LinkExchange FORWARD

"Life After Death"
A Limited Series Featuring Starman

by Joel Ellis Rea aka COMALite J

Intended to be published in the February issue of Showcase ’94

Page 1

Several small panels, focusing on Starman’s face. He seems to be looking directly at us, and is speaking. His facial expressions change accordingly from panel to panel. Behind him, we see a perfectly blue sky with a few sculpted cumulus clouds which slowly drift across from panel to panel. Very lovely birds are apparent in a couple of the panels. The following monologue is broken up amongst the various panels as needed.

Caption box: Several months ago —

STARMAN:Okay, this looks like a peaceful enough place. I promised to tell you everything, about how I died, and what happened after, and how I managed to come back. This is going to be difficult for me. (Here his face is quite sad.) It’s not a short story, nor an entirely pleasant one, but it’s one you of all people deserve to know. I won’t be able to tell anyone else — not if I want to be able to do what I need to do. (apologetic expression) I mean, I have to. No one else can. (self-justification expression) It’s what I was made for. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The first thing you need to know, is—

Page 2 – 3 — Two-Page Spread

We are looking from a bird’s-eye view from a point about 5’ behind him, 4’ to his left, and about 10’ above him. He is standing on a lovely meadow. In front of him is a stately elm tree, and seated at its feet in comfortable poses are two women: one young with brown hair, the other older with grayish hair. Long-time readers will recognize them as Will’s sister Jayne, and his mother Marie. Behind them and the tree are rolling hills, with lovely snow-capped mountains in the background. More birds are visible back there.The clouds are practically a photographer’s dream. The whole place is just plain beautiful, in a restful sort of way.

Starman has a word balloon here. It begins, in normal print: “There is such a thing as” and continues in large, bolded outlined letters which form the title of both the limited series as a whole, and this first chapter: “LIFE AFTER DEATH!

Pages 4 – 5

Representing the final scenes of Eclipso: The Darkness Within #2,starting at a scene that never made it on panel. Somewhere between Pages 37 and 38 of that book, The Flash(Wally West) zapped the Eclipsed Starmanwith Doctor Magnus’s “Solar Fibrillators,” as he did most of the other Eclipsed heroes.

STARMAN (in caption): I woke up with the light of the sun coursing into my chest like electricity — light which freed me from the most evil of bondages.

Other panels show scenes (either redone or stats) that were on-panel in that book, selected from E:TDW #2 pp. 38 – 41.

(cont. from panel to panel) “I had been a slave — a host, actually — of Eclipso, a demon of pure evil and hatred — a god of vengeance. Eclipso had usedme — my power to change my form — to infiltrate the other heroes and capture them as well. We were on the Moon. We had finally freed ourselves, but still had to stop Eclipso. Bruce Gordonhad a plan. So did I.”

Page 6

At this point, we see a re-work (or stats) of E:TDW #2 Page 42. Art and dialogue is the same, as Bruce Gordonprepares to set his solar bomb, and is attacked by Eclipso. Starmanblasts Eclipsowith a solar hand-blast, driving him away from Bruce. The final panel has this dialogue:

STARMAN:That’s a bombyou’re setting, isn’t it? Well, go ahead!I’m here to run interference!

GORDON:Y-you are?

Pages 7 – 8

Re-work (or stats) of E:TDW #2 Pages 45 – 46,as Brucedrops the bomb, and Starmandecided to buy him time to retrieve and arm it. Starmanrealizes that his unwillingness to sacrifice his own life before allowed Eclipsoto capture him, and to nearly destroy the others with his unwilling aid. At the end, Starman’sentire body vanishes in an enormous burst of pure sunlight. His final words: “I don’t know if I can destroyyou, Eclipso!” “I don’t even know if you can hearme!” “But onething’s for sure . . .” “You’re never going to forgetme!”

STARMAN (in caption): And so I died —

Page 9

Re-work (or stat) of E:TDW #2 Page 47 as the gigantic Eclipso, having absorbed his entire Black Diamond Palaceas his body, bursts asunder with Starman’s solar blast in his belly. He screams, NO! YOU CAN’T BE WILLING TO SACRIFICE YOUR—”

STARMAN (in caption): — but not entirely in vain.

Page 10

Montage of several followup panels from E:TDW #2, which show the various reactions of the assembled heroes to Starman’s sacrifice and the aftermath. In these, a ghostly image of Starman himself can be seen, trying to call attention to himself, to no avail. Otherwise, they are identical to the panels from that book.

