Your average superhero begins as a gimmick, everything else gets layered up and wroked out later on. Write a comic about an artist
called Kyle who isn't quite sure where he fits in in the Universe, and
is struggling to live up to the role set out by his predeccesor,
there's a good chance you might be able to get away with it. But if
you were then to give him a certain superpowered ring and the black
and green costume that went with it DC's lawyers would have bitten
your face off before you'd have a chance to scream "Fair usage!".
That's how it normally works in comics, characters aren't quite so
important, supercharacters are everything.
Jack Knight is an exception, a man first and a superman second. He
collects things, not the trophies that Batman or the JLA acquire,
souvenirs of glorious adventures and struggles to rescue entire
galaxies from annihilation, just ordinary, mundane little relics like
celebrities' bath towels and promotional posters from movies made back
in the 70's. They've never been associated with events of cosmic
significance, but are made important purely on the basis of what they
mean to him. There's something reassuring about a hero who is defined
as much by Woody Allen movies as his battles against unspeakable
evils. Starman is a part of who he is, but it isn't the sum of his
He doesn't have a costume, no tight little spandex number in colours
bright enough to give an acid junky a headache with a cucumber shoved
down the front. He flips on a pair of flying goggles, dabs at the
worst of the mustard stains on his old jacket and zips off to fight
crime in whatever he happesn to be wearing at the time. There hasn't
as of yet, to my knowledge, been an adventure where he's had to do
battle in stripey pajamas and a pair of bunny slippers, but I doubt
one can be too far around the corner.
The whole series is fantastically written, involving and original
right the way through. It's very choice, I highly recommend it to you
if you have the means.