Man of the Hour
by Will Allred (02/12/1999)
Shipping this week, hot off the heels of last summer's DC One Million crossover comes Hourman written by current Legion of Super-Heroes scribe Tom Peyer. Tom had a few seconds (I don't know where he found them, though; maybe they came from the 853rd Century or possibly from the 30th Century because he doesn't seem to have much free time these days; with Hourman around, who knows) to sit down and chat about Hourman, his upcoming Vertigo series, and how he got started.
Allred: Let's talk about Hourman since its uhm…well…timely, so to speak, and then we can talk about your previous work. So, what can you tell us about Hourman? Who or what is he?
Peyer: Hourman is an android from the 853rd Century, the era of DC One Million. He was introduced by Grant Morrison prior to that miniseries, in the JLA: Rock of Ages storyline. I love the character; he's young, naive, eager to please, and -- right up to the ending of Hourman #1 -- omnipotent. Like a cross between a god and a young kid eager to reach out into the world and fit in. I think Hourman #1 is the first super-hero origin story that deals with the hero getting LESS power instead of more. Hourman is like a beatnik or a hippie, dropping out of his privileged high-power lifestyle in order to figure out what's really important in life. Aiding him is Snapper Carr, a bit of a burnout who spent his teen years as the JLA's mascot. That arrangement ended badly. Having failed to please the most perfect people alive, Snapper has learned to love human beings for their imperfections, not in spite of them. Hourman offers Snapper many imperfections to enjoy.
Allred: You're onboard as writer, but who are the other members of the Hourman team?
Peyer: Handling the art chores are Rags Morales and David Meikis, who are turning out the equivalent of 22 Sistine Chapel ceilings per month! No art ever made me happier!
Allred: You mentioned de-powering this Hourman. Just what are his powers, and what can he do?
Peyer: Hourman has Miraclo strength and speed, he can fly (because time flies!). He can sense time; he can tell you how old something is by touching it, seeing it, or sometimes even sniffing it. He can slip between seconds to instantly get from here to there. He can access a 60-minute Power Hour, during which he has Time Vision, the ability to age or de-age anything or anyone. He has a limited number of time-trips he can take on his Timeship; when it runs out of "gas", he'll be stuck wherever he ends up. Also, Hourman knows all about Hypertime, and he can indeed access it, although it's not easy. He takes a quick side-trip there in #3; it's no big deal, just a brief and, I hope, amusing scene.
Allred: What ties this Hourman to the Golden-Age Hourman, or his son who also took up the mantle of Hourman a bit more recently?
Peyer: Despite being an android, Hourman is actually a descendant of Rex "Tick Tock" Tyler, the first Hourman. His genetic software is copied from Rex's Miraclo-enhanced DNA. The way I see it, that makes him family. We will be seeing Rex's son around issue #8 or so, and we'll be bumping into Rex himself sooner. Also, Hourman will be a member of the Justice Society of America with ties to the JLA.
Allred: Any teasers that you can let slip for what's coming up?
Peyer: Tomorrow Woman shows up in #2. In #3 and #4, we'll see the old JLA villain Lord of Time, who was rechristened Epoch in JLA/WildC.A.T.S. The Golden Age Hourman makes an appearance in #5; and in #6 and #7, the JLA are transformed into android menaces!
Allred: Sounds great! It looks like Hourman is off to a great start. And speaking of starts, it's that time…let's talk about how you got started?
Peyer: I ghost-wrote some of Roger Stern's two-page Superman strips that were in Action Comics Weekly (this is, what, 1987? 1988?). I had done similar work locally, and when Roger got into a deadline crunch, he felt I could do it. I went on to help him with Power of the Atom. I would have worked for him forever, but Roger is such a great guy, he revealed my existence to his editor, Mike Carlin, and Mike gave me the book's final few issues at Roger's suggestion. After Power of the Atom folded, Mike recommended me for -- and I got -- a staff job at DC, as an assistant editor in Karen Berger's office, which later became Vertigo. We were putting out Sandman, Shade The Changing Man, Hellblazer and Wonder Woman (one of these things is not like the other...). Soon I was editing the Doom Patrol, Animal Man, Black Orchid, and Kid Eternity monthlies. I got to work with a tremendous group of amazing talents... to name-drop a few off the top, there were Grant Morrison, Simon Bisley, Brian Bolland, Peter Milligan, Brendan McCarthy, Colleen Doran, Steve Dillon, Jamie Delano, John Totleben, Dave McKean and several others who are every bit as great... It was Comics University, watching these people put their stories and covers together, and watching Karen bring her taste and experience to the process. I thought I knew everything about comics going in, and, of course, I knew nothing. I did a little bit of writing when I was on staff. I dialogued a couple of issues of Team Titans in, I think, '92... I don't even know the issue numbers... and I did the same on a couple of issues of Dr. Fate the year previous; that was Bill Loebs's great run, when Inza Nelson wore the costume. I also did an Atom Special with Steve Dillon. I left staff in '93, and ever since then, Mark Waid and Dan Raspler have been instrumental in keeping me busy. I took over writing L.E.G.I.O.N. -- my first ongoing monthly. About a year later, we changed it to R.E.B.E.L.S. and either killed it or extended its life by about a year, depending on who you listen to. I started writing Legion of Super-Heroes in '94, an association which continues to this day. I had two brief runs at Marvel; during the first, I wrote the first couple of issues of X-Nation 2099 and a few issues of Doom 2099. The second run was a bit longer, but not by much lot; I wrote Marvel Team-Up and Quicksilver. I wrote the most recent series of Magnus, Robot Fighter for Acclaim. This is where I first worked with Hourman penciller Rags Morales, who did a run of brilliant covers for us. This year, I'm returning to Vertigo as a writer. Jamie Delano and I are co-writing Cruel & Unusual, a four-issue miniseries about profit-making prisons, televised executions and other cheerful subjects.
Allred: Thanks, Tom. Good luck with Hourman and the Legion of Super-Heroes. I'll be reading.
Don't forget to check out the official DC web site at http://www.dccomics.com/ for more information about Hourman and the Legion of Super-Heroes.