STARMAN (in captions): Strangely, I could see and hear everything that went on. At first, I thought I was still alive — that somehow, I’d survived blowing myself to smithereens. I tried to tell the others this, but they ignored me, as if I wasn’t there. I slowly began to realize that I really wasn’t there — not that anyone livingcould see, anyway.

Page 11 — SPLASH Page

We never actually saw the funeral of Starman, but there almost certainly was one (at least, I hope there was! He certainly deserved one!). This panel shows it, or rather the graveside services portion. We see a casket draped with an American flag being born by pallbearers Superman, Flash, Batman, Green Lantern(Hal Jordan), Power Girl, and Phantom Lady. Dr. Kitty Faulkner, Will Payton’s motherand sister, Professor Hamilton, Bruce Gordon, Lex Luthor “II”, and many other heroes and friends and acquaintances of Starmanare there, including Alan Markham (the movie producer he worked with as a stuntman) and Spencer Boyd (the lead actor on that movie), the latter of whom gives a eulogy about how Starman, who saved the world from Eclipso, also had time to change the life of one washed-up drunk of an actor). The ghostly image of Starmanhimself is near his mother and sister, with his hands on their shoulders, but they are, of course, unaware of this.

STARMAN (in caption): I even attended my own funeral. I tried to comfort you two, but, like everyone else, you couldn’t hear me or see me.

Page 12

Panels show the casket being lowered into the ground, and the attendees dispersing. Starman, still drawn as a transparent shade of himself, is looking on.Over the next few panels, several people walk by — some even through — him. Finally, the last few lingerers leave, except for Alan Markham, who walks toward Starman, then stops right in front of him, as if he can see him!

MARKHAM: Lovely service, wasn’t it?

STARMAN: Yes, it was — what!?Are — are you talking to me!?

MARKHAM: Sure am. You don’t see anyone else around here, do you?

STARMAN: But I’m — but I’m —


STARMAN: Huh? You? When? How? You know that if I’d known you were in any sort of danger, I would’ve—

MARKHAM:Hold it, pal. I’m not who you think I am. Just a second—

Pages 13 – 17 or so

First panel shows the producer’s body with a glowing aura, and then we see a red costumed gent step out from inside Mr. Markham. Markham walks off, as if he had just woken up and found himself in a different place (which he did), and takes no further notice of Starman. The man who stepped out from Alan’s body has a white face or mask, and a bright red costume with the letter “D”emblazoned on it.

COSTUMED GHOST: The late Boston Brand, at yer service.


DEADMAN: I heard about your death on the news, and thought you might need some help getting around. You weren’t in the Realm of the Just Dead, though, so I thought I’d try here. Sure enough, here you are.

STARMAN: Boston Brand? Boston Brand. Hmmm — I think I remember that name. At a circus when I was about seven, I think. Weren’t you one of the human pyramid acrobats?

DEADMAN: Aerealist, actually. Anyway, I got killed, and now get to take rides in the bodies of the living, thanks to Rama Kushna. I thought you might need someone to help show you the ropes of being dead.

STARMAN: Um, thanks. I’m really dead, then?

DEADMAN: You’re not only reallydead; you’re truly, most sincerely dead! Or looks that way, doesn’t it? Strange, though: most people usually meet this drop-dead gorgeous (pardon the expression) pale woman in black when they die. Some people I’ve talked to insist she’s Death Herself, but I think she might be a version of Rama Kushna. Or vice-versa. Who knows? Anyway, she helps them out of their bodies if they need it, and points ’em to the Realm of the Just Dead, unless she has some special fate for ’em, like she did me. Assuming she and Rama are one and the same.

STARMAN: What’s this “Realm of the Just Dead”?

DEADMAN: It’s the place where people go who’ve just croaked. I’m really surprised you’re not there yet. Usually people go there right away. You never saw the woman in black, did you?

STARMAN: No, I don’t think so. How do I get there?

DEADMAN: It’s easy. I visit there a lot, when I get bored from walking the living. Gives me someone to talk to. I can’t go any further, though, unless I don’t plan on coming back. Follow me.

The two float off, and fade from view. The “camera” “zooms” in on the shadow of a distant tree. There is a figure standing there, in the shadow. We can’t see much of it. Glints of light reflect off of mostly blue armor, including over where the face should be. One glove is sticking out enough into the light that observant DC fans would be able to tell that it is the gauntlet of the Monarcharmor. A thought balloon belonging to the figure says, “So it begins, as I remember.”


