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Denys Cowan’s missing original art has been returned

SONY DSCDenys Cowan has recovered all 27 pieces of original art lost early last month by UPS en route to the Geppi Entertainment Museum in Baltimore.

“I’m elated,” the artist wrote Friday on his Facebook page, “but also dismayed because of the condition of some of the artwork.”

The art had been headed to “Milestones: African Americans in Comics Pop Culture & Beyond,” an exhibit curated by Milestone co-founder Michael Davis, who revealed the loss, and his frustrations with UPS, last month. The box of Cowan’s original art, along with a separate package belonging to Davis, were sent for overnight delivery; however, Cowan’s shipment was delayed en route, with no explanation. When the package arrived, with new tape used to reseal it, just one of the 28 pieces of artwork remained — leading Davis and others to conclude that they weren’t “lost,” but rather stolen.

Among the missing art were interior pages from Hardware and Steel, concept pieces for Static, Rocket and Hardware, and pieces featuring Batman.

Davis was joined by museum owner Steve Geppi, who’s also CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors, and museum president Melissa Geppi-Bowersox in pressuring UPS for an explanation, and in contacting art dealers and collectors to spread the news of the loss.

In an open letter posted Friday on his Facebook page, Cowan offered his thanks to everyone who offered support and provided help:

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Diamond helping in search for Denys Cowan’s missing art

"Hardware" art by Denys Cowan

“Hardware” art by Denys Cowan

CEO Steve Geppi is putting the weight of Diamond Comic Distributors behind the search for 27 pieces of original art by Denys Cowan lost earlier this month by UPS in transit to Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in Baltimore.

“Over the next few days, we will be reaching out to as many people as possible,” Geppi said on the Diamond Galleries Scoop blog, which notes the comics distributor is a UPS customer. “Our goals are to let people know exactly what art is missing. [...] Not only will be using our various email newsletters and social media, we’ll be personally contacting comic art collectors and dealers and asking them to help spread the word. In fact, that effort is well under way.”

The art was headed to “Milestones: African Americans in Comics Pop Culture & Beyond,” an exhibit curated by Milestone co-founder Michael Davis, who revealed the loss, and his frustrations with UPS, on Wednesday. The box of Cowan’s original art, along with a separate package belonging to Davis, were sent for overnight delivery; however, Cowan’s shipment was delayed en route, with no explanation. When the package arrived, with new tape used to reseal it, just one of the 28 pieces of artwork remained — an interior page from Wolverine #125 by Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Among the missing art — a partial rundown can be found at the Scoop — are interior pages from Hardware and Steel, concept pieces for Static, Rocket and Hardware, and pieces featuring Batman. Davis has received little response from UPS.

(via The Beat)

Denys Cowan’s original art lost during shipping

denys cowanTwenty-seven pieces of original art by Denys Cowan were lost in shipment earlier this month to “Milestones: African Americans in Comics Pop Culture & Beyond,” an exhibit at the Geppi Entertainment Museum in Baltimore.

Milestone co-founder Michael Davis, curator of the show, writes that when they handed off the box for delivery by UPS, it contained 28 pieces of art; when it arrived in Baltimore, it contained just one.

“Included were irreplaceable work from original Milestone concept drawings to Batman #400 pages other works from both before and after those career highlights,” Davis explains.  Now they’re gone, he writes, “Perhaps, forever.”

“The art was either stolen or ‘fell out,’” he concludes. “I’m sure it was stolen, someone opened the box, opened the plastic took the art except for one, resealed the box, badly and sent it along it’s merry way. I can’t say that for a fact because I was not there when it went missing. I also can’t say for fact slavery is bad as I’ve never been a slave but I’m pretty sure it is.”

The “Milestones” exhibit continues through April.

Watch the trailer for the Static Shock: Blackout short film

To mark what would have been the 50th birthday of Dwayne McDuffie, who passed away a year ago Tuesday, actor-director Stefan Dezil is circulating the trailer for Static Shock: Blackout, a 12-minute short based on the late writer’s best-known creation. Shot on RED for $5,000, the short centers on Daisy Watkins, a New York City reporter who travels to Dakota City to discover the identity of the teenage vigilante.

Static Shock: Blackout, which stars Dezil as Virgil Hawkins and Nadine Malouf as Daisy Watkins, will debut online in mid-March.

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John Rozum explains his exit from Static Shock

When Danny Donovan shared some thoughts about what went wrong with Static Shock, he ended up inspiring John Rozum to reveal his own insights into the recently canceled series. In the comments to Donovan’s post, Rozum writes:

I went into Static Shock with a lot of high hopes. Among them was showing that Static wasn’t simply an A-list character, but one of the most powerful in the DCnU. I really wanted this series to be fun and exciting and to bring the same degree of creativity to it that I put into Xombi balanced with making Virgil’s personal life at least as engaging as his superhero life. I also saw Static Shock as an excellent gateway through which to pull the rest of the Milestone characters into the DCnU.

