Comics

Starman Omnibus Vol. 1

One of the best superhero books ever made finally gets the love it deserves.


The Starman Omnibus Vol. 1

Publisher: DC
ISBN: 9781401216993
Contributors: Artist: Tony Harris
Price: $49.99
Writer: James Robinson
Length: 448
Formats: Hardcover
Issues: #0-16
US publication date: 2008-06-06
cat_label_url
Amazon

It has been called the “ Sandman of superhero comics”. It came out at a time when the only way to read an intelligent, well written comic book was to steer clear of the spandex and capes. It was unique and dealt more with family and legacy than what villain is going to be pounded to a pulp that month. The artwork did not feature characters in tight spandex with lots of pouches, but instead featured art deco stylings and something that could actually be called “cool”. It is one of the most important superhero comics (if not all comics) of all time and is finally being collected in its entirety in a series of omnibuses. It is James Robinson’s Starman.

The character of Starman was not new to the DC Universe at the onset of this book. In fact, there had been several versions over the decades, dating back to the 1940’s. When James Robinson and Tony Harris decided to revamp the character in 1994, they created Jack Knight, the son of the original 1940’s Starman, Ted Knight. This story spun out of Zero Hour, a major DC crossover event which was meant to try once again to fix DC’s continuity problems. It was during this event that Ted Knight retired as Starman and passed along the torch to his son.

The only problem was, Jack did not want to be Starman; he was forced into the role after his older brother was killed. It was this reluctance that gave him a unique spin that has really never been repeated since. This was not a comic book about superheroes; it was a superhero comic book about taking on the family business.

DC’s original collections of Starman were quite poor, with certain issues (dubbed “Times Past”) published separately or not at all. Fortunately, they have finally decided to give the title its due by publishing six hard cover omnibuses, which will collect absolutely everything, including annuals and related miniseries. The first collection introduces us to Jack Knight and his supporting cast, as well as his city, Opal.

It is a comic that is not only important for what it did but also when. At a time when superhero comics were more about the artwork and seeing how many pouches an artist could fit on a costume, James Robinson and Tony Harris came in and did something completely different.

At this point, the only important content missing from the omnibus is the series of prose journal entries that sometimes replaced the monthly book’s letter column. Hopefully these will not be lost, as they were quite interesting and helped make the world of Starman even deeper than it already was. Of course, if DC were to really complete the collection, they would also include the letters column, which were answered by Robinson himself, where he encouraged readers to write in about things they collect or pop culture things they enjoy rather than just praising the comic itself. Sadly, letter columns are nearly always left out of collections, no matter how good or unique they are, so the likelihood of these appearing is highly unlikely. Still, these are small complaints, as the collection looks great and will collect every comic story that Robinson wrote about Starman.

If you were a fan or even if you own all of the trade paperbacks, sell them off and buy this definitive version. If you have never read the series, you owe it to yourself to pick up this new omnibus. It appeals to both those who love superhero comics and those who think they are mindless drivel. It shows what both the medium and the genre are capable of in ways most other titles have not.

8
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Film

Alastair Sim: A Very English Character Actor Genius

Alastair Sim belongs to those character actors sometimes accused of "hamming it up" because they work at such a high level of internal and external technique that they can't help standing out.

Music

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's New LP Is Lacking in Songcraft but Rich in Texture

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's The Mosaic of Transformation is a slightly uneven listen. It generally transcends the tropes of its genre, but occasionally substitutes substance for style.

Music

Buzzcocks' 1996 Album 'All Set' Sees the Veteran Band Stretching Out and Gaining Confidence

After the straightforward and workmanlike Trade Test Transmissions, Buzzcocks continued to hone their fresh identity in the studio, as exhibited on the All Set reissue contained on the new box-set Sell You Everything.

Books

Patrick Madden's 'Disparates' Makes Sense in These Crazy Times

There's no social distancing with Patrick Madden's hilarious Disparates. While reading these essays, you'll feel like he's in the room with you.

Music

Perfume Genius Purges Himself and It's Contagious

You need to care so much about your art to pack this much meaning into not only the words, but the tones that adorn and deliver them. Perfume Genius cares so much it hurts on Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation

Emma Donoghue's Room and E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.

Books

Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump White House -- and then drags it all to Hell.

Music

Folk's Jason Wilber Examines the World Through a Futurist Lens in 'Time Traveler' (album stream)

John Prine's former guitarist and musical director, Jason Wilber steps out with a new album, Time Traveler, featuring irreverent, pensive, and worldly folk music.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.