Courtney Whitmore

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Courtney Whitmore
JSA 81.jpg
Artwork for the cover of JSA #81 (Mar, 2006) featuring Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E.
Art by Alex Ross.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. # 0 (July 1999)
Created by Geoff Johns
In-story information
Alter ego Courtney Elizabeth Whitmore
Team affiliations Justice Society of America
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.
Suicide Squad
Young Justice
Justice League
Notable aliases Star-Spangled Kid, Stargirl
Abilities Trained gymnast and kickboxer
Via Cosmic Converter Belt:
Enhanced strength, speed, agility, and stamina
Ability to project 'shooting stars'
Via Cosmic Staff:
Energy manipulation

Courtney Elizabeth Whitmore is a superheroine known as Stargirl (often called "Stars" or "Star") in the DC Comics Universe. Originally known as the second Star-Spangled Kid, she began using the name "Stargirl" after she was presented with the Cosmic Staff by Jack Knight. The character is a creation of Geoff Johns, who based her personality on that of his sister, also named Courtney, who died in the explosion of TWA Flight 800 in 1996.[1] Johns is an avid fan of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew[2] and Courtney's original outfit is similar to Zoo Crew member Yankee Poodle's; in the comics, this is explained by Courtney being a fan of Yankee Poodle.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.[edit]

Courtney Whitmore, stepdaughter of Pat Dugan, finds the original Star-Spangled Kid's gear in her stepfather's belongings and dons the costume in order to annoy him as partial revenge for marrying her mother Barbara and supposedly forcing the family to move from Los Angeles to Blue Valley, Nebraska. Dugan, a skilled mechanic, designs and builds S.T.R.I.P.E., a robotic suit which he rides in to accompany and protect her.

During her time in Blue Valley, her frequent nemesis is the young villainess known as Shiv, daughter of the immortal Dragon King. The two had their most recent rematch in Infinite Crisis, in a page added to the hardcover edition.


Eventually, Courtney joins the Justice Society of America and, after being given Starman Jack Knight's cosmic staff, changes her identity to Stargirl.

Starman & Stargirl, in the cover art for JSA: All Stars #4, by John Cassaday.

Courtney appears in most issues of JSA and it is in these pages that her little sister Patricia Dugan is born.

Later, she confronts her predecessor's killer. Solomon Grundy, driven further into madness by the Joker's chemical assault, attacks the JSA headquarters with the head of the Statue of Liberty. With the aid of only Jakeem Thunder, Courtney fights him in the streets and into the tunnels below. The two heroes barely defeat Grundy. Jakeem's Thunderbolt fixes the statue. Grundy would later return, having developed an obsession with Courtney.

Courtney encounters Merry Pemberton, the sister of her predecessor. Originally, tensions existed between the two as Merry had feelings about her brother's legacy and also did not like the fact young superheroes operated on the same field as adult ones. These problems were resolved when the two were part of a larger battle against the forces of Klarion the Witch Boy. Courtney even saves Merry's life from an attacking Amazo. During this incident, Courtney temporarily has the body of a much more mature adult.

Later, she discovers her biological father (Sam Kurtis) working as a common thug for an incarnation of the Royal Flush Gang. They would personally confront each other during one of the Flush Gang's robberies.

In Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. and an issue of Impulse, Courtney hinted at having a crush on Robin (Tim Drake), a concept that was not developed in subsequent issues.

Despite a glimpse into the future, which shows an adult Starwoman married to Albert Rothstein (a.k.a. fellow JSA member Atom Smasher), Courtney briefly dates another JSA member, Captain Marvel, who in his true identity of Billy Batson is the same age as she.[3] However, Captain Marvel is, by all appearances to those not knowing Billy's secret, an adult, and the relationship between Marvel and Stargirl drew the attention of JSA members Jakeem Thunder and Jay Garrick. After being confronted by Garrick over the issue, Marvel chose to leave the JSA - and Courtney - instead of telling the team his secret. Marvel later returns to the JSA and reveals that the Wisdom of Solomon prevents him from revealing his true identity.