Starman and Deadman in the Realm of the Just Dead, as shown in that Swamp Thing Annual (”Down Among the Dead Men” by Alan Moore). Several people are passing through. A few poltergeists (again, see that Swampy Annual) are present. Starman and Deadman face the Light at one end, and the Darkness at the other end.

DEADMAN: Well, do you feel any attraction or urge to go either way?

STARMAN: No, not really. I’d preferthe light end, if it’s what I think it is (and the other end what I think it is!), but that’s just an intellectual preference. I don’t feel anything, for either place.

DEADMAN: That’s strange. Well, I suppose you can go ahead and try the light. If you can’t get in, then, well, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to try the other end. And yes, they’re where you think they are — at least as far as I know. I’ve not actually been to either myself. Anyway, I gotta go, and I hope everything works out OK for ya. See ya around, kiddo.

Deadman floats away, and Starman floats toward the light. He is soon in Paradise, again as portrayed in “Down Among the Dead Men.” A middle-aged man with white hair is standing there.

MAN:Hello, Starman. I’ve been waiting for you.

STARMAN: Dad!? DAD!! I’m so glad you made it here!

RAY DEMING: I almost didn’t, what with the way I messed up my life, and my family’s lives. But my final deeds helped a lot. Anyway, welcome to Paradise, Starman. How do you like it?

They talk for awhile, reminiscing, but Starman notices that Dad seems a bit distant and unfamiliar. Ray finally says:

RAY: Look, I know it must have been hard for you to find this place, and it is nice to see you again and all, but you can’t stay here for long.

STARMAN: Why not?

RAY: Well, it’s not easy to explain. Trust me, though, you really don’t belong here.

STARMAN: Why not? I’m dead, Dad. And if I belonged in — the other place — I don’t think I would’ve been able to come here at all. And why do you keep calling me “Starman”?

At this, he shifts form, for the first time since his death, to that of Will Payton.

STARMAN: I’m your son, Dad. I’m Will. “Starman’s” just a name and costume Jayne made up for me. I told you all this just before you died!

RAY:Um, well, actually, no, Starman. That’s not quite true, on either count. But here, let me introduce you to someone who can probably clear things up better than I can.

They walk down the Western slope of Paradise, and come upon another, younger-looking man. He turns around as the two approach—

RAY: Starman, I’d like you to meet my son, Will Payton. Will, Starman.

WILL(who does indeed look just like Will Payton’s human form):Pleased to meet you, Starman. I’ve heard so much about you.

Will holds out his hand to the understandably-stunned Starman, who’s still wearing Will’s shape.

WILL:Surely this isn’t that much of a surprise. I’ve been keeping tabs on my family, and you. I know you’ve doubted your humanity many times — when J’onn made that “not human enough” crack, when Dr. Faulkner analyzed you, when you lost your sense of smell, when Dad died, and so on. You’ve suspected this all along!

STARMAN:Suspecting is one thing, but — but this! — All this time, I thought I was you! I even have all your memories, and I feel them as my own! I remember being sick the day Dad here left us, and all the hardship Jayne and Mom and I — you — went through, and the joys we had. I remember birthdays, holidays, school days, good and bad days—

WILL:That’s the way it works, Starman. You’re not me, but I was your spiritual template.

STARMAN:My — what!?

WILL:When that beam killed me, you coalesced out of the energy of the beam, and, lacking any consciousness of your own, you absorbed a copy of mine from my mortal remains (what was left of them). You’re not only not me, you’re not even (and never were) a human being or a biological creature or even a material being for that matter.

STARMAN:What, are only humansouls allowed to dwell here?

WILL:Not at all! We have several aliens here from the Invasion, who died during it and got caught up in our Afterlife system. I hear Hell has quite a few of them, too.

STARMAN:But I’m obviously dead, and have a soul, or I wouldn’t be here. I want to stay with you two. Dad — Ray, I still remember you as my Dad, and Will, we’re closer than even twins could ever be! Why can’t I stay?

RAY:Well, you’re right about the soul part, but wrong about the other.

STARMAN:What do you mean?

RAY:You can’t stay here because this is Paradise — the Afterlife — and you aren’t dead!

End of Part 1.
“To Be Continued.”

All characters are ™ DC Comics
"alt.showcase.94" concept by Joel Ellis Rea.
This story is © 1999 by .