Dial H for Hell on Earth

In Adventure Comics #486, cracks start to appear in the Chris-Vicki relationship, cracks that may lead to the duo's break-up. After bully Brad helps the police apprehend his street gang, the Vipers, Victoria starts to fall for him again, while Chris becomes an irritant. She shouts "Nuts!" when he interrupts a possible kiss, and his taking shots at Brad - when she's forgiven him - is most unwanted. From then on, she just doesn't want to hang out with Chris. In the issue's second story, she captures a criminal alone and thinks she can probably do this Dial thing all by herself. She doesn't need a partner.

Case 32: Adventure Comics #486
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: Do the paired Dials have a vested interest in keeping its users together? Soon after cracks appear in their relationship, the Dials create a hero pairing (Sulphur & Brimstone). Coincidence? The Dials' previously mentioned feature of blinking when its partner was activated does not feature however. Does it still work, or do Vicki?
Name: Puma, the She-Cat (a couple of Marvel names there)
Created by: Glenn Lemonds, Age 18, of Social Circle, GA
Costume: A tan catsuit (appropriately enough), with puffy sleeves and a cat mask complete with whiskers, allowing long auburn hair to flow out.
Powers: Puma is an incredibly agile and acrobatic fighter.
Sighted: In Fairfax, being defeated by Firegirl.
Possibilities: Though her agility might be mystically or scientifically derived, Puma is essentially a "street level" hero, very much in the Wildcat mold. Wildcat's already got a niece to follow his legacy, but Puma can more easily co-exist with Wildcat, what with her different name and all.
Integration Quotient: 50% (easy to integrate, but she's competes with a lot of other feline characters in the DCU)
Name: Enlarger Man (that's pretty bad, and slightly rude)
Created by: Douglas Kalish, Age 19, Address unknown
Costume: Though a pretty standard leotard in blue and sickly green, Enlarger Man throws in a couple of Kirby-esque touches that endear me to it. I don't know how it relates to his powers, but it's not bad, and the integration of an "E" in the belt is well done.
Powers: Enlarger Man can enlarge objects. A pebble becomes a boulder and so on. There's no indication that he can enlarge living things.
Sighted: In Fairfax, being defeated by Firegirl.
Possibilities: If he changes his name, he could be turned into a minor New God.
Integration Quotient: 10% (strange power and a really hokey name would seem to sink him)
Name: Brimstone (really good, and works very well with partner Sulphur; of course there's now an Apokolips monster by that name)
Created by: Douglas Holben, Age 31, of Sparta, MI
Costume: A fiery red bodysuit with bat-like wings attached to the arms. Simple, but effective.
Powers: Brimstone controls magma, can bring it up to the surface of the earth, manipulate it, use it to attack, and even quickly cool it down. He can fly.
Sighted: In Fairfax, defeating the Devil's Son.
Possibilities: DC's answer to Son of Satan? A hell-fueled hero, fighting fire with fire, maybe joining the Justice League Dark? I like him less as a partner to Sulphur, but that's a question of her look. Otherwise, "Sulphur & Brimstone" sounds like a great title.
Integration Quotient: 80% (the darker corners of the DCU are the ones getting all the positive critical attention, so he's got a fertile niche)
Name: Sulphur (it's good!)
Created by: Douglas Holben, Age 31, of Sparta, MI
Costume: A red and sickly yellow, old-fashioned costume, with a loose-fitting shirt, a vaguely aviator-style mask, a fascist-collared cape, and acid drip-themed trim. So far from Brimstone's clean, simple concept that she makes an ill partner for him. They seem of two completely different worlds (which fits the theme of the comic's story, but not the heroes).
Powers: Sulphur exudes sulphuric acid which even leaves footprints on the pavement. She can direct it through her hands as a mystical sulphuric cloud that is both corrosive and mixed with fire, explosive.
Sighted: In Fairfax, convincing Firegirl to help the heroes defeat the Devil's Son.
Possibilities: I don't see much of a future for Sulphur without Brimstone, but she needs to find new attire. Both characters could be demon-touched and see their abilities as a curse, especially if they are involved with each other, a classic Gambit-Rogue romance where they can't touch because of their explosive combination of powers.
Integration Quotient: 30% (the design doesn't quite work, but Brimstone's might carry her to rest of the way)
Name: Sparrow Hawk (bit clunky, but workable)
Created by: George Longley, Age 17, of Toronto, Ontario
Costume: A pleasant white and powder blue one piece with spiky shoulders and white hair that matches her wings' feathers. Does "angelic" very well.
Powers: Sparrow Hawk can fly with great speed and agility thanks to her wings.
Sighted: Off shore of Fairfax, capturing the Sky Raider and recovering a stolen Rembrandt.
Possibilities: A cross between White Swan and Hawkgirl, the DCU might not really have room for another feathered beauty. Then again, she could have ties to a re-imagined Feithera (the winged Shangri-La of Northwind).
Integration Quotient: 25% (looks good, but at this point a bit redundant)

