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Star-Spangled Kid (Courtney Whitmore) (early, pre-Stargirl) (DC Comics)

Star-Spangled Kid

(Courtney Whitmore profile #1, before Stargirl)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This new version of DC Comics’ Star-Spangled Kid (the first being a patriotic 1940s hero) appeared in 1999. She was the, well, star of the first comic book by Geoff Johns, who went on to become a very popular comics writer. This character is based on Johns’ deceased sister, which did give her lifelike verisimilitude.

This profile covers the Star-Spangled Kid as she was in the Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.S. comic, before she became primarily a JSA character and eventually Stargirl. This is thus one of those “year one” writeups.


Background

  • Real Name: Courtney Whitmore
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Barbara Dugan (mother), Pat Dugan (aka Stripesy, aka S.T.R.I.P.E., stepfather), Michael Dugan (stepbrother), Sam Kurtis (estranged father). Patricia Dugan (stepsister) is not yet born at this point.
  • Group Affiliation: JSA, partner of S.T.R.I.P.E.
  • Base Of Operations: Blue Valley, Nebraska
  • Height: 5’5” (during that era) Weight: 110 lbs (during that era)
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blonde


Powers and Abilities

Courtney Whitmore is fit and athletic. She has been taking kickboxing lessons for several years. She can pull off daring exploits for no special reasons beyond her reckless, irresponsible gusto – in game terms she has a surprising amount of Hero Points .

The Star-Spangled Kid (Courtney Whitmore) on a white background

She also has a learner’s permit. Her general performance as a student is a best lacklustre, though.

Cosmic Converter Belt

The cosmic converter belt she uses was built by Starman (Ted Knight) and works along the same principles as Starman’s cosmic rod. It adapted to her physiology, granting her different powers than previous wearers.

The main effect is to increase her strength, speed and agility when worn. The effect grew with experience. As this era starts she seemed able to lift about a ton, and about 4 tons when it ended. The gains in strength and speed make her a superior hand-to-hand fighter.

The Star-Spangled Kid eventually learned to project “shooting stars” when wearing the belt. These cosmic energy projectile have been known to slash, electrocute, stun, punch or numb opponents depending upon their exact charge.

Other gear

The Kid usually operates with a compact backpack in which she carries her clothes after she switches to her costume. She also usually has a cell phone, which she often forgets to put in silent mode.

As Courtney she has a distinctive and tricked out car. This is a 1958 Lincoln convertible that has been entirely rebuilt and strengthened – Dugan did a frame-off restoration. This classic car is painted bright yellow, with a chrome star hood ornament, a ’STAR‘ vanity plate and red leather seats.

There is a version of the Racer’s rocket engines installed in the armoured frame, allowing it to fly in case of an emergency.


History

During the late 1990s, Beverly Hills PR professional Barbara Whitmore remarried with a mechanic named Pat Dugan. Though her daughter Courtney had barely known her father before the divorce, she reacted poorly to her mother’s new marriage.

To regain her mother’s attention she stopped studying and let her grades sink, refusing Dugan’s academic help. The Dugans then moved to Blue Valley, Nebraska. This further dismaying Courtney, though she had never really fit in in Beverly Hills.

While rummaging through moving boxes, Courtney discovered Pat’s secret. He had been the costumed super-hero and strongman Stripesy during WWII, and was in Blue Valley to monitor strange happenings. Planning to use the information as blackmail material, Courtney continued to search. She found the belt once used by Stripesy’s slain partner Sylvester Pemberton when he was Skyman.

Kids today…

During a WWII-themed costumed social event at school, Courtney made herself a modernised Star-Spangled Kid uniform. Her goal was to pressure Pat into giving her freer rein lest she tells everything to Barbara. However, the dance was attacked by kids wearing cowls and uniforms.

Courtney discovered that the belt gave her powers. Meanwhile, Pat responded with his just-completed S.T.R.I.P.E. suit of power armour . In the wake of the battle, Withmore declared herself the new Star-Spangled Kid, in good part to annoy her stepfather.

The Star-Spangled Kid (Courtney Whitmore) in Pat Dugan's workshop

Along with her friend Mary Kramer, Courtney investigated why numerous kids were disappearing in Blue Valley. She discovered that they had joined some sort of cult using uniforms, the unarmed martial arts and a network of secret tunnels around town and particularly the high school.

Meanwhile, her mum had her join the cheerleading squad to have more extracurricular activities. Barbara dismissed Courtney’s rants about her stepfather being a super-hero.

Though the new Star-Spangled Kid was a reckless heroine, she gradually came to realise that Pat Dugan was actually cool. She also started meeting other heroes, particularly the JSA.

