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Talking with Ted...Talking with Jack

Writer: James Robinson
Artists: Phil Jimenez/Lee Weeks/Robert Campanella
Letters: Jon Babcock
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Assistant Editor: Chuck Kim
Editor: Archie Goodwin

Secret Files #1, April 1998
Talking with Ted...Talking with Jack

There are two stories told here, and we alternate between them. Ted tells Sadie about Jackís past, after she mentions Jackís reluctance to talk about it. Jack tells Morris the tattoo artist about his fatherís past and how he came to become a superhero.

Ted Knight was a playboy in his twenties who was bored with his life. He turned to science to keep his life busy and had his own laboratory where he studied the stars. In time, he located and isolated a form of cosmic energy generated by the stars. This left him with the problem of how to harness this energy and what to do with it then. He discussed the problem with his cousin Sandra Knight, his closest friend. She mentioned a friend of hers, Professor Davis, who had created a device called the Black Light ray. She suggested that the two of them work together on finding a way to harness Tedís energy. Later that year, they created the first gravity rod. By that time, the first of the costumed heroes had appeared; among them Sandra Knight, who used the black light ray to become the first Phantom Lady. And so, naming himself for the thing that inspired his technology, Ted Knight became the first Starman.

Jack was an ordinary young lad who dreamt of being a superhero like his father when he was young. He even kept a scrapbook of his fatherís exploits. That changed after his motherís death. Jack became more rebellious, more obsessed with aesthetics. He felt that the greatest crime of Tedís generation was that they let everything become so simple and streamlined that all the elegant and beautiful things disappeared. As an act of rebellion, he told Ted that he burned the scrapbook of articles on Tedís heroism. Sadie asks if Ted ever thought of keeping a scrapbook of Jackís exploits, but Ted says he is not sentimental enough to do such a thing. At some point in his teen years, Jack was arrested trying to break into a pharmacy, but his name was kept from the report by Billy OíDare, who died shortly after. Jack fell in with the punk scene of Opal in the 80ís, getting a Mohawk and his nose pierced. It was during this time that Jack became a junk collector. Eventually, Jack matured and adopted the 50ís-style James-Dean/Beatnik look. He started studying martial arts and became an artist. Ted mentions the other people who took up the name of Starman, but notes that he never met any of them for one reason or another. Sadie asks about Will Payton in particular and Ted tells her of how he and the JSA were put in a pocket dimension fighting Asgardian gods. They were there for many years, the world at large thinking them dead. When he returned from that world, Ted learned of Will Payton and how he died fighting Eclipso. He talks about the JSAís re-aging during Zero Hour and how he then gave the role of Starman to David and how Jack took up the role after David was killed.

The final page of the story shows Ted and Jack, both in separate locations, thumbing through separate scrapbooks. It seems that Jack lied about burning his dadís scrapbook and that Ted really does keep a record of all the deeds of his son.

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