Xum’s Who

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Shagg Matthews, an online friend, reached out to me this week to tell me that the family of Xum Yukinori wanted me to have a copy of his privately printed Xum’s Who. Subtitled, Xum Yukinori’s Addendum to the Definitive Directory of the DC Universe.

Xum had passed away last December leaving behind a legacy I knew nothing about. He was a regular contributor to Comic Book Resources’ The Line is Drawn and they celebrated his life in January. It proved an eye-opening read.

From what I have learned, he began doing the art as part of the CBR column and then for Shagg and Rob Kelly’s terrific Who’s Who Podcast on their Fire and Water Network. His blog tells us: “Xum (1963-2019) Former adman. Former marketing consultant for cellular technology and health care service industries. Former manhua background/crowd-control artist. Former artist for The Line It Is Drawn. Former host of The Done-in-One Wonders Podcast Wonder Show. Former resident of 12 countries. Former resident of California”

On his blog, he talked about his love for the DC Universe and Who’s Who, going so far as to create mock ads in the style we used in 1985.

You’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between his work ad that of the real deal. There are entries for one-hit wonders that didn’t make our three appearances minimum rule so you can learn about Fireman Farrell (Showcase #1) or Lady Copy (First Issue Special #3). He did make up a few characters out of affection for his peers, such as Aquarob, for Kelly, who ran The Aquaman Shrine for years.

In his introduction, he takes me to task for changing the editorial focus of Who’s Who from a 50th-anniversary celebration to one that reflected the post-Crisis status quo. Correcting that misjustice, he crafted entries for the Superman and Wonder Woman of Earth-1 along with Woozy Winks and even Topo (if you don’t know him, for shame).

Perhaps the oddest addition is the TRS-80 Whiz Kids, who were created for a custom comic DC produced for Radio Shack. None of the custom creations could be used given their ownership issues (hence no Protector, either).

Xum’s production work is top-notch and his art is versatile, aping the styles of the DC artists who reusing some of their work (crediting the work appropriately) with modifications.

I am touched that he thought enough of the series to add to it and gratified his family sent along a copy, which I am now keeping with my bound set of the original series.

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2 thoughts on “Xum’s Who

  1. This internet is a strange thing. I followed “The Line it Must Be Drawn” for years and felt a fondness for Xum, whom I never met nor interacted with. There are times the inherent goodness in someone shines through whatever medium they’re using. Some people you only know through the internet feel closer than people you see every day.

    Xum’s love and affection for DC shone through each of his pieces. I love “The Line…” because it’s interesting to see the artists interpretations of the themes and the characters. Some embrace the goofiness of mixing serious the serious, the silly, and/or the absurd. Others really go for it. But most simply just capture the theme.

    Xum managed to always make his feel like a snapshot into a universe of his own making. A universe that should be called Earth-X, if not for that title having already been claimed. The snapshot was a moment and the rest lived only in Xum’s imagination. We were lucky to get to see that snapshot.

    The closest thing, in a way, would be the old letter columns. I think part of the reason I’m commenting here is because of the fact that I spent years reading those columns that you ran. I recently reread Ostrander’s Suicide Squad and got to revisit those letter pages. Which is why even though I’m a Yankees fan, I know to end this with a, “Let’s go Mets!”

  2. Thank you for the kind words about Dad’s project, sir. We will make sure to send you a copy of Volume II, which will be printed later this year.

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