Name: Virgil Hawkins
Voiced by Phil LaMarr
The protector of Dakota City (and star of Kids' WB's Static Shock), this fourteen-year old gained his electromagnetic superpowers after being exposed to a mutagenic gas. The Justice League recently teamed up with him in A League of Their Own, where Static (along with his partner Gear) helped them fight the menace of Brainiac.
McDuffie on Static (circa 2000): “Static
was my attempt at doing a teen hero in a contemporary setting. I
was a big Spider-Man fan, and was disappointed that the nerdy high-school loser
I grew up with was suddenly married to a supermodel and living in a loft on the
Upper West Side. I pitched Marvel on
an earlier version of Static back in 1989 and they were interested, but nothing
ever came of it. [Later], when we were
putting Milestone together, somebody said, ‘We need a teen hero,’ and I
dusted him off and threw him in the pot. After
everyone else added their input, Static as you know him was born. I
always thought we could do a good little book with Static, but I never thought
he'd make it to Saturday morning; I'm thrilled to get him out there in front of
that many people.
Real Name: Gear / Richie Foley
Voiced by Jason Marsden
Static's best friend and partner, Richie Foley graduated to superhero status when he developed mental superpowers that allow him to create an array of technological tools.
Static Image #1 | Static Image #2 | Static Image #3
Static Image #4 | Static Image #5 | Static Image #6 | Static Image #7
Static Image #8 | Static Image #9
Created, in part, as a reaction to the under-representation of minorities in the comic book market, Static made his debut in 1993 as one of the flagship characters in a new company called Milestone Media, which was an imprint of DC Comics. Ceasing publication in 1997, the character found new life in animation, as co-creators Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan partnered with Batman producer Alan Burnett to create Static Shock for Kids' WB in 2000. Now in its fourth season, the series continues to do well thanks to a devoted core audience...and frequent appearances by established DC Animated Universe characters.
Initially a self-contained series, Static Shock has, in recent years, become increasingly dependant on guest stars from Bruce Timm's animated mythos. As of this writing, Static has teamed up with Justice League members for seven episodes—The Big Leagues, Hard as Nails, A League of Their Own (Parts One and Two), Toys in the Hood, Future Shock, and Fallen Hero—which, taking into account that the majority of these occurred in the past two seasons, averages out to roughly two or three a year. It is unknown whether or not this is a demand of the network, who might be seeking to bolster an average-but-steady series on their lineup, or a result of having creative team members working for both camps (Dan Riba, Shaun McLaughlin, Stan Berkowitz, and Dwayne McDuffie himself work on Justice League as well as Static Shock); but the end result is an oddity: an unrelated series that has, over time, found itself drawn into the DC Animated Universe by a series of guest stars, until Static's universe is pretty much their universe as well (this is especially unusual, considering that, in the comics, the Milestone Universe was separate from the DC Universe; with their only crossover being 1994's World's Collide mini-series, which featured Milestone characters teaming up with Superman, Steel, and Superboy). However, there are advantages to this connection, as Justice League fans were treated to what could arguably be considered an additional, full-length Justice League episode between Seasons One and Two (A League of Their Own), as well as a solo, spotlight episode featuring Green Lantern (Fallen Hero), something impossible to feature on the team-oriented series.
In terms of its place in Bruce Timm's animated continuity, Static Shock exists on the periphery of Justice League and all other related animated shows. Sometimes this leads to odd situations, such as Static encountering two variations of Batman in the same season, as his appearance differs depending on whether the episode is a crossover between The New Batman Adventures (Hard as Nails) or Justice League (A League of Their Own). Also, this is probably the only medium where a connection between the regular DC Animated Universe and the Teen Titans series will be made (Hard as Nails). It is unknown to what extent this will affect either show, as it is unknown if Static Shock will return for a fifth season on Kids' WB.
Despite Static's "open-door policy" in regards to his own show, the favor was never returned, as he never made an appearance on Justice League. There's always the possibility that he could make an appearance on Justice League Unlimited but, considering the fifty-plus guest stars that are already scheduled to appear, it is unlikely that a loosely-affiliated, non-DC Universe character will make the cut.
Images courtesy of Toon Zone, Cartoon Network, Bat313, and [website name removed]; additional information courtesy of Nicolas' Home on the Web.
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