Fire & Water #234 – Whatever Happened To…? Starman/The Black Pirate

Shag & Rob discuss the final installments of  the classic “Whatever Happened To…?” back-up feature from DC Comics Presents! First up is the only full-length WHT story, “Whatever Happened to Starman?” from DCCP #36 by Paul Levitz and Jim Starlin, followed by “Whatever Happened to The Black Pirate” from DCCP #48 by Roy Thomas and Alfredo Alcala!

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12 responses to “Fire & Water #234 – Whatever Happened To…? Starman/The Black Pirate

  1. Aloha Rob and Shag. Another blast from my past. I bought this and DCCP #37 off the spin rack in the Summer of 1981. I enjoyed the Starman story then and feel the same about it now. It’s entertaining, has great art, and that brawl between Mongul and Superman top notch. Keep up your great work guys and congratulations on completing your project. Regards Dion.

  2. Wonderful show, gentlemen. I was always fond of the Whatever Happened To? feature in DCCP and this was a nice send-off. The stories you picked as favorites, esp. the Johnny Thunder feature, also stick in my memory as personal favorites. Personally, a character I would have liked to see in one of those features was the original (Ma Hunkel) Red Tornado.

    A few things: no disrespect to any of the other artists who handled Mickey comics, but I think Floyd Gottfredson is considered Mickey Mouse’s Carl Barks.
    Also, I have to say that I not only *loved* the Starman story in DCCP #36, but I also really loved the original Starman feature in Adventure – I liked both it and the Plastic Man stories equally.

    Otherwise, I never noticed the little image of Thanos on that panel that Shagg mentioned – of course, I haven’t actually read the comic in years. And now that I look at it on your gallery page, I’m thinking that the other faces there are probably also characters from other comics or other works of fiction or pop culture in general – there’s a few who look familiar but I can’t put my finger on who they’re supposed to be. However, the guy just above Mongul’s head bears a suspicious resemblance to a certain leader of the Third Reich…

  3. Glad you guys were able to check the box on this series and complete it. Nicely done.

    I also bought those Adventure Comics off the shelf, mostly for the Plastic Man stories. Interestingly enough, it was the Aquaman stories I breezed through. But Starman was my first prolonged dive into Ditko and at the time I thought it was odd. But the politics of this empire, who succeeded who, and why, a family member thought dead getting powers to try and wrest control back … it was like kiddy Dune before adolescent Anj discovered real Dune. I loved it.

    I always thought the M’ntorr character was pronounced Mentor, because he was teaching Prince Gavyn about the universe, you know like a mentor. And the shepherd’s staff was M’ntorr’s. That sort of guidance feeling to that character made the crook a nice touch.

    As for Whatever happened to
    Fave – Crimson Avenger
    Surprising – Rex. It takes a lot to make a Grinch like me well up. But seeing Rex in his astronaut booties warmed my heart.
    Worst – Ra-Man (page after page of a cat walking through alleys?)

    Most in need of one – Ironwolf. Yes, I am letting my Chaykin flag fly. But that was another series of political intrigue on a galactic level, of rebels trying to beat a fascist empire, and it had vampires, space pirate ships, and drugs. Perfect!

    Thanks again! Great stuff!

  4. Congrats on finishing a sub-series, fellas! Talk of Starman and Black Pirate rub salt in my wounds that Cindy and I haven’t touched the Robinson Starman series in over a year. Wow. We really need to get back to that.

    I didn’t have the Starman issue as a kid, and I only picked it up relatively recently, so I didn’t get my mind blown by the conclusion of the Mongul saga. And I have to say I like Gavyn’s original outfit better. I think it’s because the blue makes him look like a less interesting Booster Gold. Nice catch on the Thanos cameo!

    I did pick up the DCCP with the Black Pirate feature. I was instantly in love with this character because of this one story! I just loved his simple design, the “pirate Batman and Robin” motif with his son, and Alcala’s moody art, which I was also seeing regularly in the Masters of the Universe mini-comics packed in with my He-Man figures! I was very excited when he appeared in Who’s Who, All-Star Squadron, and much later, Starman.The Black Pirate was co-created by longtime Batman artist Sheldon Moldoff, who was a far better, illustrative artist than his years of apeing Bob Kane would leave you to believe. So Alcala synchs up well with the original strip.

    My favorite WHT story is definitely The Crimson Avenger. I agree with Rob, it’s one of the best super hero stories EVER. Also one of the few stories I owned in both the original format, AND the digest at the time. And I didn’t mind seeing it again, just a few months later! Least favorite is Prince Ra-Man. I couldn’t even follow that thing. Oy.

