Mar 142011
 

Static Shock Special #1Here’s my picks for DC Comics for June 2011:

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dc-comics-jun-2011-solicitations-110314.html

Comics I’ll be buying:

  • Static Shock Special #1 (one-shot), on sale June 1, $3
  • The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #8, on sale June 8, $3
  • Tiny Titans #41, on sale June 15, $3

Comics I might buy:

  • Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash TPB, on sale July 20, $20

Comments:

This month, DC pushes hard its newest crossover-fest, “Flashpoint” (a Flash-centric storyline about an alternate timeline version of the DCU).

This month’s “Showcase Presents” volume of interest is a collection of the final pre-Crisis Flash storyline, “The Trial of the Flash.” This one dragged out quite some time, and by the time it was over, Flash’s sales had sunk low enough that DC decided to do something radical with him. Namely: cancel the title; kill off Barry Allen in “Crisis on Infinite Earths”; and restart the Flash title after “Crisis” with a new #1 and a new Flash, former sidekick Wally West. Still, now that Barry is back as Flash, it might be nice to revisit this storyline.

“Tiny Titans” this month is also Flash-centric, centering around Kid Flash, Mas y Menos (from the “Teen Titans” cartoon), and other speedsters. With all this Flash hype, you’d think there wasn’t a movie coming out at this point starring Flash’s pal, Green Lantern…

Meanwhile, “Batman: TBATB” features Aquaman as the costar, as the two team up for a no-doubt-”OUTRAGEOUS” undersea adventure, one apparently involving Aquaman’s archfoe Black Manta (who actually *is* Black; maybe I should’ve written about him and the new, also-African-American Aqualad for last month’s Black History Month topic). The people over at The Aquaman Shrine should love this issue!

Finally, in a nice tribute to the late Dwayne McDuffie, DC’s putting out a one-shot special of Static related material.

Feb 222011
 

StaticI and the rest of the comics/animation enthusiast world was surprised today by the news that Dwayne McDuffie has died, due to complications from a surgical procedure. Comic Book Resources has this nice summary of McDuffie’s career.

I was introduced to McDuffie’s work through reading the Milestone Comics line of characters when I was in high school, though I preferred Icon and Rocket over Static, not suspecting the latter would become the line’s most successful character. When “Static Shock” came to television, I enjoyed watching Virgil’s animated adventures.

Recently, I’d read some of McDuffie’s thoughts about the comics industry, per his heavy involvement in online venues. One example of his commentary, via satire, is here. Another is this anecdote about Archie’s former attitudes toward interracial dating (as recently as the 90s).

Feb 122011
 

StaticContinuing from the previous post about “Black superheroes with electrical-based powers,” we come to Static.

Static (real name: Virgil Hawkins) was introduced in 1993 in “Static” #1, as part of the then-new Milestone Comics line, an imprint of DC Comics taking place in a world with a multicultural range of superheroes. Static’s origin: Virgil was inadvertently caught up in a large gang fight, one which the police tried to break up through the use of an experimental tear gas. However, it wound up giving many of those present a variety of super-powers; the event was subsequently dubbed by the citizens of the fictional city of Dakota as the “Big Bang.” In Virgil’s case, he wound up with various electromagnetic superpowers, which (being a comic book fan) he subsequently used to fight crime.

Static became the most popular character in the Milestone Comics line, and thus wound up having an animated series based on him, “Static Shock,” which debuted in 2000. “Static Shock” ran for four years (52 episodes). Several changes were made between the comics and the TV show, including who knew Virgil’s secret identity, his mother in the TV series being deceased, the eventual inclusion of the series into the “DC Animated Universe” (the same continuity as the 90s Batman and Superman cartoons), and his best friend Richie being an amalgam of several characters from the comics. In the comics, Richie (or one of the characters he’s based on) was revealed to be gay. Dwayne McDuffie, Static’s creator, stated (some time after the TV series had been canceled) that Richie from the series is gay as well. Of course, given the state of American children’s TV, they weren’t allowed to openly refer to Richie as such.

By the time the TV series had ended its run, the Milestone Comic line had long been canceled, but Static’s comic was eventually brought back in the 2000s in several short-lived series/miniseries. In a recent miniseries, DC folded/retconned the Milestone Comics universe into the main DC Universe, with nobody (save Superman and a few others, but not Static) unaware of how things originally were. Static’s subsequently been used in a few Teen Titans storylines, as well as (later this year) gaining his own ongoing series again. Of course, I think it’s a poor idea to fold the Milestone characters into the main DC Universe; DC’s making the same mistake they’ve made with Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, and leaving Icon, Hardware, and others in a similar “poor man’s Superman/Steel/etc.” position. It also takes away a bit from Virgil’s “comic book geek” characterization—in the Milestone run, he was a DC Comics fan (while comics about Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman do exist in the DC Universe, they’re just “true crime” comics about those heroes’ adventures). Still, at least (for now) Static’s not being left in limbo…