Booster Gold beats up a couple of bad guys. Artist: Dan Jurgens.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1986
Creator: Dan Jurgens
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The selfless hero, who scorns reward for his extraordinary rescues and whatnot, has been a pervasive icon ever since stories started being told. In the toon world, where everything is …

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… exaggerated, superheroes have a tendency to be purely altruistic, not merely scorning reward, but scorning anyone who doesn't scorn reward. So Booster Gold, who was in it for the money, was quite an innovation when he debuted from DC Comics in 1986.

When Booster was first seen (Booster Gold #1, February 1986), he was haggling over a movie deal, and a hard bargain he struck. He also licensed his image all over the place, endorsed a lot of products, and did any number of other lucrative things. He did the necessary jobs, of course, capturing villains and saving lives and stuff, but his main interest in doing so was to make himself a merchandisable property. He was the creation of cartoonist Dan Jurgens, whose resumé includes the "Death of Superman" storyline that became a media sensation in 1992.

From the very beginning, Booster was firmly enmeshed in the DC Universe. He was a time traveler from the 25th century, where he'd been known as Michael Jon Carter. He used Rip Hunter's time machine (still in operating condition after half a millennium) to establish himself in an era where he could dazzle the natives with technologically-generated super powers. Among them was the ability to fly, which came from a ring he'd swiped from The Legion of Super Heroes. What's more, he'd stolen the time machine (and his little non-humanoid robot pal, Skeets) from The Space Museum, which had been featured in a rotating series (the others being Star Hawkins and The Atomic Knights) in Strange Adventures during the early 1960s.

The following year, Booster made the career move of joining The Justice League, a refreshed version of the recently-cancelled Justice League of America. He wasn't entirely accepted by the more selfless members, but did become buddies with The Blue Beetle (formerly a Charlton character, recently acquired by DC). They functioned as a pair of class clowns in a series that wasn't always entirely serious.

Apparently, the world wasn't ready for a money-grubbing superhero, because his comic only lasted a couple of years — the final issue was #25, dated February, 1988. Just before he lost his series, he lost his money, which was plundered by an employee who also happened to be an inter-galactic conspirator. The experience softened Booster, whose post-series appearances (he retained his membership in the group, which by then was calling itself Justice League International) showed him considerably toned down. He never quite lost his mercenary edge, but did become a little more generous and less crass about getting paid for his work.

Booster has continued to be used mostly in groups. In fact, he ran one of his own, The Conglomerate (which, other than him, consisted exclusively of nonentities), for a very brief period in 1990. In 1995 and '96, he (along with Captain Atom, Firestorm and other stars) was part of a Justice League offshoot called Extreme Justice. More recently, he (along with Elongated Man, Mary Marvel and other second-stringers) was part of a more far-removed offshoot called "Formerly Known as the Justice League". Currently, he's appearing in the Justice League Unlimited animated TV series.

Booster continues to be seen from time to time, not just in comic books but also in action figures, cartoons, etc. Like Zatanna, The Creeper and many, many others, he's become part of the backdrop against which DC stories take place.


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Text ©2005-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.