Hudlin Entertainment

Los Angeles Times

Milestone movies are in the works, and new ‘Blood Syndicate’ comic series is coming.

BY JEVON PHILLIPS  OCT. 16, 2021  UPDATED 11:45 AM PT

Milestone Media announced new projects in comics and animation — plus a development initiative. (Milestone Media)

Back in 1993, a diverse comic book company was founded by a coalition of African American men that included artist Denys Cowan, writers Dwayne McDuffie and Michael T. Davis and Black Enterprise EVP/Chief Content Officer Derek T. Dingle. Milestone Media introduced readers to characters like the teen electric hero Static (whose “Static Shock” cartoon was on the WB Network, now CW, for four seasons starting in 2000), the brilliant armored Hardware, the alien powerhouse Icon and his partner, the kinetic-energy fueled Rocket. The group was called Milestone Media, and their existence influenced and inspired a generation of comics and superhero storytellers working today.

Milestone stopped producing comics in 1997, but after adding award-winning producer Reginald Hudlin (who produced the 2020 Emmy Awards) to its team, Milestone rejoined forces with DC in February and relaunched their four main titles this summer. During the virtual WB FanDome at a Saturday panel hosted by actor Echo Kellum, Cowan and Hudlin took another step in reestablishing and furthering the brand of Milestone by announcing a number of projects, including confirming that a “Static Shock” movie is currently being written by Randy McKinnon, and will be produced by Warner Bros. and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society.

A poster from the upcoming animated film from Milestone Media. (Milestone Media)

DC’s animated films are very popular, so when Hudlin and Cowan also announced that Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment are working on a Milestone animated movie, that’s a big deal. Hudlin mentioned that they’ve gotten lots of feedback from the comics on their “Black anime style,” and some of that will translate to the animated version. The film, based on a script by “Hardware: Season One” comics writer Brandon Thomas (who is also writing several Aquaman-focused comics series for DC), will apparently not be solely focused on one character, but will introduce many of the residents of the Dakotaverse.

“This has been the thing that Milestone fans have been dreaming about for a long time, and we’re happy to give it to you, finally,” said Cowan.

The “Blood Syndicate” comic book will be arriving in 2022. (Milestone Media)

Speaking of the residents of Dakota, the Milestone executive duo also revealed that they would be releasing an all-new In addition to the on-screen and publishing news, the Milestone Initiative was introduced. The program, with Ally, is the inaugural offering from DC’s Next Generation DC, a “talent recruitment, mentoring and development program designed to increase access and opportunities for writers, illustrators, and creatives from underrepresented communities,” according to its statement. It will give people the chance to apply for an opportunity to get a one-week in-person training seminar in DC’s Burbank offices, followed by an eight-week virtual technical training course through the Kubert School in the hopes of contributing to DC comic book content, expand representation and become comic book writers and artists themselves.

“Blood Syndicate” comic book series in 2022. The series, which featured a group of powered individuals from rival gangs who come together to form a team, was a fan favorite during their early-’90s run. No writer or artist has been named for the series yet.

In addition to announcing “Blood Syndicate,” a 1,300-page Milestone anthology will also be released in February 2022 as a part of DC’s Black History Month celebrations. Stories will be featured from Cowan, the late McDuffie, Ivan Velez, John Rozum, Frazer Irving, M.D. Bright and more. The compendium collects issues from the original series: Nos. 1-12 of “Blood Syndicate,” “Hardware” Nos. 1-12, “Icon” Nos. 1-10, “Static” Nos. 1-8, “Xombi” Nos. 1-8 and “Shadow Cabinet” No. 0.

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Variety

Warner Media Aims to Tie Milestone Comics Characters With a Sponsor

By Brian Steinberg

Courtesy of Warner Media

Comic-book characters like Static, Icon and Hardware once broke open new opportunities for minorities to gain representation in mainstream super-hero titles. Now the company that published their exploits hopes to bring new creators  — and advertising opportunities — into the mix.

WarnerMedia will through its DC comics unit launch the Milestone Initiative, a bid to identify new  writers and artists with diverse background in the comic book industry. The effort is a nod to Milestone Media, the now iconic line of comics that was devised by a group of Black creators in the early 1990s and published with DC. Ally Financial, a digitally-focused financial-services company, will support the program with advertising and sponsorships.

“Super hero and comic culture is massive and has a broad reach, so I think we are going to get a really big universe of people that will really be into this,” says Andrea Brimmer,  Ally’s chief marketing and public relations officer, in an interview.

