It all began like this: Ted Knight was a bored man. Wealthy and brilliant, but bored. Born into the creme de la creme of his beloved Opal City, he was made heir of his family's massive fortunes at his coming of age. Despite deeply loving Opal, he found its upper echelons drab and dull beyond measure. he preferred to console himself by pouring as much as he could into his great love: astronomy. In time, his hard work paid off and he made a great discovery: stars were not only cosmic furnaces, but even radiated immense energy waves into space, energy that had gone unnoticed for aeons. His only regret was that he had no means of harnessing the energy. All that changed when his cousin, Sandra Knight, informed him of a scientist named Abraham Davis, who was on his way to producing a device she hoped to use to escape the same monotony Ted loathed: adding to the burgeoning ranks of the superheroes of the day. Intrigued, Ted visited Davis himself and both worked for months before producing a single golden rod of Art Déco style: the singular weapon Ted called the Gravity Rod.
Ted Knight was created by artist Jack Bernle and editors Whit Ellsworth, Murray Boltinoff, Jack Schiff, Mort Weisinger, and Bernie Breslauer. His first appearance came in Adventure Comics #61
Drawing power from the stars' stray energy, Ted donned a costume in red and green, with a bright star in the chest, and dubbed himself Starman. His invention from then on was used to great effect in crime fighting, in both his tenures at the Justice Society and the All-Star Squadron. During his 1940's Starman days, he was brought into conflict against colorful enemies like Abigail Moorland, the Prairie Witch, Bobo Bennetti, a super strong meta-human, and the Mist, an enigmatic scientist that became his arch nemesis.
Major Story Arcs
Starman teamed up once with Etrigan, to smash a Nazi sorcery ring interested in drawing Opal itself upon an empty dimension. Two factors nearly ended the Starman line: he unwittingly had aided in the development of the atomic bomb, and his long love, Doris Lee, was murdered not long after discovering his costumed persona. During this time, other Starmen had come and given Opal the cosmic light to live on. The first was his old JSA friend, Doctor Midnite, who used Gravity Rod technology modified by the first Robotman and a flying craft designed by the Red Torpedo to continue the Starman line. After some months, an unusual time-traveler wearing the original Starman costume stumbled upon McNider's ship, and both talked about Ted's then-current state. After some time, Dr. Midnite returned to his own city, but the time-traveler kept the cosmic light shining upon Opal; he was none other than David Knight, Ted's own future son. Another odd occurrence came when upon the return of the Mist to Opal; another time-traveler came to the Opal. Curiously, he was Jack Knight-Ted's other future son and brother of David. Together, they unwittingly helped their father overcome his guilt and find out the truth about Doris' death. Knowing then the Mist was involved, Starman returned to battle the Mist once again.
Jack, not long after this, coerced Ted to attend a party to aid him in his recovery, never outright telling him the truth about their time gallivanting. As it came, Ted met at the party a woman he would later marry: Doris Adele Drew. Eventually, thanks to the radiation emitted by the defeated Ian Karkull, Ted reached the Crisis on Infinite Earths still virile and youthful, his own wife having succumbed to a debilitating illness long before, and both his sons neglected in favor of superheroing. Jack disdained his lifestyle, while David idolized him. A particularly dark day came when the JSA gathered to battle the Ragdoll's ragtag army in Opal, and when defeated, the villain promised to bring vengeance upon the loved ones of his hated enemies: Green Lantern, Flash, and Starman. An explosion rocked the building, and emerald power, a blur of speed and a cosmic wave of power pierced the smoke to hit Ragdoll. The villain's corpse later vanished. Not long after, almost the entire JSA would leave the earthly plane and enter an eternal Ragnarok, to battle countless gods to stall the end of all time, in The Last Days of the Justice Society. The Armageddon: Inferno series returned the members to the DC universe-just in time for the tragedies of the Zero Hour to commence.
The super villain Extant, along with the insane Parallax, would confront the JSA in their quest to rebuild reality. Ted was a survivor of the events, though he had to endure the deaths of many of his comrades and the aging of several others. He then forsook the title of Starman, returning to science and handing over the costume and rod to David. Unfortunately, this proved to be an extremely poor decision: David died not a week into the business. A series of simultaneous attacks by the Mist decimated Opal then and galvanized Ted into attempting to protect his own by calling Jack and telling him of another Rod in existence, hoping to keep him alive. His own observatory was bombed and he was hospitalized.
