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Black (Comic) History Month: Milestone Media, a Publisher You Should Know

milestone media logoOur Black History Month coverage continues! Milestone Media is a publisher everyone should know, and you probably know their creations.

Formed in 1993, Milestone Media was created by a coalition of African-America creators, Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle. The company’s focus was to create a new generation of characters stepping in to fill the void that was the lack of diversity in American comics. Through a partnership with DC Comics, the publisher created memorable series and characters like Hardware, Blood Syndicate, Icon, Static (aka Static Shock), Shadow Cabinet, Xombi, Kobalt, and Heroes.

There were some fundamental ideas the company focused on in their deal with DC Comics:

  1. that they would retain total creative control
  2. that they would retain all copyrights for characters under the Milestone banner
  3. that they would have the final say on all merchandising and licensing deals pertaining to their properties.

The deal wasn’t without controversy, as some saw the deal as a compromise of the founding of the company, to be an independent black comic publisher.

The characters were so important DC has attempted (with mixed success) to incorporate the characters into the DC Universe proper, with the most notable being Static who had his own series, and joined the Teen Titans.

With all of that triumph, Milestone suffered tragedy as well, when creator Dwayne McDuffie passed away almost four years ago at the age of 49 at the peak of his career.

Four years later, and it looks like Milestone Media will rise from that tragedy as Reggie Huddlin (the producer of Django Unchained) along with Cowan and Dingle will revive the publisher for a new generation to discover.

The plan is to bring back many of the classic character as well as introduce new ones. It’s unclear how this might work, considering DC Comics and Warner Bros. are working on a live-action Static Shock series. But sorting all of the business out, as well as building new partnerships is what’s being worked on.

The goal isn’t just to bring back their classic characters, and create new ones, but also develop new talent.

There isn’t a launch date, but there will be some more shown during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.