http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/STARMAN1.jpg
[[caption-width:300:Jack Knight as Starman, in his CivvieSpandex.]]

Creator/JamesRobinson's most famous series for Creator/DCComics, ''Starman'' was one of the steps away from the NinetiesAntiHero and into TheModernAgeOfComicBooks. The series followed LegacyCharacter Jack Knight, son of the [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] Starman (there were plenty of others) and something of an AuthorAvatar. Jack is a reluctant newcomer at first, but over the course of the series, his character develops into something akin to old-school heroes while maintaining a distinct personality.

Starman is also notable for Robinson's dusting off of plenty of older characters. [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] CardCarryingVillain The Shade, for instance, returned as an AntiHero, complete with BelatedBackstory. The entire Starman legacy was touched upon, with most of the characters involved (especially the original, Ted Knight) growing out of the one-note molds from their original stories. Along the way, Ted Knight's colleagues in the JusticeSocietyOfAmerica were highlighted and brought back to prominence, eventually leading to the highly popular ''JSA'' title. (Jack was briefly a member, and new-JSA founder Stargirl carries on his legacy.)

Jack Knight first appeared in ''ComicBook/ZeroHour'' #1 (September, 1994) and soon graduated to his own title. The ongoing lasted for 81 regular issues (October, 1994-August, 2001), though numbering begun with #0. Starman was also one of the series revived as part of the ComicBook/BlackestNight event. In Starman #81,[[spoiler: Jack never appears, with the Shade taking centre stage instead against a Black Lantern David Knight.]]
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[[folder:List of Starmen]]
The book makes extensive use of previous Starmen. For a brief list:
* Ted Knight. The original version. First appeared in ''Adventure Comics'' #61 (April, 1941). A scientist testing his equipment while serving as a hero. Served as a member of the JusticeSocietyOfAmerica. Father of Jack.
* Starman of 1951. A mysterious character taking up the identity. Eventually revealed to be Doctor Mid-Nite/Charles [=McNider=], a fellow member of the JSA. The concept of an established hero using the Starman identity in the 1950s was inspired by ''Detective Comics'' #247 (September, 1957). In said story, Franchise/{{Batman}} claims the mantle.
* Mikaal Tomas. First appeared in ''First Issue Special'' #12 (March, 1976). A blue-skinned alien, scout of an invasion force. Decided to side with Earth against his people. Originally a one-shot character.
* Prince Gavyn. First appeared in ''Adventure Comics'' #467 (January, 1980). A member of an alien royal family. Condemned to die to prevent him from claiming the throne against the senior heir. The near-death experience activated superpowers within him.
* Will Payton. First appeared in ''Starman'' vol. 1 #1 (October, 1988). A regular human mutated by a space-faring bolt of energy.
* David Knight. First appeared in ''Starman'' vol. 1 #26 (September, 1990). Son of Ted and older brother of Jack. Claimed the mantle of his father and served as a rival to Payton.
* Jack Knight. First appeared in ''ComicBook/ZeroHour'' #1 (September, 1994). Son of Ted and younger brother of David. Took the mantle of Starman when [[spoiler:David was killed in action]].
* Courtney Whitmore. First appeared in ''Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.'' #0 (July, 1999). A teenage superhero originally known as Star-Spangled Kid. After Jack Knight [[spoiler:retired from superheroing]], Courtney received his cosmic staff and mantle. She continues the Starman legacy as Stargirl.
* Thom Kallor: First appeared in ''Adventure Comics'' #282 (March, 1961). First debuting as Star Boy of the ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}, at least two versions of Star Boy have become Starman. One version eventually went back in time and joined the JSA.
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!!This series contains instances of:
* AllThereInTheManual: Important bits of backstory which pay off in the "Grand Guignol" arc are found only in the first Shade miniseries and in various text stories, not to mention the re-used {{backstory}} from Robinson's ''ComicBook/TheGoldenAge'' miniseries.
* AntiHero: The Shade.
** Jack starts out at this, but by series end is sort of an anti-anti-hero.
* ArchEnemy: The Mist. But in one conversation with his dad, Jack names a rival junk dealer as his ArchNemesis.
