As part of the DC FanDome event, DC Comics and Milestone Media Company, LLC co-founder Denys Cowan and Milestone Media producer Reggie Hudlin announced The Milestone Initiative, a new program from DC, Milestone Media and WarnerMedia in collaboration with Ally.
This initiative aims “to identify, support and elevate emerging diverse writers and artists within the comic book industry,” by offering up the opportunity for budding creators to apply to the The Milestone Initiative Development Program. A program “which includes a one-week in-person training seminar in DC’s Burbank, CA offices, followed by an eight-week virtual technical training course through the prestigious Kubert School, where participants can hone their storytelling skills and become part of the next wave of great comic book writers and artists.”
“The Milestone Initiative is the inaugural program from DC’s Next Generation DC, a talent recruitment, mentoring and development program designed to increase access and opportunities for writers, illustrators, and creatives from underrepresented communities across the globe to contribute to DC comic book content, expand representation and tell authentic stories featuring some of the most recognizable characters in comics.”
Given artist Denys Cowan, writers Dwayne McDuffie and Michael T. Davis and Black Enterprise EVP/Chief Content Officer Derek T. Dingle, co-founded Milestone Media in 1993 with the intent to address the lack of characters of colour as well as creators of colour, this is the obvious and progressive next step forward for the company’s evolution.
In collaboration with DC, Milestone Media created the fictional city of Dakota, and some of the most unique and innovative characters in comics, such as Static, Icon, Hardware, Blood Syndicate and others.
Daniel Cherry III, Senior Vice President and General Manager, DC explains how it’s also a step forward for its Next Generation DC program too:
“The Milestone Initiative Development Program is the perfect project for debuting Next Generation DC. Our current lineup of Milestone titles have released to great critical and sales success, expanding the loyal fanbase, while at the same time inviting new readers to experience the ‘Dakotaverse’ and its heroes. For many black and diverse artists and writers, Milestone is part of their comic book DNA, and we are thankful to partner with Ally to help these new voices be heard in addition to adding to Milestone’s legacy.”
According to Zippia, Black comic book creators make up only 4.9% of writers and 3.4% of artists. Asian creators make up only 4.2% of writers and 8.4% of artists, and Hispanic or Latinx creators make up 7.1% of writers and 11.7% of artists.
“From its earliest years, representation, impact and mentorship have always been at the heart of Milestone Media, and we’re proud and excited to partner with DC, WarnerMedia and Ally on Next Generation DC and The Milestone Initiative, cultivating the next great wave of diverse storytellers.” – Denys Cowan.
To aid in this new talent drive, The Milestone Initiative Development Program, WarnerMedia’s ad sales division will be creating a full slate of all-new content in collaboration with digital financial services company Ally, who are “committed to advancing economic mobility and empowerment for underrepresented communities by providing funding, mentorship and access to opportunity that individuals need to succeed.”
Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer, Ally, had more to say about its involvement:
“The Milestone Initiative is a powerful extension of Ally’s overall commitment to financial and social inclusion. It is very much in line with our other programs, all of which provide rich, immersive experiences that create pathways for success in grossly underrepresented fields. Programs like our annual Moguls in the Making business pitch competition for HBCU students and our work with the University Growth Fund to drive diversity in venture capital are about opening doors that have previously been closed to many Black Americans. We are proud to be a part of empowering and elevating diverse creators, and increasing representation of these storytellers to reflect the diversity of our communities.”
And, as well as this announcement we also got the news of a new Blood Syndicate comic book series as well as news that a Static Shock feature film is in production with Warner Bros. and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society and Milestone animated movie based on a screenplay by Hardware Season One writer Brandon Thomas. That’s wuite the roll out of news, I think you’ll agree.
To learn more about The Milestone Initiative Development Program and submit an application, fans can visit the website at www.dcuniverse.com/milestone.