Bonus Supervillains

Name: Firegirl (not very villainous, but acceptable in an old school kind of way)
Created by: Paula Hunter, Age 18, of Pearl, MS
Costume: Firegirl is a golden-skinned humanoid with fiery hair and a fiery orange bathing suit, boots and gloves. More like what Sulphur should have looked like, perhaps.
Powers: Firegirl is an artificial being able to fly and project flames from her hands. She has some control over the things she heats up, for example, shaping the fire or crafting a throne from melted asphalt.
Sighted: In Fairfax. She was created by the demon Grockk from a scientist's fire-retardant genes to serve him. She made prepared the world for his arrival, but was swayed by Sulphur's arguments and turned against her master, following him to hell to make sure he never again left.
Possibilities: She's not evil, so she's likely to play with the on the good guys' team (which her name is conducive to). I might send her to to the 31st century where she could hook up with Fire Lad. A little harder sell as a homunculus.
Integration Quotient: 20% (the name and the concept both have potential, but not together)
Name: Grockk, the Devil's Son (sounds like the creator put some of himself in the name)
Created by: Rock Bakletea, Address unknown
Costume: Grockk is a red demon, twice as tall as a man, with a fat, spiky tail, horns, bat-winged ears, green torsal scales, and three toes on his feet. He doesn't wear clothes.
Powers: The Devil's Son has a number of demonic powers, presumably derived from magic. He can create servants that have a will of their own (see Firegirl). He can also travel from hell and back, throw fire around, read minds, and control magma. He isn't immune to fire or acid, however, or at least, not the kind the heroes are throwing around.
Sighted: In Fairfax. He created Firegirl and then attempted to take over Earth's dimension before being banished back to hell. His claims of being the son of Satan remain unverified.
Possibilities: Demons make good superhero fodder for a certain class of hero, and it helps when said demon has a little back story. Grockk claims to be the Devil's Son, so that's his hook. He could play an important role in Demon comics, for example, and I'd always use him as a comic foil by having other devils pick on him as the runt of Satan's litter.
Integration Quotient: 85% (easy enough to make a supernatural menace of him)
Name: Sky Raider (sounds like one of many, but it's better than "Flight Pirate" which the story's title hints at)
Created by: Tim Markin of Sylvania, OH
Costume: Red and green, with bracers, aviator goggles, a loose stylish belt, and a rocket pack. His thin mustache works for a Rocketeer-type character.
Powers: The Sky Raider can fly thanks to this jet pack. He has other tech, like suction grapplers on his shoes, and a way to keep a plane from depressurizing when he opens its door mid-flight. He also carried what appears to be a normal handgun.
Sighted: In and near Fairfax, he stole a priceless Rembrandt twice (one was a forgery) and held them at ransom, threatening to destroy them unless the he got 2 million dollars. Sparrow Hawk tracked him to his hide-out in a remote lighthouse and captured him.
Possibilities: An art thief with a simple, classic shtick, the Sky Raider should have no problem acting as a minor threat in various books, and his costume reminds me of the WWII hero, Captain X. Connection?
Integration Quotient: 95% (classic name, look and modus operandi)

So will Chris and Vicki's relationship survive?


Anonymous said...

Why is Sky Raider wearing one of Wonder Man's costumes?

Siskoid said...

Wonder Man and the Wasp's discarded costumes get picked up in thrift stores by Dial Heroes all the time.

Matthew Turnage said...

Firegirl created by Paula Hunter from Pearl, MS? Cool, that's just down the road from where I live. I wonder if she's still around.

Jeff R. said...

Sky Raider is problematic; he would be an ideal Flash villain were it not for the fact that his MO is basically a subset of the Trickster's...

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to me that Grockk looks so much like Etrigan. Perhaps a connection?

Siskoid said...

Matt: Break out the phonebook!

Jeff: I think the Trickster's gimmick sets him apart. Sky Raider could survive as a minor rogue.

Anon: I bet they're all related down there.

Doug said...

Thanks for doing these - you have no idea how awesome it is to see something I created back in the day! To be fair, I was actually 8, not 19, when I submitted this to DC, so I clearly had no concept of other meanings for Enlarger Man. but it sure cracks me up now!

Doug Kalish

Siskoid said...

One of my favorite things about this series of posts is seeing the characters' creators come out of the woodwork and give us a shout-out!

No matter the quality of the character, we're all jealous you know.

Anonymous said...

I created Sky Raider (Timothy Markin here) when I was 12, so he looks pretty mundane. Think I also submitted a hero character named Cloud Boy (or some such thing. Hey, it's been 33 years!) Still have the t-shirt. I like the observation that he looks like a Flash villain

Siskoid said...

I love how the Dial H contributors are finding their way here and chiming in, thanks Tim!

And hey, Sky Raider got a 95% rating, so your 12-year-old self was doing something right!

I'd have liked to see Cloud Boy as well.

Will said...

IIRC from my childhood, the heroes and villains we're reader submitted. I remember a friend having this issue as a kid. I have no doubt Grockk was created by some kid with a Mighty Men and Monster Maker. I made a lot of those "demons".

Siskoid said...

Yes, that's what "Created by" is all about. Some, like Tim and Doug on here, have even reached out to me since! I probably should see it as a podcasting opportunity with people discussing their memories of crafting then seeing their characters on the page (apparently, often heavily modified).


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