* ArtistsAreNotArchitects: Used deliberately. Robinson goes for a retro look, and relies on RuleOfCool with some {{Handwave}} explanations.
* ArtShift: During the "Sand and Stars" story a flashback to the early days of Ted Knight and Wesley Dodds (The Sandman) was drawn by Guy Davis, matching his work on ''ComicBook/SandmanMysteryTheatre''.
* AuthorAvatar: Jack Knight, was blatantly and unabashedly a dual creator avatar. The first volume's introduction has a third party writer note that Jack ''is'' writer James Robinson and that he bears a strong resemblance to artist and designer Tony Harris.
* AuthorTract: The series featured a scene where Solomon Grundy referred to Alan Scott as "ComicBook/GreenLantern" despite the fact that he was going by the name "Sentinel" at the time (as [[ExecutiveMeddling editorial decreed Kyle Rayner was the only hero allowed to use the GL name]]). Upon being corrected, Grundy shrugs and says he'll always consider Alan to be Green Lantern no matter what anyone else says.
* AvengingTheVillain: Nash takes up the identity of The Mist and becomes Jack's archenemy after he kills her brother Kyle.
* BelatedBackstory: The Shade, as mentioned above.
* BrotherSisterIncest: Heavily implied between the Mist's children Nash and Kyle in issue 3.
* CavemenVsAstronautsDebate: In ''Starman'' #13, one of the Mist's goons has a bizarre conversation with the captive Mikaal about who the best big screen Literature/PhilipMarlowe was. He then admits that he once murdered a man for daring to claim it was George Montgomery.
* CityOfAdventure
* CivvieSpandex: Jack's superhero suit consists of a leather jacket, a pair of goggles and whatever else he happens to be wearing at the time.
* ClearMyName: Jack and [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]] are called on to clear the name of the aging Bulletman, who stands accused of being a Nazi agent during World War II.
** This is why the Pirate Ghost is watching and helping Starman; he says he wasn't guilty of the crime he was accused of.
* ClosedCircle: The final arc has a shield placed around the whole city to keep anyone but the heroes of the story out.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: This exchange:
-->'''Jack''': This one isn't about collectibles but it's the same kind of thing. I'm in a book store ... for new books. I've gone a little bit crazy and I'm about to spend a couple of hundred bucks. I murmur under my breath "money's too tight to mention". Now the guy behind the register, he hears this. He looks at me, nodding his head knowingly like we're in some "club of cool" together. He says, "Yeah, Simply Red" like it's a password, and now we do the secret handshake. And I'm thinking "Simply Red"? Lame English band. More soul at a polka convention. And the book store guy thinks he's on some kind of inside loop with that.
-->'''Sadie''': That's the smuggest thing I ever heard. A guy tries to be nice and you stand there hating him just because he hasn't heard of the Valentine Brothers. You're like my ex-boyfriend. He was that way about authors. He'd deliberately drop obscure quotes and references. He'd take over conversations at parties. But none of what he read was for the love of it. His knowledge was like a weapon. Don't tell me you're like that. I don't want another jerk. I've had... Hey, why are you smiling?\\
'''Jack''': Because you've heard of the Valentine Brothers.
* ContinuityPorn: Perhaps the poster child for this trope in DC comic books. Notably, not only does ''Starman'' rely on the greater DC canon, but it has its own strong internal canon as demonstrated in the last few arcs, wherein every Checkhov's Gun is set off.
* CoolOldGuy: Both Ted Knight and Wesley Dodds qualify in spades.
* CrashIntoHello: Jack's first encounter with Sadie is when he bumps into her at a carnival. She chews him out and is gone in two panels.
* DarkIsNotEvil: The Shade, ultimately.
* DatingCatwoman: Averted. Jack's archenemy, the Mist, [[spoiler: raped him and gave birth to his son without his knowledge.]]
* DeadGuyJunior
* DeadPersonConversation: Every real-time year included one issue where Jack talked to [[spoiler:his brother]], who died in the first issue. Later conversations would also include other deceased DC characters, including [[spoiler:their father Ted]].
* DeadpanSnarker: The Shade.
** Jack gets in plenty of riffs of his own as well.
* DeathByOriginStory: Played with. David Knight dies in the first issue after doing nothing of note (apart from fighting the Will Payton Starman), but Jack takes an entire story arc before taking up the mantle. David becomes more interesting after his death, popping up in the annual "Talking With David" stories and even getting his own story arc at the close of the series.
