Showcase Presents: Dial H For Hero Paperback – Apr 27 2010
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Sound goofy? Sure it does. But while the stories in this collection have all the faults of corny Silver Age plots, the main attraction is seeing what Robby will turn into next. It could be a standard square-jawed hero in tights, such as Quakemaster, Magneto, or the Yankee Doodle Kid; a high-tech gadgeteer like The Squid, The Mole, or The Hoopster; or a bizarre monstrosity such as Super Charge or The Human Starfish. Then there's the flat-out crazy creations such as Mighty Moppet, King Coil, or Whozit, Whatsit, and Howsit. Robby even becomes Plastic Man in one adventure, and his Muscle Man identity could be an inspiration for Grant Morrison's Flex Mentallo. Amazingly, writer Dave Wood doesn't take the easy way out by having the hero selection tuned to the particular threat. Instead, the selection is seemingly random, and it's anyone's guess as to how the latest hero will be able to combat the latest threat. In addition, Wood gets a big thumbs-up for exploring the physics of certain superpowers, such as how seismic vibrations or magnetism would enable someone to "fly". It may not be physically possible, but Wood sure makes it sound logical. The art, primarily handled by Jim Mooney, is very solid and looks great. I'm guessing he was also responsible for character design, and he excels at it. These certainly don't look like hastily-conceived one-shot characters.
The original series was the ultimate in childhood wish fulfillment - why would you want to be stuck with just one alter-ego when you can have thousands? But the Bronze Age "Dial H for Hero" in DC's Adventure Comics did it one step better in that the readers created the characters (plus it was illustrated by Carmine Infantino, which is always a plus). Hopefully, we can get a collection of those stories soon.
It is like reading a cheap Grade B Campy movie serial...adapted into comic book form. Sure, some heroes contain inside are lame, even unnecessary, yet the whole book as a whole is very enjoyable if you maybe read five stories at a time, and not all in one night. very relaxing way to spend a cold rainy afternoon with a couple of these black and white reproductions, also have the showcase editions of wonder woman and doom patrol. all in all, the series, even this book deserves a B+
I love the original Dial H For Hero. It's corny. It's definitely "of its time" and perhaps even an idealized representation of that. In any novel set in the 1960s, if a teen character shouted "Sockamagee!" every time something happened, the author would be laughed out of publication. (I mean, how do you even pronounce that??) But in these stories, it works. This black and white reprint doesn't capture the truly outlandish/garish look of most of the superheroes Robby turns into, but you can still get a sense of how over-the-top they are. And of course, occasionally someone else gets the dial as well -- Robby's girl-crush (who, like that era's Lois Lane, knows Robby has a secret, but when she learns it she gets amnesia and forgets), bad-guys. There's even a point where Robby turns into Plastic Man, "that superhero from years ago!"
There have been a number of different iterations of the Dial H concept. One of the most recent has been collected (the dark Will Pfieffer-scripted run of a few years back). I'd love to see DC collect the rest of Robby's original appearances, as well as the 1980s Dial H run in Adventure Comics.
The series was inluenced by the origianl Captain Marvel (Shazam!). DC Comics decided to create a character who was also a young boy, but instead of being able to turn into just one superhero, he could turn into almost an infinte number of superheroes.
Like Billy Batson who wold exclaim "Holy Moley," Robbie Reed would exclaim "Sock-a-magee'.
This series seems to later on have influenced the animated cartoon series "Ben 1`0."
This is a fun series to read and it is good for young readers too. This would make a great gift.