The Star-Spangled Kid

aka Skyman + Stripesy + Merry the Gimmick Girl

Created by Jerry Siegel & 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)

Merry, the Girl of a 1,000 Gimmicks

NAME + ALIASES:
Meredith "Merry" Creamer Pemberton

KNOWN RELATIVES:
"Flyfoot" Craemer (father, deceased), Henry King (Brain Wave, ex-husband, deceased), Henry King, Jr. (Brainwave II, son), Jacqueline (daughter, deceased), Sylvester Sr. and Gloria Pemberton (adoptive parents, deceased), Sylvester Pemberton Jr. (Skyman, adoptive brother, deceased)

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Merry:
Star Spangled Comics #81 (June 1948)
In Costume: Star Spangled Comics #82 (July 1948)

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 was reversed in this case — a teen hero with an older sidekick. Regardless of sales, 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.

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 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), and a shorter run in World's Finest 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.

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

The Golden Age

Sylvester Pemberton was born in 1926 to an "ultra-rich" New York family. (Infinity Inc. #50) The tale of this duo's first encounter and origin 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.

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 Comcis #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 #3 (1942); art by Mort Meskin.
Sylvester's mother appeared here and there, but was never named. From Star Spangled Comics #73 (1947); art by Win Mortimer.

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 went 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.

While in costume, they 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)

Dr. Weerd reappeared regularly (#2-5) and another hideous freaks banded together as the "Ring of Rags." (#2)

the Needle the tall, rail-thin foe with the a gun that shot needles. (#4–5) and Mr. Ghool. (#4)

Just after they began fighting crime, Star and Stripesy joined with several other heroes to form DC's second super-group, the Seven Soldiers of Victory (a.k.a. the Law's Legionnaires). Leading Comics #1 (Winter 1941/42) borrowed its formula from All-Star Comics which, a year before, had brought together the members of the Justice Society. The Soldiers lasted only 14 issues in that series.

The team was drawn together by the Hand who had assembled a super-villain group that included Star and Stripesy's foe, the Needle. (Leading Comics #1, Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #9) Leading -14 (Spring 1945)

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, becoming Moonglow. Star and Stripesy with the help of their newly-upgraded car, which was now able to fly! (#5)

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 new adopted brother soon exhibited an unhealthy curiosity about his costumed life. (#6) The end of the feature made a 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 with issue #7, which introduced Simon and Kirby's new creation, the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion. The Star-Spangled Kid went from three features to one, making room for Guardian, Robotman, and T.N.T. and Dan the Dyna-Mite. Jerry Siegel made up for the contraction by teaming Dr. Weerd with the Needle in one adventure. (#7) Those villains also allied with Moonglow. (#9)

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

Pat Dugan decided to attend night school and ran into like-minded gangsters who, naturally, were cheating on their test. (#10) 10 is july

world's Finest #6 = summer

#8 = winter 9 spring 10 summer thru 18 Summer 1945

Japanese mastermind Koto (#11) they apparently rehearsed their attack moves because Star would call out codes like "XY-27" and "LG-29" (12) nemo morfis . racer got aloft with helicoptor rotors. 13 Dean and his College of Crime whose best student was the Needle 15 Nazi installation in the desert 17

stealingrubber, stealing iron,

stripesy bent cage bars . pat gainted 25 pounds works it off in putting down saboteurs 19 fgather sends him to a Victory Farm where they notice some of the Needle and his men hiding from them, naturally, among the haystacks. 20

Weasel gangster 21 Stripesy reveals he is college educated and resents being considered just the brawn so they agreed to change roles in their next case. Sadly, Pat discovered that Sylvester was truly the best able to direct their missions. 22 capture a U-Boat . father sends to summer camp meaning he's in high school. and Pat as a counselor. 23mail order mob fills orders for racketeers 24 Mr. Gadget who gets away. 25 he returned and hypnotized Pat to fight his partner 28

Hal Sherman entered the military service, departed the strip and a few fill-ins were drawn by "Green Arrow" artists Cliff Young and Steve Brodie. (#33-34) World's Finest Comics #14, 17). Jon Small took over with Star Spangled #35 as the feature sometimes jumped back to the #1 slot in 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 continued on the city-crook-with-a-gimmick track.

2

sent to a ranch to man him up so he and Pat concoct a plan to have Syl kidnapped so that he can prove his manliness. Instead his father became afraid of further kidnapping attempts and recinded his order. (#36)

cousin Ambrose came for a visit a mean lad whose bacon they had to save from robbers when the lad insisted on a night on the town. (#37)

pat discovered on the street by a talent scout, but didn't realize at first that 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 Mr. Gadget running a program for shy persons 43

Cult of the Cat's Paw who stole a sacred diamond Ian Chervonitz hoping to use to be restored to power in his own country. 47

pat had a dream of fighting himself then awoke to found stolen property on his night table. but was undedr the care of Dr. Carter who hypnotized him into doig the crimes then tried to frame him 48

 

Ex-cons Chiseler and Ox Muller hatch 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

father is in banking 50

Gadget trheatens rich man the police summon our heroes. 51

The Zebra, czar of crime who teamed wiht a barber to target his rich customers 53

Jon Small's work actually worsened but proved himself adept at non figurative drawing as evidenced on some of the splash panels (63)

John Pemberton 59 Mr Pemberton Sr. 65 Sylvester Pemberton Jr. for Syl 81

ad in the paper summons the Star-Spangled Kid to the aid of the FBI to help against a plot to kidnap a foreign prince. Our heroes swapped with the prince 60

the Men in the Iron Masks wore square safe-shaped helmets . captured Pat and 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

Professor Destine was a failed astronomer who turned to swindling rich ladies as an astrology — and larceny. 63

Sir Edward Smythe-Pemberton distant relative from England, but it was an impostor who used the connection to steal from their rich friends. American family came over on the Mayflower . Settler Cotton Pemberton was allegedly friends with and 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 Pamberton was a frontiersman. 64

False-Face said they'd met several times before, nothing special about him 68

Win Mortimer took over the art with Star Spangled Comics #71 (Aug. 1947) and the story picked up somewhat, focusing just a bit more on the human character of the stars

when pat's new reading lamp catches fire and burns the Pemberton garage and some autos, Pat is sacked. Really the lamps were rigged to spy on rich targets, so he was exhonerated. 71

rare spoken appearance by his mother (she was never named), she had Syl learn to play the violin because his father loved it so 73

saber-weilding Ghost of Sir Phineas used projections to fake his spirit form. 75

Pat taught boxing to other manservants and bout was set up with the butler to another wealthyy man for charity 76

Pin-Ball spherical head land a suit decorated with pinball slogans crafted special pinball machines that they must win to escape 78

Pat's rough ways rubbed a guest the wrong way so he was sent to finishing school 79

almost all cases involved everyday thugs with fancy schemes to infiltrate the lives of the rich.

In the age of Captain Marvel, and in the book led by Robin the Boy Wonder, perhaps survived because it starred a teen hero.

syl played up his "weaknesses" as a bookworm and recluse, helpless

rarely fought costumed villains "switcheroo"

father who was constantly trying to get Sylvester to be more outgoing and athletic, and social instead of spending time with his studies and tropical fish. ...

It managed to stay afloat long enough to reinvent itself, with the introduction of…

Merry, Girl of a Thousand Gimmicks

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.
Merry's first solo case. From Star Spangled Comics #84 (1948); art by Winslow Mortimer.
On Merry's last adventure, she met her opposite, the Gimmick Guy! From Star Spangled Comics #90 (1949); art by Winslow Mortimer.

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 Merry Craemer, the new addition to the family. . She cramped Sylvester's (and the Kid's) style, being ever-present.

