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Hourman (Rick Tyler) violet purple costume over a white background

Hourman

(Rick Tyler) (Early era)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The original Hourman (Rex Tyler) was a Golden Age  DC Comics super-hero, and thus primarily active during the 1940s. But this profile is about his son, Rick, who attempted to continue the Hourman legacy.

This profile covers Rick’s career during the 1980s and 1990s. It stops just before he starts appearing in JSA during the early 2000s.


Background

  • Real Name: Rick Tyler
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Rex Tyler (aka Hourman I, father), Wendi Harris Tyler (mother)
  • Base Of Operations: Los Angeles
  • Group Affiliation: Infinity, Inc.
  • Height: 5’8” Weight: 169lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Dark brown


Powers and Abilities

Tyler was apparently trained as a pilot during his time with Infinity, Inc., and is an amateur artist. He’s in good physical shape and trained in athletics and hand-to-hand combat.

Promise you a Miraclo, part 1

By taking a chemical called Miraclo in pill form, the second Hourman can give himself :

  • superhuman strength. This is supposedly equal to that of about five Olympic athletes, but the strength he actually displays is considerably higher – about “Class 10”
  • superhuman speed, stamina and leaping ability
  • a degree of resistance to injury

All these effects last for exactly one hour.

Promise you a Miraclo, part 2

Miraclo was formulated by Rex Tyler, the original Hourman, in the 1940s. It used to have severe addictive effects, but in their current form the pills produce no known harmful side effects. Rex Tyler has further modified the Miraclo formula so that it will only work on himself. However his son can use it too, as their physiology is so similar.

This new Miraclo formula was designed along with Dr. McNider (aka Dr. Mid-Nite I), though it took further work from Dr. Chapel (aka Dr. Midnight) to produce the first functional batch of the drug.

According to Dr. Chapel, Rick displayed all the classic signs of addiction (insomnia, sweating, shaking…) from popping Miraclo. These lasted the Tyler-McNider-Chapel version was produced.

Rick also occasionally popped two pills of classic Miraclo, the effects from the additional dosage similar to those of cocaine. This could lead to the sort of wild behaviour that resulted in the apparent death of the Wizard.


History

Rick Tyler is the son of Rex Tyler and Wendi Harris Tyler. Wendi is a former movie star, and Rex is both the original Hourman and the founder-president of his chemical company

Rex Tyler wanted his son to make a career in a profitable field like medicine or the chemical industry. However Rick Tyler, despite his high intelligence, seemed uninterested in applying himself to a career. His only interest was in becoming an artist, despite his father’s disapproval.

Rex and Rick Tyler, both from New York City, were visiting Los Angeles when it was struck by earthquakes. The disaster was a result of the upheaval brought by the Crisis on Infinite Earths. It was during this time that Rick Tyler first took one of his father’s Miraclo pills, so he could intervene.

Rick participated to the rescue of the patients and personnel of a nearby hospital, saving the life of intern Beth Chapel – toward whom he was attracted. However, the young doctor lost her eyesight in an explosion.

Man of the hour

From this corner of the Crisis emerged two minor super-heroes.

Rick, seeing the good he could do using Miraclo, now thought about becoming the new Hourman and designed a costume for himself. He also provided morale support to Chapel to help get her over the shock of having been blinded. Eventually, Beth discovered she could see as long as she was in darkness, and equipped herself with goggles akin to those worn by Doctor Mid-Nite.

Shortly after, all of the superheroes on Earth disappeared, teleported aboard the Monitor’s satellite. Rick Tyler and Beth Chapel decided to become costumed heroes in the absence of all the others. Rick donned the costume he had designed and became the second Hourman, while Chapel became Doctor Midnight.

Both their heroic careers were intermittent and fairly low-profile. Most of the time Rick acted as a beach bum and bohemian artist.

This lifestyle did not shield him from bad news, though. Northwind and Dr. Midnight eventually came to tell him that his father was gone forever. Along with the rest of the JSA, he had been summoned to fight a seemingly eternal conflict to forestall a Hitler-summoned Ragnarok from obliterating the universe. Rick took the news very badly and stormed off to be alone.

Rock around the clock

Both Rick and Beth joined the group of young super-heroes and JSA inheritors called Infinity, Inc. However, Dr. Midnight almost immediately grounded Hourman II, arguing the Miraclo pills were too much of a danger to his health. She then started using old research by McNider to develop a way around that.

Before the new serum could be developed, Hourman was briefly kidnapped by Injustice, Unlimited and used as a hostage. However, he had kept three of the forbidden pills taped inside a glove and broke free. Nevertheless, Hourman was soon defeated by the Wizard.

