Static Shock is an American 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! block programming. Static Shock ran for four seasons, with 52 half-hour episodes in total. The show revolves around Virgil Hawkins, an African-American boy who uses the secret identity of Static after exposure to a mutagen gas during a gang fight gave him electromagnetic powers. Part of the DC animated universe, the series 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 pre-teen audience. Nevertheless, 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 Spider-Man style—and animation, which was said to be unnatural and overdated. 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.
Virgil Hawkins is a fourteen-year-old who lives with his older sister Sharon, and his widowed father Robert in Dakota City. He attends high school with his best friend Richie Foley, and has a crush on a girl named Frieda. He also has a dispute with a bully named Francis, nicknamed "F-Stop." A gang leader named Wade recently helped Virgil, hoping to recruit him, but Virgil is hesitant, as he knows his mother died in an exchange of gunfire between gangs. Wade eventually leads Virgil to a restricted area for a fight against F-Stop's crew, but it was interrupted by police helicopters. During the dispute with the police, chemical containers explode, releasing a gas that causes mutations among the people in the vicinity (This event was later known as "The Big Bang"). As a result, Virgil obtains the ability to create, generate, absorb, and control electricity and magnetism—he takes up the alter-ego of "Static". The gas also gives others in the area their own powers, and several of them become supervillains. The mutated people become meta-humans known as "Bang Babies", and their mutations apparently spread to other people around them.
Virgil Ovid Hawkins/Static (Phil LaMarr) – A high school student in Dakota City. As a result of accidental exposure to an experimental mutagen in an event known as the Big Bang, he gained the ability to control and manipulate electromagnetism, and uses these powers to become a superhero named "Static." Countless others who were also exposed also gained a wide variety of mutations and abilities, and Static spends much of his time dealing with these "Bang Babies", many of whom use their abilities in selfish, harmful, and even criminal ways.
Richard "Richie" Osgood Foley/Gear (voiced by Jason Marsden) – Virgil's best friend and confidant. At first, he merely provides support for his friend, making gadgets for him and helping to cover for Virgil to protect his secret identity. In the third season, it is revealed Richie's passive exposure to the Bang Gas gave him enhanced intelligence, which enabled him to easily invent rocket-powered boots and "Backpack", a highly intelligent multipurpose device worn on the back capable of surveillance and other semi-independent activity. With this equipment, he adopted the superhero identity "Gear" and becomes Static's full-time partner in crime-fighting.
Robert Hawkins (Kevin Michael Richardson) – A social worker who runs the Freeman Community Center as head counselor. He is a widower and the single father of two teenagers—Virgil and Sharon. He dislikes gangs and the destructive attitudes of most Bang Babies, and his work at the community center is motivated by a desire to counteract their bad influence on young people.
Sharon Hawkins (Michele Morgan) – Virgil's older sister, Sharon attends college, but she still lives at home. She volunteers at a hospital, and counsels young people at the Freeman Community Center. While they do argue frequently, Sharon and Virgil really do care about each other and are quick to come to the other's defense if one of them is in danger. After their mother died, Sharon took it upon herself to act as the woman of the house after, mostly when it comes to doling out chores between her and her brother and the cooking (which, at least according to Virgil, Sharon is not good at).
Adam Evans/Rubber-Band Man (voiced by Kadeem Hardison) – A meta-human whose body structure consists of shapeable rubber. He is the younger brother of Static's archenemy, Ebon. Rubber-Band Man first appears a tragic villain when he goes after an opportunistic record producer who stole one of his songs. He subsequently breaks out of prison but decides not to pursue a criminal career, however. He and Sharon eventually start dating, with Sharon helping Adam turn over a new leaf. He and Virgil initially clash, but Virgil comes to accept Adam's relationship with his sister and they become allies in crime-fighting, with Adam even becoming like an older-brother figure to Virgil.
Ivan Evans/Ebon (voiced by Gary Sturgis) – The head of a large group of Bang Babies called "The Meta-Breed" and the series' main villain. Ebon is an unusually powerful and strong meta-human. As a living shadow, he is able to create inter-dimensional portals and can manipulate pure darkness and shadows, as well as transport others to various locations of his choice.