Virgil Hawkins was exposed to a mutagenic gas that swept his city of Dakota, which gave him and other 'bang babies" superpowers, with the ability to control electromagnetism.
Static was incredibly popular, and inspired an animated adaptation that won an Emmy Award and led to new demand for Milestone comics. What's more, it was the only animated superhero series with a black lead — as in, not part of an ensemble.
Static was also the first black DC character to have his own show, period. Airing as part of Kids' WB!, Static Shock drew his creator Dwayne McDuffie to the animation industry, leading to his involvement with the DC Animated Universe, where he was able to bring more black and female characters into the Justice League, and eventually serve as a writer on both Justice League shows, Teen Titans, and the Ben 10 franchise.
28 days of black superheros. #BlackHistoryMonth #comics #marvel #dc #blerd #valiantuniverse #static #staticshock #milestonecomics