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DiDio: No plans for Milestoners besides Static

Posted by: Rich Watson on August 24, 2009 at 11:34 pm

JLA_MSSo, let’s recap. Dwayne McDuffie is given Justice League and Dan DiDio says it’s his for as long as he wants:

NRAMA: When you say that Dwayne is changing things up and bringing the cast down to a manageable size for him, you’ve probably got a few people thinking Justice League Unlimited style stories of discreet teams of heroes…are you talking about something towards that?

DD: No – we’re not going to be going that way at all – we really want to be going in a set way with a set team and tell the story from that way. Justice League Unlimited was an extension of a television show that came up after they had done everything they thought they could do with a set group of characters, and then they brought in other characters to refresh it. What we’re trying to do is play with the strengths of what the Justice League is.

NRAMA: How long are you looking at Dwayne sticking around? Is he on for a year like with Brad, or longer?

DD: Dwayne is the writer of Justice League now until he doesn’t want to write it anymore. [Emphasis mine.]

static_terrortitansThen DC acquires the Milestone characters and DiDio says they’ve got big plans for them:

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. [Emphasis mine.]

And he even promised a wrap-up of the old continuity:

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.

So a bunch of major Milestoners  – Icon, Donner & Blitzen, Hardware, etc. – are re-introduced in a story arc in McDuffie’s Justice League. Static, the crown jewel, appears in the Terror Titans mini and then the regular Teen Titans book. Plus, some individual Milestoners interact with the DCU in recent issues of The Brave and the Bold. Okay, fine. Nothing huge, but at least they’re out there.

BandB_StaticThen McDuffie discusses on his message board the editorial problems he’s encountered while writing Justice League, including his inability to use the characters he wants because they’re being used in other stories – this after DiDio said he wanted a “set way with a set team”:

I’ve had virtually no input into the composition of JLA. It’s DC Comics’ flagship book. They tell me who to put on the team, based on their needs elsewhere in the universe, and I do it. I believe I had influence in getting rid of Red Tornado, but even there I was forced to put him back in his body about two years before I had planned to…

There are a large number of changes coming up, mostly due to members leaving in the aftermath of Final Crisis. Again, I had little to no influence on how the team is shaking out. Dan and Eddie are allowing me to frequently guest star several characters who by rights should be written out of the book because of what’s going on in their titles. They also acquiesced to my request for a member rejoining the team (as soon as another project is done with him in about eight months). That character will be my first addition to the team, roughly two years after taking over the book.

If it were up to me, JLA would be made up of roughly the six most popular DC characters plus a rotating seventh spot that would be used to balance the personalities, create new story opportunities and/or pump up an interesting, but so far less commercially successful character. [Emphasis mine.]

And the next thing you know McDuffie is fired from Justice League, although he does confirm that he’s still doing the Milestone wrap-up mini-series called Milestone Forever.

BandB_HwareBut now DiDio says it’s just gonna be Static for the time being:

5. kryptofan1 asked:
Do  you have plans for the Milestone characters (other than Static in the Teen Titans) after the Brave and Bold stories?

DiDio: At this particular time, we have Static in the Teen Titans, and we’re looking at a storyline that might be built around Static later in the run. But right now, no other plans. [Emphasis mine.]

Dan DiDio, the same guy who said, “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,” has suddenly made an about-face. The same guy who said Milestone had all these wonderful characters that can “strengthen the entire DC universe,” is content to only play with Static. I’ll concede the possibility that he may not have had Milestone Forever in mind when he said “no other plans,” but still..

And McDuffie reveals even more bad news on his boards:

Plans for a Static monthly were scrapped by DC last spring. Based on their actions, they never really wanted to publish the Milestone stuff, they wasted my time. We could have done a little deal for them to use Static without me having to spend so much money on lawyers. [Emphasis mine.]

I hate to say I told you so but I did tell you so. DC is content to have its black superheroes appear in team books and the occasional mini-series, but an ongoing series is – what? Beneath them? And Static, a character that has proved itself not just in comics, but on television as well, can’t get a series either? What does this say about DC’s level of commitment to its black audience? Maybe McDuffie shouldn’t have been as open as he was about his editorial hassles on Justice League, but to back down from using these characters that DiDio was salivating over for years makes one wonder why he coveted them to begin with.