The JSA originally tried to keep her out of the way since she was just a kid. But she saved them against Mordru’s assaults when she entered the amulet of Fate and used the Scarabeus to trigger a new incarnation of Doctor Fate.

…they know nuthin’ !

The Star-Spangled Kid and S.T.R.I.P.E. took part to a number of JSA cases, while investigating the Blue Valley situation. During the Day of Judgement crisis she fought Solomon Grundy along with the Marvels. She also fought off an alien infiltration in Blue Valley along with Young Justice, and single-handedly dispersed the Nebula Man before it could regain its full power.

When the JSA officially re-formed under the leader of Sand (Sanderson Hawkins), the Star-Spangled Kid was a member. As the youngest she was the one to cut the ribbon.

The Kid then helped Black Canary (Dinah Lance) escape a trap by a Ian Karkull-possessed Obsidian, arguably saving the JSA a second time. During a killing mission against Extant, she met a time-displaced Sylvester Pemberton from another Earth. He helped her focus and taught her to use the belt a little better.

After Extant was killed several members took a break to deal with the deed. This further exposed Courtney to the harrowing nature of super-heroics.

Pat’s estranged son Mike then came in, having been expelled from the military academy his mother had sent him. His plan was to become the new Star-Spangled Kid, and he was dismayed to see that Courtney was already using the belt and identity.

Battle Royale at Blue Valley

Courtney solved the Blue Valley mystery when she was herself kidnapped. The secret tunnels and enthralled kids were the work of wartime villain the Dragon King, who had been plotting there for years if not decades. Thankfully, one of the few Seven Soldiers Of Victory left, the Shining Knight (Sir Justin of the Round Table) intervened and freed the Kid.

The Star-Spangled Kid (Courtney Whitmore) fires her shooting stars

Still, at that point, the Dragon King and his daughter Shiv (Cindy Burman), Courtney’s rival, knew the Kid’s identity. Mrs. Dugan was kidnapped, and the cosmic converter belt destroyed as Courtney and Mike were having a puerile dispute as to whom would be the Star-Spangled Kid.

The Shining Knight and S.T.R.I.P.E. nevertheless beat back the servants of the Dragon King. Pat then decided to give Courtney the last cosmic converter belt – the original one.

The three heroes eventually defeated the Dragon King’s global plot, and freed Mrs. Dugan. Courtney even convinced her mother that letting her be the Star-Spangled Kid was the right course of action.

The Justice Society

The Star-Spangled Kid thus continued to serve in the JSA, particularly against Johnny Sorrow and his Injustice Society. When the Injustice Society invaded the JSA’s headquarters Courtney did exceedingly well and took out Icicle, Blackbriar Thorn and her old enemy Shiv.

Later, when Sorrow summoned the King of Tears, she helped fight off hordes of demons along with more experienced heroes such as Mr. Terrific and Black Canary.

Sam Kurtis, Courtney’s biological father, then came back. Though the girl was initially overjoyed, she gradually realised that Kurtis was a miserable user and con artist. He even stole her treasured locket, in which she had kept his photo since she was a little girl.

Seeing his stepdaughter depressed by this turn of events, Pat Dugan gave her a custom car on which he had been secretly working for a while. Overjoyed by the impressive gift, Courtney accidentally let it slip that she had come to consider the heroic Dugan as her father.


Description

When active, Courtney’s belt often emits pastel-coloured, 5-pointed energy stars that quickly evaporate.

Shortly after arriving in Blue Valley, Whitmore was equipped with dental braces – which she hated with the power of a million exploding sun.


Personality

During this era Courtney is brazen, self-centered, impulsive, shallow, aggressive and rebellious. She is convinced that she’s special. She’s none too aware of her own mortality, making her catastrophically self-confident. She only wants action, and hates studying.

The Star-Spangled Kid (Courtney Whitmore) hops into her car with her family nearby

Left to right: Courtney Whitmore, Mike Dugan, Barbara Dugan, Pat Dugan.

Either as Courtney or as the Star-Spangled Kid, she resents authority figure. She will reliably talk back and give lip – said sarcasm regularly landing her into trouble.

She also has a petty, violent streak. She had originally sworn to break her mother’s new marriage out of spite, and fights dirty. She has a strong killer instinct, though she doesn’t normally fight to kill. She doesn’t fight like a white hat — more like a street fighter — and has no problem with occasionally cheating in her studies and her fights.

However, this is a period of rapid — albeit difficult — growth. Despite her professed disdain for academic pursuits, Courtney is smart and realises that she actually needs to learn and study.

