The Star-Spangled Kid

aka Skyman + Stripesy

Created by Jerry Siegel and Hal Sherman 

» SEE ALSO: Stargirl

Skyman

NAME + ALIASES:
Sylvester Pemberton, Jr., Star-Spangled Kid I

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Sylvester Sr. and Gloria Pemberton (parents, deceased), unnamed brother (deceased), Breezy (adopted brother), Meredith "Merry" Creamer Pemberton (adopted sister), Henry King, Jr. (Brainwave II, nephew), Jacqueline Pemberton (Gimmix, niece, deceased), Arthur Pemberton (nephew, deceased), Lorna Pemberton (grandniece), Ambrose (cousin)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Seven Soldiers of Victory, All-Star Squadron, Justice Society of America, Infinity, Inc.

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Action Comics #40 (Sept. 1941)

Stripsey

NAME + ALIASES:
Patrick Dugan, S.T.R.I.P.E.

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Barbara Whitmore (wife), Michael Justin Dugan (son), Patricia Dugan (daughter), Maggie Shaw (ex-wife), Courtney Whitmore (Stargirl, adopted daughter)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Seven Soldiers of Victory, All-Star Squadron, Justice Society of America, Infinity, Inc.

FIRST APPEARANCE:Action Comics #40 (Sept. 1941)
As S.T.R.I.P.E.: Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #0 (July 1999)

History

Perhaps hoping to cash in on the success of Timely's Captain America, National tapped Superman's creator, Jerry Siegel, to create their own pair of red-white-and-blue heroes. The dynamic of the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy was reversed — a teen hero with an older sidekick. Their feature outlasted many other costumed heroes, into 1948. The Star-Spangled Kid joined the Justice Society during the 1970s revival of All-Star Comics and has become a part of an unexpectedly complex family of DC characters.

A snappy introduction to the new feature by Jerry Siegel. From Action Comics #40 (1941); art by Hal Sherman

The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy first appeared in an unusual three-page advertisement in Action Comics #40 (Sept. 1941). In it, Superman heralded them as the newest sensation by his own creator, Jerry Siegel! The editors claimed that this feature was the result of "months of careful research." The heroes did not appear in Action Comics again, but sprang into full-length adventures with the first issue of Star Spangled Comics (Oct. 1941).

The publisher put considerable promotional effort behind the new duo; they also appeared in features in World's Finest Comics and Leading Comics. They initially appeared in multiple stories per issue of Star Spangled, which lasted only through issue #6, after which Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's "Newsboy Legion" took over. (Ironically, it was this pair's Captain America that Siegel had tried to emulate in "The Star-Spangled Kid.")

The feature survived for eight years — a surprisingly long time — perhaps because this was the age of the boy heroes like Captain Marvel. Also, Star Spangled Comics was eventually spearheaded by Robin the Boy Wonder, a kindred teen hero (in issue #65, Feb. 1947).

The Golden Age

Splash page from Star Spangled Comics #18 (1943), exhibiting the quirkiness of Hal Sherman's artwork.
At the mere suggestion, both Sylvester and Pat are inspired to become costumed heroes. From Star Spangled Comics #18 (1943); art by Hal Sherman.
Two who might have been rivals become partners. From Star Spangled Comics #18 (1943); art by Hal Sherman.
Dr. Weerd. From Star Spangled #3 (1941); art by Hal Sherman.
The Needle, from Leading Comics #1 (1942); art by Hal Sherman
With the Seven Soldiers of Victory. From Leading Comics #3 (1942); art by Mort Meskin.

Sylvester Pemberton was born in 1926 to an "ultra-rich" New York banking family. (Infinity Inc. #50, Star Spangled Comics #50) The American Pembertons originated from the historic journey of the Mayflower. Settler Cotton Pemberton was allegedly friends with Pocahontas and John Smith. Ronald Pemberton was governor of one of the early colonies. Thomas Pemberton fought the British, and General Ebenezer in the Civil War. Kit Pemberton was a frontiersman. (Star Spangled Comics #64)

The tale of the Star-Spangled Kid's first encounter with his partner Stripesy was told in Star Spangled Comics #18 (Mar. 1943), set on July 4, 1941. Both Sylvester and Pat Dugan, mechanic, were attending the same film when it was interrupted by Fifth Columnists. A fight ensued and after landing a few punches, Sylvester was knocked out. But Pat trounced all comers until the police arrived. Independently both of them read a lost note about the location of an upcoming Nazi meeting. En route to investigate, Sylvester crashed his car outside of Dugan's car garage. When they overheard a passerby say "I wish our American flag could come to life ... to avenge these insults," both of them had the same idea. Each returned home and fashioned a flag-inspired crime-fighting costume.