When the adoption hnotice hit the papers, some crooks recognized her as the daughter of "Flyfoot" Craemer, a "human fly" acrobat. He defied his blackmailers and paid for it by taking a fatal bullet. Later, Merry deduced that her adopted brother was the Star-Spangled Kid. (#81)

garnered the ire of the Great Presto. at home Merry wants to help but when she's refused by Sylvester, she adopts her own costume and trails after them. Although she was captured, she managed to confuse 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, like the wind siren, a punching jack-in-the-box, and chemical bubbles. (#83)

The conclusion of the story 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 on a deep-sea fishing trip with his father (which was "not for a girl"). On her own, Merry handily defeated the Rope again. (#84)

The next episode was subtitled "featuring Merry the Girl with 1,000 Gimmicks!" and found her on vacation at a dude ranch. She made quick friends with movie actor cowboy Hal Henty, whose star horse was the target of kidnappers. She took them down using balloons to distract them, but gave the credit to Henty in the end. (#85)

Her tour of the West continued with her father as chaperon, but Merry went off on her own and met Little Fawn, a Navajo girl adept with a bow and arrow. Merry helped defend her family from greedy cattle ranchers. (#86) In issue #87 the title of the strip changed to just "Merry" and it made no effort to include the Star-Spangled Kid, though Sylvester Pemberton Sr. was still present. She foiled the Three Daredevils (#87), pink Martians (#89), and in her final adventure, the Gimmick Guy (#90)

In one particularly odd case involved William, a girl who was forced to live as a boy by her grandfather! He forbade her to wear dresses and enrolled her an an all-boys academy. Things were righted by Merry, who stopped William's vengeful brother and encouraged William to don her grandmother's dress, making her grandfather soften towards her. (#88) Note: Some accounts spell her name "Mary" which is incorrect.

Aside from their activity in the Seven Soldiers, these heroes seldom teamed other heroes. Star and Stripesy once teamed up with Sandman and Sandy on a Justice Society mission to defeat the Stalker. (Star Spangled Comics v.2 #1) Merry was also reputed to have shared one adventure with the Justice Society. (Starman v.2 #62) Note: Star was incorrectly shown as a Golden Age JSA member in the retro tale from JSA: Strange Adventures #1 (2004).

At some point after 1949, under unknown circumstances, Merry fell in love with the JSA's arch foe called the Brain Wave. She was instrumental in his reformation and they were married. Their union (and his reformation) were unsuccessful. Merry allegedly suffered a "complete mental breakdown." (Young Justice #16) She abandoned her children Jacqueline and Henry Jr., and was believed to have committed suicide. In truth, she remained underground for decades.

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) He 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 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 his family finances back in order. (All-Star Comics #70-71) Arthur's father was Sylvester's "deceased older brother" (who was mentioned only once). (Infinity, Inc. #3)

***When David Knight was off to college, Sylvester Pemberton was like a son to Ted Knight (Starman). Courtney and Pat are with Starman Jack Knight tackling the Icicle. The cosmic converter belt gfives her strength and speed and other powers she can't control yet. Jack helped at urging of his father. Recap of the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, the Seveln Soldiers, Invinity, Inc. Sylvester 14,000 BC (correction). Syl came to Ted after Infinity was founded, to his observatory in Opal City for help fixing the belt which was damanged in fight with Ultra-Humanite. He met the punked out Jack Knight and was contemplating his name change. Just then a cakll came in about the Icicle and Syl donned his original costume stored at the observatory, and the original cosmic rod. He was successful solo against Icicle and contemplated changing his name to Starman. Ted even wanted him to do it but Syl said no, perhaps sensing that one of his sons would carry on. On the way out he gave jack a star belt buckle to which he replied "have fun in thge sky, man," which inspired his new name. Ted later sent Syl a new red belt and stored the golden belt. 1st app. Courtney Whitmore, Mary Kramer. (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0)

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 damanged in the fight with Ultra-Humanite, so he made a visit to Opal City, the home of 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 when Syl met Ted's son Jack, he changed his mind. As he departed, Jack said to him, "have fun in the sky, man," which inspired his new name. (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0)

During this time, Sylvester found himself attracted to a young private detective in Los Angeles, Jonni Thunder (no relation to the JSA's Johnny Thunder). She helped him battle Knodar in Hollywood. (#24)