JSA/JSA and Black Vengeance[edit]

During this storyline, Courtney's family is murdered by agents of Per Degaton. She travels with the rest of the JSA back to 1951. The time-traveling adventure features the Modern Age successors to Golden Age JSA members meeting and fighting alongside the originals to try to save her family and the future. During this adventure, she finds herself forced to work with Atom Smasher again, for the first time since he defected to Black Adam's rival team. Following this, she apparently forgives him, but Atom Smasher is then nearly murdered by the Spectre. Though Atom Smasher is saved, the events clearly revealed the depth of feeling she has for him. She is quite relieved to return after this time-traveling adventure to see that her family was still alive.

Later, Atom Smasher is tried and convicted for actions he took while working for Black Adam, and during a TV appearance, Courtney states that even though Al was in prison, she would "be there for him... no matter how long it takes."

Infinite Crisis[edit]

Main article: Infinite Crisis

During the Infinite Crisis storyline, Courtney is approached by the Shade, who tells her of the final demise of her biological father. The tragedy and the witnessing of the mother-daughter love between Liberty Belle and Jesse Quick leads her to rethink her family life.[4] She discovered that she couldn't hate her biological father for being an absentee, a slacker, and even a supervillain thug, and also learns from the tragedy to accept Pat Dugan as the first true father figure in her life.

Stargirl is also part of a makeshift team, consisting of the JSA, Doom Patrol and Teen Titans that attacks a rampaging Superboy-Prime in Smallville, Kansas. Superboy-Prime kills several of the Titans, including Pantha and Baby Wildebeest and maims Risk, removing his arm. Stargirl later attends a memorial service for heroes who had died in the Crisis.[5]

Afterwards, she begins attending college. She has changed her equipment: her rod now compresses to a small cylinder, and when she activates it, her costume and belt appear while the rod grows to full size.

"One Year Later"[edit]

During the "One Year Later" storyline, Courtney rejoins the new roster of the Justice Society, currently composed of legacy heroes, representing both Starman's and the Star-Spangled Kid legacy, albeit no longer with S.T.R.I.P.E.'s assistance.[6]

Now a seasoned hero despite her young age, she forges a bond with her young teammate Cyclone, the eager and over-impulsive granddaughter of the first Red Tornado. The two bond over witnessing the death of Mister America, a superhero who had literally dropped into the first JSA meeting. Courtney suggested Cyclone create a new superhero costume and name.[7] She resumes her role of mentorship for the youngest heroes by helping Jefferson Pierce's daughter, Jennifer, into coping with her imperfect grasp over her powers and her isolation,[8] and later expressing her doubts about Gog to Damage.[9]

Around this time, a future version of Courtney is seen in Teen Titans #53 along with Lex Luthor and his future Titans. Her role is minimal. She is, however, wearing Jack Knight's goggles and jacket—the closest she has ever come to Jack's vision of "Starwoman" at the end of his series.

In the Final Crisis miniseries, when the forces of Darkseid move against Earth, Alan Scott puts out a superhero draft. Courtney, along with many of her JSA friends, join with other heroes to form an underground resistance. One of the many members includes a new version of S.T.R.I.P.E. They have many conflicts with invading enemy soldiers.[10]

Courtney is present (and apparently involved in voting) for discussions on how to move the JSA forward after the Gog debacle (and who to retain or remove from the team); she defends some of the heroes who sided with Gog. Later she is present when the JSA meet a depowered Billy Batson who reveals his secret identity to the others.[11]

After the battle with Black Adam and Isis, Courtney was unhappy as the events had happened on her birthday (and had ruined any planned celebrations). When she went home and opened the door, the entire Justice Society had prepared a late surprise party for her. Later she was unhappy to learn she still needed her braces even as she was acknowledged as one of the senior members of the JSA.[12] It has been established that both she and Atom Smasher love each other in direct quotes rather than asides and implied habits, but the elder JSA members' comments about their age difference forced Al to turn Courtney down, stating he loved her "like a sister".[13][14]

Following a massive supervillain attack, the JSA is split in two. Power Girl convinces Courtney to join the JSA All-Stars splinter group. She later expresses a deep feeling of regret over siding with the All-Stars, claiming that she feels more at home with the original roster. Karen talks her through these doubts, telling her that she needed Courtney on the team because all the other teen members of the JSA look up to her.[15]

The New 52[edit]

Stargirl appears in The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe) as part of a new Justice League of America title.[16] She was chosen by Amanda Waller as the public face of the JLA's PR campaign. After the disbandment of the JLA following the Forever Evil crossover event, Stargirl joined Justice League United.

