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Starman (comics)

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Starman is a name used by several different fictional DC Comics superheroes, most prominently Ted Knight and his son Jack.

Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Jack Burnley, the original Starman, Ted Knight, first appeared in Adventure Comics #61 (April 1941). An astronomer, Knight invented a “gravity rod,” later reinvented as a “cosmic rod,” allowing him to fly and manipulate energy and donned a red and yellow costume with a distinctive finned helmet.

Like most Golden Age heroes, Starman fell into obscurity in the 1950s. In the ensuing years, several characters, with varying degrees of relation to the original, briefly took the mantle of Starman.

In Zero Hour #1 (September 1994), writer James Robinson and artist Tony Harris introduced Jack Knight, the son of the first Starman. A reluctant, non-costumed hero, he inherited his father’s name and mission and used his technology to create a cosmic staff. He starred in a critically acclaimed series, written by Robinson, from 1994 until 2001.

The current successor of Starman is Stargirl, formerly the Star-Spangled Kid.

In chronological order of activity (not of appearance), these are the ones to have used the name "Starman":

Ted KnightEdit

Main article: Starman (Ted Knight)

Ted Knight is a 1940s DC Comics superhero who wore a costume of red tights with a fin on his helmet, and wielded a gravity rod (later cosmic rod) as a member of the Justice Society of America.

Starman of 1951Edit

The Starman of 1951, is a superhero who operated in the DC Comics universe in 1951. In actuality he is a retcon who appeared in Starman (vol. 2) and whose identity was revealed towards the end of that series as being the original Dr. Mid-Nite, Charles McNider -- and later a time-displaced David Knight, son of the original Starman Ted Knight, after some training by McNider. This proved to be only a temporary reprieve for the deceased hero however. In pre-Crisis continuity, the Starman of the 1950s was actually Batman who briefly took up that mantle in Detective Comics #247 (1957).

Mikaal Tomas Edit

Mikaal Tomas (a.k.a. Michael Thomas) is a 1970s DC Comics superhero. Tomas is an alien who traveled to Earth to help conquer it, and instead turned against his people in defense of Earth. He has blue skin and a power gem embedded in his chest allows him to fly and fire bolts of energy. He first appeared in 1st Issue Special #12 (March 1976), and later suffered amnesia until he turned up in the 1990s Starman series, where he was notable for being portrayed in a gay relationship. From an alien perspective, Mikaal found himself attracted to both genders equally.

The 1990s series also revealed that Mikaal's homeworld was Talok III, sister planet to Talok VIII, the home of Umbra. The inhabitants of the eighth planet have darker blue skin, but are the same species.

Starting in 2008, writer James Robinson will return to the character, reintroducing him as a member of the new "Justice League."

Prince GavynEdit

Prince Gavyn, a 1980s DC Comics superhero, wielded wristbands and a staff which allowed him to fly and shoot bolts of energy. He became the ruler of his people. He first appeared in Adventure Comics #467 (1980), and was believed to have died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. His story was elaborated upon in "Starman Annual #1", the tie-in to the comics event Legends of a Dead Earth. The 1990s Starman series (q.v.) revealed that his fate was different from previously believed.

It was revealed that Gavyn was converted into pure energy, which became the source of the beam of light that struck Will Payton, a later Starman, granting him his powers. It is currently unclear whether the two men, Gavyn and Payton, fused into one being with shared memories or if Payton was killed by the bolt that struck him and was replaced by the essence of Gavyn.

Gavyn reappeared during the Rann-Thanagar War defending his Throneworld from Thanagarians alongside the Omega Men. He currently appears in the Rann-Thanagar Holy War.

Will PaytonEdit

Will Payton, a 1980s DC Comics superhero, was created by Roger Stern and Tom Lyle. Payton gained his powers of flight, super strength and the ability to fire bolts of energy from his hands after being struck by a bolt of energy from space. He first appeared in Starman # 1 (1988), and seemingly died fighting the supervillain Eclipso. The 1990s Starman series (q.v.) revealed that his fate was different from previously believed.

The mysterious bolt of energy that infused Payton with his cosmic abilities was later revealed to be the essence of an alien Prince named Gavyn that also used the name Starman. It is currently unclear whether the two men, Gavyn and Payton, fused into one being with shared memories or if Payton was killed by the bolt that struck him and was replaced by the essence of Gavyn.

David KnightEdit

David Knight, a 1990s DC Comics superhero, was the son of the original Starman and older brother of the 1990s Starman. He first appeared in Starman vol 1, #26 (1990), having taken up his father's mantle, and was killed by an assassin in Starman vol 2, #0 (1994). He regularly appeared to Jack after his death, providing guidance for his brother. Towards the end of the series his ultimate fate was revealed to have been different than was previously believed (as noted above for the Starman of 1951).

