It’s exhausting to imagine it’s lastly right here. But with Static: Season One #1 on cabinets proper now, it appears like the Milestone Comics which redefined the medium are again to do it once more. Soon, Rocket and Icon: Season One and Hardware: Season One will observe Static’s lead, and it virtually appears like we’re seeing long-lost mates come dwelling. But in reality, what actually made Milestone revolutionary was by no means simply the characters, however the expertise concerned. Originally based by 4 Black inventive giants—Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle and Michael Davis—Milestone’s message of numerous, boundary-pushing comics has at all times prolonged to its personal workers, the place the marginalized may inform their tales by these characters with out qualification or hiding behind impermeable layers of metaphor. Milestone wasn’t only a line displaying the disenfranchised that that they had heroes, it was a line which allowed them to inform their tales from their very own perspective.
For the Milestone relaunch, a few of the unique inventive staff’s most celebrated expertise have returned to reply the name. But Milestone has at all times stood to advertise new voices as nicely. So, in the Milestone spirit, it’s actually not sufficient to know the names Virgil Hawkins, Augustus Freeman and Curtis Metcalf—it’s simply as necessary to know the expertise behind them too.
The Old Guard
To be sure that the new wave of Milestone Comics follows in the spirit of what got here earlier than (and in addition as a result of a lot of the individuals who labored on them simply love these characters, and nonetheless have extra to say) a lot of the names you’ll see on this new line of comics have been there throughout the unique ‘90s wave.
One of the artists on Static: Season One is Christopher “ChrisCross” Williams, who broke into comics by the Milestone line. ChrisCross was the definitive artist for Milestone’s Blood Syndicate, penciling over two thirds of the collection with author Ivan Velez, Jr. ChrisCross has been lending his skills to DC ever since these early Milestone days, on titles like Firestorm, Superman/Batman and Xero—a difficult title written by Christopher Priest in 1997 a few Black authorities murderer who disguised himself in the subject as a white man. Most just lately, ChrisCross drew the inaugural Vixen story for the launch of DC’s Truth & Justice and illustrated the Icon and Rocket pages in the Milestone Returns #0 one-shot. In this new age for Milestone, will ChrisCross be returning to the Blood Syndicate that launched his profession, 28 years in the past? We’ll should see, however I wouldn’t wager in opposition to it.
Denys Cowan, certainly one of Milestone Media’s unique founders, will probably be returning as nicely to pencil Hardware—a activity he first took on for the character’s original series in 1993. Cowan has been penciling for DC since 1980, hasn’t stopped in 4 a long time, and has solely refined his signature type with each passing 12 months. As if co-founding Milestone itself wasn’t sufficient, Cowan produced Static Shock as an animated collection and in addition served as Senior Vice President of Animation at BET, the place he helped develop The Boondocks. And earlier than any of that, Cowan established himself as the most definitive artist of the Question since Steve Ditko, penciling the faceless truthseeker with author Denny O’Neil and inker and frequent collaborator Bill Sienkiewicz. This legendary Question artwork staff just lately reunited for The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage underneath DC’s Black Label imprint. Bill’s been working for DC himself since 1984, and this time Denys is bringing his frequent partner-in-art together with him for this long-awaited second spherical on Hardware.
The First-Time Veterans
Milestone has at all times stood aside for what must be an uncontroversial function, and but one which has been uncared for by the bigger comedian trade for many years: to supply a platform for minority voices in comics, unrequired to compete with the systemically created glut of white males who populate each different nook of the trade. It’s a mission assertion which has attracted and impressed a few of the largest names in comics from outdoors the normal form and coloration of a comic book e-book artist or author, so it must be no shock that a couple of veterans have seized the alternative to take part in the Milestone relaunch as nicely.
It’s probably that none of this may be occurring in any respect—at the least, not on this kind, presently—with out the ceaseless efforts of Reginald Hudlin, a person who has at all times believed in the Milestone Brand. Hudlin spent a few years engaged on Black Panther for Marvel Comics, and has been a author, producer, and director of flicks and tv since 1990. You could also be acquainted with a movie known as Django Unchained—that’s certainly one of his productions. His first DC work was a commemorative one-shot for Jack Kirby’s a hundredth birthday, celebrating two of DC’s Black heroes created by the comics nice: Black Racer and Shilo Norman. Hudlin will probably be co-writing Icon and Rocket, and doing his darnedest to make the collection’ unique author Dwayne McDuffie proud.
Also engaged on Icon and Rocket is artist Doug Braithwaite, an African-English penciler who’s been working with DC since 1989’s Doom Patrol #25. Along with a formidable physique of labor at Marvel, Braithwaite helped outline the look of Oliver Queen’s son, Connor Hawke as the Emerald Archer himself in Green Arrow #125-137, penciled with the nice Alex Ross on the lavishly illustrated Justice, and most just lately has been drawing covers for The Next Batman: Second Son.
Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz will probably be penciling and inking Hardware with author Brandon Thomas. Thomas has contributed a narrative or two to DC in the previous, notably in current anthology titles, however is finest identified for his creator-owned work resembling the interplanetary warfare story Horizon, the excessive stakes astronaut mission Noble and the excessive fantasy epic Excellence. Thomas has demonstrated himself repeatedly as a author of broad and numerous expertise, and as such we’d be well-advised to enter his Hardware: Season One anticipating nothing however the sudden.
The New School
It’s at all times good to see a trusted and acquainted face when choosing up a brand new comedian. But if the “Milestone Returns” relaunch was only a assortment of trade legends and veterans, it wouldn’t actually be Milestone. This line has at all times strived to be a platform for the unheard to be heard, and the unseen, seen. So it ought to come as no shock to seek out new faces in the Milestone expertise pool this 12 months as nicely.
Vita Ayala isn’t precisely new to comics—they’ve been steadily burning up that charts of comics’ high expertise since their debut in 2017’s New Talent Showcase—however Vita’s rising star continues to be removed from its zenith. Vita’s been contributing highly effective tales to a lot of DC’s anthology titles over the previous 4 years, together with a captivating Renee Montoya characteristic on this month’s DC Pride. And whereas they’ve been making most of their huge strikes over at Marvel, we’re proud to have lured them again to DC to write down Static: Season One.
Drawing Static with ChrisCross is Nikolas Draper-Ivey, whose first work for DC was in Milestone Returns #0 itself. Nikolas’s manga-inspired artwork type is showcased in his creator-owned afro-futurist sci-fi motion collection XOGenasys, and by chance seems to be bringing that very same aptitude to Static. After all, Virgil Hawkins followers KNOW that nerd’s obtained a deep bench of tankōbon.
That brings us to Leon Chills, who will probably be co-writing Icon and Rocket with Reginald Hudlin. Chills was the producer of the 2019 movie The Black Godfather and is a workers author on the ice-skating drama Spinning Out. Icon and Rocket will probably be his first work in the comedian e-book medium. I’m excited to listen to what he has to say.
So what about you? Which new Milestone Comics collection has you most excited? Which author or artist are you most thrilled to see? Head on over to the DC Community and tell us!
Alex Jaffe is the writer of our month-to-month “Ask the Question” column and writes about TV, films, comics and superhero historical past for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and discover him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed on this characteristic are solely these of Alex Jaffe and don’t essentially mirror these of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.