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 give their lives to enter the Ragnarok cycle in Limbo. (Last Days of the JSA) They and the members of Infinity, Inc. remembered the lost JSA members in a memorial. (Infinity, Inc. #30)

The Star-Spangled Kid updated his codename, becoming Skyman, (#31) and used his fortune to produce a trailer to promote the team's services. (#40)

When Jonni Thunder was overtaken by the power of her own Thunderbolt, she summoned her 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 them, leaving Jonni (thankfully) powerless. (#41)

Jonni and Infinity threw Skyman a surprise birthday party for his 61st birthday — 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 celebration (and another tragic interruption), the wedding of the Infinitors Lyta Trevor and Hector Hall (Fury and the Sandman). After the Wizard's defeat, the Dummy (an old Seven Soldiers foe) took his place as leader of Injustice Unlimited. The Dummy sent the Harlequin to kill Skyman. She disguised herself as Jade and took control of the brute called Solomon Grundy. Skyman was lured away from the team, but was 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. one of them.

Later, 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)

Merry Returns

The public debut of Old Justice. From Young Justice #16 (2000); art by Todd Nauck and Larry Stucker.
Courtney gets the cold shoulder from her predecessor's long-lost sister, Merry. From Sins of Youth: Starwoman and the Junior JSA #1 (2000); art by Drew Johnson and Rich Faber.
Merry is reunited with her son, Hank. From Hawkman v.4 #18 (2004); art by Rags Morales and Michael Bair.
The mysterious, name-dropping Gimmix emerges. From Seven Soldiers #0 (2005); art by J. H. Williams III.

Merry herself eventually resurfaced as a member of Old Justice. This group was created by a subcommittee led by U.S. Senator Neptune Perkins (D-Hawaii, a teen super-hero himself). Thier mission was to address concerns about the dangers of adventuring and teenage metahumans. He recruited Merry in their mission but in truth, Old Justice had been manipulated into creating chaos among metahumans by ex-wife of Lex Luthor, the Contessa. (Young Justice #16-19)

The magician called Klarion cast a spell to reverse all the heroes' ages, and Merry joined her brother's successor, Courtney Whitmore, Stargirl. (Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1) To try to reverse the spell, Merry and Doiby Dickles headed to the planet Myrg (in a spaceship designed by Pat Dugan), where they hoped to acquire a "de-aging gun." It was not a smooth ride; they were joined by the now-adult "Starwoman" and the Junior JSA. Merry accused Courtney of stealing her brother's (the Star-Spangled Kid's) cosmic converter belt. (Sins of Youth: Starwoman and the Junior JSA #1)

The got the gun but it failed to reverse Klarion's spell. In the end, Klarion agreed to reverse is age spell when he was betrayed by his partner, the Contessa. Afterwards, the members of Old Justice conceded that heroes both young and old were responsible for their own actions. (Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1)

After her son Henry (Brainwave) was ravaged by the Ultra-Humanite and Mister Mind, she finally revealed herself and stepped in to care for her son. (Hawkman v.4 #25)

Gimmix

Merry's previously-unknown daughter, Jacqueline, surfaced saying she'd been estranged from her mother as well. She had red hair and made several references to meetings with other Golden Age heroes. Though she appeared young, though her purported age of 26 was questionable. "Jackie" took to adventuring as Gimmix; she liked to attend super-hero conventions, and joined up with the Vigilante's newest band of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. She was slaughtered along with all its members by the ancient Sheeda race, after defeating the Miracle Mesa Monster. (Seven Soldiers #0, Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #2)

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 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 incorprorated technology from Robotman's android body.)

Merry invented a battery of her own weapons including wire web, bolo-type octopus, a bulletproof catcher's mitt, a spark gun, squirt gun, rocket firecrackers, pocket net, a wind siren, a punching jack-in-the-box and extending mule-kick, and balloons and chemical bubbles.

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

Merry:

  • Star Spangled Comics #81-90 (1948–49)
  • Starman v.2 #62
  • Young Justice #16–20
  • Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1–2

» 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)