Alias: Virgil Hawkins
Joined: Teen Titans [third series] #69 
Static Quick Bio: Continually threatened by bullies and ignored by girls, Virgil Hawkins led a dismal and depressing life. But when a mutagenic gas accidentally gave the African American adolescent superhuman abilities, Virgil was reborn as Static, the electrically powered teen super-hero.
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The Big Bang Theory
Fifteen year old Virgil Hawkins was tired of being pushed around. A soft-spoken teenager in Dakota City, Virgil found himself the victim of bullies and gang members. Handed a gun by one of his gangbanger friends, Virgil was encouraged to even the score at the “Big Bang” in the section known as Paris Island. The Big Bang was a planned convergence of over five hundred of Dakota’s gang members, all armed and determined to protect their turf once and for all.
Unknown to the gangbangers, the Mayor and the police were well aware of the Big Bang, and had a plan of their own. In addition to arresting as many people as possible, the Mayor ordered the police to release a special mutagenic gas containing a harmless radioactive marker, which would allow them to track any gang members who got away.
Virgil recalls his origin in STATIC #2 .
But the plan went horribly wrong. The unstable gas killed over ninety percent of the people exposed to it, while the survivors were either hideously mutated or given superhuman powers. Those survivors were nicknamed “Bang Babies” by the citizens of Dakota.
Virgil Hawkins planned on going to the Big Bang, but then decided gang warfare was not something he wanted any part of. But Virgil was close enough to Paris Island to be exposed to the released mutagenic gas, which granted Virgil a variety of electromagnetic powers. Inspired by the superhero comics he had grown up reading, Virgil decided to become Dakota’s protector as the superhero known as Static.
Static debuts in STATIC #1 .
Virgil found new challenges in juggling his super-heroic career with his life as a high school student. Unable to use his powers in public, Virgil still was forced to contend with bullies and thugs. And his responsibilities as a hero made it hard to hold down even the most menial of jobs. One bright spot was Virgil’s best friend, Frieda Goren, with whom he shared his secret life as Static.
In a short time, Static started to amass quite a few enemies, such as Hotstreak, Commando X, and Holocaust. But Static also found himself trying to battle social injustices as well as super-villains. On one occasion, Static protected his friend Rick Stone from a group of super-powered bigots at a gay rights rally. This also forced Virgil to accept Rick’s homosexuality and come to terms with his own prejudices.
Static’s adventures also led him to cross paths with a tough female vigilante known as Dusk. Although their methodologies differed, Static and Dusk began to team up in more ways than one: the two teen heroes began to date. Static later discovered that Frieda’s boyfriend Larry was secretly a drug dealer. Static let Larry go, which caused a slight rift between Dusk and Static. This decision would later haunt him, as Dusk was shot while trying to protect Larry from a drug runner’s bullet. Larry died and Dusk would have died as well if Static hadn’t been there to save her. After these events, Dusk left Dakota City.
ABOVE: Static helps dismantle Clock King’s fight club in TERROR TITANS (mini-series) #6 .
BELOW: Aquagirl and Static join the team in TEEN TITANS #69 .
Shock To The Titans
Static was later abducted by the Clock King to battle in his secret underground fight club. Static freed himself to aid Ravager and the other captured teens to overthrow Clock King and his Terror Titans, effectively dismantling the Dark Side Club. In the wake of this confrontation, Static joined the Teen Titans.
Static later returned to Dakota City to reconnect with his family and friends and let them know he was alive. There, he discovered a flu virus engineered by his sadistic foe, Holocaust. The villain planned to get rich off a vaccine and use the money to expand his criminal empire. His plan met a swift end when the Titans arrived to aid Static.
After an inter-dimensional mission to rescue Raven, Static found his powers inexplicably vanished. This forced Virgil to leave the team and seek help from Cadmus Labs. There, Virgil restored his meta-human abilities and resumed his super-heroic career.
ABOVE: Static returns to Dakota in TEEN TITANS (third series) #82 .
BELOW: Static leaves the team in TEEN TITANS (third series) #87 .
Powers & Abilities
Virgil Hawkins is a quick-witted thinker with electromagnetic capabilities resulting from the exposure to a mutagenic gas. Charged with super powers, he can fire bolts from his fists and propel objects in the air.
Static #1-2 : Continually threatened by bullies and ignored by girls, Virgil Hawkins led a dismal and depressing life. But when a mutagenic gas accidentally gave the African American adolescent superhuman abilities, Virgil was reborn as Static, the electrically powered teen super-hero. First appearance of Static.
Static Shock: Rebirth Of The Cool (mini-series) #1-4 : When 15-year-old comic-book fan Virgil Hawkins was accidentally gifted with incredible electromagnetic powers, he knew he had to become a super-hero. And as the high-flying Static, he did it better than anybody, protecting the city of Dakota with wit and style. But six months ago, something changed and Virgil hung up his Static costume, swearing never to don it again, but that’s a promise he may not be able to keep. Someone is hunting the most powerful beings in the world. The Blood Syndicate has been defeated, Hardware is crippled, Icon a hundred light-years away. Like it or not, Static may be the only hero standing between the Milestone Universe and total destruction.
