aka Star-Spangled Kid II + S.T.R.I.P.E.
Created by Geoff Johns, James Robinson and Lee Moder
NAME + ALIASES:
Courtney Whitmore, Star-Spangled Kid II
Barbara Whitmore (mother), Sam Kurtis (father, deceased), Patricia (half-sister), Pat Dugan (Stripesy, step-father), Michael Justin Dugan (step-brother)
Justice Society of America, JSA All-Stars
Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #0 (July 1999)
NAME + ALIASES:
Patrick Dugan, aka Stripesy
Barbara Whitmore (wife), Michael Justin Dugan (son), Patricia Dugan (daughter), Maggie Shaw (ex-wife), Courtney Whitmore (Stargirl, adopted daughter)
Seven Soldiers of Victory, All-Star Squadron, Infinity, Inc., Justice Society of America
Action Comics #40 (Sept. 1941)
Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #0 (July 1999)
Courtney Whitmore, the second Star-Spangled Kid, was created by comics writer Geoff Johns in honor of his younger sister, Courtney Johns, who died on TWA Flight 800 from JFK airport in 1996. Though the series Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. lasted only over a year, the new Star-Spangled Kid gained popularity as a mainstay and heart of the rejuvenated Justice Society (no doubt due to the fact that Johns also wrote that title).
This profile picks up the story of Pat Dugan (aka Stripesy) in the post-Zero Hour era. For his early history, read the profile of the original Star-Spangled Kid.
Courtney Whitmore is the step-daughter of Pat Dugan, who began fighting crime in the 1940s as Stripsey. Stripesy was the partner of the original Star-Spangled Kid, Sylvester Pemberton. In 1949, their group, the Seven Soldiers of Victory were betrayed by their own member, the Spider, and flung across time. Pat was rescued from ancient Egypt by Starman, Hourman, and Batman, with some help from the young Prince Khufu (antecedent of Hawkman). The magic of Doctor Fate brought them back to the 20th century, but decades after they had left. Pat Dugan chose to retire from super-hero adventure and moved to Las Vegas. There he married Maggie Shaw and had a son named Mike. The marriage lasted only briefly, then Pat and Mike moved to Los Angeles to help Sylvester in his new hero group, Infinity, Inc. Later, Maggie got custody of Mike and the delinquent boy was sent to a military academy. (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #9)
After Dugan remarried, to Barbara Whitmore, they moved with her daughter Courtney from Los Angeles to Blue Valley, Nebraska (the legendary home of the Kid Flash; the move was later revealed to be instigated by a call for help from Pat's former comrade, the Shining Knight).
Fifteen-year-old Courtney was petulant and angry for having to leave her Beverly Hills home, but she made fast friends with the likes of Mary Kramer (whose name is a nod to Merry, the Gimmick Girl) and love interest Josh Hamman. The school also came complete with a rival, the popular Cindy Burman. Principal Sherman disliked her from the start, but there were signs that he was not entirely human.
After her first day, Courtney returned home and rummaged through one of Pat's boxes. She discovered a news clipping of him and Sylvester — as the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy! Courtney took the Kid's old Cosmic Converter belt, made a star-spangled costume, then attended a school dance later that night. Pat was a chaperone, and was furious to see what she'd stolen. Thankfully she had, though, as the dance was attacked by green-clad minions of the Dragon King. Courtney blindly jumped into action using the power of the belt, and Pat unveiled a new exosuit, called S.T.R.I.P.E. (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #1) NOtE: The Dragon King first appeared in All-Star Squadron #4 (Dec. 1981).
