Well, now it looks like DC is going for every character in their universe. Reports have suggested that an Hourman movie is currently in development. Okay, so let’s just get this out of the way. If you’re a comic book nut, like me, you might be familiar with the Hourman character. However, I reckon the majority of the casual comic book fans probably won’t recognize the name. It’s not hard to understand why, considering the very name of the character. Would a superhero by the name of “Hourman” get you excited? Probably not. I mean, what can his super powers possibly be? Well, in the case of this Golden Age hero, his name and powers were actually fitting for the time he was popular in.
The first Hourman was created by Ken Fitch and Bernard Baily. His name is Rex Tyler, and he debuted in one of the first Adventure Comics from 1940, a year after Batman made his debut. Rex Tyler is a scientist who concocts a special kind of vitamin (sound familiar?). Rex Tyler calls this pill Miraclo. Guess what it does? The pill grants him superhuman strength and speed. The only catch is that the pill only grants him these abilities one hour at a time. There you go, that explains his name. Pretty on the nose, right? Then again, this was back when comics first began, so of course there was a lot of corny things, especially the names. Heck, even his costume looked like it belonged in the 40’s.
Hourman was a corny hero for a corny time, so why would DC pick him to have his own solo movie? I mean, surely there are other DC heroes that are more deserving of their own solo movie, right? Or even a particular DC superhero who needs another solo sequel. Yes, Man of Steel 2. After watching the Snyder Cut of Justice League, I think we all need to see Henry Cavill get another Man of Steel movie. DC, please, please, please make it happen. If you can give us the Snyder Cut, you can give us Man of Steel 2.
Okay, now back to the main topic. What can DC possibly do with a movie about a character like Hourman? Yes, on the surface, he sounds like a lame superhero no one would bother with. Then again, we should also remember how many people said that about Ant-Man. Heck, I remember being skeptical about it and walked out of the theater feeling highly satisfied. Marvel took a seemingly lame superhero and gave him an incredibly fun movie. However, we also need to remember that was also Marvel, not DC, making that movie. Marvel has proven that they can tell great stories for their lesser-known characters. DC, on the other hand, has been struggling to tell stories for their top characters. Again, where’s Man of Steel 2, DC? No, we won’t let this go.
So DC has been struggling with their cinematic universe, that’s old news. The thing is, I’m just very curious as to why they would give a character like Hourman his own movie. First of all, who’s helming the film? Deadline reports that Gavin Games and Neil Widener will be writing the script. That’s about all the news they reported on the upcoming film. I have never heard of these two writers, so I can’t say if their involvement is a good or bad thing. The only thing I have to talk about for this movie is its titular character, Hourman.
Okay, so Hourman isn’t too popular, understandably so. His powers aren’t really powers and he relies on a performance-enhancing pill. He sounds like a secondhand hero, but to be honest, I think an Hourman movie can be exciting. First of all, Rex Tyler, the original Hourman, was a prominent member of the Justice Society of America, the first superhero team ever. In my eyes, this makes him one of the most important superheroes in comics. Rex Tyler’s membership doesn’t just stop at the Justice Society, as he’s been a member of other teams, including Freedom Fighters, All-Star Squadron, and the Justice League itself. His role as a superhero goes a long way, but his greatest legacy is probably his son, the second Hourman, Rick Tyler.
Rick Tyler is the more modern version of Hourman, and like his father, he relies on the Miraclo pill to enhance his strength and speed. One of the biggest differences between them is that Rick has hourglass amulets that carry the Miraclo. These amulets allow the Miraclo to be dispensed directly into his bloodstream. He had easier access to the pill, but he also recognized the effects it had on him. Rick struggled with these effects, like his father, but he works to fight against them.
There is a third Hourman, actually, and what separates him from the others is that he’s an android. The android goes by the name of Matthew Tyler with a mysterious past. This is the kind of thing we can see in Hourman’s movie. The bad android that discovers humanity and becomes a hero, the drug-like addiction to a pill that makes whoever takes it stronger, and a son carrying on his father’s legacy. These are all good themes for a superhero movie, even for one like Hourman.
What intrigues me most about the Rex Tyler version of Hourman is his connection to the earliest superhero teams. We know that the Justice Society of America will debut in the Black Adam, with only a small handful of members making appearances. This excites me, as it adds another superhero team to the DCEU. If this Hourman movie intends to focus on Rex Tyler, this could further expand the ranks of the JSA and make them a more prominent team. Even if it doesn’t focus on Rex Tyler, it could focus on Rick Tyler carrying on the Hourman mantle and possibly joining the JSA. If the movie goes that route, it could tell the stories of both Hourmen, while fully establishing the JSA.
And if this movie is successful, then DC will make one of their lesser-known heroes more popular. I think it’s a bold move on their part, but if they can make it work, I’ll take it.