Articles by: morpheus

CBR TV: Hudlin & Cowan on Milestone 2.0 and the Company’s Cultural Significance

From Comic Book Resources, August 4, 2015

Reginald Hudlin and Denys Cowan two of the co-founders of Milestone 2.0, the newly reformed iteration of Milestone Media, sat down with CBR TV during Comic-Con International to discuss their new venture, examining whether Milestone 2.0 is possibly even more relevant in 2015 than the original company was when it formed in 1993. They also discuss Milestone’s legacy and why its cultural significance has been so pronounced in the years that followed, something both creators credit the animated “Static Shock” with having a hand in.

Interview: Milestone 2.0′s Reggie Hudlin and Denys Cowan (Pt. 1)

From WeAreWakanda

Milestone Team 1

Milestone Original Covers

Yesterday morning I spoke with Milestone Media co-execs Reggie Hudlin and Denys Cowan about the return of Milestone, the new live-action Static Shock series, Marvel’s Hip-Hop covers, Black Panther, and much more! Here’s the first part of our interview!

At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Hudlin and Cowan revealed just a few of their plans for Milestone 2.0, including close collaboration with DC Comics’ Jim Lee! They shared more about their recent meetings here:

Hudlin: We had a great meeting with Jim [Lee] last week where we started mapping out the first year, year and a half of new Milestone. At the end of the meeting we kind of looked at each other like: ‘That’s a lot!” [Laughs]

Milestone Media Team at ComicCon 2015

Hudlin says they’re “playing with the format” this time around:

Hudlin: We really started talking about focusing on graphic novels, mini-series, one-shots, doing things in a way that make it more accessible to the casual reader as well as the hardcore fan.
Put simply, “It’s a lot of work”:

Cowan: We’ve worked out a lot of the storylines…we have more ideas than we have space for.

Hudlin: [We’re] world-building. It’s Earth-M. It’s not the DC universe. It’s not quite the Milestone Universe folks are used to. When we first got back together, long before we sat down with DC, we said: “This is not a nostalgia company.”…We’re going to make books that are accessible…and relevant to people right here right now.

The focus on accessibility means it’ll soon be easier than ever to read everything Milestone, old and new:

Cowan: We plan to release all of our stuff digitally, [including] our back archives. There’s a program being set up to make all of that available to our readers.

Hudlin: Our name is Milestone Media. We’re working on comic books, we’re working on digital series, Denys is doing art for figurines. We’re working in a lot of mediums simultaneously.

Static Shock

We already know Hudlin’s been working on the scripts for the Static Shock web series, but he explained that he’s also working on the new comic at the same time:

Hudlin: Working on both simultaneously is affecting both of them. There are things you can and cannot do in each medium. I started on the Static Shock script, but now I’ve been adapting my own work for comics and suddenly in the other medium you go, “You know what would be cool?” I’m making notes in my own head: “Remember to put that back in the show!”

Hudlin cited his experience writing the 2005 Black Panther comic series and its animated adaptation as experience in the area. Cowan pointed to Hudlin’s recent comic adaptation of Django Unchained as another shining example.

Hudlin: That was a massive undertaking. They’re different disciplines but he’s mastered them both.

Django Unchained comic

Speaking of mixing mediums, both Hudlin and Cowan shared thoughts on Marvel’s recent Hip-Hop homage covers. If you missed the controversy, Marvel faced accusations of cultural appropriation, due in large part to a perceived lack of PoC involvement in the project. The fact that Black artists had experimented with this concept before only heightened concerns about the “All-New, All-Different Marvel” being more of the same.