Afterwards, Pat consulted with Ted Knight (the original Starman, who invented the cosmic converter), who said that the belt would likely work differently for Courtney, and that it might take time for it to calibrate itself to her. At school, Courtney and Mary earned detention under the orders of Mr. Paul Deisinger, who ate crayons and turned out to be a super-villain called Paintball. (#2) Elsewhere, Dr. Graft created monsters within a secret laboratory, and bestowed Cindy Burman — who was the Dragon King's daughter — with special enhancements. (#3)
Courtney met the Marvel Family (Billy and Mary Batson and Freddy Freeman) when the Blue Valley Soldiers played a basketball game against Fawcett City. Solomon Grundy attacked the game, which drew all the heroes out. Pat was shaken; he told Courtney about how the monster had killed Sylvester. (#4)
Joining the Justice Society
When the original Sandman sacrificed his life to stop the machinations of the sorcerer Mordru, (JSA Secret Files #1) the surviving members of the Justice Society and their friends convened for his funeral. The service was attacked by the Sons of Anubis, but Courtney was discouraged by Ted Knight from entering the fight. The affair led to a new mission for the heroes, and the Justice Society reformed. (JSA #1) Both Sentinel and Atom-Smasher took turns showing Courtney the JSA headquarters and honoring its legacy, but she was not allowed into their first meeting. While she waited, a strange portal appeared, and she jumped through it! (#2)
She was transported into to the mystical artifacts of Doctor Fate, where she met the spirits of Kent and Inza Nelson. Kent advised her how to stop Mordru and aid in the emergence of a new Doctor Fate. (JSA #3) After Mordru's defeat, the Justice Society officially reformed, and while Jack Knight (Starman VII) accepted membership, he headed back to Opal City. He suggested that Courtney join the team as the new Star-Spangled Kid. (#4) Courtney and Pat later teamed up with Jack to tackle the Icicle. (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0)
Having joined the new JSA, Courtney declined an invitation to join the teen group Young Justice, which had been covertly monitoring her activities. They arrived in town just as it was invaded by the alien Laroo. (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #5) The aliens were allied with the Ulla, Trago, and Raagan to test a "Life-Gun" that would transform humans into aliens. After driving them off, the Dragon King destroyed the aliens' ship for having invaded "his town." Cindy Berman also came out in costume as Courtney's arch rival, Shiv. Before departing, YJ's Red Tornado made a shocking remark to Pat — that Sylvester's sister Merry Pemberton was alive! (#6) Note: The four alien races in this story contributed to the make-up of Ultra the Multi-Alien, who first appeared in Mystery in Space #103 (Nov. 1965).
The Kid's rivalry with Shiv became personal when Josh Hamman broke up with Cindy and favored Courtney. Star and Shiv threw down. In the end, Shiv's father sent her back to Dr. Graft for more modifications (of which she was terrified). (#7)
The Seven Soldiers' greatest enemy, the Nebula Man, returned when his energies collected sufficient strength to take over the corpse of his destroyer, Wing. Nebula Man emerged from a grave in Tibet and zeroed in on the cosmic energy in Courtney's belt. In Nebraska, Dr. Robert Crane (the original Robotman) was helping Pat to improve his armor. Crane's robot dog, Robbie, dug up a prototype of the Nebula Rod, the weapon used to defeat the Nebula Man in their first battle. When Pat learned that the Nebula Man had returned, he called upon all major super-heroes for support, but amazingly, Courtney dispersed the villain's form by using her belt, plus electrical energy. (#8) Note: This issue retrofitted the Seven Soldiers' history for post-Zero Hour continuity.
