STARMANMedium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1994
Creators: James Robinson (writer) and Tony Harris (artist)
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These days, it seems like half the superheroes published by DC Comics during the 1940s were in the game so they could found dynasties. In fact, in a latter-day rewrite of The Flash's origin story, the hero
specifically states he hopes and expects that someone will maintain his tradition and use his name a half-century or more into the future. Not all of them had sons, like Ted Knight (Starman), but that one, at least, had good reason to believe there would be someone to carry on for him.
Ted's older son, David, was ready and willing to become Starman when the time came, wearing a costume exactly like Dad's, right down to the fin on his head. But younger son Jack had no interest in superheroing. He'd rather have spent his days wheeling and dealing in the antiques and collectibles market, to keep his small shop in Opal City stocked with goodies. But David was killed early in his career, leaving Jack to take on the role — which he did only because the murderer (the son of The Mist, one of Starman's old villains, by the way) had made it clear this was only the opening act in killing the whole family.
Jack still wouldn't put on the costume, but crafted his own Starman look, characteristically using an antique leather jacket with a star design on the back, worn over street clothes. For a star insignia on the front, he chose a "sheriff's badge" from an old Crackerjacks box. Like his father and his brother before him, he drew power from Dad's invention, the Cosmic Rod, but the only one available was a bulky prototype that looked more like a staff. To protect himself from its glare, he wore an old pair of goggles. Thus outfitted, he dealt with the menace, and in doing so, found his inner hero. Starting then, he was the new Starman.
Jack was first seen in Zero Hour #1 (September, 1994), which launched one of those massive, company-wide crossover series that have infested American comic books ever since Marvel's Secret Wars (1984-85) and DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-86). The following month, in Starman #0 (all DC comics that month were numbered zero, to promote Zero Hour, but Starman was one of the few in which that issue actually came before #1), David was killed and the series began. The creators were writer James Robinson (Terminator, Leave It to Chance) and artist Tony Harris (Ex Machina, G.I. Joe).
With Ted advising him (at least until #72, when, 80 or more years old, he was finally killed off), and occasionally assisted by The Shade (formerly a villain but now more interested in maintaining the peace in his home town, and by the way, no relation), Starman protected Opal City against a variety of menaces for the rest of the 1990s and into the new century. Along the way, he got involved with a revived version of Ted's old outfit, The Justice Society of America, and indirectly brushed with the European offshoot of The Justice League. He had adventures with DC characters such as Batman and The Black Pirate, quasi-DC characters (i.e., they started elsewhere but were later acquired by DC) such as Captain Marvel and Bulletman, and non-DCs such as Hellboy.
He also got into a relationship with a woman who called herself Sadie Falk, but who turned out to be Jayne Payton, sister of a completely unrelated superhero, current whereabouts unknown, who had earlier called himself Starman. (It's DC's favorite superhero name, with the possible exception of Manhunter.) This Starman was eventually found on the home planet of another superhero named Starman, and the adventure involved yet another, a blue-skinned alien who had used that name for one issue in the 1970s. Eventually, Jack gave up superheroing to raise his young son (no relation to Sadie/Jayne, tho when last seen she was expecting to be the mother of his second child, a girl). His last issue was #80 (August, 2001).
He passed on his Cosmic Rod to Courtney Whitmore, formerly a superhero who had named herself after the old Star-Spangled Kid. She's still in the game, but currently calls herself Stargirl.