19 years ago - Virgil Ovid Hawkins is born.
4 years ago - 15-year-old Virgil is subjected to a contaminated gene bomb, gaining his electrical powers taking the superhero identity Static. Soon, he joins Young Justice.
3 years ago - 16-year-old Virgil is invited to join Vic Stone's new Teen Titans along with the other members of Young Justice.
2 years ago - 17-year-old Virgil first meets Jefferson Pierce, and is actually able to help update his predecessor's costume technology.
1 year ago - 18-year-old Virgil goes to the Homeworld of the Titans of Myth with all the surviving Titans to save Donna Troy. He starts college, studying quantum mathematics.
Static is such a great character. A whole generation grew up watching him in his own animated series, and it's often wondered why this absolute fan favorite has never had a much larger role to play in DC's mythology. The answer, weirdly, is because of licencing. DC's ability to use Milestone characters like Static was a bit of a roundabout journey. This is actually very much in the character's favor; Since DC doesn't fully own the character, his parent company actually works to regulate how he's used. While this means that Static has been able to retain the fantastic ideas and personality that make him such a beloved character, he also hasn't been able to appear in DC's history and mythology as much as he deserves. We however can use him as much as we want, which turns out is quite a lot.
Static's Comic History
Static is a flagship character of Milestone Comics, a comic imprint published through DC that retained copyrights, licencing and merchandise rights to all their characters. Milestone's 'Dakotaverse' was noteworthy for featuring African American characters, stories, and creators. He was created by comic legend Dwayne Mcduffie in 1993's Static Shock #1. The comics industry was in an upheaval at the time thanks to the emergence of Image Comics the year before, making the entire industry a minefield of new companies and chrome covers. Comic fans weren't necessarily looking for quality over flash at the time, but Milestone has stood the test of time. Going back to read those original books the level of craftsmanship and talent are striking, to say nothing of just how subversive some of these creators were willing to be.
Static was just a fantastic book. Virgil was a likeable, nerdy kid, immediately drawing comparisons to Spider-Man in a way that only utterly brilliant comic book characters ever do. Static's powers were simple but they were applied on a far broader and more imaginative scale, and the stories he was able to be a part of had incredibly wide scope, both fantastical and realistic. Reading Static was like reading a book about your best friend.
Milestone comics as a whole was forced to decline in much the same way as the the rest of the comic industry when the 90's collectors boom proved to be unsustainable. Most of the comics were discontinued, but Milestone Media still owned the licence for it's characters, and was able to create Static Shock, an ongoing animated series on Fox Kids that was a beloved smash hit. This take on the character was quickly embraced by fans. The series would use Milestone's ties to the DC universe to its advantage, occasionally featuring cameos from the ongoing DC animated universe. These would go on to play out in the comics, as classic Milestone characters started to appear in regular DC Continuity in a series of tie-ins.
Eventually, Static would make his mainstream DC debut when he became a member of the Teen Titans in 2008. The book was in decline during this period, and while it featured several beloved characters it never really took full advantage of them. Virgil would go on to have his own series in the New 52, but it was one of the least successful books of the imprint and was canceled after eight issues. The character saw more success as part of the large ensemble cast of the Young Justice animated series. He still remains a fan-favorite character even without a strong presence in regular comic continuity thanks to his beloved animated series, and the strength of his original Milestone books.
Our Static Story
While we're not adapting the entire Dakotaverse, we're definitely going to use a lot of the relevant material from the original Static Shock animated series, making small adjustments to make it fit our timeline. This will become more apparent as we add more of Virgil's supporting cast. He's experienced a lot of quality worldbuilding, and we want to use it.
Meanwhile, we absolutely want Virgil to be a part of our Teen Titans, but rather than bring him into the group later on, it just feels much more natural for him to have been a part of the current core team from the very beginning. Static actually did make a small appearance back in the original Young Justice series, making it a very small leap to have him join the team then. From there... well, why WOULDN'T he become founding member of the new generation of Titans? This feels like such a natural place for him to be; Static joined a whole series of Dakotaverse teams in his original run, and it absolutely makes sense for him to be right alongside Tim, Cassie, Connor & Bart from the very beginning. Even his personality seems like such a natural fit with that group of characters; He's an unashamed geek who loves comics and video games but is also unquestioningly cool. People like that absolutely exist, and it just makes so much sense to imagining him DMing the occasional D&D session in Titans Tower. When you add how naturally his powers make him fit into this group, it just makes adding him into their history so satisfying.
Static's original costume was a simple skin-tight suit with a ballcap. it was a bold design that was in keeping with the Milestone aesthetic, but it changed pretty quickly to incorporate a billowing poncho-thing. Most of the real design evolution of his costume happened on the animated series. This is where he lost the cap in favor of short dreadlocks and goggles, and the poncho was also changed into a flowing jacket with a hood. These elements were adapted into his comic appearance and have essentially defined his aesthetic ever since.
There have been a few minor alterations to his looks otherwise. Nothing drastic; small color changes, changes to the shape of his pants, that sort of thing. His DC appearances have all seen him slowly shift back toward a more traditional one-piece superhero jumpsuit. I doubt Virgil's costume would ever get too far from the belted pants & sneakers design, but it does make sense that he would continually adapt the technology of his costume and his flying disk in particular. His best friend is a tech genius after all, and Virgil himself is one of the most brilliant minds of his generation.
Virgil has some wildly diverse stand-alone adventures; both in his own comic and in his fan-favorite, critically acclaimed animated series. DC has never really managed to adapt this character successfully into their own continuity in a way that felt like it was doing him justice, but it's so satisfying to imagine him having been there all along; going to Fandom's Lair with Rick, Frieda & Daisy, attending Ernest Hemmingway High School, fighting Hotstreak and the other Bang Babies... all while also befriending Tim, Cassie, Connor & Bart in their heroic identities, heading out to West Coast to the Titans Tower, fighting Deathstroke & Brother Blood. Virgil was prevented from really fulfilling his potential among his contemporaries more by licencing issues than anything else, and we get to gleefully ignore them.
Virgil, along with the rest of the Titans, will soon battle Prometheus, and choose to retake the name Young Justice, leaving a new group to assume the Titans name. We chose to have him begin college, as Virgil has always been a character that had his mind firmly planted in reality. His electrical abilities give him a unique perspective on the nature of quantum mathematics, and he would certainly feel like he is just as able to help people in that field as he would by putting on a costume. Still, he's a character that's always going to feel drawn to help people, and we love being able to give him the platform he deserves.