|First comic appearance||Adventure Comics #48 (March 1940)|
|Created by||Ken Fitch (writer)|
Bernard Baily (artist)
|Alter ego||Rex Tyler|
Hourman or Hour-Man is the name of three different fictional superheroes appearing in comics published by DC Comics. The original Hourman was created by writer Ken Fitch and artist Bernard Baily in Adventure Comics #48 (April 1940), during the Golden Age of Comic Books. The first Hourman is chemist Rex Tyler, who creates a new synthesis, "Miraclo", which grants him super-strength and endurance, but only for one hour.
Rex Tyler made his live action debut in the season one finale of The CW series DC's Legends of Tomorrow portrayed by Patrick J. Adams. Both Rex and Rick Tyler also appear in the DC Universe series Stargirl portrayed by Lou Ferrigno Jr. and Cameron Gellman respectively.
Fictional character biography
Rick Tyler, Rex's son, took over the Hourman mantle during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Rick swallowed some of his father's Miraclo pills to help him save people trapped in a burning hospital. After serving for a few years as a member of Infinity, Inc., a team composed largely of other JSA-member children, Rick began to grow addicted to Miraclo just as his father did. He spent many years after leaving the group critically ill until Amazo, posing as a future incarnation of the android Hourman, cured him of his Miraclo addiction. Having conquered his personal demons and regaining his health, Rick joined the JSA in its incarnation as a small band of freedom fighters during the "Stealing Thunder" arc. The android had given him an hourglass full of tachyons that gave Rick random visions one hour into the future. As a second gift, Rick could visit with his father in an otherworldly dimension called the Timepoint, frozen in time, just before Rex's death. At one point, Rick is severely injured in battle, and switched places with his father to save his life. Tyler, the android known as the third Hourman, took Rex and some other JSA members to the Timepoint to save Rick's life. The one hour Rex was allotted in the Timepoint expired just as Doctor Mid-Nite and Tyler had healed Rick of his injuries. Father and son fought over who would perish in the battle with Extant. Ultimately, Tyler the android took Rex's place and was destroyed when Rick and Rex returned to Earth. Rick is once again active as Hourman and is an active member of the JSA. He is married to Jesse Chambers.
In the 853rd century another Hourman, an android that was modeled on Rex Tyler's DNA, served with both the Justice League and the Justice Society for a time. He often perceived himself as Rex and also as Rex's descendant. Originally possessing the time-manipulating cosmic artifact known as the Worlogog, he divested himself of most of its power at the suggestion of Snapper Carr and went about learning to be human. After failing to stop Extant from escaping a fight, Hourman quit the JSA and began travelling through the timestream, returning when he received a distress call from the JSA. As noted above, he is believed to have been destroyed at the hands of Extant in Rex's place, although the time-traveler Rip Hunter mentioned that his actions would leave him inactive for a relative year, indicating his probable return. Before he died, the android also gave his hourglass to Rex Tyler, who hopes to rebuild him. The android briefly used the alias Matthew Tyler and was often simply called Tyler.
Powers and abilities
Neither Rex nor Rick have any innate powers (though it was once theorized that their powers derive from a metagene, like many DC superheroes). Any superhuman abilities they display are derived from the use of Miraclo. Taking Miraclo grants a user several abilities for the span of an hour. Most obvious are the superhuman strength, durability, increased resistance to physical damage (to the extent of being impervious to small arms fire) and speed enhancements. Other, lesser known and mentioned powers include night vision and the ability to survive underwater. Rex and Rick both took Miraclo in pill form, but Rick later changed to using a transdermal patch.
The amount of Miraclo that can be taken per day has varied. Normally, it is once a day, but in some instances, Rex has been shown taking another pill as soon as an "Hour of Power" runs out. One story states that Rex needed to wait another hour after the Miraclo wore off before taking another dose. Miraclo works specifically on the Tylers and may or may not work on others who take it. In one instance it worked on an animal, Dr. Mid-Nite's owl Hootie, as well as the villain Bane.
Rex and Rick both wore an hourglass around their necks given to them by the Hourman Android. It was filled with energized tachyons, time in its most basic form. It gives Rick "time vision," flashes of events that will happen exactly one hour later as well as the ability to touch those out of phase with normal time. The latter effect comes to anyone holding the hourglass. Rex displayed neither of these abilities.
"Tyler" is often simply called an android, but is actually an intelligent machine colony (possibly a form of nanotechnology) created by Tylerco in the far future. If damaged, this colony can effortlessly multiply and repair. His software is encoded with the genetics of Rex Tyler, giving him all of Rex's memories. He originally possessed the Worlogog, which gave him complete control over time. He later gave all but a shard of it up, but not before he absorbed all of Batman's memories of the JLA.
