|“||Courtney, listen to me. You absolutely can do this. Go get your friends. And go get your brother. Be Stargirl for them. And honey, kick that girl's ass.||”|
— Barbara to Courtney
Barbara is the mother of Courtney Whitmore, the wife of Pat Dugan, and the stepmother of Mike Dugan. With her daughter in high school, Barbara is diving back into the workforce but striving to balance workplace demands with the commitments of both matrimony and motherhood.
Barbara was born and raised in Blue Valley, Nebraska. She moved to California during her adulthood, which is around the time she met Sam Kurtis. They had a daughter together, Courtney, which is when Barbara settled into Valley Village, California. Sam was never present in Courtney or Barbara's life, leaving her to primarily be a single mother.
On Christmas Eve 2010, Barbara Whitmore waited impatiently at her house with her daughter, Courtney, waiting for Courtney's father to arrive. When he failed to show and Barbara had to work, she asked her longtime friend Maggie Kramer if Courtney could stay at her house for the evening. Maggie agreed happily and told Barbara that they are friends and she's happy to help. Barbara kissed her daughter goodbye saying that Maggie will watch her while Barbara's at work. Courtney understands but cries that she wants her father, which Barbara knows. She leaves for work while Courtney looks out the window waiting for a man that would never show.
In 2018, Barbara met Pat Dugan at Richie's Diner while visiting Blue Valley to settle her deceased mother's estate. They ordered the same food - a corn dog and banana split. They had an instant connection and were married two years later. After accepting a job in Blue Valley, Barbara, her husband, daughter, and stepson moved from California to Blue Valley.
In the present day, Barbara is married to Pat Dugan and the newly blended family is packing up their California house to move across the country to Blue Valley, Nebraska for Barbara's new job. She takes notice of Courtney's agitation for the move and asks her to give Pat a chance. It isn't Pat's fault they're moving to Blue Valley, they made the decision together when the job opportunity presented itself for Barbara. She also adds that she grew up in Blue Valley and that Courtney will love it. The teen gives a forced smile and nod before walking off.
Barbara and her blended family later arrive at their new house, with her viewing the sight with happiness alongside her stepson, Mike. She is happy with the move and hugs Pat, who returns the sentiment until he sees movers handling a crate roughly. Barbara watches as she runs off to deal with the movers, then returns asking if they're hungry and should eat. Barbara is on board and nudges Courtney who feigns happiness. The family walks through the idyllic streets of Blue Valley when they come across Richie's Diner, which is where Pat and Barbara lovingly note this is where they met two years ago. They both ordered an ice cream sundae, even saying their orders at the same time as they recall the events. They laugh before Courtney asks what Pat was doing in Nebraska. Pat ominously replies he was looking for something, with Barbara noting that she was selling her mother's house.
The next night at dinner, Mike is excited to announce that he's made friends at Blue Valley Middle School and tells his father, Barbara, and Courtney about the video game he and his friends are designing. Barbara is excited for the boy and smiles as Pat agrees to let him go. She then asks if Courtney has any plans for the night with Mike quipping that she doesn't, which makes Courtney angry. Pat offers that they should go to the movies or explore the town, but Courtney snaps back that he isn't her father and leaves the table much to Barbara's protest. She apologizes to Pat once Courtney is out of the room.
When Courtney emerges from the basement later that night, she rushes to tell her mother about Pat's secret past. Barbara, however, is angry with Courtney for her behavior towards Pat. Courtney refuses to apologize as she tells her mom that Pat isn't who he claims to be. Barbara isn't interested in Courtney trying to blemish Pat, saying that he's exactly who she knows him to be. Courtney bluntly asks if her father was a superhero. Barbara resentfully tells her that her father only came to see her once a year, and disappeared when she was five, effectively abandoning them. Pat is the only man whose been there for them. If her father was as great as she thinks he was, he'd be here now, but he's not. Now calmed down, Barbara asks her daughter what she was saying before, but a remorseful Courtney changes her mind and leaves. They say goodnight to one another as Courtney walks away to her room.
