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!


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.

Doc Savage 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 Buethe 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 Buethe 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.

Heloise Doucet said...

Oh wow - my mom found this online! I have my page blown up and framed on my wall - my 15 minutes of fame! What a cool blog Siskoid!

Where am I at? I'm married with 2 kids and I'm a Director at an Internet TV app company and sometimes write code. I paint on the side but just landscapes now, not superheroes!

I loved creating those - I sent in a whole bunch and was so lucky to get one picked. I'm very proud to have had George Perez draw Starburst on the cover since he's my favorite comic book artist and I even got him to sign it in person.

Since I'm from Canada, we didn't have Starburst candy back then and since I was a huge Teen Titan fan she was pretty much a Starfire knockoff. What can I say - I was 13 years old!

Siskoid said...


Recently, I was joking around with fellow podcasters that a Dial H podcast would be all about tracking down the heroes' creators to get their comments. Almost immediately, two of you (both fellow Canadians) sent me a message! Haha.

I love it when that happens. Starburst was better than most, you should be proud of your 13-year-old self :)


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine