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. 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.

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 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 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.[3]

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.[4] 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[edit]

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."

Infinite Crisis[edit]

Main article: Infinite Crisis

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.[5] 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.[6]

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"[edit]

Courtney joins the new roster of the Justice Society, composed of legacy heroes, representing both Starman's and the Star-Spangled Kid legacies.[clarification needed] She now fights without S.T.R.I.P.E.'s assistance.[7]

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.[8] She resumes her role of mentorship for the youngest heroes by helping Jefferson Pierce's daughter, Jennifer, cope with her powers and her isolation.[9] Courtney later expresses to Damage her doubts about Gog.[10]

Around this time,[when?] 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.[clarification needed] 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.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13] 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".[14][15]

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.[16]

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.[17] 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 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).

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.
  • 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" [18] This marks Stargirl's first appearance in a live-action format.


  • 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.
  • 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. ^ 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
  4. ^ JSA #48. In this issue, Stargirl meets a temporarily powerless Billy Batson, and each learns that the other is sixteen years old.
  5. ^ JSA #81 (March 2006)
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Justice Society of America #1, (2008)
  8. ^ Justice Society of America #3, (2008)
  9. ^ Justice Society of America #12, (2008)
  10. ^ Justice Society of America: The Kingdom one-shot, (2008)
  11. ^ Final Crisis #1-5
  12. ^ Justice Society of America vol. 3 #23 (January 2009)
  13. ^ Justice Society of America vol. 3 #26 (April 2009)
  14. ^ Justice Society of America vol. 3 #27 (May 2009)
  15. ^ Justice Society of America vol. 3 #28 (June 2009)
  16. ^ JSA All-Stars vol. 2 #1
  17. ^
  18. ^ Eric Goldman (2009-10-19). "Exclusive: Two of Smallville's Justice Society - TV News at IGN". Retrieved 2011-01-28.