Hip Hop Cover

Both Hudlin and Cowan were mentioned in Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso’s response to the criticism. Here they took a moment to speak for themselves:

Hudlin: I got my job writing in mainstream comic books because of Axel Alonso. He’s a guy who’s always been aggressive about hiring diverse voices in every sense of the word. So when people vilify that guy I’m like, “Wow…you’re picking on the wrong guy.” Here’s a guy who’s absolutely an ally in terms of creating opportunity for people of color in comics. He’s constantly talking to us, not just about giving opportunities for me and Denys, but like “Hey, who else do you know? Who can you recommend?”…That is a real world thing about what we know first hand about who he is as a person and as an executive.

Cowan: There are quite a few African-American and minority creators who did those covers. People don’t necessarily know because they don’t know what [these artists] look like. I can list at least 20-25 [artists of color] who worked on those covers. That whole thing is understandable in a way but it’s ridiculous in another way.

It goes back and forth. Johnny Blaze, Tony Stark, we can go on an on about hip-hop culture and hip-hop artists appropriating, specifically, Marvel comics. They sold a lot of albums based on the identities they appropriated. It goes back and forth. It’s always been a love affair.…Now it’s happening on a massive scale and I say congratulations to all involved.

Hudlin: I remember being at Comic-Con, talking to one of the top executives in comics about how important it was to integrate today’s youth culture, which is hip-hop culture, into comics. To make my point (this was true at the time) I said: “You know, The Source outsells Rolling Stone”…and his response was: “What’s The Source?”
To go from that era, to an Editor-in-Chief going “Let’s do a bunch of comic covers based on hip-hop covers” is a huge sea change in terms of the thinking within comics. It’s a good thing.

Cowan: I don’t blame people for reacting that way. This is a very touchy time for a lot of issues around that, but at the end of the day I feel that you’d have to embrace the fact that they did this at such a large scale across the line. It’s definitely a real statement…They really went for it and that’s great. I want every single one of them.

A report earlier in the week said that Cowan himself was working on the Contest of Champions #1 cover. He shared his excitement about the finished product and with good reason! Here it is!

Contest Of Champions

Milestone Returns to DC as the ‘Earth M’ Universe with Cowan, Hudlin, Johns and Lee

by Steve Morris July 11, 2015, Comics Alliance

Icon & Rocket, Static, Hardware

Milestone Media, the publishing imprint at DC notable for creating characters like Static, Zombi and Icon and promoting the work of African-American comics-creators, has formally announced their publishing return today at SDCC. Original co-founders Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle, and Reginald Hudlin will partner with DC Comics to relaunch Milestone as a part of the DC Multiverse, designating their shared universe as “Earth M.”

DC announced that characters Static Shock, Icon, Rocket, Hardware and Xombi will all return as part of the deal, which is being referred to as “Milestone 2.0″. Both Cowan and Hudlin will work on comics for Milestone, bringing in Jim Lee and Geoff Johns for as-yet-unannounced projects. It’s speculated that Hudlin and Lee will work on a ‘launch’ comic, and Johns and Cowan will form the other principal creative team.

The publishing plans for Milestone include a series of graphic novels — up to two a year — as well as a series of one-shots and miniseries. Hudlin told the crowd at today’s Milestone Media panel that he has already written over a hundred pages of a new Static Shock story, indicating that the character will be one of the first to reappear. Future plans also seem to include writer Christopher Priest, who worked on the original Milestone comics, but left just prior to launch.

The characters will remain within their own shared universe for the time being, although the founders say there’ll be room for integration down the line.

Milestone was a big deal for comics the first time around, and a forerunner of today’s uneven attempts to introduce more diversity into superhero fiction. Milestone published comics by creators of color, featuring characters of color. It’ll be interesting to see what Milestone 2.0 can bring to comics’ shifting landscape. Hopefully, it can carve out a place to develop some great comics, and spotlight creators who might otherwise be overlooked. As Dingle told the crowd:

We have to keep this company alive, we have to maintain diversity in this industry. There have to be more stories to be told.

Comic-Con 2015: DC Announces The Return Of Milestone

by Nick Tylwal, Bam! Smack! Pow!

