When the Milestone Universe hit the comics scene in the 90′s, I had no idea that I was being under served by comics. It never occurred to me that there could be non-white super heroes because until Milestone, there weren’t any. I loved what they were doing, putting minority faces on covers, exploring issues that other publishers were afraid of. They recognized the diversity around them and crafted stories that reflected that cultural richness.

I also appreciated that they didn’t lean on stereotypes. This wasn’t just the Black version of Superman or Batman or Iron Man. These were fully realized characters who happened to be Black. They recognized that readers would get that simply by opening the books.

Here’s a short documentary about Milestone and creator Dwayne McDuffie:

Milestone continues to be a source of inspiration for me and my work. I would have loved to have met Dwayne McDuffie in person and just geek out about comics.

  • Taellosse

    It never occurred to me that there could be non-white super heroes because until Milestone, there weren’t any.

    Well, that’s not ENTIRELY true. Mostly, but not entirely. There were few-to-no A-list superheroes that were non-white, but there were some. I’m more familiar with Marvel, so that’s where my examples come from, but Cardiac and Nightwatch, who were both created shortly before or around the same time that Milestone was founded, are both black. There’s Psylocke, who, while not originally Japanese has walked around in a Japanese body for most of her existence as a character. And then there’s…okay, I’m tapped out. That’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

  • http://cocktailchem.blogspot.com Jordan

    I was going to comment on Psylocke, but that one’s pretty iffy.

  • Taellosse

    Oh, absolutely it’s iffy. She’s almost the exception that proves the rule, since she’s originally British. One could make an argument that she’s almost a super-hero version of some sort of “yellow-face” character.

    And Cardiac and Nightwatch don’t exactly qualify as major characters. They were basically secondary characters introduced in Spider-Man comics that each got limited series and periodic guest appearances elsewhere, but never given a great deal of attention in their own rights.

    Ooh! Just thought of a legitimate Marvel hero who’s non-white and been around for a while: Black Panther! He’s had a pretty variable history in terms of popularity and active presence in their comics, but he has been around since the 70s. Also Storm, who, while she’s only ever had limited series of her own, has been a regular and popular member of the X-Men since the late 60s. Actually, the X-Men have a few current and former non-white members: Forge, Warpath and Proudstar are all Native American, Sunfire is Japanese (though he didn’t stay on the team for long in the mainstream continuity), Bishop is black, and Jubilee is Asian-American. Half of those are characters introduced in the 80s and 90s, but the other half are much older.