Michael Davis: The Problem With Jaden
With the possible exception of the Black Panther, no other black franchise has garnered as much “it’s going to be a major movie or TV show” hype within the fan rumor mill than Static Shock. Finally the Black Panther is going to happen. As for Static Shock … kinda.
In 2018 the Black Panther movie will be released from what is now the best superhero moviemaker bar none, Marvel Studios. Static will make his way to the Internet as part of Warner Bros’ Digital arm later this year.
I find that rather disappointing.
More than any other black property, Static pretty much already owns the Internet. The massive amount of love Static has on the net is nothing short of extraordinary. In the 22 years since Static burst on the scene the admiration for the character has only grown and at no point shows signs of waiving.
That’s simply remarkable and considering the half of a half ass way Warner Bros. has “supported” the franchise. Unbelievable. I will concede, on one hand it makes perfect sense to exploit the immense allure Static enjoys on the net.
On the other hand, Static is the only African American superhero with the overwhelming popularity created by African Americans and boy would it be nice to see him with a couple zillion dollars budget on the big screen or just a billion dollar budget on television.
Two white guys, Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan created Blade and I’m happy to say, Marv’s like family. I said as much to a sold out crowd at The Magic Johnson Theater on Blade’s opening night. When his name appeared in the credits, I could not control myself (story of my life). I leaped up and clapped like a maniac.
“What you clapping for?” Said a rather large black guy who was not amused at my outburst. Imagine that, someone pissed in a black theater over a loud outburst! Silly me, I should have remembered to only shout out during the movie.
“I know him.” I said, while eyeing the exits.
“Yeah? Is he a brother?” He retorted. Then I realized everybody black was now paying attention and except for a white girl some idiot had brought with him, everybody was black. Shit, I had to think fast…
“Yeah.” I said trying to sound hard. “He’s my brother.”
Big smile from the big guy and cheers from the audience. I sat down and my date put her arm around me. “Yo, white girl, what you doing?” I said as I took her arm from around my neck and whispered, “Hey, here’s some cash, take a cab back to my place.”
Todd McFarlane created Spawn…Oh! Some of y’all didn’t know Spawn was black? Yep. Al Simmons, Todd’s black pal, was the real life inspiration for Al Simmons a.k.a. Spawn. I guess that means Spawn is no longer in the running for the Tea Party’s favorite comic book character.
Todd’s a friend, and as far as I know still white. Cyborg is another character from my brother Marv and George Pérez. George’s a great guy also a friend and he’s Latino. That’s close, but not black.
Luke Cage was created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr. Both white guys, both part of comic book, each a dear friend. Archie gave me my first professional job in comics and when I met John I quickly forgot how I planed to kidnap him and hold him until Marvel brought back Gwen Stacy, my second love after Laurie Partridge.
So, I had a thing for white girls! Get over it. I did!
Archie died in 1998, leaving a comic book legacy that will stand forever. He’s still widely regarded as the best-loved comic book editor, ever.
Sabre was created by Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy. Both white guys … sort of. Don’s so cool he could be black.
Don means the world to me so much so I’d take a bullet for him. He’s a wonderful writer (one of the best) and just as wonderful a person. I’ve never met Paul but he’s on a very short list of artist I wanted to draw like at one time.
There’s a few more famous black superheroes but trust me all were created by white guys, the grand daddy of them all, the Black Panther having sprung from the two coolest white boys, nah, scratch that, the two coolest creators in comic book history, period.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Stan was and still is the man and Jack will always be the king. Stan and I used to have lunch a couple times a week. His office at Marvel productions a floor above mine at Showtime in the Westwood Los Angeles office tower at which both companies were housed. I became friends with Jack a few years before the king of comics left the building forever. Sad, sad day.
Unless one of those fantastic creators are hiding a past which includes a white sheet and a southern drawl, African Americans had no better friend in comics. Much like those in Hollywood who dared create movies and TV shows around black people that were not bellboys, slaves or servants these men fought our fight before we were allowed on the battlefield.