* DeathIsCheap: [[spoiler: Jack]]'s back before the end of one issue via a body made out of new body parts.
* DepravedBisexual: While in prison early in the series the Mist seduces both guards and fellow (female) prisoners, just to get them under her thumb.
* DistaffCounterpart: Averted with Stargirl, who only took the name after Jack retired; she was Star-Spangled Kid when they first met.
** Played straight with the one-off "Stargirl" of the 1940s, who was Ted Knight's girlfriend.
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale: Averted with the revelation that [[spoiler:The Mist raped Jack while he was unconscious]], which is very unsettling for him. A lot of his angst comes from the fact that [[spoiler:The Mist also got pregnant and plans to raise the child to become a villain]], but the rape angle isn't played lightly either.
* EmotionEater: Bliss is an incubus who feeds on suffering, and especially likes the flavor of the suffering of "special people" (circus freaks).
* EvilerThanThou: [[spoiler:The original Mist.]]
* ExiledFromContinuity: Jack's retired and Robinson actually has a contract with DC stating no one else may use Jack. That way he avoids having some other writer make drastic changes to the character or what not now his day is done. But he did bring Mikaal back for his Justice League run.
** He has shown up a couple of times, but only in crowd shots at weddings and funerals, and an occasional flashback image. The last image of him is most likely Sue Dibny's funeral in ''ComicBook/IdentityCrisis''.
** Notably, when the 81st issue was released as a ''ComicBook/BlackestNight'' "zombie title'' tie-in, Jack didn't even appear--it featured the Shade and Black Lantern David Knight.
** Inverted with "Sand and Stars" where Robinson was very keen on making sure Wesley Dodds stayed in continuity since his book ''SandmanMysteryTheatre'' was placed in the Vertigo imprint where characters usually separate from DC canon.
* FanOfThePast: Jack
* FlyingFirepower:
** '''Mikail Tomas''': the current Starman has a body which is specifically built for outer space. In addition to being able to fly and survive in a vacuum, he can project energy blasts.
** '''David Knight''': Starman II, uses the Gravity Rod, which grants flight and the ability to absorb and fire solar energy.
** '''The Cosmic Staff''', the main weapon used by Starman III (Jack Knight) and Stargirl, grants flight and the ability to project cosmic energy.
** '''Ted Knight''': the original Starman, used ''both'' of the aforementioned weapons.
* FightInTheNude: The Mist kidnaps, drugs, and rapes Jack, takes his clothes and his gear, and forces him to fight through a maze full of [[{{Mook}} mooks]]. [[BadAss He succeeds]].
* FiveManBand
** TheHero: Jack
** TheLancer: The Shade, sometimes Mikaal.
** TheBigGuy: Solomon Grundy
** TheSmartGuy: Ted
** TheChick: Sadie or Hope O'Dare.
** The O'Dare Family also constitutes a FiveManBand:
*** TheHero: Clarence
*** TheLancer: Mason
*** TheBigGuy: Matt
*** TheSmartGuy: Hope
*** TheChick: Barry (he's also [[spoiler:the Traitor]]; Charity and Faith are straighter examples.
* {{Flashback}}: If we had a Loads and Loads of Flashbacks trope, this would qualify.
* FlatEarthAtheist: Ted Knight
* FoeYay: After becoming the new Mist, Nash refers to Jack as "my love" several times.
* GadgeteerGenius: Ted again
* GogglesDoNothing: Averted, as Jack's bomber jacket and aviator goggles are specifically meant to offset the odd conditions of flying with an extremely bright staff.
* GoodIsNotNice: Jack could be the poster boy, at least early on in the series. He is told, point blank, by the ex-girlfriend he is trying to romance again (using his becoming a superhero as evidence of his newfound maturity) that "You may be a hero, Jack Knight, but that still doesn't make you a nice person."
* GrandFinale: Grand Guignol. It even has 'Grand' in the title! There's a few issues after it to tie up loose ends but it wraps up the story.
* [[spoiler:HappilyEverAfter]]
* [[spoiler:HappilyMarried: At the end.]]
