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Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. on the cover of JSA #81 (March 2006); art by Alex Ross
|First appearance||As Courtney Whitmore:|
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0 (July 1999)
JSA: All Stars #4 (October 2003)
|Created by||Courtney Whitmore:|
David S. Goyer
|Alter ego||Courtney Elizabeth Whitmore|
|Team affiliations||Justice Society of America|
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.
Justice League United
|Notable aliases||Star-Spangled Kid, Stargirl, Merlin|
|Abilities||Trained gymnast and kickboxer|
Via Cosmic Converter Belt:
Enhanced strength, speed, agility, and stamina
Ability to project 'shooting stars'
Via Cosmic Staff:
Courtney Elizabeth Whitmore, known as Stargirl (often called "Stars" or "Star"), is a fictional superhero created by Geoff Johns and appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character's name, appearance, and personality were patterned after Johns' sister Courtney, who died in the explosion of TWA Flight 800 in 1996.
Stargirl has appeared in numerous cartoon television shows and films. She has also appeared in live-action shows Smallville, played by Britt Irvin, and Legends of Tomorrow, played by Sarah Grey. Stargirl will also be played by Brec Bassinger in her own television series for DC Universe.
The character was created by writer Geoff Johns and artist Lee Moder. She made her first appearance in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0 (July 1999). The character's inspiration was Geoff Johns' sister Courtney, who died in the explosion of TWA Flight 800 in 1996.
Fictional character biography
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.
Courtney Whitmore, stepdaughter of Pat Dugan, finds the original Star-Spangled Kid's gear in her stepfather's belongings. She dons the costume to annoy Dugan; she resents his marrying her mother and moving the family from Los Angeles to Blue Valley, Nebraska. Dugan, a skilled mechanic, designs and builds S.T.R.I.P.E., a robotic suit that he uses 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. Their most recent rematch was in Infinite Crisis, on a page added to the hardcover edition.
Courtney joins the Justice Society of America. After being given Starman Jack Knight's cosmic staff, she changes her identity to Stargirl. Courtney appears in most issues of JSA and it is in these pages that her half sister Patricia Dugan is born.
Later, she confronts her predecessor's killer, Solomon Grundy. Driven further into madness by the Joker's chemical assault, Grundy attacks the JSA headquarters with the head of the Statue of Liberty. With the aid of Jakeem Thunder, Courtney fights Grundy in the streets and into the sewers below. The young heroes barely defeat Grundy. Jakeem's Thunderbolt repairs the Statue. Grundy later develops an obsession with Courtney.
Courtney encounters Merry Pemberton, the sister of the original Star-Spangled Kid. Merry's concerns about her brother's legacy and about young superheroes battling adults causes friction with Courtney. They resolve their differences during a battle against the forces of Klarion the Witch Boy. Courtney later saves Merry's life during an attack by 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 later 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 hints at having a crush on Robin (Tim Drake), a concept that was not developed in subsequent issues.
Courtney briefly dates fellow JSA member Captain Marvel, who, in his secret identity of Billy Batson, is the same age as she. To outsiders, however, Captain Marvel is by all appearances an adult, and the relationship between Marvel and Stargirl draws criticism from Jakeem Thunder and Jay Garrick. After Garrick confronts them, Marvel leaves the JSA and Courtney, instead of revealing his secret to the team. Marvel later returns to the JSA and explains that the Wisdom of Solomon prevents him from revealing his secret identity.
A glimpse into the future shows an adult "Starwoman" married to Albert Rothstein, the JSA member known as Atom Smasher.
JSA/JSA and Black Vengeance
Courtney's family is murdered by agents of Per Degaton. She travels with the rest of the JSA to 1951. The Modern Age successors to Golden Age JSA members meet and fight alongside the originals to save her family and the future. She finds herself forced to work with Atom Smasher again, for the first time since he defected to Black Adam's rival team. Afterward, she forgives him, but Atom Smasher is nearly killed by the Spectre. He survives, but the event reveals the depth of Courtney's feelings for him. She returns to her own time to find her family alive again.
Later, Atom Smasher is tried and convicted for his actions while working for Black Adam. During a TV appearance, Courtney says that with Al in prison, she would "be there for him... no matter how long it takes."
Courtney is approached by the Shade, who tells her that her biological father is dead. This tragedy and her experience of the relationship between Liberty Belle and Jesse Quick prompts her to re-evaluate her family life. She discovers that she can't hate her biological father for his failings as a father and as a man. She also learns to accept Pat Dugan as her only real father figure.
Stargirl becomes part of a coalition consisting of the JSA, the Doom Patrol and the Teen Titans that is organized to stop Superboy-Prime from destroying Smallville. 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 died in the Crisis.
Afterwards, she begins attending college. She has altered her equipment: her rod now telescopes into a small cylinder, and her costume and belt materialize as the rod extends to full size.
"One Year Later"
Courtney joins the new roster of the Justice Society and fights without S.T.R.I.P.E.'s assistance.
A seasoned hero despite her age, she forges a bond with her young teammate Cyclone, the eager and over-impulsive granddaughter of the first Red Tornado. They bond after witnessing the death of Mister America. Courtney suggests Cyclone create a new superhero costume and name. She resumes her role of mentorship for the youngest heroes by helping Jefferson Pierce's daughter, Jennifer, cope with her powers and her isolation. Courtney later expresses to Damage her doubts about Gog.
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.
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.
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. 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".
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.
The New 52
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Stargirl appears as part of a new Justice League of America title. 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.
