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Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe (usually referred to as Who's Who) is the umbrella title for a number of comic book series which DC Comics published to catalogue the wide variety of fictional characters in their imaginary universe, the DC Universe.
Who's Who was the creation of Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, and Robert Greenberger, and its first incarnation (Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe) debuted in the last month of 1984 (cover-dated March 1985) and ran 26 issues until 1987 (cover-dated April 1987). It was essentially an encyclopedia in comic book form, listing the characters, places, and technology in the DC Universe. It began one month before the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths began; therefore, the earlier issues discuss Pre-Crisis versions of the characters, whereas issues released after the conclusion of the limited series discuss the Post-Crisis versions. For example, while both the Flash (Barry Allen) and Supergirl died during the Crisis, the Flash's death is not mentioned as issue #8 predates his death, but Supergirl's death is recounted 14 months later in issue #22. Also, characters such as Superman and Wonder Woman were rebooted during the series' run, so their entries recounted their Post-Crisis histories only, while their entire Silver Age histories (and all the unique elements of those characters during that time, such as Superman's Fortress of Solitude and Wonder Woman's powerless period) were ignored.
Who's Who was DC's answer to The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, which was published a few years earlier. The DC version had a less formal style than its Marvel counterpart. Each character had an individualized logo instead of a standard typeface; figures were shown in action poses rather than full-body portraits drawn by individual artists; character histories and power descriptions were more vague; and characters from all of DC's publishing domain were included (such as out-of-continuity series like Camelot 3000 and Watchmen), not just those from its shared universe (although Who's Who Update '88 did limit its entries to in-continuity series only).
Various updated versions of the Who's Who have appeared over the years, including Who's Who Update '87 (five issues, cover dated August to December 1987) and Who's Who Update '88 (four issues, cover dated August to November 1988). Both books featured new entries, revised entries for characters in previous volumes, and an Appendix which included minor updates and corrections for previous entries. In 1989, most of the DC Annuals released that year included Who's Who entries.[a] Many of these were revised versions of entries in the regular Who's Who series, but there were several new entries (particularly for supporting characters).
DC Comics also put out two Who's Who spin-off series in the 1980s. The first was Who's Who in Star Trek, a two-issue series (cover-dated March and April 1987) which profiled many of the people and places from the 1960s Star Trek series (and subsequent movies), the 1970s animated series and the 1980s Star Trek comic book published by DC. As the series was released prior to the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation, no information from that series was included.
The second spin-off was Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes, a seven-issue series (cover-dated April to November 1988) which expanded on the Legion information included in the regular Who's Who and featured profiles on the various supporting characters, organizations, locations and villains which have appeared in Legion stories over the years. Some of the information contained in this book was Post-Crisis instead of Pre-Crisis. For example, the Superboy profile relates the Post-Crisis origin of the character as a creation of the Time Trapper, and there is no profile for Supergirl, despite her many adventures with the Legion, since by this time she was written out of continuity.
In 1990, DC started over with a new Who's Who series titled Who's Who in the DC Universe (16 loose-leaf issues with binders sold separately, cover-dated August 1990 to February 1992). This book was not as comprehensive as the previous Who's Who (for example, there was no entry for the Atom, even though his character was undergoing major changes in the comic Suicide Squad), and some of the entries took on a less serious tone. One instance is an entry for Guy Gardner, which is written from the character's perspective. Another instance is a blank entry for Death, which has all the usual information headings crossed out and blue marker scrawl stating simply "Someday you'll meet her. You can find out for yourself."
This series was followed up by Who's Who in the DC Universe Update 1993 (two loose-leaf issues, cover-dated December 1992 and January 1993). DC also released a Who's Who series for their Impact Comics line (three loose-leaf issues, cover-dated September 1991 to May 1992).
During the period from the late 1990s through the end of the 2000s, Who's Who was replaced with Secret Files and Origins, a series of one-shots devoted to particular characters or events in the DC Universe and which feature Who's Who-like profiles. DK Publishing has also released a number of Ultimate Guides, as well as a book titled The DC Comics Encyclopedia, which serve a similar purpose.
On December 10, 2009, DC announced that a new Who's Who series would be published in 2010 as part of the company's 75th anniversary celebration. The series was later announced for 18 issues, 48 pages per issue, beginning in May 2010 with Bob Greenberger as sole writer and Bob Harras as editor. The series launch was subsequently delayed, but in October 2010 DC vice-president Dan DiDio stated that the series would be released after the 2011 DCU line-wide event, Flashpoint. However, the history of the DC Universe received an extensive overhaul in the aftermath of said Flashpoint event. The resulting New 52 comics are set in a greatly altered continuity, making a new edition of Who's Who seem unlikely in the short term because the histories of many characters are in a state of flux.