Barbara hears Courtney rustling around in her bedroom and knocks on Courtney's door asking if she's okay. Courtney wrestles the staff under her bed, ordering it to stay and she resumes her sleeping position as her mother enters. Courtney tells Barbara she couldn't sleep, giving Barbara the impression it's because of what she said earlier. She apologizes to her daughter for making the jarring move and just wants to make sure she's okay. She knows that having a new stepfather and stepbrother in a new town can't be easy. Courtney rebuttals that she's the one who's sorry as she hadn't given Pat a chance but she will try to now. Barbara is relived at Courtney's new mindset, and they bid each other goodnight again with a hug.
In the months since the defeat of the Injustice Society of America and the death of Jordan Mahkent, Barbara continues to work at The American Dream while maintaining an open communication with Pat. The parents want to take a lake trip away from Blue Valley for two-weeks as a way to put distance between them and the superhero world. They would leave behind all their superhero paraphernalia - including the Cosmic Staff, to take a well-deserved break. Courtney and Mike protest as they both want to focus on their respective superhero careers, but Pat, Barbara, and even Max are pro-vacation. Now outvoted, Courtney and Mike reluctantly accept their impending vacation. The families plans are derailed when Courtney is called into the principals office, forcing Pat and Barbara to sit down for a meeting with the new principal.
Principal Sherman discusses Courtney's recent behavior, though Courtney tries to explain the fight even though that's not what Principal Sherman was referencing - yet. Courtney tries to explain what happened to Pat but can't without outing her secret. Principal Sherman explains that Courtney failed three classes, and if she wants to be a junior next year, she has to attend Summer school. Once in the hall, Pat and Barbara scold Courtney for focusing too much on being Stargirl and not enough on normalcy. Because she is so obsessed, they all have to pay the consequences by not going on their family trip. Barbara tells Courtney to figure out how to balance her life and think about what she's giving up by putting on the mask. That night, Barbara, Pat, and Mike, are awakened to the sound of fighting in the kitchen. They head to see what's going on and see Courtney wielding the Cosmic Staff against an unknown girl holding a power battery. They walk in just as the girl states that she's Green Lantern's daughter. Courtney looks to her parents and awkwardly states there's been a misunderstanding.
Courtney tries to explain the situation to her family, since Jennie broke in and Courtney was defending their home. Courtney's parents are disapproving of her use of the Cosmic Staff while being more lenient on Jennie. Through Pat's inquisitions, the Whitmore-Dugan's learn that Jennie is the alleged daughter of Alan Scott - the Golden Age Green Lantern. Barbara is pleasantly surprised when Jennie reveals that she knows of Pat as he's a mechanical genius and infamous member of the JSA. Jennie eagerly assumes Courtney is the daughter of Starman, but Courtney bashfully declines. Jennie assumes she's Stripesey's daughter, but Courtney solemnly corrects that she's his stepdaughter. Barbara watches as Jennie asks Pat to help her train with the Green Lantern ring. Barbara helps Jennie get settled at the Whitmore-Dugan House, even letting her stay in Courtney's room. Jennie is nervous about staying in Courtney's room as Courtney only volunteered to sleep on the couch when Barbara asked her too. Barbara assures her it's fine and leaves her to sleep.
The next day, Jennie rises early and fixes the kitchen table, makes breakfast, and makes sure the Whitmore-Dugan's are treated wonderfully. She apologizes again for her actions and greets Courtney when the girl wakes up. Barbara praises Jennie's pancakes as being even better than Pat's. Jennie offers to get Courtney a plate of food, but Courtney claims she isn't hungry. Jennie and Pat make plans to visit The Pit Stop to test out the ring. Courtney wants to go but Barbara reminds her that she has school, with Mike rubbing it in that it's Summer school.
Barbara heads to work at The American Dream, when she is unexpectedly visited by a stranger named Richard Swift. Richard introduces himself as an antiques collector with an obsession for stage magic. He heard that The American Dream was holding the later William Zarick's collection of stage magic. Richard offers to pay a hefty fee for William's collection. Barbara has to run it by the board first, so he leaves his business card. She notes that it doesn't have any contact information on it, which is odd to her. He assures Barbara that he'll be in touch. He then asks where he can find a decent cup of tea in the town, so Barbara directs him to Richie's Diner. The next morning, Barbara tells Courtney that Jennie left the Whitmore-Dugan household before anyone woke up.
