Was Static Nearly a Marvel Comics Character?

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, discover how the iconic Milestone superhero, Static, was nearly a Marvel Comics character!

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, discover how the iconic Milestone superhero, Static, was nearly a Marvel Comics character!

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and twenty-sixth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends.

NOTE: If my twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I’ll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? so go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!

COMIC LEGEND:

Dwayne McDuffie originally developed Static for Marvel Comics


STATUS:

True

One of great tragedies in comic book history is that we lost the brilliant Dwayne McDuffie over a DECADE ago, before he even turned 50 years old. Dwayne McDuffie was one of the all-time great comic book CREATORS, as we always think of new ideas but more importantly, how best to update those ideas. I was talking to someone recently about how the openings of every issue of the original four Milestone Media comics were just so PERFECT introductions to the characters and to that universe. Few people ever built up a new universe out of nowhere quite as well as Dwayne McDuffie did. Even Jack Kirby and Stan Lee had to wait a while for the Marvel Universe to come around!


One of the other great things about Dwayne McDuffie is that he CARED about all of this stuff, comic book history, trivia, all that junk. He was always someone I could drop a question to about something related to his work from him and he was glad to answer and that was true for himself, as well, he loved to share all of the parts of his comic book history from him, as well. His old website and his forums were just overflowing with fascinating insight into his career. It’s such a loss that he’s been gone for so long (he passed away in February 2011, which is partially why I am thinking about his loss from him so much right now).


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Dwayne McDuffie went to work at Marvel around 1988 and worked as an assistant editor. While still an editor, he began making the first in a long line of pitches for projects. Remember, this is Dwayne McDuffie we’re talking about here, the guy was never at a want for ideas. So he would regularly pitch Marvel story ideas and one notable one, Damage Control, was approved and became a series. He also famously came up with a fake pitch to criticize a problem he saw at Marvel regarding its depiction of Black characters (as I featured in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed….about thirteen years ago. Dang, I’m old) .


Eventually, McDuffie was getting enough writing work that he left his staff gig and went freelance. He continued to do pitches and some of his rejected pitches from him made their way into Milestone in one way or another, but one of the most notable examples was his original pitch for Static, which was when he was still at Marvel!

RELATED: An Obscure DC Comic Character Was Sued for Libel

The DC animation fansite, World’s Finest, did an interview with McDuffie where he talked about Static Shock and their first question got right the core of this topic:

To start off, give the basic idea of ​​how you came to create Static for the comic medium, and how you worked to translate that over to animation?

Static was a group effort. The guys who started Milestone Comics were sitting around trying to create the launch characters for a new comic book universe. Everyone agreed that we should have a teen aged hero and I’d previously tried to develop something along those lines, strongly influenced by Spider-Man, in the late-eighties when I was over at Marvel. I’d always been partial to Spider-Man as a child, particularly the teen version, and was disappointed with the adult, married to a fashion model Spider-Man who was running around in the comics at the time. He was cool but he wasn’t my Spidey. I wanted to do a contemporary teen hero to fill that then-empty niche. I worked on it on and off for a while, developing Static as a Marvel Universe character but for various reasons, it didn’t work out. I sort of dusted him off for Milestone and threw him into the pot. We all worked together to re-create the character as he would eventually appear in the comics.


Now, as McDuffie rightly noted, what eventually became the character now known as Virgil Hawkins, Static, was developed between a number of different creators at Milestone, so that is why I wonder whether it is even fair to say that Static “originally” was meant for Marvel when there was still so much to be developed to make him truly the Static that we all know and love to this day, but at the same time, I don’t think it is unreasonable to just take McDuffie at his own recollection here. He says that there was enough there for his original Static to basically be the official Static, just with enough other input from others when it came to it becoming the official version of the character, so I’m fine with just going with his take on things.


Man, can you imagine what would have happened if Static had been a Marvel character? Maybe he would have become a member of the New Warriors, as well!

SOME OTHER ENTERTAINMENT LEGENDS!

Check out some Valentine’s Day-themed (well, they’re about romance, at least) entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:

1. Was There Nearly a Love Triangle Between Spider-Man, Mary Jane and DOCTOR OCTOPUS in Spider-Man 2?

2. What is “That” in the Meatloaf Song “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”?

3. Was Supergirl Originally Going to Be Superman’s Love Interest in Superman III?

4. Was There a Lesbian Romance Cut From Love Actually?

PART TWO SOON!

Check back soon for part 2 of this installment’s legends!

Feel free to send suggestions for future comic legends to me at either cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com

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