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For America: the 50 greatest 'stars' in comics

Contributed by
Jul 4, 2017, 12:00 PM EDT


They're there when we look up at night, at least when it isn't cloudy.

Our kindergarten teachers gave them to us when we were good.

We put them all over Hollywood sidewalks.

And of course, they're tied with stripes for the most patriotic geometric pattern around.

Well, comic book characters are no strangers to some good old-fashioned American jingoism, and they're definitely no strangers to slapping a few stars on their costumes. There are tons of star-themed heroes and villains out there, and even a few that have "star" in their name just for the heck of it.

In fact, there are so many that you could make an entire American flag out of them. So we thought we'd do just that!

Because America demanded it (and because it's going to take a lot longer to find 13 characters named "Stripe"), here they are, comics' 50 greatest "stars"!

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Created by Gardner Fox and Jack Burnley in 1941, Ted Knight was the very first Starman in the DCU. He used a gravity rod to fly and blast stuff!

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One of the many heroes inhabiting the titular metropolis of Kurt Busiek's long-running superhero series, Astro City.

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Jack Knight, son of Ted. He was the star of the acclaimed '90s Starman series.

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Half of the crimefighting duo "Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.," who has also gone by Stars, Star and Star-Spangled Kid, was a member of the All-Stars and inherited her staff from Starman, making her just about perfect for this list.

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I say this with no judgment whatsoever: this Starman is named Mikaal Tomas and is a blue alien in a relationship with a man trapped in a gorilla's body.

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An unpowered superhero with a liking for throwing stars that has regularly appeared in Savage Dragon.

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Treasured Teen Titan teammate and heir to the throne of Tamaran. A lover and a fighter in equal measure.

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No relation to Starfire, this amazing friend is a mutant better known as an Avenger and New Warrior than as an X-Man, but she's been all three.

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David, Jack's dead older brother, who of course was also Starman.

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This Soviet-era Marvel heroine had the mutant ability to manipulate Darkforce energy. A perennial member of the Russian superteam known as Winter Guard and a former member of the Champions.

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Another Winter Guard member and a Defender, Starlight was formerly known as Red Guardian before she was transformed into an atomic energy-being by The Presence.

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Red Star

DC's entry in the star-themed-Russian-superhero category who originally called himself Starfire ... before Starfire came along and did it better.

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Farris Knight, Jack's descendant from the 853rd Century and the Justice Legion's appointed guardian of the solar system's second sun. It's a living.

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Star Sapphire

The original was Carol Ferris, Hal Jordan's longtime flame, but now there's a whole Corps of Star Sapphires who've joined her, spreading love and violet light across the universe.

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A mutant made by Mojo who was sent back in time to get the X-Men but joined the first X-Force and changed the future instead.

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One of the Guardians of Galaxy of the 31st Century, also a ca-razy Hawk God messiah.

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Zodiac Starforce

A team of magically-powered high school girls whose series is returning this week from Dark Horse Comics.

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The Negative Zone's second-most-feared menace after Annihilus, whose name is close enough, right?

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A giant telepathic starfish ... and the very first enemy the Justice League ever faced!

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He's not the Nintendo character but rather Thanos' brother ... and a cosmic-level lady's man.

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Star Brand

While originally the most prominent character of Marvel's short-lived New Universe imprint, there is now also a Star Brand in the main Marvel Universe.

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Will Payton, the brother of Jack Knight's fiancée, who, confusingly enough, has completed unrelated powers to the other Starmen listed thus far.

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Star City

Home of DC's Green Arrow (but not any of the people named Starman), and in the current universe, the city formerly known as Seattle.

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Megatron's ever-traitorous whipping boy, his name is also the sound you'll make if you make it all the way through this list.

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Star-Spangled Kid

A Golden Age Nazi-buster along with his pal Stripesy, he was a member of the All-Star Squadron, Seven Soldier and Justice Society, and founded Infinity, Inc. Once he grew up, he went by the name of -- you guessed it -- Skyman.

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Star Canary

An alternate reality fusion of Starfire and Black Canary and a member of the justice Titans, along with Aquaborg, Hawk Beast, Night Lantern and the boringly-named Flash.

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A real estate agent given powerful psychic powers by Anubis who battled the Son of Satan. No one was the good guy that time.

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A pet cat turned Red Lantern on a quest to enact vengeance on his owner's killer. The second 'r' in his name is silent, so I'm saying it counts.

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The team of space pirates that Cyclops and Havok's dad decided to join instead of returning to Earth and being their father.

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Colonel Stars

Brother of Lieutenant Stripes and played by Jim Carrey in Kick-Ass 2.

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Shooting Star

A member of the Texas-based Marvel superteam, the Rangers. She's called Shooting Star because she's really good at shooting. Get it?

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Evil Star

An alien scientist who created a "star band" to give him the lifespan of a star, but it also gave him the … evilness … of a star …? Something like that. He's a Green Lantern villain.

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Black Star

A minor villain who briefly plagued Firestorm at the beginning of the New 52. Whatever.

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Doctor Star

A retired superhero from the universe where the heroes of Black Hammer came from who operates an observatory equipped with his cosmic-powered telescope.

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Star Riders

An unreleased toy line and animated series from the early '90s that was to feature Wonder Woman and a team of heroines — including DC characters Ice and Dolphin — who rode flying horses.

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Silver Star

A lesser-known creation of Jack Kirby, Silver Star's series at Pacific Comics in the mid-'80s only lasted six issues. Other publishers have tried to revive him with pretty much the same results.

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Star Thief

An enemy of the New Warriors who vowed to destroy all forms of human space travel after a failed test flight crashed on his family. Basically Elon Musk's worst nightmare.

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An adorable young girl with the ability to control flowers who once teamed up with Wonder Woman.

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Star Splendor

The totally uncool mother of the Young Avengers' Marvel Boy.

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An alien from a cosmically powerful species of the Marvel Universe who left her home planet to dance among the stars, hoping to perfect the art of dance.

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Star Child

Star Child, a young Celestial rescued from the sun by Leonardo da Vinci, was featured in the criminally unfinished S.H.I.E.L.D. series by Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver.

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Daily Star

Before taking up a job at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent was employed at the Daily Star, a fictional newspaper named after the nonfictional Toronto Daily Star, which Superman co-creator Joe Shuster delivered when he was a paperboy.

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Star Hawks

A pulpy space adventure strip from the late '70s and early '80s drawn by the legendary Gil Kane, with no connection to Marvel's Starhawk.

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Tony Stark

You didn't see that one coming, did you?

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A one-off Batman villain from a 1960 Detective Comics story who never appeared again, not to be confused with the hyphen-less Starman from roughly forty issues earlier, which was Bruce Wayne's temporary alter-ego when he became terrified of bats.

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S.T.A.R. Labs

A surprisingly usually-not-evil super-science research lab in the DC Universe, best known as the place where the TV version of Barry Allen goes to have a good cry.

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Star Comics

An all-ages imprint of Marvel comics that ran in the mid-'80s to early '90s and published titles like Spider-Ham. But more relevant to this article, they published a comic based on a toy line called Starriors, which featured a character named Starrunner (aka Speedtrap). That's some real star power.

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Vanth Dreadstar was the star of the sci-fi fantasy series Dreadstar, which was written and drawn by similarly star-named person Jim Starlin.

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Formerly Star Boy of the Legion of Superheroes but now crazy and time-displaced. And, thankfully, the last Starman on this list.