27 August 2013

Dial H was fun while it lasted

When DC relaunched all of its comics as the New 52 in September 2011 it bravely included several fringe titles.

One of these was Dial H written by China Mieville who boasts of writing "weird fiction".

It took as its genesis the previous title Dial H for Hero in which the dial could be used to summon a range of different heroes. China digs in to that legend to explain more about what the dials are, what they do and what types of dials there are.

Over fifteen issues China has taken us to other worlds and introduced us to many suitably weird characters. Even the main Hero is an out of shape man who comes across a dial by accident.

The ride has been a lot of fun but something as non-mainstream as this was never going to last forever. It reminds me of some of the short-run titles that I loved in the 70s, like Claw, Killraven, Deathlock and Warlock. A year or two was enough to tell the story and a timely end was better than a slow lingering death. Of course a few did last longer, e.g. Tomb of Dracula, but these were the exceptions that proved the rule.

With Dial H, DC seem to have got things about right. I would have liked it to run for longer but I guess that the sales did not warrant that and fifteen issues is enough of a legacy to be remembered in forty years the way that I remember Claw etc.

A bonus has been the Brian Bolland covers that have graced every issue. I've picked issue #11 mostly because it is double sized but also because I love the way that summoning the Flash's powers is not revealed on the front cover which just shows the hand holding the dial.



Dial H was also the first monthly comic that I bought exclusively in its digital format and it is an experiment that has worked.

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