Ted then was attacked in hospital by his old, immortal foe- the Shade. His own guards, the sworn allies of the Starman line, the O'Dares, didn't hold a chance against the powerful shadow wielder. He was brought to the Mist as a showdown between the heirs of the lines of Starman and the Mist was prepared. Jack triumphed, and unexpectedly, the Shade aided in destroying the Mist's plans by leading police forces into the villain's hideout, who then succumbed to dementia and age. Free and with a new Starman prospect, he gave Jack the Starman mantle and responsibilities in exchange for devoting his remaining time to the betterment of mankind with his science. In this pursuit, and to please Jack, he agreed to shelter an old Starman, a blue-skinned alien named Mikaal Tomas. He was the first to actively attempt to communicate with the alien in years, and eventually aided immensely in his recovery. He also agreed to help a kind, gentle incarnation of Solomon Grundy, whose peaceful nature earned him the nickname Solly. In an odd twist, he even made friends with the Shade, both men forging a bond due to their mutual love of Opal. To better protect Jack, he gave him an improved version of the Gravity Rod, the Cosmic Rod. The new Starman lineage helped the estranged family of father and son back, gaining respect for each other, though he still was occasionally in the line of fire again, such when fighting against Doctor Phosphorus during the second Mist's own crime waves.
With Jack as Starman, he lived through many adventures himself: venturing into Solomon Grundy's mind to save the behemoth after he gave his life to save several pedestrians and Jack, saving an old comrade, Bulletman, from scandal, even though it meant asking Jack to face the might of Captain Marvel, retrofitting a Victorian rocket with Cosmic Rod and borrowed New God technologies to allow Jack to reach into space to find a former Starman, Will Payton, dueling the assassin Deathbolt with the future Starman One Million (and counseling him on his Solaris problem and his own choices) and even enjoying the occasional revelation from Shade.
Then the foreshadowing tragedies of the Grand Guignol started amassing clouds over Opal.
With no Starman in sight, other superheroes attempted to catch up, but the darkness kept infesting the city. And Ted Knight was reduced to languishing in the museum where his observatory had once stood, until Jack returned from Throneworld and the storm of the Grand Guignol finally hit Opal. All superheroes were neutralized and he himself was attacked by Phosphorus and his old foe Ragdoll. It came to light the demon Neron was partly fueling the fires of the Grand Guignol from the sidelines to get revenge upon the Shade and the insult he had given the demon by refusing his offer of power, and that the genesis of it all had been the Nazi ritual he himself had stopped. Upon the mass hero breakout and the street war that ensued, Ted managed to kill Phosphorus and convince Ragdoll to leave.
Then, upon the revelation that the Neron-healed Mist had hidden a stolen Lexcorp atom bomb in Opal's Post and Government build ind, Ted Knight appeared, with a new, powerful form of Cosmic Rod technology. He used his own super-Rod to lift the entire building into space, allowing the Shade, Jack, Ralph Dibny, and Kyle Theo Knight to leave. Upon reaching outer space, the Mist and Starman made peace. He appeared once more after his death, to guide Jack into his final vision of both him and his son David, leading to the events that culminated in Jack in the 1950's and a causality loop that brought Starman back to the world. He gave Jack his blessing to leave Starman and go to San Francisco so he could complete his transition from rebel punk into family man. Ted Knight was laid to rest triumphantly by his fellow superheroes and was given a splendid memorial in Opal.
Powers and Abilities
Ted Knight possess no superhuman powers. All his abilities come from his gravity rod (later cosmic rod), which include various abilities that mimic the powers of a star, including, inter alia, various effects of telekinesis (gravity control), and generating vast amounts of heat and light.
His contributions to science were not recognized during his lifetime, but he had the pleasure of learning from Star Boy (of the Legion of Superheroes), that he was ahead of his time in science. He was so far ahead, that he is considered to have made contributions to science that rival Newton or Einstein.