As just announced at the DC: A Guide to Your Universe panel at San Diego Comic-Con, the Milestone characters are coming to the DC Universe in a big way.
The characters and universe, originally created in the mid ‘90s by Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle were owned by Milestone Media, a wholly separate business entity from DC Comics, but were published by DC through an agreement which saw the characters exist in their own separate universe. Milestone ceased publication of its comics in 1997, and ever since, fans have wondered when they would come back.
Newsarama was able to speak with DC’s Dan DiDio about the return of the characters.
Newsarama: Dan, the return of the Milestone characters/Universe is something that’s a perennial question at DC panels at virtually every con you attend, and something that you’ve said you’d like to see happen for a long time now. What was holding this up?
Dan DiDio: We have a number of people who are extremely passionate about these characters, and we had to make sure that everybody’s needs were serviced. It just took time to make the deal. We spent an inordinate amount of time trying to make this work, and believe me, every second that we spent on it was well worth it. To be able to explore these characters and tell new stories with these characters is something that I’ve wanted to do since I walked in the doors of DC Comics. This is something that I feel very, very proud to participate in.
NRAMA: So let’s talk about the plan – it’s not just the return of the imprint as its own self-contained unit, correct? This is characters come back into the DC Universe, as you said…
DD: Right. They’re coming back, and are coming right into the forefront, and right into the big storylines in the DC Universe. The great thing is, we have Dwayne McDuffie who is one of the owners and creators of the Milestone characters working for us and also of course, writing Justice League of America, so he’s going to finding ways to incorporate the characters into the storylines that are going to be unfolding within Justice League.
We were also able to find a way with Dwayne to work other Milestone characters into other areas and series of the DCU.
NRAMA: Bigger picture – you speak of the hows, but why? Why bring the Milestone characters back, and specifically fold them into the DC Universe?
DD: There are so many wonderful characters in that world that really can help round out and help strengthen the entire DC Universe.
NRAMA: In what way? Obviously, when you say that, there will be people who think, “Oh, he’s just talking about adding more minority characters…”
DD: I specifically stayed away from saying that, because that’s not what it’s about. There is a depth to these characters, there is an awareness to these characters, there’s a strength in personality, and there’s great development in these characters. When you have characters like ICON, Static, Hardware, the Shadow Cabinet…these are great characters and great concepts in their own right. This isn’t about a diversity issue – this is about bringing great material into the DC Universe, and being able to add value to everything that we do.
NRAMA: And Dakota will now join Gotham and Metropolis, Star City, Midway and others as a location within the DCU?
DD: Absolutely. And we will be seeing this as if all our characters are meeting the Milestone characters for the first time. Even though we had the “Worlds Collide” crossover in the mid ‘90s, we will not be addressing that storyline. Instead, we will be meeting them for the first time within the DC Universe.
NRAMA: You said that Dwayne is going to be starting this reintroduction in Justice League - what about the rest?
DD: You’ll be seeing other characters show up in other series. It’s going to be very organic and very natural in the way that we bring them in.
Also – we will be working on a couple of other levels with Dwayne on this. We will be collecting the old Milestone material, and reissuing that in trade paperback form over the course of next year, and also, we’ll be working with Dwayne to do a wrap-up for the original Milestone series for the way it was all presented. He had a concluding story that we want to work with him on, and that will be an out of DC continuity story, but completely within the original Milestone continuity. That way, the fans of Milestone from years back will be able to get that ending story that brings that original history and world to a close.
NRAMA: Finally – on where these characters might be appearing…the art that was shown…Superman versus ICON leads to the whole idea of the Justice League “door” for the characters, but we also saw Static versus Ravager. You’re the Teen Titans editor, and for years, people have wanted to see Static as a member of the team. Safe money to say that has a better chance of happening now, given that you’re the Titans editor?
DD: You know what? That’s something that I would love to see happen too, but I don’t think it’s going to be that quick and easy. I’m sure we have to put a little “terror” in the way first.