Showcase Presents: Dial H for Hero

showcase presents dial h for hero cover trade paperback
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Goofy, fun Silver Age hero

Repetitive stories

Comic Info

Comic Name:  House of Mystery (Volume 1)

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Dave Wood

Artist:  Jim Mooney/Frank Springer/Sal Trapani

# of Issues:  18

Release Date:  2010


House of Mystery (1) #156

Reprints House of Mystery (1) #156-173 (January 1966-March 1968).  Sockamagee!  Robby Reed discovers a dial in a cave from unknown origins.  When he discovers dialing the word H-E-R-O into the dial leads him to transform into the hero Giantboy, Robby realizes he can be a superhero like every kid dreams about.  However, what Robby is about to find out is that the dial has a mind of its own and one day he could be the Human Bullet, the next day the Yankee Doodle Kid, and the day after that the Mighty Moppet.  Dialing H-E-R-O has never been so much fun and criminals better watch out!

Written by Dave Wood and illustrated primarily by Jim Mooney with help from Frank Springer and Sal Trapani, Showcase Presents:  Dial H for Hero reprints the first adventures of Robby Reed from the first volume of House of Mystery which generally paired with other features.  Like all Showcase Presents volumes, the series is presented in black-and-white but is currently out-of-print.

Showcase Presents:  Dial H for Hero is a rather short entry in the DC Showcase Presents entries.  This is probably beneficial since despite the changing powers, the comic is almost a one trick pony.  The very formatted stories have a criminal arise, Robby change powers a couple of times, and the criminal is caught.  It has its merits, but I’m glad this is a short collection.


House of Mystery (1) #173

The only fun of the comic is seeing what bizarre power Robby get each issue (which DC used as a means to reintroduce Plastic Man in House of Mystery (1) #160).  I do like that some of the powers are completely ridiculous and so specific to one event.  I do like that the story occasionally played with the format by having Dial V for V-I-L-L-I-A-N and Dial H for H-E-R-O-I-N-E with Robbie’s girlfriend Suzy, but for the most part the series played it straight and level.

The funny thing about Dial H for Hero is that a lot of kids might not even get it today.  Even when I was young rotary phones were starting to disappear and the idea of a “dial” might be more alien to them than the language on the dial (which was revealed to Interlac).  Despite the limited appeal of the character, an ’80s version of Dial H for Hero did run in Adventure Comics followed by a ’90s version simply called H-E-R-O running twenty-two issues.  A New 52 relaunch Dial H ran sixteen issues before being cancelled.

The great thing about these Showcase Presents volumes are things like Dial H which might not be the greatest comic ever, but you probably would have never read the complete run without paying out big bucks.  The idea of reprinting (or even paying a dollar-an-issue online) seems absurd, but here go get the fun of a goofy ’60s comics that has kind of become irrelevant and whether you scream Sockamagee or groan, it is a good thing.  Dial H for Hero returned as part of the New 52 universe as Dial H.

Related Links:

Dial H 1:  Into You

Dial H 2:  Exchange

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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