Hourman

Rex Tyler created by Ken Fitch Bernard Baily
Rick Tyler created by Roy & Dann Thomas and Todd McFarlane
The Android by Grant Morrison and John Dell

Hourman I

NAME + ALIASES:
Rex Tyler

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Wendi Harris (wife), Rick Tyler (son), Matthew Tyler (Hourman III, biomechanical clone), Rebecca (neice), Jesse Belle Chambers (Jesse Quick, Liberty Belle II, daughter-in-law)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice Society of America, Freedom Fighters, All-Star Squadron, Justice League Task Force

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Adventure Comics #48 (Mar. 1940)

Hourman II

NAME + ALIASES:
Rick Tyler

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Rex Tyler (father, deceased), Wendi Harris (mother), Jesse Belle Chambers (Jesse Quick, Liberty Belle II, wife), Rebecca (cousin)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Infinity, Inc., Justice Society of America, JSA All-Stars

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Rick: Infinity, Inc. #20 (Nov. 1985)
As Hourman II:
Infinity, Inc. #21 (Dec. 1985)

Hourman III

NAME + ALIASES:
Matthew Tyler

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Rex Tyler (Hourman I, biological template)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice Legion A, Justice League of America, Justice Society of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
JLA #12 (Nov. 1997)

History

The original Hourman was Rex Tyler, was born on November 5, 1913. At the age of six, he received a strange visit from a costumed android (his "descendant," Hourman III), who gave him the gift of an hourglass. (All-Star Comics v.2 #1) Young Rex did not know that the hourglass contained time-bending tachyons, but the gift became a subconscious theme for him as a young man. He eventually became a gifted chemist and in 1938 invented a drug called “Miraclo.” This drug bestowed him with super-strength for exactly one hour. He began his career as a mystery man by placing a classified ad to offer his services as the “Man of the Hour.” (Adventure #48, Secret Origins #16) This soon brought him into contact with the Golden Age Sandman.

They met first at Christmastime, 1938, in their civilian identities at Rex's workplace, Bannermain Chemicals. But when Rex's efforts to help an abused family backfired, the Sandman came to his aid. After the caper, the Sandman left Rex a note which dubbed him "Hourman." The pair solved an additional case, for which they needed to attend a costume ball. Curiously, both chose costumes which they would later wear regularly. At the conclusion of the case, Rex decided to do more research on Miraclo before continuing his heroic career. (Sandman Mystery Theatre #29-32)

On November 9, 1940, the Hour-Man was called by President Roosevelt to accompany Dr. Fate into Axis territory and rescue two other mystery men. At the conclusion of this case, Rex became a charter member of the Justice Society of America. But he continued to experience negative side effects from using Miraclo. After a case with the JSA against Ian Karkull, Rex soon took a leave of absence from the team to again refine the drug. (All-Star Squadron Annual #1) Regardless, he remained very active througout the war. In fact he was nearly killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Hourman had been recruited by Uncle Sam to try and prevent the attack. In the end, Sam believed that he had been the sole survivor of this band of heroes — including Rex! (All-Star Squadron #31) But Hourman resurfaced months later. (#33) It was then that the Phantom Lady helped him to activate the Miraclo with the use of her “dark light” ray. (#35, Adventure #71) He became active in the wartime All-Star Squadron and went on one date with fellow crimefighter Danette Reilly (Firebrand [Squadron #44]). In time, his fellow adventurers began to notice that the Miraclo drastically affected Rex’s personality. The circumstances of battle also led Rex to take an overdose of the drug, which nearly resulted in his death. (#49) Finally, Dr. Fate removed all traces of it from his body, leaving him powerless, and he retired for a time. (#50) He continued to revise the formula to reduce its side-effects and also continued his participation in the JSA with renewed confidence in his unpowered combat skills as well.

