the fact that Static (Static Shock), John Stewart (Justice League), Aquaman (Young Justice, Injustice: Gods Among Us), Samurai Jack, Osmosis Jones (Ozzy & Drix), Bolbi (Jimmy Neutron), Wilt (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends), Maxie Zeus (The Batman), Earth King Keui (Avatar: The Last Airbender), J.A.R.V.I.S. (Ultimate Spider-Man)
are ALL voice by the same dude.
Phil LaMarr, you MAGNIFICENT bastard!
It’s been two years since I first saw the cover of Static Shock #8, drawn by Khary Randolph, inked by Le Beau L. Underwood, and colored by Emilio J. Lopez.
It was the final cover of a title that had been maligned by an artist/editor tandem with no understanding of the original character at all (they never even seen the award-winning animated series) forcing out a writer who not only knew the characters but actually written them for the original publisher two decades earlier. By the time this issue was done, complete with a new writer onboard, the damage was already done and DC decided to kill the book and, unfortunately, any chance of Static or any other Milestone characters being seen in any DC books (aside from the one scene Static was in during the first Teen Titans series and the appearances of Icon and Rocket in the adaptations of the Young Justice animated series, they pretty much vanished without a trace).
When I saw this cover a few years ago, it hit me hard.
I wrote the following to Mr. Randolph because I was a fan and wanted to thank him for making this great image that bridged the Static Shock series with shadows of the Milestone days. The feelings remain the same as it did when I wrote this:
I was 14 when the books were announced. I still have the Va Pilot article with the first sketches and the interview with Mr. Dingle. I read the Milestone books when I could find them. Hardware. Blood Syndicate. Icon.
Static broke out, and rightfully so because he offered something different. Heck, the entire Milestone line brought out a world of comics that were entertaining with something to say instead of just battering our heads with a morality lesson like a lot of books did. Finally, books where the lead Black character wasn’t an ex-con, an African prince or princess, or a hell-borne demon with some unearthly voodoo spellcasting. They were relatable, and they were real, if not in flesh and bone, then on the printed page and, for 52 glorious episodes, on Saturday mornings.
I think the Milestone books were the reason I wanted to pursue creating my own comics, my own characters, my own voice. I was just lucky I told Mr. McDuffie that while he was still with us. I look at how he and so many others kept Milestone’s legacy alive over the years in other media, and I look at them all with a sense of pride. Proof that in the great cosmic sense of comic book myth-making, we exist. We may be shrouded in shadows most of the time, but when we’re out in the light, it’s a beautiful thing.
I look at this cover, and I see that you feel this too. You see the present but don’t ignore the past, and every Milestone fan out there recognizes that the final issue of Static Shock is AN end, not THE end. He’ll be back one day, but time goes on and the volatility of the market and the unspoken bigotry of the direct comic shop marketplace still exist.
You have made a very impactful cover, Khary. I probably talked way too much here (I have a sickening need to do that from time to time). Much success to you and your colleagues in the months and years ahead.