Milestone - the Dakota Universe

Milestone was a comic book company owned by African-Americans, with titles whose characters belonged to ethnic minorities. Created in 1992 by prominent comic writer Dwayne McDuffie, artist Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle, who had worked on a number of business publications such as the Wall Street Journal, and Michael Davis (who left soon after the company was born), the Milestone line was launched a year later and distributed through a deal with DC Comics. Milestone felt that they needed to launch an entire line of comics because, as McDuffie explained, "If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren't just that character. They represent that race or that sex, and they can't be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people. You know, Superman isn't all white people and neither is Lex Luthor. We knew we had to present a range of characters within each ethnic group, which means that we couldn't do just one book. We had to do a series of books and we had to present a view of the world that's wider than the world we've seen before."

They created the "Dakota Universe", based in a fictional city in the Midwest of America. As the line expanded, it brought in a more racially diverse pool of writers and artists, moving swiftly on from just being produced by African-American creators. Starting with four titles (Icon, Static, Hardware and Blood Syndicate), in their second year of operation, Milestone expanded, adding three new titles  (Kobalt, Shadow Cabinet, Xombi) to their roster following a series wide crossover called "The Shadow War." They also had a second crossover, this time with DC's Superman titles (Superman, Superboy, Steel). Milestone published for another year and a half, but problems arose. A weakening market (which also claimed both Malibu's Ultraverse and Dark Horse's Comic's Greatest World, both of which had launched around the same time as Milestone) saw sales decline badly, and internal turmoil cost Milestone some of their best talent. The writing, it seemed, was on the wall. Shadow Cabinet was the first to go, then Kobalt and Xombi. When Blood Syndicate, one of their original titles, expired, things looked grim, and sure enough a cancellation announcement was made for the remainder of the line shortly afterwards.

But Milestone's achievements during their short life should not be downplayed. Milestone published over 200 comics in their four year run, winning numerous fan awards and Eisner nominations. They debuted some of the industry's current big names, including Crimson's Humberto Ramos (whose first work was on an issue of Hardware), Earth X's John Paul Leon (who was the original artist on Static) and Captain Marvel's Chriscross (also one of the inaugural artists of Milestone, starting on Blood Syndicate). And while the comics line may all be "resting", Milestone Media is still alive and well. Milestone was quiet for a few years, but Static had his own cartoon series from Kids WB!, and it proved only a matter of time before the Dakota Universe characters resurfaced, this time turning up as full fledged members of the DC universe.






Blood Syndicate


Shadow Cabinet





Commando X

Buck Wild

Nun of the Above

Catholic Girl








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