
- Beautiful Dreamer
- Ben Boxer
- Big Barda
- Big Bear
- Big Sir
- Bizarro World
- Black Bison
- Blackbriar Thorn
- Black Canary I
- Black Canary II
- Black Condor
- Black Hand
- Blackhawk Plane
- Blackhawk Island
For those of you unfamiliar with “Who’s Who,” here’s an example of a typical entry. Batman is arguably the best known of all the characters in issue #2, and what follows is the complete “Batman II” entry, which was the entry for the more modern of the two Batman characters. Most entries for characters follow the same format.
Alter Ego: Bruce Wayne
Occupation: Millionaire Socialite, Chairman of the Board of Wayne Enterprises and the Wayne Foundation
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Thomas and Martha Wayne (parents, deceased), Philip Wayne (uncle, deceased), Lord Elwood Wayne (uncle, deceased)
Group Affiliation: Ex-member of the Justice League of America, current leader of the Outsiders
Base of Operations: Gotham City
First Appearance: DETECTIVE COMICS #327
Height: 6’2” Weight: 210 lbs.
Eyes: Blue Hair: Black
Raised in a loving environment by his parents, young Bruce Wayne one day admired a bat-costume his father had designed to wear to a party. This memory would prove invaluable to him in later years.
One night several months later, while walking home from the theater with his parents through the area which would soon come to be known as Crime Alley, young Bruce watched helplessly as Thomas and Martha Wayne were confronted by a seeming street thug named Joe Chill, who demanded Mrs. Wayne’s jewelry, then gunned the Waynes down in cold blood when Thomas defied him. In point of fact, Chill was acting under orders from gangster Lew Moxon, who was seeking vengeance against Thomas Wayne for testimony which had sent Moxon to prison.
Now an orphan, Bruce Wayne was placed in the care of his Uncle Philip. Since Philip Wayne was a world-traveler, Bruce spent his formative years under the guidance of Philip’s housekeeper, the kindly Mrs. Chilton (who was secretly Joe Chill’s mothers, a fact Bruce never learned).
Traumatized by his parents’ murder and swearing at their graveside to avenge their death by waging war against all criminals, Bruce Wayne spent the next years training himself to physical and intellectual perfection. To this end, he served an apprenticeship under one Harvey Harris, then considered the world’s foremost detective.
Realizing at law school that he would be hampered constantly by laws that seemed to help criminals more than their victims, Wayne decided to seek his own solutions to the problems of crime in the streets.
One night several weeks later, while sitting in the den of his ancestral home, Wayne Manor, the now-grown Bruce was startled by a large black bat that suddenly flew in through his open window. This was the omen Bruce had been waiting for. Reasoning that criminals were a superstitious, cowardly lot, Bruce took the inspiration of the bat (and his subconscious memories of his father’s costume years before) to design a costume which would strike fear into the hearts of evildoers everywhere. Thus was born a weird figure of the shadows… a dark avenger of evil… The Batman!
Thought at first to be an outlaw himself, the Caped Crusader ultimately confronted, and was finally deputized by, Police Commissioner James W. Gordon.
Several years later, Wayne took in young Dick Grayson, whose circus performer parents had also been murdered by criminals. As the last of the Flying Graysons, Dick had the necessary raw skills to become the Batman’s partner. Dick was given the costume Wayne himself had worn as a youngster when he studied with Harvey Harris, and thus became the first Robin, the Boy Wonder (see Nightwing and Robin).
For a time Wayne abandoned his playboy image and devoted himself to running Wayne Enterprises, as well as the prestigious Wayne Foundation, which he built into one of the world’s foremost philanthropic organizations. He later relinquished his day-to-day involvement with both organizations to more fully devote his time to his duties as the Batman.
Recently, Wayne has become the guardian of young Jason Todd, another circus performer, whose parents were murdered by the villainous Croc (see Croc). Todd has since become the new Robin, learning the art of crime fighting as he works side by side with the greatest crime fighter of all.
The Batman has recently formed a team called The Outsiders (see Outsiders and individual listings) and is working to train them. This is a result of his resignation from the Justice League (see JLA) in a philosophical dispute over justice and the law.
POWERS & WEAPONS:
An incomparable athlete, far beyond Olympic level, the Batman is also a master of all known forms of physical combat, an unparalleled strategist and tactician, an expert in the art of disguise, and has been called by some the world’s greatest escape artist. His reasoning and deductive abilities are second to none.
The weapons in his arsenal against crime included the items in the utility belt he wears around his waist, the sleek Batmobile, the Batplane and the one-man Whirley-bat (see individual listings).
This comic (unless I’ve sold it) and others are available for purchase through Peacock’s Books on Amazon.com. If you’re interested in buying it, search for it there by title, issue number and date of publication.