SPEAKER INFO: REGINALD HUDLIN, Writer, Producer, Director, Executive Oscar and Emmy nominated producer and director Reginald Hudlin is one of the most influential filmmakers of his generation. Hudlin’s latest directorial effort is SAFETY, a sports drama that just debuted on Disney Plus and is a critically acclaimed hit. Hudlin recently directed THE BLACK GODFATHER, an award-winning documentary streaming on Netflix. He also recently directed the legal thriller MARSHALL, starring Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall, with Josh Gad, Kate Hudson and Sterling K. Brown.Hudlin is the first African American to executive produce the Emmys. Hudlin also produced The Oscars, for which he received an Emmy nomination. Additionally, he has been the executive producer of the NAACP Image Awards for the past seven years.In 2012, he was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award as one of the producers of Quentin Tarantino’s Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning film DJANGO UNCHAINED, which is one of the top-grossing Westerns of all time.Hudlin wrote and directed his first film HOUSE PARTY which was one of the most profitable films of its decade and spawned a franchise.His second film BOOMERANG was a hit for Eddie Murphy and helped launch the careers of Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock and Halle Berry. Hudlin wrote and produced the first African American feature film BEBE’S KIDS. In television he was an executive producer of THE BOONDOCKS and wrote and produced THE BLACK PANTHER animated series based on the Marvel comic book series he wrote for 4 years. He is a co-owner of Milestone Media, who in partnership with Warner Media is developing multi-ethnic superhero properties for print, movies and television. Reginald received the Icon Award at the San Diego Comic con for his contributions to the medium.Hudlin is one of the few filmmakers to also run a major media company. He was the first president of entertainment for Black Entertainment Television, the biggest black media company in the world. He created B.E.T.’s first full slate of original shows and an award winning news division. Hudlin has produced award winning special BEAR WITNESS, TAKE ACTION for YouTube. Using roundtables of experts, short films by young filmmakers, music and more, the show explores the causes of recent civil unrests and proposes solutions to heal our nation. The show was so successful Hudlin recently completed a sequel.Hudlin is a longtime board member of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He is also a member of Wasatch, a community of leaders in entertainment, technology and politics who focus on solving global problems. He has been a governor of the Motion Picture Academy, a member of the Television Academy, has been a Vice President of the Producers Guild, and a member of the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild. Hudlin has been honored by the NAACP, The American Civil Liberties Union, The United Negro College Fund, The Sundance Film Festival, The American Film Institute, The San Diego Comic Con, The African American Film Critics Association, and many more venerable organizations.
Artist(s): Denys Cowan, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, Chris Cross
Colorist(s): Nikolas Draper-Ivey, Chris Sotomayor, WIl Quintana
Letterer: AndWorld Design
Publisher: DC Comics
Genre: Action, Drama, Slice of Life, Superhero
Published Date: 03/16/2021
By Tyson Yurai
Some said that it would never happen – that it could never happen, but here we are. Milestone is finally back and with a vengeance. Tapping into the heart of a divided America, can Milestone Comics re-cement their place as one of the most progressive group of storytellers under the banner of DC Comics or will they prove themselves to be a flash in the pan with the comic book audiences of the modern day?
I feel so vindicated.
I have been pushing for a Milestone comeback since the 2015 and 2017 announcements never materialized into anything tangible and have been angrily shouting into the void (and at Jim Lee on Instagram) to bring back the rich, and often timely, universe of Milestone. Thankfully, with Milestone Returns #0, that dream is slowly becoming more real with a bevy of new books and stories set up and announced – and thankfully the lead up was well worth the wait.
Reginald Hudlin, who wrote both this and the Fandome Preview, was likely very inspired and angry about the rampant police brutality going on in America over the last decade and decided that comics needed to face the issue head on, much like Milestone had done back in the early ’90s under Dwayne McDuffie, Derek T. Dingle, Michael Davis and Denys Cowan. They wanted to show what the black experience was like through the eyes of comic book characters that would go on to inspire a new generation of writers and artists, showing them that they too could be welcome in the spaces of comic book fandom.
The Fandome Preview, which released digitally in August 2020, showed off what I would say were some of the initial ideas that Hudlin and the rest of his creative teams had in mind and probably will still do down the line with Xombi, Dharma and other possible series. That book was framed around the idea of Rocket and Icon looking towards the hopes and possible threats of the Milestone Universe and it felt a bit wonky in places with a lot of exposition dumping trying to bring new readers up to speed with old concepts.