Imagine the sheer balls it took Columbia Pictures to green light and then distribute the ground braking film, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? That film, a love story about a black man and white women, is still not shown in certain parts of the south. Released in 1967 during the height of the C=civil rights movement more than a few death threats were issued.
Now, imagine its 1966 a year after the assassination of Malcolm X. There’s another side emerging from the civil rights movement. The Reverend Martin Luther King’s non-violent approach was being challenged by those who cultivated Malcolm’s original “by any means necessary” doctrine.
No group was more ready to go to war against there oppressors than the Black Panther Party.
With that as a back drop Stan and Jack create the Black Panther in 19stillhanganiggerincertainpartsofAmerica66. That takes the kind of balls reserved for those few men and women with a sense of purpose, a goal, and selfless heart.
In a very real way the sons of Stan and Jack created Static Shock. Co-created by my former Milestone Media partners and I a great deal of our inspiration was the Black Panther, Luke Cage and Stan and Gene Colan’s Falcon. As a kid seeing those Black superheroes I have no doubt they brought us where we are today, African American comic book creators.
Static Shock may not be as well known as those black heroes but without a doubt it’s the most well known black superhero created by black people. It’s time that black kids see fully what they are capable of.
Any positive black face on television or in a film is important but we all know people of color are still the stuff of, “wow there’s a black (fill in the blank)” or “the (ditto) now has a black (ditto, ditto).”
Shock and awe still accompany way too many occurrences in America when a person of color is placed in a station denied until then. Kids of color need for those occurrences to become as commonplace as images of the black thug, lazy welfare mom or absent father.
That, my friends is my long-winded reason I find a live action Static Shock debuting on the net rather disappointing. The most successful black superhero created by black people will be seen in media outlets where black kids have less access than any other group.
Not a whole lot of MacBooks in the hood. Hell, not a whole lot of any book or computers. If there is a computer the odds are it’s the family computer. Everyone having their own is about as realistic as Ted Cruz giving a fuck about poor people.
Why Warner Bros. Consumer Products never made Static Shock toys when the cartoon was a mega hit is just as curious to me as to why Static has never been a movie or why a live action version can’t be on television.
Speaking of the live action version, there’s been a pretty hot rumor flying around that Jaden Smith will be playing Static Shock. People are losing their damn minds, clearly hating on the kid because of his off screen antics or secondly saying he can’t act and he will kill the show.
Bullshit. Jaden Smith will do fine.
Reggie Hudlin is the show runner and a better person to spearhead Static I can’t think of. If Jaden sucked (he does not) there is no way he would have that gig, Will Smith or not, Reggie wouldn’t cast someone not right.
I’m amazed people who call themselves fans of Static want that kid to fail.
Newsflash, fan boys and girls. If he fails so does Static.
I know a bit about Static.
Trust me, I should know, I’m not just a co-creator I’m the lead creator having created the Static Universe as part of the Milestone Dakota Universe. Static’s world is based on life and family growing up.
Despite what you’ve read as few so-called entertainment “journalists” do any background vettes Static’s my baby. Funny, an entire lying myth has been created, a lie, based upon lazy journalism printed somewhere else and copied over and over has now become reality to most.
That “reality” doesn’t make it true.
I’m the lead creator of Static Shock. I based him on my family and my life. That’s the truth. A lie may prevent most from knowing but like global warming the truth won’t go away and neither will I.
Jaden Smith is a good actor his personal life doesn’t make him a bad actor.
That’s also the truth. Hating him for no other reason except his idiosyncrasies is the stuff of simpleminded fools. He’s not playing himself, he’s playing Virgil Hawkins, A role he was born to play, in my opinion.
The problem with Jaden isn’t his off screen antics or his haters. The problem is a great many kids he was created for won’t be able to see him until some genius at the WB realizes just how important Static is.
That may take another kind of Static.