Sunday, August 31, 2008

[comics] Milestone characters joining the DC Universe

Yeah, I'm pretty excited about this. According to Newsarama, a few characters from the lamented 1990s comics imprint Milestone--specifically, Icon, Static, and the Shadow Cabinet, I think--will finally be brought back, this time as part of the DC Universe. I heard some theories about exactly this kind of thing happening, back around Milestone's demise in the late '90s. At the time, the idea kind of bugged me, since it had already been established in Milestone continuity that DC's heroes were known in the setting as comic book characters (which made that "Worlds Collide" crossover they did kind of weird), and I was a big continuity purist. Fortunately, I've gotten over caring much about that kind of thing, so I'm totally happy about this.

I think the fact that Milestone's beautiful experiment didn't work out back then kind of indicates that I should make a case for why this is awesome. Milestone, sadly, was written off as "DC's hip-hop imprint" by a lot of folks, and generally seen as just another line of superhero comics, except with black characters. The first problem with this perception is the idea that Milestone wasn't black-exclusive at all: The casts of its books were generally very diverse, both ethnically and sexually. The other problem with Milestone's image is that the characters' demographic checkboxes were never really the most important thing about the books: The big draw for me was the fact that they tended to have much smarter writing than the other superhero books of the era.

Of course, the writing and the characters are two completely separate components, so I can't really expect that ever DC writer who uses these characters will use them as well as their original books did. But, hell, they've got Dwayne McDuffie himself--creator of the Milestone line--leading the whole return. Also, I'm of the opinion that DC is a better company now than it was back then, anyway, so I'm pretty optimistic.


Gerry Swanson said...

This reminded me of this video I saw the other day where P. Diddy is going on about how proud he is of the movie Hancock, lamenting how there's never been a black superhero before.

Which is pretty funny considering they had Black Panther before he was born, and Luke Cage, and Storm from the X-men that I can think of from Marvel right now... And DC eventually had a black Green Lantern. And Spawn was black.

If we're talking about movies, they've had Spawn, Steel, Blade, three X-men movies with Storm in them. So Hancock isn't even the first black superhero movie. And as far as being a role model for kids, Hancock is pretty terrible.

Gerry Swanson said...

Oh and as far as Static being part of the DC universe, I already think of him that way, because I watched the cartoon, and I think it crossed over with the Superman animated series, and in a Justice League episode they had an episode that took place in the future where a very old Static, Batman Beyond Batman, and Green Lantern and Hawkgirl's son were all that was left of the Justice League.

Matt Sheridan said...

Man, what the hell. Even P. Diddy cannot be unaware of the movies you listed. Dude was talking out his ass. I wonder if he chose to disregard them because they weren't black enough. Or, maybe it's just that he only decided to acknowledge the movie he liked more.

Anyway, yeah, I remember that alternate future crossover in Justice League. Old Static was pretty awesome. Never got to see much of Static Shock, though, sadly.

Loved the character in the comics, though. He really stood out in comics as a astonishingly great portrayal of teenager. He didn't act like an adult or like a retard, you know? And of course I dug that he was a huge geek who was into comics and roleplaying games. And lots of really great dialog, there, too.

Shit, now I want to try and find some of those old books and see if they match up to my recollections.

0Khan said...

This is hot.

Been waiting for my milestone collection to catch fire. Ch-ching!

(Um, no, I'm not selling, as a matter of fact. :) )

I was just cruising around for an Icon image to set on my desktop..but this makes my day!

0Khan said...

Oh yeah, and somebody needs to send, like, 300 graphic novels worth of black superheroes to Puffy, he is still in the dark.