Starman

Personal Data

Theodore Henry Knight. Son of Daniel Knight. Nephew of Henry Knight. Cousin of Sandra Knight/Phantom Lady. Husband of Doris Adele Drew Knight. Father of David Knight/Starman VI and Jack Knight/Starman VII. Grandfather of Kyle Knight.

Residence: Opal City 
Occupation: Amateur Astronomer, Independently Wealthy 
First Appearance (Golden Age): Adventure Comics #61 (April, 1941) 
First Appearance (Post Golden-Age):Justice League of America #29 (August, 1964) 

Joined JSA: All-Star Comics #8
Pre-Crisis Fate: Active until Crisis
Post-Crisis Fate: Dies in Starman Vol. 2 #72

History

    Ted Knight was born to wealth and privilege in the late 1910s, the son of industrialist Daniel Knight. Little is known of his early life, save that he came from a distinguished family and that his father's brother, Henry Knight, was a United States Senator. As a young man, Knight attended Harvard and worked the social set, and at times attended to business errands for his father. Just before World War II, Ted Knight was a well-known Opal City socialite who was dating Doris Lee, niece of a famous government agent named Woodley Allen.

    Knight had developed a passing fancy in the emerging mystery-men like the Sandman and Green Lantern. Like other members of his socioeconomic class, Knight had a vague sense of dissatisfaction with his life, coupled with boredom. He also had a natural talent for science, particularly astronomy, though the extent of his formal training in the science is unknown. During a visit to Washington, DC, to see his cousin Sandra, Ted Knight was introduced to technology invented by Professor Abraham Davis. One of these devices was a Gravity Rod, a device designed to perform a variety of energy-based feats, but which lacked a power source. Knight procured the rod from his cousin and took it back to his home for study. With the wealth and resources at his command, Knight had constructed elaborate observatories with telescopes of his own design. While using these instruments, Knight had discovered a cosmic radiation of unknown nature, and during a mishap in his laboratory, Knight "charged" the Gravity Rod with this energy. He subsequently learned that the newly-charged rod enabled the user to fly, and could project bursts of energy as heat or force.

     Knight was seized with a sense of purpose and a desire to join the ranks of the new breed of heroes arising in the pre-World War II United States (All-Star Squadron #41). Shortly thereafter, he designed a uniform for himself and took the code-name "Starman." He then dropped a brief note to Woodley Allen, along with a code that would allow Allen to contact Knight via the Gravity Rod. In his first case, Allen contacted Starman to seek his assistance against the Brotherhood of the Electron. The Brotherhood was a criminal organization headed by Doctor Doog, an elderly scientist who had captured Abraham Davis for the purpose of subverting his technology. His first act was to use an Ultradynamo to siphon electrical power from a number of major cities. Starman attacked the Brotherhood in the group's subterranean hideout, rescuing Davis and disrupting Doog's operations (Adventure Comics #61).

    After his first case, Starman was readily accepted by the authorities and dealt with such threats as the Light (Adventure Comics #62, 65, 71) and Cuthbert Cain (Adventure Comics #66). In the autumn of 1941, Starman met his most persistent adversary: the Mist. The Mist, whose true name has never been revealed, was a scientist just before World War II who invented a solution that rendered invisible anything that was washed with it. He offered this to the US government for an unknown price, but the government spurned his offer. Furious at this rejection, the Mist turned to crime, a practice that ultimately resorted to his taking several hostages in a cave near Kentucky. One of these hostages was Doris Lee, thus attracting the attention of Starman. The Mist was ultimately thwarted (Adventure Comics #67) but returned the next year to battle Starman again (Adventure Comics #77).

Early in his career, Starman made the acquaintance of William O'Dare, a young police officer in Opal City. During a case involving a sorceress known as the Prairie Witch, the young O'Dare impressed Starman with his heroism, and the two became occasional comrades (Starman Annual #1). Starman rescued the young officer and his family (a long line of policemen) on several occasions, forging a strong loyalty between the O'Dare and Knight families.

    In late 1941, Starman encountered Doctor Doog again. Though initially believed dead, Doog returned in collaboration with Ian Karkull. Starman and Hourman captured  Doog and turned him over to the authorities. As Hourman raced back tojoin his JSA comrades, Starman tagged along. In the final confrontation with Karkull, the assembled heroes were bathed in chronal energy released from the destruction of Karkull's shadow-form. The Spectre informed them that this energy would prolong their lives and their youth. As the group broke up, Hourman reported that the Miraclo that provided his powers was also adversely affecting his health, and he requested a leave of absence from JSA membership. On his recommendation, the JSA accepted Starman as the newest member of their ranks (All-Star Squadron Annual #3). Starman then joined the JSA in the pursuit of Professor Elba, a scientist who had invented a serum which drove men insane (All-Star Comics #8). Starman spent two years with the Justice Society, ending his regular membership in late 1944 (All-Star Comics #23).