* HeelFaceTurn: Matt O'Dare
* HeroicBSOD: As explained in flashbacks, Ted's response to his role in the creation of the atomic bomb. It forced him to live for years in a mental institution.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Ted Knight, after learning he has cancer.]]
** As well as [[spoiler: Good Grundy]] dying (or becoming [[spoiler: the thuggish villain Grundy we're more familiar with]]) after saving people from a collapsing building.
* HistoricalInJoke: Mikaal claims to have inspired the David Bowie classic Rebel Rebel. Wait... no.
* IJustWantToBeNormal: At first.
* [[KnightInSourArmor (Jack) Knight In Sour Armor]]: To put it mildly, Jack has a very caustic personality.
* LegacyCharacter: Jack is actually the sixth or seventh Starman, depending on how you count; the series inspired many other DCU Legacy Characters.
** Legacy characters is the main theme of the series, and a lot of the action is driven by Jack interacting with all of them, even going out into space and back in time to do so.
* [[LetsYouAndHimFight Let's You and Him Fight]]: In this case, against [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]]. Needless to say, Jack is horrendously overmatched, even after the fight forces him to tap into some of his staff's more obscure powers that he had never bothered with before.
* LimelightSeries: For the entire Starman legacy, but most of all for the Shade, who got two minis of his own as a result - a four-issue one during the series' run, and a twelve-issue one as part of DC's big 2011 relaunch.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The Shade's {{Backstory}} is borrowed from a Charles Dickens novel.
* [[TheLittleShopThatWasntThereYesterday The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday]]: Charity's fortune-telling place. Subverted, as she tells Jack she moved in normally.
** There's also the storefront Jack eventually moves his own store, ''Knight's Past'', into. He swears [[CaptainObvious he never saw it before when he first sees it]].
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* [[MusicalEpisode Musical Issue]]: One of the "Talking With David" stories has Jack and David assume the role of pirates. The dialogue disappears for this segment, replaced by a pirate sea-chanty.
* MythArc: The series as a whole was written as such, with several mini-arcs as well.
* NoBisexuals: Averted with Mikaal.
* NotSoDifferent: Nash lays this trope at Jack's feet. Jack spends several issues trying to convince himself she's wrong.
* PassingTheTorch: In the final issue, [[spoiler:Jack]] passes the cosmic rod to [[spoiler:Courtney Whitmore, who becomes Stargirl.]]
* PoliceAreUseless: Averted with the O'Dares, a family of cops that assist Jack. They start by capturing the Mist while Jack fights the Mist's son, and they keep that level of competence for the entire series.
* PutOnABus: [[spoiler:Jack]] at the end of his series, at James Robinson's request.
* RapeDiscretionShot: When [[spoiler:Jack]] is drugged into unconsciousness and raped by [[spoiler:Nash, the second Mist]], the scene occurs from his point-of-view as a very strange erotic dream. Additionally, while the implication is there in the initial scene, it isn't until many issues later that the series confirms the fact that a rape occurred with a WhamLine.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: On one of the (first) Mist's earliest jobs a bunch of people were put to sleep. He killed one of his own men who tried to molest one of the unconscious women.
* RashomonStyle: In "Taxicab Confessions", three different characters tell three different versions of the story of how Jack and Mikaal saved Starfire from space pirates. The issue takes place in the future, a couple of hundred years after the events recounted, so none of the storytellers have objective knowledge on what happened, though one of the stories certainly sounds more likely than the other two. RashomonStyle is also used to do a little [[{{Metafiction}} metafictional]] gag on [[Franchise/TheDCU DC]] continuity: there have been three different DC characters called "Starfire", so in each of the stories Jack and Mikaal rescue a different Starfire.
* RedSkiesCrossover: The cosmic rod fails in one issue due to the ''Genesis'' event... and it is never spoken of again.
* ReedRichardsIsUseless: Subverted in-series. As part of Jack's original bargain to take up his father's job as the town superhero, Ted had to agree to find applications for the cosmic energy he had discovered and harnessed apart from making weapons. By series end, Ted had apparently patented a number of technologies that would revolutionize the world... but the idea never quite took in the [[Franchise/TheDCU shared universe]].
