At the moment, the DC movies have their fair share of grown-up idols, but not enough younger characters whom teenage audiences can relate to. I mean, even the 14-year-old version of Billy Batson in Shazam! has the advantage becoming an adult on command. Luckily, a Static Shock movie, based on one of the comic books’ most popular superpowered teen crime fighters, is in the works.
I should clarify, for those who may not realize, that the actual name of the superhero in question is simply “Static.” However, many people commonly add the “Shock” to his alias due to the popularity of his animated TV show, Static Shock (which ran on The WB from 2000-2004 and starred voice actor Phil LaMarr in the title role), and his New 52 comic book reboot of same title. One can only hope that the young hero’s true alias will be cleared up in his first live action feature, coming from producer Michael B. Jordan.
Come to think of it, there are a number of others things that more casual fans of superhero movies, and even those who grew up with his TV series, may not know about Static. Well, since it looks we still have a bit of a wait before DC’s Static Shock movie hits theaters, that gives us plenty of time to break down the most essential facts about the young fan favorite hero, starting at the very beginning.
Static Shock First Appeared Under DC’s Milestone Comics Imprint
Debuting in his own self-titled comic in June 1993, Static was one of the first superheroes created for Milestone Comics. Distributed by DC until 1997 but never crossing with the publisher's main continuity (at first), the imprint was created specifically to tell stories about superheroes who fall under cultural minority groups, such as Icon - an alien who takes the form of a Black man and becomes a crime fighter while stranded on Earth. Milestone Comics was founded by Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle, who also created the character of Static with writer Robert Lee Washington III and artist John Paul Leon.
Static Shock Gets His Name From His Electromagnetic Powers
While his alias is just "Static," "shock" is a more fitting description for the majority of things he is capable of, thanks to his ability to create, manipulate, and enhance electromagnetic energy. For instance, Static can independently operate various electronic devices, including ones that would normally require a direct current, and even fix them in no time. That is due, in part, to his power of making any metal levitate, which is how he is able to fly on his "Static Saucer."
His powers also have greater range than that (literally) and allow him mentally tune into police transmissions, radio stations, and make calls without using a normal phone. He has even been known to be able to tune out people's attempt to read or control his mind, as well as use electokinesis to speed up the healing process. Seems like it is not hard to look on bright side when you have powers like Static, despite the dark place he went to acquire them.
There Is A Dark Backstory Behind Static Shock’s Abilities
Before he became Static, Virgil Hawkins was an average teen with an above-average intelligence and love for comics and role playing games, which often made him the target of bullies, such as Martin Scaponi. One day, Virgil's friend Larry Wade met up with him at Paris Island (a crime-ridden part of Dakota City) and gave him a chance to seek revenge on Martin by giving him a gun, which he almost took advantage of before tossing the weapon in the water.
However, at that time, a vicious gang brawl known as the Big Bang broke out, at which point the police released a gas laced with Quantum Juice - a chemical known to have either killed people, mutated them into monsters, or imbued with them superhuman abilities. Virgil got the better end of the deal and would then use his new shocking powers to become Static, a teen titan against crime in his community.
Static Shock Has Been A Member Of The Teen Titans
Speaking of "Teen Titans," Static has actually fought alongside that very crew of young superheroes before. The team-up would come about when the Titans invited him to seek refuge at their tower headquarters, after he suffered a long imprisonment as a superhero gladiator at the Dark Side Club - which is actually a night club owned and operated by DC supervillain Darkseid, believe it or not. The crossover was achieved after Milestone’s “Dakotaverse” merged with the main DC continuity in 2008, meaning Virgil Hawkins was also able to interact with other certain people and entities within that universe as well.
Static Shock Has Also Worked At S.T.A.R. Labs
Every superhero has their day job and, as a teenager, Static can claim being a high school student as his. However, Virgil Hawkins' additional gifts in mathematics, science, and computers would earn him an internship at S.T.A.R. Labs, where Cyborg's father Silas Stone also works, as Zack Snyder's Justice League would show. The internship would not take too much time away from his commitment to crime fighting, however, since it was at the lab where he was able to develop a wing and cape apparatus for Red Robin - the current alias of Tim Drake, who was the third of Bruce Wayne's wards to fight alongside Batman as Robin.
Contrary To Popular Belief, Static Shock And Black Lightning Have No Direct Ties
I feel it might be necessary to mention how some have assumed that Static Shock and Black Lightning might be related or even the same person depicted at different ages. Well, just to make sure the air is cleared on that topic, neither is true and, furthermore, Black Lightning is the alter ego of Jefferson Pierce, who has been an official DC character since 1977. He has no familial ties to Static, but does happen to be an Africa American with powers based in electricity, and wears a pretty similar costume, at that.
You know, Static Shock and Black Lightning have actually appeared together on the animated Young Justice series and in the comics, too. It is a shame that Black Lightning is cancelled at the CW because a guest spot on the show could have been a fun way to introduce Static into a live action setting. Of course, giving him his own movie is not a bad consolation, either.