Friday, November 1, 2013

Making a Splash: Ditko and Tanghal's Starman

What it is, Groove-ophiles! Near the end of the Groovy Age (October 1979, to be precise), DC turned Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko, and Romeo Tanghal loose on a brand-new Starman series. This Starman really was a man from the stars, a prince-in-hiding, kind of a science-fantasy riff a' la Star Wars. The strip lasted from Adventure Comics #467 through 478, and Teen Groove definitely dug it. It was the first time I'd ever experienced a Sturdy Steve series inked by another artist in the now (I'd seen a very few back issues of Captain Atom at that time), and I thought Romeo did a fab-a-mundo job on giving Ditko a stunning seventies sheen. Later, Mr. Tanghal would become a sensation inking George Perez on New Teen Titans, but those few of us Starman fans knew him when...


  1. Wonderful - thanks for posting this. It was in fact this series - together with the Marvel pocketbooks reprinting the first roughly 20 issues of Spider-man that came out at about the same time - that really made me appreciate Ditko's art. And the stories themselves were quite enjoyable - just good old spare-faring super-hero fun.
    I really, really, really wish DC would reprint this, preferably together with Starlin's conclusion in DC Comics Presents.

  2. Oh man, I love the comic space opera stuff! I didn't know much about this Starman until they tied him and Will Payton together during the James Robinson run with the Jack Knight Starman. Great stuff.

  3. I really loved this series, although I had no idea who Ditko was at the time. I hadn't been too crazy about his work over in Legion of Super-Heroes, but had enjoyed his mystery/sci-fi stuff for DC at the time. I second having this series reprinted.

  4. Was there a deep hidden meaning in the Starman series? Did his objectivist philosophy influence this strip?

    1. None that I know of. Ditko was merely the penciler here (notice Romeo Tanghal was inking), so he was probably just trying to make a living or supplement his self-publishing. He was doing a lot of short stories for DC's sci-fi Dollar Comic Time Warp at this time, too. Paul Levitz was the writer/creator of this version of Starman, so it was mostly his vision.

  5. So according to the DC Comics Presents finale, Mongul denied killing Clryssa, saying the accusation was technically inaccurate. Was this followed up upon, or maybe he was confessing to manslaughter?



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