Though her conception of heroism is originally about action and fighting, she gradually comes to a more nuanced and constructive view. She becomes genuinely committed to her new, growing understanding of the heroic ideal.

Courtney’s best friend, the sassy but far more cerebral Mary Kramer, is one of the good influences on her. Pat Dugan has also been relatively successful in getting through his stepdaughter’s thick skull and nurturing her undeniable potential for heroism.

Among the JSA Courtney is closest to Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl), the youngest woman on the team after her.


Quotes

(Learning about the Kid in an old newspaper article) ‘The “Star-Spangled Kid’ and ‘Stripesy’ ? How incredibly lame !”

“Pat’s *not* my dad. Not even close. You two marry. I lose everything. Real fair.”

“I can take care of myself. Just get outta my face and leave me alone !”

“Whatever.”

Mary: “What’s your code name gonna be ? How about Stargirl ?”
Courtney: “Do I look like a Stargirl ?”
Mary: “Not really.”

“Y‘know, I’ve been having a bad enough day already, and a boring old crayon-eating art teacher like you is not going to make any worse !” (gets sent into detention).

“God, I hope this Spandex doesn’t make me look fat.”

’Brace-Face‘ ? Okay, cavemen, [bring it on] !”

“Prepare to get your butt kicked — Star-Spangled Kid style!”

“Time to see stars !”

“That’s IT ! No more Ms. Nice Girl !”

“This sucks. The JSA would never sacrifice the good fight for an algebra class. I should be on patrol. I should—”

“This is so not me. I just don’t fit in with these hyper-cheery faces.”

STRIPE (Pat Dugan) and the Star-Spangled Kid in flight

“Whatever.”

Barbara Withmore (loudly encouraging her daughter from the bleachers): “Way to go Courtney ! Rah ! Rah ! Rah !”
Courtney (hiding her face behind her pom-poms in embarrassment): “Way to go, mom.”

“I’m the leader. S.T.R.I.P.E.’s the sidekick !”

Hawkgirl: “You sure you know what you’re doing, Kid ?”
Courtney: “No, but I’m good at guessing !”

“Look. Mr. Lantern, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but this [history] stuff is not what I’m about. I found the cosmic converter belt. Now I just wanna beat up the bad guys.”

“Whatever.”

“Mom… I’ve never been really good at math or English, but being a hero, saving lives and helping people — it’s the best feeling in the world. And being part of a legacy like Pat’s and the JSA… There’s nothing else I want more.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Star-Spangled Kid II (year one)

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Thrill w/a splash of Responsibility
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Student
Inf: 03 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 001
Init: 010 HP: 040

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics, Dodging): 04, Artist (Dancing): 02, Thief (Stealth): 03, Vehicles (land): 02

Advantages:
Buddy (Mary Kramer)

Connections:
Pat Dugan (High), JSA (High), Young Justice (Low), Kendra Saunders (aka Hawkgirl, High), Ted Knight (Low)

Drawbacks:
Age (young), Dependant (her mother), SIA toward subborness and impatient recklesness

Equipment:

  • SWEET DRIVIN’ MACHINE [STR 06 BODY 08, Flight: 08, Running: 07]
  • COSMIC CONVERTER BELT [/DEX/ 07 /STR/ 08 /BODY/ 06, Jumping: 02, Lightning: 07, Numb: 06, Projectile weapons: 07, Acrobatics (Athletics, Dodging)*: 07, Martial artist*: 07, Lightning Reflexes. Limitation: Numb only against creatures with an electrically-powered nervous system – or electrically powered machines, Notes:
    • The Kid’s Init becomes 018 when she wears the belt
    • Wearer seems immune to the belt’s Lightning (it did not affect Courtney when she shot it at a pool she was standing in, but affected everybody else)
    • Lightning, Projectile weapons and Numb are actually cosmic energy, which may have interesting effects when interacting with other exotic energies – for instance it was bright enough to break Obsidian’s shadow control. ‘Cosmic energy‘ has been known to repower Superman just like solar energy, and I wish I could find an example of use against a vampire.]

Growin’ up

At the beginning of this era, Courtney has one less AP of MIN, SPI and WIL.

The /STR/ from the Cosmic Converter Belt is but a 06, gradually increasing as she gains control. Let’s say to 07 after she learns to activate her ranged attack powers, and to 08 after the parallel time-displaced Star-Spangled Kid I teaches her to better use the belt.

She also could not use Lightning, Projectile Weapons or Numb at first.

By Sébastien Andrivet and Danielle Mendus

Source of Character: Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. (1999) and her early appearances in JSA (1999, issues 1-20)

Helper(s): Darci

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