Real Name: Stardust

Identity/Class: Extraterrestial technology user.

Occupation: Interplanetary crime fighter

Affiliations: The Stardust Sixth column (a large group of boys given superpowers by Stardust)

Enemies: Kaos (Venusian criminal scientist), Emerald Men, Fifth Column, Slant-Eye, Super Fiend

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: The Super Wizard

Base of Operations: His private star in space.

First Appearance: Fantastic Comics #1 (Fox Features Syndicate, 1939)

Powers/Abilities: Stardust's vast arsenal of rays and other scientific items enable him to perform virtually any feat. In spite of being called a wizard, the powers of Stardust were never described as magical, but as originating in super-science. Stardust’s devices monitor crime on a number of planets, and allow him to spy on his foes, those devices also allow him to read the thoughts of people. With his tubular spatial accelerated supersolar light waves he can fly in space. Stardust is virtually invulnerable, and falls powerwise definitely in the planet movers-category. There is seemingly no end to his powers: he can cause a giant tidal wave at sea, rip islands from the ocean floor and toss them around, breathe safely under any condition and cause murderers to see the animated skeletons of their victims, and turn people into animals. Stardust can create a fake planet, and make a ray screen to hide the Earth from an attacking space armada. Stardust is able to mentally control and crash aircraft. The effect of quite some of his rays is rather identical to that of telekinesis. He can turn invisible or become as bright as the sun.

Stardust can transform into a human-sized talking star, the Stardust Flash, which gives off brilliant illumination. The Stardust Flash can be the size of an Earth-like planet too. Additionally, Stardust is able to materialize as a hungry panther from the center of this star and transform back to his humanoid shape by way of the Stardust Flash. He is capable of some shape shifting without the Stardust Flash stage as well. He can also transform other people into rats or icicles, for instance. When Stardust flies, he leaves a trail of energy in his wake. Stardust is able to cause messages to appear in this trail of energy.

Stardusts physical strength and top speed are unknown, but he is a very good high velocity fighter, which he proved by hitting four Emerald men on the chin with a single strike of his left fist, while coming towards them with a speed of 5,000 miles a second. His physical strength is without doubt superhuman, but the upper limits are unknown. With his other powers he is definitely in the planet movers class (moved Mars in Fantastic Comics #10 and the Asperus, the home of the Emerald men in #8, but that is just an inhabited asteroid).

Stardust has equipped his Sixth column of American boys with flight, fusing rays and repelling rays. With other words: Stardust can give normal people superpowers.

History: Stardust was already a famous interplanetary superhero when he visited the Earth for the first time. He had already fought crime on a lot of planets and Earth was just added to his long list . For some unexplained reason he behaves like a card carrying US-hero even though he has no clear reason at all to do so. He arrives as an established hero from outer space. His enduring arch enemies, the Fifth Column in the United States of America, are a pretty vague bunch and extremely hard to eliminate; no matter how many times they are utterly defeated and seemingly destroyed (as in mass murdered) the Fifth Column always spring back up to fight again.

Comments: Stardust was created by Fletcher Hanks. Stardust’s only appearances were in Fantastic Comics 1-16 (not counting reprints) 1939-1941.

Stardust has no problem with being the accuser, judge and executioner of criminals and doesn’t bother with any jury, but he is quite often merciful too, he is far from a killing maniac. The idea of a fair trial seems not to have been brought to his attention yet, the idea of there being something wrong with wanton destruction of evidence, not to say innocent beings is alien to him too. Cruel and unusual -especially unusual- punishment is something Stardust seems to consider as all right, if not as important. That he kills entire groups of people, including ones who did nothing worse than, for instance, sabotaging US-weaponry production or even thinking about doing so, in itself is not such a bad thing, but that he did so without any need to do so with his incredible powers, makes him alien. It also makes the character rather interesting, as it shows a hero one could compare with a full powered Superman, with something of the attitude of the Punisher, the emotional investment of Judge Dredd, the interests of Uncle Sam and a mind as inhuman as Bizarro’s. Of course, the happy, careless way of presenting these stories may mask the insane scale of mass slaughter committed by Stardust or it may accentuate them.

Stardust is not free from continuity problems. For instance, in #14 the Fifth Column, enemy armies and the fleet of the evil Martians attack, even though the Martians have been exterminated in #10 by the Super Fiend and the Fifth Column has been dismantled with all but one of its leaders killed by Stardust himself, in #13. Such a thing could easily have been prevented by Stardust destroying the Fifth column in another neutral country, but no, Stardust is – considering he is an experienced interplanetary crime fighter, with a top speed of 5,000 miles per second or more - obsessed with the United States of America to an unhealthy degree. That can be explained by the public the stories were written for or other extratextual factors. Still, a more important factor can be that the Stardust stories were produced while the USA was a still a neutral country, and that the creators were willing to go out of their way to take no sides in the developing European conflict. Yes, the bad European leaders are ruthless and evil, but no word is given to indicate whether they are fascist, communist or something else, let alone what kind of country they are from. The same is true for the Fifth Column, no association with any country or political movement is given, they are just the bad guys. The origin of that concept itself may point in the fascist direction, but its use was clearly not limited to fascist groups. After the invasion of the US in #14 no counter attack by Stardust, the Sixth Column or the US-military follows, which can be seen as a clear testimony that Stardust was, in spite of the mass killings often seen in the comic, an isolationist, pacifist comic in the sense that it had the message that the USA should stay out of the war. As both the author and the series were unconventional, no statement can be made whether this message was intentional or accidental . Nearly all information about Stardust used in this article has been gathered by the creators of this page. provided with permission by Theodoor Westerhof.

Image used on the left of this page courtesy of Darrin Wiltshire's Micro Heroes site, used with permission.

CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with

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