Courtney's relationship with her step-father was already shaky when Pat's son arrived to live with the family. Mike Dugan had been expelled from his military academy and the boy was eager to take up the mantle of the Star-Spangled Kid. His arrival prompted Pat to finally tell Courtney how he'd remained young despite having been active in the 1940s. (#9)
When the boy magician called Klarion cast a spell to reverse all the super-heroes' ages, Courtney found herself more of a "Starwoman," playing nanny to a juvenile Justice Society. (Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1-2) To try to reverse the spell, she joined forces with Merry, the original Kid's sister, who accused Courtney of stealing her brother's gear. They traveled into space with Doiby Dickles to the planet Myrg (in a spaceship designed by Pat), where they hoped to acquire a "de-aging gun."(Sins of Youth: Starwoman and the Junior JSA #1)
When Courtney and Pat returned to Blue Valley, the Dragon King emerged fully, with a plan to take over the world. Shiv returned with new implants and extensible fingers. Courtney was kidnapped by Dr. Graft (a protegé of Dr. Weerd, an enemy of the original Kid's), prompting the Shining Knight came out of the shadows to rescue her. (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #10)
The heroes located the Knight's winged horse, Victory, and pursued the Dragon King (who had killed Justin's love, Firebrand). Back home, Courtney fought with Mike over the converter belt, and the skirmish broke it in two. (#11) Pat unearthed the original belt for Courtney and they dashed off to confront the Dragon, who unleashed his weapon: a mind-control ray that worked only on children. (#12) With the power of the belt, the Star-Spangled Kid shook the ray's influence and drove the Dragon King into a conflagration of his own making. At home, the Flash came to collect Courtney for a JSA mission and Barbara announced that she was pregnant. Shiv was spirited away by Johnny Sorrow, to join the Inustice Society. (#13)
Courtney rarely saw her father, Sam Kurtis, and was ecstatic when he came to visit. But after talking, it was apparent that he only there to collect a family heirloom from her, so he could sell it for money.
After another JSA battle, against the British Bat, Pat declined an invitation to join the team. Meanwhile he granted Mike more involvement in maintaining S.T.R.I.P.E., suggesting that he might someday take over. And for her 16th birthday, Pat gave Courtney a new car — a new Star Rocket Racer! (#14)
Still on edge about Courtney's safety in the hero game, Pat was glad to accept the JSA's invitation to become their team mechanic. He unveiled a new aircraft for them, the Steel Eagle. (JSA #7)
The duo honored her predecessor, Sylvester Pemberton, at his grave at Valhalla. (DCU 2000 Secret Files #1) Then an attack by Kobra caused fluctuations in the timestream and a freak twist in time gave Courtney the chance to meet Syl in the flesh! (He was from a pre-Crisis timeline, as he mentioned the original Huntress.) (JSA #11)
At Black Canary's request, the Martian Manhunter led a training session with the junior JSA members. They were attacked by Kanto of Apokolips, who absconded with Courtney's soul. (Martian Manhunter v.3 #18) Her friends ventured to Apokolips where the Manhunter rescued her soul from the Source itself. (#19)
Jack Knight retired from adventuring and entrusted his own Cosmic Rod (more of a staff) to Courtney. (Starman v.2 #80) She happily accepted but kept her own code name. (JSA Secret Files #2)
After a painful case which led her to apprehend her own biological father (a member of the Royal Flush Gang), Courtney finally stepped in the path of the Starman legacy and changed her code name to Stargirl. (JSA All-Stars v.1 #4) Not long afterward, she received a visit from the Shade, who delivered the news that her father had died. (JSA #81)
The Star-Spangled Kid had romantic near-misses with two of her Justice Society colleagues. The first was Captain Marvel, whom she allowed into her affections after she learned that he was also sixteen years old. (JSA #48) The affair was considered inappropriate by their mentor, the Flash; Jay did not know about Captain Marvel's true age, and confronted him with serious concerns. Rather than reveal his identity to another person, Marvel chose to resign from the team, which ended any relationship with Courtney. (JSA #59)
More consistently, Courtney has shown affection towards Albert Rothstein (Atom-Smasher). But this relationship was seriously strained when Al allied with Black Adam and they took to using questionable methods. (One account suggested that Courtney would marry Al sometime in the future. [JSA #15])
