Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dial H for High

And now for the back-up in Adventure Comics #589, by E. Nelson Bridwell, Trevor von Eeden and Larry Mahlstedt. It looks quite nice, but it's an insane piece of comics writing, in large part because of the villain design by David Wile, who may or may not be the well-known travelogue photographer from Toronto. Regardless, there ARE recognizable names among the fan creators this week. Richard Konkle (Gemstone) could be the creator of Equine the Uncivilized and Red Shetland, Conan/Red Sonja parodies from the 80s (like Cerebus, but with horses). And if 30-year-old Dale M. Houstman's creation is bizarrely named (Hasty Pudding), it should be remembered that he's a published surrealist poet as well as a songwriter and visual artist. Let's see what these luminaries (and others) had to offer...

Case 37: Adventure Comics #489
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: It is unclear whether certain heroic identities' proclivity for bad puns stems from some Dialed up personality trait, or if Chris and Vicki are to blame.
Name: Gemstone (it works, the "stone" countering the girly link to "Gemworld" or "...and the Holograms")
Created by: Richard Konkle, Age 18, of Las Vegas, NV
Costume: Gemstone's bright crystalline skin is well offset by sleek black clothes, including high boots, bracelets that go up to the thumb joint - each with inset crystals - and a studded metal belt. The only spot of color is a vest that either refers to painted glass or Crazy Quilt's costume.
Powers: Gemstone is made of super-hard diamond and so is invulnerable and immovable. He also packs quite a punch, and can shoot a seemingly unlimited number of sharp crystal "spearheads" from his hands, created from air molecules.
Sighted: In Fairfax, defended the high school from an attack by Marionette.
Possibilities: The array of powers and the DCU's previously forged link between gemstones and magic (via Amethyst) makes me think this character would have mystical origins. Perhaps he's a man who gained the properties of an artifact. Or he could really be from Gemworld, their ambassador to this plane like Amethyst is ours over there. The vest has me imagining him as a hero from another time though, like the early 70s, his powers tying into the New Age movement.
Integration Quotient: 75% (unusual enough to warrant a place in some small niche of the DCU)
Name: The Weaver (there's an Atlantis-based villain with that name in the DCU, but nobody cares; bit formal for superheroine)
Created by: Nancy Mayberry, Age 16, of New Orleans, LA
Costume: A green unitard with orange-yellow lines weaving around it and resolving into boots and gloves. They create an odd two-mountain pattern on her chest, a missed opportunity for a stylized "W". Her mask has a high forehead, going right up to her hairline.
Powers: The Weaver emits solid energy from her hands which she can sculpt into any shape, from cage bars to knives and shears on the end of her finger's tendrils. It appears the shapes must remain connected to her body in this way. She can also fly.
Sighted: In Fairfax, defended the high school from an attack by Marionette.
Possibilities: Her powers are basically derived from Green Lanterns, but the name evokes something a bit more mystical. I'd use the previously mentioned Atlantis connection to make her a descendent of that villain, using her magical powers for good.
Integration Quotient: 50% (could work, but bit of an obscure genesis I've come up with for her)
Name: Frosty (same name as a famous snowman? I think not; a nickname, no more)
Created by: Ann-Marie Leslie, Age 16, of Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
Costume: For someone with cold powers, Frosty sure does have a lot of warm colors on her costumes, not to mention the Athenian cut of her short skirt and bare shoulder, and that sunburst on her chest. I'll buy the cut (which includes armguards that also evoke an ancient time), if only because it shows the cold doesn't bother her. But the rest...
Powers: Frosty freezes things until the shatter from the cold by simply looking at them. Gives new meaning to a "chilly look", but thankfully, she doesn't use it on people.
Sighted: In Fairfax, destroyed the Marionette's "Controller", freeing the alien.
Possibilities: Can't quite resolve the inconsistencies. Her look could make her an Amazon (but they don't have such powers), or a heroine from a more mythical time (but her name doesn't work). To even begin to approach her, "Frosty" would have to be short for something, like maybe she's a Frost goddess or something, but even that seems silly. Perhaps she could work as Hasty Pudding's partner if the two of them are British heroes. She might be modeled on some London statue, wearing that short skirt even in cold winter.
Integration Quotient: 10% (difficult to get even there)
Name: Hasty Pudding (naming yourself after food is a big no-no, even if it's mentioned in the Yankee Doodle song)
Created by: Dale M. Houstman, Age 30, of Minneapolis, MN (though he's lived in Minnesota since the early 70s, Houstman is originally from England, which explains the pudding reference)
Costume: A green suit with green stick-on domino mask and a red cape, Pudding's belt has a small red lightning bolt on it, a visual connection to the Flash?
Powers: Hasty Pudding has super-speed, but is incapable of normal speed. He can only stand still, or move faster than the eye can see. He can even run up buildings, defying gravity.
Sighted: In Fairfax, fighting the Marionette.
Possibilities: Another Speed Force junkie, this one from England. Knight & Squire has recently taught us that the country is full of dubiously-named heroes and villains, and Hasty Pudding certainly fits that bill.
Integration Quotient: 80% (yes, despite the name, because the DCU has provided the perfect nationality for him)

Bonus Supervillains
Name: Marionette (there's little fear of confusion with the Micronaut of the same name today, but in 1982?)
Created by: David Wile, Age 19, of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Costume: The heavy-set Marionette has a hinged, puppet-like look in white and green, with a large M on his chest and a smaller one on his forehead (he's an alien but studied our language). His most distinctive feature, however, is a set of puppet strings attached to his limbs and rising up into the air where they are attached to a giant floating "X".
Powers: The Marionette is a life-sized puppet, super-strong and invulnerable. He is actually controlled by the big "X" above him, which floats above him and is able to make him rise into the air, jump, etc. The strings are part-invulnerable, part-intangible, and phase through (for example) the roofs of structures Marionette might step into. The "Controller" isn't as indestructible. When destroyed and the strings effectively cut, Marionette's power ebbs away and he dies.
Sighted: In Fairfax, causing mayhem until killed by the destruction of his Controller. He is really an alien who invented an artificial intelligence who was "too human" and became insane, taking control of its creator and for no reason at all, decided to terrorize Earth.
Possibilities: The premise is completely crazy, but it's something you might see in a Grant Morrison comic or something. Seems like once the punch is out, the character has a short shelf life though. Not one to bring back again and again. Maybe they could buff up the Controller so that he shows up with different puppets though.
Integration Quotient: 35% (I'm up for some wild, weird alien threats)

Wow, only one issue of Adventure Comics left! Stay tuned!

5 comments:

d said...

Hasty Pudding! Strange that I remember that hero out of all the Dial H's I read read when I was (much) younger. Or maybe not. Shows what a memorable name can do.

Martin Gray said...

I don't remember HP at all - I've never even heard of the things! What was pudding-y about him?

Siskoid said...

Nothing Puddingy except that he might have been British. I got all my information on English puddings from Wikipedia, but Hasty ones are described. (They're probably quick to make?)

Peter LoCasto said...

I think with Frosty, the warm colors are supposed to be a contrast to the icy eyes. I know you mentioned it but I want to expand on it, she's basically the personification of the concept of a beautiful, enticing woman who can destroy someone simply by giving them a simple look. She's gorgeous and the warm colors make you think she's sweet, but you look in her eyes and she's ice cold. Of course, you won't live long enough to pity yourself when you shatter like glass.

Siskoid said...

Poetic!