The late Dwayne McDuffie is an icon of the modern comics landscape. As the writer of offbeat and much-loved series like Damage Control and Beyond!, McDuffie’s work was wholly unique—and as a producer on Justice League Unlimited, he played a huge role in the development of one of the most iconic and successful superhero TV series ever made. Although he was a widely recognized, award-winning writer and editor, a big part of McDuffie’s legacy was the enormous amount of energy he put into championing diversity in comic books. To that end, he founded Milestone Media in 1993, to better represent minorities in the comics industry. Milestone’s comic books (which were published via an arrangement with DC) mostly petered out in the late 90s, while its characters—Static Shock being the most famous—would occasionally be brought back throughout the 2000s.
Now, in the four years since McDuffie’s death (he was 49), his former Milestone cofounders Derek Dingle and Denys Cowan—along with writer-producer Reginald Hudlin—are ready to bring Milestone back.
According to The Washington Post, Hudlin, Cowan, and Dingle are planning on bringing back Milestone’s roster of characters, from Static Shock to Icon and Xombi, while also introducing a bevy of new ones. The trio’s ambitions are huge—they don’t want to just return to comics, but to work across a variety of mediums (like that live-action Static Shock project). The company’s commitment to characters of color won’t waver in the least.
“We’ve never just done black characters just to do black characters,” Denys Cowan told the Post. “It’s always come from a specific point of view, which is what made our books work. What we also didn’t do, which is the trend now, is [to] have characters that are, not blackface, but they’re the black versions of the already established white characters — as if it gives legitimacy to these black characters in some kind of way — [that] these characters are legitimate because now there’s a black Captain America”
Even though it reads as a not-so-subtle jab at Marvel’s recent efforts, it’s also an ethos that’s definitely in keeping with McDuffie’s original intent for Milestone—to create a universe full of diverse heroes so that no one character would ever have to represent an entire race. But it’s not just about characters—a big part of Milestone’s legacy, and the trio’s plan for its revival, is in fostering diverse talent as well.
While the new Milestone hasn’t announced anything yet, Cowan hopes to show off the start of Milestone’s next chapter at this summer’s San-Diego Comic-Con.