Friends, as I did often on the Retroist site for close to a decade and even on the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast for the Starman episode – I am quick to state how I absolutely adore the Golden Age characters of DC Comics. One of those reasons is because in my mind they more resemble the pulp characters I love like The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Lone Ranger, or even Zorro to name just a few. While I do not follow current comic book series as much as I used to – one of the elements of DC Comics I appreciated was there felt like a respect for the legacy of the heroes who came before. Quite often a Family member or the next generation of heroes would pick up the mantle of a Golden Age character… this was most certainly true for Robinson’s Starman comic – with the writer constantly tipping his hat to the history of DC Comics. It is without a doubt one of my favorite comic book series of all time and it’s popularity helped to see the return of The Justice Society of America books. In addition through the 81 issues, including annuals and specials, Robinson allowed his character of Jack Knight, the Son of the original Starman, to retire and pass his cosmic staff to Courtney Whitmore – who herself had taken on the mantle of the new Star-Spangled Kid. With the passing of the torch from Jack to Courtney, the young girl would become Stargirl and join the ranks of the new Justice Society of America.
Courtney Whitmore was co-created by Geoff Johns (The Flash, Green Lantern) and artist Lee Moder – debuting in the July 1999 issue of Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0. The series lasted for 14 issues and not only introduced Courtney as the second hero to take up the mantle of the Star-Spangled Kid (Appropriate as she is a teenager)… but reintroduced her stepfather, Pat Dugan, who in his own youth was a costumed adventurer known as Stripesy. Pat worked alongside the original Star-Spangled Kid – who was in fact Sylvester Pemberton the Third.
When Courtney starts using the equipment of the original Star-Spangled Kid, her stepfather uses his mechanical genius to create an impressive mech suit, calling himself S.T.R.I.P.E. – in an effort to make sure that Courtney is protected while out fighting crime.
Much like with Starman, Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., as well as the new Justice Society of America comics all had a great deal of appreciation for the Golden Age of DC Comics. And judging by this extended trailer for the upcoming DC Universe Stargirl series – Geoff Johns who developed the series hasn’t skimped on that respect for the Golden Age characters. The characters of Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl are played by School of Rock‘s Brec Bassinger with Pat Dugan aka Stripesy/S.T.R.I.P.E. portrayed by Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Idiocracy). I definitely think this Stargirl trailer is a slam dunk as I am chomping at the bit to get to watch the first episode when it debuts in May.
There is quite a bit to unpack after watching that trailer – while I have to admit I kind of lost it when they showed the JSA, I want to focus on the bad guys. What is probably the Injustice Society. In the main shot outside of what I assume is the remains of the headquarters of the Justice Society of America – we have Tigress (Joy Osmanski), Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins), Solomon Grundy in the back, Christopher James Baker as possibly The Shade or the time-traveling Per Degaton, and most assuredly the Icicle (Neil Jackson).
Now for what it might be worth, I think that Baker is possibly playing the Shade as some of the attacks on the JSA in the trailer look like what the character’s shadow manipulation ability can do in the comics. Although it has to be said that he doesn’t look anything like the Victorian era character of Richard Swift made quite popular thanks to James Robinson’s Starman series. In addition they briefly showed what appears to be the Dragon King – which is something of a deep dive, the character was co-created by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler for the All-Star Squadron comic book series.
In Stargirl, it is Joel McHale who plays Sylvester Pemberton – not the Star-Spangled Kid in this case but Starman. While Dugan mentions that the JSA died saving the World in the trailer – I’m hoping it will be like the comics where they were in fact shunted off into a limbo in the 1986 one-shot entitled Last Days of the Justice Society. Although I have a feeling we will be getting lots of flashbacks to the team and some of their adventures courtesy of Pat and what might be Courtney influencing another generation to pick up the mantles of some of the fallen heroes.
We have just a few months until Stargirl premieres on the DC Universe streaming service – apparently episode will be shown on the CW the following day – pretty sure I have that right. What do you think, maybe I should review each of the episodes of Stargirl?