Acting as more of a retooling of the Milestone Returns Fandome Preview (which is also included at the end of the book), The Big Bang story acts as the linchpin to hook readers in to the modernized world of Milestone – taking inspiration from the recent Black Lives Matter Protests after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, police with military-grade armaments and an experimental chemical agent fire into the crowd of protestors. This causes a series of deaths, maimings and physiological changes to many of those involved, giving several attendees super powers!
Where The Big Bang succeeds over the Fandome Preview is that, as previously stated, it finds a way to make the incident the biggest throughline between the various parties of Milestone with villainous inventor and businessman Edwin Alva’s company being the supplier of the chemical agent. This leads to its creator, Curtis Metcalf, to anticipate the heat that’s going to come down on him as he becomes Hardware to clear his name. At the same time, Icon and Rocket, two more of Milestone’s flagship characters, are conducting a drug raid in Colombia when they hear the news of what’s going on in Dakota. This draws their concern, especially since Rocket attends the same school as Virgil Hawkins – aka. Static.
The art for this story was absolutely fantastic. Starting off with relative newcomer, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, the book is immediately injected with an immense amount of energy and optimism rivalling that of original Static artist John Paul Leon – with highly expressive faces, Ivey captures the anger and division between the residents of Dakota and the paramilitary police that the city has hired to disperse the “riots.” Even the “exaggerated swagger of a black teen” that Virgil himself displays further endears the young hero to new and old readers alike through sly smiles and serious looks when talking to love interest Frieda and rival Francis “Hotstreak” Stone respectively. His clean lines and vibrant colors give Static’s story a sleek feel for a smooth character.
In stark contrast to Ivey’s style, Denys Cowan returns for the Hardware segments and injects a little bit of grime into the comic with the hero’s more industrial and darker edge. Cowan shows the cold, unforgiving side of being a black man in a multi-billion dollar company by illustrating how Curtis isn’t surprised that he’ll be the scapegoat for the Dakota Big Bang. Through calculated body movement and stone-cold, determined looks, Hardware prepares himself to push back against the corporation that would destroy him. Alongside Bill Sienkiewicz’ dark inks and Cowan’s own hatched shading, the story feels a lot more serious to match Hardware’s character and does well to show what the future ongoing series will look and feel like.
And finally, ChrisCross, Juan Castro and Wil Quintana do an amazing job with the Icon and Rocket story by showing the seriousness and power of Icon next to the youthful exuberance of Rocket, giving them perfect complementary personalities to each other. ChrisCross and Quintana come together to show Rocket’s power with explosive blasts of purple that sling drug dealer debris everywhere and Icon’s deep red heat rays and also purple telekinesis. Castro’s inks accentuate these colors by making them pop through his very thick lines and black shadows.
If you’ve been a fan of Milestone Comics and have been seeking more stories that represent black people in positive lights, Milestone Returns is the book for you! Through Reginald Hudlin’s charge and the awesome teams that have been put together, the Milestone resurgence is well underway and I can’t wait to see just how amazing all of the upcoming stories will be!
A legendary teacher at Sumner High School. Sumner was one of those legendary high schools that black communities often had that educated generations of high achievers.
Richard Hudlin played tennis for the University of Chicago from 1926 to 1928. He served as captain of the 1928 team, establishing himself as the first African-American to serve as captain of a tennis team at a “Big Ten” college. This accomplishment is made even more remarkable when one realizes that Richard was the only Black man on the team from 1926-1928.
But, he didn’t stop there. In 1945 he filed a lawsuit against the MUNY Tennis Association of St. Louis to open public tennis facilities to all players, most particularly to players of color. He won the legal battle, thus enabling Blacks to participate in tournaments at St. Louis municipal facilities.
Champions Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe spent time with Mr. Hudlin in St. Louis honing their skills at the Armory tennis courts. On the slick, lightening-fast wood surface Arthur was transformed from a back-court player into a serve-volley specialist, a game that would serve him well during his professional career. Arthur completed his final year of High School at Sumner High under Mr. Hudlin’s tutelage.
Mr. Hudlin was a champion as well as a champion maker. He was a teacher, leader, mentor, supporter, donator and defender.
Althea Gibson became the first African American player of either gender to be allowed to compete in both national and international tennis competition.
Ms Gibson wasted little time in justifying tennis’ wisdom in granting her the right to play. In 1956 she became the first African American to win a grand slam, the French Open. The following year, she won Wimbledon. She repeated as Wimbledon champion in 1958.
Arthur went on to become a three-time grand slam champion. He is still the only black American male to win a slam. He won three, Wimbledon, the U S Open, and the Australian Open.
Richard Hudlin passed away in 1976, living long enough to see both Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe win the U.S. Open and the prestigious Wimbledon titles.