Super Mates 68: Starman Chronicles Part 6

Chris and Cindy FINALLY return to Opal City for another installment of their Starman Chronicles series! This time it’s Starman #20-23, the “Sand and Stars” arc guest-starring the Golden Age Sandman! Plus, FW All-Star Ryan Daly fills us in on “The Mist” storyline from Sandman Mystery Theatre # 37-40, which features Ted Knight and the origins of The Mist! We finish up with YOUR listener feedback!

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Clip credits:

“Wedding March” from Flash Gordon by Queen

Selected tracks from The Flash (1990) TV series soundtrack by Danny Elfman and Shirley Walker

Selected tracks from The Rocketeer soundtrack by James Horner

Selected tracks from Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders soundtrack by Neal Hefti, Michael McQuiston, Lolita Ritmanis and Chris Karter

“Mister Sandman” by the Chordettes

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

“In Dreams” and “Sweet Dreams Baby” by Roy Orbison

“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics

“Mister Sandman” by Chet Atkins

31 responses to “Super Mates 68: Starman Chronicles Part 6

  1. Speaking of lack of editorial coordination between STARMAN and SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE for this crossover, you and I really should have worked harder to coordinate this. I say that because not only did you not read “The Mist” story arc before recording your segments, but I didn’t read “Stars and Sand” before recapping my segment. If I had, I would have highlighted certain elements of the story a lot more.

    I’m still listening to this episode, so expect me to come back with additional comments.

    1. It’s interesting that Jack considers Dian Belmont his favorite author. Dian doesn’t do a whole lot in “The Mist” story arc (which is unusual; she was typically very proactive and involved), but she does narrate certain parts. She’s in a transitional point in her life when she wants to do more, like work for her father or partner with her boyfriend. By the end of the SMT issue #40, she decides she wants to be a writer.

    2. The notion that Ted Knight didn’t like Wesley Dodds when they first met is sort of consistent between the two stories. They’re not antagonistic; it’s more like Ted underestimates Wesley and thinks he’s too much of a stiff for a woman like Dian.

    3. Sandman’s yellow and purple superhero costume did actually make an appearance in SMT… as a gag of sorts. Wesley wears that outfit to a costume ball in “The Hourman” story arc when he teams up with Rex Tyler, who also uses the costume party as pretense to don his hooded costume for the first time.

    (more to come…)

    1. Yeah, listening to it while editing, I realized we pretty much did the same thing the DC offices did: a crossover that was a bit clunky in its coordination. But hey, we don’t get paid for this stuff! They did. :-)

      1. Wow, another tie directly to this story, showing Dian went on to become a famous and well-regarded author. Again, why didn’t they make this crossover more apparent?

      2. Modern Ted says there’s “nothing there” between him and Wesley as true friends, but keep listening, and you’ll hear young Ted as Starman say something quite different. Very odd.

      3. Wow, nice! I had no idea about. I knew Rex showed up in the series, but I didn’t know it involved costumes.

      Thanks again for taking the time to break down “The Mist” for us!

      Chris

      1. The Hourman and Blackhawk appearances in Mystery Theater were real highlights in an already fantastic series

  2. 4. Oh yeah, Wesley and Dian had A LOT of sex throughout the series, including like three times just in “The Mist” story arc.

    I can’t imagine why I cut that out of my synopsis…

  3. 5. Smythe/The Mist’s Victorian Cross medal was a recurring visual image in “The Mist” but it’s never explicitly stated what it is or why it’s important to Smythe. It is clearly a medal for military service, and we’re told that Smythe fought in World War I for the Royal Canadian Army, but no more information is given. Sandman finds the medal on the floor of Smythe’s apartment at the very end of the story, after Smythe has been “misticized” by his own machine and flees to Opal City. I always assumed it would be explained in “Stars and Sand”.

    1. It was the McGuffin for the “Sins of the Child” story arc, which was the last big story before this one. There is a rather unexpected follow-up to it down the road in Starman as well.

