SDCC: Milestone Media Returns to DC Comics as "Earth-M"

The Milestone Media characters are back at DC Comics.

The publisher announced at a press event Saturday morning that "Dakota universe" characters such as Static Shock, Icon and Hardware will return to DC as residents of "Earth-M," part of the DC multiverse. New projects are on the way, with creators including Milestone co-founder Denys Cowan, "Milestone 2.0" partner Reginald Hudlin, DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. No specific projects or release dates have yet been released.

"We have to keep this company alive," Milestone co-founder Derek T. Dingle told the gathered press as to the reasons for bringing back the company. "We have to maintain diversity in this industry."

"It was a call that we could not ignore. We had to do it," Hudlin added. "This has been a very complicated deal to put together. Their patience, their perseverance, has been incredible."

The initial plan is for "Earth-M" stories to be told as up to two hardcover graphic novels a year, plus an "as yet-to-be-determined number" of miniseries and one-shots. Static Shock, Icon, Rocket, Hardware and Xombi are specifically mentioned by DC as returning, with new heroes and villains promised as well.

Milestone's comics debuted in the 1990s as part of a unique publishing partnership with DC -- Milestone was a separate company, but its comics were published and distributed by DC, who shared the profits while Milestone retained creative control. Though the Milestone characters were originally depicted as existing in their own separate fictional universe, a latter revival starting in 2008 saw them integrated into mainstream DC continuity. Now, the characters will once again be separate -- but maybe not entirely.

"I felt that the most successful 'Static' series were in their own world," Hudlin told CBR News. "I thought in the case of Milestone, they were stronger on their own. That said, there will be some surprising integrations that you'll see later." Hudlin said that, like the original Milestone, the new Milestone comics will likely feature both DC and Milestone logos.

While the exact details haven't been revealed, Hudlin said to CBR that it's likely Lee will draw a story written by him, and that Cowan will illustrate a story written by Johns. Hudlin told the crowd that he's written more than 100 pages of a new "Static" story.

Milestone Media was founded in 1993 by Cowan, Dingle, Michael Davis and the late Dwayne McDuffie, with the goal of promoting diversity in the comics industry through both its characters and behind-the-scenes talent, along with an emphasis on social issues. Christopher Priest worked closely in the development of Milestone but left the company before its launch -- though Hudlin confirmed to CBR that he's working with the new Milestone on as as-yet unrevealed project. Earlier this year, Hudlin, Cowan and Dingle announced the return of Milestone, under the unofficial moniker "Milestone 2.0."

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