Today, Ethan and Taylor are discussing Dial H 9, originally released February 6th, 2013.
Ethan: Remember the last time you woke up? You know, that thing you did this morning. You do it every day, you’re completely familiar with the experience, you know it like the back of your hand. And yet… do you really remember the instant of waking? Or is what you remember actually the moments or minutes of awareness after you actually became fully conscious — when the blur of color and sound and smell that you’ve plunged into begins to make sense. In that hazy cloud of stimuli, it’s possible to exist in a half-state — you aren’t completely “you” yet, so much as a body, breathing and shifting. It’s a physical echo of the conceptual strangeness that comes from waking up each day, year, decade, in the exact same body, but not quite as the same person as you were before. Dial H #9 continues and deepens the series’ exploration of identity, of what it means to be yourself, and what happens when that question becomes more difficult to answer.
Today, Taylor and Mikyzptlk are discussing Dial H 8, originally released January 9th, 2013.
Taylor: Oh, Canada. For a slew of reasons our neighbors to the north are frequently at the butt end of a joke. Whether it’s their elongated “O’s”, that their national emblem is a leaf, or that it is Justin Bieber’s homeland, the country is seldom taken seriously. Making matters worse for the common maple leaf is the constant put downs the country is subjected to by such shows as South Park. This has caused an entire generation of TV viewers to see Canada less as a country and more as a subsidiary of the United States. That Canada is in fact a first world nation with its own aspirations and political motivations is a thought which seldom occurs to the average comic book reader. However, what would happen if Canada was treated with gravitas? Would that change our views on the country or would that itself serve as a sophisticated joke? Issue 8 of Dial H delves into the mythos of Canada and at the same time has us wondering what exactly the country’s relation to Dials is anyway.
Today, Taylor and Mikyzptlk are discussing Dial H 7, originally released December 5th, 2012.
Taylor: Imagination enjoys an awkward place in our modern day society. While most people and institutions are quick to praise the use of imagination it is far more rare to find those who actually appreciate it. Seldom are we, as an audience, treated to something that is truly unique – whether it be in a movie, music, a book, or any other medium. While the complexities of this relationship with creativity are of too much detail to go into here, it will be said that a fair amount of imaginative endeavors are rebuffed due to the general population’s resistance to anything that diverges too far from their expectations. Many inventive music artists aren’t signed to major labels because their music isn’t traditional pop; many writers have to rewrite parts of their book so they will appeal to a larger base audience; and many TV shows craft generic characters and plots so that they will be liked by many, but perhaps loved by few. However, the comic book industry has always managed to buck this trend in many ways since its very inception, which itself was a departure from accepted norms. Whether this is due to the type of reader the comic book attracts or the type of artist it employs for its creation, I can’t say, but it seems like comic books have always been more willing to take imaginative chances than their counterparts in other media. Dial H is a perfect example of this daring and the seventh issue of this title is an excellent example of its imaginative prowess.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Dial H 4, originally released August 1st, 2012.
Drew: I’m not a fan of origin stories, or really the starts of narratives in general. They often require large exposition dumps to make everyone’s personalities, means, and motivations clear to the audience. One of my favorite ways authors avoid cramming that much exposition into the beginning of a story is to start in medias res. Sure, the whys of the situation aren’t always clear — or even what exactly is going on — but that creates curiosity, a genuine interest in learning more, which almost never happens when we’re just given bare-faced facts with the understanding that this will be important later. Writer China Mieville has taken this tack to the limits of my curiosity in Dial H, delivering three months of questions without any real answers, leaving us floating uncomfortably in a confusing sea of possibilities. With this issue, we finally start getting some answers, helping the events of the previous three fall into place with surprising ease. Continue reading →
Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing Dial H 3, originally released July 4th, 2012.
Peter: Dial H is probably the weirdest book that I am currently reading. If you had told me a year ago that I would be reading a book about an overweight, chain smoking 30-year old man that uses a magic rotary dial to turn into obscure heroes, I probably would not have believed you. China Mieville has weaved an interesting world, full of lush characters and voices. The entire premise of this book is very interesting, but at this point, I am still unsure about the longevity of this series.
Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Dial H, originally released May 2nd, 2012.
Patrick: The first issue of any series has an awful lot of work to do. When Drew and I started these things, we covered the first 3 issues of a series. This was partially because it was November before we got our asses in gear, but there’s also the legitimate benefit of having something to evaluate. Set-up can be tricky, but most of the New 52 titles circumvented the laborious expository process by relying on known entities: Flash, Batman, Green Lantern, whatever. Even those titles that were super new to me – like Batwoman, Batwing and Captain Atom – still had their roots in time-tested franchises. Dial H has to build its world, its premise and its main character from the ground, up. Continue reading →