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Monday, August 15, 2011

Hey Warner Bros., How About a 'Dial "H" for Hero' Movie?

Warner Bros. must be having a heck of a time trying to decide what comic book to adapt after The Dark Knight Rises and Superman: The Man of Steel. The film studio has recently optioned Tomm Coker and Daniel Freedman’s Undying Love as well as Nate Simpson’s NonPlayer.

But after a not-so-successful Green Lantern opening this summer, I can see why the studio might want to take some time to re-evaluate their superhero films. They’re going to have to come up with a production model that will see them netting more greenbacks.

Well, I think DC should go back through their piles of older and obscurer titles to see if there is some gold to be mined. Because there is: Dial “H” for Hero.

Does that look like the kid's age is 24 to you?
Scoff if you want, but I think this is a series that has a ton of potential for the family set. Dial “H” for Hero featured two teenagers, Chris King and Vicki Grant who wore these magical dials with the letters H-E-R-O on them. When one of them spelled out “hero”, he or she would become a superhero for one hour. Come on, does that not sound like a cool family movie? The comic was published in the early 80’s and featured art by classic Flash artist Carmine Infantino.

What kid wouldn’t want to live out the fantasy of being a superhero for an hour? It was never a hero from the comics of the time—it was a totally original creation. The gimmick was that readers would submit their own super hero characters and, if chosen, the character would be incorporated into the story as one of the superheroes that Chris or Vicki morphed into. The kid would get his or her name, age and home city featured in the comic book on the page where the hero first appears. Alas, no issue ever featured the words “Snake Man created by Don Ventura, Age 10, Huntington Beach, CA.”

Think Spy Kids where the kids become superheroes whose powers are limitless. The fun of it is also that the kids have no clue what they will become and they always transform into heroes with different and totally random powers. Chris might become the Wrangler, a cosmic cowboy who can create a horse made out of light. Vicki might become the Grasshopper, who can leap tall building in a single—well you get it.

Chris and Vicki’s hometown of Fairfax, New England, was constantly being threatened by a mysterious villain known as the Master who would create new villains (I can’t recall how). These bad guys were also created by the readers, but I never submitted a villain as I focused my energies on inspirational characters like Wind Man and Flight Man.

Dial “H” for Hero is the perfect property because it is light-hearted and it totally big on imagination. And to be honest, Snake Man, Wind Man and Flight Man all deserve another opportunity to thwart the criminal element of Fairfax.

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