Stars and STRIPE Vol 1 Featured News 

Lee Moder, Co-Creator of Stargirl, Dead at 53

By | February 8th, 2023
Posted in News | % Comments
Lee Moder

Per, comic book artist Lee Moder died last month, around January 15, aged only 53. According to a family friend, he passed away quietly in his own home; the cause of death unknown. Moder was best known for his work at DC Comics, creating Stargirl/Courtney Whitmore (originally known as the Star-Spangled Kid) with Geoff Johns, and penciling “Legion of Super-Heroes” and “Wonder Woman” in the 1990s.

Moder was from Pittsburgh, and studied art at Pennsylvania’s La Roche University before beginning his career at Malibu Comics in 1992. The following year, he took over as artist on William Messner-Loebs’s “Wonder Woman” run, before moving on to pencil “Legion of Super-Heroes” in 1994. He would continue to draw the title regularly until its 100th issue in 1998, collaborating with writers like Mark Waid, Tom McCraw and Tom Peyer, and helping introduce the Dreamer codename for the character Dream Girl/Nura Nal (which would go on to be used by her ancestor Nia Nal.)

He and Johns introduced Courtney Whitmore in 1999’s “Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.,” which also debuted Pat Dugan’s armored alter-ego. The series ran for 15 issues, after which time Moder began to prioritize work for other companies, drawing “Highlander” and “Painkiller Jane” at Dynamite in the mid-to-late 2000s. He and Ron Marz teamed up on the 2008 Top Cow fantasy series “Dragon Prince” (not to be confused with the animated Netflix series), 2011’s samurai horror “Shinku,” and the 2014 digital comic strip “The Mucker: The Adventures of Billy Byrne,” based on the book by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Other work by Moder included “Red Sonja,” the first issue of “Barb Wire” from 1994, 2001’s “Captain America Annual,” and a 2011 special revisiting his roots, “DC RetroActive: Wonder Woman – The 90s.”

Marz stated, “Lee wasn’t just someone I collaborated with, he was a friend, he was almost a part of my family. He stayed at my house, he drew at my kitchen table with my kids. His work had such life and joy to it. Every project we did together was a blessing, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg. Lee had stacks of sketchbooks filled with original characters and concepts and designs, full story arcs. There are entire issues that he drew and then set aside because he wasn’t quite satisfied, but I can absolutely tell you they’re amazing. I hope the world gets to see all that stuff as part of Lee’s legacy. It’s too beautiful to remain hidden. Lee was an inexhaustible source of creation. My imagination is not capable of understanding that he’s gone.”

Geoff Johns also released a statement, reading, “The industry lost a wonderful talent with the passing of Lee Moder. He was the first artist I ever collaborated with on my first comic book, ‘Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E.,’ which introduced Courtney Whitmore, aka Stargirl. Lee co-created Courtney and her world with me, along with re-imagining the old 1940s Pat Dugan Stripesy into S.T.R.I.P.E. He embodied the warmth, power, beauty and comedy he put into all his art. We had so much fun. I’ll miss Lee very much.”

//TAGS | obit

Christopher Chiu-Tabet

Chris is the news manager of Multiversity Comics. A writer from London on the autistic spectrum, he enjoys tweeting and blogging on Medium about his favourite films, TV shows, books, music, and games, plus history and religion. He is Lebanese/Chinese, although he can't speak Cantonese or Arabic.


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