      Chris

  4. I’m mad at myself–I had all this time to catch up on STARMAN, that way when you got back to your recaps I would be at the same place. And yet I didn’t.

    I’ve always liked The Mist as a villain. I don’t think I was very familiar with him until the classic JLA/JSA team-up in JLA #s 195-197. He mercilessly murders former associates and looks gleeful doing it. Really chilled the young me to the bone.

    1. For shame Rob Kelly. Now go read a Starman trade STAT!!!

      Same here on the Mist. I liked the fact that he went after Black Canary for revenge in that story as well, for her (or I guess her mother, we just didn’t know that yet) defeating him along with Starman back in those old B&B team-ups. Unfortunately I couldn’t find part 3 of that story for several years! The downside to newsstand distribution for sure.

      Chris

  5. Great show I believe that Ryan Daly gives the greatest synopsis of any podcast and I hope in future episodes Cindy smacks Chris it’s very entertaining also I love when Chris imitates the voices of famous people and comic book characters they should be done every time he appears on an episode of a fire and water network show you should be working in cartoons Chris I love your Solomon Grundy your Sean Connery and you’re Batman the voices you come up with are absolutely spectacular
    Keep up the good work and I’ll always be lessening super mates I look forward to it all the time

  6. Chris, Cindy and Ryan, I hate you all for doing this show without me. I read all these series as they came out and I even appear in the letters page of issue 20.

  7. FYI: For you Starman completists out there, Mikaal Tomas appears in the new issue of “Scooby Doo Team-Ups” # 24 featuring the Mystery Inc gang meeting Martian Manhunter. There’s a nice nod to that “hipster” Starman.

    The issue also has cameos from aliens Jemm, Son of Saturn, Ultra the Multi-Alien, Starfire, & even Zook (bonus points if you remember that last one!).

    On a slightly different topic, I know Robinson’s writing can be hit and miss, but I’d recommend his run on Superman from a few years back where Mon-El took center stage. With Mon-El now being Supergirl’s TV boyfriend that run might be of interest to some.

    I will be listening to the episode over the weekend!

  8. Hi Franklins! Well, you’ve got me now. Listening to your feedback section made me realize I have listened to all of those ‘casts! I guess I’m a regular! Especially now that I know you’re covering Starman. This is a favorite series of mine, but I came to it late. Please pardon the following flashback. I was not collecting new comics anymore when this series debuted. I would not have liked it then, anyway. I would not have had the patience to learn more about Jack, as I liked comics about guys like David. Round about the turn of the century, I decided to continue my hobby but with a specific focus. I would only collect comics with the JSA and pre-5LY Legion. This meant tracking down back issues to fill the gaps in my collection. Utilizing an internet search, I found out which comics in the dark times of the 90’s had appearances of the JSA, which led me to specific issues of Starman. I liked them, as they showed real respect for these heroes. So, I began buying, at below-cover prices, the TPBs. Later I found out about the Omnibus editions, and kind members of my family have made Christmas gifts of them to me! I only have the final one to read, and I want to savor the first time I’ll read the last story. So, in short, I’m a Starman fan.
    HOWEVER, I’m not a forgive-all-flaws fan! There have been many times that I have questioned, doubted, rebuked the author and illustrators as I read. It’s a very good comic book, but it is not a perfect comic book! So, Chris, I appreciate your critiques of this story. It does have flaws, but I’d like to address a couple of points that you both made. 1.) Ted’s relationship with Wes. I think this is all P.O.V. Who is telling the story? Always keep in mind that the narrator, if not an omniscient one, may be unreliable. 2.) Jack’s reaction to Wes’s revelation regarding Ted and Dinah. First, we do not see Jack’s expression while Wes is talking. Maybe he looked shocked off-panel. Secondly, the revelation is not one directly about Jack’s mother. Jack already knows that father has flaws and they’re own relationship is still kind of new. Also, Jack is a hero-worshipping fan-boy, as witness his initial meeting with Dian. It is possible he places Black Canary on that kind of pedestal as well. Maybe he gives his dad a pass for her, just as Chris gives Ruth a pass for Adam West!
    Ryan, thanks for the SMT synopsis! I think that I’ll start collecting these now. I’ve always had problems with the art, but I am a sucker for DC super-hero retro-continuity!
    SPEAKING OF WHICH!!! I certainly hate to be pedantic, but my hackles get raised by some things. Like, I thought that Dian Belmont was killed in a car crash, and after that Wes wore the yellow and purple. Was this the first time that particular piece of retro-conituity was ignored. Since listening to this podcast, I’ve been trying to do a retro-retro-continuity patch job. Dian wasn’t killed, but she was physically removed from this plane (comics!), and returned sometime after WWII, whereupon she and Wes re-united, (and kept Sandy a prisoner in a jar). Hmmm. Robinson may not like the skin-tight Sandman costume, but it can’t be ignored! That’s what he was wearing in 1944, when the flashback story took place.
    You are right in that too often Jack acted like a putz. The mystery was kind of a dud, and the whole Victoria’s Cross angle not handled well. The artwork, while daring, is not always clear. Even Jack sometimes doesn’t look the same from panel to panel. In the sample you provided there is a two-panel sequence that is photocopied. I challenge you to pour coffee, as Dian is doing across them, and read out loud all the balloons in those panels.There will be no more coffee left in the pot!
    Keep up the keen critique-ing!

