The new DC series, Stargirl, features two iterations of the Justice Society of America. Find out more about who is in each group and the role that they have played across various DC properties.
Ever since Stargirl premiered, the Justice Society of America have been an important component of the series. In comic book lore, the JSA date back to the 1940s where they were initially the popular superhero team until being superseded in DC Comics by the more widely known Justice League in 1960.
The pilot episode of Stargirl effectively begins with the original JSA members being killed off. However, this paves the way for a newer generation in present day to take up the mantles.
Therefore, there are now a whole new set of faces behind the iconic superheroes. In order to fully understand Stargirl as a series, it is important to be knowledgeable about both iterations.
In the original JSA, wealthy socialite Sylvester Pemberton adopts the alias Starman. His abilities include wielding the cosmic staff, which is an asset in battles. He had a valet named Pat Dugan, who became his partner, Stripesy. Starman is killed by the Injustice Society of America and passes the cosmic staff to Pat. He’s played by comedian Joel McHale (Community).
In DC Comics, Sylvester Pemberton debuted in 1941 and is known as The Star Spangled Kid. Stargirl has merged the two characters together, with the latter alias being an early attempt before becoming Starman.
Courtney Whitmore, the show’s main protagonist, becomes Stargirl in the pilot episode. Shortly before the events of the series, she became Pat Dugan’s stepdaughter. She is the first person, other than Sylvester, to be able to use the cosmic staff. Thus, Courtney believes the late hero to be her late, missing father. Courtney/Stargirl is played by Brec Bassinger (Bella and The Bulldogs).
Additionally, Courtney Whitmore was created by Geoff Johns (showrunner of Stargirl) and debuted in DC Comics during 1999, for Stars and STRIPE. Originally the second Star Spangled Kid, the character began using the name Stargirl in 2003.
Wildcat’s true identity in the original JSA was Ted Grant, a former heavyweight boxing champion. Alongside his friends and comrades, Grant was murdered by the Injustice Society of America, as depicted in the pilot. Pat Dugan was the last person to see Ted Grant alive. The character is played on Stargirl by Brian Stapf.
Theodore “Ted” Grant first appeared in DC Comics during 1942. The character has been depicted on other live action DC series including Smallville and Arrow, where he was played by Roger Hasket and J.R. Ramirez, respectively.
In Stargirl, the new Wildcat is Yolanda Montez, one of Courtney Whitmore’s new classmates in small town Blue Valley, Nebraska. Yolanda was a popular student until explicit photos sent to her boyfriend, Henry King Jr. (Jake Austin Walker) were leaked around the school. Yolanda is played by Yvette Monreal.
Similarly, Yolanda Montez also became the second Wildcat in DC Comics. She debuted in March 1985 and, unlike the new Stargirl series, had a personal connection to Ted Grant as his goddaughter.
Rex Tyler, a chemist and adrenaline junkie, was the original JSA’s Hourman. Unlike many of his friends, Rex survived the battle with the Injustice Society that predates Stargirl by a decade. However, both Rex and wife would eventually die in an accident after relocating to Blue Valley. Lou Ferrigno Jr, known for SWAT, portrays Rex.
Rex Tyler first appeared in print during 1940 and is the first of three characters to be known as Hourman. Patrick J. Adams (Suits) has also played the role, on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Blue Valley High School student Rick Tyler becomes the new Hourman in Stargirl. His similar name to Rex is no coincidence – they are father and son, as revealed when the character’s casting was announced in July 2019. Rick Tyler is played by Cameron Gellman.
The Rick Tyler version of Hourman has been in DC Comics since 1985. The plot line resembles Stargirl by having the two be father and son.
Charles McNider donned the Dr. Mid-Nite costume for the original JSA. An actual physician, he was murdered alongside many of his allies in 2010. In Stargirl, actor Henry Thomas (ET) plays the role of Dr. McNider.
The McNider version of Dr. Mid-Nite debuted in 1941. However, during his time in print, McNider at one point assumed another alias — Starman, being among many to have assumed the mantle.
Meanwhile, Blue Valley’s Beth Chapel, another of Courtney’s lunch table-mates, becomes the new Dr. Mid-Nite. She’s the daughter of Bridget Chapel, a local doctor and James Chapel, a colleague of Courtney’s mother. Beth is played by Anjelika Washington.
Beth Chapel made her debut, as the slightly altered Dr Midnight, in 1985. The version in print is older than her Stargirl counterpart, already being a doctor like McNider. The character first appeared two months before assuming the mantle.
As mentioned, Pat Dugan was the valet and driver of both Sylvester Pemberton and the Justice Society of America. He was also Starman’s sidekick, Stripesy and one of few survivors from the 2010 battle which killed the majority of the JSA. Pat is portrayed by Luke Wilson.
Wilson was also Geoff Johns’ inspiration for the character in the comic books, in which he first appeared in 1941. Pat evolved from Stripesy to STRIPE in order to protect Courtney, who had become Stargirl.
Unlike the others in this list, Luke Wilson also portrays the present-day version of his character, by virtue of being the same person. Much like the comic books, Pat uses his skills as a mechanic to build a robot named STRIPE – standing for Subatomic Tactical Robot Internet Pat Enhancer, as per Courtney Whitmore.
Stargirl airs Mondays on DC Universe and Tuesdays on The CW.
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