In the mid-1940s, Starman became increasingly concerned about the potential abuse of emerging technology. He undertook efforts in his own field to prevent wealthy investors from commercializing astronomy and exploiting young investors for their own benefit (Adventure Comics #93, 99). Starman was particularly concerned when a new form of energy weapon, the atomic bomb, was used to decimate Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending World War II. Early in the war years, Knight had shared some of his observations with the War Department, and those observations had in turn been used by the Manhattan Project in the development of nuclear weapons (revealed in Starman vol. 2 #9, Starman Secret Files #1). The ultimate use of atomic power to end World War II placed a great burden on Knight's conscience.

    Shortly after World War II, Doris Lee was murdered due to circumstances as yet unrevealed (Starman Secret Files #1). Lee's murder, combined with the advent of the atomic bomb, broke Knight's spirit. He spent part of the time between 1945 and 1950 under psychiatric care.  In 1950, Knight founded an astronomical research institute in New Mexico. The institute attracted the attention of longtime JSA villain Vandal Savage, who attempted to utilize the power of the Knight's still-under-development Cosmic Rod (successor to the Gravity Rod) to his own ends. Knight was injured in his attempt to stop Savage. When the JSA broke up in the wake of HUAC hearings, Starman also retired. For roughly a year, a "replacement" Starman patrolled Opal City; however, this second Starman was murdered in short order. Knight again assumed the role of Starman periodically, but he tended to act locally in Opal City, where he had broad support among the city's law enforcement officials.

     Starman remained largely inactive for nearly fifteen years. During that time, he married Doris Adele Drew and fathered two sons, David and Jack. Doris Knight died shortly after Jack's birth, and at some point prior to her death, Ted Knight again became Starman. Knight was lured back into action at the behest of Black Canary (revealed in Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #3). Starman and Black Canary had a brief affair shortly before Doris Knight's death (revealed in Starman vol. 2 #22, Starman Annual #2). Starman rejoined the JSA and encountered old enemies like the Mist (Brave and the Bold #61). A reluctant hero at best, Starman was only semi-active and required time to raise his two sons as a single parent. Despite Knight's devotion to them, David and Jack felt neglected (particularly Jack, who developed habits ranging from antisocial to criminal). Knight also devoted some of his time to improving his Cosmic Rod.

    In the 1970s, Knight broke his leg under undisclosed circumstances and allowed the Star-Spangled Kid, who had recently returned to the 20th century, to use the Cosmic Rod while Knight recovered (All-Star Comics #58). Working together, Starman and the Star-Spangled Kid created a belt called the Cosmic Convertor, which the Kid used later in his career and eventually incorporated into his costume as Skyman.

  During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Starman returned to active duty with the JSA, and when the JSA entered Limbo to forestall Ragnarok, he joined them (Last Days of the Justice Society #1). Starman remained in Limbo for three years, during which time his elder son David took over the mantle of Opal City's Starman (Starman vol. 1 #26-27). When he returned from Limbo, Ted Knight was less active as Starman, appearing only infrequently, preferring to spend his time training David to inherit the Starman mantle.

    During Zero Hour, Starman joined the JSA for its first strike against Extant. Like his comrades, Starman was aged into his 70s. He then formally passed on his equipment to David (Zero Hour #3-2). (Skyman had been slain by members of Injustice, Unlimited while Starman was in Limbo [Infinity Inc. #51].) Shortly thereafter, the Mist emerged from retirement and, with his children, proceeded to take his revenge on Ted Knight. The first act of the Mist's family was to kill David Knight, on patrol as Starman (Starman vol. 2 #0). They then destroyed the Knight observatory and captured the elder Knight. Starman's younger son, Jack, reluctantly assumed the role of Starman and pursued the Mist with the last remaining version of the Cosmic Rod. The Mist's son was slain and the Mist himself, extremely aged and fragile, suffered a mental breakdown (Starman vol. 2 #4). Since that time, Jack Knight has become Opal City's resident protector while his father devoted himself to the advancement of his science.

    As his son progressed on the role of Starman, Ted Knight played the role of both mentor and scientist. His relationship with his son deepened as the younger Knight experienced the pitfalls and powers that comes from a life of costumed crime-fighting. As the century wore on, the Mist regained his strength as a result of a deal with the minor demon Neron and once again struck the Knight family. Linking his failing heart to a nucleaer explosive, the Mist planned to take the Knights and their beloved city to the grave with him. As he had so many times before, Ted Knight became the wrench in the Mist's plans, elevating himself, the Mist and the building containing the warhead into space. Making a final peace with his enemy, Ted Knight died in the nuclear explosion that claimed the Mist when the elder villains heart failed (Starman vol. 2 #72). A memorial service was conducted at the Starman museum in Opal City shortly thereafter (Starman vol .2 #73).

Powers/Skills

Starman possesses no inherent powers. He used the Cosmic Rod, a device of his own invention that focuses cosmic radiation to a variety of ends. The Cosmic Rod commonly focused energy both to defy gravity, allowing Starman to fly, and to emit concussive bursts of force, serving as an offensive weapon.

Weaknesses/Limitations

Starman's limitation, like many of his fellow JSAers, is that he is completely dependent on his weaponry to be effective. Without it, he is merely mortal and could be slain like any other human of his age and condition.

Principal Adversaries

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