Hourman (Rick Tyler) rushes in

Rick eventually revived and took out the Fiddler, who was enthralling the rest of the team. Hourman then attacked the Wizard again – only to seemingly kill him. The guilt, the adrenaline crash and the harsh effect of the Miraclo phasing out led him to rip his mask off and renounce his Hourman identity.

Between the seeming death of his father, being barred from using his enhancers, and the apparent murder of the Wizard, Rick had a mildly depressive period. Later on, he weakly decided to return to Europe for a while and maybe then go to art school.

Legacy

As he announced his decision, Beth Chapel gave him a letter from his father, which she had just found in Charles McNider’s archives. The letter described the Hourman’s origins, addiction and his quest to make Miraclo safe for his son.

As Chapel had discovered, McNider and Tyler had teamed up some time before their disappearance. They produced a variant Miraclo based on Tyler’s biochemistry and the antibodies he had developed after decades under the influence of Miraclo. The treatment could make the use of Miraclo safer for Rick, whose biochemistry was similar enough to his father’s.

However, while he could now become Hourman again, Rick stuck by his vow never to wear the costume again. He refused to act as Hourman – though he kept doodling up costumes and badly wanted to break his vow. Chapel gave him hourglass-shaped dermal patches with Miraclo and eventually convinced him that he should put his guilt behind him.

When Jade looked for a replacement so she could play a small role in a movie rather than go on an Infinity mission, Hourman finally volunteered. He also changed his costume to a duplicate of the classic Hourman I costume. However, this mission was a trap set up by the current reincarnation of Hath-Seth, and Hourman ended up with a broken arm.

Split Infinity

Years after that, the original JSA came back to Earth, partially rejuvenated and having escaped their otherdimensional  fate. Unlike many of his fellow JSAers, Hourman intended to genuinely retire – and stop taking Miraclo.

In the same general time frame, Rick had started developing leukaemia , a condition that would slowly but steadily worsen for years. It was assumed that the disease had been triggered by his Miraclo use. Rick’s relationship with Beth Chapel had apparently ended at that point, perhaps because Rick assumed that he was going to die and did not want to burden her with this.

Hourman (Rick Tyler) destroys prison bars

The Tylers received help from Johnny Chambers, formerly Johnny Quick. Johnny had grown wealthy and could bankroll Rick’s treatment. He also theorised that there was a way for Rex and Rick Tyler to activate the Hourman powers without popping Miraclo, just like he had learned that his superspeed formula was not needed for him to use his power.

While very sceptical, Rex explored this possibility. He hoped that the ability to summon super-strength without Miraclo might help his son withstand extra-strong medical treatment.

Rex Tyler did find a method of concentrating that allowed him to gain his Hourman strength without Miraclo, which he taught to Rick. It involved reaching a state of light hypnosis by gazing in the Hourman hourglass and chanting the “man of the hour” mantra over and again. Apparently, this allowed Rick to endure stronger chemotherapy, and to stall the progress of the leukaemia.

The 1990s

The early 1990s saw another reign of terror, and a particularly bloody one at that, by Eclipso. As part of the efforts to fight against the dark god, Amanda Waller organised strike forces of costumed adventurers. She grabbed whomever she could, including many has-beens.

Beth Chapel, putting back on her old Doctor Midnight costume, was killed along with fellow ex-Infinitor Wildcat (Yolanda Montez) during one such operation. Rick Tyler was then seen in an Hourman costume as part of a much more powerful Waller-coordinated team of heroes, presumably to help avenge Chapel and Montez.

Shortly after that, Rex Tyler was aged unto death by the villainous Extant.

In the following years, Rick’s leukaemia worsened despite the treatment. It is possible — but this is an *unsubstantiated hypothesis* — that he had decided to take Miraclo again to fight against Eclipso’s forces and avenge his former comrades, knowing that his medical condition was bound to relapse anyway in the not-terribly-distant future.

Time is on my side, part 1

In 1999, Rick was informed by his mother that somebody had stolen some Miraclo and ransacked part of their home. The apparent intent had been to destroy Hourman’s mementos. Gravely ill and approaching death, Rick swore that he would kill whoever was responsible. He dragged himself to recover Miraclo tabs he had secretly hidden under his bed.

The perpetrator turned out to be Hourman III, a machine colony from the future. He had wanted to experiment with Rex’s Miraclo and reacted badly to the drug, resulting in the damage.

Trying to make amends, Hourman III attempted to give Wendy Tyler some of her past back, and tried to cure Rick. However, he discovered that Rick’s condition was not actually a leukaemia, and that it had not been induced by Miraclo. Despite his medical knowledge from the future, he didn’t even have a name for it.