As the Star-Spangled Kid, Sylvester took his average car, and Pat — as Stripesy — busted out his greatest creation, the Star-Rocket Racer, a "turnabout car" that with a touch of a button whirled itself into a flying speedster. The new heroes headed for Flower Field Airport where Star managed to take out several Nazis before Stripesy arrived. Pat followed the remainder of the group and mopped them up. When the two finally met, they were indignant toward one another, miffed that each had stolen his thunder. But when they were bound together by the Nazi leader, they were forced to team up.

Afterwards, one of their foes remarked, "together they could defeat any army!" They were buoyed and formed a partnership. (Star Spangled Comics #18) Dugan soon came to work for the Pembertons , as chauffeur. Note: The date of this event was added by Secret Origins v.2 #9 (Dec. 1986).

In their first regular adventure, they trailed the Nazi Fifth Columnists, Klaug. The heroes seemed to exhibit super-strength as they easily flung the bad guys over their heads. They used Sylvester's status as a spoiled rich kid to get him "kidnapped" by the Nazi Bund and took them down from the inside. They left their quarry for the police, unconscious and adorned with yellow star-shaped notes on their foreheads.

Stripesy played Sylvester's dim-witted "sidekick" — he even came when Sylvester blew a whistle. Dugan's prowess came from having been a boxer and a "circus daredevil." Sylvester, by contrast was a boy genius who frustrated his parents but dazzled his professors with his intelligence. One of those teachers, James Stanton was so infuriated by Sylvester's insults that he took a potion and transformed into Dr. Weerd. Dr. Weerd reappeared regularly (#2-5) and other hideous freaks banded together as the "Ring of Rags," (#2) and then there was the hideous Mr. Ghool and his gang of freaks. (#4)

While in costume, the heroes used the Racer and when it was time to head home, the car transformed in a whirl back into an ordinary limousine. It came in handy on their second case, when they had to chase down Dr. Weerd's monstrous metal robot. Note: Sylvester's father's name in the first story was "John," but it later became Sylvester Sr. (Star Spangled Comics #1) Sylvester was referred to as "Jr." (#81) His mother made rare spoken appearances. In one she revealed that she had made Sylvester learn to play the violin, because his father loved it so. (#73) She was never named in any original Golden Age tale.

The Needle was the Kid's most recurrent enemy. The tall, rail-thin villain used a gun that shot needles. (#4-5) The Needle was recruited by the Hand to help incapacitate seven heroes. Star and Stripesy responded to the Hand's challenge at the same time as five other heroes. After all of them defeated their respective opponents, they finished the Hand as a group. They concluded the case by formally founding their own group, the Seven Soldiers of Victory. (Leading Comics #1, Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #9) Note: The Soldiers were DC's second super-group (after the Justice Society of America) and their stories borrowed the formula from All-Star Comics — an adventure framed by a team meeting, but broken down into individual tales.

Sylvester met his equal in Prof. Egbert Whipple, who was himself a kid genius. When Sylvester embarrassed him in front of his peers, Whipple created a globe that channeled moonbeams into his super-brain. As a side effect, his head began to glow like a star, and he became Moonglow. Our heroes took him down with the help of their newly-upgraded car, which got aloft with helicopter rotors! (#5, 13)

After a street urchin named Breezy came to Sylvester's aid, the Pembertons opened their home to the boy, who turned out to be a long-lost heir to another fortune. Sylvester's adopted brother soon exhibited an unhealthy curiosity about his brother's costumed life. (#6) The end of this story made an editorial plea to readers to chime in if they liked Breezy; he never appeared again.

The duo was usurped from their starring role in Star Spangled Comics with issue #7, supplanted by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's new creation, the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion. The Star-Spangled Kid dropped from three features to one, which made more room for Robotman, and T.N.T. Writer Jerry Siegel made up for the shrinkage by teaming Dr. Weerd with the Needle in one adventure. (#7) Those villains also allied with Moonglow. (#9)

King Midas was named Henry King, (#8) the same as the JSA's Brain Wave villain, who appeared a year later (in All-Star Comics #15, 1943).

