Milestone Comics is finally back. The diverse comic book universe, which has built its name by pushing boundaries with a diverse cast of superheroes, is back this year after nearly two decades. Now the creators want the comic book universe to reach its full potential, saying they want the revival to be as “cutting edge” as the originals.
Milestone Media, the company behind the comics, was founded in 1993 by a team of African-American artists and writers. The mission: to tell the stories of under-represented communities while tackling big issues like homophobia and racism.
“We were four black designers who came together and formed a company with the intention of creating multicultural characters from our perspective and people we wanted to work with – that alone was revolutionary,” said Denys Cowan, co -Founder, at CBS. New.
The same year, the founders of Milestone signed a distribution contract with the famous DC Comics. But throughout the partnership, DC often became uncomfortable with the progressive storylines and the artwork on the pages. The best-known example: the cover of an issue of Static, the most popular character in the group and arguably one of the most beloved black superheroes.
The artwork showed the hero, Virgil Hawkins, and his girlfriend kissing on a sofa with condoms nearby. DC declined to print the cover, straining its relationship with the founders of Milestone. The two sides compromised by printing a close-up of the two kissing. Inside the book, co-founder Dwayne McDuffie wrote a letter addressing the controversy: “Static is a fun comic, but it never shied away from topics like gang violence, homophobia, and racism. . It’s not about to start now. ”
In 1997, an industry downturn forced Milestone to stop publishing its comics. Over the years, there have been short-lived attempts to revive the comic book universe. Static joined the animated show “Teen Titans” in 2003 and went on to title his own comic book series, which only lasted six issues. In 2011, McDuffie died after complications from heart surgery and legal issues between Milestone and his estate over new and protracted attempts to bring the universe back to fans.
“It was a series of unfortunate circumstances that made this possible and it took a tremendous amount of effort on all sides to bring it back, but it had to be done,” said Reginald Hudlin, partner and writer of Milestone. “We said we were going to get there – we’re glad that day has arrived.”
The comic book universe returned in February with the digital edition of “Milestone Returns: Infinite Edition # 0”, a preview of the universe and its upcoming books, with the physical edition releasing on May 25. . The revival is inspired by the original books by reimagining the “Big Bang” event. This time around, the incident takes place during a rally against police brutality where police fire untested chemicals at protesters who are gaining superpowers.
The book sets the stage for every major Milestone character to feature in their own books, including Static (June 15), Icon and Rocket (July 27), and Hardware (August 10). Milestone has largely remained in the minds of comic book fans thanks to the popularity of Static, which appeared in his own television series, “Static Shock,” from 2000 to 2004. Last summer, actor Michael B. Jordan has announced that he will be joining Hudlin to produce a new static film for Warner Bros.
“When the first round of Milestone came out, I was a fan. There was a hole that was open that needed to be filled with a great storytelling. There weren’t any other books saying what those books were saying. “The challenge for all of us bringing it back, we’re not interested in nostalgia. We wish to be as relevant and cutting edge today as Milestone’s first launch was,” said Hudlin.
Milestone is returning to a comic book industry that is significantly more diverse than the ’90s – with black superheroes like Marvel’s “Black Panther”, “Luke Cage” and “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” gaining popularity with television and film spinoffs. Still, Hudlin and Cowan believe that the portrayal of blacks in the comics still has a long way to go.
“Darkness is a constantly evolving and expanding term. There was a time when almost all black Americans had a similar set of experiences – this has not been true for generations now. So when you explore all aspects luckily it’s a lifelong mission, ”said Hudlin.
Hudlin says everything is on the table for the future of Milestones, including new TV shows, action and animation movies, plus toys and collectible cards. And in addition to the well-known Milestone characters, Cowan said the creators will introduce new characters to the universe.
When Devin Robertson, a 28-year-old fan, was a child, his mother gave him $ 10 before he left with his brother to a local comic book store in Jackson, Tennessee. Robertson never liked “Goodnight Moon” or Dr. Seuss’ books, but credits Milestone with helping him learn to read.
“Milestone Comics has been an integral part of my life since I was a child,” said Robertson. “I loved seeing so many diverse characters interacting, not just diverse in race, but diverse in every way.”
“Each character felt important and connected to the rest of the world, even the talking dog – the talking dog was my favorite,” he added. “I am more than excited to see how their world has evolved.”