DC Comics’ original Star-Spangled Kid was a patriotic 1940s hero. But this new version appeared in 1999.
She was the, well, star of the first comic book by Geoff Johns, who went on to become a popular super-hero writer. This new Kid was based on Johns’ sister, which did give her lifelike verisimilitudeMaking a story feel credible..
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.
So it’s one of those “year one” writeups.
- Real Name: Courtney Whitmore.
- 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” (1.65m) during that era. Weight: 110 lbs. (50 kg.) during that era.
- Eyes: Blue. Hair: Blonde.
Powers and Abilities
She also has a learner’s permit.
She can pull off daring exploits for no special reason beyond her reckless, irresponsible gusto. In DC Heroes RPG terms, she thus has a surprising amount of Hero PointsDC Heroes RPG concept expressing narrative importance/immunity..
Her academic skills are, *at best*, lacklustre.
Cosmic Converter Belt
The cosmic converter belt she uses was built by Starman (Ted Knight).
It works along the same principles as Starman’s cosmic rod. But it is adapted to her physiology, granting her different powers than previous wearers.
The main effect is to increase her strength, speed and agility when worn.
This boost increased over time. At the start of this era she seemed able to lift about a ton. At the end, she could lift about four.
The augmented strength and speed make her a superior hand-to-hand fighter.
The Star-Spangled Kid learned to project “shooting stars” when wearing the belt. These cosmic energy projectile have been known to slash, electrocute, stun, punch or numb opponents. The effect depends upon their exact charge.
The Kid usually operates wearing a compact backpack. She can thus carry 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 . It was entirely rebuilt and strengthened – her stepfather 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 within the armoured frame. This allows the car to fly in case of an emergency.
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. Courtney let her grades sink, refusing Dugan’s academic help.
The Dugans then moved to Blue Valley, Nebraska. This further dismayed Courtney, even 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. He had come to Blue Valley to monitor strange happenings.
Planning to use this as blackmail material, Courtney also found a belt.
It was the one once used by Stripesy’s slain partner Sylvester Pemberton. Pemberton had been the 1940s Star-Spangled Kid, though the belt had been worn as part of his later identity as Skyman.
During a WWII-themed costumed social event at school, Courtney made her version of the 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. power armourStrength-enhancing body armour, like Iron Man’s..
In the wake of the battle, Whitmore declared herself the new Star-Spangled Kid, in good part to annoy her stepfather.
…they know nuthin’ !
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. Its members were using uniforms, unarmed martial techniques, and an extensive network of secret tunnels.
Meanwhile, her mum had Courtney join the cheerleading squad. Barbara also 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.
Schoolgirl Society associate
The JSA originally tried to keep her out of the way for her safety. But she saved them from Mordru’s assaults when she entered the amulet of Fate and used the Scarabeus to trigger a new incarnation of Doctor Fate.
The Star-Spangled Kid and S.T.R.I.P.E. took part in a number of JSA cases. Meanwhile, they still investigated the Blue Valley situation.
She also fought off an alien infiltration in Blue Valley along with Young Justice. And dispersed the Nebula Man on her own, before it could regain its full power.
Sand and grit
When the JSA officially re-formed under the leadership of Sand (Sanderson Hawkins), the Star-Spangled Kid was a member. Being the youngest, she was the one to cut the inaugural ribbon.
The Kid then helped Black Canary (Dinah Lance) escape a trap by a Ian Karkull-possessed Obsidian (Todd Rice). She thus arguably saved 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. He had been expelled from the military academy his mother had sent him in.
Mike’s plan was to become the new Star-Spangled Kid. Therefore, he was dismayed to see that Courtney was already using the belt and identity.
Meanwhile, Courtney solved the Blue Valley mystery by getting kidnapped. The secret tunnels and enthralled kids were the work of wartime villain the Dragon King. He 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.
Battle Royale at Blue Valley
But the Dragon King and his daughter Shiv (Cindy Burman), Courtney’s rival, now knew the Kid’s identity. Mrs. Dugan was therefore kidnapped.
The cosmic converter belt was then destroyed as a result of Courtney and Mike’s puerile dispute as to whom would be the Star-Spangled Kid.
The Shining Knight and S.T.R.I.P.E. 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 to let her be the Star-Spangled Kid.
Injustice and tears
The 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 performed particularly well. She 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 a 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 the custom car on which he had been secretly working for a while.
Overjoyed by this impressive gift, Courtney accidentally let it slip that she had come to consider the heroic Dugan as her father.
When active, Courtney’s belt often emits pastel-coloured, five-pointed, immaterial stars. These quickly evaporate.
Shortly after arriving in Blue Valley, Whitmore was equipped with dental braces – which she hated with the power of a million exploding suns.
During this era Courtney is brazen, self-centred, 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.
