There is a lot of negative media surrounding different creators and some discussion, though not without a lot of productivity, on how to address this. It is difficult to separate the artist from the art, it is difficult to reconcile that a morally questionable human being created so many great characters, stories or concepts. It is also difficult to be a victim. Can we separate the artist from the work? Yes. We have discussions like this, explain how a work can have a positive influence, even if we do not share the same values or views as the creator, and discuss why someone’s actions can and should have consequences. Their names need not be repeated in order to still appreciate their output or discuss them. Balances can be found.
Star-Spankled Kid, aka Stargirl would debut in the late 1990s, on the popularity heels of another young, blonde woman taking on the mantle of a hero. Courtney Whitmore while young and inexperienced as a superhero was also more than capable of handing things on her own, yet perhaps did so better, with a little help from her friends. This was paired with some great underused Jerry Siegel concepts (Star Spangled Kid & Stripsey) and gave us a modern spin on the sidekick/hero dynamic, the struggles of being a popular teen, and dealing with a new step-parent. Courtney Whitmore did in fact fill a big need in the DC Comics slate at the time; a relatable, down to earth young super heroine (Robin filled that role well, but his experiences were far different living in Gotham). Characters like Supergirl had too much baggage, the majority of the Teen Titan females had become women in their own right, and any other attempt at female teen characters as headliners were mostly failures (Anima).
Coupled with art by Lee Moder, the adventures of the young Stargirl were illustrated in a more cartoony fashion that works well to appeal to fans of both comic books and animation alike. It was also a great showcase for Moder, who at this point had largely pencilled Legion-related titles with a large cast of characters. A trimmed down cast for this title resulted in Moder being able to flex his visual talents more, giving us some of his best work to date.
Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. as a title that would ultimately not last long. Cancelled due to low sales within in its second year, it would not prove to be either the writer or the character’s undoing. Both would get promoted to a new JSA title, one that further created uniqueness for Courtney’s character; here was a new legacy hero with strong Golden Age ties. Under subsequent writers, Courtney has not only grown into a capable woman, she has also become a hero and even a role model. It is under this current stewardship we can see how some good came from… something.
Contains: Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. 0-14 & more!