Fictional character history
The original Star-Spangled Kid was Sylvester Pemberton, a Golden Age character, created by Jerry Siegel, the co-creator of Superman. He became the Star-Spangled Kid in order to battle Nazism during World War II. He was unique in that he was a kid superhero who had an adult sidekick, Stripesy a.k.a. Pat Dugan. Both he and Dugan were superb acrobats along with having sufficient training in hand-to-hand combat, but the pair regularly bickered about which of them should get top billing.
Decades later, he changed his name to Skyman and led Infinity Inc.. He was killed when Harlequin III made Solomon Grundy touch Pemberton with Mister Bones's hand. Bones' cyanide touch killed him instantly.
Courtney is the stepdaughter of Pat Dugan. She finds Pemberton's gear in her stepfather's belongings and dons the Cosmic Converter Belt, with a costume of her own design. She begins her career as the second Star-Spangled Kid in order to annoy Dugan as partial revenge for him marrying her mother 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., an armored robot which he rides in to accompany and protect her. Eventually, she joins the JSA and, after being given Jack Knight's cosmic rod, changes her identity to Stargirl.
A third Star-Spangled Kid appears in Terror Titans #1 and is subsequently captured by the Terror Titans team for the Dark Side Club. The Star-Spangled Kid is forced to fight in a tournament against other meta-humans, going on to win the tournament. During the course of the storyline he appears to have a much stronger resistance to brainwashing than the other fighters, although he does eventually succumb. Later, it is revealed that he is the shape-shifting Miss Martian. She uses her immunity to the brainwashing to slowly free the other combatants.
In Kingdom Come, Alex Ross portrays a later Star-Spangled Kid (simply called Stars) as an African-American street kid wearing a leather jacket with an American flag bandana,and a T-shirt with an inverted American flag, using the cosmic rod in conjunction with the cosmic converter belt. He, too, is accompanied by a muscular older man in a striped shirt, this one called Stripes.
In other media
In Smallville, Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton) appeared in the season 9 episode Absolute Justice, where he contacts Chloe Sullivan and is later killed by Icicle's son after a brief fight. In the same episode, when Icicle (Cameron Mahkent) is fighting Stargirl, he asks her "Are you the new Star-Spangled Kid?" and she replies "It's Stargirl."
- Terror Titans #6 (2008)