This week, nostalgic hearts were surely afloat when it was announced that a live-action version of Static Shock was in development.
According to Shadow and Act, filmmaker and comic book writer Reginald Hudlin made the announcement during the Milestone Media panel at DC FanDome. The project is part of DC Comics’ revitalization of Milestone Media. The rollout will include a new Static Shock digital comic series aimed for February 2021, an original Static Shock graphic novel, and possibly an animated movie as well.
The original Static Shock animated series made its debut in the year 2000. If you were a kid in the early 2000s and action content was your thing, you’d know how groundbreaking the era was, not just for superhero or action content, but also in terms of representation.
More Black characters were becoming the leads of T.V. shows and movies. In retrospect, it was apart of a wave that eventually died down and, once again, Black people had to fight for representation in the 2010s. However, the characters that were birthed in the 2000s definitely set the groundwork for Black creatives today. Now that Black issues have reached a global spotlight like never before, there’s no telling the different kinds of Black heroes who will pop up within the next 10 years.
Since 2001 seemed to be the year when Black heroes were either having their last run or just starting their journey, it seems like a good year to celebrate all the Black heroes who were in T.V. and film. Check out the highlights below.
1. Silverstone, a.k.a. The Famous Jett Jackson
One of Disney Channel’s earliest original series involved Lee Thompson Young playing Silverstone, the secret agent tasked with saving the world. But, of course, Silverstone was really played by Jett Jackson, the fictional teen who balanced his personal life as a kid with his superstardom. Although “The Famous Jett Jackson” mostly focused on Jett’s coming-of-age stories, watching him double as an action hero surely affirmed Black kids across the world. RIP Lee Thompson Young.
2. Static Shock
Who didn’t want to be Virigil Hawkins swerving around town via an electrically charged trash can lid? The Kids’ WB animated show aired for four seasons from September 2000 to May 2004, and it was nothing short of exciting. Static was one of the few Black leading heroes to have his own daytime T.V. show.
3. Green Lantern (John Stewart)
It’s hard to explain the grandeur of the animated “Justice League” series when it premiered in 2001. The Cartoon Network show arrived in the aftermath of the now iconic “Batman: The Animated Series” and “Superman: The Animated Series” of the ’90s. So the anticipation was intense. The fact that it featured John Stewart as a Black Green Lantern was the icing on the cake for those hoping to see themselves in a superhero.
Speaking of groundbreaking, it felt like it took FOREVER to make a live-action X-Men movie. So when it finally arrived in 2000, comic book fans everywhere were overjoyed. Halle Berry was the first rendition of Storm and it was nothing like watching her summon lightning for the first time to zap her foes into oblivion.
5. Will Smith
By 2001, Will Smith had starred in “Independence Day”, “Men in Black”, “Wild Wild West” (don’t hate!) and he played real life icon Muhammad Ali in the 2001 movie “Ali”.
And we haven’t even gotten to “Men in Black II”, “I, Robot” or “I Am Legend” a couple years later.
‘Nuff said. Certified action hero.
6. Maxine “Max” Gibson
Another watershed moment in DC animated history was the series “Batman Beyond”. In the show, Terry McGinnis plays a future successor to Bruce Wayne as Batman and let’s face it, Batman Beyond would be nothing without his genius friend Max. She could easily hack your computer with a single bound. #BlackGirlMagic was in effect.
7. The “Up, Up and Away” Family
In 2000, Disney Channel premiered their original movie “Up, Up and Away”, giving us not just one Black superhero, but a whole Black superhero family. Surely, many kids have imagined Superman as a dad. How about the Bronze Eagle played by Robert Townsend as a father? Or Warrior Woman (played by Alex Datcher) as a mom or Warrior Eagle (played by Michael J. Pagan) as a brother? Parent-teacher night would’ve been lit.