iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #203 – Starman

Show Notes

Best superhero series of the 90’s? Best fictional city? Favorite character ever?

These are the kinds of phrases being thrown around in this episode of iFanboy, and while it doesn’t always happen, one thing Josh Flanagan, Conor Kilpatrick, and Ron Richards all agree that Starman is a modern masterpiece, helping shape the concept of legacy in the DC Universe. Over the course of more than 80 issues, writer James Robinson steered Jack Knight from the reluctant son of a hero to a true hero in his own right. With a magnificent and varied cast of characters and set in the completely unique world of Opal City, there’s nothing quite like Starman out there. Artist Tony Harris helped establish the essential pieces of Jack and Opal’s world for the bulk of the series, before Peter Snejbjerg took over, where he set his own path, and handled the epic conclusion to the series.

With all 6 volumes of The Starman Omnibus available and on shelves, and an upcoming series The Shade by James Robinson in our future, this is the perfect time to revisit Starman, or go to Opal for the first time. The guys talk about the rudiments and history of the series, before delving into the specific elements of the story, as well as our favorite parts.

Listen to our longer, in depth discussions on the books for The Starman Omnibus, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 on Booksplode.


Get Involved

Doing the podcast is fun and all, but let's be honest, listening to the 2 of us talk to each other can get repetitive, so we look to you, the iFanboy listeners to participate in the podcast! "How can I get in on the fun?" you may ask yourself, well here's how:

  • E-Mail us at contact@ifanboy.com with any questions, comments or anything that may be on your mind.

Please don't forget to leave your name and where you're writing from and each week, we'll pick the best e-mails to include on the podcast!


  1. Yes! Been hoping for this show for a long time. Can’t wait to watch it this evening when I’m home.

  2. This should be a good one.  Downloading.

  3. I really hope this isn’t meant to replace the Booksplodes you guys promised us!

  4. So glad you guys did an episode on this, was on the fence about buying this, now I totally am not going to. James Robinson is English and we call girls ‘darling, sweetheart, babe’ even to strangers, so in that context it is not unusual

  5. Starman is, without a doubt, the most important comic I’ve ever read (and I have Wizard Magazine to thank for the recommendation). If my creator-owned material ever hits the racks, you’ll see how heavily Starman influenced me. I did the re-read with all the omnibuses recently, and there’s a lot of wincing with the dialogue (some of it doesn’t flow as readily as it should) but it does exist in a great nexus of timelessness. I own every issue, any Starman action figure (every?), and I also own a page from Ted’s funeral. This book made me appreciate my dad (who had died long before the book ever came out and before I read it) more than I can say.

  6. Good show, guys.

    It’s been about nine years since I got back into comics. In that time I’ve tracked down and read/bought almost all the trades that are widely considered required reading by our little community. Except Starman. It sounds/looks fantastic, but I’ve always put it off for some reason.

    My range of opinions on James Robinson since he took over JLA have ranged from indifference to dropped. So I still don’t think it’s the right time for me and Starman. If it’s as great as everyone says, I’ll just be frustrated about JLA all over again. And if it does nothing for me, I’ll have wasted money I don’t have.

    So alas, it remains on my to-read list. I know I’m probably missing out, as it really is one of those titles that almost everyone raves about. But at the same time I kinda like how it’s remained elusive for me all these years. Something to look forward to.

  7. 1. Can this episode be an event withought crossing over with another podcast?

    2. Ron – do you have some kind of personal quinjet?  After watching for over a year and knowing that you live in San Fran- how do you afford to fly back to ny so often? – ha

  8. I only just bought the second omnibus, so I stopped watching at the spoiler warning, but I look forward to revisiting this episode when I’ve done the whole run.

    (This is the only iFanboy episode where I’ve switched off halfway through.)

  9. you sold me

  10. the biggest  thing holding me back from series with big runs like this is the cost of admission and the shear amount of books….its a big investment (time and money wise) but i’m sure will pay off. 

  11. Looking forward to watching this after I finish the last HC.  I’m about halfway through, and it’s majorly excellent.

  12. I was almost exclusively reading Vertigo around the time Starman started. 

    I made a sort of deal with myself – that I will only read comics that are unique (at the time) to the medium. As in, these sotries could not be a book, or a film, or theatre etc.  

    The first issue I picked up was issue 27 (the one with Santa) which got me curious.  I found issue 29 (designed to be new reader friendly) at a news agents, and was hooked.

    Starman fit my mantra perfectly.  

  13. I just finished reading vol 6 last week and was excited to hear about this show this week. I can honestly say Starman has been an amazing ride, and I’m kind of sad because I first really got into DC as a kid with Zero Hour and I totally skipped out on starman at the time because I didn’t know who the hell he was. Well I doubt my 11 year old self would have liked it much anways.

    A question I have is if any of the JSA with Jack Knight in it are collected as Trades? And if so where do I start! I admit I’ve seen random jsa trades around for years but as was mentioned the lack of numbering has been largely why I’ve not invested. 