Icon & Rocket, Static, Hardware

Milestone Media was ahead of its time when it first launched in 1993. But if anything, its creators believe the brand and its storytelling are even more relevant today, so DC is helping to bring it back.

Original Milestone founders Denys Cowan and Derek T. Dingle joined producer/director Reginald Hudlin at Comic-Con on Saturday morning to announce the return of Milestone characters like Static Shock, Icon and Hardware, who will exist on “Earth M” within the DC multiverse. The current plan calls for up to two titles set on that world annually published as hardcover graphic novels, along with possible mini-series and one-shots.

“Milestone Media was the first company to create a super hero universe full of Black, Latino, Asian and white super heroes — both gay and straight,” Hudlin said. “It’s fan base was equally diverse. This new relationship will enable us to not only revive classic Milestone characters, but introduce new ones as well.”

While Cowan spoke of his pride in bringing new voices to the industry and vowed that process would continue, the new Milestone will also have “some ringers.” Namely, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee, who will draw a book written by Hudlin, and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, who will write a book drawn by Cowan.

“We couldn’t be more proud and excited about the opportunity to bring the ‘Dakota’ universe back to DC,” said Lee. “This is a huge step forward for us in bringing readers a more diversified lineup as part of the New DC Universe, and we’re anxiously looking forward to telling new stories that are socially and culturally impactful and representative of the world in which we live.”

Hudlin mentioned plans for action figures and a Static Shock live-action digital series, and it was clear during the morning press conference that announced the return of Milestone that there is plenty of excitement throughout the DC talent roster. Dan Jurgens mentioned that he thought Icon was the coolest name ever for a super hero and wondered why he never thought of that, and Grant Morrison laughed when asked if there were any questions about his own upcoming work, saying he’d rather hear more about Milestone.

“Milestone Media has a long tradition of brining multicultural heroes to life, and DC Entertainment has always been an industry leader with their innovative approaches,” Cowan said. “Working with Geoff and Jim has been great, and Reggie, Derek and I are thrilled to team up with them to bring the Dakota universe of characters back to the fans.”

Milestone Comics to Return to DC

By Russ Burlingame – 07/11/2015, Comicbook.com

Static

Saying that Milestone Comics was the biggest thing to come out of the ‘90s, DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee announced that the line will return with the creation of a new “Earth-M”

“We couldn’t be more proud and excited about the opportunity to bring the ‘Dakota’ Universe back to DC,” said Lee. “This is a huge step forward for us in bringing readers a more diversified lineup as part of the New DC Universe, and we’re anxiously looking foward to telling new stories that are socially and culturally impactful and representative of the world in which we live.”

“They knew the future and potential of it all – that it wasn’t just about comic books,” Lee told reporters of the Milestone founders in the 1990s.

While he didn’t work with the original Milestone, Reginald Hudlin, who worked on the Static Shock animated series, said that he had wanted to since Milestone was “the equivalent of Motown in the comic book world.”

After the passing of Dwayne McDuffie, the team decided to bring the properties back to life.

“It was a call that we could not ignore. We just had to do it,” Hudlin said.

“We literally can’t believe that we’re here in front of you, we can’t believe the scale of the projects that we’re going to be doing,” said co-founder Denys Cowan, who teased Jim Lee and Geoff Johns’ involvement in the project as writer and artist of upcoming projects.

“What’s the difference between the ‘90s and now? We’re not a minority anymore. We’re not in a world of plurality,” Cowan said. “There’s a lot of people in color. But even better is that I always say that the world has better mental health with each generation. I look at my kids and they’re playing with their friends and nobody cares if the Barbie is b or w, they just want the cool thing. As we’ve been revisiting the classic Milestone characters, it’s speaking to the great bones of these characters, they’re more relevant now than they were then.”

Jim Lee is going to draw for Hudlin, Johns is going to write something that hasn’t yet been announced. Hudlin says that there is no expected release date yet for a Static Shock series, but that he has 107 pages of script written.

