Sylvester Pemberton, alternately known as The Star-Spangled Kid and Skyman, is a fictional superhero in the DC Comics universe. Sylvester first appeared in Action Comics #40 (September 1941) and was created by Jerry Siegel and Hal Sherman.
Fictional character biography
The original Star-Spangled Kid was Sylvester Pemberton, a Golden Age character. He became the Star-Spangled Kid in order to battle Nazi spies and fifth columnists during World War II. He was unique in that he was a kid superhero who operated with an adult sidekick, Stripesy a.k.a. Pat Dugan. Both he and Dugan were superb acrobats and had sufficient training in hand-to-hand combat. They devised a series of acrobatic maneuvers that allowed them to build upon one another's strengths: the Kid's agility and Dugan's prowess. They also built the Star Rocket Racer, a bubble-topped limousine with the functions of a rocket and helicopter.
The Kid and Stripesy were members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory as well as the All-Star Squadron. In 1948, Pemberton and Dugan were joined by Merry, the Girl of 1000 Gimmicks, who supplanted The Kid and Stripsey from their own feature.
The Seven Soldiers were lost in time in 1950 and rescued decades later by the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America. Aquaman, Wildcat and the Silver Age Green Lantern rescued the Star-Spangled Kid, who was 50,000 years in the past and hiding in a cave so his flu would not wipe out humanity. Sylvester then joined the JSA, at which time a then-injured Starman loaned him his cosmic rod (it was later revealed that Starman wanted the young man to become his heir as neither of his sons expressed interest in carrying the mantle). Soon afterwards, the Kid refined the technology of the rod, devising a belt with similar powers such as energy projection, flight and matter transmutation. Eventually Sylvester temporarily retired from superheroics to reclaim his inheritance and his father's business, plus movie studio Stellar Studios, from his corrupt nephew, who was using those funds to run his own evil organization, Strike Force. In addition, he patched up his long-neglected relationship with Dugan and later became the hero known as Skyman post-Crisis after founding the heroic group known as Infinity, Inc.
Sylvester eventually changed his name to Skyman and took leadership of the team Infinity Inc. During this period he formed a partnership with the city of Los Angeles to commission the team as for-hire protectors. He also purchased property to revitalize related movie production facilities.
He later confronted Solomon Grundy, who was under the control of the third Harlequin. She herself was under the employ of the Dummy's Injustice Unlimited. During the incident, Solomon Grundy used the fatal touch of Mr. Bones to kill Skyman.
The Second Star-Spangled Kid
Pat Dugan's stepdaughter, Courtney Whitmore, finds Sylvester's Star-Spangled Kid suit and cosmic belt and Pat's old Stripesy costume while snooping through Dugan's belongings. She steals Sylvester's suit and belt and, after redesigning the suit, calls herself the second Star-Spangled Kid, but only in order to annoy Pat as revenge for him marrying her mother and moving her family to a new state. She later changes her name to Stargirl after an adventure confronting her convict father to resolve her issues with her personal life for a mission in JSA: Allstars (the graphic novel).
Sylvester, as Star-Spangled Kid, later returned with the JSA due to an alternate timeline in post-Crisis continuity to assist the Justice Society against Extant, when multiple alternate timelines came together due to Extant's attempt to collapse reality into a timeline of his creation. During this adventure, he teams up with Courtney.
In the series 52, Lex Luthor bought the rights to Infinity Inc.'s name from the Pemberton Estate and gave the codename 'Skyman' to a new superhero, named Jacob Colby. Jacob had a relationship with Natasha Irons, and was portrayed as one of the more sincere heroes in Luthor's Infinity Inc. He was later killed and replaced by the shapeshifting Everyman.
Powers and abilities
Star-Spangled Kid has no super-powers, but is a superb athlete and hand-to-hand combatant. For a time he used Starman's cosmic rod. Later, he wore a "cosmic converter belt" which enabled him to fly, increase his strength, agility, to create solid light objects and project energy blasts. When he reconfigured the belt into his new costume as Skyman, he initially only had the power of flight, but as time went on, he modified the suit so it possessed all of the other powers that the converter belt had as well.
Sylvester (portrayed by Jim Shield) appeared in the two-hour Smallville movie Absolute Justice as Star-Spangled Kid, warning Chloe Sullivan about someone hunting down and killing superheroes. Sylvester was killed soon afterward by the villain, revealed to be Icicle, and his cosmic staff was taken into police custody and later stolen by Courtney Whitmore. His death, along with Wesley Dodds's, brought about the reunion of the Justice Society of America. He was later mentioned in the episode Checkmate by Chloe when her friends were investigating Checkmate. The depiction of Sylvester bore a strong visual resemblance to Jack Knight including the use of the cosmic staff, an overcoat, and facial hair. His car, the Star Rocket Racer, is also seen.