Thursday, July 24, 2014
YEAR 1962: STAR SAPPHIRE
Technically the character who became best-known for transforming into the DC character Star Sapphire appeared in 1959, not 1962. However, it's only in the latter identity that Carol Ferris, girlfriend of Green Lantern, concerns this blog.
I've already provided a detailed myth-analysis of the character's origins in this essay, so I won't tread the same ground again here. I neglected to mention that the name "Star Sapphire" originated in a Golden Age FLASH villainess, and that another character using the name briefly appeared in the 1970s title SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS. However, as far as impact goes, both of these figures are nugatory: Carol Ferris is the only Star Sapphire with any mythic resonance.
Unfortunately, much like many of the temporary super-forms Lois Lane assumed in the Superman titles, Carol's never quite became much more than a recurring problem for featured hero Green Lantern. The three stories that appeared in the 1960s-- authored by John Broome, Gardner Fox and Gil Kane-- represent the apex of the character's history.
In later DC comics, Star Sapphire went through a bewildering number of mutations. Sometimes she was a Jekyll not responsible for Hyde's crimes. Sometimes she was the very embodiment of the tyrannical female. She's certainly not the only character to have received such ambivalent treatment; arguably most characters who last a long time in corporate-owned comics-- including featured heroes-- suffer the same fate. But to date few of the attempts to re-define Star Sapphire have "taken." Even Steve Englehart, whose 1990s GREEN LANTERN series posited that the Zamarons were the female half of the all-male Guardians race-- was unable to give Star Sapphire a new lease on life. The character still appears, but her raison d'etre was in a sense left behind in the Silver Age.
As a minor side-note, though by the 1960s most fans had forgotten the Golden Age Star Sapphire, Robert Kanigher had not forgotten that he created her. In a late 1960s WONDER WOMAN scene, in which editor Kanigher was listing his accomplishments for the fans, he specified that he was the creator of "Star Sapphire"-- no doubt puzzling many of the readers who only knew of the Carol Ferris version.