STATIC & MILESTONE Returning To DC as ‘Earth-M’, With GEOFF JOHNS & JIM LEE Doing New Story

Newsarama.com, July 11, 2015

Static Shock

At the “DC Entertainment: Meet The Co-Publishers” panel Sunday at Comic-Con International, Jim Lee announced that he and Geoff Johns would be doing an as-yet-untitled one-shot for the new Milestone line at DC. They also revealed that Milestone’s new “Earth-M” universe is one of the seven unnamed universes in Grant Morrison’s Multiversity map.

“We couldn’t be more proud and excited about the opportunity to bring the ‘Dakota’ Universe back to DC,” said DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee. “This is a huge step forward for us in bringing readers a more diversified lineup as part of the new DC Universe, and we’re anxiously looking foward to telling new stories that are socially and culturally impactful and representative of the world in which we live.”

Reginald Hudlin, who recently joined the revived Milestone Media, calls the deal with DC to license their characters again a “complicated one” but one they could not turn down.

“We have to keep this company alive,” said Derek T. Dingle, Milestone co-founder. “We have to maintain diversity in this industry.”

Hudlin mentioned that he’d already begun writing scripts for a Static series, and Icon and Hardware were also mentioned specifically at the press event.

Comic-Con: Milestone Media Returns To DC Comics

IGN July 11, 2015

The Milestone Universe finally lives again.

This morning DC Comics announced a partnership with Milestone Media to publish new comics featuring popular Milestone characters like Static, Hardware and Icon.

Unlike DC’s previous Static Shock comic, which positioned Static as one of many heroes in the New 52 universe, the Milestone characters will go back to existing in their own self-contained world (referred to as Earth-M). The arrangement seems similar to Milestone’s original relationship with DC, where the former was a DC imprint but maintained creative control over its properties.

Static in New 52

Static as he appeared in the New 52.

This news builds on the announcement of “Milestone 2.0” earlier this year, where two of the original co-founders of Milestone Media, Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle, teamed with writer/director Reginald Hudlin to bring new life to this comic book universe across various media. Dingle noted during the announcement that the goal now is much the same as it was when Milestone was first created in 1993 – to offer a greater sense of diversity and representation in the comic book industry.

No specific projects have been revealed yet, though both Geoff Johns and Jim Lee will be involved with the new Milestone comics in some capacity. Rather than focusing on ongoing comics, Milestone will publish up to two hardcover graphic novels per year, along with a small number of mini-series and one-shot specials. These stories will feature a mixture of familiar faces (including Static, Xombi, Hardware, Icon and Rocket) and new heroes and villains.

Bleeding Cool: SDCC ’15: Jim Lee Working On First Milestone 2.0 Volume With Reginald Hudlin and Denys Cowan

Bleeding Cool, July 12, 2015

Bleeding Cool SDCC 2015

Dan DiDio and Jim Lee have been holding court on Sunday morning of San Diego Comic Con and had plenty to say.

Jim Lee will be working as an artist with Reginald Hudlin and Denys Cowan on the first of the new Milestone 2.0 volumes from DC Comics, reviving the publishing line, and beginning with its first volume.

They promised a line of figurines, previously denied the franchise. The Static Shock template is on display at the DC Comics booth right now, part of their Icons line. I’ll go take a look…

And Denys Cowan also mentioned that the appearance of DC Comics characters would be very likely.

The Hollywood Reporter – Comic-Con: ‘Earth-M’ Graphic Novels, Comic Series Planned by DC, Milestone Media

The Hollywood Reporter – July 11, 2015

THR Earth M

New line will revive series like ‘Static Shock’ and introduce new characters.

Increasing its commitment towards diversity in publishing, DC Entertainment announced a new partnership with Milestone Media that will see the creation of “Earth-M,” a newly-established parallel world in the mainstream DC Universe featuring the company’s characters.