Syl and Pat apparently rehearsed their attack moves because Star would frequently call out codes like "XY-27" and "LG-29." (#12) And when it came time for action, Sylvester would call for the "switcheroo," the code for them to change into their costumes.

During the middle of the war, their missions became centered on German and Japanese saboteurs. They put down thugs who stole valuable war materials such as rubber and iron. Sylvester's father even sent him to a Victory Farm, where the Needle and his men were hiding among the haystacks. (#20)

Sylvester always played up his "weaknesses" as a bookworm and helpless recluse. Mr. Pemberton, correspondingly, constantly tried to get his son to be more outgoing, athletic, and social, instead of spending time with his studies. His father sent Sylvester to summer camp and Pat served as a counselor, (#23) and to a ranch to 'man him up.' There Syl and Pat concocted a plan to have Sylvester kidnapped so that he could demonstrate his manliness by escaping. Instead his father became afraid of further kidnapping attempts, and brought Sylvester home. (#36)

Crooks copy our heroes to become the Comet Kid and Barsey. From Star Spangled Comics #49 (1945); art by John Small.
The inventive Mister Gadget. From Star Spangled Comics #51 (1945); art by John Small.
Sylvester's mother appeared here and there, but was never named. From Star Spangled Comics #73 (1947); art by Win Mortimer.
Pin-Ball challenged them to play or die! From Star Spangled Comics #78 (1948); art by Win Mortimer.

In the 'real world,' the feature's original artist Hal Sherman entered the military service. A few fill-ins were drawn by "Green Arrow" artists Cliff Young and Steve Brodie. (#33-34, World's Finest Comics #14, 17) Jerry Siegel apparently stopped writing the strip after about a dozen issues. Villains who were common during the strip's early days drifted away. Most of the later cases came to involve everyday thugs with fancy schemes to infiltrate the lives of the rich, and the heroes rarely fought costumed villains.

Mr. Gadget eluded them repeatedly. (#25) He returned to hypnotize Pat and make him turn on his partner. (#28) Gadget later ran a program for shy persons (#43) but returned to extortion. (#51)

Jon Small took over as artist in Star Spangled Comics #35 and their feature sometimes jumped back into the #1 slot of the book (Simon and Kirby had left the "Newsboy Legion" strip not long before). Small's artwork was as wonky as Sherman's, and the stories got into a dry pattern of city-crook-with-a-gimmick. Small's work actually worsened over time, but sometimes his non-figurative drawing, especially in splash panels, was very nice, as in Star Spangled #63.

The Pembertons were sometimes visited by relatives like Sylvester's cousin Ambrose, a mean lad whose bacon needed saving from robbers, after he'd insisted on a night on the town. (#37) An impostor presented himself as the Pembertons' distant relative from England, Sir Edward Smythe-Pemberton. The crook tried to use the connection to steal from their rich friends. (#64)

Even those opponents who boasted colorful names did not appear all that colorful; they included: Ousted foreign leader, Ian Chervonitz, who created the Cult of the Cat's Paw to restore himself to power. (#47) The Zebra, czar of crime teamed with a barber to target his rich customers. (#53) Professor Destine was a failed astronomer who swindled rich ladies as an astrologer. (#63) False-Face said they'd met several times before, but he was utterly forgettable. (#68) The saber-wielding Ghost of Sir Phineas used projections to fake a spirit form. (#75) At least Pin-Ball had an odd-shaped spherical head, and bothered to wear a suit decorated with pinball slogans. He crafted special pinball games that the heroes had to win to escape. (#78)

The most colorful of the lot were ex-cons Chiseler and Ox Muller, who hatched a scheme to become the criminal equivalents of the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy: the Comet Kid and Barsey. Star managed to turn them against one another. (#49)

Spotlight on Stripesy

Stripesy was the star in some of their adventures. He was usually played as a doofus, clearly inferior to Sylvester in brains. But Pat had actually been college educated, and he resented taking the brawn role. He and Sylvester agreed to change roles for a case but sadly, Pat discovered that his young partner truly was the best able to direct their missions. (#22)

