Dial H for Headcold

The story running through #31 and 32 features Vicki as an unusual "un-Dialed hero" - herself! Turns out that humans under a white sun have Superman-like powers. Who knew! No, I don't think it makes any sense either! Well, maybe it's because the planet is in "another dimension". Yeah, that's it.

Case 42: New Adventures of Superboy #31-34
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: Somehow, Chris' flu is transmitted to his superhero persona, and even amplified by the hero's inherent powers. Dialed identities may have knowledge and skills - for example working an alien's weapon - that are lost once they undial. Dials are waterproof.
Name: Power Punch (the Masters of the Universe toy line had recently come out so...)
Created by: Tom Tychi, Age 16, of Staten Island, NY
Costume: His purple leotards had some interesting yellow patterns on it, vaguely forming a downward arrow on his chest. The codpiece adds an added value.
Powers: Power Punch fires energy from his fists that can propel him through the air with more maneuverability than you'd expect. His most devastating weapon, however, is what looks like a long-distance punch, an energy fist quickly flying towards an opponent. When he has a cold, it is amplified beyond reason, and he can feel the energy building up inside him as a hot fever, energy released by powerful sneezes that throw him around a room. He can change his trajectory with a "power punch".
Sighted: In Fairfax, defeating the alien Whitefire.
Possibilities: He sounds like an action figure feature, and I'd use that, making him some toy animated by a kid, in a sort of twist to the whole Shazam concept.
Integration Quotient: 25% (I can't stop staring at his crotch)
Name: Sirocco (since taken by a member of hybrid, it's a classic super name)
Created by: John Taylor, Age 33, of Bristol, England (one of two characters he designed in the same issue)
Costume: All over the map as far as he color scheme goes - an orange cape, yellow dress, purple belt, mask and gloves, with a mesh under shirt - Sirocco could be Maghrebian like the wind she's named after, in style and skin tone.
Powers: "The Desert Wind" can fly, leaving a trail of sand behind her, and can, unsurprisingly, fire sandstorms at her opponents. For some reason, she loses her powers on an other-dimensional planet, probably because of an innate connection to the Earth rather than because of the rays of a white sun.
Sighted: In Fairfax, coming to Power Punch's aid, then being captured on an alien planet by Whitefire's henchmen.
Possibilities: She's really not far from Hybrid's Sirocco in look and powers, so I'd probably make them the same character, once over to the dark side, now a heroine, a sort of Earth elemental-type that might hang around with Primal Force or the Global Guardians, or as an Arab hero - a minority still under-represented in comics - in a more mainstream group.
Integration Quotient: 90% (she's practically there already)
Name: Cold Wave (cool and breezy)
Created by: Frank Squillace of Phoenix, AZ
Costume: Red bracers, a purple belt, black shorts and purple boots, and a white domino masks is about all he needs, given that he has distinctive (and derivative) icy skin.
Powers: Cold Wave has the power to control and create ice.
Sighted: At Camp Pocahontas, fighting Naiad's monsters.
Possibilities: A youthful ice hero sounds an awful lot like an X-Man I know. Does DC have an X-Men analog? Some kid mutants to make fun of Marvel's popular franchise could use a boy like him. To die and stuff.
Integration Quotient: 15% (nothing wrong with him, but a hard sell for the lawyers)
Name: Infra-Violet (amusing play on the visual spectrum, see Powers)
Created by: Dino Price of Cincinnati, OH
Costume: Split down the middle, with half the uniform pink and other purple (reversed for her hair), there's froo-froo trim all over her bathing suit, boots and gloves. Only her domino mask is spared the lace.
Powers: Infra-Violet splits into two heroes, Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet. Each has the same power, but over objects of a different color, either red or purple. Target objects can be enlarged to massive size, telekinetically moved, turns into solid weapons (the petals of a flower becoming razor-sharp blades, for example), and/or animated.
Sighted: At Camp Pocahontas, fighting Naiad's monsters.
Possibilities: Let's go Bob Haney insane Silver Age on her origin story, as twin sisters are thrown together by some crazy experiment that mixes infrared and ultraviolet. From then on, the girls can only live as separate people for a short amount of time each day, which they reserve for crime-fighting and wacky subplots. Give her a kooky series already!
Integration Quotient: 40% (I like how unusual she is - or they are - but inherently silly)
Name: Earthman (simple and to the point, it's since been taken by a xenophobic 31st-century hero)
Created by: Robert Buethe of Elmont, NY
Costume: All Earthman needs is red trunks, better to showcase his green and blue continents'n'oceans skin. He has a mop of green hair.
Powers: Earthman has the same powers as the planet Earth (scientists, look away). He can manipulate gravity and magnetism, making things attract or repel each other, or allowing himself to fly. He seems to think he could be disabled by water, as if it might turn him to mud.
Sighted: In Pittstown, fighting Naiad and her monsters, and saving movie star Sherri Lancer's life when she is shot by a sniper.
Possibilities: A sort of living golem, he's yet another candidate for whatever elemental crew could be assembled from all those Dial heroes. Swamp Thing needs a teen version of itself on the Teen Titans, I think. That could be Earthman, though a grown-up Téfé would of course be the better choice.
Integration Quotient: 30% (not a bad concept, even if the look needs work)
Name: Gossamer (the WB own a Looney Tunes monster by that name, so why not?)
Created by: Richard Konkle of Las Vegas, NV
Costume: A purple ensemble, probably made from gossamer, with lots of blue straps all over the place, a gauze-like cape tied to her hands for better gliding action, and a mask made of those straps, creating wing-like ears or hair.
Powers: Gossamer can glide through the air, as light as silk, and can fire super-strong silk from her fingers which can cocoon a person or creature very quickly.
Sighted: In Pittstown, fighting Naiad and her monsters.
Possibilities: A sort of spider-woman that could probably have her own solo back-up feature somewhere, or maybe I think that because she reminds me of Black Orchid. I'd have drawn by some indie artist, real quirky romance/vigilante stuff.
Integration Quotient: 65% (Spider-people move books, yo)

