Milestone Media was a unique place for superhero comics, and comics in general, during the 90s. Boasting primarily young, black creative teams building a universe dominated by superheroes of color such as Static and Icon, it represented an emphasis on inclusivity that many would argue we could still use more of to this day.
Now, roughly a generation later, it seems to be finally coming back.
New York Comic Con guests were treated to an all-star panel consisting Milestone co-founders Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle (Michael Davis was not in attendance, and Dwayne McDuffie passed away in 2011) as well as writer Greg Pak, filmmaker Reginald Hudlin, artist Ken Lashley, writer Alice Randall, cartoonist Kyle Baker and artist/DC co-publisher Greg Pak to talk about the new lineup of “Earth M” titles set to launch during the spring of 2018.
After spending some time introducing themselves and talking about their relationship with the history of Milestone, the panelists discussed some of their plans for the relaunch. Great emphasis was placed on the fact that this would not simply be a rehash of Milestone circa-1993; attendees were promised that while some old favorites would be returning, there would be many new ideas and characters as well in order to reflect the times we live in today. They also explained that the “Dakota Universe” would not be interacting with the mainline DC Universe. In other words, with a standalone “Earth M,” it seems unlikely that any of these characters will meet Batman or Superman anytime soon.
From there, the new books started to get announced. The first was Milestone #1 Featuring: Icon and Rocket, with a story by Reginald Hudlin and Denys Cowan with art by Ken Lashley. Hudlin recalled that he always wanted to write these characters, but couldn’t because Dwayne McDuffie, who wrote their comics at the time, wouldn’t let him.
Next was Static Shock, with a story by Reginald Hudlin and Denys Cowan and art by Kyle Baker. Though Static has been featured in other DC comics and even had his own animated television series in 2000, this will mark the first time that the young hero stars in his own series in several years.
Following that came Duo, with a story by Hudlin and Cowan, a script by Greg Pak, and art by Jim Lee, all of whom were eager to discuss the book’s premise: when a woman sacrifices her life to save her husband, her consciousness starts to become part of his own mind. It’s inspired by one of the original Milestone series, Xombi.
Finally, Love Army was announced with a story by Hudlin and Alice Randall, with cover art by Ryan Benjamin. Hudlin explained that part of the inspiration for the book came from wanting to create something his daughter would like.
Before the panel ended, there was a surprise guest: Skybound founder and The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Promoting his upcoming AMC documentary series The Secret History of Comics, he showed an extended clip of an episode that focuses on the development of Milestone.
The room was not particularly crowded, but it was clear that the panelists were deeply passionate about their upcoming wave of comics, and so were the attendees. The audience responded positively to the promise of a inclusive new universe that would tackle controversial issues, but they’ll have to wait and see how it turns out this spring.