Dial H for Homicide (Attempted)

The title refers to a strange subplot in Adventure Comics #482, in which Chris and two other boys, including Vicki's former jerky boyfriend Brad, are on a camping trip. Chris' choice of camp-mates is odd enough (though it looks like they may be in the boy scouts together), but what's really freaky is that Brad up and pushes Chris off a cliff and into the river below. He baldly says he doesn't care if it kills him, and the third boy must throw Chris a rope while he treads water. This is worse behavior than most supervillains get up to in this series! And yet, Chris is a good enough boy that he doesn't use his Dial for personal revenge, or even safety.

The letters' page is also of interest, as it features a text on how editor Nelson E. Bridwell and his team choose which heroes, villains and concepts are used. There are files for each category - though Fashions and Furniture are pretty bare - and they've got one called Concepts, for story outlines you might care to submit. Apparently, you don't need to draw your character, you can just describe it and let Infantino do his thing.

Case 26: Adventure Comics #482
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: The one-hour time limit on transformations has been mentioned before, but for the first time, the heroes transform back into Chris and Vicky mid-flight, causing them trouble. It seems there isn't much warning when the hour is about to end.
Name: Mister Thin (strange and silly characters deserve silly names, and they make them work!)
Created by: James Blackstock, Age 11, from Round Rock, TX
Costume: Mister Thin is a green and yellow, paper-thin creature with an odd face with a perpetual, toothsome grin, and four insect-like legs. Robby had a number of weird transformations, but this is really Chris' first. Distinctive and not unpleasant.
Powers: Mister Thin is super-thin and can fit in narrow spaces, and can stretch his limbs like rubber bands, allowing him to walk long distances in very little time.
Sighted: In Fairfax, where he upset people by his appearance, and in the town's environs, where he found a captive Professor Oxford, waylaid by the mad Interchange.
Possibilities: With that look, he's probably an alien, but throwing him into the Omega Men or some other cosmic team seems the easy way out. I'd rather say he comes from the 2nd dimension and has found a way to our world and let the fish out of water stories begin. I'd have him team-up with a hero who can stand a bit of silliness, like the former Captain Marvel, or... damn, it's hard to name someone in the New52.
Integration Quotient: 40% (his unique design means it would be worthwhile to include him)
Name: Ultra Girl (classic name, there is now an Ultra Girl over at Marvel Comics... scooped!)
Created by: Michael Steckman, Age 11, from Palmyra, PA
Costume: A blue one-piece bathing suit with red accessories including boots, gloves and unusually, scarf. Rather plain, though the latter gives her a distinguishing feature.
Powers: Ultra Girl is super-strong and tough, and can fly. She's really not far off from her Marvel counterpart.
Sighted: In Fairfax, was present when Mister Thin caused a stir, then in the town's environs, she found a captive Professor Oxford, waylaid by the mad Interchange.
Possibilities: Good, strong name, but really rather plain otherwise. She could be connected to Ultraman (an evil version of Superman), someone who shares a similar origin (kryptonite gives her a new power with each exposure) but from Earth-1. She might make a Metropolis citizen of some potential.
Integration Quotient: 25% (the DCU has the word "ultra" in its prefix vocabulary, but Ultra Girl isn't very interesting as is)
Name: Starlet (unfortunate since the name is a less-than-flattering reference to actresses who use sex to get ahead)
Created by: Donald Dragos, Age 17, of Central Islip, NY
Costume: Starlet's orange one-piece is cut in half by a large muscle belt, which, like the rest of her accessories (mask, cape, mismatched boots and armband) is a silvery hue. Only her gloves are the same orange. It's an asymmetrical look that doesn't quite work.
Powers: Super-strength and toughness, but no flight. Vicki must be getting discouraged of always drawing the same straw.
Sighted: In Washington D.C., helped defeat Interchange.
Possibilities: Very few. Who needs another "brick", especially one with a bad name and costume? If you force me to, I'll stick her in Hollywood where she might once have applied for the Titans West. Movie star by day, Starlet by night.
Integration Quotient: 15% (that last idea gets her to that number, but I think I'm pushing it)
Name: Anti-Man (not sure about the sound of it - Ant-Man might have to something to say about it - but on the surface, fairly good)
Created by: Orrin Ailloni-Charas, from Port Chester, NY
Costume: All in white, with a big black spot on his chest, Anti-Man also sports a black belt, terrible black booties, dark blue gloves that would do well to actually be black, and a full-headed masked with a mouth slit. The black and white isn't quite balanced, but the look fits a character that may well be made of solid energy.
Powers: Anti-Man can fly and fire blasts of what I can only imagine is anti-matter energy. He packs quite a punch too.
Sighted: In Washington D.C., helped defeat Interchange.
Possibilities: Anti-Man looks like a superhero born from some kind of scientific accident. You know, as if he walked into a hadron collider at the wrong moment. It's the kind of classic origin that can launch a new series, but Anti-Man doesn't seem interesting enough.
Integration Quotient: 15% (heroes like him come and go, but maybe the DCU is full up right now with the likes of Captain Atom and Doc Manhattan)

Bonus Supervillain
Name: Interchange, the Metamorphic Man (Metamorpho's lawyers called... but the name itself is an interesting one for a shapeshifting bank robber)
Created by: Joel D. Wyncoop, Age 9, from Lake Park, FL
Costume: A sort of featureless silhouette, half of him is an electric blue, and the other white with colored bubbles, as if he sparkles with energy. A cool-looking design!
Powers: Interchange can change his molecular structure to change his shape and fly. Mostly, he turns into specialized armored tanks (including one that sucks up energy), but he's also seen changing into a large spiked ball.
Sighted: Professor Oxford's research assistant, Dr. Hans Metis, tried to steal the patent of the Molecular De-Stabilizer and fell into its beam, turning him into Interchange and robbing him of his sanity. He held the Professor captive, then robbed a bank in Fairfax, and finally hoped to take control of the country by attacking the Capitol in Washington, D.C. He was defeated by Starlet and Anti-Man.
Possibilities: Interchange should have stuck to robbing banks, because that goes so much better with his name AND isn't a completely stupid plan. As a super-powered thief, he might be seen in a variety of books, perhaps best used against a character with similar origins or powers, like Captain Atom or Blue Beetle. (Maybe he just looks like an old Charlton character, which brought these two to mind.)
Integration Quotient: 40% (interesting look, but a bit muddled in name, powers and modus operandi)

That's only have the comic. I'll just have to return later with the rest.


Jayunderscorezero said...

That is a fab villain design.

snell said...

Interchange should wind up working for Inter-Gang...

Siskoid said...

We're all working for Intergang, in the end. We just don't know it.

googum said...

I don't know if I ever noticed before, but Ben 10 took more than a few pages from Dial H, didn't it?

Siskoid said...

I'd never heard of it before, but yep, it's pretty much Dial A for Alien.

Jeff R. said...

You could also connect Ultra Girl to Ultra Boy; she'd fit in okay in a Legion context.

Siskoid said...

Oh yeah, why did I forget about Ultra Boy? Too busy thinking of Ultraa and Gary Concord the Ultra-Man, I bet.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's not what "starlet" means, not sure how you came up with that. See below:




noun: starlet; plural noun: starlets

a young actress with aspirations to become a star.
"a Hollywood starlet"


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