Dial 'H' for HERO

© 1997 by John L. Censullo.

Dial 'H' for HERO was always a fun and interesting concept. A teen-ager would dial H-E-R-O on a magic H-Dial and transform himself or herself into a randomly selected super-hero. The saga of the H-Dial began with Robby Reed, way back in late 1965. Robby Reed lived in Littleville, Colorado with his grandfather and their housekeeper Miss Millie. Robby was a science prodigy, with a well-stocked lab in the rear of his house. One day, he was out at Valley Ridge with some friends, when suddenly he fell into a subterranean cavern. He discovered a telephone-like dial made of a peculiar alloy, with a strange inscription on it. The dial was the handiwork of extraterrestrials. Robby took the dial home and deciphered the inscription. He learned that, by dialing H-E-R-O, he could become a randomly chosen super-hero. He reverted to normal by dialing O-R-E-H. Since he was billed as "The boy who can change into 1,000 super-heroes", one must wonder if "one thousand" was a true limit. Robby disappeared for a while, returned briefly in 1976, then faded into obscurity.

Fifteen years after the debut of the original feature, a new series began. This one however did not mention Robby Reed. Christopher King had just moved with his family to a New England town named Fairfax, into what was rumored to be a haunted house. One day, he went exploring in the attic with Victoria Grant, a fellow student at Hamilton Junior High School. The two teens found an old chest which contained a wristwatch and a watch pendant. They quickly learned that the faces concealed H-Dials. These dials differed slightly with the original, Robby's had ten dial holes while these had only four, but the concept was still the same. These new dials however had a one hour time limit. If either dial was in use, the other would glow to signal the wearer that he or she may be needed. They later learned that the dials tapped into the vivid imagination of Nick Stevens, a schoolmate of theirs, in order to generate their heroic identities. In one of their last recorded adventures, Chris and Vicki learned the origin of their dials. A few years back, Robby Reed was in one of his super-hero identities, when he became trapped by a super-villain. He dialed D-I-V-I-D-E, which transformed him into two entities: the good Wizard and the evil Master. The Wizard created the two new H-Dials, while the Master plagued the teens behind-the-scenes. The two entities ultimately merged back together, and Robby, tired of the role of hero, gave his dial to the kids' friend Nick Stevens.

Some time later, Chris and Vicki returned, but not in the way anyone would have expected. The two had gone away to college and drifted apart. Vicki had gotten in with a bad crowd and was corrupted by the cult known as the Children of the Sun. Eventually, Vicki came after Chris, with the desire to kill him. Chris went to his house looking for his dial, but found it was missing. He ran from Fairfax, and finally contacted the New Teen Titans for help. After an intense battle, during which it was learned that Vicki was beginning to store residue H-Dial energy, Vicki disappeared. Chris later learned that he too had absorbed H-Dial energy, and began to change from hero to hero against his will. Later still, Chris was abducted by the Wildebeest, an enemy of the Titans.

Recently, the teen named Hero Cruz found Vicki's H-Dial among the artifacts stolen by the Scavenger. After some help from his friends the Ravers, Hero got to keep the dial. Soon after he acquired it however, Vicki Grant came looking for it. After a nasty fight, Vicki was subdued and returned to normal.

The latest H-Dial is a push button device which passes from person to person. More details of this new dial are forthcoming.

Although that brings the story of the dial "up-to-date", that's not where the story ends! During a weird temporal mishap, the 30th century Legion of Super-Heroes found themselves briefly in the 25th century. While there, one of their friends, Lori Morning, was secretly given Robby Reed's H-Dial by the Time Trapper, which he had stolen from its display at the Space Museum. Lori currently possesses the dial in her new home in the 30th century. When last seen, the dial had been shorted out and no longer appeared to be functional.

That *is* where the story ends! However, for your viewing pleasure, I present below a concise summary of the history of those wonderful H-Dials.

This Web Page is © 1997-2012 John L. Censullo

Page Last Updated: 26 October 2012