    As for good characters for the series, what about some of the Teen Titans characters not being used in the red hot NTT title by Wolfman and Perez at the time? It was DC’s top selling book, so tying into it with stories about Mal Duncan, Bumblebee, Golden Eagle, Harlequin, and even OG Bat-Girl would have been a good way to give DCCP some heat. And hey, the NTT STARTED in DCCP!

    Chris

  5. Who should have had a Whatever Happened to story told?

    The Aquaman of Earth-Two. Shag agrees!

    Did he marry Eeras, the red haired queen of Atlantis? Did he merge with his Earth-One twin in Aquaman #30, only to perish in that tale? Did he encounter the Masters of Neptunia, the golden age inspiration of the Masters of the Universe from the pages of golden age Wonder Woman???

  6. Hey, you accidentally covered a comic I own. The shock almost killed me.

    I was a huge Robinson/Starman fan and was at a con back in the 90’s and hunted down as much of the legacy Starman appearances as I could find (not the Payton ones, Shag, I bought them as they came out). Stuff like the First Issue Special one, the first few Gavyn ones and this DC Comics Presents. This one was cool. Thanks for covering it!

  7. I was really into Starlin’s cosmic characters over in Marvel, when I first started reading comics on a regular basis. Therefore, I’m quite curious about this Starman story, especially since this is the version of Starman with which I’m the least familiar. I’m always up for some cosmic-level political intrigue and mayhem.

    Also, congrats on completing your coverage of “Whatever Happened To…?” May you long bask in the warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishment that you so richly deserve.

    Finally, I can confirm that my daughter and I will be dragging my wife up to FAN EXPO Boston on Aug 17. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to put some unfamiliar faces to some familiar voices.

  8. Impressive pod cast. Most impressive. The costume does look cool. And I like seeing Star Man team with Super Man. And I like Jim Starlin’s art on it. How bizarre would a Super Man comic written and drawn by him? Though it could be fun. Oh did I mention I have a U tube channel? Liz Anne Oswalt. Happy 4th. Sad we don’t see more of this version of Star Man. I saw more of the Blue skinned Star Man and the 90s one. And the one whom was the first Star Man’s son. W And was cool to see Mongal as the villain.

    Since he seems like an under used villain. Since more folks would like to go with Dark Side when using a powerful villain like that.

  9. Nice episode and yes, congrats on finishing your sub-series.

    I never took to Starman in Adventure Comics, but this story was far more compelling… I suppose linking Gavyn to the DCU upped my interest. Barring the ceremonial furry cape, I loved the tweaked costume, I’m a big fan of dark blue – I don’t believe Starlin really wanted this to be the last story, else why the cool redesign. The red costume wasn’t bad but those stars on the torso… too, too drag queen.

    Brilliant spot on Thanos, Shagg. It’s so long since I read that issue that I can’t say whether I noticed him; I expect I did, being rather brilliant etc.

    Daft typo in that ‘Superman makes the scene’ panel – too ‘not’ to handle? There’s also a mistake in that Black Pirate panel that tells us Justin and Jon’s cloaks are ‘waving proudly’… Jon ain’t got no cloak. Mind, the Alcala/Gafford art is just lovely. Alcala also contributed some fine work on Arak,a great series few talk about. As for the story, it was a nice read, nothing remarkable.

    As for faves, like everyone I really liked the WHT Crimson Avenger story, but I must speak up for the Mark Merlin/Prince Ra-Man tale. It was quirky, the narration was interestingly different, it resolved some things, featured Roy Raymond and had a sad ending. And a cat… how could anyone not love that. Oh, and how suave did Mark look in his dinner suit?

    It does lose points for apparently killing another pussy on-panel, though.

  10. Nice episode, guys! Now I have to hunt up as many issues as I can on the DCU app, or at least Rex the Wonder Dog. That sounds AMAZING!

    Superheroes with a shepherd’s crook. I immediately thought of Adam Warlock’s look starting in Infinity Gauntlet, with his eagle-topped staff, which is kinda like that. I can’t recall any others, but then I realized something which probably makes me the slowest turtle in the pond. Jack Knight’s cosmic staff looks like a shepherd’s crook! So was it modeled after Prince Gavyn’s? OMG! Turning in my nerd card now.

  11. Darn it, Shag! I was well on my way toward using the reality-bending powers of Wikipedia editing to convince the world that the original Marvel Comics series of The Transformers was never cancelled, and you have to go and spoil everything!

    There will be a reckoning. Just you wait….

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