Justice Society Presents: Starman Chronicles

Return to Opal City with James Robinson’s and Tony Harris’ Starman! Chris and Cindy Franklin bring their coverage from the Super Mates podcast to its new home on Justice Society Presents! This episode they cover Starman Annual #1, Starman #28, and the special jumping-on issue, Starman #29, featuring the adventures of Jack and Ted Knight, Mikaal Tomas, and Prince Gavyn!

Previous Starman Chronicles installments can be found in these episodes of Super Mates, also available at fireandwaterpodcast.com: #27, 32, 42, 49, 55, 68, 73, 79.

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This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK

Clip credits:

Swing Time Music by Pedro

27 responses to “Justice Society Presents: Starman Chronicles

  1. Wonderful return to Opal City! Thank you Chris and Cindy for keeping the torch of the Cosmic Rod lit!!

    Loved the coverage of these issues! If I heard you right, you mentioned in the future the O’Dare family line lives on, but the name had been changed to simply “Dare”. If so, this is probably a nod to “Dan Dare”. A popular British comic sci-fi hero of the 1950s.

    Welcome back to Opal City!

      1. I love Dan Dare; an iconic British comic book hero. I have a couple of my Dad’s original 1950s Eagle annuals in my collection. James Robinson undoubtedly knew of the character- no idea if the (O’)Dares in Starman were his tribute to the Colonel.
        This was a really enjoyable show – thanks to Cindy & Chris for their enthusiastic retelling of these issues. It reminded me of how great these books are, and how much I enjoyed reading Starman back in the day. I haven’t gone back to the series for years, so I must pull the issues out and relive my early comic-reading days!

  2. I am so happy this show is back! And you touched on one of my favorite issues aka the one that gave us “Bobo” Bennetti. It’s simple and it introduces us to a really fun character in the series. I’ve always wanted original pages from this series and if I had the money to buy it, I would LOVE to own the page Ace misses the swing he takes at Bobo, and we see Bobo under him about to land some truly devastating punches to Ace’s gut! Whenever I read this, I always hear Mickey Rourke in my head when I read Bobo. I’ve been doing this since before Sin City. Whenever I think about a live action version of Starman or even this issue, I picture Rourke as Bobo, John Cusack as Jack, and even though he’s not really in the issue, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see Richard E. Grant play The Shade. The guy who plays him on Stargirl is good, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve always had it in my head that Richard E. Grant embodies everything I think of when I think of Shade.

    Also, I feel so bad for Jack when he gets the letter from Nash. He’s gotta deal with someone who hates him sending him a letter, which is unsettling on its own, but then you find out you’re not only a father but now your child is gonna be raised to hate you…that’s a lot to take in!

    You both made my day when you put out the episode and it didn’t disappoint. Totally worth the wait!


    1. Thanks Jose! We appreciate the support, as we know you’ve been waiting a long time for us to get back to this.

      I like your casting! Re-reading it today, I kept seeing and hearing Josh Brolin as Bobo/Jake. He even kind of looked like his version of Cable from Deadpool 2. But Rourke definitely works! I like John Cussack as Jack and YES, Richard E. Grant as The Shade! Cindy and I REALLY enjoyed Jonathan Cake’s portrayal of the Shade on Stargirl, but Richard E. Grant is fantastic in EVERYTHING, and he stole the show as old comic book Loki on the Disney Plus series.


      1. Josh Brolin as Bobo you say…? You know, that’s just crazy enough to work. I can see it, especially when you said Cable from Deadpool 2.

        I know there’s always been this rumor that Robinson always wanted James Cromwell as Ted Knight if they ever did a movie or TV show, and I can totally see that. If I was casting David Knight, I’d probably go with Ed Norton, especially if this was done in the nineties. There’s probably better actors for David, but I always hear Norton in my head when reading it. And just for good measure, throw in Doug Jones as Elongated Man. I always thought he’d make an amazing Ralph.

        And yes, I love what Jonathan Cake is doing with The Shade on Stargirl!

      2. All of the strong young female characters in the Stargirl series, and my daughters favorite character is The Shade. I hope this doesn’t mean that she’s developing an interest in older men with questionable backgrounds. Seriously though, I like the sophisticated cool factor that Cake brought to the role.

