Milestone Media, the African American–owned publisher that created the celebrated Black superhero comics universe, will relaunch its publishing program later this month with the release of newly created original series in digital and print formats.
Cofounded in 1993 by the late Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle, in partnership with DC Comics, Milestone Media has been reorganized under the direction of the acclaimed director, comics writer and producer Reginald Hudlin, and two of the company's original cofounders: celebrated comics artist Denys Cowan, and Derek T. Dingle, v-p and editor in chief of Black Enterprise magazine. The latest effort to relaunch of the pioneering publishing venture was first announced during last year’s DC FanDome, a virtual comics convention organized by DC.
DC publisher and chief creative officer Jim Lee, said “Since the FanDome panel, Reggie [Hudlin], Denys [Cowan], and our editorial team have been working incredibly hard to bring this new Milestone to life. It’s been exciting to see fresh and contemporary takes on the Dakota universe coming together; I think that both new fans and old will be pleased with the results.”
Milestone Media was a landmark event in comics publishing, a Black-owned publisher producing original comics featuring Black superhero characters created by Black comics artists. The Milestone comics universe featured such characters as Static Shock, Hardware, and Icon & Rocket, whose adventures were set in the fictional city of Dakota. After Milestone shut down its comics division in 1997, there have been continual efforts revive the characters.
Milestone will officially return on February 23 with the release of Milestone Returns: Infinite #0, a one-shot 17-page comic release originally offered during DC FanDome that will be updated with 24 pages of new material written by Hudlin and drawn by Cowan, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, Bill Sienkiewicz, and others. The book retells the Milestone universe origin story based around the events of The Big Bang, a police-brutality protest in Dakota City that sparked a wave of superpowers among the city’s Black residents.
In April, look for the revival of the popular Static series and the new adventures of Virgil Hawkins, a teenager gifted with electromagnetic powers. In the new releases, Virgil responds to a clash between a wave of Black teens who discover they have superpowers and a dangerous response from an over-militarized Dakota City police force. Static will launch in a six-issue digital-first series.
In June, Milestone will kickoff a new digital-first series starring Icon & Rocket; it’s the story of Icon, a powerful alien trapped on earth who takes the form of Augustus Freeman, an African American man; and his sidekick Rocket, Raquel Ervin, a human teenage girl empowered by Icon’s alien technology.
Also look for the return of Hardware, one of Milestone’s signature characters, in a digital first series beginning in August. It’s the story of Curtis Metcalf, a brilliant Black technologist, who discovers that the tech magnate who mentored him and whom he works for is actually a global criminal mastermind. Metcalf uses his high-tech inventions to fight back.
The Milestone revival will also feature the launch of Earth M, a new line of Milestone comics created by Cowan and Hudlin.
To kickoff the Milestone relaunch, DC is offering digital access to the complete original 1993 first issues of Static, Icon, and Hardware issues, which are available via the newly relaunched DC Universe Infinite, a new digital comics subscription service. The issues are available for free with registration.
“The response from fans after the DC FanDome panel was overwhelming, and that makes this news even more exciting for Denys and me,” said Hudlin. “Introducing these ‘seasons’ of Static, Icon, Rocket, and Hardware is just the beginning. There will be more stories with these favorite characters to come, and fans will see appearances from the legendary Blood Syndicate, setting the stage for an explosive Milestone event later in the year.”