Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Dial H for... Harlan Ellison?!

The title will make sense soon, Dialers! This is the other two-thirds of Adventure Comics #479, with lots more heroes and a couple of villain who both use the word "dolt" a lot. Coincidence? (Actually, yes. Though you can blame it on lazy writing if you like... by Marv Wolfman, who also includes publicity for New Teen Titans into the work. Hmm.) At least Wolfman builds on Chris and Vicki's life in high school, where Vicki plays basketball even though soccer is the "in" sport, and Chris' science teacher is apparently a world-class scientist. I guess he's just not that ambitious.

Case 20: Adventure Comics #479
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: Whatever hand is guiding the transformations, it gives Chris exactly the right power to cure the Silver Fog of his condition in one of the two stories, so the Dials aren't as random as they seem.Name: Doomster (AKA Master of the Cosmic Lightning, almost sounds evil)
Created by: Nelson Jimenez, Age 18, of the University of Connecticut
Costume: A purple and yellow number with flashy gloves, boots and plastron, but an unforgivable jester's hat as part of his cowl.
Powers: The Doomster rides the lightning quite literally, like the Silver Surfer rides a surfboard. He also throws lightning bolts around. COSMIC lightning bolts.
Sighted: In Fairfax (which Carmine Infantino can't help but make look like Central City). He and Grasshopper foil the Silver Fog's robbery, but fail to capture him.
Possibilities: The crazy look, yet derivative powers, make him a good candidate for one of the DCU's lesser team. Like Japan's Super Young Team.
Integration Quotient: 15% (not bad, but the costume is going to close a lot of doors for the Doomster)

Name: Grasshopper (a solid insect name for a superhero)
Created by: Monte Wilson, Age 17, of Yuron, OK
Costume: The green tights, halter and pixie boots put me in mind of Tinkerbell, but GH has a strange crown that looks like antennae, and a massive pair of earrings to break up the legal posse.
Powers: The Grasshopper can jump and seems pretty fast.
Sighted: In Fairfax. See Doomster.
Possibilities: There are grasshoppers all over, which means she could find her niche practically anywhere, but she seems well suited to jumping across urban landscapes. Perhaps a less street vigilante, a cheeky wink to Spider-Man.
Integration Quotient: 20% (insect heroes are easy to sell thanks to you-know-who)
Name: The Composite Man (old school name and Maddrox might be pissed)
Created by: Ben Stillwell, Age 23, of Adolphus, KY
Costume: A rather ordinary white and blue uniform, CM's blond hair come out the top, and the lines on his mask make him look a little cross-eyed. Strangely, his duplicates are just featureless while figures.
Powers: The Composite Man can shoot tiny, featureless versions of himself out of his crotch and stomach. These are fearless and do not cause pain to the main hero when they are destroyed. CM can "recall" them in an instant, making them disappear from reality.
Sighted: In Fairfax. He fought and defeated the Red Death at the high school.
Possibilities: His powers aren't generic even if his costume is. I see him as a governement agent, helping one of a number of organizations with his unique abilities.
Integration Quotient: 25% (he's unusual enough to get an inclusion, though not memorable enough to appear very often)
Name: Twilight (the name is a seller, I tell ya! And DC already has dibs because Shadow Lass once used it)
Created by: Delmo Walters Jr., Age 12, of The Bronx, NY
Costume: Pink and blue, with stars on her belt to evoke the night sky, Twilight wears her hair in an unusual front-placed ponytail.
Powers: Twilight can fire a beam of "black light" that blinds her opponents, just like Shadow Lass.
Sighted: In Fairfax. See Composite Man.
Possibilities: She's not blue enough to be a Talosian, but maybe she could be one of the shadow's chosen slumming it on Earth in disguise.
Integration Quotient: 5% (we've already got this character in the Legion and LEGION, we don't really need another)
Name: Windsong (a pretty name for a heroine, with fantasy connotations)
Created by: Frank Mills Jr., Age 17, Address unknown
Costume: A fetching blue and white number with a plunging neckline, her cape, hair and swirling designs merge thematically to produce the required effect.
Powers: Windsong creates tornadoes that propel her into the air, or disperse gas-like villains.
Sighted: In Fairfax. She helps stop the Silver Fog once and for all.
Possibilities: Windsong is a good-looking heroine in the Storm mold who could use her elemental powers on many "young hero" teams, or could be a good-hearted witch in Skartaris or Arion's Atlantis.
Integration Quotient: 50% (her look doesn't preclude displacement to a more mystical clime, which opens a lot of doors)
Name: Captain Electron (how long before Captain Atom comes over to school you?)
Created by: Stephen de Stephano., Age 14, of So. Ozone Park, NY (he would grow up to create 'mazing Man, Hero Hotline and a lot of Instant Piano strips! In fact, watch for more of his designs to make it into Dial H.)
Costume: Red and yellow, a bit like the Human Torch's alternate costume, but with no chest insignia. Captain Electron tries to make himself distinctive with crazy wild ginger hair and a shiny metallic belt, but is it enough?
Powers: Captain Electron fires explosive electron bursts, which he can also use to propel himself through the air.
Sighted: In Fairfax. He stops the Silver Fog by stabilizing his molecular structure, and destroys a truck-full of his family's furniture.
Possibilities: Captain Atom could start a team of particle-powered heroes...
Integration Quotient: 15% (some potential, but energy blasters are a dime a dozen)