U.S. based creatives can apply for a development program that includes a one-week in-person training seminar in DC’s offices in Burbank. CA,  followed by an eight-week virtual training course through the Kubert School, a training academy for comics hopefuls. The goal is to recruit writers, illustrators, and creatives from underrepresented communities to contribute to DC comic book content, and expand the types of stories used for DC’s stable of characters, which include Batman, Superman and Plastic Man.

More advertisers are looking to broaden the types of consumers they reach. In recent months, several top media-buying agencies have unveiled new programs aimed at identifying media outlets owned by executives from minority backgrounds. Some of the efforts have come about under pressure in the wake of a national reckoning on race and culture after the killing of George Floyd while in the custody of police in Minneapolis.

Milestone’s characters have yet to attain the profile of  Wonder Woman or Flash, but they still command respect among comics aficionados. Milestone was co-founded in 1993 by artist Denys Cowan, writers Dwayne McDuffie and Michael T. Davis and Black Enterprise executive Derek T. Dingle in a bid to address not only the lack of superheroes of color in comics, but also a paucity of storytellers of color creating the content. The company’s creations, which also include Hardware and the Blood Syndicate, continue to resonate.

Milestone Media joined with DC again in February, and relaunches of comics featuring Static and Rocket, among other characters, have surfaced in recent months.

Ally expects to surface in some of the content that creators who take part in the program devise. “We can authentically show up in that and there is a heavy focus around all kinds of content that will come out of this, things where we definitely plan on there being a part for us,” says Brimmer.

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BLERDCORE

September 29 at 7:12 PM

Reading Icon Season one #3 be like, every page…. Every issue has been great, but issue #3 by far is my favorite…. review coming soon… lots to dissect #Milestoneisback

Obasi Jaheem AmareBlerd-core

September 30 at 5:08 PM  · 

Icon Season One #3: Politics & Black Power

This issue was riveting, I loved the assiduous detail to showcasing the authentic governmental response to a Black man with superpowers. This may seem like a miniscule task, but I’m often perplexed at how swiftly writers tend to gloss over the antithetical resistance white imperialism would impose. Icon and rocket orchestrated radical action, they decided to prioritize Black people and otherized ethnic groups by thwarting drug syndicates internationally. This is elegant “threading” from issue #1, in which Icon articulated stopping drugs in the community goes beyond the streets… Icon went to the suppliers, this is radical because Black folks selling drugs often become “the fall guy” for corporate level tycoons shipping the drugs in the community.

I enjoyed the specificity of the political exchanges that displayed the depravity and perfidious nature of government officials, that extended itself all the way to the president. As the government officials discussed “the war on drugs” wasn’t necessarily about dilapidation of it’s economic influence, as drug money is clandestinely “cleaned” and redistributed by the banking system; which ultimately serves a political expediency the government can’t jeopardize. This to me was a salient microscopic look at the machinations of the government, and it’s duplicitous penchant to violate it’s own mortality. This scene is pivotal, because teenagers typically may not care about it but this scene gives them an understanding of what “politics” is.

The level of moral ambiguity asserted in deference to maintaining of the global economy, was a brilliant display of governments willingness to be malevolent as an “economic crisis” outweighs the victims of drug abuse. I love the diatribe articulated by Adele who impugned the character of those in the government. Ultimately, this issue was sublime! Milestone is back Milestone Media LLC

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SCREEN RANT:

Two articles from SCREEN RANT.  One that “gets it”, and one that doesn’t.  You be the judge.

Superman’s Death is So Much Darker in DC’s Milestone Universe

Superman’s death was one of the biggest events in the DC Universe, but his death in the Milestone Universe was much darker and disturbing.

BY SHAUN CORLEY

Spoilers ahead for Icon and Rocket Season One #3!

While Superman’s death in the main DC universe was grim, it is nothing compared to his death in the Milestone Universe. In Icon and Rocket Season One #3, readers see more of the enigmatic Icon’s past, and learn that his adversary, the mysterious Mr. Lord, once brutally murdered an alien bearing a strong resemblance to Clark Kent.

