Static Shock: How one show and one creator influenced me

Static powering up in "Aftershock".

Image via Wikipedia

Remember how I told y’all I was going to write about Static Shock? Well since it’s the second to the last day of Black History Month, what better way to end it then with an appreciation post to the show and its creator, Dwayne McDuffie?

Now, for those of you not involved with comic books or animation, Dwayne McDuffie recently passed away, leaving behind his original characters like Hardware and Icon, and producer and writer credits for various animated shows such as Ben 10 Alien Force and Ultimate Alien.  It wasn’t until recently as I started to research my own career options did I really think about McDuffie influencing me, albeit in a subtle manner. He was proof that yes, a Black person can make it to the big leagues in animation and comic books and be respected and not give up any of their principles. He also made me realize that sometimes you just have to make your own company to get out the stories you want to tell. Usually, I’m a more pragmatic type and am always hesitant in going to indie route but if I want to feature more characters of color, maybe it’s time to ditch the pragmatism if only for a while and do a McDuffie and just make my own production company.

Getting off my appreciation/introspective train, let’s talk about Static Shock. Now, if you were a kid in the early 2000s, then you probably have heard of the show before the comic. To summarize, the show is about a teenager named Virgil Hawkins who after getting doused with some gas, he gained electromagnetic powers, able to magnetize metal and create electricity from his body. Along with his sidekick later super-powered partner Richie/Gear, he saves the day from others affected by the gas known as Bang babies and even facing some villains from the DC universe. Static was notable in that not only was the lead character a Black male who wasn’t a super cool guy or the angry black man and actually showed him being clever with his powers. A DC universe version of Spider-Man if you will. The show lasted from 2000 to 2004 which in cartoon animation years is good. Since then, we haven’t seen much of Static in the animation realm (though he would’ve totally fit into Young Justice, but I guess that’s asking too much), and frankly I miss him. He adds a different perspective of teenage superheroes with his optimism and we all need those types. So, as Black History Month comes to a close, I salute you Dwayne McDuffie and Static Shock for proving that a character of color can be a hero.