Starman among the stars. Artist: Steve Ditko.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1980
Creators: Paul Levitz (writer) and Steve Ditko (artist)
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From the late 1930s to the early '80s, dozens of superheroes cavorted through the DC Comics anthology title Adventure Comics. One of …

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… the very early ones was named Starman. So was one of the very late ones.

The latter was the creation of writer Paul Levitz (who had earlier scripted a lengthy run of The Legion of Super Heroes and co-created The Huntress, and later became a DC executive) and artist Steve Ditko (whose many stellar creations include Marvel Comics' Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, DC's Creeper and The Hawk & the Dove, and Charlton's Captain Atom and Blue Beetle). He debuted in Adventure Comics #467 (January, 1980). He had nothing to do with either his decades-past predecessor in Adventure, the Starman who followed a few years later, or the one a few years after that.

This Starman was originally Prince Gavyn, a potential heir to the throne of an inter-galactic empire known as The Infinite Realm. But when the time came for the Imperial Council to choose, it was his sister Clryssa who became empress. By law and custom of a thousand years' standing, to avoid any possibility of a civil war, all other claimants were killed by being thrust into space without life support.

But Gavyn was saved by an ancient and powerful alien named Mn'torr, who saw great power in him, and helped him achieve that potential. Thereafter, converting stellar radiation to bio-energy (whether or not that means anything outside the realm of comic book pseudo-science), he became an interstellar righter of wrongs and, unknown to Clryssa (who would have put him to death if she'd known he was alive), a staunch defender of Throneworld (the empire's seat of power) and of the crown itself. He continued in that vein for a dozen issues. In #479 (March, 1981), he and the other stars of Adventure Comics (Plastic Man and Aquaman) were displaced by Dial H for Hero, and that was the end of this Starman as the hero of an ongoing series.

Gavyn and the other residents of The Infinite Realm appeared perfectly indistinguishable from ordinary humans, leading readers to assume the series was set in a distant future era. This assumption was voided in DC Comics Presents #36 (August, 1981), in which its plot threads were wrapped up in a crossover with Superman — apparently, despite appearances (and after all, Superman too was an alien who looked human), The Infinite Realm was contemporary, just very far away. In this story, a spacefaring villain named Mongul murdered Clryssa, making Gavyn emperor. In the process, the Doomsday Device, source of the empire's power, was destroyed, assuring there would be no emperors after him.

DC killed Gavyn off in its first big crossover event, Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-86), and that was that.


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