DC Studios recently unveiled chapter 1 of its development slate. And, to the delight of DC Comics fans everywhere, a Booster Gold television show is a part of this lineup. Booster Gold is a beloved character and former Justice Leaguer who absolutely deserves the opportunity to become a household name. Aside from being one of DC’s funniest heroes, Booster Gold has deep ties to both the DC multiverse and more lighthearted stories. These which will help differentiate this new era of DC film and television from its darker predecessors. But, there may be many new fans who aren’t as familiar with the comic origins of Booster Gold. Let’s take a dive into this character’s fun history.
The DC Comics History of Booster Gold
Booster Gold is emblematic of the comedic and satiric direction that many of DC’s biggest titles took in the late 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s. He was created by the powerhouse DC writer/artist Dan Jurgens (The Death of Superman, Zero Hour: A Crisis in Time!) in 1986. First appearing in Booster Gold #1 by Jurgens, Mike DeCarlo, Tom Ziuko, and Agustin Mas, he went on to join the new Justice League the following year, which was later rebranded as the Justice League International.
Perhaps the best way to describe Booster Gold is that he is a buffoon with a heart of gold. He unknowingly satirizes many elements of superheroism under capitalism. Booster Gold’s real name is actually Michael Jon Carter (a playful wink at science fiction conventions). He was born in the 25th century and found fame early on as a college football star.
Despite his talent, Carter became involved in betting. He lost all chance at a professional sports career after he purposely threw a game. With his good reputation soiled, Carter was only able to find work as a nighttime security guard at a museum. On a whim, he stole a superhero costume from the museum. And Booster Gold went back in time to the 20th century. With his 25th century tech, good looks, and ability to play to news cameras, Booster Gold instantly became a popular superhero. This was all without Carter having to prove much that he was up for the job, morally. Assisted by his sarcastic, skeptical robot pal named Skeets, Booster Gold hides the tragic elements of his life under the veneer of his megawatt smile.
Booster Gold’s Powers, Personality, and Technology
Booster Gold does not have superpowers in the comics. He gets assistance only from his technology and knowledge of historical events in the 20th and 21st centuries. He puts on a great show for civilians as he flies around cities in his flashy suit fighting enemies with energy blasts while Skeets coaches him on his next move. More polished superheroes like Wonder Woman and Green Lantern can flawlessly stop a catastrophe from happening with zero collateral damage; however, Booster isn’t usually so lucky. Part of his charm is his failures, a running theme in his comics.
Booster Gold is defined by his attempts to turn superheroism into a business, alongside his hilarious, over-the-top sense of confidence that is, at times, deeply out of touch with reality. This dynamic plays out brilliantly with his best friend, Blue Beetle (Ted Kord). Blue Beetle is a nervous worrier who reins in some of Booster’s most outlandish schemes. Their friendship was a key ingredient to the success of Justice League International, spearheaded by writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, with iconic art by Kevin Maguire. With Booster Gold and Blue Beetle on the roster, the Justice League became a much more approachable team for readers. They could easily imagine two well-meaning fools existing in everyday life under Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
Booster Gold and His Importance in DC Comics’ Timeline and Multiverse
Though comic fans love Booster Gold’s his unique personality and values, he also has an important role in the timestream and multiverse in DC Comics. After Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle was tragically killed in the lead up to DC’s Infinite Crisis crossover event in 2005, it had lasting consequences for Booster. Geoff Johns, who wrote Infinite Crisis and would later go on to write and co-write multiverse-heavy stories like Flashpoint and Flashpoint Beyond. These stories instilled a greater, cosmic role for Booster Gold by revealing that he was the father of the time traveler, Rip Hunter, in Booster Gold #1000000. (This was co-written with Jeff Katz, with pencils by Dan Jurgens, finishes by Norm Rapmund, colors by Hi-Fi, and letters by Nick J. Napolitano.)
Rip Hunter is known principally as the leader of the Time Masters in the DC Universe. This group is responsible for maintaining the health of the timestream in the universe. By making Booster Gold the father of Rip Hunter, Johns added a sense of consequence to Booster’s lighthearted adventures. Before, Booster had shamelessly used his knowledge of historical events to find tragedies to thwart in the present day. Now, he understood the dangers of doing this.
As such, his second series—kickstarted by Geoff Johns in 2007 after the events of 52—explored his relationship with his ancestors in the present day. It eventually led into Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert’s 2011 Flashpoint crossover. This rebooted the DC multiverse ahead of its next era, the New 52. Booster Gold was recently spotlit in Dan Jurgens and Ryan Sook’s Blue and Gold series, which chronicled his and Blue Beetle’s attempt to launch a small business as superheroes.
As Blue and Gold shows, Booster’s motivations might not always be altruistic; however, he remains a lovable figure because of his desperate and slightly delusional optimism. In a world where cynical takes on superheroes abound, Booster Gold is refreshing because of his utter disregard for edginess. And it is this specific energy that DC Studios needs now more than ever.