Remake & Reboot: DIAL H For Hero

Every hero has a different origin. Some are born with it. Some are cursed with it. Some come into it through a personal tragedy. But who gets it by texting H-E-R-O on their phone? Dial H For Hero, that’s true.

Created decades before its time in a 1966 issue of DC’s House of Mystery, what was a hackneyed concept is now cutting edge with smart phones and smart writers doing bleeding edge science fiction super-heroes like Iron Man; heck the animated series Ben 10 borrowed from this concept quite heavily. Originally created as a rotary phone-like device with an undecipherable language in which dialing a certain set of characters gifts you with a different set of powers on each call. Many people have dialed in, but the primary holder of the technology is Robert “Robby” Reed, a whip-smart teenager from a small hamlet in Colorado. DC has tried to reinvent it twice in the recent decade (see H.E.R.O. and an issue of JMS’ Brave & The Bold), but we need someone who can rebuilding it from the ground up, Million Dollar Man-style. We can rebuild it; we have the technology.

The Concept:

Going back to the root of the concept, it’s a wireless phone of alien origin that gives you certain powers when you dial H-E-R-O. In 2011 that would be an alien phone, or perhaps an alien virus on your iPhone. What if you got it? What if your friends got it? What if everyone got it? It’s a flash mob with disastrous results. Borrowing from Iron Man, this book could be just as much about being a hero using the technology as well as keeping it out of the hands of people who would subvert it to their own ways. With just that little concept, a talented writer and artist could develop the story into a winner; creators like…

The Creators:

Writer – Adam Warren: Sure he might be better known for the sexy-pot superheroes of Dark Horse’s Empowered, but Adam Warren has done several straight-up super-heroics that prove he’d be perfect for this. What I’m thinking of specifically is his run on Gen13 which is worth tracking down, as well as his short stint on Teen Titans. Warren could bring some youthful verve with a heaping helping of technology to make this an engaging and invigorating story.

Interior Artist – Jeff Wamester: Artist Jeff Wamester is still a relative unknown given his only major work in comics was the recent The Darkness: Four Horsemen miniseries, but factor in his work as a primary artist on the upcoming Ultimate Spider-Man series and he’s got all the experience and talent to be the go-to guy when it comes to reviving this property and designing a multitude of new heroes. Check out his recent iFanboy Upstarts profile if you don’t believe me.

Cover Artist – Paulo Siqueira: To add some sizzle to the series, I’d enlist Brazilian artist Paulo Siqueira to do covers. Siquiera has yet to make a big impact in comics, but rare work on Amazing Spider-Man during the “American Son” arc still stands up today for his vitality. His variant cover to Venom #1 is still memorable.


  1. Did anyone here ever read the 2003 relaunch of Dial H for Hero? It was written by Will Pfeifer and was one the first series i read when i got back into comics in the 2000s. it was actually pretty fantastic and worth tracking down, im surprised it’s not brought up more often as an overlooked run. In fact, i think i may try to track it down again for a re-read! thanks for reminding me about this excellent series!

  2. If I remember correctly, there was also a run of “Dial H” in another DC series, possibly Adventure or Action Weekly where part of the gimmick was that all the heroes created by the dial were actually sent in by readers.

    • Loved that series too. It came out in the 1980’s in Adventure Comics and then moved as a backup in Superboy I think. Great George Perez covers on Adventure.

  3. I loved the crap out of the reboot a few years ago written by Will Pfeifer. I would love to see that series come back, and for that matter I loved Pfeifer what happened to the guy?

  4. I don’t know if Dial H for Hero would work now for comics because Ben Ten the TV show is such a hit on Cartoon Network (yes I know DH4H came first and back in the 70s) but people today would point it out. You can take solace I guess in that the idea itself is living on as a successful superhero show.

  5. These articles always have great ideas. I would purchase every single one so far.

  6. Would be perfect for a cross-company team up with The Phone Ranger.