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-seventh 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!


Dwayne McDuffie originally developed Static for Marvel Comics


False Enough for a False

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 are always thinking of new ideas but more importantly, how best to actualize 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 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, 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 partly why I’m thinking about his loss 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 made their way into Milestone in one way or another, including, to a certain extent, an idea he had for a new teen hero!

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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 was not 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 did not 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.

The issue here, though, is that McDuffie clearly notes that Static was a group effort (Static is listed as being created by the original Milestone partners – McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle), with Davis’ family background being central to Static’s history and former Milestone co-founder Christopher Priest coming up with the name, so while I initially thought there was enough there to say that McDuffie’s original concept was a throughline, in retrospect, I do not think that there really is enough to necessarily go as far as to say that Static “began” as a Marvel character.

It’s truer to say that McDuffie had the idea for a teen hero at Marvel and then he wanted to continue that concept at Milestone, so in that sense, there was a real connection, but McDuffie even points out that Static was a group effort, so that really does take it away from being something where you can say that it “started at Marvel” without whatever McDuffie’s teen hero idea was, so I think this one is more false than it is true.


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?


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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