Hourman, The Flash and Constantine just the beginning for DC‘s TV prospects. Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer for DC, recently addressed the upcoming slate of TV series based on DC comics properties. He praised Grant Gustin‘s portrayal of Barry Allen (The Flash), as well as Bruce Heller‘s writing / executive producer work for FOX TV‘s upcoming Gotham. He also mentioned NBC‘s Constantine, and The CW‘s iZombie and Hourman projects.
Geoff Johns on Hourman:
“I call it our dark horse, because he’s such an obscure character, but the concept of the show is really great, and the writer’s really great.”
About the Hourman production:
Michael Caleo (Ironside, The Sopranos) will pen the script and executive produce the drama alongside Dan Lin and Lin Pictures’ head of television, Jennifer Gwartz, for Warner Bros. Television, where the banner is under a new two-year overall deal.
Scientist Rex Tyler, raised in upstate New York, developed an affinity for chemistry, particularly biochemistry. Working his way through college, he landed a job researching vitamins and hormone supplements at Bannermain Chemical. A series of discoveries and accidents led him to the “miraculous vitamin” Miraclo. He found that concentrated doses of the “miraclo” given to test mice increased their strength and vitality several times that of normal. After taking a dose himself, Rex found he could have superhuman strength and speed for the hour that vitamin’s effects lasted, before returning to human levels.
Keeping the discovery of Miraclo a secret, Tyler decided that human trials would be limited to the only subject he could trust: himself. Feeling that the Miraclo-induced abilities should be used for good purposes, he decided to use the abilities to help those in need; in other words, he would become a superhero, based in Appleton City. He received his first mission by placing an ad stating that “The Man of The Hour” would help the needy. Tracking down one responder to the ad, he aided a housewife whose husband was falling in with the wrong crowd, and stopped a robbery. Using a costume he found in an abandoned costume shop, he started to adventure as The Hour-Man (later dropping the hyphen). In November 1940 Hourman became one of the founding members of the first superhero team, the Justice Society of America. After leaving the JSA in mid-1941 Tyler became one of Uncle Sam’s initial group of Freedom Fighters. He later became part of the wartime All-Star Squadron.
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. Recently, Rick was 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.
Another Hourman, an android from the 853rd century 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 currently 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. The android also, before he died, 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.
Neither Rex nor Rick have any innate powers (though it was theorized once that their powers derive from a metagene, like most 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 currently uses a transdermal patch.
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 though time, use his own time vision (which allows him to see a person’s past and future as well as 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.
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.
At this stage, there is no indication of which direction the Hourman series will take from the source material. Amazon, a treatment on Wonder Woman‘s formative years, remains under consideration at The CW.
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