After the war, Rex founded his own company, Tyler Chemicals. Sometime during the 1960s, after several team-ups with Dr. Fate, Rex met and and married an actress (many years his junior), Wendi Harris. (Showcase #55-56) The couple bore one child — among the first few JSA progeny — a son named Rick. Like the Miraclo, adventuring was a drug for Hourman; his dual careers severely limited his time with Rick. He was one of the JSA members on hand at their historic first meeting with the newly-formed Justice League of America. (Justice League of America #21-22)

The Minutemen of America

In the 1940s, Rex had several sidekicks called the Minutemen. One of these, Jimmy Martin, was Hourman's biggest fan and was allowed to take some of Rex's Miraclo ray treatments and fought crime in a smaller version of Hourman's costume. At first Jimmy used a full cowl like Rex's then he switched to a domino mask. One day, he simply moved away and Jimmy's pal and fellow minute man, Thorndyke Tompkins took over the Minutemen as "Sweep Second." Thorndyke recently returned as a member of Old Justice (Young Justice #16). The Minutemen of America first appeared in Adventure #53 (Aug 1940) — Jimmy "Minute Man" Martin in Adventure #53 (Aug 1940), donned costume in #71 (Feb 1942); Thorndyke Tompkins in Adventure #56 (Nov 1940); replaced Jimmy in #74; Rodney in ??.

Hourman II: Rick Tyler

When Rick had grown, he also decided to adopt the guise of Hourman (II). (Infinity, Inc. #20) But just when Rick could have used Rex's guidance most, the original Hourman disappeared with the rest of the JSA into Limbo. (Last Days of the JSA) Rick Tyler has suffered much in his brief time as a hero. He became Hourman II during the Crisis and soon joined Infinity, Inc. (#31) His tenure with Infinity was short-lived because of the onset of his own illness and addiction from the use of Miraclo.

Rex was reunited with his son after the JSA's return from Limbo (Armageddon: Inferno #3-4), only to discover that Rick had contracted leukemia, apparently the result of the Miraclo. Rex's old friend Johnny Chambers (Johnny Quick) later helped Rex and Rick learn to tap their superhuman strength and endurance without the use of Miraclo. This brought them closer together, but for too short a time because Rex soon died at the hands of Extant during the “Zero Hour.” (Zero Hour #3) Further tragedy struck when Rick's love interest, Beth Chapel (Dr. Midnight) was slain by Eclipso. (Eclipso #13)

Hourman III

Enter the mysterious android Hourman (III) from the 853rd century... One other reason for Rex's absence during his son's formative years was that he frequently spent time in the far flung future! There he helped to engineer a biomechanical “machine colony” from his own DNA. This android was fully sentient and possessed some of the original Hourman's memories and personality. He became a member of that era's premier team, the Justice Legion A. The android became a protégé of the New God called Metron, who entrusted him with the near-infinite power of the Worlogog. (JLA #12) The Worlogog allowed Hourman to step effortlessly through time. This, however caused a great catastrophe. When the Justice Legion traveled back to invite the JLA into the future, Hourman was infected by a virus implanted by the evil Solaris. This virus spread throughout Earth's technology, but the heroes were able to shunt it into a mechanical host — this host would become Solaris! (DC One Million) After this incident, the android felt great remorse for the damage he'd caused. He decided to divest himself of the Worlogog’s power and attempt to live as a human in the 20th century. He joined the JLA (JLA #26) and befriended the JLA's former mascot, Snapper Carr and took the name Matthew Tyler. (Hourman #1)

He left the JLA at the formation of the new Justice Society. Like his predecessor, he became a founding member of the new group. (JSA #1) His JSA membership provided him with the opportunity to avenge Rex Tyler's death. Rex's killer, Extant, attempted to reassemble the Worlogog. Hourman was instrumental defeating the villain, but then left the JSA after this case. (JSA #15)

The android also met Rick Tyler during this time. Rick was outwardly hostile towards the android Hourman. And unfortunately, Hourman had to isolate Rick in the "Timepoint" (where time stands still) to spare him death from an unidentified alien illness. (Hourman #9) Tensions eased considerably after Hourman completely cured Rick's cancer. (#19) Hourman did not stay long in the 20th century. Before returning to the future, he bestowed upon Rick two other gifts: the ability to see one hour into the future, and a full hour's worth of time with his father (whom he had been plucked from just before the time of his death and removed from the timestream). Once this hour has been used, Rex will return from the Timepoint to the moment of his death. Rick is determined to make the best use of his time with his father, hoping to make up for their distance in the past. The android presumably returned to the future and has not been seen since.