Over the years Courtney has been careless with her secret identity. Many of her school friends and some villains are aware of her identity; she admits this during the Identity Crisis crossover. Courtney revealed her identity to her friend Mary moments into her first outing, before she decided to make a career of being a costumed hero. 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).
In other media
- 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 Arrow from some corrupted civilians and a brief appearance in the episode "Prophecy". This marks Stargirl's first appearance in a live-action format.
- Stargirl appears in the TV shows set in the Arrowverse:
- Stargirl appears on season two of The CW series Legends of Tomorrow, portrayed by Sarah Grey. In 1942, Stargirl and the rest of the Justice Society of America confront the time-travelling Legends team in 1942, whom the JSA initially views as enemies. Stargirl and the rest of her team (excluding Vixen and Obsidian) go missing in 1956 during a mission in which everyone was assumed to have been killed in action. Instead, she escaped to the sixth century where she used a fragment of the Spear of Destiny to create the court of Camelot, with herself as Merlin.
- A version of Stargirl also appears in the Elseworlds crossover. She is shown along with many other dead superheroes of Earth-90 that were killed during some sort of Crisis-like conflict involving the Monitor. Only Flash of that Earth survived.
- A 13-episode television series based on the character Stargirl, titled Stargirl, has been ordered by DC Universe for release in early 2020. Brec Bassinger will be playing the character.
- Courtney Whitmore appears as Stargirl in Justice League Unlimited, voiced by Giselle Loren. She and her partner S.T.R.I.P.E. have a speaking role in the episode "Chaos at the Earth's Core". In that story, Stargirl is childishly jealous of Supergirl's fame. But in the resulting adventure in Skartaris, the girls come to an understanding. Stargirl also appears in the episode "Patriot Act", where she and other non-metahuman Justice League members were trying to stop the mutated General Wade Eiling from rampaging through Metropolis. In this story, Stargirl reveals that she has no inherent powers and all of her special abilities come from her staff, and she takes the original Star-Spangled Kid's place in the symbolic and unofficial reformation of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. Stargirl gets badly injured but survived the incident and flashes a smile when she is loaded into an ambulance. Stargirl makes non-voiced appearances in "Epilogue" fighting the Royal Flush Gang, and later with S.T.R.I.P.E. in the series finale "Destroyer" in helping repel the invasion of Earth by Darkseid's forces. 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 "Chaos at the Earth's Core" does refer to Dugan as her stepfather.
- Courtney Whitmore appears in the teaser segment of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Hope Levy. In the episode "Cry Freedom Fighters!", 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.
- Stargirl appears in the Cartoon Network show Justice League Action, voiced by Natalie Lander. She appears in the episode "Field Trip", on which she, Firestorm and Blue Beetle are given by Superman a tour of the Fortress of Solitude until they run afoul of General Zod, Faora and Quex-Ul when they are accidentally released from the Phantom Zone. Stargirl is also shown through the episode to have a girly interest in a red cat-like alien which inhabits the Fortress' Zoo, which she refers to as an "Alien Kitty". Sometimes she will ride her staff like a broom similar to Samantha Stephens from Bewitched.
- Stargirl appears in Young Justice: Outsiders voiced by Whitney Moore. In this show, Courtney Whitmore is the host of Goode World Studios.
- Stargirl makes a cameo appearance in Injustice: Gods Among Us. There is a statue of her outside the Hall of Justice.
- Stargirl appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Tara Strong.
- Stargirl appears as a playable character in Infinite Crisis, voiced by Natalie Lander.
- Rogers, Vaneta (May 8, 2009). "Looking Back at JSA with Geoff Johns". Newsarama.
- Johns, Geoff; Goyer, David (w), McKone, Mike (p), Faucher, Wayne (i), Kalisz, John (col), Hathaway, Kurt (let), Tomasi, Peter (ed). "A Star is Born" JSA All Stars 4 (October 2003), DC Comics
- JSA #48. In this issue, Stargirl meets a temporarily powerless Billy Batson, and each learns that the other is sixteen years old.
- JSA #81 (March 2006)
- 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
- Justice Society of America #1, (2008)
- Justice Society of America #3, (2008). DC Comics.
- Justice Society of America #12, (2008)
- Justice Society of America: The Kingdom one-shot, (2008). DC Comics.
- Final Crisis #1–5. DC Comics.
- Justice Society of America vol. 3 #23 (January 2009). DC Comics.
- Justice Society of America vol. 3 #26 (April 2009). DC Comics.
- Justice Society of America vol. 3 #27 (May 2009). DC Comics.
- Justice Society of America vol. 3 #28 (June 2009). DC Comics.
- JSA All-Stars vol. 2 #1. DC Comics.
- "New Details on GEOFF JOHNS JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Series".
- Eric Goldman (2009-10-19). "Exclusive: Two of Smallville's Justice Society". IGN. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- Bucksbaum, Sydney (July 23, 2016). "Comic-Con: Legends of Tomorrow to Tackle Legion of Doom Villain Team In Season 2". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Patten, Dominic (July 19, 2018). "Geoff Johns To Write & Produce Stargirl Series For DC Universe – Comic-Con". Deadline. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
- Webb Mitovich, Matt (March 29, 2019). "DC Universe Reveals Stargirl Costume, Sets Swamp Thing Premiere Date". TV Line. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
- Byrne, Craig (September 20, 2018). "Stargirl: Brec Bassinger Cast As Courtney Whitmore". KSiteTV. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
- "Field Trip". Justice League Action.
- Vick, Megan (January 4, 2019). "Young Justice: Outsiders Is Now Streaming On DC Universe". ComicBook. Retrieved January 4, 2019.