Milestone, headed by Reginald Hudlin, Derek Dingle and Denys Cowan, announced its relaunch earlier this year and will publish up to two hardcover graphic novels a year, in addition to a number of mini-series and one-off titles. These titles will include a relaunch of Static Shock, the 1990s comic book that went on to become a successful animated series through Warner Bros animation and is currently in development as a live-action web series, written by Hudlin, who told reporters that he has already written 107 pages of script for the project.

Milestone Media originally published comic titles through DC from 1993 through 1997, with series including Static, Blood Syndicate, Hardware and Icon. In addition to featuring characters who offered an alternative to the white superheroes that dominated the comic book racks, the company was known for finding new talent, with creators including John Paul Leon and Sandman: Overture artist J.H. Williams publishing early work with the company.

In a statement, DC co-publisher Jim Lee — who will be drawing one of the new Milestone titles — said that partnering with Milestone is “a huge step forward for [DC] in bringing readers a more diversified lineup as part of the New DC Universe, and we’re anxiously looking forward to telling new stories that are socially and culturally impactful and representative of the world in which we live.”

Hudlin added, “Milestone Media was the first company to create a superhero universe full of Black, Latino, Asian and white superheroes — both gay and straight. Its fanbase was equally diverse. This new relationship will enable us to not only revive classic Milestone characters, but introduce new ones as well.”

DC Entertainment Announces The Return Of The Milestone Universe With The Creation Of All-New ‘Earth-M’

Reggie Hudlin and Denys Cowan Team Up With Jim Lee and Geoff Johns to Bring A Lineup of Culturally and Ethnically Diverse Characters Back to DC Universe with Original Graphic Novels, One Shots, and Miniseries

During DC Entertainment’s (DCE) early morning press gathering, DCE Co-Publisher Jim Lee, Hollywood producer/director Reginald Hudlin and Milestone co-founder/artist Denys Cowan (DETECTIVE COMICS) announced the creation of “Earth-M,” which will be home to the “Dakota” universe of characters from 1993’s Milestone Media and a host of all new characters.

For fans, this means the return of favorite Milestone characters like STATIC SHOCK, ICON, ROCKET, HARDWARE and XOMBI, along with new heroes and villains, yet still retaining the same kind of contemporary and socially relevant tone of storytelling that made Milestone Media such a groundbreaking imprint in the early 90’s.

“We couldn’t be more proud and excited about the opportunity to bring the ‘Dakota’ universe back to DC,” said Lee. “This is a huge step forward for us in bringing readers a more diversified lineup as part of the New DC Universe, and we’re anxiously looking forward to telling new stories that are socially and culturally impactful and representative of the world in which we live.”

Arriving as hardcover graphic novels, up to two “Earth-M” titles will be published annually, as well as a yet-to-be-determined number of miniseries and one shots. These books will feature all-star creative talent, including Milestone principals Hudlin and Cowan, as well as DCE top guns Lee and Johns. This agreement also means a revival of Milestone content as collected editions, both in print and digital format.

“Milestone Media was the first company to create a superhero universe full of Black, Latino, Asian, and white superheroes – both gay and straight,” said Hudlin. “Its fan-base was equally diverse. This new relationship will enable us to not only revive classic Milestone characters, but introduce new ones as well. Denys and I have had a great time working with Jim and Geoff as we reinvent the Milestone Universe for the 21st century. We have a lot of innovative ideas – from how the characters are presented to how the books are released – that will excite both new and old fans.”

Original graphic novels, one shots and miniseries are just the first step in an overall Milestone revival, eventually expanding to include action figures and an upcoming STATIC SHOCK digital series.

“Milestone Media has a long tradition of bringing multicultural heroes to life and DC Entertainment has always been an industry leader with their innovative approaches,” said Cowan. “Working with Geoff and Jim has been great and Reggie, Derek [Dingle] and I are thrilled to team up with them to bring the Dakota universe of characters back to the fans.”

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