Why the DC television universe needs a new 'Static Shock' series

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August 11th 2017

Static is a big deal. The Milestone Media-created (biggest black-owned comic company ever) Virgil Hawkins is a black nerd community favorite. Not only would the addition of a Static Shock show give some much-needed protagonist representation on television, but the source material exists to make for even more exciting crossover action that the fans of the other DC series' have come to love. So really this is just me pitching to the Warner Bros./DC Entertainment executives to make this thing happen. But before we get into all that, here's some info on the character for folks that need to get familiar:

Virgil Hawkins, aka Static, first appeared in June 1993

Photo: Milestone Media/DC Comics
Photo: Milestone Media/DC Comics

Static was one of Milestone's first four titles produced in the company's infancy as an imprint of DC Comics. In the comic books (and the animated show), the highlights of his origin story include a young Virgil Hawkins getting mixed up in a gang war that puts him in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the comics, the mutagen (Quantum Juice) that gives him his electromagnetic powers comes from radioactive tear gas that police use to "mark" gang members. The animated show still has the police (and the mutagen) involved, but instead they use ruptured chemical containers. The incident was known as the "Big Bang" and all of those exposed developed new abilities, and they all aren't good guys like Static. Static's powers are of the electromagnetic variety. Most of his moves are strictly based on output and input. He can electrocute enemies, levitate objects (like manhole covers he frequently uses to fly on), and transfer electromagnetic taser punches that have the force of a stun gun. He can also drain electricity from power lines, fuse boxes, batteries -- you name it!

new 'Static Shock' series
Photo: Milestone Media/DC Comics
(I know you saw the Malcolm X snapback though, my boy is a revolutionary.) My older cousins were extremely into Static, so I got introduced to him through the comic books. I've found that most people in our generation found him another way.

Static Shock the animated series

new 'Static Shock' series
Photo: Warner Bros. Animation

The animated series, which ran for four seasons from 2000 to 2004, was a cultural hit. Dwayne McDuffie (who also wrote 11 episodes) and Denys Cowan, two of the legends from Milestone, were extremely involved in the show. Although some things were changed in an effort to appeal more to the pre-teen demographic, many of the social aspects that the source material was predicated on stayed. Static Shock was nominated for four Daytime Emmys and won one in 2004 for Achievement in Music Direction and Composition. It was a banger. But if you don't know what the purpose of animated series' is on television, let me tell you – toy and merchandise sales. Static Shock was a very good preview of what would happen to other well-produced cartoons with compelling stories and lessons about things like racism, mental illness, etc. (like Young Justice). The toy line for the show bricked, and McDuffie (RIP to the legend) said out of his own mouth how it went down.

 

But this is how Static can fit into the DC TV universe now.

new 'Static Shock' series
Photo: DC Comics

The New 52 (DCnU for short) is DC's rebooted comic book universe where they basically started all the way over, redrafting all of their heroes' stories (because we weren't buying books like that). Luckily for us, in this version of the Static story, Virgil Hawkins' family moves to big Apple where he attends a new school and gets an internship at S.T.A.R. Labs after he gets his powers. If you're an Arrow/The Flash/Supergirl fan, you already see where I'm going here. In the television universe, S.T.A.R. Labs is in Central City and is currently the base of operations for Barry Allen (aka The Flash) and crew. It would be great if next season they were to somehow hire themselves a young dread-head intern by the name of Virgil — I'm just saying. The set up is literally too perfect not to happen. The DCEU (DC film universe) is already taking from the New 52 for the silver screen Wonder Woman story and who knows what else in the future. Why shouldn't the television universe follow suit?

Photo: Giphy

Photo: Giphy

 

Do you think there should be a live action Static Shock? Let's talk about it in the comments. 

by Ira Hobbs on August 11th 2017
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