H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

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H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby dan2448 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:17 am

I bought the H&V volumes in significant part as a resource for the rudimentary super hero RPG that I play from time-to-time with my 6 year old daughter. She knows many of those heroes and villains primarily from cartoons, especially from vintage "Superfriends" DVDs.

As a player of an earlier generation of RPGs as a teenager in the mid-1980s, I was totally blown away as an adult by the production values of these Green Ronin books. Impressed, I wondered how comprehensive they were. I couldn't think of any missing characters myself, but I wasn't much of a reader of DC comics as a kid. So I really wasn't the best judge.

In recent days I stumbled upon a complete collection of loose leaf "Who's Who in the DC Universe," published from 1991-1993, in a closet. I didn't remember having bought these, and had pretty much stopped buying comic books and RPGs myself by then. They were unopened. Maybe I had bought them because there were three companion volumes of loose leaf stats for Mayfair's "DC Heroes" RPG, which I had played as a kid in the mid-1980s.

I sat down last night for an hour or so and juxtaposed the two.

My quick comparison didn't reveal any significant omissions in the H&V books. The only characters I noticed that were included in the "Who's Who" collection from 20 years ago that weren't in the H&V volumes were either very minor characters who had just been introduced recently in the DC comic books at the time (and didn't gain any traction with fans, with the benefit of hindsight), or were among the Legion of Superheroes. I was never a fan of 'The Legion' myself. So even the few pages of detail about them in the H&V volumes were more than enough for me. But whomever produced these "Who's Who" volumes in the early 1990s for DC comics must've really loved them, because there's an almost comical surfeit of detail about all the various Legionnaires in this vintage "Who's Who."

Interestingly (to me anyway) was that this comparison revealed some really notable omissions from DC's "Who's Who" collection (presumably accidental), including Captain Marvel (aka Shazam), Atom, Black Manta, Bane, Brother Blood, and Trigon, among others. Also notable to me personally was the lack of any entry on Mike Grell's 'Warlord,' a childhood favorite of mine who I was really surprised and happy to see in H&V.

The juxtaposition of these two works also underscored the correctness of the decision to present the 'classic' versions of these DC characters in the H&V books, as opposed to the then-current versions of the characters. I had totally forgotten (and maybe never knew) that there were different versions of Firestorm and the Teen Titans (among others) being published in the DC comics of 20 years ago. All those 1990s 'revisions' were totally unappealing to me.

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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby Mr Mole » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:04 am

dan2448 wrote:Interestingly (to me anyway) was that this comparison revealed some really notable omissions from DC's "Who's Who" collection (presumably accidental), including Captain Marvel (aka Shazam), Atom, Black Manta, Bane, Brother Blood, and Trigon, among others. Also notable to me personally was the lack of any entry on Mike Grell's 'Warlord,' a childhood favorite of mine who I was really surprised and happy to see in H&V.

I don't recall the dates for certain, but I think Bane's first appearance was just months after the last batch of Who's Who and the Updates.

Sadly, Warlord had pretty much dropped off the map by the early '90s (series cancelled in '88 (?) and one 6-issue miniseries around '92 (?), otherwise dead and/or ignored), so I can understand why he was omitted. Personally, I love the original Travis Morgan stuff. :mrgreen:

The others you mentioned had all been around for years by then, so I've no clue offhand why they were omitted.

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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby Earth-Two_Kenn » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:50 am

Between 1987's "Shazam: A New Beginning" and 1994's "The Power of Shazam" DC wasn't doing much with Captain Marvel, and the failure of "A New Beginning" meant that DC didn't have a back story for the Captain they wanted to promote.
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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby saint_matthew » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:32 pm

Earth-Two_Kenn wrote:"The Power of Shazam"


There was only one thing wrong with Power of Shazam... There is only one godamn trade.
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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby Earth-Two_Kenn » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:43 pm

saint_matthew wrote:
Earth-Two_Kenn wrote:"The Power of Shazam"


There was only one thing wrong with Power of Shazam... There is only one godamn trade.


And the Powers That Be at DC can't be bothered to read even the one... :(
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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby dan2448 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:49 am

Earth-Two_Kenn wrote:Between 1987's "Shazam: A New Beginning" and 1994's "The Power of Shazam" DC wasn't doing much with Captain Marvel, and the failure of "A New Beginning" meant that DC didn't have a back story for the Captain they wanted to promote.


Thanks so much for all the feedback above from everyone.

I suspect that this explanation about 'Shazam' may also explain the exclusion of Black Manta. Having just checked Wikipedia, it states that Black Manta intentionally had no 'origin story' until 1993. Wikipedia also confirms, as was suggested above, that Bane wasn't created until 1993. (Though my "Who's Who" set did include two '1993 supplements,' neither of which includes pages for either Bane or Black Manta, for whatever reason.)

I suspect that the other explanation in the thread above about the exclusion of 'Warlord' may also explain the exclusion of several high-profile New Teen Titans villains from the 1980s. By the time this new 'Who's Who' was published from 1991-1993, DC had begun publishing a new version of the Teen Titans with all new members. So while DC perhaps felt compelled to include in this "Who's Who" entries on the each member of the 'classic' Wolfman/Perez team, maybe they decided not to include any entries about those Wolfman/Perez-era supervillains from a decade before, because that whole continuity had been superseded in the comic books of the time.

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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby Roman Virtue » Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:01 pm

On the topic of the MEGS loose leaf Who's Who collection. I purchased mine on line and they came to me bound (lightly glued) together. I paged threw them at first not noticing any irregularity, but then recently I looked threw them again and noticed that Batman wasn't among them. His entry (in a Who's Who style) can be found in the back of my 3E copy of DC Heroes, so they must have produced it. Can anyone that has the entire collection verify if Batman is included in the Who's Who collection or is the only copy of that style entry in the back of the core book?
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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby Mr Mole » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:18 pm

Roman Virtue wrote:Can anyone that has the entire collection verify if Batman is included in the Who's Who collection or is the only copy of that style entry in the back of the core book?