Terror Titans (mini-series) #3-6: Static appears in Clock King’s underground fight club and battles Ravager. Static’s appearance in issue #3 is his first appearance in the DC Universse since the end of the Milestone universe.
Teen Titans (third series) #69 and Teen Titans Annual 2009 : The remaining Titans – Wonder Girl, Kid Devil and Blue Beetle – hold a membership drive, but are secretly attacked by Jericho, who turns Titans Tower against them! Miss Martian rejoins the team. Static, Bombshell, Aquagirl II and Kid Eternity officially join the Teen Titans.
Teen Titans (third series) #79-82 : Now that he’s had time to acclimate to normal life since the TERROR TITANS miniseries, Static makes the choice to go home and tell his family that he’s alive. And he’s bringing his Teen Titans teammates with him. Let’s hope they can survive the rough streets of Dakota – and Holocast!
Teen Titans (third series) #87 : A de-powered Static leaves the Titans.
Static Shock #1 : It’s been nearly a decade since Virgil Ovid Hawkins, a.k.a. Static Shock, rocked the pages of his own comic book. Now he’s back as DC Comics launches this new ongoing series! Bang Babies are suddenly popping up all over the country: Hotstreak, Commando X, Virus, the Swarm and more are taking over where the Mafia no longer reigns. Can Static contain the rising mayhem? Not while he’s holed up at Cadmus Labs, undergoing vital testing! For the first time, Virgil must ask: Why did he lose his powers? What caused The Big Bang in the first place? Why are new Bang Babies turning up outside of Dakota? Why has Dr. Rochelle Barnes arrived in Dakota? Stay tuned – because Static is back!
A 2009 commission by Andy MacDonald.
Dwayne McDuffie on Static
Catching Lightning In A Bottle: The Story Behind Static
Static co-creator Dwayne McDuffie talked about the genesis of Static in an interview with Jim Harvey at www.worldsfinestonline.com: “Static was a group effort. The guys who started Milestone Comics were sitting around trying to create the launch characters for a new comic book universe. Everyone agreed that we should have a teen aged hero and I’d previously tried to develop something along those lines, strongly influenced by Spider-Man, in the late-eighties when I was over at Marvel. I’d always been partial to Spider-Man as a child, particularly the teen version, and was disappointed with the adult, married to a fashion model Spider-Man who was running around in the comics at the time. He was cool but he wasn’t my Spidey. ”
“I wanted to do a contemporary teen hero to fill that then-empty niche. I worked on it on and off for a while, developing Static as a Marvel Universe character but for various reasons, it didn’t work out. I sort of dusted him off for Milestone and threw him into the pot. We all worked together to re-create the character as he would eventually appear in the comics.”
McDuffie co-wrote Static #1-4 before turning it over to his collaborator Robert L. Washington III and penciller John Paul Leon. The series lasted 45 issues before it was canceled. The introduction below was written by Dwayne McDuffie in 2000 for the STATIC SHOCK: TRIAL BY FIRE trade paperback (which collected the first 3 issues of the series).
STATIC #1 Cover Art
If you’re a STATIC fan from back in the day, it’s good to see you again. I know we’ve got a lot of catching up to do but first I want to welcome our new readers, who probably only know about Static from the TV show. I’m going to take a moment and bring them up to speed. I know, I know but we’ve waited over three years for this moment, what’s another few hundred words? Just bear with me, won’t you?
I have a good friend who is fond of repeating the aphorism, “moral victories don’t count.” I couldn’t disagree more, not only do they count but in the long run, they’re the only kind that matter. Case in point: Milestone Comics. In 1992, I joined forces with three extraordinary men, together we set out to change the face of the comic book industry. This proved to be somewhat more difficult than we had anticipated.
Although Milestone’s sales were always respectable, we never set the world on fire. Our books lacked the speculator heat and collectable foil covers that drove the market in those days. Moreover a small but vocal group of people, including some readers, retailers and fellow professionals, found our very existence suspect. All sorts of bizarre, even sinister, motives were attributed to us. We battled against those impressions when we had the time but mostly we kept our eye on the ball. We figured our product would speak for itself, if we got it out there. So we did, every month for five years. Good comics, exactly the way we wanted to do them. Moral victory, folks.
Milestone’s story is an adventure worthy of any of our heroes. Against enormous odds we set out to accomplish something both unprecedented and important. The results were 250 comics that respected our readers’ intelligence, from a company dedicated to the idea that if you want fresh water, you have to draw from new wells. STATIC is character-driven, exciting, inventive and above all fun, as good an example of our values as one could choose. It’s a particularly fitting standard-bearer for what we hope will be Milestone’s 21st century renaissance. With the rebirth of STATIC as STATIC SHOCK!, the adventure continues.
