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Stargirl: Reborn From Comic Book History

Stargirl,” the latest heroine born into the CW’s version of the DC comic book universe, harkens back to the classic 1999 comic book series “Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.” Geoff Johns, the executive producer of the TV adaptation and writer of the original comic book, gathered his inspiration from an even older source, DC’s “Star Spangled Comics” (1941).

“Star Spangled Comics” had a unique premise featuring a child hero, with an adult sidekick. Johns took the idea, polished it up and ran with it, merging the influence of the historical DC child-hero with the more tangible inspiration of his own sister, Courtney.

An Undying Love

Johns’ sister, Courtney, passed away tragically in a plane explosion in 1996. To commemorate her energy, spunk and optimism, Johns wrote these traits right into the fabric of Stargirl’s character, even naming her after his late sister. In this sense, Johns’ sister lives on, creating heroism out of tragedy in the comic book universe and beyond.

An Unusual Hero

With a flattering red, white and blue costume emblazoned with stars, flowing golden tresses and a kind smile, Stargirl looks right at home among the cast of DC heroes featured in the series, including S.T.R.I.P.E., Wildcat, Starman, Dr. Midnight and about a half-dozen other superheroes.

There’s just one big difference: Stargirl is many years their junior. She’s a high school sophomore leading a band of adults into adventure and bringing justice wherever the world requires it. This keeps the series fresh, even with the inclusion of several re-hashed characters.

A Nod to Past Comics

Many of the heroes and villains featured on “Stargirl” are throwbacks to other classic characters in the DC comic book universe, with several also appearing in the same comic book series that inspired Stargirl herself. For example, Wildcat dates back to “Sensation Comics #1” from 1942, while Doctor Mid-Nite is pulled from “All-American Comics #25” from 1941. Many of these heroes already have established stories that are further fleshed out in “Stargirl,” but others have vague backstories, allowing Johns more room for creative license in developing those characters.

In the end, “Stargirl” features all the hallmarks of a good DC comic series: vibrant heroes, well-developed villains and exciting narratives woven throughout. The excitement of a young heroine keeps the tone lively and energetic, while the real-life elements drawn from Johns’ late sister Courtney keep Stargirl’s character authentic and relatable. “Stargirl” is a perfect addition to the DC universe and a bright star among so many other classic heroes.

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