Icon was part of the first wave of titles offered by Milestone Media in the early 1990s; the line’s goal was to bring more diversity to comics by focusing on BIPOC characters. Icon is over 200 years old, an alien who crash-landed on a plantation in Northern Georgia in the 1840s, after the ship he was traveling on was attacked by terrorists. His escape pod was found by a slave couple, and when they touched it, it reconfigured Icon’s DNA to match that of a human. In Milestone’s original incarnation, Icon did not involve himself in human affairs until he met his future sidekick Rocket, who challenged him to use his powers to better the world. However, when the character returned as part of a reinvigorated Milestone earlier this year, his history was extensively rewritten. Now, readers learn, Icon had been active since arriving on Earth, covertly ending the Civil War, among other actions. But along the way he has made some powerful enemies, including Mister Lord, who killed a young version of Superman.

In Icon and Rocket Season One #3 by Reginald Hudlin, Leon Chills, Doug Braithwaite, Andrew Currie, Brad Anderson readers learn that the terrorist who hijacked Icon’s ship is still alive and living on Earth. He goes by the name Mister Lord and is employed by the CIA. Lord specifically deals with alien threats, eliminating them before they can go public. One of Lord’s handlers reveals that in 1939, he traveled to a small town in Kansas to eliminate an alien who had “already embedded himself with the locals.” Readers then see a couple cradling an infant near a crashed rocket ship. Later that night, Lord uses his shape-shifting abilities to sneak into the farmhouse and kill the baby.

In essence, Mister Lord killed Superman. Everything Lord’s handler described: the downed rocket ship, the small town in Kansas, an infant demonstrating fantastic powers—are classic elements of Superman’s origin. Yet here, Superman is killed in his crib by Mister Lord, bringing the Man of Steel’s story to a close before it can truly begin. Icon himself is a Superman pastiche, adding another layer to Lord’s actions; furthermore, Lord’s body is made of the one substance that can truly hurt Icon, making Lord all the more frightening.

It now falls on Icon and Rocket to stop Mister Lord’s reign of terror once and for all. Lord’s list of crimes in the Milestone Universe are many, but brutally murdering Superman in his crib might be the most grotesque.

DC’s Icon & Rocket Shows Why Superman Can’t Fix The Entire World

A common criticism of Superman is he does not use his fantastic powers to fix the world’s problems, and now DC has explained why he can’t.

BY SHAUN CORLEY

Spoilers ahead for Icon and Rocket Season One #3!

A common criticism leveled at Superman is why he does not simply use his fantastic powers to solve all the world’s problems. While fans and ethicists continue this debate, DC has explained why he cannot. In Icon and Rocket Season One #3, on sale now in print and digital, Icon, Milestone’s Superman pastiche, begins stamping out the global drug trade—a move that has serious and unintended consequences.

Icon is an alien who crash-landed on a plantation in Georgia in the 1840s. After his ship was found by a slave couple, it reconfigured his DNA to make him human in appearance. Icon would then live as a human, occasionally interfering in human affairs – such as ending the Civil War – but mostly staying out of history’s way. All of that changes, however, when three young people break into his house, forcing him to use his powers and reveal his secret. Later, one of the young people, Raquel Ervin, returns to Icon’s house and challenges him to use his incredible powers to help people. Icon accepts and takes Raquel on as his sidekick, Rocket. Icon has an impact almost immediately, cleaning up the streets and making Dakota City safe again. But when he takes the fight to the global drug trade, readers can see why it is best Superman-level heroes like Icon do not try to solve the world’s problems. The issue is written by Reginald Hudlin and Leon Chills with art by Dough Braithwaite and Andrew Currie, with colors by Brad Anderson.

The issue opens with Icon and Rocket destroying a poppy field in Afghanistan, cutting off a major supply of heroin. Readers also learn the duo has destroyed facilities all over Latin America as well as in Japan. Icon and Rocket’s actions are sending ripples across the world—and many of the global elite are not happy. The global economy, being intertwined with the drug trade, has come to a screeching halt because of Icon and Rocket, and the elites want the two of them out of the way.

Since Superman’s introduction in 1938, fans have wondered why, with all of the powers at his disposal, he does not single-handedly dispose of dictators or destroy drug production facilities. Icon’s dilemma in this issue shows why Superman does not fix the world: the unintended consequences. Rocket and Icon want nothing more than to stop the flow of illegal narcotics, but when they do so they learn the blowback is immense. The drug trade is, unfortunately, part of the global economy, and when it was disrupted, it affected other sectors as well. Icon and Rocket did not intend for this to happen, showing why superheroes should not try to solve some human problems.

Superman is one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Universe, and if he wished, could easily fix most of the world’s problems. However, there are compelling reasons for him not to, and Icon and Rocket Season One #3 shows why.

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