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 Roger Stern and Tom Lyle’s run on Starman…
An interesting aspect of Stern and Lyle’s run on Starman is that they wrote and drew every issue of their 25 issue run – no fill-ins for either one of them. Pretty cool of them!
In any event, Starman was an interesting concept by Stern. While the character was being developed, DC decided it would make sense to tie him in with Invasion!, before Invasion! even BEGAN! And sure enough, Starman was probably more tied into Invasion! than any other title – even those written by Keith Giffen (architect of Invasion!)!
The basic concept of the book is something fairly similar to what Dwayne McDuffie would later come up with for Static. For years, comics have had the “new Spider-Man” – comics meant to evoke the early Ditko/Lee Spider-Man stories about a “normal” person suddenly given powers. That idea was used a lot before Starman and it has been used a lot since (Kyle Rayner is a good example). And it should, because it’s a great idea.
However, what made Starman a bit different was that he was a good deal more meta-fictional about it all. Here was a guy who, once he had powers, actually STUDIED superheroing and based himself on what he thought a superhero SHOULD be. You rarely see that level of self-realism from superheroes (similar heroes like Nova and Darkhawk tended to play it by ear). McDuffie took that idea to another level with Static when he had Static actually acknowledge the FICTIONAL construct of the superhero and use that to influence his actions – while in Starman, the influence is actual – he studies “actual” superheroes, not comics and movies.
Tom Lyle co-created Starman with Stern, and he does a generally good job on the series, although he gets a good deal better as the series goes on. Lyle had only being working as a regular artist for a couple of years (at Eclipse Comics – Airboy, for instance) so he definitely had a lot of growing to do as an artist, but to his credit, he did the work and by the time he finished the run he was basically the polished artist that he is today.
Here’s a sampling from the first issue so you can see how Will Payton is compelled to become a hero…
The villain Deadline, introduced in Starman #15, was perhaps the longest lasting contribution to comics from Starman. He’s a neat villain (Stern also did a nice job using DC continuity to bring in good unused characters like the mercenary villain Bolt and the scientist Kitty Faulkner and her alter-ego Rampage!)….
Finally, in Lyle’s last page as artist of the book, in #25, he debuts Starman’s much cooler looking costume…
James Robinson’s Starman is certainly the top Starman series of the 1990s, but this run was no slouch, either.