From the cover of the first issue. Artist: Tom Lyle.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1988
Creators: Roger Stern (writer) and Tom Lyle (artist)
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Of all the hundreds of names DC Comics has chosen for its superheroes, the very favorite (edging out Manhunter) seems to be Starman. There was a Starman in the early …

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… 1940s, and a Starman in the early 1980s. They had a one-issue wonder of that name in the '70s, and there was yet another Starman flitting around the DC Universe 20 years after that. There were a couple of others here and there, too. In fact, even Batman briefly changed his name to Starman in one 1950s story. The Legion of Super Heroes contains a character named Star Boy. Currently, DC has a Stargirl.

Of all the Starman characters DC has published, the first to have his own comic was Will Payton, who debuted in Starman #1, dated October, 1988. This Starman was created by writer Roger Stern (a former Marvel Comics regular, who wrote a lot of stories about Spider-Man, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk and other prominent characters) and artist Tom Lyle (whose less extensive credits in American comics include DC's Robin and the Eclipse Enterprises version of Airboy).

Will was a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, who had been camping in the Colorado Rockies when he was suddenly struck by a bolt from the blue — specifically, from a satellite that was beaming down energy to a secret U.S. government program designed to develop a team of superheroes loyal to the program (as opposed to freelance heroes like The Flash and Green Lantern, whom they regarded as undesirable wild cards in the game of global power). The satellite had malfunctioned (apparently hit by a piece of space debris) and gone off its aim, causing it to knock Will cold for more than a month.

He woke up in a morgue, about to be autopsied by doctors curious about why this apparent corpse weighed as much as a same-sized lump of lead. After escaping, Will found he could control his body mass like The Atom, fly like Superman, change his shape and color like Metamorpho, emit heat energy like Firestorm, and much more.

His sister Jayne (the only person he told about the experience) suggested he become a superhero, and sewed him a costume for the purpose; but he was more interested in putting his life back together after the unexpected absence.

But he became a superhero anyway, and the secret scientific enclave responsible for making him one, which became interested in harnessing his power for its own ends, provided a ready source of villains for him to fight. He started interacting with other DC characters, such as Power Girl, Lobo and David Knight (son of the '40s Starman, now using the "Starman" monicker himself). He even went so far as to participate in Invasion! (1989), one of those massive crossover events that infested mainstream U.S. comic books of the time.

He got so tied up with the DC Universe, it later turned out Eclipso, a long-standing DC villain without a hero to fight regularly, had (for reasons of his own) been behind the satellite malfunction that originally powered him up.

Eclipso was the one who eventually killed this incarnation of Starman — or vice versa; what actually happened was, Starman sacrificed his own life to take Eclipso out. This occurred in the second and final issue of the mini-series Eclipso: The Darkness Within (October, 1992). Starman's own comic had come to an end with its 45th issue, dated six months earlier.

Like an awful lot of comic book characters, Eclipso quickly recovered from his own death. Starman recovered too, tho it took a good deal longer. Years later, he was found by the then-current Starman on Throneworld, the home planet of another guy named Starman.


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