Dial H for Harley Davidson

Took me a while to get to this issue, and part of it is that it's so BIG. This is, in fact, the last issue of Adventure Comics before the strip moves to a back-up in New Adventures of Superboy, so they're really trying to fit as many fan creations as possible, so many that I'm gonna take this in three separate posts. The other interesting thing is that the two main villains of the piece have returned quite recently in the Dial H series! The Squid and the Abyss have in fact been a big part of writer China Mieville's initial story arc. That must be pretty cool for Lester English and Robert A. Bluethe (unless they think DC's making money off their backs, of course). They're in this entry, along with five other characters designed by YOU.

Case 37: Adventure Comics #490
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: While in a timeless dimension, Chris' Dial doesn't need an hour to recharge between transformations. Without understanding the true nature of that dimension, does that mean the Dials aren't actually recharging during that hour? If not, what's the real reason for the one-hour limitation? Controlling the Dial wearer and preventing him or her from becoming too powerful?
Name: Tempest (later adopted by an Atari Force member and then the former Aqualad; it suits this character better)
Created by: David Hoffman, Age 14, of Tuscon, AZ
Costume: A pretty pleasant pink and purple number, with a triple-belt of beads set at an angle, a peek-a-boo window in the chest (actually a couple of tiny ones too), and fletched high boots, but what's really cool is her hair, which takes the form of various types of weather phenomena (see Powers).
Powers: Tempest's hair is imbued with the power of various weather phenomena. It can be a dark cloud that fires lightning bolts, a plum of water acting as a pressure attack, a tornado "beehive" that propels her through the air, and even an icey snowstorm that can freeze an enemy.
Sighted: In Fairfax, fighting and capturing the Squid.
Possibilities: Her powers take such an unusual turn, I really want to find a place for her. Garth doesn't need that Tempest name , but the name does create a link to the Titans franchise. Could her powers come from a similar (i.e. Atlantean) place?
Integration Quotient: 77% (too neat not to make it, but where?)
Name: Radarman (simple, classic, but like something Archie might have published)
Created by: Dave Elyea, Age 22, of Cheboygan, MI
Costume: Kind of a strongman aesthetic there, in green and yellow, with a big fat belt (with a radar scope on it), short sleeves and bracers, plus a shortish cape and 50s SF finned helmet and thick goggles.
Powers: Radarman's goggles can hone in on the "vibes of anyone who's been on the scene for the last hour", discover where they are, then teleport right to that location.
Sighted: In Fairfax, fighting and capturing the Squid.
Possibilities: Radarman should be some kind of 40s or 50s hero, complete with a goofy origin involving some kind of radar accident. He's not active today, but you hear stories.
Integration Quotient: 40% (definitely old school, if at all)
Name: Stuntmaster (if there can be a Sportsmaster...)
Created by: Martin Walsh, Age 11, of Santa Clara, CA
Costume: A sort of Evel Knievel in dark red and gold, with speedy stylized "S"s on his short cape and leather chest-piece. His face is hidden behind an opaque motorcycle helmet. He drives a high-tech bike with flames drawn on the sides, and holds a rattle-like scepter (hmm).
Powers: Stuntmaster is an expert motorcyclist who rides a pretty invulnerable motorbike, and wields a scepter that shoots beams of energy. Really? That last one?
Sighted: In Fairfax, fighting the Abyss, then in a timeless dimension, getting captured by Blackjack.
Possibilities: Aside from the silly scepter, a perfectly credible 70s hero riding in the wake of the Ghost Rider. I'd have him team up with the Jones/Parobeck El Diablo or something.
Integration Quotient: 30% (lost some points with that scepter, I have to say)
Name: Starburst (sounds like candy, but a fine, generic superhero name)
Created by: Heloise Doucet, Age 13, of Sudbury, Ontario
Costume: A yellow costume that almost merges with her pale yellow skin, it features bell-bottoms with red stars at the top and bottom, high-heeled boots with a star at the tip, a white belt again with a red starburst, and a similar starburst dividing long glove from upper arm. Not unpleasant in a Dazzler sort of way.
Powers: Starburst fires energy bursts. STAR-powered bursts. So, starbursts. From hands and eyes. And she can fly.
Sighted: In Fairfax, fighting the Abyss, then on a marsh world, fighting the Serpent.
Possibilities: She's got a pretty nice look, too bad about the generic powers. Well, if Stuntmaster can be derivative of the Ghost Rider, she can be a Dazzler clone. DC could use the pair as 70s heroes (possibly now required) to fill in the gaps in their history as the time scale slides, even as parodies of heroes popular at the time.
Integration Quotient: 35% (no scepter scores her 5 more percentage points)
Name: Shadow Master (one of my first role-players back in high school had a ninja called Shadow Master; man, that Shadow Master PC was a BASTARD)
Created by: Stephen Berezowecki, Age 15, of Winnipeg, Manitoba
Costume: On the whole, your basic superhero duds, with gloves and boots clearly stolen from Captain America, but with a black, eyeless hood, black cape and black belt (with a honking big buckle). He also uses a metal wand with a sort of blunt arrow point at both ends.
Powers: Shadow Master can summon and control a smokey cloud of darkness with his wand.
Sighted: In a timeless dimension, briefly attempting to fight Blackjack.
Possibilities: A sort of low-rent Doctor Mid-Nite, he looks and feels like an obscure (pun intended) Golden Age character. Let him show up in a crowd scene in All-Star Squadron or something.
Integration Quotient: 20% (the name deserved a better design)