Secret identity[edit]

Over the years Courtney has been a little careless with her secret ID with many school friends and even some villains learning it, (she admits as much during the Identity Crisis crossover). In fact Courtney revealed her ID (to her friend Mary) moments into her first outing (though she was at this point only dressed as a hero having yet to decide to give it a go as a career). It is unclear how public her ID is though it seems to be known by many in the heroic community.

In Justice Society #26 the entire JSA is at her home in full uniform, and are also present when she visits the dentist (in costume, much to Courtney's annoyance). This calls into question just how much people know about her vigilante career.

Other versions[edit]

  • On Earth-33, a white-haired, magical version of Courtney is a member of a group of magic-wielders allied with that world's Starman. This Stargirl wields a staff that fires energy in the form of yellow stars.[volume & issue needed]

In other media[edit]


Britt Irvin as Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl on Smallville.
  • Courtney and S.T.R.I.P.E. have also appeared in the Justice League Unlimited animated series, where she is voiced by Giselle Loren. Stargirl and her partner appear in a speaking role in the episode "Chaos at the Earth's Core". In that story, Stargirl is childishly jealous of Supergirl's fame (a contrast to the comics, where they are the best of friends). However, in the resulting adventure in Skartaris, the girls come to an understanding. She later appeared in "Patriot Act", where she and other League members were trying to stop a mutated General Wade Eiling from rampaging through Metropolis. In this episode she takes the place of the original Star-Spangled Kid in the symbolic and unofficial reformation of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. Stargirl was badly injured by Eiling, but survived the incident and flashes a smile when she is loaded into an ambulance. In this episode, Stargirl reveals that she has no inherent powers, and all of her special abilities come from her staff. In "Epilogue," she makes an appearance in a flashback, fighting the Royal Flush Gang. She and S.T.R.I.P.E. later helped repel the invasion of Earth by Darkseid's forces in the series finale "Destroyer." The single-carded action figure in the DC Universe Justice League Unlimited line refers to Courtney as Pat Dugan's niece, rather than stepdaughter, although in "Chaos at the Earth's Core", she does refer to Dugan as her stepfather.
  • Actress Britt Irvin played Courtney Whitmore in several episodes of seasons nine and ten of Smallville, including the two-hour television movie Absolute Justice (which includes several other members of the Justice Society of America). She later appears in the episode "Icarus" playing a part in saving the Green Arrow from some corrupted civilians and a brief appearance in the episode "Prophecy" [17] This marks Stargirl's first appearance in a live-action format.
  • Courtney Whitmore appears in the teaser segment of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Cry Freedom Fighters!" voiced by Hope Levy. She ends up fighting Mantis in a suburban neighborhood. When she uses her staff to create her own Bat-Signal to call Batman, she ends up getting Blue Beetle. It took the combined abilities of both their attacks to defeat Mantis.

Video games[edit]


  1. ^ Rogers, Vaneta. "Looking Back at JSA with Geoff Johns" Newsarama; May 8, 2009
  2. ^ Comic Bloc Forums: Stargirl & Captain Carrot References[dead link]
  3. ^ JSA #48. In this issue, Stargirl meets a temporarily powerless Billy Batson, and each learns that the other is sixteen years old.
  4. ^ JSA #81 (March 2006)
  5. ^ Johns, Geoff (w), Jimenez, Phil, Lee, Jim, Ordway, Jerry, Pérez, George, Reis, Ivan (p). Infinite Crisis (hardcover edition) (2006), New York, NY: DC Comics, ISBN 1-4012-0959-9
  6. ^ Justice Society of America #1, (2008)
  7. ^ Justice Society of America #3, (2008)
  8. ^ Justice Society of America #12, (2008)
  9. ^ Justice Society of America: The Kingdom one-shot, (2008)
  10. ^ Final Crisis #1-5
  11. ^ Justice Society of America vol. 3 #23 (January 2009)
  12. ^ Justice Society of America vol. 3 #26 (April 2009)
  13. ^ Justice Society of America vol. 3 #27 (May 2009)
  14. ^ Justice Society of America vol. 3 #28 (June 2009)
  15. ^ JSA All-Stars #1
  16. ^
  17. ^ Eric Goldman (2009-10-19). "Exclusive: Two of Smallville's Justice Society - TV News at IGN". Retrieved 2011-01-28.