One day Pat was discovered on the street by a talent scout. But it was for a shave cream advertisement — the slogan reading, "We can't make an ugly man beautiful, but we can give you the best shave you've ever had!" (#39) While under the care of Dr. Carter, he was hypnotized into doing crimes, and framed for them. (#48) The Men in the Iron Masks wore square safe-shaped helmets; they captured Pat, put a mask on him, and secured it with a lock with a timer. If he didn't do as they said and return in time, it would choke him to death! (#61)

Win Mortimer took over the art chores with Star Spangled Comics #71 (Aug. 1947) and the story picked up somewhat, sometimes focusing more on the human character of its stars. When Pat's new reading lamp caught fire, it burnt the Pemberton garage down, and some autos with it. Pat was sacked. He was exonerated when they learned that the lamps had been rigged to spy on rich targets. (#71) Pat also taught boxing to other manservants and arranged bouts for charity. (#76) Sometimes his "common" demeanor rubbed the Pembertons' guests the wrong way; he was sent to finishing school. (#79)

The Pembertons adopt a new member into the family, Merry Cramer. From Star Spangled Comics #81 (1948); art by Winslow Mortimer.
Merry designs her own costume and follows her brother out, in secret. From Star Spangled Comics #82 (1948); art by Winslow Mortimer.
Merry steps in when her brother, the Star-Spangled Kid, is knocked out. From Star Spangled Comics #83 (1948); art by Winslow Mortimer.

"The Star-Spangled Kid" feature was reinvented in 1948 with the introduction of an all-new adopted sister, Merry Craemer. After noticing a wound on Sylvester's forehead, Mr. Pemberton sent his son to a psychoanalyst. The professional concluded that it would be best if he had a sibling, and perhaps they could adopt one! Away to the orphanage they went and returned with the new addition to the family. Merry was ever-present, which cramped Sylvester's (and his alter ego's) style.

When the adoption notice hit the papers, some crooks recognized her as the daughter of "Flyfoot" Craemer, a "human fly" acrobat. Some blackmailers attempted to coerce Flyfoot into using Merry for ransom, but her father defied them and took a fatal bullet for her in the end. Later, Merry deduced that her adopted brother was the Star-Spangled Kid. (#81)

When the Star Spangled Kid garnered the ire of the Great Presto, Merry was eager to help round him up. Sylvester refused her, so she adopted her own costume and trailed after them. Although she was captured, she managed to tamper with the villain's trick guns so that when the Kid caught up to him, they were ineffective. (#82)

In Star's next adventure, he and Stripesy were pursuing the Rope and Pat fell several stories to the street, breaking his leg. Sylvester went out again that night and Merry followed him, and dazzled the villain into submission with tricks of her own invention. (#83)

The conclusion of the story from issue #83 promised that next time, "Merry sets out to scoop the Star-Spangled Kid." In fact Merry took over Star-Spangled Kid's strip with Star Spangled Comics #84 (Sept. 1948). Stripesy's last Golden Age appearance was #83, and Sylvester bid adieu in the introduction of #84, setting off for a deep-sea fishing trip with his father (which was "not for a girl"). The next episode was subtitled "featuring Merry the Girl with 1,000 Gimmicks!" and starred only the young heroine. (#85) Read more about Merry.

Aside from their activity in the Seven Soldiers, the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy only teamed with other heroes once, when they met up with Sandman and Sandy on a Justice Society mission to defeat the Stalker. (Star Spangled Comics v.2 #1) Note: Star was incorrectly shown as a Golden Age JSA member in the retro tale from JSA: Strange Adventures #1 (2004).

Lost and Found

Members of the Justice League and Justice Society rescue Stripesy from ancient Egypt. From Justice League of America #101 (1972); art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella.
Aquaman locates the Star-Spangled Kid hiding out in prehistoric times. From Justice League of America #102 (1972); art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella.
Stripesy and the Kid return from the past. From Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #9 (2000); art by Scott Kolins and Dan Davis.
Sylvester visits Ted Knight (Starman) in Opal City for help repairing his cosmic converter belt, and meets Ted's son Jack. From Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0 (1999); art by Chris Weston and John Stokes.
Sylvester takes to the air with the power of Starman's cosmic rod. All-Star Comics #58 (1976); art by Rik Estrada and Wally Wood.
Sylvester (the rod now a "cosmic converter belt") is shocked to learn that his family fortune has fallen into the hands of a bad seed—his nephew Arthur. All-Star Comics #72 (1978); art by Joe Staton.

