Static Shock

The First African American Superhero-Centered Television Series


Static Shock is an American superhero animated television series based on the Milestone Media/DC Comics superhero Static. It premiered on September 23, 2000, on the WB Television Network's Kids' WB programming block. Static Shock ran for four seasons, with 52 half-hour episodes in total. The show revolves around Virgil Hawkins, an 14-year old boy who uses the secret identity of "Static" after exposure to a mutagen gas during a gang fight which gave him electromagnetic powers. It was the first time that an African-American superhero was the titular character of their own broadcast animation series.

Static Shock was produced by Warner Bros. Animation from a crew composed mostly of people from the company's past shows, but also with the involvement of two of the comic's creators, Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan. Static Shock had some alterations from the original comic book because it was oriented to a preteen audience. Although originally not intended to be a part of it, it soon became the fifth series of the DC Animated Universe beginning with its second season.

The show approached several social issues, which was positively received by most television critics. Static Shock was nominated for numerous awards, including the Daytime Emmy. Some criticism was directed towards its jokes which were said to be stale and too similar to the SpiderMan style and animation, which was said to be unnatural and outdated. The series also produced some related merchandise, which sold poorly; McDuffie cited the low sales as one of the main factors behind the series' cancellation. In spite of this, its popularity revived interest in the original Milestone comic and introduced McDuffie to the animation industry.

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