Milestone Comics, a recently rebooted DC Comics’ imprint for Black creators, artists, and stories, just announced it’s an animated movie. Award-winning writer Brandon Thomas, who penned the critically acclaimed series Excellence, The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury, and Hardware: Season One, is already on board for the new animated film, according to the panel. The official announcement was made by Milestone’s Reggie Hudlin, former President of Entertainment for Black Entertainment Television (BET), and Milestone’s co-founder Denys Cowan, who was part of the original Milestone team, during Saturday’s DC FanDome online event.
Milestone’s animated film will feature multiple characters from the Milestone universe. The imprint is also home to Static Shock, a character who’s also getting a new feature film that will be produced by Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan via his Warner Bros.-based production company, Outlier. Almost two decades ago, the world first met Virgil Hawkins, a teenager who transforms into a superhero with electric powers after being exposed to toxic gas, on the small screen in the Static Shock animated series from 2000-2005 on the WB Network and The Cartoon Network. Also in the Milestone universe, are heroes like Icon and Rocket and Hardware, who have recently returned to the pages of comic books in Icon and Rocket: Season One by Hudlin, Leon Chills, Doug Braithwaite, Andrew Currie, and Brad Anderson and Hardware: Season One by Thomas, Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Chris Sotomayor.
Distributed by DC Comics, Milestone Media Inc. is the nation’s largest Black-owned comic book company, first launching in 1992. According to the company’s website, Milestone produced an average of eight monthly titles and sold more than 10 million copies for the six years the imprint was active, shuttering in 1998. After comics and animation icon Dwayne McDuffie’s sudden death in 2011, Milestone Media co-founders Hudlin, Cowan, and Derek Dingle decided to honor his legacy as a pioneer in the efforts to diversify the comic book industry by relaunching Milestone and opening up scholarship opportunities for young creators.
Kids’ WB launched the Static Shock cartoon in fall 2000, and the series immediately settled into the No. 2 spot in boys 6-11 category for ratings. The series, which was produced and directed by Cowan, also earned Emmy and Humanitas nominations for social responsibility. “The show has tackled a variety of interesting issues,” said Sander Schwartz, prexy of Warner Bros. Animation, in a 2003 interview with Variety. “It takes on so much, and in a way that isn’t preachy.” Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will once again be in charge of the Milestone characters onscreen, and it seems that the network is hoping for a similar response from audiences.
During Saturday’s DC FanDome event, even more information about the future of the Milestone superheroes was revealed that will further McDuffie’s legacy, including The Milestone Initiative. Created in partnership with Ally Bank, the initiative will help the next generation of comic book creators get their pen to the page through a training program at DC Comics. For creators selected to participate, they will have the chance to attend a week long seminar at DC’s Burbank offices, followed by an eight-week training course to be held online through the Kubert School for cartoon and graphic art. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.