Many years after DC began reviving its Golden Age heroes, the Seven Soldiers were plucked from obscurity in one of the annual Justice League/Justice Society team-ups. Leading Comics had lasted only 14 issues, but in terms of DC history, the Seven Soldiers continued to operate sporadically.

In late 1948, it was said, they were betrayed by their comrade, the Spider. Following a battle with the cosmic Nebula Man, Star-Spangled Kid, Stripesy, and the others were scattered across various points in time. Sylvester was stranded 50,000 years in the past, while Stripesy found himself in ancient Egypt, where he was made a slave. When the Justice League and Justice Society learned about this injustice, the assembled teams to rescue all of the Soldiers. (Justice League of America #100-102, Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #9) Note: Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #0 (July 1999) placed Sylvester's time in the past at 14,000 BCE.

Although they had been trapped for a relatively short time, decades had passed in the 20th century; Pat and Sylvester returned to an all-new world. The Star-Spangled Kid was an anomaly — born forty years ago but still in the body of a teenager. He was still driven to fight crime and took the opportunity to join the Justice Society at a time when other younger heroes like Robin and Power Girl were rejuvenating the team. He also began using Starman's cosmic rod. (All-Star Comics #58) They tinkered with the weapon, eventually fashioning it into a "cosmic converter belt." (#64)

On a Justice Society case against a terrorist organization called the Strike Force, the Star-Spangled Kid was shocked when their leader, Number One, unmasked himself, revealing that he was Arthur Pemberton — Sylvester's nephew! Syl was dumbfounded: he hadn't exactly walked away from his family fortune, but it had been taken from him nonetheless. Meanwhile, Arthur had used the wealth to fund criminal activities. After he was rescued by Wildcat and the Huntress, Sylvester left the JSA in order to put the Pemberton finances back in order. (All-Star Comics #70-71) Note: Arthur's father was explained to have been Sylvester's "deceased older brother," who was mentioned only once, in Infinity, Inc. #3.

Infinity and Beyond

Sylvester reconnects with Pat and meets his son, Mike. From Infinity, Inc. #11 (1985); art by George Tuska.

Syl revels in his new look. Both from Infinity, Inc. #41 (1986); art by Todd McFarlane.
Jonni Thunder's Thunderbolt takes over and summons her mate, to inhabit Skyman's body. Both from Infinity, Inc. #41 (1986); art by Vince Argondezzi and Tony DeZuniga.
Solomon Grundy uses Mr. Bones to kill Skyman. From Infinity, Inc. #51 (1988); art by Michael Bair.

After their return from the distant past, Sylvester drifted away from Pat Dugan. When Pat failed to show up for the memorial service for the Crimson Avenger (their Seven Soldiers of Victory comrade), Syl sought him out. He discovered that Pat now had a son, Mikey, and the two renewed their friendship. (Infinity, Inc. #11)

The Star Spangled "Kid" was now in his mid-20s and found himself more at home among a younger generation of heroes. When the children of the Justice Society demanded membership in the group, but were turned away, Sylvester chose to follow them and helped form their own group, called Infinity, Inc. He also discovered that one of their members, Brainwave Jr., was his own nephew Henry King, Jr. — the son of the JSA's adversary and Sylvester's sister, Merry! (Infinity, Inc. #1-3)

After he'd legally re-obtained the rights to control the Pemberton fortune, Sylvester purchased a new headquarters for Infinity. It was on the site of an old Justice Society battle, Stellar Studios in Los Angeles. (Infinity, Inc. #3, All-Star Comics #44)

In the team's first case, they were up against the mind-controlled Justice Society (overtaken by the Ultra-Humanite). Brainwave Jr. and Star-Spangled Kid were drawn into Limbo by the elder Brain Wave, the only one truly capable of stopping Ultra. He was willing to do this in order to save his son's life. Brain Wave died in the effort, but left no clues about the fate of Merry. All they boys knew was that she had forsaken the Pemberton fortune and disappeared. Brain Wave claimed she was the only one who'd ever loved him. (#9)

Emboldened by their initial success, Infinity, Inc. held a press conference in Los Angeles where all the members unmasked and revealed their identities to the public. (#12)

