Adventure Comics #479 (DC)

dc11946a-a728-4bd7-b500-bda0a1d56fbe

CREDIT: DC Comics

Rating: 3/5 – Heroes and Villains Created “Unfortunately” by Us!
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas

Dial “H” for Hero debuted back in House of Mystery in 1968. The concept was that teenager Robby Reed finds a mysterious dial in a cave, much like the top of an old rotary phone, and dials the letters H-E-R-O which grants him super powers. Each time he dials the device, he’s granted a new and different superpower. It was a short run, lasting less than twenty-issues but it wouldn’t be the last time we see this device. Flash forward to 1980 when Adventure Comics decides to feature the device again, this time with two new teenagers at the helm and a crazy publishing idea to use the fan’s own creations!

Dial “H” for Hero debuted back in House of Mystery in 1968. The concept was that teenager Robby Reed finds a mysterious dial in a cave, much like the top of an old rotary phone, and dials the letters H-E-R-O which grants him super powers. Each time he dials the device, he’s granted a new and different superpower. It was a short run, lasting less than twenty-issues but it wouldn’t be the last time we see this device. Flash forward to 1980 when Adventure Comics decides to feature the device again, this time with two new teenagers at the helm and a crazy publishing idea to use the fan’s own creations!

When publisher Jenette Kahn took over the reigns at DC, she came from a very successful background of publishing children magazines. One of the magazines she published took articles, artwork, and stories all created by kids and used them for a magazine simply titled, Kids. It was an idea that really appealed to her and when she came to DC, she was looking to bring that idea back in one form or another. In the back of Adventure Comics #479, it talks about taking that idea to Len Wein who remembered the Hero for Hire concept and thought it’d be a great idea to merge the two ideas into one.

So how did they do it? “Armed with release forms” (see below) they hit the convention circuit promoting this idea, created a two page ad announcing the concept to fans, and finally creating a t-shirt for those fans who contributed. The response according to DC was overwhelming as they were flooded with new heroes and villains, all created by “You the fans”. After going through the huge amount of entries, the first ones were featured in an insert in Legion of Super-Heroes #272, and then in their very own run starting in this very issue.

IMG_8895

CREDIT: DC Comics

So what type of characters were “carefully selected” and presented in this issue? Color Commando who uses a crystal spectrum color gun that shoots “rainbow energy”. Doomster who can shoot lightning bolts while dressed in his purple jester like costume, and my favorite of the bunch, The Flying Buttres…that’s right, the Flying Buttress. These were just a few of the many creations that were seen over the course of this issue’s three separate stories. Writer Marv Wolfman does the best he can with the material he’s given, but even so some of the writing falls short. For example, in the first story new H-E-R-O user Victoria Grant in hero Sunspot form battles the Flying Buttress and in one scene calls him Godzilla’s brother, in another she refers to him as King Kong, another panel she actually calls him Godzilla, and then when he’s finally defeated by using her solar power, she refers to him as R2D2, forcing the pop culture references.

This issue was fun and a bit eye-rolling in seeing all the different characters, even Silver Fog created by 46 year old Harlan Ellison, but the writing is forced to make sense of all these different ideas and concepts which doesn’t add up to any real compelling or exciting stories. It’s a nice look back at the publishing history of DC Comics though, and a great example of a good idea gone wrong.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

ComicSpectrum ComicBookRoundup  Follow ComicSpectrum: ComicSpectrum Twitter ComicSpectrum FB

Advertisements

About comicspectrum

The goal of ComicSpectrum is to provide a one-stop reference for everything about & related to comics and comics culture.
This entry was posted in DC and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s