Darkstar Day is here again! Once a year we gather to celebrate this character, first created long back in the 1970s by Tony Isabella and George Tuska, and which has weaved in and out of Marvel’s comics irregularly for the last thirty-odd years.
Laynia Petrovna may not be the most well known character Marvel ever created, but she DOES have a certain something about her. Her design is simple, her power-set is interesting, and her character-arc over the years has seen American comics move from distrust of Russia through to uneasy partnership – then back across to distrust again.
Darkstar has appeared in maybe a few hundred Marvel comics, usually in the background, usually to offer a little splash in a team sequence. When she does get the chance to go front and centre, she’s steals the spotlight – and below I’ll list where you can get some HIGH (ish) quality Darkstar stories. Some people like Captain America and Cyclops and Batman and Wonder Woman – but I like the silly characters, the ones who don’t get used, the ones who scene-steal.
And in that respect? I reckon Darkstar leads the pack.
Following last year’s blazing success, I put out a call last week in which I invited anybody to do a sketch of the character. It could be one they put together in five minutes, or – and this seems to be what you all went for – something a little special. It’s delightful that anybody decided to get involved at all, bearing in mind that she isn’t the most well-known character, and I couldn’t be happier to share what people came up with.
So here we go! HAPPY DARKSTAR DAY EVERYBODY!!
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Darkstar first appeared in The Champions, by writer Tony Isabella and George Tuska. The series was soon after taken over by the great Bill Mantlo, along with John Byrne and many others. Introduced as a stern Russian supremacist who was trained by Black Widow’s mentor, she quickly dropped the notion of blind patriotism and started off a superhero career instead. She joined the big Russian teams of the time – The Supreme Soviets, later The Winter Guard – and became the main female hero of Russia.
Find Gina’s blog, Sporkful, here: http://sporkful.blogspot.co.uk
Where do you start with Darkstar? Well, The Champions would be an… interesting beginning. Bill Mantlo clearly developed a great affection for the Russian characters, bringing them back repeatedly during his career for arcs in ROM and Hulk. In recent years she was added briefly to Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run, primarily so he could kill ‘er off.
But she came back, with her own one-shot-turned-miniseries Darkstar & The Winter Guard, by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis.
Such language. Find Craig’s comics – he writes them – here! http://www.craig-collins.blogspot.co.uk
Currently… well, she’s dead again, as part of Dan Slott’s ongoing Spider-Man storyline. But interestingly, Russia has a legacy theme going on, similar to the one DC started years and years ago. Although Laynia Petrovna has died once or twice, Russia brings in a new Darkstar each time – so the people will always have a hero to look up to. There’s been Sasha Roerich and Reena Stancioff so far, along with a new Darkstar who recently showed up in the pages of a Black Widow A+X story.
She may be dead, but she’s somehow managed to create a legacy all her own!
A Darkstar Vs Darkstar (Donna Troy)!
I couldn’t find a link to a blog or twitter for Jason that I could guarantee was him. So all I can say is – KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR HIS NAME!
So that, more or less, is that. A quick history of Darkstar! If you want to read some stories with her, then you’re not going to go too far wrong with:
- Darkstar & The Winter Guard by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis
- The Champions by Tony Isabella, George Tuska, Bill Mantlo, John Byrne et al (very silly, but really good fun! At one point the team are menaced by a BEE)
- Incredible Hulk #393 by Peter David and Dale Keown
- Soviet Super Soldiers #1 by Fabian Nicieza, Angel Medina and Javier Saltares
Those should be a good start!
Find more from Dave at http://www.davewindett.com/blog!
You can also follow his webcomic, The Kaci Bell Mysteries, co-created with John Gatehouse
So Happy Darkstar Day, everybody! Throw a little skip in your step as you walk down the street! And THANK YOU to all the wonderful and amazing artists and writers who took part in this day. Where’s my contribution, you ask? Well, uh, okay then. I’ll give it a shot!
Oh dear. You know what we need to get past that above monstrosity? This additional submission to Darkstar Day, from:
Who work you can find on his DeviantArt page here: http://http://drmike2000.deviantart.com
And also on his website! http://www.fundamentzero.com