Either as Courtney or as the Star-Spangled Kid, she resents authority figures. 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.
- Whitmore has no problem with occasionally cheating in her studies and her battles.
However, this is a period of rapid — and difficult — growth.
Despite her professed disdain for academic pursuits, Courtney is smart. She thus 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. This allows him to nurture her undeniable potential for heroism.
Among the JSA Courtney is closest to Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl), the youngest woman on the team after her.
(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 !”
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.”
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.”
“Mom… I’ve never been really good at maths 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.”
DC Heroes RPG
Star-Spangled Kid II (year one)
|Dex: 03||Str: 02||Bod: 03|
|Int: 04||Wil: 04||Min: 05|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 04||Spi: 05|
|Init: 010||HP: 040|
Acrobatics (Athletics, Dodging): 04, Artist (Dancing): 02, Thief (Stealth): 03, Vehicles (land): 02
Buddy (Mary Kramer).
Pat Dugan (High), JSA (High), Young Justice (Low), Kendra Saunders (aka Hawkgirl, High), Ted Knight (Low).
Age (young), Dependant (her mother), SIA toward stubbornness, SIA toward impatient recklessness.
Thrill w/a splash of Responsibility.
- SWEET DRIVIN’ MACHINE [STR 06 BODY 08, Flight: 08, Running: 07]. The Flight may have a limited duration.
- 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. As such it 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.]
At the beginning of this era, Courtney has one less AP of MIN, SPI and WIL.
The /STR/ from the Cosmic Converter Belt is originally 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.
DC Adventures RPG
Star-Spangled Kid II (Year One) — Averaged PL8.6
|00 (07)||01 (04)||03 (05)||01|
Cosmic converter belt ● 69 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: Technology, cosmic energy
– Enhanced Strength 7, Enhanced Stamina 3, Enhanced Agility 2, Enhanced Fighting 5.
– Protection 1, Enhanced Advantages (Defensive Roll 1, Evasion), Enhanced Parry 3, Enhanced Fortitude 3, Enhanced Dodge 6.
– Enhanced Skills (Acrobatics 3, Athletics 1), Enhanced Advantage (Improved Initiative).
– Enhanced Advantages (Close attack 4, Ranged attack 4), Enhanced Skills (Close combat (Unarmed) 4).
– Leaping 2.
– Starry blasts (Array):
- Ranged electrical Damage 6, Accurate 3, Feature (wearer is immune, so frex Courtney could use it when immersed).
- Ranged blunt Damage 6, Accurate 3.
- Ranged slashing Damage 6, Accurate 3.
- Ranged energy Affliction 8 (resisted by Fortitude, Dazed/Exhausted, Limited Degree), Quirk (only against creatures with an electrically-powered nervous system), Accurate 3.
- Nullify electronics 8, Accurate 3.
- Strange energy interactions may occur by GM Call since these are cosmic energy. 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.
Agile Feint, Defensive Roll 1 (2), Evasion, Improved Initiative, Instant Up, Move-by Action.
Connected, Equipment 5.
Acrobatics 2 (+5) (+10), Athletics 4 (+4) (+12), Close combat 1 (+3) (+11), Expertise (Cheerleading) 2 (+2), Insight 2 (+3), Perception 3 (+4), Persuasion 1 (+2), Stealth 1 (+4) (+6), Vehicles 2 (+3) (Limited 2 to common motorcars).
’58 Lincoln convertible Size L, STR 6, Speed 6, Flight 7, Defense 8, Tough 9 ● 25 points
|Initiative +3 (+9 w/belt)|
|Unarmed +3, Close, Damage 0|
|Unarmed (w/belt) +11, Close, Damage 7|
|Starry blasts +11, Ranged, effect by Array line.|
|Dodge||03 (11 w/belt)|
|Fortitude||03 (09 w/belt)|
|Parry||03 (11 w/belt)|
|Toughness||01*/02 (07 w/belt)|
* Without Defensive Roll.
- Like, literally a kid Courtney is a minor and must attend school, abide by parental authority (more or less…), lacks certain rights, etc..
- Whatever Courtney is immature, impatient, stubborn, reckless, unfocused, these things.
- Relationships Whitmore’s family (particularly her mum) have been used for leverage against her.
- Whatever Like, whatever.
- Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 10, Dodge/Toughness PL 9, Parry/Toughness PL 9, Fort/Will PL 8.
- Points total 113. Abilities 18, Defences 8, Skills 8, Powers 0, Devices 69, Advantages 10. Equiv. PL 8.
Not wearing the belt could simply be handwaved as a Complication. But that she’s weirdly capable even without is a significant aspect of the character. Plus, our statting style goes for accuracy over simplicity.
The “year one” M&M stats synch oddly well with her official Stargirl stats, now that I check. Cool.
Source of Character: Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. (1999) and her early appearances in JSA (1999, issues 1-20).