Static poses after getting his powers. Artists:  Denys Cowan and Jimmy Palmiotti.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Milestone Media
First Appeared: 1993
Creators: Dwayne McDuffie (writer) and John Paul Leon (artist)
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By the 1990s, the pure, lily-white superheroes of the 1940s, '50s and '60s were far from the only game in town. This reached the point where it was possible for one of them to be black, with the fact …

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… scarcely even noticed. (That was the case with Spawn, for example.) Milestone Media (which was independently owned, but closely affiliated with DC Comics) was founded with the intention of tipping the scales in the opposite direction from the "whitebread" years. All of its characters were "of color", as were their creators.

Static debuted in Milestone's Static #1, with a cover date of June, 1993. His creators were writer Dwayne McDuffie (Damage Control) and artist John Paul Leon (doing his best-known work here).

He started out as Virgil Hawkins, a high school student in the fictional midwest town of Dakota (where most of the Milestone heroes were based). He got involved in a showdown between rival gangs, and so was exposed to the teargas authorities used to quell the disturbance. The gas had been laced with a supposedly harmless radioactive marker (or at least, "harmless" by the standards of government employees who aren't concerned with damage done in pursuit of their goals), which was intended as a means to track down participants who got away from police in the initial raid. He was also exposed to a mutagenic substance called Quantum Juice ("Q-Juice" for short). It was the combination of the two that killed most of those exposed and rendered the survivors super-powerful. Virgil, in particular, received electromagnetic powers similar to those of Spider-Man's villain Electro, or his fellow superhero Black Lightning.

Static was the most successful of the Milestone line, appearing not just in 45 issues of his own comic (the last dated March, 1997), but also as part of a group of heroes, known succinctly as "Heroes". (The other members had been involved with Shadow Cabinet, another Milestone series, which by that time was defunct). He's also (like others from the line) interacted with Superman, Superboy, Steel, and others from DC-proper.

Static was the only Milestone hero to make it into TV cartoons. Static Shock debuted September 23, 2000 on the WB Network. His voice was done by Phil LaMarr (also heard in Jimmy Neutron, Baby Blues, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and elsewhere). On that show, he's crossed over with other DC-related animated heroes such as Batman and The Justice League of America. It ran four seasons, a total of 52 episodes. The TV series led to a minor revival of the comic book — DC (without Milestone) published a four-issue Static Shock series in 2001.

Milestone Media is now dormant, but at least one of its characters seems to have survived it.


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Text ©2005-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Milestone Media.