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The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Starman
The Wednesday ClubThe Wednesday Club

The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Starman

The Wednesday Club is Geek & Sundry’s weekly talk show chatting about all things comics. On this week’s episode, hosts Matt KeyTaliesin Jaffe, and Amy Dallen talked Starman, one of DC Comics’ lesser known characters but no less fascinating than the superheroes you’re familiar with.

In the 1990s, after the earth-shattering Death of Superman and landmark Batman storyline Knightfall (in which Bruce Wayne’s back is broken by Bane), DC Comics was in the midst of a “grimdark” trend in the stories they were telling.

“They were trying to re-invent [characters]… and capture the energy of some of the indies that were coming up,” Amy said, “including their own in-house line at Vertigo, which was successfully taking old concepts and revamping and changing them.”

“They tried to build on a legacy by destroying a legacy,” Matt agreed.

“Then Starman happened in 1994,” Taliesin said.

“Starman was interesting in many, many ways,” he continued. “Starman came out of nowhere. This character I had never heard of (other than a movie that has nothing to do with this character), he doesn’t wear a costume, which was very unusual… He was obviously designed to appeal to the new generation of comic book readers. He was a hipster before we really knew what they were called.”

This week’s episode has just one major recommendation—the 1994-2001 run of Starman—and the hosts had plenty to say about it and its title character. (They also touched briefly on the related book Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.)

starmanGN

DC Comics’ Starman is actually Jack Knight, resident of Opal City and son of the Golden Age Starman Ted Knight. “Ted Knight is a really fascinating, fun, dumb World War II-era DC character,” said Taliesin. “He was a physicist, kind of an allegory to a superhero Einstein/Oppenheimer character… He’s often depicted as someone who had a lot of nervous breakdowns postwar, he didn’t feel good about what he did and how he acted.”

Ted Knight invented the cosmic rod, a handheld stick that absorbs cosmic radiation from stars, Taliesin explained. With the rod he gained the ability to fly and project blasts of energy. He was a member of the Justice Society of America before eventually retiring after the war.

Ted’s son, Jack, on the other hand, is not a nice guy. (“Hallmark of a 90s character!” said Matt.) His brother originally took on the mantle of Starman from his father, but was killed by a villain bent on revenge on his first night as a hero. Jack reluctantly becomes the next Starman.

“Part of the story is watching him in 80 issues, this boy who never grew up, eventually becoming a real, functioning adult,” Taliesin said.

The Starman ongoing series was written by James Robinson and illustrated by Tony Harris and various artists.

“I like to think of Starman as the personification of the 90s trying to find itself again,” said Taliesin.

THE DAILY WEDNESDAY

Did you know The Wednesday Club has their own letters column with questions and comments from viewers? Send in your thoughts, comic recommendations, questions, and more to Matt, Amy, and Taliesin at [email protected] and you might just see yourself on the next episode.

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Please mark your message “OK to read on air” so the hosts know what you’re comfortable with sharing.

MORE COMIC AWESOMENESS!

Hang out on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel and on Alpha every Wednesday night to catch the next spectacular episode of The Wednesday Club.

Featured/Starman Images: DC Comics

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