Pat reveals to Courtney that the former ISA villain The Shade is in Blue Valley, operating under the alias of Richard Swift. He learned of Richard's arrival from Barbara, who had directed Pat to Richie's Diner to meet Richard. It was there that Pat had recognized The Shade's antique watch and pieced together his true identity. Now feeling vindicated over her feeling of a looming threat in Blue Valley, Courtney dives into researching The Shade. She reads the ISA files and shares some of them with Mike before taking them back. Barbara is nervous over Shade's presence and wants Courtney to be careful, as she mistakenly believes that S.T.R.I.P.E. can turn invisible and attack Shade or they can just report him to the authorities. Courtney tells her to leave this up to the professionals.
Barbara heads to work when she catalogs William Zarick's collection of artifacts in The American Dream's clocktower. Richard appears which startles her as he seeming appears out of thin air. He quickly states that he hopes he didn't startle her, but she presses that he did. He calmly asks for her forgiveness. She asks what he's doing here, and he was told by Charlotte where Barbara was and thought they could have a little treasure hunt together. Barbara firmly tells him that he's trespassing, which doesn't seem to bother him. She was looking into the inventory in case she heard from him, asking if he was looking for anything in particular. He mysteriously adds that he'll know when he sees it. She begins searching for her phone in her bag, which Richard extends as must have dropped it. The phone won't turn on and he coyly mentions the unreliable nature of technology. He continues to search until he finds the small box in which the black diamond was housed in. He opens the box but it's empty. He touches the velvet and is annoyed as he closes it firmly. He asks to keep the box but she can't let him as it's part of Zarick's inventory. Richard turns to her with a dark look, noting that they were getting along famously. The room suddenly goes black. When the lights come back on, Barbara is alone in the tower and her phone turns on.
That night, Pat calls Barbara to inform her of the JSA's plan to capture The Shade until they can turn him over to the proper authorities. They have a device that will hopefully render his powers useless. Barbara asks what the device is and Pat nervously explains that it's her tanning bed. She's disgusted by the plan but agrees to let Courtney participate, but tells him to be careful. The plan goes sideways when Mike bursts in and uses Thunderbolt without Pat's blessing. Pat, Courtney, and Mike return home. The kids are scolded by Barbara and Pat for being reckless. Courtney defends Mike as his superhero journey is just starting so he's going to make mistakes. Mike knows he messed up and is ready to surrender the Thunderbolt to Pat, giving up his chance to be in the JSA for now. He mistakenly wishes the Thunderbolt were in better hands, causing it to vanish just as Courtney tries to stop him.
With the Thunderbolt gone and the kids in bed, Pat finds Barbara on the porch. He's still thinking about what Thunderbolt said about Mike feeling alone, which makes Pat feel guilty for not being there for his son more. Barbara assures him that if it's true, that is on all of them not just Pat. Pat knows what it's like to want to be part of the team, which Barbara states that Mike already is whether her has the pen or not. She and Mike both are even though they don't have costumes and code names. She tells him that she found something in Zarick's inventory. The empty box that Swift took wasn't always empty, as it used to hold a black diamond. Pat nervously knows it isn't a prop, but something very, very bad.
The next morning, Pat tries to fix the kitchen table while Barbara mentions she was up most of the night. He apologizes but thought she should know everything. Barbara calls the black diamond scary, especially with what happened to Dr. Mid-Nite. She wonders if they should tell Courtney about the JSA and Eclipso. Courtney overhears them mention Eclipso and questions how they know about him, with Barbara and Pat asking her the same thing. Barbara makes Courtney tell them first and the teen admits that she doesn't know much. Beth's goggles told her to be careful as Eclipso is here, but they aren't sure what it means. Barbara wonders how Beth's goggles know, and Courtney explains the trouble alerts.
Pat tells Courtney that Eclipso is the devil in the shadows - real evil imprisoned inside the black diamond. Barbara adds that Shade has been looking for it, with Pat agreeing that whoever has the diamond has Eclipso's power. He can make people see things that aren't there. Starman said it drove people to do bad things to themselves and others. The JSA somehow managed to stop Eclipso but the longer he's active the more powerful he'll get. Courtney thinks Shade wants to team up with Eclipso to do something evil. Barbara worries that Courtney will go rushing in, but Courtney assures her mother that she can handle his. She plans to hit the books with the team after school to learn more about Eclipso. She promises not to rush in and leaves for school.
