The story of “Stargirl” is one of legacy. Titular character and teenager Courtney Whitmore struggles not only to handle living in a new town and making friends, she also goes on a journey of discovery to learn about the heroes of the past. Among the characters featured on the show are the JSA, a former team of famous heroes who have retired, disappeared, or died. Though not a household name in the same way as the Justice League, the JSA has a much longer and more involved history in the comic world.
The Main Golden Age Team
In order to really connect the character of Stargirl to the legacy of the DCU, executive producer and writer Geoff Johns decided to dig into the oldest parts of DC’s publication history. The JSA is the perfect example, with the team formation dating all the way back to “All-Star Comics” #3 in 1940. At the time, the team consisted of all the popular heroes who did not have solo comics of their own. This meant Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman weren’t on the initial lineup. Instead, the roster included characters like Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, and the Flash.
The All-Star Squadron Era
The JSA and most other wartime heroes would decline in popularity in the 50s. At this point, DC decided to revitalize its characters by introducing new versions of old favorites. Heroes like Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkman were suddenly more popular than ever in these new forms and the Silver Age of comics was born. To explain why there were two versions of some characters, DC introduced the concept of multiple universes. The JSA were contained to Earth-2, while the newer heroes were on Earth-1.
It was during the 70s and 80s that the Justice Society of America received more attention. The comic series “All-Star Squadron” launched as a way of “filling in the gap” and telling wartime stories that weren’t published back in the day. During the long and impressive run of the book, the All-Star Squadron would grow to include almost every single active hero of World War II and create endless new material for future writers to work with.
The JSA was shelved for a bit in the 90s, with the team being placed in a state of suspended animation as a way of keeping the characters safe until writers knew what to do with them. After DC attempted a soft relaunch of its titles with the event “Zero Hour” in 1994, most of the surviving members of the Justice Society came together with new heroes to form a stronger JSA. This modern incarnation would prove incredibly successful and be featured in two separate titles over the course of the 2010s.
Though the JSA has been somewhat absent from 2011 until 2016, DC recently began featuring the characters prominently again after the recent “Rebirth” initiative. As of 2021, fans of the characters can find out what they have been up to by looking into “Infinite Frontier.”
If you’re ready to watch some “Stargirl,” it can help to have some knowledge under your belt. Read up on the exploits of the JSA and see how they compare to the stories told of these Golden Age heroes on the show.