Dial H for Heroes

Annnnd we have a new Dialer! Nick Stevens steps up to the plate and makes use of Chris' watch-Dial. How does his special connection to the Dials affect his transformations? Let's look in as he defeats the rest of the Master's army...

Case 55: New Adventures of Superboy #48
Dial Holder: Nick Stevens
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: As previously established, the Dials don't actually have a one-hour limit in between dialings, DIALERS do. While Chris couldn't re-dial so soon, Nick can immediately. Because of his connection to the Dials, he can choose which hero to become from his own imagination. At the end of this story, Nick gives the H Dial back to Chris, stating the hero business isn't for him. Vicki's Dial is in the Master's hands, however, and the villain, revealed to be hiding in a lair far beneath the comic book shop (of which he also posed as the owner), has dismantled it... but it's an empty bauble!
Name: The Shifter (it's good, but a bit plain, maybe he can move some furniture for me)
Created by: Sean Breen, of Troy, NY
Costume: Green spandex body with a red Dracula cape, ornate gold bracers and belt, high yellow boots, and a red "S" on his chest. The rarest thing to find on a superhero design, however, is a full beard. Despite the name, it all makes him seem like a bit of a wizard.
Powers: The ability to become other superheroes, presumably right out of his imagination. It seems he needs to return to his Shifter body for a second before becoming another hero, at which time he might be vulnerable.
Sighted: In the Master's lair, defeating the villain's supervillain army.
Possibilities: As an alternative to Dial H for Hero, to get reader submissions into print, etc., the Shifter might work. But since we do have Dial H, he's not really needed. Perhaps better as a Doom Patrol member (wait, did the Chief give himself powers?!) with very weird transformations (as per China Miéville's Dial H)?
Integration Quotient: 20% (ultimately impracticable)
Name: The Purple Haze (can you hear the guitar?)
Created by: Kenny D. Hammers, of Portland, OR
Costume: A pink silhouette with smoke coming off it horizontally.
Powers: The Haze is at least partly insubstantial, things go through him though he probably can't phase through walls. Out of his body, however, can come very substantial objects, like boxing gloves, like a kind of Green Lantern power emanating directly from the body.
Sighted: In the Master's lair, punching Aurora out.
Possibilities: The victim of a chemical accident, the Purple Haze feels like a latter-day Ditko creation to me, I'm not sure why. In other words, like Shade, Stalker and to some extent, Speedball, he has a short-lived series and then migrates to trippy nostalgic appearances in later comics. But there's certainly a Star Sapphire connection to exploit there as well, someone who's been so consumed by unrequited love he's started to dissipate, his sapphire sinking into his very heart.
Integration Quotient: 70% (several options and there's certainly name recognition there)
Name: Freeze-Demon (an odd juxtaposition, but has all the sonority of "speed demon", which works)
Created by: Robert Ward, of Westborough, MA
Costume: All in blue (common for ice characters) with gold gem-shapes on the belt and similarly colored curved stripe on the chest leading it one like a makeshift "S". I don't get it, but we don't see it clearly enough to make the call. The mask has a fin on top.
Powers: Unsurprisingly, Freeze-Demon an generate ice from his hands, even doing the ice slide thing Iceman does.
Sighted: In the Master's lair, fighting Titaness.
Possibilities: A team player, but not ready for solo work. He might be a good Scandinavian addition to the Global Guardians (perhaps with the next hero on the list), replacing Icemaiden after she went to the Justice League.
Integration Quotient: 35% (there's a place for him, but not convinced he'd be memorable)
Name: Napalm (once politically charged, I'm still surprised no recognizable fire-based character already has the name)
Created by: John Cole, of Grants Pass, OR
Costume: Blue pants topped with a big belt buckle with a stylized "N" on it (sort of an "S" on its side) and red boots. Bare-chested, his bright yellow skin is on fire.
Powers: Napalm can project destructive fire, so hot it makes the floor crack and crumble away (possibly because it had been flash-frozen by Freeze-Demon, but that's not clear).
Sighted: In the Master's lair, putting the last nail in the supervillain army's coffin and destroying the cave.
Possibilities: The Vietnam connection napalm brings up might make him an intriguing superhero from that region of the world, with the inflammable stuff part of his tragic origin. Though the Global Guardians could use him in the wake of Green Flame's defection to JLI, he's a little meatier than that and could be used to tell stories with ethical concerns.
Integration Quotient: 80% (rife with potential)

Bonus fashions!
Created by: Mark Damon Britt, of Middletown, OH
What's with everyone always giving Vicki poofy short sleeves? I like blue on her, and the V-stripes on the shirt are cool. Nothing against short skirts, certainly, though it does force the artist to position her strangely to avoid... improprieties later.

Next: The end?


American Hawkman said...

I REALLY liked all the heroes this issue. Great codenames, looks, and powers

Breenlantern said...

While I wince at the less than glowing evaluation of my character design (was I not as brilliantly creative as I thought when I was in 5th grade?) I am thrilled to see it get some recognition at all. Cool blog!

Siskoid said...

It was a smart idea for a submission, Sean! It allows for more concepts to be used in the span of the same "hour", so you were golden from the moment you put a stamp on the letter.

Less than glowing? I put him into the Doom Patrol, which should be perceived as high praise! ;-)

Breenlantern said...

I meant to type in a *smirk* comment to assure you no offense was taken, at all. It would be an honor to have him part of the Doom Patrol...or make a re-appearance anywhere, for that matter. I can recognize the uninspired design as a 46 year old, but as a 9 year old, I thought I was brilliant for giving him a non-blue costume and a beard, and I was way too into capes. I never outgrew my fondness for beards, but I am now a "no capes" kind of guy.

Siskoid said...

No offense taken, as I hope, none given.

You were lucky to get your design in 1) before it was all over and 2) in what I consider the very best era of the strip in terms of art and story.

You know, there have been a few hero designers who've contacted me over the years because of this feature, and it just gives me the ambition to record a short podcast with each of them about their design. Podcasting is an odd addiction...

Breenlantern said...

I have loved Dial H from the moment I discovered it's existence. I sent in at least a dozen character ideas, and it remains the biggest thrill of my life that one of my characters got printed. I still buy every issue of it I can find, and I have managed to collect every series and comic appearance involving the dial and its users (so far as I know) As a wanna-be artist, I had started doing drawings of "updated" versions of each of the characters from the first Robby Reed transformation (Giantboy) on up...and do regular google searches of Dial H blogs and internet sites (which is how I came across your blog this morning.) I encourage a podcast and any and all other content involving the Dial concept.


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