Documentary looks at success of Milestone Media

By MATTHEW PRICE 

From the August 5, 2022, edition of The Oklahoman

In 1993, a new company burst onto the comics scene with a mission to bring needed diversity to the industry. 

The origins of Milestone Media are explored in a new documentary on HBO Max. “Milestone: Generations” tells the story of the founders of Milestone, who sought to provide black superheroes from a Black-owned company with diverse creators. 

Milestone Media, which began publishing in 1993 and was distributed by DC Comics, was the home for characters including Icon, Static, and Hardware. It was founded by artist Denys Cowan, writers Dwayne McDuffie and Michael T. Davis and Black Enterprise EVP/Chief Content Officer Derek T. Dingle.

The Black-owned company created a monthly comics line from 1993-1997. The characters have also appeared in other DC Comics and on TV in animated series. 

In 2008, several of the Milestone characters were brought into the DC Universe. 

In 2010, DC Comics released a series called “Milestone Forever,” to wrap up the original storylines of Milestone characters. Static was part of the 2011 “New 52” launch from DC Comics. 

The characters returned to publication from DC Comics in 2021 as Cowan and Milestone Media partner Reginald Hudlin relaunched Milestone Comics.

The documentary is narrated by actor and musician Cliff ‘Method Man’ Smith, and chronicles the launch of Milestone Comics as well as the relaunch, along with Milestone Media’s mission to address not only the lack of superheroes of color in comics, but also the lack of storytellers of color creating the content.

The relaunched Milestone Comics has already placed new stories into the hands of readers.  

On sale in comic shops this week is the collected edition of “Icon and Rocket,” the second miniseries released under the Milestone relaunch.  

“Icon and Rocket Season One” features the story of Icon, Milestone’s super-powered, 8,000-year-old alien hero who on Earth is Augustus Freeman, a conservative Black lawyer. Raquel Ervin, a teen who discovers his secret, becomes his sidekick Rocket.

The first Milestone relaunched title was for “Static.” 

Static is Virgil Hawkins, an intelligent, fun-loving Black teen-ager who acquires electric powers. Influenced by the comics he’s read, he becomes a costumed hero. “Static: Season One” went on sale as a collected edition in June. 

The third Milestone relaunched title, “Hardware Season One,” is set for release in collected edition in October. 

Hardware is Curtis Metcalf, a brilliant scientist who develops a suit of armor to battle crime and injustice after discovering corruption in the company for which he works.

“Milestone Generations” looks at the new Milestone Works as well as The Milestone Initiative, a program from DC, Milestone Media, Warner Bros. Discovery and Ally that aims to “empower the next generation of Black and diverse comic book creators,” according to a release from DC Comics. 

Matthew Price, matthew@matthewlprice.com, has written about the comics industry for more than two decades. He is the co-owner of Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman.

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