Monday, April 9, 2012

Dial H for Hero and G for Ghosts

It seems Jack Schiff, some time after the Sixties, recalled that Jack Miller had written Dial H for Hero. But then, Julius Schwartz remembered that he himself had used Gardner Fox as one of his writers on Superman. The credits on the Superman stories he edited (and the timing of Fox's being let go from DC) show Schwartz was mistaken. The writing style of the uncredited Dial H stories suggest that Schiff was equally mistaken. Schiff also noted, if I remember correctly, that Bob Kane actually did all the Batman artwork he supplied DC; I hate to think how many attributions on the Grand Comics Database would have to be changed if Schiff's recollections are taken for gospel on all subjects.

Jack Miller certainly did write for House of Mystery when it carried Dial H, but he wrote the Martian Manhunter stories. He and Dave Wood share some ways of writing—both use "Great ghosts" and Tense moments later..., but they differ in other ways. Where Wood uses "O-oh," Miller makes use of "Oh-h-h-h." The first Dial H story, among others, has a couple of instances of Wood's pausing after a first word: "I'm...back to normal again!" and "He's...entering an escape hatch of some kind!"

The two Otto Binder stories contain his old standby "Ulps." The Bill Finger story uses "Wha-aat." The Dick Wood stories boast "Great suffering cats" and "Howling horrors." Since these are the only stories of his I've seen for DC at this time—he had moved over to Gold Key, King, and Harvey—I wonder if he ghosted them for his brother Dave.

HOM 173: superhero Strata Man, then later, Robby Reed and policeman

And I believe the final Dial H for Hero story is another example of Charles Nicholas' ghost pencilling for Sal Trapani. The pose of the policeman in the middle panel is typical Nicholas.

Dial H for Hero in House of Mystery

Jan/66#156 Dial H for Herow: Dave Wood  a: Jim Mooney
Mar/    #157 The Marauders from Thunderbolt Islandw: Dave Wood  a: Mooney
Apr/    #158 Dial V for Villainw: Dave Wood  a: Mooney
June/    #159 The Clay-Creep Clanw: Dave Wood  a: Mooney
July/    #160 The Wizard of Lightw: Dave Wood  a: Mooney
Sept/    #161 The Mummy with Six Headsw: Dave Wood  a: Mooney
Oct/    #162 The Monster-Maker of Littlevillew: Bill Finger  a: Mooney
Dec/    #163 Baron Bug and His Insect Armyw: Dave Wood  a: Mooney
Jan/67#164 Dr. Cyclops—the Villain with the Doomsday Starew: Dave Wood  a: Mooney
Mar/    #165 The Freak Super-Heroesw: Dave Wood  p: Mooney i: George Roussos
Apr/    #166 The King of the Cursesw: Dave Wood  p: Mooney i: Roussos
June/    #167 The Fantastic Rainbow Raiderw: Otto Binder  p: Mooney i: Roussos
July/    #168 The Marauding Moon Manw: Dave Wood  p: Mooney i: Roussos
Sept/    #169 The Terrible Toymasterw: Binder  a: Mooney
Oct/    #170 Thunderbolt's Secret Weaponw: Dave Wood  a: Mooney
Dec/    #171 The Micro-Monstersw: Dick Wood  a: Frank Springer
Feb/68#172 The Monsters from the H-Dialw: Dick Wood  a: Springer
Apr/    #173 Revolt of the H-Dialw: Dave Wood  p: Charles Nicholas  i: Sal Trapani

Covers by Jim Mooney except #163: Carmine Infantino/Joe Giella; 171: Nick Cardy; 172: Frank Springer; and 173: Jack Sparling.


  1. Hi Martin,

    I see Nicholas' pencils over Trapani as well. Great detective work, as usual. you are a treasure!

  2. Thanks, Nick. It feels like Trapani had more ghosts than Bob Kane did...

  3. Wow. Dial H was one of my favorite late Silver Age series. I always thought that Dave Wood scripted the entire run, but now I find out that Bill Finger actually wrote my favorite story, and Dick Wood scripted my two least favorite. So that's why they stood out from the rest.

  4. I only caught one Dial H (coverless) when it came out, Bob, so I was happy to have DC reprint the first few when I got back to reading the company's books in the early 70s.