In honor of African-American History Month, DC Comics News presents the characters, artists, writers and actors of color that helped to shape the DC Universe. Today Staff Writer Kevin Gunn looks at the birthplace of Static Shock, Hardware and Icon: Milestone Media!
Founded in 1993 by Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle, Milestone Media was the first company of its kind, creating a coalition of African-American writers and artists who felt that minorities were severely misrepresented in American comics. Milestone soon struck a deal with DC Comics. This agreement allowed Milestone to maintain creative control of their properties, while DC would publish their books under the Milestone imprint.
Each property would exist in its own separate universe, until the summer of 1994 with the inter-company crossover event Worlds Collide which saw DC heroes (mostly from Superman related books) interact with heroes from the Milestone “Dakotaverse.”
Milestone saw a decline in sales from 1995 to 1996, forcing the company to cancel some of its titles. Static, Icon and Hardware were subsequently canceled in 1997, marking an end to Milestone’s publication department. In 2000, Static would get his own animated series on the Kids WB network titled “Static Shock.” From the second season onward, Static would receive visits from DC Comics heroes like Batman, Superman and the Justice League. Static, along with Milestone mainstays Icon and Rocket, would later make appearances in Cartoon Network’s Young Justice series.
Dwayne McDuffie, co-founder of Milestone, died one day after his 49th birthday on February 21, 2011 due to complications from emergency heart surgery.
Earlier this year, Milestone Media announced plans to relaunch the brand across comics and other media. Some of Milestone’s characters are currently licensed by DC Comics, but Milestone still retains ownership.