You don’t have to look far to find television shows dedicated to DC Comics character. There are plenty of them and they’re wildly popular with fans.
But the genre is not limited only to well-known characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Today the comic publisher is introducing new audiences to a variety of other fantastic characters, as well. From Black Lightning to Doom Patrol, DC has pulled out all the stops to create entertaining new superhero shows on TV. One other notable standout is Stargirl, which is fast becoming especially popular with families and young adults.
Stargirl might not be a household name the way Wonder Woman is (not yet, anyway), but the character has been a favorite of comics fans since she first appeared in 1999. With two decades of history under her belt, there’s a lot to learn about this spunky young lass. Check out these facts and discover more about Stargirl and what she stands for.
The Legacy Lives On
Courtney Whitmore was first introduced in the comic series “Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.,” which followed Whitmore’s discovery that her stepfather was a former sidekick to the superhero known as the Star-Spangled Kid. Her stepfather, Pat Dugan, was called Stripesy and had given up adventuring for the quiet life.
One day Courtney is browsing around her attic and comes across a magical staff, The Cosmic Rod, originally owned by her father, aka The Star Spangled Kid (Starman). In an attempt to annoy her stepfather Pat, Whitmore puts on the Star-Spangled Kid’s costume and quickly takes to a life of heroics.
Though Dugan didn’t have any powers himself, his skills as a mechanic was a huge asset to heroes of the past. When Whitmore starts playing around with heroics, Dugan joins her in a robotic suit he created for himself and appropriately named S.T.R.I.P.E. as a callback to his original name of Stripesy. Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. quickly become known to other heroes of the DC Universe and both become members of the newly revived Justice Society of America (JSA).
The Birth of Stargirl
The character of Courtney Whitmore was co-created by Geoff Johns, who continues to write for the TV series Stargirl, and is the series’ producer. Over the years, Johns has evolved the character as a capable heroine who feels the weight of responsibility that comes with the life of an adventurer.
Stargirl on the Screen
Whitmore is played by Brec Bassinger on Stargirl. She does a fantastic job bringing the character to life, playing her with a mix of youthful impulsivity and endearing compassion. Stargirl wants to do what is right for her community and wants to carry on the legacy of Starman as best she can. Bassinger sees success in each episode, tackling the physical challenges of the role while adding an emotional depth to the character in every scene. Though there are many similarities between Whitmore on the page and on the screen, there are also notable differences.
A big portion of the television series centers around Whitmore’s belief that the Star-Spangled Kid was actually her father who died when she was a child. Though the plot plays out in ways that are both unexpected and emotional, this story is not a core component of Stargirl in the comics. While she has issues with her birth father, Whitmore is accepting of Pat Dugan as her stepfather. This is mirrored in the show, where Bassinger plays opposite Luke Wilson as Dugan. The relationship between Courtney and Pat is one of the strongest elements of the series.
The Future Is Female
While Whitmore is a fantastic character in her own right, Stargirl is unique because it is all about girl power. Stargirl is joined by other legacy characters like Yolanda Montez and Beth Chapel, Wildcat and Doctor Midnight, respectively. She also has a nemesis in Cindy Burman, her school’s classic mean girl who moonlights as a deadly villain. These captivating characters help to make this series one of DC’s strongest.
If you’re interested in learning more about Whitmore’s character, there are a ton of amazing comic collections available detailing her exploits with the Justice Society. You can also catch Stargirl on the CW or on DC’s own streaming service.