  14. Starman is my favorite comic of all time, and has been since I started reading it in the 90’s.  It’s just perfect.  I even love the Space Cabby issue that a lot of people seem to hate fo some reason.  I’ve been putting together a Jack Knight sketchbook for about ten years now, and those commissions are my most prized possessions.  Thanks guys for making the show and spreading the love.

  15. Can’t wait to watch this. Like others, this is my favorite comic series ever. It’s got it all: action, poignancy, humor, great cast of characters… truly great. Not perfect – it dragged a little here and there – but if you haven’t read it, do so. The only thing that comes close from a writing standpoint, for me, is Ex Machina.

  16. I’ve been eyeing Starman since I joined the site way back in 2007, and still haven’t bit the bullet. Now, moreso then ever, I’m again compelled to just jump right in; if I didn’t have such a huge trade/HC backlog I’d jump in right now.

    All have been added to the Amazon Wish list!

  17. I really want to watch this episode, but I’d rather wait until I finish the series. I’m only halfway through the omnibus run, and I’d hate to ruin anything in this amazing series.

  18. love this stuff. Just blogged about it too:


  19. Are you guys still sorting out some technical bugs getting the show on iTunes?  The last few shows have been delayed there

  20. @gobo  Downloaded fine for me this morning.

  21. I just finished reading this series–or rather, rereading it, in one huge hunk, for the first time ever (as previously I just read it monthly) a few weeks ago. It’s such a labor of love for the creative people involved, especially James Robinson, that it’s an easy, easy win for best comics title begun in the 1990s. (Sandman? Started in ’89. And even then…) The development of all characters, including the “character” of Opal City itself, is spot-on, and the artistic consistency was amazing all the way down the line. Really, this is what all comics should aspire to be. It’s an incredible journey, and looking back it’s even better than it was monthly. Kudos on discussing this gem, guys.

  22. @josh Weird… never prompted me but showed up when I did “Show Available Episodes” maybe because it briefly popped up on Monday and then disappeared… might have confused iTunes

  23. I’ve been eyeing these hardcover editions for years, remember seeing starman in the 90’s but I was too into Spawn and Gen 13 then. Decided to pick up first omnibus on the weekend. Looking forward to seeing if the hype pays off – this podcast has made me place the book at the top of my stack. Just wish they wernt so expensive!

  24. Can someone explain to me what the storyline involving Starman from 1951 is about? I understand is a spoiler, but hopefully somone can do it without spoiling everyone.

  25. @jackietam  I don’t think there’s anyway to explain that without spoiling it, and spoiling it would be a great disservice to the entire series. I’m sure you can find a plot synopsis online somewhere.

  26. @conor Thanks!

  27. I’m so glad you guys did this episode. Starman is a book near and dear to my heart.

    I remember picking up the third trade from my library when I was in High School. I was debating whether or not to get into writing. And at that time, while I was reading comics, I never took notice of the writing. Starman blew me away with the Sand and Stars arc; so much so that I tracked down the other trades and got into the series. After reading that trade, I knew I wanted to get into writing. That’s thanks to James Robinson.

    Sure enough, once in college I persued writing heavily and often cited Starman as one of my inspirations. An AA in Writing/Literature and a BA in Creative Writing later, I got a casual gig writing for a friend’s website that got me into this year’s NY Comic Con where I met…James Robinson! It was the most random encounter, but it was amazing. It was a short convo but I got to shake the man’s hand, take a photo with him and have been riding high on that story since October.  Funny how things come full circle, huh?

    Thank you guys. This was a great surprise to have downloaded to my Itouch!

  28. Great show!
    I love the afterwards in each volume.  Robinson’s reflections on his relationships with Harris, Goyer… are very frank and brutally honest.  He was very forthcoming  about his mindset at that time, and you could tell he acted in a way that he would later regret.

    I like his frankness…. sort of like Bendis in person

  29. I was doubting this, but the show convinced me. Soon as I get a bonus from work, I’m buying this too.

  30. Please do, Cedric. While it might seem everything Ron, Conor and Josh are talking about is hyperbole, it’s not. The book is everything you love about storytelling. I dare you and I mean DARE you to read this and not cry when a certain grandfather see’s his grandson for the first and last time.

    The book is rich with characters you wish you could sit down and have a conversation with. And often, it’s not easy to say that about anything.

  31. good show, lads. Think i’ll try the first collection

  32. Yeah, i was found Starman to be a bit silly without any self awarenss about that silliness. There are just some really random weak ideas in the series. A magic poster that sucks people in, ghost, the alien starman in funky 70s gear. Honestly, some of it was like a bad sit-com.

    Basically, not my cup of tea

  33. That’s cool, Edward. It’s not for everyone. But, at least you gave it a try. So, that’s something 🙂

  34. I started reading the omnibuses when I got a deal on the 3rd volume at Wondercon last year.  I had first heard that the series was good in the late 90s, but never picked it up.  I also managed to not have the story spoiled for me, so this marks the first time I watched an episode of the video show and stopped at the spoiler warning.  I finished volume 6 and was immensely satisfied with the ending.  Might take some time to reread from the beginning this weekend.

  35. GAH you guys are so awesome! 🙂

  36. gonna have to get a job now…

  37. well the show sold me i have the first omnibus inc from in stock trades. thx guys

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