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Static Shock
Static Shock (TV logo).jpg
Genre Adventure
Comedy
Science fiction
Superhero
Created by Dwayne McDuffie
Denys Cowan
Michael Davis
Derek Dingle
Written by
  • Christopher Simmons
  • Dwayne McDuffie
  • Len Uhley
  • John Semper
Directed by
  • Denys Cowan
  • Joe Sichta
  • Dave Chlystek
Starring
Theme music composer
  • Richard Wolf (2000–02)
  • Lil' Romeo & Master P (2003–04)
Opening theme
  • Theme (2000–02)
  • "Static Shock Superhero" Theme (2003–04)
Composer(s)
  • Richard Wolf
  • Max Gousse
  • Stanley Clarke
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 52 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Jean MacCurdy
  • Sander Schwartz
Producer(s)
  • Alan Burnett (supervising)
  • Scott Jeralds
  • Denys Cowan
  • Swinton O. Scott III
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) DC Comics
Warner Bros. Animation
Distributor Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution
Release
Original network Kids' WB
Original release September 23, 2000 (2000-09-23) – May 22, 2004 (2004-05-22)
Chronology
Preceded by The New Batman/Superman Adventures
Related shows DC animated universe television series

Static Shock is an American superhero animated television series based on the Milestone Media/DC Comics superhero Static. It premiered on September 23, 2000, on the WB Television Network's Kids' WB programming block. Static Shock ran for four seasons, with 52 half-hour episodes in total. The show revolves around Virgil Hawkins, an African-American boy who uses the secret identity of "Static" after exposure to a mutagen gas during a gang fight which gave him electromagnetic powers. It was the first time that an African-American superhero was the titular character of their own broadcast animation series.

The fifth series of the DC Animated Universe, the series was produced by Warner Bros. Animation from a crew composed mostly of people from the company's past shows, but also with the involvement of two of the comic's creators, Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan. Static Shock had some alterations from the original comic book because it was oriented to a pre-teen audience. Nevertheless, the show approached several social issues, which was positively received by most television critics. Static Shock was nominated for numerous awards, including the Daytime Emmy. Some criticism was directed towards its jokes—which were said to be stale and too similar to the Spider-Man style—and animation, which was said to be unnatural and outdated. The series also produced some related merchandise, which sold poorly; McDuffie cited the low sales as one of the main factors behind the series' cancellation. In spite of this, its popularity revived interest in the original Milestone comic and introduced McDuffie to the animation industry.

Plot

Virgil Hawkins is a 14-year-old who lives with his older sister Sharon, and his widowed father Robert in Dakota City. He attends high school with his best friend Richie Foley, and has a crush on a girl named Frieda. He also has a dispute with a bully named Francis Stone, nicknamed "F-Stop." A gang leader named Wade recently helped Virgil, hoping to recruit him, but Virgil is hesitant, as he knows his mother died in an exchange of gunfire between gangs. Wade eventually leads Virgil to a restricted area for a fight against F-Stop's crew, but it was interrupted by police helicopters. During the dispute with the police, chemical containers explode, releasing a gas that causes mutations among the people in the vicinity (this event was later known as "The Big Bang"). As a result, Virgil obtains the ability to create, generate, absorb, and control electricity and magnetism—he takes up the alter-ego of "Static". The gas also gives others in the area their own powers, and several of them become supervillains. The mutated people become meta-humans known as "Bang Babies" and their mutations apparently spread to other people around them.

Characters

  • Virgil Ovid Hawkins / Static (voiced by Phil LaMarr) – A high school student in Dakota City. As a result of accidental exposure to an experimental mutagen in an event known as the Big Bang, he gained the ability to control and manipulate electromagnetism, and uses these powers to become the superhero "Static". Countless others who were also exposed also gained a wide variety of mutations and abilities, and Static spends much of his time dealing with these "Bang Babies", many of whom use their abilities in selfish, harmful, and even criminal ways.
  • Richard "Richie" Osgood Foley / Gear (voiced by Jason Marsden) – Virgil's best friend and confidant. At first, he merely provides support for his friend, making gadgets for him and helping to cover for Virgil to protect his secret identity. In the third season, it is revealed Richie's passive exposure to the Bang Gas gave him super-intelligence, which enabled him to easily invent rocket-powered boots and "Backpack", a highly intelligent multipurpose device worn on the back capable of surveillance and other semi-independent activities. With this equipment, he became a superhero named "Gear" and becomes Static's full-time partner in crime-fighting.
  • Robert Hawkins (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) – A social worker who runs the Freeman Community Center as head counselor. He is a widower and the single father of two teenagers—Virgil and Sharon. A strict but caring and genuinely understanding parent, he dislikes gangs and the destructive attitudes of most Bang Babies, and his work at the community center is motivated by a desire to counteract their bad influence on young people.
  • Sharon Hawkins (voiced by Michele Morgan) – Virgil's older sister, Sharon attends college, but she still lives at home. She volunteers at a hospital, and counsels young people at the Freeman Community Center. While they do argue frequently, Sharon and Virgil really do care about each other and are quick to come to the other's defense if one of them is in danger. After their mother died, Sharon took it upon herself to act as the woman of the house, including when it comes to allocating chores between her and her brother, not least of all the cooking (which, at least according to Virgil, Sharon is not all that good at).
  • Adam Evans/Rubber-Band Man (voiced by Kadeem Hardison) – A meta-human transmorph, whose body structure consists of shapeable rubber. He is the younger brother of Static's archenemy, Ebon. Rubber-Band Man first appears as a tragic villain when he goes after an opportunistic record producer who stole one of his songs. He subsequently breaks out of prison but decides not to pursue a criminal career, however. He and Sharon eventually start dating, with Sharon helping Adam turn over a new leaf. He and Virgil initially clash, but Virgil comes to accept Adam's relationship with his sister and they become allies in crime-fighting, with Adam even becoming like an older-brother figure to Virgil.
  • Ivan Evans/Ebon (voiced by Gary Anthony Sturgis) – The head of a large group of Bang Babies called "The Meta-Breed" and the series' main antagonist. Ebon is an unusually powerful meta-human. As a living shadow, he is able to create inter-dimensional portals and can manipulate pure darkness and shadows, as well as transport others to various locations of his choice.

Legacy

OnceFutureThing2
Static Shock led its characters to be incorporated in the DC animated universe. In the picture, a future Static appears in a Justice League Unlimited episode aired half a year after the ending of Static Shock.

The show's popularity led to new demand for Milestone's Static comics: the first four issues of it were reissued as Static Shock: Trial by Fire in 2000 and a miniseries, Static Shock!: Rebirth of the Cool, was released between January and September 2001. It also led to the production of an unreleased video game, toys, and books. In May 2003, Midway Games announced the production of a platform game based on the show for the Game Boy Advance. Although it was displayed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the game was later cancelled. For a period starting on July 4, 2004, Subway Restaurants released a series of toys based on the TV series to be offered in the United States and Canada. On September 1, 2004, Scholastic Corporation published two tie-in children's books written by Tracey West.

McDuffie's work on Static Shock placed him in the circles of animated series, and he became a writer and producer for shows like Justice League, Teen Titans, Justice League Unlimited, and Ben 10: Alien Force. McDuffie was responsible for diversifying the DC animated universe's Justice League by including black and female characters. Moreover, Arie Kaplan credits McDuffie and his co-writers for giving "a depth and complexity" the group was lacking since the 1970s. A future, older version of Virgil appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once and Future Thing, Part 2: Time, Warped" in January 2005.

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