Bibliography of Who's Who series
Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe
|I||Abel to Auron||March 1985|
|II||Automan to Blackhawk Plane/Island||April 1985|
|III||Black Lightning to Byth||May 1985|
|IV||Cadre to Chris KL-99||June 1985|
|V||Chronos to Cyclotron||July 1985|
|VI||Daily Planet to Doctor Polaris||August 1985|
|VII||Doctor Psycho to Fastback||September 1985|
|VIII||Fatal Five to Garguax||October 1985|
|IX||Garn Daanuth to Guardians of the Universe||November 1985|
|X||Gunner and Sarge to Hyena||December 1985|
|XI||Icicle to Jonni Thunder||January 1986|
|XII||Jonny Double to Kong the Untamed||February 1986|
|XIII||Krona to Losers||March 1986|
|XIV||Luthor I to Masters of Disaster||April 1986|
|XV||Matrix-Prime to Mister Tawky Tawny||May 1986|
|XVI||Mr. Terrific to Nightmaster||June 1986|
|XVII||Nightshade to Persuader||July 1986|
|XVIII||Phantom Girl to Pursuer||August 1986|
|XIX||Puzzler to Roy Raymond||September 1986|
|XX||Rubberduck to Shining Knight||October 1986|
|XXI||Shrinking Violet to Starfinger||November 1986|
|XXII||Starfire I to Syonide||December 1986|
|XXIII||Syrene to Time Trapper||January 1987|
|XXIV||Tim Trench to Universo||February 1987|
|XXV||Unknown Soldier to Witch Boy||March 1987|
|XXVI||Wizard to Zyklon, plus Angel & the Ape to The 1,000||April 1987|
Who's Who Update '87
|1||All-Star Squadron to Catalyst||August 1987|
|2||Catwoman II to Goldstar||September 1987|
|3||Gray Man to Lionmane||October 1987|
|4||Lois Lane to Rampage||November 1987|
|5||Reaper to Zymyr, plus Appendix||December 1987|
Who's Who Update '88
|1||Amazing-Man to Harlequin II||August 1988|
|2||Icemaiden to Nightwing||September 1988|
|3||Parliament of Trees to Trident||October 1988|
|4||Ultra-Humanite to Zuggernaut, plus Abby Cable to Wade Eiling and Appendix||November 1988|
Who's Who 1989 Annuals
|Action Comics Annual #2||Entries for Cat Grant and Matrix||June 1989|
|Batman Annual #13||Entries for Alfred Pennyworth, Barbara Gordon, Batman, Commissioner Gordon, Robin (Dick Grayson), Robin (Jason Todd) and Vicki Vale||June 1989|
|Blackhawk Annual #1||Entries for Andre Blanc-Dumont, Blackhawk, Blackhawk Express, Carlo "Chuck" Sirianni, Grover Baines, Keng Quan Chee a.k.a. "Mairzey", Lady Blackhawk (Natalie Reed), Olaf Friedriksen and Weng Chan||May 1989|
|Detective Comics Annual #2||Entries for Catwoman, Clayfaces I-IV, Joker, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Ra's al Ghul, Riddler, Scarecrow and Two-Face||September 1989|
|Dr. Fate Annual #1||Entry for Dr. Fate||September 1989|
|Flash Annual #3||Entries for Chunk, Flash (Jay Garrick), Flash (Barry Allen), Flash (Wally West), Jerry and Tina McGee, Joan Williams Garrick, Kapitalist Kouriers, Mary West and Mason Trollbridge||June 1989|
|Green Arrow Annual #2||Entries for Black Canary I, Black Canary II, Green Arrow, James Cameron, Shado and Speedy||July 1989|
|Justice League International Annual #3||Entries for JLI Embassy staff members (Anatole "Bob" Blazac, Boris Dmitravich Razumihin, Catherine Maureen Colbert, Cyndy Kurahara, Ernesto Lopez, Esteban Sanchez, Inada Akatsu, Joshua Barbazon, Michael and Lisa Morice, Rodan "Duke" Katatami, Rosa and Dana Rubikskova and the Tasmanian Devil)||July 1989|
|New Titans Annual #5||Entries for The Titan Seeds, The Titans of Myth and Troia||August 1989|
|Question Annual #2||Entries for Aristotle Rodor, Isadore O'Toole, Lady Shiva, Myra Fermin and the Question||July 1989|
|Secret Origins Annual #3||Entries for Antithesis, Bumblebee, Flamebird, Gargoyle, Golden Eagle and Herald||May 1989|
|Swamp Thing Annual #5||Entry for Swamp Thing||August 1989|
|Wonder Woman Annual #2||Entry for The Mayer Agency||September 1989|
Who's Who in Star Trek
|1||Entries from Andorians to Leonard McCoy plus Appendix entries for Balok, Lt. Boma, Charlie Evans, Zefram Cochrane, the planet Cheron, John Gill, Landru, Angela Martine, Marlena Moreau, Admiral Harry Morrow, Nomad, Omicron Ceti III, Lt. Carolyn Palamas, Andrew Stiles, Captain Stiles, the Tholians, Trelane, Zarabeth and Zetar||March 1987|
|2||Entries from Marla McGivers to the Vulcans plus Appendix display of command symbols and the environmental jacket||April 1987|
Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes
|1||History of the Legion (part one), plus entries for Absorbency Boy to Dr. Gym'll||April 1988|
|2||History of the Legion (part two), plus entries for Dr. Mayavale to High Seer of Naltor||June 1988|
|3||Planets of the 30th Century, plus entries for Heroes of Lallor to Legion of Super-Rejects||July 1988|
|4||Homeworlds of the Legion, plus entries for Legion of Super-Villains to Mon-El||August 1988|
|5||Tour of Legion Headquarters, plus entries for Mordru to Science Police||September 1988|
|6||The Wonders of Metropolis, plus entries for Sden to Timber Wolf||October 1988|
|7||The Nik Feelds Show, plus entries for Time Trapper to Zoraz||November 1988|
Who's Who in the DC Universe
Who's Who in the DC Universe Update 1993
|1||Entries for Abra Kadabra, Agent Liberty, Azrael, Black Condor, Black Mask, Cerberus, Count Viper, Eclipso, Evil Star, Green Lantern Corps, The Heckler, Ice Man, Ig'nea, Jack Marshall, Hacker, Lady Jane, Legionnaires, Lord Satanus, Mister Z, The Netherworld, Starbreaker, Timber Wolf, Valor, White Dragon, and Yankee Doodle Dandy||December 1992|
|2||Entries for Arion, Atomic Skull, Battalion, Bloodwynd, Candlemaker, Congorilla, The Darkstars, Doomsday, Guy Gardner, Jakob Whorrsman, Justice League America Headquarters, Justice Society of America, L.E.G.I.O.N. R.E.C.R.U.I.T.S., Lex Luthor II, Linear Men, The Lurker, New Earth, Oa, the Mosaic World, Ramona, The Ray, Team Titans, Thrust, Thunderbolt Supporting Cast (Anne-Marie Brigette Brogan, Cairo De Frey, Detective Inspector James Sidney Flint, Tabu Jaswinder Singh), Vigilante III, and Willoughby Kipling||January 1993|
Impact Comics Who's Who
|1||Entries for Applejack, Arachnus, A.R.M.S. Installation, Len "Big Daddy" Rothco/Frances "Gunny" Beaupre, Richard "Brew" Troy/Jesus "Jump" Kennedy, Chromium, Timon de Guzman, The Fly, Wild Bill Grady, Lt. Devon Hall, Arvell Hauser, Inferno, Victoria Johnson, Ben Lee/Lance Perry, Mary Masterson-Higgins/Masterson Concepts, Maxx-13, The Moonlighter, Lt. Walker Odell, Professor Maxim Ruiz, The Shield, The Sunshine Kid/Ishmael "St. James" Himes, Templar, Luiza Timmerman, and The Web||September 1991|
|2||Entries for The Black Hood, The Black Witch, Bobby "Brick" Boone/Jennifer Novak/Eldon Sinclair, Theo Carver, The Comet, The Connors' lab, Dan Connors/Henry and Betsy Connors/Karen Davis, Tracy Dickerson, Dolphus, Victor Drago, General Mechanix, General Higgins, Saleh "Silver" Himes/Karen "Buster" Thomas, The Jaguar, Powell Jennings, Dusty Madigan, Meridian, The Problem, Donald "Rowdy" Spates/Radcliffe "Rad" Stiles, Jason Troy, Sr., Albert E. Watson/Millie Mazda, The Weapon, Kevin Wells/Crawford "Win" Winfield, and The Wolf||October 1991|
|3||Entries for The American Crusaders, Black Hood "Hit" Coffee, Black Hood Nate Cray, Bob Phantom, Burnout, Captain Commando, Creeptures, Crusaders, Domino, Fireball, Fox, Hangman, Indigo, Kalathar, Mann-X, The Original Shield, Ozone, Pirate Blue, Shield III, Studs, Tech Wizards, Tom Sickler, Tremor, and Void||May 1992|
In other media
In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Emperor Joker", during a battle between Batman and the Ten-Eyed Man, Bat-Mite (who breaks the fourth wall) was seen reading about the Ten-Eyed Man in issue #23 of the original Who's Who series.
- "DCU IN 2010: CELEBRATE THE LEGACY AND HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE | DC Comics". Dcu.blog.dccomics.com. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
- "Dan DiDio talks LEGACIES, WHO'S WHO | DC Comics". Dcu.blog.dccomics.com. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
-  Archived January 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
-  Archived October 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
-  Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "Wonder Woman. Amazon. Hero. Icon". Comic Book Resources. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
- "DC Nation Panel: Co-Features, Accidental Spoilers, And Why You Don't Invite Fans On Stage [NYCC]". Comicsalliance.com. 2010-10-09. Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2014-02-12.