Bonus Supervillains

Name: Red Death (an Edgar Alan Poe buff? It's a good name!)
Created by: Russell Frakes, Age 16, of Carrollton, MO
Costume: Red and white is fine for a skull-helmeted villain with a huge cape, but I have to wonder why the skull'n'crossbones on his chest and his helmet both have a toothy smile. It's a bit silly, not to mention repetitive. The Red Skull called...
Powers: The Red Death decays anything he touches, making floors and walls collapse, tiny Composite Men turn to dust, and even wither his own hands. He gloves may help him control the ability and seem immune to the power.
Sighted: In Fairfax. He is really Hal Kramer, bent on revenge against a high school science teacher for being the better scientist after an experiment gone wrong gave him the means to get back at those who mocked him. He maims himself by trying to grab hold of a tiny Composite Man and missing.
Possibilities: He's sort of appeared already, hasn't he? The Red Mask from Grant Morrison's Animal Man #7 is very close to Red Death, with a similar costume and powers. He apparently fought a little-known hero during the 40s, which is pretty much where I see the Red Death.
Integration Quotient: 80% (Grant Morrison found a way)
Name: Silver Fog (sounds like a crooner, but it's actually a plant; good name)
Created by: Harlan Ellison, Age 46, of Sherman Oaks, CA (yes, THAT Harlan Ellison)
Costume: Not surprisingly, the costume is silvery, with some impressive metal underpants and some perhaps unnecessarily pointy head gear. The best feature is how the trim around his gloves, boots and cape sometimes go gaseous.
Powers: The Silver Fog can relax his molecular density so as to pass through solid objects, fly, and stretch out parts of his body. Unfortunately, he's losing control of that density and is in danger of losing complete cohesion. Only an electron burst can stabilize him, and thankfully, Chris become Captain Electron.
Sighted: In Fairfax. He commits a number of robberies geared towards helping him fix his density problem. Once cured, he turns himself in and makes reparations to all the affected parties.
Possibilities: A good ghostly villain for heroes who regularly deal with super-powered thieves (like the Flash). Silver Fog could also work as a tragic villain à la Mr. Freeze, who is cursed by his powers.
Integration Quotient: 100% (Marv Wolfman used the Silver Fog again - though with a different backstory, but same costume - in New Teen Titans vol.2 #40! That character's son became a new Silver Fog who fought Impulse.)

And that's it for Adventure Comics #479! 480 will be coming to you sooner than later!

10 comments:

Calamity Jon said...

I imagine you know of Harlan Ellison's turn at scripting an issue of Daredevil back in the day?

Matthew Turnage said...

Continuing to play "names I recognize" with the fan contributors, in addition to Stephen DeStefano and Harlan Ellison, I also recognize Delmo (the Saint) Walters Jr., who was a regular letterhack back in the day.

Siskoid said...

Jon: I don't think I knew that, but of course, Ellison worked on a number of SF books for Dark Horse.

Matt: I KNEW his name sounded familiar! Didn't recognize it without the nickname!

Calamity Jon said...

Daredevil #208, one of my favorites: http://www.comics.org/issue/38885/

Martin Gray said...

I never understand why someone would put their proper name, and their nickname in between. If you want to use the nick, use the nick!

Great selection. I've a feeling the Silver Fog appeared again somewhere.

Isnt Nelson, creator of Doomster, still an active fan (and perhaps also an inker?)

Siskoid said...

You made me check and...

Had to update the text on Silver Fog! Wolfman brought him back as a Titans villain, and that rebooted Fog's son became an Impulse villain!

My research came up empty on Nelson Jimenez however.

dramatrauma said...

Update. If anybody knows where the creators are, the Red Death debut page is onsale on ebay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Adventure-Comics-479-p4-Dial-H-Hero-Great-Red-Death-1981-C-Infantino-/320968902667?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4abb3cc80b

Delmo said...

A friend just sent me the link to this page. Nice to be name checked regarding this.

Siskoid said...

Wow Delmo, a belated congratulations for getting a hero into the series!

We're all jealous.

Delmo said...

Thanks! Actually I lucked out and got two heroes into the series. The second was Miss Muscle who appeared during the Superboy run of the series.