Virgil Ovid Hawkins was born in Paris Island, Dakota City as the second child of Robert and Jean Hawkins and the younger brother of Sharon Hawkins. As a young child, he was relatively close to his uncle Teshome and initially wanted to be like him, but Teshome insisted that he stay focused on his studies and make something of himself. When Teshome was unjustly arrested for the Van Hauser murders, young Virgil knew him to be innocent and would write endless letters to different law firms inferring this, with little success. Fearing the rise in gang activity may have a negative affect on them, his family moved to the supposedly safer working class neighborhood of Sadler. Sometime later, Virgil would meet and befriend Larry Wade in the 5th grade. At some point after, he would also become friends with Chuck Kane, Rick Stone, and Felix. In high school, he also became friends with Frieda Goren.
Fifteen-year-old Virgil was bullied for being a social outcast (a status he shared with Chuck, Rick, and Felix) due to not only his gifted intellect, but also because of his interests in comic books, role playing games, and science fiction. He maintained his friendship with the now-popular Larry and harbored a crush on Frieda, unaware that she was dating Larry. When trying to stand up for Frieda, Virgil took a serious beating from Martin "Biz Money B" Scaponi until Larry stepped in. Hurt and humiliated one time too many, he was given a gun by Larry and encouraged to seek revenge on Martin at the docks during a gang war on Paris Island that night. Though he ventured to the docks and was tempted to murder his bully, he ultimately could not bring himself to shoot someone in cold blood.
Not long after throwing the gun away, the police arrived and used a special tear gas, believing it to be a radiation marker as a means of tracking the gang members in case they tried to escape. Unfortunately, the gas served only to either kill those present or mutate them in an event known as the Big Bang. Exposed to the gas while trying to escape, Virgil immediately gained a variety of electromagnetic powers and managed to flee the chaos unscathed by using his powers to levitate on a trashcan lid. Practicing with his newfound abilities and inspired by his interest in comics, he decided to become a superhero, calling himself "Static".
Initially finding it thrilling to be a superhero, Static would often taunt his enemies before subduing them and handing them over to the authorities. He would just as often fraternize with civilians --- especially Frieda, who was fascinated by his persona. Things took a turn when he realized that his bully Martin had become the powerful pyrokinetic Hotstreak during the Big Bang, leading to his first defeat as a superhero when he tried to protect Frieda from becoming the teen villain's prize. Concerned, Frieda unmasked Static and was shocked to find that it was Virgil, whom she took back to her place to nurse him back to health. Though hesitant to face Hotstreak again, Static's resolve won out and he again battled him, ultimately defeating him and restoring his confidence. Following this, Frieda became his one and only confidante.
Virgil quickly realized that being a superhero was more strenuous than he thought: he couldn't use his powers to deal with bullies since it would reveal his identity, he couldn't hold down even the most menial job due to the demands of his duty, and his grades began to suffer somewhat. Virgil finally learned that Frieda was dating Larry and, despite initially being angry with them both.
Over time, he was no longer facing just common thugs and criminals, but also many other "Bang Babies" such as Laserjet, The Swarm, Commando X, and Holocaust, who became one of his most dangerous enemies. During this time, he met other Dakota heroes such as Icon and his sidekick Rocket, Hardware, and the The Heroes, with whom Static became a reserve member.