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Continuity-Related Comic Book Character
Hourman
Hourman (All-Star-Comics 62)
Information
Real name: Rex Tyler
AKA: "Tick-Tock" Tyler
Species: Human
Homeworld: Earth
Universe: Earth-2A
Relatives: Wendi Harris Tyler (wife)
Richard Tyler (son)
Occupation: Tyler Chemical Company (CEO)
Base: New York City
Appleton City
Affiliations: Justice Society of America
Freedom Fighters
Abilities: Engineer
Research Chemist

Justice Society Team Member


Rex Tyler (Adventure Comics 48)

Rex Tyler as he appeared in Adventure Comics, #48 (April 1940).

Rex Tyler was raised in upstate New York. He was a mild-mannered young scientist working for a big chemical company, who created an amazing substance — ‘Miraclo’! Miraclo was a chemical which, when taken orally, made a man incredibly strong, incredibly fast, and almost invulnerable to harm … for one hour. With this new found ability, he became the super-hero Hourman[1] and a valued member of the Justice Society. Hourman pursued criminals of a somewhat scientific bent, just as Doctor Fate pursued mystic matters.

Rex Tyler, a young chemist, discovers Miraclo, a powerful chemical that transforms him from a meek, mild scientist to the underworld’s most formidable foe … with Miraclo, he has one hour the chained lightning – speed almost as swift as thought … but unless he performs his deeds of strength and daring within one hour the effects of Miraclo wear off and the Hour-Man becomes his former meek self…
From Adventure Comics #48 (April, 1940)



Background Information

In the parallel universe of Earth-Two (Earth-2A in the SuperFriends Universe), young chemist Rex Tyler, now in Appleton City, discovers a powerful chemical that can give a human increased strength, improved senses, and the ability to move faster than the speed of light, but only for an hour. He names the compound Miraclo, and uses his discovery to become a force of good in the form of a ‘mystery-man’ called the Man of the Hour, or Hourman. He started by taking out an ad in the local newspaper, soliciting requests from those who considered themselves beyond normal avenues of aid.[2]

His first case also caused him to cross paths with the Sandman, who was pursuing a case of his own.[3] From this point, Hourman's reputation began to grow. He encountered a number of adversaries, notably Doctor Togg,[4] a criminal geneticist and Doctor Darkk, a master of robotics.[5]

In 1940, Hourman was selected by Doctor Fate to aid in the defeat of Valkyries summoned by Adolf Hitler's use of the Spear of Destiny.[6] This case led to the to the formation of the Justice Society of America, of which Hourman was a charter member.[7]

Following the JSA's defeat of Ian Karkull, Hourman requested a leave of absence and recommended Starman has his replacement.[8]

Hourman then spent several months working on an improved application of Miraclo. One evening, while working late, Tyler was visited at ‘Bannermain Chemical’ by Uncle Sam (the living embodiment of the American spirit) from the parallel universe of Earth-X. Uncle Sam attempted to convince Tyler of an imminent Axis threat. After a brief struggle, Hourman decided to join him and his Freedom Fighters and other heroes to thwart an attack on the American territory of Hawaii by the Imperial Japanese fleet. The superheroic efforts, however, were not enough and several of the Freedom Fighters were killed by the superior numbers of the Japanese ‘Zeros’.[9] Hourman was captured and spent the next three months as the prisoner of the Japanese. He was later freed and joined the All-Star Squadron. During his release, he discovered that the Miraclo in his system could be activated by a "black light", and used this method instead of the drug whenever possible.[10] Tyler presumably later used this to develop his ‘Miraclo Ray’ which he used later in his wartime career.[11]

Over the next twenty years,[12] Tyler attained several objectives. He greatly improved the Miraclo formula to enhance his powers, while abanding the use of the ‘Miraclo Ray.’ Tyler also worked on his career, advancing up the corporate ladder at Bannermain Chemical. By 1962, he again became active when some of his costumed comrades returned to activity participating in the first contact between the JSA and the Justice League of America.[13]

Shortly thereafter, Hourman joined fellow JSA members, Doctor Fate and Green Lantern to defeat the Earth-Two version of Solomon Grundy.[14] The following year, he bankrolled an expedition to Asia by his friend Kent Nelson (aka Doctor Fate) which led to the recovery of the Masks of Medusa. The masks held mystic powers of manipulating emotion. Roger Hayden, a former cell-mate of the original Psycho-Pirate, stole the masks, studied them, and adopted the role of new Psycho-Pirate. The new Psycho-Pirate was defeated by the combined might of Hourman and Doctor Fate. Shortly after this case, Rex Tyler revealed his secret identity to his fiancée, Wendi Harris, an aspiring actress,[15] and they were wed shortly thereafter. Together they had a son, whom they named Richard.

