Trae Romano plays the role of Mike Dugan on Stargirl. Was his character created for the show or does Mike originate in DC Comics?
Mike Dugan, played by teen actor Trae Romano, has been part of Stargirl since the first episode. He is the son of Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson), also known as Stripsey or STRIPE. Additionally, Mike is the new stepson of Barbara Whitmore (Amy Smart) and step-brother of Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger), who is secretly Stargirl.
Stargirl and STRIPE are well-known heroes from DC Comics, connected with Starman. However, Mike’s connection to the parent property is less clear. Is he just a lesser known character? Or was he created solely for the Stargirl television show?
Mike is one of the few civilians on Stargirl, with no knowledge of the Justice Society of America (JSA) or Injustice Society of America (ISA). As such, his role on the show is very specific.
Nonetheless, he also provides comic relief, breaking up tense scenes between Pat and Courtney discussing superhero-related topics. He follows a long line of sassy supporting characters on Arrowverse shows, including Cisco Ramon on The Flash.
As it turns out, Mike is, in fact, a DC Comics character. Known as Michael Justin Dugan, he is the son of Pat Dugan and his ex-wife, Margaret Dugan (née Shaw). In line with Romano’s Stargirl iteration, Michael Justin Dugan is also the stepson/brother of Barbara and Courtney Whitmore.
Furthermore, Michael Justin Dugan does learn of his father’s secret identity, as well as old family friend Sylvester Pemberton being the Star Spangled Kid. By the time that the comics depict the events in DC Universe’s series, he well aware of heroes, unlike Romano’s Mike. However, he also competes with Courtney for the title of Star Spangled Kid, believing it is his by birthright.
According to Who’s Who, Michael Justin Dugan is not only older than the Mike on TV at the moment, he is also “a very problematic young man, full of anger and resentment. A young delinquent who vents in vandalism and petty crime the frustration coming from his disastrous family life”.
Stargirl airs Mondays on DC Universe
Follow writer Conor O’Brien on Twitter – @CourageousConor