Tuesday, October 12, 2004


With the news that Kid Flash will soon appear in the alternate TV dimension shared by 'Smallville' and 'The West Wing', my thoughts have been on superheroes of late. Particularly of an emerald-clad ringbearer and champion of the universe.

But until such time as I get my thoughts tracked down, stunned, roped, branded, and corralled into order, I'd like to share with you another email from my colleague in the study of the TV Universe.

Ladies and gentlemen, here's Hugh:

Are you familiar with the cartoon Static Shock? Unfortunately, it was cancelled this past year, but it made many televerse connections.

Produced for the WB, it was an animated adaptation of an Icon Comics character named Static. It told of Virgil Hawkins in Dakota, a teen who got electricity based powers after "the Big Bang", an explosion at the docks. His best friend Richie was the only one with his secret, and, starting in season three (of four total), he started dressing as Gear, using his high IQ to fight crimes as well.

From a real world standpoint, the show featured Shaquille O'Neal as himself in season one (the "Static Shaq" episode), A.J. McLean from Backstreet Boys (in "Duped," also season one), and Lil' Romeo (in "Romeo in the Mix" from season three), and the final season featured Karl Malone (voicing himself) with Tracy McGrady, Steve Nash, and Yao Ming (voiced by other actors) in "Hoop Squad," which had the NBA all-stars becoming a super-team (reminiscent of the Power Rangers).

One late season three episode, "Blast from the Past", introduced Soul Power (the plan to use Black Lightning from the comics fell through), a retired black super hero who came out of retirement to help Virgil. The show also put together a pair of superbly written episodes, "Static in Africa" for season 3 then the sequel "Out of Africa" for season 4, which featured the heroic Anansi and the villainous Osebo, bringing African (and island) legends to animated form, and making a superhero out of folktale figure Anansi. Potential crossover here: the Gargoyles cartoon, when it featured Goliath and company wandering the earth, had an Anansi episode, "Mark of the Panther", where the great spider was a monster/villain instead of a magical hero.

It's greatest crossovers, however, began with the first season of episode two, "Big Leagues," in which Static teamed up with Batman and Robin to beat the Joker (all voiced by their actors from the WB's Batman, the animated series). It turns out Static is firmly in the world of those animated series, as season three began with "Hard as Nails" and found Static in Gotham, helping Batman, Comm. Gordon, Alfred and Harvey Bullock stop Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.

Then, in the two-part "A League of Their Own," Static and Gear helped most of the Justice League (Batman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Flash, and Hawkgirl) defeat Brainiac. Static finally met Superman in "Toys in the Hood", a direct sequel to the "Obsession" episode of the Superman animated series, as the kids in Dakota teamed with the Man of Steel against Toyman. Season four then offered both "Future Shock", with Static thrown forward to the future of Batman Beyond. And finally, Virgil and his old hero, the John Stewart Green Lantern, fought Sinestro in "Fallen Hero."

The Paul Dini/Bruce Timm Batman: The Animated Series, later The Advs. of Batman & Robin, later part of the Batman/Superman Advs. hour, later Batman: Gotham Knights, but basically all one show) directly ties into Superman: The Animated Series (also part of that hour with Batman), the sequel series Batman Beyond, and Justice League, which is now called Justice League Unlimited (and looks to be an omnibus of the entire DC universe of characters). It also ties to some of the Webtoons from the WB, with women of Gotham City, such as Harley Quinn, Zatanna, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman. Batman Beyond spun off the Zeta Project, but Batman's most remarkable cross (in my mind) was when Mark Hamill's voice was used for the Joker on the live-action Birds of Prey, a rare cartoon to live-action link up.

Also, there's a debatable point as to whether or not Teen Titans fits into this world. It's in a different style anyway. However, in "Hard as Nails," Static asks about Robin, and he's told "he's with the Titans--you'll know about them soon enough," suggesting a crossover was planned.

Another possible cross--the villain Sinestro, from "Fallen Hero", and who has been on JL and Superman, appears in the "Green Loontern" episode of Duck Dodgers (which also has a Samurai Jack cameo); it's a different actor, but all are by WB animators.

Anyway, just info for you.

And always welcome, thanks!

Any interesting cross-over/spin-off stories you'd like to share? Send them along! We're always hungry for ways to expand the TV Universe!


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