Starfire debuted in DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980), she was created by Marv Wolfman & George Pérez. She is also the third DC Comics character to bear that name.
As princess of the planet Tamaran, Koriand'r was in line to eventually rule the planet as Queen, however her older sister Komand'r (pronounced "commander", also known as Blackfire) developed a bitter rivalry with her after suffering a disease in infancy that robbed her of the ability to harness solar energy to allow her to fly, and by extension, her first-born right to the throne. This rivalry intensified when the siblings were sent for warrior training with the Warlords of Okaara. During a sparring exercise Komand'r attempted to kill her younger sister, resulting in her expulsion. Komand'r swore vengeance on Koriand'r.
That revenge came when Komand'r betrayed her planet by giving detailed information about Tamaran's defenses to their enemies, the Citadel. They swiftly conquered Tamaran with ease, and their conditions of surrender included the enslavement of Koriand'r who would never be permitted to return, or the Citadel would devastate the planet for abrogating the treaty. To Kory's horror, she learned that Komand'r was her master; Koriand'r's older sister made the most of her sibling's bondage with years of horrific servitude and torture. When Koriand'r killed one of her captors, Komand'r decided to execute her as punishment, but the sisters were attacked and captured by the Psions, a group of sadistic alien scientists, who performed a deadly experiment on both sisters to see how much energy their Tamaranean bodies could absorb before exploding from the overload. During the procedure, Komand'r's forces attacked the Psion ship to retrieve her. While the Psions were distracted, Kory broke free using starbolts - destructive blasts of solar energy - which were a result of the experimentation. Against her better judgment, she decided to free Komand'r, who was still absorbing energy. However, far from grateful, Komand'r struck her sister down with more intense power, and had her restrained for later execution.
Kory soon escaped by seducing one of the guards and stole a spacecraft to flee to the nearest planet, Earth, where she met Robin and his compatriots; joining with them in forming The New Teen Titans. She remained a member for years and during this time she was romantically involved with Robin.
Koriand'r displays the traits of Tamaran's joy-seeking culture, coupled with a no-nonsense warrior attitude. For a time on Earth, Koriand'r had a career as a fashion model.