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STATIC SHOCK #8 Trailer--The Final Issue




I'm sorry that Static Shock isn't going to continue within the New 52.  While diversity has been one of the themes of DC Comics relaunch event, it hasn't been successful on all fronts.  Should we dismissed the overall focus on expanding the narrative universe?  I don't think that would be fair.

While Scott McDaniel has spoken of classic problems associated with Static Shock's overall placement within the New 52, there is no question the editorial mandate at DC has been to broaden representation. Even with criticism associated with sexism and lack of female creators, in a medium heavily dependent on the visual, there are more characters of color and greater emphasis on diverse sexual orientation for the audience, which remains primarily male and white, to see and reconcile within their worldview.

The disappointment in the failure of Static Shock has everything to do with the historic nature of the character. One of Milestone Media's original titles and created by Dwayne McDuffie, Static Shock is linked to a historic push for multiculturalism in comics that was pioneering for its time. Milestone provided a rich tableau of characters representing all people.  This legacy now rest firmly in the hands of DC since they inked a deal to merge Milestone characters into the DC Universe. The New 52 was a golden opportunity to bring those characters to the mainstream.  Indeed, a Static Shock book made perfect sense.  The character was one of the most popular of the Milestone stable and had a long running animated series. Still, the character could not find a wide audience and questions about how race contextualize the adventures of a teenage superhero are important to consider. Is Static a teenage superhero or a "black teenage superhero?" The differences pose by the question are important.  If he is simply a teenage superhero, then he is free to struggle, as teenage superhero do, with the problems of teenageness and superherodom (yeah, those aren't words).  If he is a black teenage superhero, then he must deal with those problem, but "throw a little black in there" to make it seem "real."  Which may seem weird, but every black person will know what I'm talking about.  The tension has a long running history linked to representation and the superhero.  Still, the struggle to strike the balance between core symbolism of the medium and recognizing the impact of diverse experience remains a struggle.

To be fair, Mr. Terrific isn't surviving the first wave of the New 52, so it not just a Milestone character problem.  On the other hand, I think we are all impressed by Geoff Johns handling of Cyborg in Justice League, and Static has already appeared in the page of the Teen Titans.  So, there are plenty of reasons to believe that the future efforts to maintain this focus on diversity will create new opportunities to broaden the comic experience.

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