In The Beginning… #1: Geoff Johns

This was not the beginning.

This was not the beginning.

In The Beginning is a monthly column that features a creator’s early, often overlooked, work. If you have any suggestions, feel free to e-mail me at aainthebeginning@gmail.com.

Since Geoff Johns is on every DC fan’s mind this week, I figured I might as well focus on him this instalment.

Before Johns rose to fame with his JSA run, he wrote a 15 issue series called Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. However, that was not his first work. Before THAT, there was this:

This was the beginning.

This was the beginning.

In February 1999, DCU Heroes Secret Files And Origins was released, featuring two pages written by Geoff Johns. This was five months prior to Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0.

Geoff Johns pitched the idea of Stars And S.T.R.I.P.E. to editor Eddie Berganza on a visit to the DC offices, which later led to his opportunity to write JSA. Johns originally had no intention of writing comics full time.

Johns' first written comic book page.

Johns’ first written comic book page.

This page from DCU Heroes Secret Files And Origins was designed to tease the premise of the upcoming series. Stars And S.T.R.I.P.E. was about Courtney Whitmore (based upon Johns’ sister), who takes up the mantle of the Golden Age hero, the Star-Spangled Kid. Courtney becomes the new incarnation of the hero when her family relocates to Blue Valley, Nebraska, where she finds the original Star-Spangled Kid’s Cosmic Converter Belt in her basement.

A fun "yearbook page" featured at the end of the Secret Files issue.

A fun “yearbook page” featured at the end of the Secret Files issue.

S.T.R.I.P.E., her mentor and stepfather, was originally Stripesy, the first Star-Spangled Kid’s sidekick. Stripesy was the first adult to be sidekick to a teenager. He was co-created by famous comic writer Jerry Siegel.

s-s-kid

Stripesy wearing, you guessed it, a striped shirt.

Two months later, in April 1999, Johns wrote a one page bio in DCU Villains Secret Files And Origins of Shiv, the soon-to-be antagonist of Courtney Whitmore.

Shiv from DCU Villains Secret Files And Origins

Shiv from DCU Villains Secret Files And Origins

Now Geoff Johns is Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment, has recently finished a 9-year run on Green Lantern and continues to write Aquaman, Justice League and Justice League of America for DC Comics.

Johns still clearly has an affection for Courtney Whitmore, as he included her in his Justice League of America line-up.

The Star-Spangled Kid on the cover of Justice League of America #2.

The Star-Spangled Kid on the cover of Justice League of America #2.

Thanks for reading. Next week’s column is ‘Are We Alone?’ which examines instances of a shared universe in television series and films based upon comic books.

All images owned by Time Warner Inc.

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