Bonus Supervillains
Name: Whitefire (color+element usually creates a serviceable name)
Created by: John Taylor, Age 33, of Bristol, England
Costume: This green-skinned alien wears a stark uniform of white and black, with his mask, head and trim ablaze with white flame. From a starburst belt buckle, an asymmetrical stripe goes up his front on which is printed a black O. Similar circles are found on either side of his belt. He carries a staff with an odd pronged head (which remains in Chris King's possession after this adventure).
Powers: Whitefire's staff fires a flaming beam of white light that can freeze people where they stand, or exchange people and things across space between his world and ours (or presumably, any other planet). His henchmen use an energy gun that traps their target in an energy cage.
Sighted: Sending priceless treasures to Earth to hide them from authorities on his other-dimensional world, he next takes Detective King's place on Earth to steal OUR treasures and bring back his once the heat is off. He is defeated by Power Punch, who sends him home with his stolen goods, where he is promptly arrested.
Possibilities: You never know when an inter-dimensional villain will return, and his little exchange program could be used to some effect to split teams up like it did here. An invasion-of-the-week villain, to be used sparingly.
Integration Quotient: 60% (loses some of his mojo past the Silver Age)
Name: Naiad (DC eventually created a huge water elemental under that name; another, similar Naiad also appeared in Peter David's Aquaman)
Created by: Tim Wahowske of Emmett, MI
Costume: In real life, she hides her distinctive white hair with a wig, but as Naiad, it matches her go-go boots and bathing suit, the latter with green trim, and a blue belt. There's an attempt at a stylized N in the stomach area, but it winds up looking more like an M.
Powers: With an electric swish of her hair, Naiad creates monsters out of any water source (lake, faucet, shower, hose). Their size is relative to the amount of water used, but their look is only limited by Naiad's imagination (dragons, bats, dinosaurs, alien squids, etc.). These have a lot of destructive power, and may exhibit such abilities as breathing fire or flight, but they are still made of water. When convenient, attacks may splash right through them. The range of these powers isn't known, but it doesn't seem dependent on Naiad's line of sight.
Sighted: Diana Lyon is a special effects expert with a beef against actress Sherri Lancer for having exploited her hydrophobia when they were teenagers. Having given herself powers by accident while attempting to cure herself from her fear, she has attached herself to Sherri's new picture and uses the location shooting at Camp Pocahontas, where the original incident happened, to kill her nemesis publicly. She is stopped by Cold Wave and Infra-Violet. Her second attempt occurs in Pittstown, a village she first terrorizes to cause chaos, but again she is stopped by heroes, this time, Earthman and Gossamer. She is later rescued by the Marauder, a villain working with the Master (see the next Case File), but one of the Dial heroes will end up taking her place. She was taken to jail after the switch.
Possibilities: A monster maker like this could feature against a number of heroes, but Superman might actually be best. Metropolis is a waterfront town, and he's been known to take on giant monsters on a regular basis. A retcon on her origin might be in order.
Integration Quotient: 60% (has potential, but the source of her powers is suspect)

Next time: The Dial H-ers actually meet the Master that's been behind a lot of Fairfax's supervillains!


Earthman reminds me a lot of Captain Planet, and Gossamer of Alan Moore's Cobweb.
Siskoid said…
Cobweb is EXACTLY what I was thinking of in the Possibilities section.
Jeff R. said…
Now I want to see Coldwave and Whitefire battling Heatwave and Blackfire...
Anonymous said…
Could you give me the name and issue number of the Charater Ultra Violet by Dino Price if possible- thanks
Siskoid said…
Sure Taylor. It's specifically in New Adventures of Superboy #33 (September 1982). She's even on the cover, at the top, where it announces the Dial H back-up.
Bob Buethe said…
Earthman's "look" was precisely what inspired his creation! A few months earlier, I had purchased several Superman plastic model kits from a clearance sale at a local hobby shop. Using putty and various found items, I converted them into a collection of other DC heroes. I was starting on a Hawkman model, and it occurred to me that the blue plastic figure, patched all over with green putty, looked like a globe distorted into human form. That gave me the idea; after that, it was just a matter of deciding what powers Earthman should have. Gravity control seemed obvious (and was later used by the similar-themed Geo-Force in Batman and the Outsiders); magnetism was an afterthought. Mercifully, the writer ignored my note that he wear a "polar ice cap" on his head.