Star's belt was damaged in the fight with Ultra-Humanite, so he made a visit to Opal City to see his mentor, Ted Knight (Starman). While he was there, Sylvester responded to a local police call and captured the Icicle. He was considering a name change and wondered if it was time for him to become the next Starman. Back at the observatory, Ted even encouraged him to do that very thing, but Sylvester declined (perhaps sensing that one of his sons would carry on). On his way out, Syl met Ted's son Jack Knight, who said to him, "have fun in the sky, man," which inspired his new codename. Ted later sent Syl a new red belt and stored the original golden one. (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0) The Star-Spangled Kid later updated his costume and became Skyman. (#31) He used his fortune to produce a trailer to promote the team's services. (#40)

Pat Dugan (the former Stripsey) eventually signed on to become Infinity, Inc.'s team mechanic. (#28)

The Star-Spangled Kid was one of the few JSA members (along with the Spectre, Doctor Fate, and Power Girl) who did not sacrifice their lives to enter Limbo to battle and endless battle called the Ragnarok cycle. (Last Days of the JSA) Those who remained on Earth, plus the members of Infinity, Inc., remembered the lost JSA in a memorial. (Infinity, Inc. #30)

In Los Angeles, Sylvester found himself attracted to a young private detective named Jonni Thunder (no relation to the JSA's Johnny Thunder). She helped him battle Knodar in Hollywood. (#24) When Jonni Thunder was overtaken by the power of her own mystic Thunderbolt, she summoned its mate, which installed itself in Skyman's body. The two "bolts" were part of a race which had long ago stored its essences in metal figurines. They were driven back into the objects, leaving Jonni (thankfully) powerless. (#41)

Jonni and Infinity threw Skyman a surprise birthday party for his 61st birthday — it would be his last. Naturally it was interrupted by a villain's plot. The Wizard had returned with a battery of mystic minions. (#50) The following day brought another cause for celebration (and another tragic interruption), the wedding of the Infinitors Lyta Trevor and Hector Hall. After the Wizard's defeat, the Dummy (an old Seven Soldiers foe) took his place as leader of Injustice Unlimited and sent the Harlequin to kill Skyman. She disguised herself as the Infinitor Jade and took control of the brute called Solomon Grundy. Skyman was lured away from the team, accompanied by Mister Bones. When Bones lunged to defend Skyman from Grundy, Grundy took hold of Bones' cyanide hand and touched it to Sylvester's face, killing him instantly.

Pat Dugan donned his Stripsey costume and again and revealed that Sylvester had wanted his nephew, Brainwave, to assume control of his affairs. (#51) Stripesy joined the hunt for Grundy and he was shot in the leg by the Dummy, who had also kidnapped Pat's son Mikey. (#52) Stripesy managed to get his son to safety and he was rescued by what remained of Infinity, Inc. Once safely home, Pat and Mikey took the Star-Rocket Racer and scattered Sylvester's ashes over Stellar Studios. (#53)

Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.

Pat Dugan's story continued with his marriage to Barbara Whitmore. Whitmore's daughter, Courtney, snooped into Pat's belongings and found the Star-Spangled Kid's uniform and belt. Against Pat's vehement protestation, Courtney became the Star-Spangled Kid II, and Pat built a suit of armor called S.T.R.I.P.E., in order to look out for her. (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #1) » SEE: Stargirl

After Sylvester's death, the family fortune might once again have fallen into questionable hands, because the notorious Lex Luthor bought the copyright for the name "Infinity, Inc." from the Pemberton estate and unveiled his own team of teen heroes. None of these had any connection to the JSA. (52 #17, 21, 25)

No-good Arthur Pemberton and his Strike Force attacked the Justice Society again, and kidnapped Stargirl for Johnny Sorrow. The battle left his daughter, Lorna, comatose with great injuries. (JSA All-Stars #1) Pemberton continued to work in secret, allying with Professor Milo to heal and enhance his daughter. (#7) He agreed to collect some ancient artifacts for a cult of sorcerers for help in saving her, and Milo infused her with enhanced tissues, weapons, and cerebral hardware. (#14) These enhancements failed to revive Lorna fully and instead she became inhabited by an artificial intelligence called Roxy, an aide to the JSA created by Hourman. (#15)

In Other Media

Sylvester Pemberton (Jim Shield) appears to Chloe Sullivan just before being killed by the Icicle. From Smallville Season 9, Episode 11 (2010).

