BBH: The dreadlocked upstart…
A little backstory: In the early 2000s, kids were blessed with a new type of hero from an obscure (at the time) comic book company. No one knew who he was or where Milestone Media (comics) came from but we were appreciative. Milestone created the Dakotaverse in 1993 which was published under DC Comics. Even though they were published by DC Comics, Milestone Media retained the copyright of their properties and had the final say on all merchandising and licensing deals pertaining to them. In essence, DC licensed the characters, editorial services, and creative content of the Milestone books for an annual fee and a share of the profits (Source). This was a good and bad thing for Milestone. The good was that it was being published by one of the biggest comic book publishers. The bad was that it came at a time where new “universes” were being published in huge numbers at that time. And add that Milestone was an all black comic book company so the pickings were very slim. Due to this downfall, Milestone shut down it’s comic division and primarily became a licensing company but still focused on the Emmy awarded animated show……STATIC SHOCK.
Now I know most of us have seen this show. It came on after Yu-gi-oh and Pokemon. It was fresh, new and what was needed at the time. Besides John Stewart (the Green Lantern), there wasn’t a black animated hero on TV. He made Batman laugh…BATMAN. He was kind of based on the Spiderman prototype, only his parents didn’t have a horrible accident. What made the show connect to black youths was the portrayal of the many aspects of the black community. Gangsters, balancing school and community standards, and having a best friend that wasn’t black. He was a character of the people, for the people. He filled a void we didn’t know we were missing. Static Shock was the character that put Milestone on the map…but didn’t keep them from closing. Nevertheless, Static was hit and it didn’t stop at his own show. When DC rewrote the universe (again…), Static and the rest of the Dakotaverse was included. He was a member of the Teen Titans as well. He made a guest appearance on “Young Justice”.
So lets appreciate the greatness that is Static Shock. He is a hero that needs more shine. And before you ask, he is not the son of Black Lightning (hope you watched tonight’s episode), though Black Lightning was sort of a mentor to him. Be on the look out for more Static this year since there is supposed to be a revisit to Milestone comics (more info on that here). Until next time, Nerd Out!