Superhero Hype, the obnoxiously designed website that unfortunately remains a pretty good source for news on comic book movies, recently reported on industry rumblings that DC Entertainment may have a “Starman” movie in the works. For those who don’t know, Starman is the name of a number of different DC Comics superheroes, most of whom could be generously referred to as “B-List,” published over the last 70 years. DC has no doubt taken a look at Marvel’s success with adapting less well known characters to the big screen, and is now making moves to do the same for themselves.
The part of the article that really caught my attention, however, was when Superhero Hype’s source wrote, “…according to an inside source, Warner Brother (sic), in partnership with Lin Productions and DC Comics, is bringing Starman to the big screen. Which version is sort of unknown… “
Really? Unknown? Just a complete mystery there? Can’t even guess? I’m pretty sure you should be able to guess. Let’s go over the various DC Starmen, and see if we can use the powers of detection crack this nut, shall we?
Created in 1941, Ted Knight was the first superhero to be called Starman. His powers came from his “cosmic rod”—ladies—a device of his own invention, which looked like a little yellow baton, but allowed him to fly through the air and “manipulate energy,” which in comics parlance generally means “blast the fuck outta dudes with laser beams.” Ted was also one of the original members of the Justice Society of America, precursor to the more popular Justice League of America. That’s pretty much all there is to him. Like most superheroes created in the 40s, he didn’t have much of a personality past “vaguely heroic guy who comes off like kind of a prick,” until much, much later when he was used as a supporting character in a different Starman’s comic.
Blue, gay, and from outer space, Mikaal Tomas is one of those space aliens in comic books who has an alien name, which winds up being just a stupider way of spelling a human name. He had a brief series as Starman in the 70s, wherein he was an alien sent to Earth to conquer us, but instead decided to defend us from his own species. So, you know, that old chestnut. The series didn’t last very long, though he did later become a supporting character in another Starman’s comic. Later he got amnesia or something, but he’s better now.
I’m just going to quote directly from his Wikipedia article here, because I swear to God I can’t think of a funnier way to phrase this. “He discovered he was a mutant who could survive unaided in space when, by ancient royal custom, he was thrown out of a spaceship airlock to prevent him from challenging his more mature sister’s claim to the leadership of the imperial planet Throneworld.” That’s right. Gavyn comes from a planet where it is an ancient royal custom to throw all ancillary members of the royal family out of a spaceship’s airlock. Among other things, that is incredibly optimistic about the survivability of the one they don’t jettison into space.
To his credit however, Gavyn is surprisingly chill about the whole thing. Instead of using his mutant space-breathing powers to rain swift, brutal, orbital justice down upon his would-be murderers, he becomes the planet’s protector. Later he ends becoming king, and then died or got turned into a bolt of energy or something. His series lasted a few years, but no one really paid him any mind until his story was wrapped up in a later Starman’s series (clever detectives will start to notice a pattern here).
Will Payton had a costume with a big star on it and could fly and shoot energy beams and stuff. That’s it. Those are his interesting characteristics. Let’s just move on.
Oldest son of Ted Knight, David was Starman for like a week and a half, at the end of which he was murdered by a sniper. His ghost then show’s up every once in awhile in his brother’s dreams to teach him all sorts of different ham-handed morality lessons.
Youngest son of Ted Knight, Jack reluctantly became Starman after his brother’s death. Jack refused to wear the skin-tight, Christmas-colored costume of his forebears, and instead of a “cosmic rod,” gained his powers from the much cooler looking, and slightly less innuendo-y “cosmic staff.” His series lasted eleven years, was one of the most beloved series of the 1990s, and skyrocketed writer and creator James Robinson’s career, making him one of the highest profile comic book writers today. Currently DC is recollecting the entire series into a set of high quality, hardcover editions. Every other Starman ever received either a supporting role in Jack’s series, or had their story wrapped up therein in a fashion designed to make them much more interesting than they originally were. Jack Knight was cool as fuck, one of the best realized characters ever to appear in DC Comics, and the only reason anyone cares about who the hell Starman is.
The current Starman, Thom Kallor is from the future, and despite being completely schizophrenic, and no one knowing who the hell he was, still managed to gain full membership into the Justice Society of America. The JSA: where a vague air of nostalgia is the only requirement for admittance. His powers include the ability to control gravity, and somehow squeeze a truly epic beard underneath that mask.
So that’s it, those are all the various Starmen (Starmans?). I shall leave it to you, intelligent readers, to deduce who the most likely candidate for a film property is, though, I think we can all agree, that it will probably be Will Payton. I mean, shit, did you see the size of the star on that guy’s chest?