Batman does not appear in any of Mayfair's Who's Who products. As near as I can see, he has write-ups in the following:

DC Heroes (1st Edition)
Batman Sourcebook (1st Edition)
Wheel of Destruction (1st Edition)
When a Stranger Calls (1st Edition)
Justice League Sourcebook (2nd Edition)
DC Heroes (2nd Edition)
Batman Sourcebook (2nd Edition)
Deadly Fusion (2nd Edition)
DC Heroes (3rd Edition)
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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby Roman Virtue » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:29 pm

Batman is a master of stealth, He's probably there, but no one can see him! :shock:

Seriously though, thanks for confirming that for me. :)
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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby dan2448 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:04 pm

I just checked my Mayfair "Who's Who" companion set, and, to confirm, it doesn't have Batman stats either.

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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby AdvocateJack » Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:32 pm

As an aside, the Warlord entry was my favorite entry I didn't request (but later realized I should have because I love that stuff).

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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby BCDX97 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:41 pm

This was a fantastic product, and it's a real shame the fourth and final issue of this was never published, because Mayfair did a great job on this. I was bummed about it's incompletion for a long time.

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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby dan2448 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:22 am

BCDX97 wrote:This was a fantastic product, and it's a real shame the fourth and final issue of this was never published, because Mayfair did a great job on this. I was bummed about it's incompletion for a long time.


I noticed this omission, too, when I was putting together all these various loose leaf supplements recently (16 from DC's "Who's Who" line, plus 2 "1993 updates" -along with 3 bigger, related supplements from Mayfair), and only learned that the fourth volume was never published by Mayfair after a Google search.

But after going through the assembled "Who's Who" package page-by-page, this omission didn't really seem that significant to me, to be honest. The three supplements published by Mayfair cover issues 1-13 of DC's 16-issue "Who's Who" line, including the crucial 13th, all-villain issue.

The only really 'major' villain that was included in DC's "Who's Who" after issue 13 (in my opinion anyway) was Doomsday.

From my personal perspective, the omissions of several 'classic' heroes and villains from DC's 1991-1993 "Who's Who" itself (already discussed in the thread above), which as a result never would've been included in the corresponding Mayfair supplements either, would've had a bigger impact on its utility as an RPG product. Or at least that's what I think, anyway.

Putting this whole package together recently left me disappointed in it, to be honest. Having seen the prices these various supplements (especially the Mayfair ones) command on ebay, and having really loved the 1st edition of the "DC Heroes" game as a teenager in the mid-1980s (the boxed set for which was absolutely crammed-to-bursting with stats for classic DC characters), my expectations for this 1990s "Who's Who" package were perhaps unreasonably high.

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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby dan2448 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:03 am

In case anyone is interested, I flipped through this 1991-1993 "Who's Who" again and counted 34 separate entries in the 'Heroes' section for various members of the Legion of Super Heroes (each a single, double-sided, loose leaf page). To illustrate how this vastly disproportionate the emphasis on the Legion of Super Heroes was in this collection, by comparison, there was only a single entry (again, one loose leaf page) for each of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. And I counted only six entries for the Green Lantern Corps (one for the Corps itself, and then one each for Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Gnort and Kilowog). Whomever put this collection together must've really loved the Legion of Super Heroes.

There are a few curious omissions from this "Who's Who" that seem to be unintentional errors. For example, the entry on Aquaman not only mentions his arch enemy Black Manta, but also features an illustration of the two of them fighting. Yet there is no separate entry for Black Manta in the 'Villains' section. In a similar vein, the entry on Arkham Asylum mentions both Clayface and Bane, and yet neither one have their own entries either. There was also no entry for Bizarro. Similarly, the entry for the New Teen Titans mentions Trigon repeatedly, but he does not get his own entry either. (Though Deathstroke the Terminator does.)

The fact that Mayfair never did publish its 4th and final RPG supplement of corresponding stats for these entries did leave the entire package a little incomplete. But the only 'major' villains I noticed who had "Who's Who" entries but no RPG stats were Catwoman and Doomsday. Among the heroes, Green Arrow was the only 'major' hero (other than Batman) without game stats. Other than Clayface and (then very new) Bane, Batman's entire rogues gallery of major villains were all included, each with their own entries and game stats. Same with those for the Flash. And Lex Luthor and Brainiac.

So to a 'casual' fan of these DC characters like me, this "Who's Who" collection seemed to hit almost every 'high note' (along with dozens and dozens of more minor characters)
Last edited by dan2448 on Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:18 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: H&V vs. 1992's "DC Who's Who"

Postby Talison » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:14 am

Mr Mole wrote:
Roman Virtue wrote:Can anyone that has the entire collection verify if Batman is included in the Who's Who collection or is the only copy of that style entry in the back of the core book?

Batman does not appear in any of Mayfair's Who's Who products. As near as I can see, he has write-ups in the following:

DC Heroes (1st Edition)
Batman Sourcebook (1st Edition)
Wheel of Destruction (1st Edition)
When a Stranger Calls (1st Edition)
Justice League Sourcebook (2nd Edition)
DC Heroes (2nd Edition)
Batman Sourcebook (2nd Edition)
Deadly Fusion (2nd Edition)
DC Heroes (3rd Edition)


A black and white preview version of Batman's Who's Who sheet appeared in the back of the Third Ed Rulebook. It was meant for the last volume of Who's Who sheets, which were never released.


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