STATIC SHOCK!: TRIAL BY FIRE is the long-overdue collection of the first four issues of the late, lamented STATIC monthly comic, created by Milestone and distributed by our long-time partners at DC Comics. In my years as Milestone’s Editor-In-Chief, I’ve made my share of mistakes, ask anybody. But on occasion, I’ve also shown flashes of inexplicable brilliance. STATIC was the occasion for a number of such flashes. I had already written the series bible (which included beautiful character designs by co-creator Denys Cowan) as well as Static’s origin story arc for the first four issues when I belatedly realized that there was no way I could write four books a month (I was already writing HARDWARE and ICON and co-writing BLOOD SYNDICATE) while simultaneously learning how to run a comic book company. I needed help. That’s when I had my first really good idea.
Cover Art from STATIC: TRIAL BY FIRE
I’ve known Robert L. Washington III since he was about eight years old. Even as a child he was one of the most brilliantly creative people I’d ever met. I’d caught up with Bob again after he grew up and moved to New York. Only a couple years earlier, I’d introduced him around at Marvel Comics. He’d had a couple of nibbles but hadn’t yet landed a major assignment. All the better for me.
Bob took my outline and ran with it, adding his own totally unique spin to STATIC. In addition to frequently topping my one-liners with better ones, he reworked our villain Hotstreak (you probably know him as F-Stop), adding the very cool gimmick that Static deduces in issue #2. He created Tarmack out of whole cloth. He replaced Static’s brother with two sisters (the second sister seems to have gone the way of Richie Cunningham’s big brother on HAPPY DAYS). He gifted Virgil with his own encyclopedic knowledge of comics, sci-fi, gaming and other fan-boy ephemera. And when I told him that I wanted this series to be as much about Virgil and his friends as about Static and his adventures, Bob made me watch about 18 hours of DEGRASSI JR. HIGH. Much cribbing ensued.
After co-scripting the story you’re about to read, I left STATIC in Bob’s obscenely talented hands. If this collection does well, perhaps future volumes will collect Bob’s solo work on this title. I know I’m not alone in my desire to see it all in print.
My second really good idea was listening to my old Milestone partner Michael Davis, who brought to my attention an incredible young artist named John Paul Leon. These days, John is best known as the artist of Alex Ross’ EARTH-X. Back then, all he had was a portfolio full of Xeroxed samples. Really good Xeroxed samples.
I’m told that John doesn’t like to look at his early work anymore. While I’ll stipulate that his talent has grown tremendously since 1993, I don’t care what he says, I adore this stuff. As you will plainly see, when John drew the first four issues of STATIC, he was already a genius. He’s an expert storyteller who creates living, breathing characters. He can draw action and he can draw human drama. He can make a bad scene work and a good scene sing. Best of all, while some of his influences might be apparent, even at this early stage of his career John’s stuff doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
Before I slip a disc from patting myself on the back for all my good ideas, I should direct your attention to the rest of the STATIC team. Veteran inker Steve Mitchell helped our talented newcomer past some of the rough spots and just generally made great pages look even better. Color Editor Noelle C. Giddings hand-painted these comics, routinely achieving the kind of look usually found in top of the line graphic novels. Letterer Steve Hayne somehow found room for way too much dialog and still managed to keep it off of the art. Shawn Martinbrough pitched in with an ink job that foreshadowed his own remarkable talents. STATIC is a three time winner of Parents’ Choice Honors and also racked up 5 on-line fan awards, including two for “best new character.” Hardly surprising results from a team this good.
A final note to our new readers, if you only know Static from the show, you’ll quickly notice some differences between what you’re about to read and the Static you’re acquainted with. Don’t study on it, the differences are superficial. In every important way, this is the Static you’ve come to know and love, only more so. Consider this a hit of uncut funk.
If, after reading TRIAL BY FIRE, you find yourself craving more STATIC SHOCK! (which, of course, you will) you can watch his animated adventures every Saturday on the Kids WB! And if that’s still not enough, I’ve re-teamed with John Paul Leon for the all-new STATIC SHOCK!: REBIRTH OF THE COOL mini-series, on sale very soon. Get it wherever you bought this book.
With the continued support of fans like you, our moral victory can eventually be counted as a victory of the other kind. will our succès d’estime be reborn as a big fat commercial hit? We hope so. And you know what that would mean, right?
More new adventures.
It’s all in your hands again, folks. Enjoy.
June 8, 2000
Dwayne McDuffie is the co-creator of STATIC, the Milestone Universe and Marvel Comics’ DAMAGE CONTROL. He has written several episodes of the STATIC SHOCK! animated series and continues to serve as Milestone’s Editor-In-Chief.
A 2009 Static commission by Rod Reis.
Sources for this entry: titanstower.com
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Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author