As she made this step in maturity, Courtney was served a true adult challenge. Her family (including her newborn sister, Patricia) was murdered by the Red Morgue. She was rescued by the time traveler Rip Hunter, who explained that the JSA's old foe Per Degaton was attempting to eliminate heroes from the time stream. (JSA #68) She and the JSA were able to reverse Detaton's tampering and Stargirl returned home to find her family restored, and alive. (#72)
The JSA headquarters was destroyed in a battle with the Gentleman Ghost, and the Flash considered disbanding the team. (JSA #87) The team's founders were urged by the JLA to reassemble, and encouraged to train the myriad of legacy heroes appearing on the scene. Many of them became a part of the team and Stargirl, just a teen herself, found herself in a position of relative authority. She and Doctor Mid-Nite visited a strange, neurotic new Starman in Opal City. (Justice Society of America v.3 #1)
The Fourth Reich launched a campaign to kill the family members of the JSA and attacked Pat Dugan in Blue Valley. The JSA managed to protect the Dugans though many other JSA family members were lost. (Justice Society of America v.3 #4)
Friends old and new threw a suprise party for Courtney at her 17th birthday. (#26)
Atom-Smasher had also returned to the team and the two of them attempted to repair their friendship. He was called in to help when the villain Kung attacked, and five JSAers were transported to the moment of Hiroshima's destruction, in 1945. (#27) Kung's spirit escaped into Stargirl's body but the Spectre cleansed her. Back home, Al denied what were obvious romantic feelings between Courtney and he. Instead of moving toward her, Al denied that he had any love for Courtney. (#28)
Though she was surrounded by new teammates her own age, Stargirl preferred the company of her older mentors. So it was with some difficulty that she agreed to go with Power Girl when she led a splinter team of young JSA members, the JSA All-Stars. At their first conference, Arthur Pemberton's (Sylvester's nephew) Strike Force attacked and kidnapped Stargirl for Johnny Sorrow — who claimed he was in love with her! (JSA All-Stars v.2 #1)
She agreed to go with Sorrow into the "Subtle Realms" to prevent the team's certain defeat. There she found who she thought was Atom-Smasher (actually Sorrow in disguise). (#4) During her time there she fought at his side and expressed her love for "Al," even kissing him for the first time. (#5) This true-love kiss allowed Sorrow to magically revert to human, and Stargirl's "purity" enabled her to kill their enemy, the monstrous King of Tears, with Sorrow's dagger. (#6)
Arthur Pemberton continued to work in secret, allying with Professor Milo to heal and enhance his comatose daughter, Lorna (who'd been rendered brain dead by Sorrow after their fight with the All-Stars). (#7) He agreed to collect some ancient artifacts for a cult of sorcerers for help in saving Lorna. Milo infused her with enhanced tissues, weapons, and cerebral hardware. (#14)But these enhancements failed to revive Lorna fully and instead she became inhabited by an artificial intelligence called Roxy, an aide to the JSA created by Hourman. (#2, 15)
The story from JSA #15 (Oct. 2000) was told as a memoir by the adult Courtney. The photos on her wall showed that she was married to Atom-Smasher. And according to penciller Steve Sadowski, the script for this issue identified the cloaked woman in the future-scenes as Hourgirl the little girl walking with her to be one of Courtney's children.
This never had a chance to pass in pre-New 52 continuity, and the New 52 universe has not introduced Atom-Smasher.
The time traveling villain Per Degaton alluded to Courtney's future career as Starwoman in JSA #59 (May 2004). Later after defeating Degaton, Courtney's younger half-sister, Patricia Dugan appeared as the second Starwoman, as a visitor from the future, in JSA #72 (June 2005).
Geoff Johns on S.T.R.I.P.E.: “I’ve, of course, got a soft spot for Pat. He’s a mechanic turned super-hero and a super-hero turned step-father. In Stargirl’s eyes he’s as real a father as she’ll ever had. She’d be a lesser person and hero if he wasn’t in her life.”— "The New Faces of the JSA," Newsarama (14 Feb. 2007)
There have been other versions of Stargirl in the DC multiverse:
- There was a Stargirl counterpart who was a member of the Crime Society of Earth-3. Countdown #31 (Sept. 2007).
