I want to take a minute to say I have officially end my campaign for the 2012 presidency…
There, now maybe I’ll make it on the front page of Huffington Post. Also it seems like the thing to do with people dropping out o the race, faster than Newt Gingrich can get married…
There will be more of that next week after the conclusion of the South Carolina debates. I have a LOT to say about this year’s political crop…
But onto more important things:
Well it looks like DC decided to cancel Static Shock, who’s last issue will be #8. I have a strong affinity for the Milestone characters, in fact it was through them I connected with MOTU himself, Michael Davis.
(I still have my Icon and Rocket poster he sent me!)
Also, one of the biggest influences in my career, Static’s creator, the late Dwayne McDuffie. Over the course of time I have gone to Dwayne and asked him 100 different questions ranging from what do you do when you fall out of favor with a big publisher, to how to be a better story teller.
When he was the story editor of the Justice League show on cartoon network, he even invited me to send in a spec script, to which I got about 2 minutes in and allowed fear to not follow through with it.
( I was a kid in my early 20’s who was achieving things so quickly, I got scared of the other shoe dropping, and then fulfilled my own prophecy)
I will always regret not sending that script in. It probably wouldn’t go to air, as I was set on using the Jack Knight Starman as a guest star, and DC doesn’t 100% own Jack Knight. But it could have opened a door to something else, but what’s past is past, and I have learned my lesson about allowing fear to rule my life
In full disclosure, when John Rozum left the book, I did e-mail Static editor Harvey Richards about possibly submitting work for an inventory story or fill-in while they searched for the new ongoing writer.
(If I did a good job it could have been me! #wishful thinking)
Of course I didn’t get a response back, nor did I truly expect one. I have been out of the game for quite some time, so to walk in and pick up a choice assignment would be a bit like making snow cones in Hades, not impossible, but very difficult.
But that is really beyond the point.
DC dropped the ball with Static in one key element. They thought of him as a “B” character, ala an Animal Man or something. This isn’t the case. Static, or the more recognized franchise “Static Shock” was a very popular cartoon that ran for 4 seasons, consistently winning decent ratings both in new and repeat airings and most likely would still be on the air now if WB still had a Saturday morning line up.
(That’s a rant for another time however)
I remember some months before the relaunch, I was in a Barnes & Noble looking through the graphic novels and over heard a black teenage girl asking her mom if she saw any Static books. I felt bad, because I knew outside of the re-release of the first trade there weren’t any out there.
I interjected kindly and told them Static was in the Teen Titans at the time and told them he would be getting his own series soon, and gave them directions to a very nice comic shop about 8 blocks from the mall we were in. They thanked me and I was on my way.
But it made me think of all those potential readers who know, and better yet IDENTIFY with Static that could be new readers. Now Rozum did a great job with the dialogue but the major problem was the execution.
There is a double edge sword in starting a new series and acting like the series had always been running. You start hitting the ground running, yes, but the other side of that is that people come in and go “what did I miss?” start looking around for other trades only to find they don’t exist.
After the end of Milestone imprint in the late 90s, outside of a few Static mini series set to capitalize on the cartoon’s resurgence of popularity of the character, the two volume mini series helping to integrate Milestone with the DCU, and Hardware’s appearance in an issue of Brave and the Bold alongside Blue Beetle….
(DC’s way of saying “We’re diverse! We have a black guy teaming up with a Mexican kid!”)
Milestone has been something of an afterthought.
I mean yes, there was the period when Dwayne was writing the JLA and had the Justice League and Icon, Rocket, & The Shadow Cabinet team up, but I know that didn’t go the way it was SUPPOSED to, as Icon was supposed to replace Superman on the JLA while Supes was busy doing something else (also in the event DC lost the rights to Superman during their battle with the Shuster estate)
And the Xombie book ran for 9 issues.
(with a Brave and the Bold issue as well)
So what’s the solution?
What would I suggest as an answer?
Glad you asked me, I was wondering when you’d get around to it.
First, give Static a different threshold to perform in, Static’s general audience is not really the one that knows that comics come out on Wednesday and know exactly where the local comic shop is. They’re the audience that have seen it on Kids WB! and then later on Cartoon Network and know they sell comics, manga, and TPBs at the Barnes & Noble in the mall.
Marketing wise, they should have done it similarly to how Marvel did their Tsunami line, (while learning from Tsunami’s major mistakes) there were the individual issues (ie: Runaways) but the story arcs were rather quickly collected and published as manga/Archie style digests and sent out to bookstores across the country.
Hell, get together with schoolastic and offer them as part of those things you can buy at s part of your reading assignments. I remember when I was in sixth grade and you could pick like 3 books from the catalogue, one of the things was a years subscription to Amazing Spider-man at a reduced rate.
But that just gets you half way. Story wise, why start him out in a new city with some weird plotline about a cloned sister? Not to mention that isn’t even the MAIN plot. It was a subplot. As I said, out of the gate they threw too much out there. Static has Hardware as his go to tech guy, the “Sharon clone thing”, the new city, the new villains, where he stands within the context of the new universe…
Do any of those stories where he was a member of the Teen Titans count?
What happened to Dakota? Why’d he Leave? WHY THE HELL DOES HIS SISTER HAVE A CLONE?
DC dropped the ball on what could be a shining example of using this new universe to create a great teen franchise. And with the new DC Nation block on Cartoon Network it would be a great way of getting a new Static Shock show on the air.
It seems like there is something missing in this new universe… DC had the balls to relaunch everything start anew, and not only that but give Animal Man a book. ANIMAL MAN! Not only that Mr. Buddy Baker is a critical darling and doing gangbusters!
Recently I was talking to other folks, who have a hard time understanding how a character can have a popular cartoon series and not have a popular comic book. Well it’s simple.
They are two different audiences.
On TV you have a diverse audience of hundreds of millions of potential viewers, in comics you have a majority demographic of about 25-55 white males. That demo makes up about 75% of the comic buying audience (conservative estimate) – and your threshold to keep a book running is keep it somewhere over 20K in sales.
Well, that’s easier said than done when you look at what’s competing for your dollar, things that overall speak to that core 75% audience better than a minority hero that had a cartoon that ended in 2004.
You need to go outside the market and bring in fresh readers. This is what they did to get JLA to do nearly one million sold. Could they have done similar for Static? Maybe, but your budget is only so big and if you want YOUR characters to be the one on top.
Now, if I am wrong I am sure Michael will correct me. But when I spoke to Dwayne about the Milestone deal, it seems as if it’s more than licensing and less than full partnership but the bottom line DC doesn’t “own” Static.
Which by and large is one reason why they didn’t try harder or give it longer than the first arc to prove itself. Not only did it fall short of the publisher’s goals but it also cost them more money than say, Swamp Thing, because DC owns Swamp Thing.
There is a definite missed opportunity here, a stronger focus and attempt to get the animated audience would have helped shape what I could see as a very popular franchise. Static could have been like DC’s “Spider-man” a flagship character that connects with the average person.
Which goes to the point of the right concept for the right character. I hope DC decides to give Milestone Characters another chance, hell maybe Scott Lobdell can get Static over in the Titans now, and if Dan Didio wants anyone to do a Shadow Cabinet book, you have my address…