Meanwhile, Paula and Larry escape prison and kidnap Mike to force Pat to help them attend Artemis's football tryouts that afternoon. Pat agrees as he has no other choice, and takes the escaped felons back to his home. Barbara doesn't like the idea as Paula tried to kill them and almost killed her if it weren't for Courtney. Pat thinks it's the best thing to do right now to keep everything under control. They banter back and forth as Pat firmly believes that if Paula and Crock wanted them dead they would be. Barbara glares that it doesn't make her feel better. They peek out from behind the wall every so often to check on the felons, before agreeing to play nice for now.
Barbara and Paula stand in the kitchen defensively. Paula is disgusted by the pile of mail and the obvious signs of a fight, noting their unpopularity with people. Barbara offers Paula coffee, but the woman rebuffs as she doesn't drink caffeine. She offers tap water but Paula is grossed out by the idea. She then scolds Barbara for letting her children eat processed food. Barbara defends herself as the teens would get the food if Mike wanted it anyway. She relates it to Courtney's stubbornness, which Paula instantly relates too as Artemis is the same way. It doesn't matter what they say because their daughters won't listen. Barbara likes that her daughter is driven, and both women unanimously states that it's frustrating as a mother. Paula catches the coffee pot before it falls off the counter, and reluctantly pours two cups. By the time Courtney comes home looking for Pat, Barbara is the only one home to tell her what happened.
In the days that follow, Barbara continues her work at The American Dream. Richard visits Barbara at her office at The American Dream, which startles her. He hopes the day finds her well but she quickly closes the door and confronts him for being Shade. He chuckles the he sees where Courtney gets her bravado, but that she has something extra. He remarks that she reminds him of someone from long ago. She steps forward that she had enough with his friend Jordan viewing her as a prize to be won. He clarifies that she mistook his intentions, as the person she reminds him of, was family. He continues to tell her that Courtney spent the night searching for him and Barbara has to ensure she stays out of his affairs. She admits they just want to know what he knows about the black diamond and the weird weather. He's mildly impressed that they figured that much out, but warns that the weather is the premiere and she won't like the finale. She shouldn't talk about the cursed gem again as Barbara's daughter and friends are far too young to face the horror within. She asks why he cares but he doesn't, but asks her to inform him if Courtney and her friends find the location of the black diamond. She's not sure if she believes him but also doesn't have a way to contact him. He smirks that she should check the card again, and when she does, his number is burned into the card. When she looks back up, Richard has disappeared.
Pat is attacked at The Pit Stop and badly beaten, resulting in his hospitalization at Blue Valley Medical Center. Barbara sits by his bedside as he sleeps. Courtney arrives worried and embraces her mother, learning that Pat has a severe concussions but should be okay. Courtney feels guilty over having split up as she should have gone with him, but Barbara embraces her daughter as it wasn't her fault. As they sit, Courtney gets a call from Mike's phone. Cindy Burman is on the other line threatening to kill Mike if Courtney and her friends don't show up at BVHS by midnight. Courtney relays the message to Barbara, but the teen worries she can't handle the fight or save Mike. Barbara reminds her that she can do this and has to be Stargirl for her friends and her brother. She tells her to go get her brother back. With a renewed confidence and a request from Barbara to kick Cindy's ass, Stargirl and the JSA head to BVHS.
As time passes, an unsure Barbara later calls the number Richard gave her, summoning Richard there at once; he muses over the injured and bedridden state of the man he once knew as Stripesy. Barbara is conflicted over what to call Richard, so he admits it's fine to address him either by his civilian identity or as the Shade. Barbara tells him about the recent developments, including Cindy Burman's abduction of Mike and Courtney taking her friends to rescue her step-brother, Richard maintained his apathetic demeanor asking how her troubles should concern him. Though unsure, Barbara got his attention by mentioning that the black diamond was currently in Cindy's possession, piquing the Shade's interest.
Barbara paces in Pat's room and notices an eclipse in the night sky. By the time Courtney and Mike return to the medical center, Pat is awake and talking. The teens fill their parents in on Eclipso's escape from the diamond, Isaac and Cindy's deaths, and how the eclipse disappeared along with Eclipso. Mike wants his training to start now as he can't be defenseless again. Pat agrees to help him, while Courtney worries what Eclipso's plan is now that The Shade is missing. Barbara holds Courtney's hand as the family sits.