- Stargirl on the mystic Earth-33 appeared in Countdown to Adventure #4 (Jan. 2008). She was Starman's second-in-command and member of the the League of Shamans.
- Starwoman of Earth-7 appeared just in Countdown: Arena #1 (Feb. 2008). She killed the Starman of Earth-48 in a duel.
- ?? Stargirl "One Million"
In Other Media
Justice League Unlimited, Season 3
Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. became members of the animated Justice League during Season 3 of the Justice League Unlimited series, which aired in 2005–06.
- In Episode 3 ("Chaos at the Earth's Core," 24 Sept. 2005) Supergirl, Stargirl, S.T.R.I.P.E., and Green Lantern help the Warlord liberate the hidden land of Skartaris.
- Episode 7 ("Patriot Act," 25 Feb. 2006) featured a new grouping of heroes that mirrored the original Seven Soldiers of Victory. With the most powerful League members busy, Green Arrow leads Stargirl, S.T.R.I.P.E., Shining Knight, Crimson Avenger, Vigilante, and Speedy against General Wade Eiling, who had transformed from ingesting a super-soldier serum. The episode also features a cameo by a group of street urchins who resemble the Newsboy Legion. The introduction features a Spy Smasher tale from World War II.
Live Action Television
Stargirl has appeared on two DC television shows, first on Smallville in 2010, then on DC's Legends of Tomorrow in 2016.
- Smallville Season 9, Episode 11: "Absolute Justice" (5 February 2010). This episode, written by Geoff Johns, was a 2-hour movie. Sylvester Pemberton—also known as Star-Spangled Kid—is killed by the Icicle, leading Chloe Sullivan and Clark Kent to investigate. They discover the secret history of the Justice Society of America, which was led by Hawkman. The JSA has been monitoring Clark and his super-hero friends. Dr. Fate, Sandman, and Stargirl (Sylvester's apprentice) join in to find the Icicle. Afterwards, Hawkman and Stargirl decide to seek out the remaining JSA members and their children, to help organize a new generation of superheroes.
- DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Season 2, Episode 1, "Out of Time" (13 October 2016).
In 2016, historian Nate Heywood teams up with Heatwave to take the Waverider ship back to 1942 to prevent the Nazis from making a nuclear bomb, where they are confronted by the Justice Society of America (Commander Steel, Dr. Mid-Nite, Stargirl).
- DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Season 2, Episode 2, "The Justice Society of America" (20 October 2016).
The Justice Society captures the Legends, believing them to be Nazi spies. Nate meets his own grandfather, Commander Steel. The fight with Baron Krieger and Eobard Thawne ends in Hourman's death. Also appearing: Dr. Mid-Nite, Stargirl, Obsidian, and Vixen.
- DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Season 2, Episode 12, "Camelot/3000" (21 February 2017).
Dr. Mid-Nite and Stargirl reappear in the year 3000, protecting a piece of the Spear of Destiny.
The belt gives her super-strength. who said that the converter belt would likely work differently for Courtney. She manifests shooting stars. her throwing stars make Shiv's arm numb. The cosmic converter belt gfives her strength and speed and other powers she can't control yet.
S.T.R.I.P.E. is a high powered, high-tech wearable suit of armor. alerted Pat anytime that the cosmic belt became active, so he ruse
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- 52 #1, 50, 51
- Blackest Night #1
- JSA: Our Worlds at War #1
- JSA: Classified #15–16
- JSA All-Stars #5
- Suicide Squad v.2 #12
- Superman: The Man of Steel #110, 114, 115, 119, 121, 130, 131
- World War III #4
- Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., 15 issues (1999–2000)
- JSA, 87 issues (1999–2006)
- Justice Society of America v.3, 54 issues (2007–11)
- JSA All-Stars, 18 issues (2010–11)
- Justice League United, 17 issues (2014–16)