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25 Responses to "DiDio: No plans for Milestoners besides Static"

1 | chanzero

August 25th, 2009 at 12:24 am

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Nice recap of a sad sad story :(

2 | Shola Akinnuso

August 25th, 2009 at 10:19 am

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It has been over a decade of lawyers and fans urging Dwayne to use these characters again. I can understand where Dwayne probably thought they were safe. He gets kudos for Justice League, he continues work in animation, he makes new ties into DC, Dan DiDio seems open and amicable…it’s assuring.

After fighting for so long and attempting to come to a new point in your life, I’d imagine that Dwayne is in a very different place than he was when this battle started. He coveted them, sure, but sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, exhale, then let things go.

Maybe he got hood-winked, maybe he didn’t. I know that I’ll be looking forward to Milestone forever. I’ve been collecting comics for over 20 years, and I’ve given away nearly everything I’ve ever owned except for ONE short box. It’s my black box, ie, a box filled with nothing but comic books from black and minority creators. I will happily put Dwayne’s Milestone closure there, but more than that, I’ll be happy to see Dwayne finally get to put this b.s. behind him. They finally got their Static, which is clearly all they wanted anyway. Enjoy it, WB.

After all this time, I will be thrilled to see the NEW work and NEW stories from new universes and ideas that Dwayne develops from his wild, fantastic, and incredible imagination. He’s far more talented than a single idea.

If DC wants to nip at old stuff, then whatever. Really, they lost an incredible writer. I’d say Dwayne got the better end of the deal. If he let it go, I think we fans can too.

…then again, what the heck do I know. I wasn’t there. I’m just doing stupid fanboy speculation.

3 | Tony Isabella

August 25th, 2009 at 11:33 am

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As I’ve said elsewhere, I think DC’s main interest in the Milestone characters and the Archie super-heroes and the Thunder Agents and Doc Savage et all is to keep anyone else from using them. Well-done self-contained universes featuring those character would compete very favorably with the current DCU and, for that matter, the Marvel Universe.

4 | Rich Watson

August 25th, 2009 at 11:53 am

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Agreed.

5 | Schrader45

August 25th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

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To me, this is wishful thinking.

Books with any of these rather obscure characters would just not sell very well.

And: Why would DC want to publish such stories after McDuffie having behaved the way he has? Just wondering.

“What does this say about DC’s level of commitment to its black audience?” – This is just a ridiculous question. Why do we have to politicize this stuff in such a way?

6 | 4thletter! » Blog Archive » “He paints pictures beautifully, but comics is nearsighted”

August 25th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

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[...] 25th, 2009 by david brothers I saw some screwy news courtesy of Rich Watson’s Glyphs about another entry in the DC vs Dwayne McDuffie saga. An excerpt: Plans for a Static monthly were scrapped by DC last spring. Based on their actions, [...]

7 | brian lockhart

August 25th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

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“Why wold DC want to publish such stories after McDuffie having behaved the way he has?”
Perhaps you are right, but if so that is just so, so, so petty.
McDuffie got screwed here, there’s no other way to put it.
From the very beginning Didio and the powers-that-be at DC tied his hands and we readers suffered.
Does anyone honestly look at McDuffie’s run, including all the fill-ins and tie-ins, and think “wow, what a great read?”
No. McDuffie did a decent enough job with what he was given and I consider him an above-average writer and enjoyed his stories.
But even without knowing all the “inside baseball” info it was clear to me as a reader that McDuffie was not given free reign to write. Look at the “Injustice League” arc – a big, pointless slug fest that ended with Luthor making some cryptic comments about a “plan” that never materialized.
Look at how McDuffie went out of his way to re-introduce the Flash to the JLA, only to have him bail out a few issues later because he could no longer use the character.
Look at how in the midst of McDuffie’s run DC announces that the more popular, critically acclaimed James Robinson would be writing a spin-off book. Is that what you do to the writer of the main title? Make a big splash with news that someone else is going to be taking several of your cast over to another book?
Didio has done some great stuff at DC, from “52″ to reviving properties like Captain Carrot and Suicide Squad to allowing something as challenging as Final Crisis to be published to luring Robinson (whom I love) back to comics to producing “Wednesday Comics.”
But the company’s relationship with McDuffie, who was a PERFECT FIT for the flagship Justice League book, has just been so poorly managed that it is bizarre.
I would love … LOVE … to someday see Didio do a mea culpa to DC and Justice League fans over this whole mess. He doesn’t have to shoulder all the blame, but admitting in an interview “You know what, I could have handled this much better” would be so refreshing.