  9. Welcome aboard Ward!

    As for Dian, I guess since she pretty much only made a handful of appearances in All-Star Squadron and Secret Origins, written by Thomas, Robinson figured it was fair game to have her hail and hardy in the present. Of course that throws off the actual Golden Age stories, but current DC wasn’t as slavish to those stories as Roy. Few are!

    Chris

  10. Another great installment of the Starman Chronicles! Thank you Chris & Cindy!

    The Black Canary revelation was pretty shocking at the time, but I felt it was also very real. Unfortunately, that kind of stuff that happens in real life sometimes. I was glad it happened to relatively minor heroes (no offense Ted & Dinah) as compared to someone like Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman. It was also addressed quite a bit in JLA YEAR ONE (from Black Canary’s perspective).

    I see what you mean about the inconsistencies with golden age Starman and Sandman’s friendship not matching up (i.e. friends, not liking each other, etc). Maybe it’s because we’re seeing snapshots of their lives, rather than the 60 year evolution of the friendship, which could include peaks and valleys.

    If you liked Dian, definitely read more SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE. I don’t remember a lot about that book, but I do recall they really turned Dian into a hero. I was thrilled to hear she was still alive in modern day and that Robinson was willing to buck continuity. Hooray!

    And I recall hearing about this crossover quite a bit back in the day. I don’t think it was a “stealth” campaign, so perhaps someone was too busy chasing Cindy’s skirt around to pay proper attention to their comic orders! 😉

    Thanks again for another great installment! Now get working on the next one! :)

    1. I’ll get on Starman, and you get on Who’s Who in the Legion. :-)

      Were you working in your comic shop when these issues came out? See, you had your finger on the pulse at this time. I was a few months away from my comic shop job, so I wasn’t quite as integrated into the behinds-the-scenes goings-on.

      As for chasing Cindy’s skirt…I REGRET NOTHING!!!

  11. I remember reading this cross-over at the time. I was a fan of both of these series, but as everyone has mentioned, this is not one of the high-lights of either of them. Which is a great shame, because I love these characters and individually the titles were awesome.
    Good job Chris and Cindy, and Ryan for service above and beyond!

    1. Little Russell Burbage from Opal City! Alright!

      I’m glad Cindy and I weren’t alone in our criticism of this arc. I was worried we were coming across too harsh. I love this book with a deep passion, but despite the quality of the guest-stars, this just isn’t it’s finest hour. More’s the shame.

      Chris

  12. I know I’m a little late to the party here, but I wanted to comment about Chris’s incredulity over flight crew not being trained to use parachutes. It is not a standard practice for flight training, for either pilots or crew. The thinking is that you’re more likely to survive a crash landing than jumping out.

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