Sylvester Pemberton was the first member of the Justice Society to appear in an episode of Smallville (Season 9, Episode 11, 5 February 2010). In "Absolute Justice," a 2-hour movie written by Geoff Johns, Sylvester Pemberton—also known as Star-Spangled Kid—is killed by the Icicle, leading Chloe Sullivan and Clark Kent to investigate. They discover the secret history of the Justice Society of America, which was led by Hawkman. The JSA has been monitoring Clark and his super-hero friends. Dr. Fate, Sandman, and Stargirl (Sylvester's apprentice) join in to find the Icicle. Afterwards, Hawkman and Stargirl decide to seek out the remaining JSA members and their children, to help organize a new generation of superheroes. Other Versions

Other Versions

Stars (top) and Stripes, of Earth-22. From Kingdom Come #1 (1996); art by Alex Ross.

Kingdom Come (Earth-22)

Kingdom Come, was a 1996 series which was originally published as an Elseworlds title, but whose continuity has since come to roost on Earth-22. It featured many "legacy heroes," including a pair called Stars and Stripes. (Kingdom Come #1) Stripes was a vigilante who was heavily armed with various military accoutrement, and the partner of Stars, who possessed a cosmic rod. They were part of a rogue group of metahumans who were rounded up and imprisoned at the Gulag by the Justice League. (#3) They were presumably killed by the nuclear explosion at the Gulag, initiated by the United States government. (#4)

Earth-2, Post-Infinite Crisis

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the original Earth Two was merged into all other surviving Earths. After the Infinite Crisis, the multiverse of the DC Universe was restored, there was again an Earth-2. Their history seemed to have unfolded as if the first Crisis had never happened (picking up approximately after Infinity, Inc. #24). On it, Infinity Inc. and the Justice Society merged to form Justice Society Infinity, and Star-Spangled Kid (in his original uniform) was a member. (JSA Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom #1)

The New 52

In the New 52 universe, there has been no Star-Spangled Kid. This reality does, however, have a Stargirl on Earth-0/Prime Earth.

+ Powers

The Star-Spangled Kid was a teenage prodigy who by day kept to his books, but in secret trained with Stripesy to learn boxing, wrestling and acrobatics. Their strength seemed unrealistically high, as they would one-handedly whirl grown men above their heads. The Kid was also a master of strategy.

Later, the Star-Spangled Kid used Starman's cosmic rod, which he refashioned into a Cosmic Converter Belt instead. Its cosmic power allowed him to fly, construct force fields, and fire concussive force.

Stripesy was a former boxer and once bent the bars of a cage. Pat was also a mechanical expert. He designed their super-car, the Star Rocket Racer which could supposedly reach speeds of 200 miles per hour. Decades later, he created the exoskeleton called S.T.R.I.P.E., which was outfitted with armor, weaponry, and flight. (This suit may have incorporated technology from Robotman's android body.)

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • Action Comics #40
  • Adventure Comics #438, 441, 443, 462, 466
  • All-Star Comics v.2 #2
  • All-Star Squadron #29, 31, 56, 59, 60
  • America vs. the Justice Society #1, 2, 4
  • Blue Beetle v.2 #21
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, 9, 10-12
  • DC Universe Holiday Bash #2
  • Justice League International #10
  • Justice League of America #100-102, 147, 159, 160, 166, 183
  • Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1
  • Outsiders Special #1
  • Secret Origins v.2 #9, 23
  • Young All-Stars #3, 7, 9, 27, Annual #1

S.T.R.I.P.E.:

  • 52 #1, 50, 51
  • Blackest Night #1
  • JSA: Our Worlds at War #1
  • JSA #49–51, 67
  • JSA All-Stars #5
  • Superman: The Man of Steel #110, 114, 115, 119, 121, 130, 131
  • World War III #4

» SERIES:

  • Star Spangled Comics #1-90 (Sept. 1941–Mar. 1949)
  • World's Finest Comics #6–18 (1942–45)
  • Leading Comics #1–14 (Winter 1941–Spring 1945)
  • All-Star Comics #58–74 (1976–78)
  • Infinity, Inc., 53 issues (1984–88)
  • Millennium, 8-issue limited series (1988)
  • Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E., 14 issues (1999–2000)