Who's Who Podcast, in every episode of which fellow bloggers Shag (Firestorm Fan) and Rob! (Aquaman Shrine) take an hour and a half to discuss a single issue of DC Comics' seminal encyclopedia series, I am forced to revisit one of my favorite comics series of all time (almost) monthly. Who's Who has had a huge presence in my life - be warned, this post is labeled "Geeks Anonymous", it's about to get hairy - which makes DC's wholesale dumping of its continuity before a promised new edition could come out all the more distressing to me. Here then are some of the ways I've indulged my Who's Who fixation:
Mnemonic exercises. Some people marvel at my bear trap memory, but I really owe it to my frequent use of mnemonics. When I walk to and fro (I refuse to drive), I'll often try to complete some list from memory. It might be all of Shakespeare's plays, or 100 GURPS sourcebooks, or indeed, every entry in any given issue of Who's Who. Abel - Abnegazar, Rath & Ghast - Abra Kadabra - Adam Strange - and so on. For 26 issues plus updates. (You can see why I don't like the loose leaf version as much.) A lot of the following mental experiments are linked to my returning again and again, in mind if not in body, to the series.
The Super Seven. In a sort of mental Dial H for Hero, and starting with volume VII when I was in 9th grade, I would select 6 of my closest friends and assign them a superhero identity for the month coinciding with an issue's release. For convenience's sake, the group would always be 5 boys (myself included) and 2 girls (fewer of those characters in the DCU). Believe it or not, they were in on it, and I'd sometimes trace up a picture out of Who's Who and give them the drawing so they'd know who they got to be. The first character I ever became through this process was Dr. Fate. Writing this down, I seem to remember there was a Sinister Seven, made up of school rivals (NOT in on it) from the same issue, but I doubt that lasted. The group of Seven changed over time, obviously, but as Who's Who wasn't consistently published, it might not have mattered who they were, except...
Super Seven - The Band. As corollary to the above insanity, I soon began to imagine the Seven as a band that would play any song I listened to. So when daydreaming while listening to music, I would (and still do) imagine the song played live by this imaginary band. The thought experiment probably started with everyone in costume, but now it's in civilian clothes.
Fashion Nightmares. I've tried to integrate Who's Who on the blog, but not altogether successfully. The closest I came to is under the Fashion Nightmares label, which also contains Marvel Universe material and, well, anything with terrible costumes, really. After clicking the link, you'll have to scroll down a little bit before you find Who's Who.
That last page. At the end of every issue of the original Who's Who was a black and white page that featured 6 current or upcoming covers, and a list of where you might find each character in the issue. As a kid living in a smallish town and no access to back issues, I would fantasize about getting a hold of the books I didn't have from the 6 featured. But I played fair. The game was that for each comic I already had on that page, I could choose another and it would magically appear in my collection. Had it been real, I guess I would have scored a lot of Omega Men.
Fights and team -ups. One of the easiest things to do was imagining team-ups and match-ups based on page numbers. So for example, I might daydream about every character in issue 1 fighting those in issue 2, perhaps page-for-page. Or all the heroes fighting all the villains in the same issue, Secret Wars-style. Or even going cross-company to have a whole issue of Who's Who fighting a whole issue of Marvel Universe. Speaking of which...
Whos' Universe Amalgams. While comparing Who's Who to Marvel Universe, I would also try Amalgam experiments, combining characters that really had no business being amalgamated. Abel and Abomination? Crazy. (House of Abomination, if you're wondering.)
Fantasy Who's Who update. And of course, there's my regular activity of looking through old Who's Whos and imagining that same book rebooted to a later era. Each character is still there, but in today's clothes, side by side with his or her legacy characters, etc. The New52's made that a little more difficult (most characters have yet to be seen, though All Star Western is doing a great job filling the books up with western stars; and some new costumes I just don't want to imagine), but I might still do it, lazily turning pages on a rainy afternoon.
My name is Siskoid, and I'm a Geek. That's Who's What.