Soon, the gaunt and hairless Rick, half-maddened with pain, attempted to destroy Hourman III for tarnishing the legacy of Rex Tyler. Still trying to make amends, the machine managed to alleviate the worst of Rick’s symptoms for but one hour.

He then imprisoned Rick within Timepoint, a moment eternally suspended in time. While this meant that the hour without sickness would never end, there was no known means to recover anybody from the Timepoint moment.

Time is on my side, part 2

During a vendetta between Amazo and Hourman III, the powerful Amazo pretended that he was a version of Hourman III coming from even further in the future. As a vengeance, he proceeded to stomp on the nascent, fragile feelings of the real Hourman III.

Part of this was to accelerate the research about Rick’s disease so years of work were done in seconds. Amazo then broke Rick out of Timepoint, cured him and reuniting him with his mother. The child-like Hourman III fled in tears, and a confused Rick was brought back to Earth.

Fully recovered, Rick was not seen again for some time. But would eventually become an associate of the JSA, even displaying some new powers whilst so doing.


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

Rick is originally a smart young man, with a good sense of humour and curiosity. However, to the dismay of his father, he has little inclination toward a traditional career. Rick is chiefly interested in art and foreign cultures.

Whilst Rick is sorry about that and wishes he could fit in better, he does not want to betray what he is and get forced into an occupation he’s not interested in. He occasionally refers to himself as a beach bum.

His first brush with super-heroism convinced him that it was what he wanted to do. Thus, Chapel grounding him for months to preserve his health was devastating to him.

He’s a bit of a Don Juan, and will often flirt with smart, beautiful young women — he does have charm. And even as a very inexperienced super-hero, he demonstrated genuine courage.

Rick is rather emotional and easy to anger. He also has a problem with authority – largely stemming from the dated mannerisms and ideas about fatherhood of his father.

At several points in the period covered by this profile, he sinks into depressive episodes and self-loathing. This is often because he does not feel fit to bear the heroic legacy of his father.


Quotes

“I’m 19 years old, doc. Time I started being responsible for me.”

“Look out, world ! It’s 9:30 in Canada… time for Hourman !”

“Dad was right. A punk like me had no call popping Miraclo and taking his name.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Hourman II (during the Infinity, Inc. years)

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Responsibility
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Would-be artist
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 04 Resources: 004
Init: 015 HP: 035

Skills:
Artist (Painter/Artist): 03, Vehicles (Land, Air): 04

Advantages:
Familiarity (Basic notions in the main European languages), Scholar (Art, chemistry)

Connections:
Infinity, Inc. (High), Tyler Chemical Co. (Low), Dr. Beth Chapel (aka Dr. Midnight, High)

Drawbacks:
Secret ID, Unluck

Equipment:

  • MIRACLO TABS [/DEX/ 06 /STR/ 09 /BODY/ 09, Jumping: 02, Running: 07, Telescopic vision: 01, R#3. Limitations : Each tablet’s effects last for one continuous hour. After the effects of a tab wear off, Hourman must wait one hour before swallowing another (or suffer a instant Cell Rot attack with an EV of 12). Long term use of this version of Miraclo give an SIA to it. Only Hourman I, a son or a clone can use Miraclo. If the R# is rolled, Hourman is out of tabs]
  • MIRACLO SKIN PATCHES. This variant has the same game stats as the Tabs, but is stored as hourglass-shaped skin patches. Rick usually sticks those on the back of his neck. More importantly, those don’t seem to create an Irrational Attraction with long-term use.
  • All Infinitors started carrying a pager about midway through the group’s career.

Cancer for the cure

During the 1990s Rick was a chemo patient in a very bad overall state – Serious Physical Restriction from the illness and pain, Distinct Appearance from being emaciated and hairless, all stats and skills reduced to 01, the equivalent of the Age (Old) Drawback and a Minor Rage.

However, Miraclo was as active as either, fully subbing its italicised attributes and giving the full Powers. Of course, taking Miraclo would also badly worsen his health and life expectancy.

It is unclear what the effects of the “Man of the Hour” mantra his father taught him were. Rex Tyler could use it to simulate his full Miraclo powers. Apparently Rick could use it to strengthen himself to withstand stronger chemo treatments, but it would appear he still needed Miraclo to achieve Hourman powers.

Perhaps the mantra had a fairly modest effect on Rick – increasing STR and BODY by one or two APs.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Helper(s): Sean MacDonald, Orion, Jackson, Dan, Darci

Source of Character: Chiefly Infinity, Inc. (DCU)

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