* {{Reincarnation}}: Used in one or two cases, depending on how you count it. [[spoiler: Matt O'Dare was the DC Western hero Scalphunter and would later go on to be reincarnated as Thom Kallor aka Starboy of the ComicBook/{{Legion Of Super-Heroes}}.]]
* {{RetCon}}: If you want to keep track of them all, you'll need a scorecard. Many of them were [[AuthorsSavingThrow Author's Saving Throws]] to redeem older characters.
** Probably the most notable was the retconning of The Shade, an old [[Main/TheFlash Flash]] villain, who was revealed to have been [[AntiVillain not so villainous]] after all, and who would eventually turn into an actual hero. The reimagined Shade was so popular he got two mini-series of his own.
** There was also a hint from fortune-teller Charity that Jack would someday meet an old friend of his father's. The hint was originally meant to refer to Hawkman but Robinson's plans to revitalize the character in Starman were sidelined. Charity [[LampshadeHanging even tells Jack later]] that their paths have changed and he might never meet "the winged hero" after all.
* RetiredBadass: The Shade notes that, seeing the "gentle scholar" of today, people often forget what a physical hero Ted Knight used to be. He can still get the job done when he needs to, though.
* RoomFullOfCrazy: The Mist's jail cell has messages like "Jack is to blame" and "Die Starman" scrawled on the wall.
* SatelliteLoveInterest: Sadie has no character outside of her relationship with Jack and worry about her brother.
* ScienceHero: Ted Knight, who can still use his knowledge to pull off an IndyPloy when cornered by the new Mist.
* SeinfeldianConversation: Shows up quite a bit, especially with Jack. At one point he compares the original [[JusticeSocietyOfAmerica JSA]] to the Mercury Seven.
** This even happens in Jack's internal monologues, where he ponders how he always equated maturity with enjoying the musical numbers in MarxBrothers movies that weren't Chico and Harpo goofing around with the instruments.
* ShoutOut: More than a few. One example: the "Powdered Toast Man" graffiti and drawing of [[TheRenAndStimpyShow Ren]] on a lamppost at the end of issue 1.
* ShrinkingViolet: Nash, for much of the first arc -- until [[spoiler:Jack kills her brother]] and she becomes The Mist.
* SomethingCompletelyDifferent: The issue featuring Space Cabbie. (That's right, ''Space Cabbie''.)
* SophisticatedAsHell: At one point two gangsters have a profanity-laced argument about which is the better Creator/StephenSondheim musical. One argues for the "cohesion of words and music" of ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'', while the other supports the "resonant narrative purity" of ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods''.
* StarPower: The entire point of Ted's research that enabled him to build the Cosmic Rod and its derivatives. It's also hinted that the power-wielded by each Starman/Girl is a unique variant of a unified source, not unlike Marvel's Power Cosmic split amongst various beings.
** In a crossover with ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' and ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'', a group of [[{{Ghostapo}} neo-Nazis]] build a machine to collect power from the stars in order to awaken an Eldritch Abomination.
* SuperHeroOrigin: The first arc, naturally, plus several in {{Flashback}}s.
* TimeTravel: Several instances.
** Jack and Mikaal travel across space (and time) to arrive in the 31st Century and team up with the ComicBook/{{Legion Of Super-Heroes}}. Later in the same arc, they travel into the past and visit the planet Krypton, before it blew up.
** Jack and [[spoiler: his brother David, ripped from time before his death, by Doctor Fate]] are sent back to the year 1951 to help protect Opal City at a time when Ted Knight was still in an insane asylum.
* ToHellAndBack: Jack, The Shade and Matt O'Dare do wind up going to one of DC's Hells at one point.
* UnCancelled: Came back for one issue thanks to the ComicBook/BlackestNight event; Jack was absent and the story focused on the Shade and Hope O'Dare.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: The producers of Series/{{Smallville}} had plans to adapt the series for television at one point. Eventually, the two-part episode "Absolute Justice" featured the [=JSA=], including a Cosmic Rod-wielding Stargirl.
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity: The Mist again.
* WritingForTheTrade: Lots of six-issue arcs.
** Subverted with a lot of one-shots and smaller arcs thrown in. The trades pre-Omnibus were notoriously difficult to keep straight.
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