  3. I am so glad to hear this show back again! I avoided Starman when it came out because Jack’s look annoyed me, but when I read the trades years later I couldn’t get enough of it! It gets compared to Sandman a lot, but I think in terms of consistent quality of every arc, Starman actually beats Sandman. I hope the two of you keep showing up in this podcast with more Starman!

  4. Really enjoyed the show, as I did some of your early Supermates episodes dedicated to this series, even though I haven’t (yet?) read any of the series. I was interested in this one in particular because the Starman Annual features my favorite character to bear the name, Prince Gavyn. Although I had known about the Golden Age/Earth 2 Starman, Gavyn’s stories in Adventure were the first Starman stories I’d ever read, so he’s always been “my” Starman. And yes, the red and yellow costume is so much (*so, so much*) better than the plain blue one Starlin drew for him in that otherwise quite good issue of DC Comics Presents. It just goes to show that if Ditko designs a costume, you shouldn’t mess with it.
    Anyway, I tend to agree with your overall assessment of the Dead Earth Annuals – I’m a big fan of Elseworlds-type stories, but all of the Dead Earth annuals I managed to read (four of them) were disappointing. The Starman Annual you covered in the show sounds pretty solid, though.
    Again, great show – nice to hear the Supermates back in action.

    1. Edo, run, don’t walk, to get some Starman to start reading! I swear you won’t be disappointed. I don’t think anyone who likes super heroes in the least will ever be disappointed by the series. And I think those who don’t really care for them but like legacy stories will dig it too. But thanks for listening regardless!

      Gavyn’s legacy becomes very important down the line. Wait until we get to the very long “Stars My Destination” storyline, and you’ll see what we mean!

  5. Impressive podcast most impressive. Using the Dragon type and talk software again this time. My keyboard is still on the fritz. I’m not thrilled with the way the shade looks on the cover. Still the comic is pretty good. The artwork is well done. I always liked Brett Blevins, artwork though I know him mostly from new mutants, sleepwalker and something he did for caliber comics. Cameron with that last one was. This looks decent enough. The stories tragic but it is what it is. The Ted Knight story is good enough. Williams art has changed a lot over the years. Then again it might be the inker. I don’t see the Prairie witch is being Afro-American. She just looks like a typical Italian white woman. Other than her one henchmen having a face paint that is used in art to signify a witch doctor. They just look like a bizarre rogues gallery. Maybe the story with one point was supposed to happen in New Orleans. Though that too would make sense as to why she’s called the Prairie witch. The cop working with him is okay. The alcoholism as well what it is. It’s a thing that people unfortunately go through. So it’s finest interested in the story. It is odd that storm and doesn’t think it’s real magic.

    After all he has seen a lot of things within the DC universe. The framing art does look cool. Though it is too bad they never did the samurai story. At this point. Having seen Robinsons Scarlet witch run. I I’m not so sure I want to read his current work. It was great on this series. It recently he’s had some issues. With his storytelling. The 70 story is decent enough. More than likely the white suit with a black shirt was a look that was already used. Most movies take their look from a trend that is are you become successful elsewhere. So either the producers of staying alive or John Travolta saw it somewhere probably at studio 54. I’m pretty sure star man had no sexual thought about his villain. Though Craig Hamilton does tend to draw his characters in suggestions poses. Which might make one think that. But, judging from the fact in his villain is dying from a sexually transmitted disease. The last thing on Star man’s mine is wanting to have sex with him. At least I hope that’s last on his mind. As in No. Maybe the drug addiction had more to do with it. Him taking the drugs to hide from him being bisexual. A took them to avoid it. Maybe Robinson knew someone who had done that.

    I haven’t read the this series so I can’t say. But, I’m pretty sure at no point we be thinking sexual about someone he knows has a sexually transmitted disease. Also I’m glad they change this outfit. This was not a good look for this version of star man. Still the artwork is pretty good. I like Craig Hamilton’s art work. Through to be truthful I thought this was drawn by Philip Craig Russell. And that the inking had just altered it a bit. It does look like a version of his art style. The last story is decent enough. Though I like Harrises artwork better on Ex Machina. The three storm in working together was more interesting to me however. Even though in some of these images the star man looks like he’s losing his hair. As for how homegirl used him to impregnate herself. As disgusting as that is. Her taking him by force that way. There is a Rohypnol. Again as disgusting as that is. She may have used that to make him still er” function.” So she can have that child for her nefarious purposes. Which is just freaking weird. Any rate can’t wait to hear the next episode.

