As well it should, DC is leaning in to its TV slate this fall, debuting two new series: Supergirl on CBS and a show called Legends of Tomorrow on the CW, home to Arrow and personal favorite The Flash.
Long thought to be a showcase for Brandon Routh’s Atom character, Legends will actually have at its core Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who) as the time traveler Rip Hunter, in a cast that also includes Hawkgirl, Captain Cold, Heatwave, half of Firestorm and possibly a Black Canary.
Most of these characters were previously introduced either in Arrow or The Flash, or, in Hawkgirl’s case, a big part of the DCAU Justice League cartoons. Rip Hunter, on the other hand, will likely be brand new to almost everyone watching the show.
So who is Rip Hunter, and why he is so hard-up to hunt rips? Well, I’ll tell you.
The basics: Rip Hunter was created by Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira and first appeared in 1959’s Showcase #20.
1. That’s not his real name: Rip keeps his birth name, home address, bank PIN, and other personal information secret to keep other time travelers from killing his ancestors or otherwise making it so he’s never born. And I assume he chose Rip Hunter as a nom de time travel for the same reason Homer Simpson briefly went by Max Power: It just sounds awesome.
2. His dad’s in the Justice League: Rip’s father is none other than the 25th century’s own Booster Gold, a fact unbeknownst to Booster for the reasons previously stated. Considering Booster’s floating robot companion, Skeets, once tried to kill a bunch of time travelers, Rip’s logic appears justifiable. To protect the timeline, Rip works behind the scenes to make his dad look like a self-absorbed screw-up.
3. He survived the first Crisis: Rip was one of the few characters to survive 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths with memories of the DC multiverse as it existed before. What’s more, the condensed post-Crisis universe had its own Rip, who also was a time traveler.
4. He shows up for the big stuff: Rip’s the perfect character for DC’s Crises and other major events, the kind of guy who can show up on a last-page splash backlit by a swirling vortex, looking completely different from the last time anyone saw him, yelling “STOP!” and then explaining that the major characters are about to do something that unravels the space-time continuum. Also his secret base had lots of notes lying around and a big blackboard offering clues to future storylines.
5. He’s saved the multiverse: During a series called The Kingdom, Rip breaks down the barrier to Hypertime, revealing the rest of the multiverse was there all along, contrary to what Crisis on Infinite Earths had everyone believe. He also paves the way for pre-Crisis characters Alex Luthor, Superman and Superboy-Prime to escape from an alternate dimension. Hunter later helps prevent a hyperfly that used to be Mr. Mind from devouring some of DC’s 52 universes.
Read this: For Silver Age Rip, check out Rip Hunter, Time Master, by Jack Miller, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito and others, which ran for 29 issues from 1961 to 1965. For post-Crisis Rip, there’s the eight-issue Time Masters series from 1990, by Bob Wayne and Lewis Shiner. For pre-Flashpoint Rip-Booster nonbonding, check out Booster’s 2007-11 series, written at varying points by Geoff Johns, Jeff Katz, Dan Jurgens, J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen.
Watch that: Rip appears in one episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. In “Time Out for Vengeance,” Rip helps the Justice League traverse the timestream to protect Batmen throughout history from Equinox. The JLI episodes of Brave and the Bold – featuring Aquaman, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Martian Manhunter, Fire and Ice – were among the best of a great series.
Dan Grote’s new novel, Magic Pier, is available however you get your books online. He has been writing for The Matt Signal since 2014. He and Matt have been friends since the days when making it to issue 25 guaranteed you a foil cover.