Thursday, September 01, 2011

From the Archives 13

Continuing with the lead up to the release of STATIC SHOCK #1 on September 7th, I thought it was time to bring out a look at the cover to Kobalt #7 from December, 1994. Published by Milestone Media, this issue features the first time I wrote the character of Static. This was a done in one story in which Kobalt's bumbling sidekick, Page, sort of teams up with the much more competent, Static to deal with the aggressive, Blowfly. The story was very light, and comedic in tone and played off some of the cliches of the teenage superhero as well as some of the drawbacks of being a hormonally activated teenage boy wearing a skin tight costume. Blowfly wasn't really a villain per se, but a student who had been transformed into a disgusting human fly and was more of a danger because of his condition and less of a threat through ill will.

The art was by Jamal Igle, who has grown tremendously as an artist and become one of today's superstar comic book illustrators.

I'd always wanted to revisit the character of Static, and this story was supposed to generate a sequel about a villain who was disappointed that the future that was promised him was never delivered as we approached the year 2000 and didn't have flying cars, moon bases, or underwater cities. When the kids at Static's and Page's high school decide to put on a production of Hair, the villain snaps and decides to punish the play. With the cancellation of Kobalt and the winding down of Milestone, the story never came to pass.

Again, this was to be comical in nature. The story could never happen now. Not only was it really tuned towards the upcoming millennial change and the traditional notion of the year 2000 always having previously seemed so futuristic, but now with aggressive litigation and rights issues, we'd never be able to use a real, known musical, such as Hair as a central plot element.


Anonymous said...

I have a question about a character in the upcoming Static Shock book.

Dr. Light (Kimiyo Hoshi) is currently being portrayed in the role as the current head of STAR Labs. Given STAR Labs will be factoring into Static's book, I was wondering if Kimiyio Hoshi could be making appearances.

There's plenty she could contribute to 'Static Shock' and it would be cool to see more of Dr. Light in a leadership position. The character works great as a leader and she’s excellent for a leadership role.

Like David Kim, she’s one of the few Asians in comics who’s not a sterotype. Also like David, she’s one of the few Asian comic book characters without martial arts abilities. She’s not a ninja or a kung-fu expert. In fact, she’s much more likely to engage in ordinary brawling or fisticuffs. And given that, she has a pretty powerful powerset. She has many different abilities relating to light, of which just some of which is that she can transform her body into light and move at light-speed, as well as manipulate light. Her powers work in any environment.

Kimiyo is very intelligent. She’s extremely competent and she’s one of the DCU’s top scientists and inventors. Not only is she a top scientist, but she’s also a very capable superhero. She could fill the role as a top-level scientist as well as the STAR Labs branch leader. She can also travel with Virgil and assist him on missions and ‘hero’ outings.

Kimiyo’s also far from helpless. She’s portrayed as a fighter rather than a victim. She’s very strong willed as opposed to wimpy and she’s not a push-over. She’s not easy to take down or depower. She also tends to get things does as opposed to whining. Also, no one can insult her and get away scott-free. She doesn't take condescension or BS. She has a sharp tongue and can easily dish it out.

The thing is, she tends to be sort of ‘bitchy.’ Though, her bitchiness is part of the reason people like the character. She’s not exactly a ‘people-person’ (a lot of times, for good reason). She’s not always easy to get along with. As a result, some characters in-story tend not to be fans of her. Even though she has a quick temper, she still has a sense of humor and she's portayed as a caring individual.

She also has links to the Justice League, which can be useful. She’s a prominent and long-time Justice League member and she’s been a Justice League member multiple times, including McDuffie's JLA run. In fact, she even led the JLE. On top of that, she was the Justice League’s first ever East Asian member.

There’s a lot that she could contribute to Static’s book. Just like Virgil, she also has electromagnetic powers (light). Since they share the same interests (science and technology), she could train Virgil in both science and the use of his powers. She could play a vital role in the development of Static’s powers and in Virgil’s continuing development as a character. And it will better tie Virgil and his book in with the DCU. She'd also be an EXCELLENT character to play off of Hardware (she's also met up with and been assisted by Hardware before). The banter would be off-the-charts.

There’s also a unique dynamic in that her name is taken from a male supervillain (though in-story, the name was taken from her father, who was a colleague of the villain Doctor Light, with the latter being her father's protégé [and also whom the villain Dr. Light killed]). It would be interesting to delve more into that. That sort of dynamic could be really fun to play around with and explore.

We don’t see many Japanese female characters in comics. Going further, there aren’t many female characters in comics in positions of authority, much less Asian female characters in authority positions. I feel she can be a great role model for female readers. She also has kids, making her one of the very few superhero parents in comics with non-adult children.

Anonymous said...

From what I’ve seen concerning the relaunch, the character isn’t seeing use at the moment. She’s a very respectable character. She’s a familiar character with many and it would be great to see her appear more. The character has plenty of fans. Again, the character works great as an authority figure and she's fun to read. It would be nice to see her retain her role as head of STAR Labs post-relaunch and be a part of Static's book.

Also I was wondering if you read many other comics. Do you have your own personal pull-list? I was wondering if you were going to read any of the other 51 books in the relaunch. I think these are going to be some excellent titles you might want on your pull-list:

Batman (by Scott Snyder)
Swamp Thing
Justice League Dark
Red Lanterns
Animal Man
Demon Knights
Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE
I, Vampire

Of the 52 titles, I think those, along with Static Shock, might be good reads.

John Rozum said...

Dr. Light is a good character, but won't be in Static Shock, at least for a bit. S.T.A.R. has a number of labs all over the place, and she'd most likely be based somewhere like Metropolis or Washington D.C..

Right now the goal is to build up Static's roster of supporting characters with characters we know won't get pulled from us because it's been decided that DC wants them on one of their core titles or something. Once the DCnU finds its balance, it will be easier to determine if someone like Dr. Light can be acquired for our long range use.

As for the other books, DC sends me everything once a month (though a month or so behind when they hit stores) so I'll be reading everything. I don't remember who all of the creative teams are off the top of my head, but I'm more excited about certain writers than others such as Jeff Lemire, Scott Snyder, Paul Cornell and a few others. There's artists I like as well, but great art with a crappy story is still at least pretty to look at.

I don't have a comic book store within an hour drive of me so don't have a monthly pull list. Most of the comics I read tend to be older stuff that's been collected, or Hellboy, so I haven't bothered with a subscription service anyway.