Bonus Supervillains
Name: The Squid (loved it as a Charlton Blue Beetle adversary, love it here; the name was also used for a Gotham crime boss)
Created by: Lester English, Age 31, of Claplin, KS
Costume: In blue and pink, the full body suit features some piping from shoulders to gloves, gloves covering hands that end in prehensile, sucker-tipped fingers. The mask and chest both have a stylized squid on them (overkill?). Under that mask, the Squid is a plump reptilian with strange ears and short fangs.
Powers: The Squid can shoot special inks from his finger tips, to create slicks, of course, but that can also act as a powerful acid.
Sighted: In Fairfax, stealing jewels, presumably because as an alien, our money had no value to him. He was apprehended by Tempest and Radarman, but managed to escaped with the help of his "companion", Abyss. He was later lost in the Abyss' inner dimensions.
Possibilities: I don't know if you consider reappearing in a Dial H comic cheating, but the Squid IS a part of the New52. And apparently, so are Chris and Vicki, since these events are referenced in the new series. He was eventually rescued from the ether by Ex Nihilo.
Integration Quotient: 100% (what can I say?)
Name: The Abyss (my favorite Cameron film, but a bit depressing for a super-character)
Created by: Robert A. Buethe, Age 21, of Elmont, NY
Costume: None. The Abyss appears as a giant humanoid silhouette through which one can see stars and planets in space.
Powers: The Abyss is a living gateway to other worlds, at least some of them (if not all) appearing to exist in another dimension. If the Abyss is under attack, it may lose control of the destination it proffers.
Sighted: In Fairfax, helping the Squid in his crime spree. It seemed to implode while under attack from Fairfax hero Topsy-Turvy.
Possibilities: Like the Squid, the Abyss is currently appearing in the Dial H comic, where Ex Nihilo has tried to merge with it. I wouldn't be surprised if its inner dimensions were somehow related to the identities Dialed up by our heroes.
Integration Quotient: 100% (thank you Mr. Mieville)

Two more entries to go before Adventure 490 is done. Don't touch that Dial!

7 comments:

snell said...

"...a perfectly credible 70s hero riding in the wake of the Ghost Rider."

Actually, there was a Ghost Rider ally named Stunt-Master back in the 70s, and he's hung around the fringes of 616 ever since...

Of course, given what we now know about how the dial "gets" its powers, that makes perfect sense.

Matt Celis said...

Stuntmaster looks more like a ripoff of the awesome Human Fly by Marvel in the '70s.

Siskoid said...

Which itself was a trademark licensed from a Montreal skyscraper climber!

Bob said...

It's Buethe, not Bluethe, and I'm tickled pink to see my creation back after all these years. It puts me in a very small and exclusive group, along with Lester English, Stephen DeStefano, and Harlan Ellison. Thank you, Mr. Mieville and Mr. Siskoid! BTW, I still have my Dial H T-shirt, but it hasn't fit me in years.

Siskoid said...

Let's fix that typo right now!

I love it when DialH creators find their way here and sign in. The Abyss is a memorable villain and it was very cool to see it used in the new series (like Chief Mighty Arrow now, though he wasn't fan-made).

Did the original story represent well the design you sent in? Were there differences, etc.?

Bob said...

I've been meaning to write about Dial H on my own blog, but I kept putting it off. Your blog prompted me to get going: http://cartoonacy.blogspot.com/2012/12/i-dialed-h-for-hero.html

Siskoid said...

Good stuff! If I had the means - and I'm not even on Facebook, so I don't - I'd try to get all the Dial H creators together, see where they're at, what they think of their creations now, etc. I'm sure it would be interesting.

 

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