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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 90

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at the first storyline of James Robinson and Tony Harris’ Starman…
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Enjoy!

This was one of the stories that made our Top 100 Storylines list last year! It took place in Starman #0 and then #1-3.

One of the scarce good things that came out of Zero Hour was the new Starman ongoing title by James Robinson.

In Zero Hour, the original Starman, Ted Knight, is basically put out of commission. So his son, David, takes over for him…

and is promptly murdered…

Now the mantle falls to Ted’s youngest son, Jack, who wants nothing to do whatsoever with being a superhero. But at the same time, he is not such a jerk that he would not want to protect his father, who is under attack from his old foe, The Mist. It is The Mist’s son who killed David.

The Mist’s daughter, is sympathetic to Jack, and helps him escape from the Mist’s clutches early on.

Later on, though, when Jack is forced into battle, the Mist’s daughter ends up taking a different outlook on life.

This story also introduced probably the most notable character in Robinson’s Starman – the home of Starman, Opal City.

Opal City is a unique city in the DC Universe, filled with mysterious and intriguing characters. We’re introduced to a few of them in this opening story, the O’Dare family, and we’re re-introduced to the Shade, a former “super-villain,” who is now something far more complex. The Shade becomes one of the most popular characters in the entire Starman series. Here is the Shade with the Mist…

This was one of the most striking opening arcs of any comic book series in the 1990s, especially superhero books from the “Big Two,” and while Robinson’s character-based writing was a key part of that, so, too, was the moody and evocative artwork of Tony Harris and Wade von Grawbadger.

Their design of Jack Knight particularly is absolutely brilliant – he manages to have perhaps THE most unique superhero costume of the 90s.

This great opener foretold many great later issues of one of DC’s most popular series of the 1990s.

23 Comments

Aw, no sample pages for us to look at? I enjoyed the heck out of this series, and would love to see at least some of the pages again.

I figure people know it enough not to need sample pages, but tell ya what, Craig, just for you, I’ll add in some sample pages!

You’re a pal, B.C.!

I would also appreciate some sample pages, Brian! Actually seeing the series would help me determine whether or not I want to track it down, and if it’s as good as you say…

Wow, this looks like one of those gems I missed out on when I was too busy stocking up on spawn and random x-books….I’m definitely going to check this out…..

on an unrelated note; is that a stargate behind him on the cover?

Ooo, today’s cool comic should be Cry for Justice!

This is James Robinson prior to his return to comics, so it’s far superior to his Cry for Justice work. (He’s done approximately one good book since his return to comics, in my opinion, and ironically that would be his Blackest Night Starman issue…)
They are currently re-releasing the entire Starman series in hardcover with the Starmen Omnibus. I have the first three volumes now (just cracking open the third volume tonight), and I believe the fourth volume has already been released (though I’ve been known to be wrong). This is among Robinson’s finest works, if not his best. (Depending on the day of the week for me… other days, I might say Golden Age was better…)
To me, this was a top notch series from start to finish. This particular arc sucked me right into this world. And while I tend to like my superheroes in costumes, Robinson’s take on Jack as the “reluctant hero” is one of the better examples of that archtype. This first arc laid some tremendous groundwork, particularly the opening with David’s death, who remains a prominent character throughout the series even though he is dead and remains dead.
I highly recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

Actually, this was from a period when I wasn’t reading comics, so I had only known James Robinson as the author of Cry for Justice.

Are they really the same man?

The fourth Starman Omnibus is indeed out. And the fifth is scheduled for later this year.

All right, Brian, these sample pages sold me. I’ll be making room for this series some time soon!

DAmn, Ive always wanted to pick up the Omibi but They are so expensive! Ive got to get a job….

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 1, 2010 at 6:19 pm

This is and was a damn good series.

I wonder what’s the status of the SHADE mini-series that Robinson was supposed to do after STARMAN ended.

Still, a damn good series.

was hoping starman would pop up on this list . and the begining of the series. at that . the mist looks like he is showing signs of demnetia when the shade corrects him. as for the shade series . who knows maybe it could always pop up some day even though Robison has said he is done with star man he said all he wanted to say.

Starman is fantastic. I just published my top 10 list of James Robinson comics series, and Starman is right at the top:

http://blog.newsok.com/nerdage/2010/04/01/top-10-james-robinson-comic-book-series/

Great series, everyone should seek it out.

Tom, it seems like I remember reading that Robinson talked recently about doing that SHADE series — maybe at the Emerald City Comicon?

along with sandman, preacher, y, fables, transmet, promethea, hitman, spectre, astro city, and bone, this is unquestionably one of the greatest “one writer” series ever. just a masterwork from start to finish, and it becomes more and more apparent how influential it was as the years pass.

funkygreenjerusalem

April 2, 2010 at 4:42 am

Now that you’ve brought it into the mix, I don’t know how you can keep Cool Comics going without doing ever arc!

And heck, certain single issues – Bobo Benetti’s appearence for instance!

Loved that jump on issue.

There are two James Robinsons. Archie Goodwin-edited James Robinson (the guy above) and post-Archie Goodwin James Robinson (the guy from Gay For Justice). Only the first is worth reading.

I found even the second half of the Starman series weak, but I know I’m on the minority here (I am right, though). Gave up on Robinson long before he came back to comics.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

For me that would be a Top Three list and then I’d be at a loss, Matt, but they’d be the same as your top three.

Glad you enjoyed it, buttler!

Starman was definitely a favorite of mine, and it led me to seeking out a lot of other early James Robinson work.

funkygreenjerusalem

April 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm

I found even the second half of the Starman series weak, but I know I’m on the minority here (I am right, though).

Nah, your wrong.
So wrong it’s embarrassing!

It was just different at the end, but it needed to be – the character was different after what he had gone through.

Where did I complain about the character? The character was fine. The stories where he was on were terrible.

The first two major story arcs on Starman where intricately plotted and captivating. The ones going from the space journey right to the ending were dumb, uninteresting and anticlimatic.

Jack Knight’s character WAS consistent througout. As was his decision on the ending (which I won’t spoil). But what good is that when everything around him had become a friggin’ Michael Bay movie?

The seeds of what James Robinson would become were there. I’m sorry if I was the only one to notice that.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

For me that would be a Top Three list and then I’d be at a loss, Matt, but they’d be the same as your top three.

You must have not read Blades (which deserves to be way way higher than 9 on that top ten).

Damn – that Anonymous was me

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