Though not as powerful as he was originally, Tyler still retained super strength, durability, and speed equivalent to a person using Miraclo. He was able to access an "Hour of Power," sixty minutes during which he had power over time. He can do many things with this control: move between picoseconds, travel through time, use his own time vision (which allows him to see a person's past and future, as well as their age) or make people and things younger, slow a person down until essentially frozen, create tunnels between different time periods, and share power with other individuals (though the amount of time that he provides them power for directly takes away from his sixty minutes). Tyler activates the Hour of Power at will and the hourglass on his chest keeps count of the time. There seems to be some doubt how often he can use his Hour of Power. Like the other Hourmans' use of Miraclo, sometimes Tyler is said to only have one Hour of Power a day, while at other times he simply must wait another hour to recharge before he can reactivate, and it is unclear if he must use that Hour of Power in one go or if he can spread it out over the course of the day.
Tyler also has a timeship that he can summon from the timestream. It is connected to him and reacts to his thoughts. It normally appears as a Viking-style wooden sailing ship adorned with clocks, but it can change form as Tyler dictates to anything from a simple wooden skiff to a futuristic spaceship and also be used as a weapon, as when Hourman made a large hand out of it to trap Extant. The ship can travel through time, to alternate timelines, or through hypertime.
In other media
- The Rick Tyler version of Hourman appears as a member of the Justice League in Justice League Unlimited. In the episode "Panic in the Sky", he injects himself with Miraclo via his gauntlet.
- The Rex Tyler version of Hourman appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Golden Age of Justice" voiced by Lex Lang. This version uses an hourglass shaped device to fuel his powers instead of Miraclo. He appears as a member of an aged Justice Society.
- In November 2013, a live action Hourman series was revealed to be in development at The CW. Michael Caleo was writing the script, to executive produce the series alongside Dan Lin, and Jennifer Gwartz. The premise of the series "centers on a brilliant-yet-troubled pharmaceutical analyst who discovers that the visions that have plagued him since childhood are actually glimpses of tragic events occurring one hour in the future. Determined to win back his ex-wife and son, he heroically prevents these tragedies from unfolding, finding both purpose and redemption along the way". However, no progress on the series was made after its announcement.
- The Rex Tyler version of Hourman appears in Legends of Tomorrow, portrayed by Patrick J. Adams. This version is the leader of the Justice Society of America. He is introduced in the final scene of the first season, where he travels to the future to warn the Legends not to board the Waverider and go to 1942, only to vanish shortly afterwards. During the second season, the team meet Tyler's past self when they ignore and defy his warning. Tyler is killed by Reverse-Flash at the end of the episode "The Justice Society of America", causing his future self who had found out about Reverse-Flash's plans and warned the Legends to be erased from existence. Before his death, Rex was in a relationship with Amaya Jiwe, the 1940s-era Vixen.
- Both the Rex and Rick Tyler iterations of Hourman appear in the DC Universe series Stargirl, portrayed by Lou Ferrigno, Jr. and Cameron Gellman respectively. In this show, both versions of Hourman use a special hourglass amulet that gives them superpowers for one hour. As Hourman, Rex Tyler is the only member of the Justice Society of America to survive a surprise attack by their enemies, the Injustice Society of America. He dedicates himself to avenging his fallen teammates, only to be murdered by Solomon Grundy along with his wife. His son Rick is raised by Rex's brother-in-law Matt, who resents having to be a father and abuses his nephew. Rick becomes an angry young man, and when Courtney Whitmore finds him, he refuses to help her reform the JSA, only to change his mind when he learns the circumstances of his parents' deaths. He also receives his late father's journal from Pat Dugan, which he devotes himself to deciphering while training to become Hourman.
In Justice League: The New Frontier, Superman briefly mentions to Wonder Woman that Hourman is dead; Superman was probably referring to the Rex Tyler version. Hourman is also seen in the opening credits of the film, which show how he dies (being chased by police officers on the rooftops, due to the ban of the vigilantes, and he falls to his death). In the original comic of New Frontier, it is revealed that Hourman is alive and held by the government. This sequence is not in the adaptation.
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
- Mitchell, Kurt; Thomas, Roy (2019). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1940-1944. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 978-1605490892.
- Benton, Mike (1992). Superhero Comics of the Golden Age: The Illustrated History. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 146. ISBN 0-87833-808-X. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
- Goldberg, Natalie (November 5, 2013). "The CW Developing Drama Based on DC Comics Hero 'Hourman'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
- Abrams, Natalie (May 19, 2016). "Legends of Tomorrow to introduce Justice Society of America in season 2". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
- Mitovich, Matt Webb (December 13, 2018). "Stargirl Casts Lou Ferrigno Jr. as Hourman, Founding Member of JSA". Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
- Grand Comics Database
- Hourman at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on February 5, 2016.
- Comics Archives: JSA Fact File: Hourman I
- DC Indexes: Earth-2 Hourman I
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