8 | CavalierStylez

August 25th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

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In the end of the day DC showed it’s real face. They are not interested in publishing black/other titles as much as they are interested in promoting their flagship titles and characters. It sucks for them too because Dwayne McDuffie is such a talented writer. One of the reasons I picked up JLA again is because Dwayne was writing the book. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. There is so much more to the Milestone universe other than Static. I hope to one day see more of the Milestone chracters in separate titles or maybe have all of them incorporated into their own universe again.

9 | Hypestyle

August 25th, 2009 at 3:29 pm

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“nothing personal– just business..” riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight… corporate ultra-apologists slay me.. why go throught he rigmarole of licensing an entire line of characters, when, effectively, DC was only just interested in one? Arguably, because that would prevent Milestone from publishing the characters elsewhere, if they’re locked into a years-long contract where DC has the first right of refusal.. whoops..

the DC universe is “crowded enough.. complicated enough”… okay, so why the heck are the Red Circle characters getting a major push?

McDuffie’s only sin is being frank when everyone else is expected to just shut up to get along.. people say they hate political correctness, but being honest when you feel disrespected is “whining”– whatever–

I wonder how long will it be before we see on the message boards, fandudes carping “bleh, I never liked/always hated Milestone/ never saw what the big deal was—‘whoo, we’ve got black heroes! They hit white villains!’ how about just creating quality heroes, not PC clones of other heroes, or stories where it’s just throwing race in people’s face?” Internet flameage continues..

10 | Rich Watson

August 25th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

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Schrader, it’s not so much McDuffie’s comments that’s even the issue as it is Didio being on record as saying how much he wanted the Milestoners for years – ALL of them, not just Static – and then doing an about-face. If he really cared about all of them he would not let McDuffie’s comments get in the way of integrating them into the DCU like he said he was going to. Has anyone seen Icon or Hardware in BLACKEST NIGHT yet?

11 | toslane1

August 25th, 2009 at 9:09 pm

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1 0f the above writers said it best.
DC buys all these “other characters” just to make sure no-one else uses them.
Look at how DC did the Charlton characters.
captain Atom: a villian,
Blue Beetle & Question: dead & replaced,
When was the last time anyone saw any of the other Charlton guys??

12 | Joel Bryan

August 25th, 2009 at 9:59 pm

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“Books with any of these rather obscure characters would just not sell very well.”

I tend to disagree. I think any book with any character has the potential to sell. It’s all in the execution and positioning. Granted, neither of those are guarantees, but you’d think a company with DC’s vast resources as part of the Time/Warner media conglomerate could work at least some kind of magic.

Maybe.

Still, all characters are obscure when they first appear.

13 | trence5

August 26th, 2009 at 6:24 am

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Damn, so does this mean no Icon showing up in JLA like they originally planned for him in the Blackest Night saga? I felt like this was going to end badly no McDuffie can’t use his characters in other books, ie. Marvel, for years now.

14 | Hero Sandwich » Abandoned Milestones

August 26th, 2009 at 7:12 am

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[...] frustrating does something like this gotta be? kryptofan1 [...]

15 | Bedlam

August 26th, 2009 at 7:56 am

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I wonder if McDuffie and friends wasn’t willing to sell Static without a) DC willing to contract the entire Milestone line b) a committment from DC that Milestone characters would be integrated into the DC universe c) that McDuffie would be the purveyor of the Milestone characters.

