The Golden Age Hourman is a pretty interesting concept for a comic book character, even if the implications of a man using a drug to give him superpowers for an hour didn’t seem readily apparent to his creators at DC Comics back in 1940. Still, today’s day thread is dedicated to another Hourman: the intelligent machine colony from the 853rd Century who was created by Grant Morrison in 1997.
The character was given his own series in 1999, and all 25 issues were written by Tom Peyer. Over twenty years later, it remains one of my favourite comic books: it was a wonderful mix of absurdity and pathos, and most importantly, immensely fun.
Peyer has Hourman give up the Worlogog – source of his god-like powers – and resettles him in the sleepy town of Happy Harbor. The series was basically a relaxed hangout with Hourman – who chooses to name himself Matthew – his new best friend “Snapper” Carr (once the JLA’s mascot, now an unshaven dropout), and Carr’s ex-wife Bethany (don’t ask) as they drink coffee and figure out what to do with their day.
Sure, a whole bunch of exciting things every issue happen too, but the heart of the tale was the characters. It’s about self-discovery, about learning to live with your failures, and finding the strength to forgive yourself. With a whole bunch of not-so-subtle drug references thrown in for good measure.
The series maintained it’s consistent quality in no small part to the awesome artist Rags Morales, who pencilled all but one issue. It was at turns exciting, hilarious, touching, but most of all, weird. In retrospect, it was so off-beat I’m surprised it lasted for twenty five issues; I’m not sure if it could be made today. Sadly, the run still seems to be a lost classic, and has never been collected into an omnibus.
Enjoy your day, Avocadians!