New Reviews of Old Comics
I’ve heard about “Dial ‘H’ for Hero” before, I’d just never read any of the stories prior to this issue. The cover screams “The Comic YOU Create!” which struck me as odd when I bought it. How could a reader in 1981 help create the comic? Guess I have to read it to find out.
All three stories in this issue were written by Marv Wolfman. The first, “Hell On Earth” featured art by Don Heck. A scientist in a small New England laboratory is mixing chemicals looking for a source of high heat when he finds it from a unique source; the son of Satan (no, not the Marvel hero, just the general run-of-the-mill Satan spawn). The combination creates “Firegirl” who goes off to help the son of the devil conquer the world, or at least a nearby town. In that town happens to be two teenagers who possess devices that turn them into different heroes when dialed, like Puma Girl or Enlarger Man. Because there is always a drawback, the dialed up heroes only last one hour, which can become problematic when you’re fighting a demon from hell who don’t live within such time constraints. 17 pages later the super-powered teens manage to beat the brimstone out of Satan’s kid and save the day.
Next Marv teams up with Romeo Tanghal for a two page origin of Dial “H” Hero.
Trevor Von Eeden and Larry Mahlstedt join Marv for the last story “Plight of the Flight Pirate,” which I didn’t read because I was so bored with the previous two stories. I know I should at least try, maybe it is better, but I can’t. I just can’t.
After reading this I’m assuming the concept of “The Comic YOU Create!” means readers submit their character ideas, DC uses them and gives the reader a mention in the story. Have to admit I would get a thrill seeing my character in an issue, even if it is a lousy one.
I’m hard pressed to think of the last time I read a Marv Wolfman story I genuinely did not like, as a matter of fact this might be the first, so it pains me to say it, but Dial “H” for Hero sucks. I guess the feeling of being contrived comes with the concept of using reader submitted characters (an early forerunner of User Generated Content I suppose), so it’s almost like a licensed comic where the writer needs to do X and Y in order to meet terms of the contract, however I just found this to be a total bore. On the plus side, the art in the last story was actually pretty good. That’s about as positive as I can be for this comic. Needless to say I won’t be getting any Dial “H” for Hero stories. Even at a buck they’re over-priced.