TITLE: Static – vol. 1, Issue #1
YEAR: June 1993
COMPANY: Milestone Media/DC Comics
Writers: Dwayne McDuffie, Robert L. Washington III
Penciller: John Paul Leon
Inker: Steve Mitchell
Colorist: Noelle C. Giddings
Letterer: Steve Haynie
Back in 1993, the comics world would see a major milestone taking place in the industry, a comic book imprint founded by African-American artists and writers under a major comic book company, DC Comics. Created for the fact that minorities were underrepresented, Milestone Comics had the potential to be something huge.
While the comic books would be published by DC Comics, they were not under DC Comics Editorial Control but only that DC retained the right to not publish any material they objected to.
And that year, Milestone Media would release several titles which would include “Hardware”, “Icon”, “Blood Syndicate” and “Static”. The setting for many of these heroes/villains were in the fictional Midwestern city of Dakota.
While Milestone Media would last five years, a few of the characters would live on in today’s DC Universe. Especially the character “Static”, who currently is a member of the Teen Titans but a character that gained popularity after its comic book ended and would go on to have four seasons for the animated TV series “Static Shock” (2000-2004). A series that would bring McDuffie’s work to nationwide prominence through his work as a writer and producer on various animated series, including DC’s animated universe by the inclusion of black and female characters.
While Dwayne McDuffie is no longer with us, he is no doubt a pioneer for co-founding a minority-owned-and-operated comic book company with Milestone Media but also of his work on taking on minority issues and his inclusion of African-American superheroes and female heroes in his work after Milestone Media stopped publishing.
The first issue of Static, one can see how the character was inspired by Spider-Man.
Virgil Ovid Hawkins is an intelligent teenager but one granted with amazing power but yet not knowing what he is fully capable of. But also a teen that loves to have fun and joke around.
The issue begins with a girl named Frieda Goren going to meet a friend at Akkad’s, but greeting her are a gang of miscreants who try to take advantage of her until Static shows up and easily beats them.
But as quickly as he beats them, the quicker he needs to get home before his mother arrives. For Virgil, he is a good kid and his mother is strict because she wants him to focus on his education.
Later that night it is revealed that Frieda is a high school friend of Virgil and also a girl that he really likes and he wants to take his relationship/friendship with Frieda to the next level.
But as Virgil, Frieda and others are getting ready for class, the miscreants that Static defeated come to visit Frieda. When the teacher tries to stop them, she is hit and the gang shows them that they are armed and that they are going to kill anyone who tries to stop them from getting Frieda.
As Virgil is able to sneak out of his class to become Static, wanting to save Frieda, he is unaware that the gang has their own member with special abilities. And he may be a bit too overpowering for Static.
Overall, the first issue was entertaining. When the comic book came out, Milestone really went all out by releasing the first issues sealed in a polybag, with a backing board and collectable card and posters.
But what I was so proud about this issue is how it chooses to showcase Virgil. As mentioned, inspired by Spider-Man, Virgil is intelligent but yet also a teenager and he is bound to make mistakes. He comes from a family that cares for him, a mother that has him focus on his education and if anything, the writers crafted a character that wants to do something with his life and also showing the care that he has for his parents and his parents to him.
If I had a regret about this series was that I wish I was in the position to purchase every title back then. During the early ’90s, everything was being saved for college and what I could purchase, was only a few issues.
But I definitely have deep respect for what Dwayne McDuffie, Robert L. Washington III and crew were able to accomplish with “Static” back then and to see how that character has continued on today.