Stargirl Co-Creator Lee Moder Passes Away at 53

Lee Moder, the comic book artist who co-created the Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl with writer Geoff Johns, has died. He was 53 years old. broke the news of Moder’s passing earlier today. According to a family friend, the artist died peacefully at his home sometime on or before January 15. No cause of death has been released.

Moder was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from La Roche University in 1992 with a B.S. in graphic design. He entered the comics industry in his early 20s, earning his first professional credit as an illustrator for Malibu’s Arrow #1. Soon afterwards, he began working for DC, delivering memorable runs on titles like Wonder Woman, Legion of Super-Heroes, and Batman: The Last Angel

Moder eventually crossed the aisle to work with Marvel on various X-Men offshoots as well. Aside from the Big Two, his career includes stints on CrossGen’s Scion, Top Cow’s Dragon Prince, and Dynamite’s Highlander and Red Sonja books. He also worked with Jimmy Palmiotti on several issues of Painkiller Jane. In 2011, he re-teamed with his Dragon Prince collaborator Ron Marz to launch Shinku, a new creator-owned series published by Image Comics. 

RELATED: Brec Bassinger Says Stargirl Shot Two Endings For the Finale

However, Stargirl is easily Moder’s best-known creation. He and Johns originally introduced Courtney Whitmore as the second Star-Spangled Kid in 1999. It wasn’t until DC published JSA: All Stars #4 in 2003 that Courtney adopted the mantle of Stargirl after inheriting the Cosmic Staff from Jack King/Starman. In 2020, The CW launched its own Stargirl TV series, which was created by Johns and starred Brec Bassinger as Courtney. The show concluded its third and final season back in December.

“The industry lost a wonderful talent with the passing of Lee Moder,” said Johns in a new statement to “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 1940’s 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.”

Other industry talents, including Franz and Palmiotti, have paid tribute to Moder on social media in the wake of his passing. You can check out what they had to say below.

RELATED: Stargirl Will Come To An End After Three Seasons on The CW

Superhero Hype extends its condolences to Moder’s family, friends, colleagues, and fans all over the world. Please feel free to share your favorite memories of Lee Moder in the comment section below.