Jack KnightEdit

Main article: Starman (Jack Knight)

Jack Knight, a 1990s DC Comics superhero, is the son of the original Starman - Ted Knight. He wielded a cosmically-powered staff but did not wear a costume, instead preferring a t-shirt, leather jacket (with star emblem on the back), a sheriff's star (possibly from a Cracker Jack box), and light-shielding tank goggles. He was the protagonist of a popular comic book series written by James Robinson. Jack briefly joined the JSA, but soon retired at the end of the Starman series, passing along his cosmic rod to the JSA's young heroine Stargirl.

See also: List of Starman (1990 comic) characters

Thom Kallor/Danny BlaineEdit

Main article: Thom Kallor
File:New starman.jpg

Danny Blaine is a DC Comics superhero of the near future whose identity (but not his full story) is revealed in the Starman series (q.v.). Danny Blaine was eventually revealed to be Thom Kallor, aka Star Boy, a DC Comics superhero in the 30th century, and a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. He originally had powers similar to Superboy, but later lost them and retained only his innate ability to increase the mass of nearby objects. Thom takes on the mantle of Starman in the 21st century with the full knowledge that he will lose his life there. The Danny Blaine/Thom Kallor version was inspired by the Kingdom Come depiction of the character, designed by Alex Ross.

One Year LaterEdit

Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #1 showed a new Starman who shows symptoms of borderline schizophrenia, claiming to hear voices in his head. He voluntarily resides at the Sunshine Sanitarium, a mental hospital, when not performing his super-heroic feats. He also voluntarily takes the medications prescribed by the sanitarium doctors, and his favorite day at the hospital is Wednesday – the day the hospital serves sloppy joes. When approached by the JSA, he tells Doctor Mid-Nite that he believes he is losing his mind, and asks for Dr. Mid-Nite's assistance in reclaiming his sanity.

In issue #2 it is hinted that he came from a universe similar to the events depicted in the Kingdom Come mini-series. It is also revealed that he is a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes who was expelled when he killed his girlfriend's ex-fiance in an argument. Issue #5 and 6 reveal that he is the pre-Crisis Star Boy (Thom Kallor) who had spent time on Earth-22 (the Kingdom Come universe in the 'One Year Later' DC Multiverse) which led to his present mental condition. He also suffered from schizophrenia that was easily managed in the 31th century but harder to treat in the 21st.

In Action Comics #864, Starman decides to take the name of Danny Blaine after his favorite Pulp Adventurer from Xanthu.

Farris KnightEdit

The Starman of the 853rd century is Farris Knight, who is also a member of Justice Legion Alpha and was a major character in the series DC One Million. He is a distant descendant of Jack Knight's and the Mist's son. Farris commands an alien artifact called a Quarvat, similar in function to the Cosmic Rod. He lives on a space station (in the orbit of Uranus) from which he monitors the artificial sun Solaris. He asserts that being the descendant of the Mist as much as the Knights he was predisposed to villainy and Solaris eventually corrupts Farris who arranges for the defeat of the two JLAs and travels back in time to kill the originator of his hated responsibility, Ted Knight. Meeting Ted however changes his mind and Farris ultimately sacrifices himself to save the modern day Earth from Solaris' machinations.

Other versionsEdit

  • In JSA #72, a female calling herself Starwoman is revealed to be Patricia Lynn Dugan (the half-sister of Courtney Whitmore), one of the individuals Thom Kallor mentioned as continuing the Starman legacy.
  • In JLA: Age of Wonder, Starman is portrayed as a fellow inventor alongside of Superman, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla, who invents his cosmic rod with technology gleaned from the rocket ship which brought Superman to Earth.
  • In JLA: Earth 2, in the Crime Syndicate's space headquarters, they have a costume belonging to a former teammate bearing the name Spaceman. He is the Antimatter counterpart of Starman, although he does not make an appearance.
  • Countdown: Arena introduces several alternate Starmen: an adult Courtney Whitmore from Earth-7, an intelligent gorilla from Earth-17, and Mikaal Tomas from Earth-48.
  • It was revealed by Ted Knight in Starman #17 (1990 series) that Sylvester Pemberton was going to call himself Starman, before he was killed by Solomon Grundy.

Other mediaEdit

The Prince Gavyn version of Starman made several background appearances in Justice League Unlimited. Stargirl also appeared, utilizing the staff that she inherited from Jack in the comics.

There was a television series planned based on Jack Knight's adventures, but was last referred to in 2003 as being 'indefinitely on hold'.[1]

External linksEdit


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