That being said, DC probably contracted for the entire Milestone line just to get their grubby hands on Static long term. It was probably cheaper long term to get full exclusive and unhindered use of the character as opposed to constantly renewing a limited license.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if they saw the real value in the character and wanted to make sure that McDuffie didn’t get any ideas about going independent with the character, and maybe even a reboot of Milestone. Especially with the coming of webcomics and the growing independent industry and the growing online comic community. This is probably the perfect time to bring back Milestone, but DC has its hands full with competing with Marvel and Image and other independents, so why lose a character that’s been affiliated with DC to a probable competitor.

16 | Rich Watson

August 26th, 2009 at 11:04 am

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Just to clarify: McDuffie has stated that DC did not buy the Milestone characters. To my knowledge, it’s a licensing deal.

17 | Robert Monroe

August 26th, 2009 at 3:42 pm

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@Schrader45 – ““What does this say about DC’s level of commitment to its black audience?” – This is just a ridiculous question. Why do we have to politicize this stuff in such a way?”

It’s not about politicizing…it’s about serving the needs of ALL of your audience and having good business sense. I’ve been reading comics for well over 40 years now and I’m tired of spending an ever-increasing amount of money for stories that don’t include anyone who looks like me. And, I definitely don’t want my son, a 6 yo AfroFanBoy, to have only white heroes.

Now, by 2025 whites will be a minority in this country. Will most of the heroes still be white? Do they really think that will be a viable business model in the mid-21st century?If DC, Marvel and other comic companies don’t start creating and supporting non-white heroes now and marketing them to the soon-to-be majority audience (ie. going beyond Wizard and promoting their comics, writers and artists in Ebony, Hispanic, etc.) then Wednesdays at comic book stores will look like the classical music section of Barnes & Noble…mostly empty except for the occasional old white person.

18 | Fred

August 27th, 2009 at 10:56 am

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Hypestyle wrote:

[the DC universe is “crowded enough.. complicated enough”… okay, so why the heck are the Red Circle characters getting a major push?]

Great point.

DC has supported the Red Circle heroes with previews in their top-selling titles as well as one-shots for the characters. I’m betting that any sucessful one-shot will lead to a monthly series.

By contrast, DC is relutant to revive Static’s monthly despite his high profile outside comics thanks to a hit cartoon. NONE of the Red Circle heroes have a hit cartoon under his belt.

Clearly, DC is putting its ideology (racism?) ahead of being smart capitalists.

19 | DamonO

August 29th, 2009 at 7:13 pm

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Not only have the Red Circle characters been given a major push, but the THUNDER Agents — who were just acquired a couple of months ago — have already been given the green light for their own series which Didio has stated will start sometime next year.

20 | wallruss

September 3rd, 2009 at 9:05 pm

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Based on their (Marvel’s) obvious commitment to Red Circle and now the Thunder Agents it would seem very clear that they really have an unprofessional issue with the Milestone Characters. I do have a questions however. Does Marvel own Red Circle and THUNDER Agents outright as apposed to their leasing the Milestone characters? Perhaps that’s a factor, not that I’m making excuses for them.

21 | DamonO

September 3rd, 2009 at 11:12 pm

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Actually its DC, not Marvel, that has the publishing rights to these characters. DC is only leasing the Red Circle characters, same as with the Milestone characters. I’m not sure about the THUNDER Agents.

24 | Aaron Poehler

September 23rd, 2009 at 11:42 am

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Would’ve helped if McDuffie’s JLA wasn’t thoroughly terrible in every way.

25 | DamonO

September 23rd, 2009 at 10:44 pm

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Alright, Milestone fans, NOW is the time to make your voices heard. Newsarama hosts a regular Q & A session with Dan Didio and has just posted up a solicit for fans to submit questions to ask him. If you want to ask questions or express comments about the DC/Milestone situation, this is the opportunity.
Of course, there’s no guarantee than anyone’s question will be chosen, but if enough people weigh in on this topic, it will increase the chances that a Milestone related question will be used.

Of course, you have to register to post at Newsarama. And although I probably don’t need to say this, please remember to maintain a polite and professional tone. If enough of us speak up, it may make a difference by letting DC know Milestones fans are out there.

The deadline to submit a question for this week is Thursday, SEPTEMBER 24 at 12:00 midnight (there’s a typo in the posting that mistakenly has Sept, 14).
Remember, if we don’t speak up, no one will.

Here’s the link:

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/0909…questions.html



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