I loved Static Shock. The show was fun and heartfelt and relevant without being overt. It was the first cartoon to star an African American superhero and felt like it came out of nowhere. In reality, it was based off of a character created as part of DC’s Milestone Universe, which focused on Dakota City after a chemical explosion gave a bunch of people super powers. It was gritty and diverse and violent and didn’t last too long.
The Static TV show was very different without being too removed from the intent of the comics. A kid named Virgil gets roped in to a gang fight, but chemicals explode giving people in the area superpowers. Virgil becomes Static, with the power to control electricity and magnetism. Most of the other people use their powers to turn into villains for Static to take down. His best friend Richie helped him out and eventually became the superhero Gear. It showed diverse characters and treated them like real people instead of stereo types. It was accessible, but had a social conscious. It was bright and fun and he made jokes like Spiderman and flew around on a trashcan lid. What’s not to love? (Apparently the merchandise didn’t sell enough so the WB cancelled it after four seasons. Boo!)
One of the coolest episodes was when after helping Batman and Robin beat a time traveling villain, Virgil gets shunted forward in time. There he meets the future Batman from Batman Beyond. This crossover blew my mind. It was awesome to see him and Terry (future Batman) not get long. The older version of Static is often shown as an important member of the Justice League and was in an awesome episode of Justice League Unlimited.
In the comics, the character, along with many other Milestone characters, got folded into the main DCU after Final Crisis. He joined the Teen Titans and even had a short lived solo series. In 2015 there was a live action Static tv series in the works that had supposedly cast Jaden Smith. It’s a real shame that nothing ever came of it.
Static was created by Dwayne McDuffie, who was known for his work diversifying the superhero universes, which sorely needed it. Dwayne McDuffie went on to write on the Static Shock TV series and then helped write or produce more than two thirds of Justice League: Unlimited. He was also a big part of Static Shock. On top of all that he created one of the best concepts in comic books: Damage Control, the people who clean up after Galactus steps on your city. Sadly, Mr. McDuffie passed away in 2011. There is now the annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics given out in his honor.
Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Static Shock pattern here. Instructions and charts for both knit and crochet are listed in the pattern. When you’re finished making it, don’t forget to Instagram your squares at us @lattesandllamasyarn with the hashtag #geekalong!
If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and a tutorial on crochet here. Want to hang out with other people making the blanket? You can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here.
[Static regains consciousness in the Batcave as Alfred is picking splinters out of his arm]
Static: Ow What happened?… Ow Where am I?… Who are you?
Alfred Pennyworth: Batman.
Static: I don’t think so.
Alfred Pennyworth: Just once, I’d like to get someone to believe that.
* * * * *