Television Influencing Comics: Static Shock

Posted on September 1, 2011 by

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Television Influencing Comics: Static Shock

A lot of times these days people complain about Television using so many comics for their shows or that too many movies have ripped off comics, but in the end TV shows around comics have influenced quite a few things in comics. This can be a character that was carried over, a story arc used, or in this case a comic saved from obscurity and brought back to life.

 

Static, if you did not know, was a comic in the Milestone line of DC. A basic second universe with some heroes specifically designed for it. The line did run for a few years, but could never truly hold ground and was cancelled in 1997. The characters were for the most forgotten and Static which was a launch title went out in obscurity with them. That is until 2000 when Static came back with some high voltage as a kid’s cartoon show known as Static Shock and the character was given a second shot.

Several things about the comic were changed for the television series including the designs of several characters, the introduction of Virgil’s middle name, and a re-design of Rick (known in the cartoon as Richie). Most of these were not major, but definitely a lighter tone than the comics. In the comics Richie is gay, and pretty open about it, but for kids TV this was not a subject they were willing to introduce. Later in the show Richie even becomes a hero himself named Gear, but this never existed in the comics (at least not yet). Past the overhaul of Richie and a small change to how the “Big Bang” went down the show did not really differ from the comic.

The show caught some success and ran for 4 seasons and put the name of Static back into the world, got the name into the main stream, and even began combining the Static line with the normal DC Universe; a beginning to something big in the DC Universe. There is even a crossover with another new DC line where Terry from Batman Beyond had his own run in with Static in the future. From one hit show to another it was only a matter of time until the comics had to relent and give Static his day.

With the success of the cartoon DC began to pull Static out of the dusty basement and got him a bit more into the foreground for all to see. For awhile he was supposed to join the Teen Titans and be a staple character in the series, but some “red tape” kept the character locked away while they discussed the ransom demands of his kidnappers. Apparently getting a show out with some success put enough fire under the company to officially seek resolution in the midst of the chaos that was Final Crisis as Static officially made his DC universe comic book come back.

The “Dakotaverse” (as their universe was called) got combined with the official DC Universe and all of Dakota got brought along with it (bet you didn’t realize an entire state was missing from the DC world!). Few changes were seen in the comics as it stayed within its own universe. It did give a few nods to the outfit from the cartoon, Rick started going by Richie, and for the most part all else remained the same comic that was initially a cult hit.

The series was thought finished when they released a special one-off showing Virgil attending his High School’s 10 Year Reunion. In this Virgil has given up being Static, Rick is called Richie and is still gay (something changed in the cartoon), Virgil’s father has passed on, his sister is married and pregnant and Hot Streak shows up to wreak some havoc. Virgil stops him once more and the time line jumps again showing Virgil married to his HS sweetheart, has 2 kids who have inherited his ability, and seems happy to have given up being a super powered hero, to being a normal hero as a doctor.

As sweet and seemingly peaceful an ending as this is so much was left untold and with the universes combined we now get to see Virgil back in action and what got him to this point. So when you stop to complain that too much media is ripping off comics don’t forget what this blitz of media has done. It may seem like too much, but it has saved comics in more ways than most people realize.

 

Now whether that is a good…

 or bad thing is up to you.

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