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Tony is a street wise loner who becomes one of the supporting characters involved with Rip Hunter and his quest to stop the Illuminati (headed by Vandal Savage) from becoming a powerful and influential factor on the world political stage by time traveling to various times in the past.  Tony’s fascination with expensive cars like the Lamborghini that Rip Hunter borrowed from his brother is the catalyst that brings them together. Aside from a love of cars, Tony is proficient with computers, a rare skill in 1990, that Rip finds useful. Having been a loner for some time Tony is eager to belong and fits in for the most part with the others in the group. The exception being Corky, who caught Tony sneaking around the Hunter compound. Perhaps it’s the thrill of adventure overriding good sense that allows Tony to accept Rip’s suggestion to travel back in time disguised in a white monk robe to France circa 980 to retrieve the Holy Grail before the Illuminati can snatch the artifact and use it as a power source. And there’s plenty of adventure to be had when your time traveling inadvertently leads you to a team up with Viking Prince in his effort to thwart corrupt monks working for the Vandal Savage of that era. Thankfully Rip is persuaded by others on the team to bring Tony back when things become dangerous and success appears doomed. A minor note: Tony’s robe seems to be similar to a monk’s robe. The shoes on Tony’s feet seen once in a splash page in issue #6 are dainty and typically associated as feminine. When this iteraton’s version of the original Corky meets a dark fate, Tony decides enough is enough though and it’s time to make amends with the aforementioned sister. They’re seen spending a happy night together in the finale issue.

Writers Bob Wayne and Lewis Shiner leave Tony’s sexuality and gender identity somewhat ambiguous. This isn’t unexpected given the year of publication (1990) and the fact that the Comics Code Authority had had its most extensive revision allowing for the positive depiction of LGBT characters sometime in 1989. Prior to this, writers weren’t allowed to have characters verbally identify as LGBT, which didn’t stop readers from identifying Extrano, Maggie Sawyer, and Northstar as LGBT. The series’ writers and artists would have been planning and working on the project in the months leading up to or concurrent with the CCA’s revision. Tony’s clothing choices are mainly jeans, t-shirts, a jacket, and a hat which are functional and drab. Tony’s hair is close cropped except for a couple locks that are long and dyed purple. Tony insists on being called “Tony” after Rip accidentally learns Tony’s birth name is “Antonia”. The writers have the other characters use female pronouns like “she” and “her” when talking about Tony but at no time do they have Tony clearly indicate a gender identity or a preference for a romantic partner. Tony has an estranged sister and it’s easy to assume it had to do with who Tony was as a person. Whether the reason is how Tony presents as male, thus making Tony transgender, or Tony is a lesbian who likes to circumvent gender clothing norms is impossible to determine. It’s a bit like a very watered down comic book version of Jeanette Winterson’s novel, Written On The Body, in which she plays with language and socially accepted gender norms.

Tony, whose last name is never given, first appears in issue #2 of the eight part Time Masters mini series (March 1990). Tony’s time trip takes place in #5. Time Masters was written by Bob Wayne and Lewis Shiner and drawn by an artist now affiliated with CG. Inking by Jose Marzan Jo and colors by Adrienne Roy.

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September 27, 2021
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