Comics / DC Comics History

DC Comics History: Rip Hunter, Time Master


By Deejay Dayton
May 6, 2017 - 11:44

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Rip Hunter, Time Master, made his debut in two Showcase issues during the period 1955 – 1959: Dawn of the Silver Age. Very different from the character currently appearing on Legends of Tomorrow, Rip’s crew was made up of close friends, as they explored the distant past in his time sphere.

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Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira introduced Rip Hunter, Time Master and his crew of adventurers in Showcase 20. By the time the story has started, Rip Hunter has finished constructing a second time machine.  Though this leaves lots of possibilities open for exploring the events around the creation of the first one, that is only looked at, briefly, in an issue of Justice League of America in the mid 70s.  Otherwise, we are presented with Rip and his team as a fait accompli.  There is another adult male in the group, Jeff Smith.  Rip's girlfriend, Bonnie Baxter, is there as well, and her young brother, Corky, rounds out the group.

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Rip and Jeff head back to the age of dinosaurs (Mesozoic to be precise), and while they are there a couple hood break in and force Bonnie and Corky to bring them back into the past as well, where they can steal minerals. Seems like they could have come up with an easier idea for a crime, but it leaves the pair, and the crew all battling dinosaurs.  One ship gets damaged, and the hoods hide the other one, and then appear to die.  So Rip and his buddies are in a very bad situation. The functioning time machine gets ejected when a volcano explodes, and the criminals show up, alive and well. 

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Rip manages to create a wall of flame that keeps the rampaging hordes away as they all get back into the time machine and head back to the present.  I think by this point the hoods are happy to be getting arrested. A very enjoyable premise, executed with some fun art.

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Miller was joined by Sekowsky and Giella for the second Rip Hunter tryout story, in Showcase 21. This time around, Rip is on the trail of Atlantis.  He shows an inscription he has found from the period of Alexander the Great to Jeff, Bonnie and Corky.  The inscription is missing the last line, the location of Atlantis, so the team heads back to the Battle of Arbela. There they encounter Alexander, and impress him with their advanced technology. 

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The Persians are approaching, and Alexander fears defeat, but Rip and his team help him win the battle.  Rip gets to see the complete inscription, but it refers to a map, which was lost.  Alexander explains that he found the text on the island of Aeaea. So off they go to the island that was reputed to be the home of the sorceress Circe.  They do come across some centaurs, but these are just men in centaur costumes.  Circe has no magic, but promotes the idea to keep her island safe.  When invaders come, Rip uses the time sphere, making it look like a giant bird, to scare them off and restore Circe's reputation.  In exchange, she gives them the map.

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So the team finally makes it to Atlantis, which is all futuristic, and populated by an alien species.  Rip and his buds warn them about the coming disaster, and the aliens flee Earth as Atlantis gets destroyed. Not quite up to par with the first issue, largely because Sekowsky is not as good with historically detailed art as Moreira.

Rip Hunter, Time Master returns in the next period, 1960 – 1964: the Silver Age.

Rip Hunter, Time Master: Showcase 20 – 21 (May/June – July/Aug 59)

Next up – Mademoiselle Marie!

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Last Updated: May 15, 2017 - 12:13

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