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SYFY WIRE Original Video

Be my Icon! How Milestone Media reshaped the comics industry (Part 2)

By Mike Avila

Milestone Media was the brainchild of Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, Derek T. Dingle, and Dwayne McDuffie, from which came Milestone Comics in 1993. But after only four years, the Milestone Universe titles came to an end among tensions with DC Comics and low sales.

However, the end of this chapter was the beginning of another. Milestone Comics didn't resonate just because they featured a diverse cast of characters and creators: they pushed the medium forward in important ways. And in the aftermath of Milestone's fall, it was McDuffie who kept the flame alive.

McDuffie's issues with DC have been well chronicled, but he remained with Milestone after his co-founders left. McDuffie's transition into animation directly led to the Static Shock cartoon, which made Static the lead in his own show that was retroactively placed in the same continuity as Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League. Static Shock greatly increased Static's visibility with non-comic book readers and lit a spark for a Milestone revival.

In 2008, McDuffie incorporated several Milestone characters into his run on the Justice League comic while he also wrapped up the original Milestone Universe with a story that explained how the characters came to be a part of the DC Universe. Once again, Static was the biggest beneficiary as he became a member of the Teen Titans and ultimately landed his own ongoing series in 2011 as part of The New 52 reboot.

Sadly, McDuffie's untimely death in 2011 was a staggering blow to Milestone. The remaining founders planned to bring Milestone back, but legal entanglements have kept it from happening so far. However, DC still seems very interested in reviving the Milestone characters, and both Static and Rocket appeared in the Young Justice: Outsiders animated series on DC Universe as recently as last year.

For more details about Milestone's resurgence, check out the second part of SYFY WIRE's special episode of Behind the Panel!