    1. Yeah, you would think Mikaal wouldn’t be thinking in a sexual direction with a guy who just told him he had herpes. But I stand by my theory, due to the panel where he says “With many of my couplings the morning brings a shy embarassed aftertaste. They leave quietly. Or I. This stark game of heat and skin and against skin is no different.”. He’s comparing their battle to sex…even if he really shouldn’t at this point!

      Good call on the art in that issue looking a lot like P. Craig Russell.

  6. Great episode Chris and Cindy! I was a late comer to Starman, having not picked it up until halfway through the run, then scrambling for back issues and trades. I eventually was able to secure the hardcover omnibi and re-read them all in 2020 during lockdown. Overall a great series. And you guys hit on one of the things I really liked about this series (and some of Robinson’s other work) which was its incorporation into the broader DCU without being overt. Like the references to Talos and the old version of Martian Manhunter (not to mention utilizing all of the prior Starmen). I also agree with you Chris that most of the Legends of the Dark Earth annuals were pretty bad with this one being an exception.

    I also love the cover to 29. I remember the gut punch the first time I read this issue when Jack and Ted are reading the letter from Mist. Robinson set that up brilliantly, and to have it in this jumping on issue was masterful. Whew. Still makes me shudder this day.

    1. Better late than never, Paul! I think Starman is just a great evergreen read. And because it had an actual ending that DC has yet to truly muck with, it’s the perfect kind of book to make a brief commitment to. A very rewarding one, at that!

  7. The more I think about it the more i like the idea of the Doom Patrol being around before THe JLA The people in dP WERE not really comfortable with supertypes but then that’s not really STARMAN’S WORLD is it? Peole love the JSA

    1. I guess if the JSA was retired, or mostly retired, the gloss of the super hero life may have faded by the time the Doom Patrol was formed. I think the DP were shown to be active by the time the JLA formed in JLA: Year One too, so I guess in the mid-90s, it was just a given that’s how the timeline worked out. At least for some writers!

  8. workable but then i’ve always wondered why bookstores in superhero universes arent literred with books on superheroes.
    Anyway my REAL point is everybody tell dc i’m a wheelchair user that love Doom Patrol No peace until chief admits he built robot man to help him get to the bathroom!

  9. I missed out on Starman when it was first published. About ten years later, when I was tracking down JSA appearances that I had missed, I picked up the relevant Starman issues. This led me to get a few of the TPB collections, which led to the Omnibus editions. I had never read the last story arc, as I knew what Ted’s fate was and I didn’t want to get there in a hurry. Then, in the summer of 2020 I had plenty of time for reading! I devoured the Starman Omnibus books beginning to end! I have some quibbles with some of it, but I really enjoyed most of it, and I think the stuck the ending perfectly. So, now I am ready for to enjoy, and participate, in the Franklin View!
    The only thing I’ll contribute to discussions of the stories covered in this podcast is the name change of O’Dare to Dare. It’s not that unusual, and it needn’t take thousands of years. My maternal great-grandfather was a Donovan. Only one or two generations earlier, the family name was O’Donovan. That was in the 1800s in Ireland. (My paternal grandfather kept his O’ and I’ve still got it!) What is unusual is the unbroken direct family lineage of the O’Dares. We are to believe that hundreds of generations of O’Dare males sired O’Dare males with no interruption? Right. Cosmic rods and immortal dandies are easier to comprehend!

    1. I don’t think there are any O’Franklins in our ancestry, but who knows? Apparently the “O” in “O’Dare” got lost in space somewhere.

      Seems like the (never-ending) pandemic was a great time for folks to start reading Starman! Speaking of binging, I maintain that it would have made an EXCELLENT streaming show, now on HBO Max. As much as I enjoy the Stargirl show, I kind of hate that it means we’ll never get a Starman series, at least anytime soon.

      As for Ted’s fate…oh man. That’s going to be rough to cover. I have a deep personal connection with that story. I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.

      1. It is quite common for people to change their names to sound less “ethnic”. When my people, the Acadians, were deported to the 13 Colonies (among other places), many translated their names to fit in (our good friend Bass is a Levesque, some of whom became Bishops in the US, many LeBlanc became White, etc.). I would imagine there’s an O’Dare who decided he needed to sound less Irish.

  10. I’m glad that the Starman Chronicles are back, and I’m looking forward to the next issue.

    Thanks for a remarkable episode.

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