Just in Time …

Rex Tyler invents his first artificial intelligence, Roxy. From JSA All-Stars #2 (2010); art by Freddie Williams II.

With renewed health, Rick resumed the mantle of Hourman and finally joined the JSA after helping defeat the Ultra-Humanite. (JSA #37) He now gains enhanced strength, endurance and courage through an improved, non-addictive Miraclo. He is close to his mother, Wendi, and has a strained relationship with his cousin, Rebecca, who runs TylerCo.

Recently, time has played another twist on the Men of the Hour. During a fierce battle in Kahndaq, the woman called Nemesis cut Rick's torso open with her swords. To save himself, Rick transported himself to the Timepoint outside of time where his father had been placed. This held Rick's wounds in stasis, and the elder Hourman took his place back in Kahndaq. (Hawkman v.4 #24) Unfortunately, this left Rex with two problems: How to return to the Timepoint., and how to save Rick once he gets there? Five weeks would pass before a solution could be found. In the interim, Rex decided to reveal himself to his wife, Wendi. (#64) Soon after, the synthetic Hourman ("Tyler") appeared from the future.

This Hourman had already spent untold decades adventuring through time since his resignation from the JSA. He received one of Mr. Terrific's T-spheres which bore a call for help. Tyler quickly assembled everything and everyone needed to save Rick; Dr. Mid-Nite operated on Rick's major inuries, and Tyler sped the healing process. Just then, the Timepoint's last seconds ticked away, and Rex knew it was time to return to the moment of his death. It was Rick however, who leapt back into the timestream — to take his father's place (#65)

The three Hourmen subsequently vied to take Rex's place in the timestream, but Tyler emerged "victorious." He empowered Rex with the power to return home, then shut everyone out diving to his death alongside the original Dr. Mid-Nite. Back home, Rex reunited with his wife and vowed to rebuild Tyler. (#66)

Earth-2, Post-Infinite Crisis

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the original Earth Two was merged into all other surviving Earths. After the Infinite Crisis, the multiverse of the DC Universe was restored, there was again an Earth-2. Their history seemed to have unfolded as if the first Crisis had never happened (picking up approximately after Infinity, Inc. #24). On it, Infinity Inc. and the Justice Society merged to form Justice Society Infinity, and an unnamed "Hour Girl" a member. (JSA Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom #1)

+ Powers

For one hour, the drug Miraclo gives Rex and Rick Tyler super strength and enhanced stamina, invulnerability and speed. Originally, Miraclo was an addictive drug. Various people helped Rex Tyler overcome this property. Rick himself may have contracted his cancer from his initial use of the drug. Miraclo has now been sufficiently refined and does not carry addicitve properties. Both Rex and Rick have struggled with a different kind of addiction: the thrill of adventure they get from being Hourman.

The android Hourman was a being of immense power. He was the host of the Worlogog, which allowed one to manipulate time and space.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

Rex:

  • All-Star Comics #1-7 (1940–41)
  • All-Star Squadron #31, 33-35, 38, 44, 49, 50, Annual #1
  • JSA #65-66
  • New York World's Fair Comics #2 (1940)
  • Sandman Mystery Theatre #29-32, 69
  • Secret Origins v.2 #16
  • Showcase #55-56

Android:

  • JLA #26, 28-31
  • DC One Million #1-3

» SERIES:

Rex:

  • Adventure Comics #48–73 (Mar. 1940–Apr. 1942)

Rick:

  • Infinity, Inc. #20-40 (Nov. 1985–July 1987)
  • JSA #33-85 (1999–2006)
  • Justice Society of America v.3, 54 issues (2007–11)
  • JSA All-Stars v.2, 18 issues (2010–2011)

Android:

  • Hourman, 25 issues (1999–2001)