By the end of the 1970’s, Tyler had become a part-time member of the JSA, particularly after being severely injured by the Icicle.[16]. He also realized that Miraclo was addictive drug – a substance he needed to have. He devoted his time to Tyler Chemicals in an attempt to find alternative methods of powering himself up, however, by this time he could conjure up the effects of Miraclo by a simple act of will.


Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Sometimes Rex could reinforce residues of the Miraclo pill contained in his body and access its effects by use a black light.

Abilities


Equipment

  • Miraclo: Hourman derives all his superhuman abilities from the "miracle vitamin" Miraclo. The active ingredient is a special form of phosphorus, which bonds temporarily with the ATP in muscle cells to create a "Adenosine Quad-Phosphate" which energizes the cells.


Weapons

  • Tear Gas Ring: During his early adventures, Hourman used a ring capable of emitting a tear gas to overcome his foes.[17]


Weaknesses

  • 60 Minute Time Limit: After a 60 minute time period, the "AQP" burns itself out, and the waste toxins generated need to be eliminated in the bloodstream over about a 24 hour period.
  • Drug Addiction (Miraclo)


Justice Society Team Members

Members of the Justice Society of America

Superman (Kal-L)Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) • Power Girl (Kara Zor-L) • Hawkman (Carter Hall) • Flash (Jay Garrick)
Green Lantern (Alan Scott) • Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson) • Wildcat (Theodore 'Ted' Grant) • Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton)
Robin (Richard Grayson) • Hourman (Rex Tyler) • Batman (Bruce Wayne) • Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Starman (Astronomer Ted Knight) • Johnny Thunder and his ThunderboltAtom (Al Pratt)
Doctor Mid-Nite (Dr. Charles McNider) • Spectre (Jim Corrigan) • Sandman (Wesley Dodds)



Appearances

SuperFriends Comic Book:


Notes

  • Hourman was created by Ken Fitch and Bernard Baily in Adventure Comics, #48 (April 1940), during the Golden Age of Comic Books.


References

  1. Spelled 'Hour-Man' in his earliest appearances. He is also referred to as ‘the Hour-Man’, and ‘the Hourman’.
  2. As revealed in Adventure Comics, #48, #53 (April, Aug., 1940).
  3. From a retconned story revealed in Sandman Mystery Theatre, #29-32 (Aug.-Nov. 1995).
  4. As revealed in Adventure Comics, #57 (December 1940).
  5. As revealed in Adventure Comics, #65 (August 1941).
  6. According to folklore, this is the spear that was used to pierce the side of Christ. It has had many different owners throughout the centuries.
  7. As revealed in DC Special, Vol. 7 #29 (September, 1977).
  8. From flashback sequence revealed in All-Star Squadron Annual, #3 (1984).
  9. Go to Mitsubishi A6M Zero and Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryū at Wikipedia for more on Japanese Zero fighters.
  10. As revealed in All-Star Squadron, #31-35 (March-July, 1984). See alos: Greenberger, Robert (2008). "Freedom Fighters". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 131. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
  11. As revealed in Adventure Comics, #71 (February 1942).
  12. In the comics, Tyler continued in the back pages of Adventure Comics until issue #83 (February, 1943), after which he wasn't seen again for 20 years.
  13. As revealed in Justice League of America, #21-22 (Aug.-Sept., 1963).
  14. As revealed in Showcase, #55 (March-April 1965).
  15. As revealed in Showcase, #56 (May-June 1965).
  16. As revealed in All-Star Comics, #66 (May-June 1977).
  17. As revealed in Adventure Comics, #48 (March 1940), page excerpt.
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