Barbara goes to work the next day and learns that the new woman in charge of their budgeting wants to close the Oakvale center. Barbara argues that this will force over 200 employees to lose their jobs, something Janet isn't concerned over. Barbara suggests they liquidate their back stock to afford the center, as Jordan wouldn't have given up on the town. The staff vote in favor of Barbara's proposal, adjourn the meeting, and leave. Barbara looks over at the portrait of Jordan hanging on the wall. She hears someone say the name "Emily" causing her to turn around. She doesn't see anyone, but when the name repeats, a shadow crawls over the ceiling and then vanishes. A single drop of liquid lands on the floor. Barbara walks over to examine the substance. When she touches it, she realizes it is blood.
That night, Courtney talks to her family about Yolanda's decision to leave the JSA, citing that she didn't tell anyone about Yolanda killing Brainwave as it isn't her secret to tell. Barbara understands that but thinks Courtney should give Yolanda some space. Courtney worries if Yolanda's visions are from Brainwave, Eclipso, or just a figment of Yolanda's conscience. Mike admits that he didn't mean to kill Icicle either, prompting Barbara and Pat to comfort him. Barbara then admits she might have seen Shade earlier at The American Dream.
The next morning, the family enjoys breakfast together when Courtney goes to leave early. Barbara asks where she's heading, to which Courtney admits she's going to try and talk to Yolanda. Pat reminds Courtney that what happened isn't her fault, but she should give Yolanda some space. Mike disagrees as he thinks Yolanda should come back to help defeat Eclipso. When the doorbell rings, the family is on-edge until Courtney returns with a duffle bag containing the Wildcat suit, undoubtedly left by Yolanda. That night, Barbara learns that Rick has been arrested for assaulting his uncle after being manipulated by Grundy. She tells Mike about the incident and he wonders what they can do to help. She admits they can only just be there for Pat and Courtney when they come back. They might not have powers, but they can still be there to support them. Mike thanks her, calling her mom, and they hug.
Barbara is an intelligent and kind woman who values her relationship with her daughter above everything else. She cares for her family and is devoted to her husband and has a desire to grow closer to her stepson, even attending his science fair. She gets excited when her family dynamic begins to grow closer and is happy at the prospect of Courtney making friends or forming a relationship with Pat. Barbara is also dedicated to her work and doesn't hesitate to speak up when she has the opportunity and values a positive repour with her boss, Jordan Mahkent, and appreciates that she is becoming increasingly more involved in the company.
Barbara is also seen to be a maternal figure to Courtney's friends as she allows them to celebrate Christmas with her family, though it appears she is closer to Beth as she has spent more time with her.
Despite her experiences with Jordan, Barbara still had some ounce of respect for him due to his work in preserving small towns. However, this is as far as that respect goes.
As a mother, Barbara is fiercely protective of her children and is willing to lay down her life for them when they're in danger. One example of this is when The Shade threatens to kill her and Pat and she tells him to kill her because she cannot live with her daughter.
Barbara is an attractive woman in her late thirties. She strongly resembles her daughter, Courtney. Barbara has shoulder-length curly blonde hair, blue-green eyes, pale skin, and a slim physique. She often wears light-colored tops or a bright shawl. Her clothes are both fashionable yet professional. She wears slim-fitting jeans. When going somewhere professional, she favors grey or black business jackets and dark dress pants paired with heels.
Notes and Trivia
- Barbara was unaware of her husband's past as a member of the Justice Society of America until ""
- Barbara has only ever been addressed as Mrs. Dugan by Beth when Barbara was being mentally manipulated by Brainwave.
- Barbara's one-sided relationship with Jordan can be seen as a parallel to Courtney's relationship with Jordan's son, Cameron.
- Barbara was named after Barbara Johns, the mother of Stargirl creator, Geoff Johns. This was confirmed by Amy Smart during the Stargirl DC Fandome Panel.
- Barbara isn't big on formalities as she insists that Jennie call her by her name.
- Barbara has long embraced being Mike's mother to the point she openly accepts him calling her, "mom". Actress Amy Smart made reference to this when she took over the Stargirl Instagram account.