I quickly learned that none of these plans were going to see fruition. I wound up being shunted to the sidelines as the writer while Scott McDaniel’s “high concept” criminal syndicate made up of Power Rangers and a big monosyllabic thug took center stage and Harvey’s ideas of the 2 Sharon’s and slicing off Static’s arm were implemented as desperate means of trying to draw attention to the book.

I tried my best to keep it from being a total turd, but as I said, I was completely sidelined. My main contributions were the Pale Man character, Guillotina, naming the school after Dwayne McDuffie, and including Hardware, along with random lines of dialogue. I decided it was unethical to stick with a title that a) I thought was garbage b) that people were buying because of my involvement, due to Xombi, when really I had nothing to do with it c) because I wasn’t being utilized on the title.

Frankly, Static deserved a lot better.

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What Are You Reading? with Kevin Colden

Animal Man #1

Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Kevin Colden, whose comic work includes Fishtown, I Rule the Night, Vertigo’s Strange Adventures and Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper, among others. He’s also the drummer for the band Heads Up Display.

To see what Kevin and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below …

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John Rozum annotates Xombi and Static villains

As the current, primary custodian of the Milestone Universe, this has to be a bittersweet time for John Rozum. On the bitter side, it’s disappointing to have to say good-bye to Xombi, both for Rozum and his readers. It was a well-loved series and, like the first volume, done too soon. But on his blog Rozum mentions a couple of things that make the cancellation easier to swallow. First, there’s a collection of all six issues coming, but Rozum’s also announced that in November he’ll start a series of annotation posts “giving some behind the scenes looks at what inspired … the material, what references there might be, and some other general process stuff that I think won’t take away from the reading experience.” And just to make sure he doesn’t miss anything, he’s also taking reader questions.

But as we say good-bye to Xombi, Rozum’s also looking forward to the release of Static Shock. He’s been posting a series of villain peeks and promises something Static-related every day between now and the Sept. 7 debut. If you’re a Milestone fan, Rozum’s blog is the place to be right now.

J.H. Williams III wants the funk for Static cover

Static Shock Special

Artist J.H. Williams III shares what I believe is a variant cover for the upcoming Static Shock Special DC is putting out as a homage to Dwayne McDuffie. At least, the solicitation for the title lists Derec Donovan as the cover artist.

At any rate, it’s a wonderful piece of art that Williams says was inspired by funk music.

“I wanted to try some different things in attitude,” Williams wrote on his blog. “The Milestone characters always had this unusual quality to them, which I think made them pretty cool. And some of them seemed to have this Funk aspect to them. Now when I say Funk, I’m referring to Funk Music. So I decided to see if I could bring that more forward in attitude for this cover. The result is pretty effective. It still has this iconic quality that the genre should have, but now it feels like Funk meets Superheroes to me. Resulting in something different than what I usually do.”

You can see the steps in his creative process, from rough sketch to the final version, over on his blog. The comic comes out in June.

Missing Dwayne McDuffie

Dwayne McDuffie

Tom’s already written a great tribute to Dwayne McDuffie, but I need to write something too. And I don’t use the word “need” lightly there.

Typically, when I hear about the death of someone in the comics industry, I feel sad for that person’s family and friends, perhaps think a little about my own connection to the person’s work, and that’s about it. I don’t know that I’ve ever written a personal memorial about anyone. Dwayne McDuffie is different. I met him once, but didn’t know him outside of his work. Still, I’m feeling his death like I don’t feel comics industry deaths and this column’s going to be a bit selfish as I get this out.

Like Tom, my connection with McDuffie began with Milestone. I grew up in the South where…I guess the polite way of saying it is that racial diversity was prevalent, but that doesn’t do justice to the situation. It makes it sound almost utopian, which is ridiculous. Anyone who’s spent much time in the South (or really just seen a lot of movies set there) knows how complicated and heart-breakingly frustrating it can be. But one thing that I’ll always be thankful for is that I got to know a lot of people outside of my own race. Enough so that I took it for granted.

After college I moved north to look for work and landed in a suburb that was much less diverse than where I’d grown up. Like before, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about this. I didn’t “miss” being around people unlike myself anymore than I actively enjoyed being surrounded by folks just like me, racially and culturally speaking. The issue just wasn’t on my radar.

What was on my radar was getting back into comics. I’d gone to school in a small town with no comic shop and was thrilled to live in a metropolitan area with many different places to buy comics. I dived right in and it was only a couple of years later that Dwayne McDuffie and Friends launched Milestone.

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Static Shock returns to comic stores this May

Static Shock #1

DC Comics has revealed the release date, art team and first cover for Milestone Media and cartoon star Static’s new ongoing series. Static Shock #1 by Felicia Henderson, Scott McDaniel and Jonathan Glapion will arrive in May, with a cover (above) by Keron Grant.

Announced last July, Static Shock sees the return of the second Milestone Comics character to his own comics series this year, as Virgil Hawkins joins Xombi on comic store shelves again.

Static was one of the four original titles published by Milestone Media back in the 1990s, and his title ended in 1997. He made the jump to TV in the form of an animated series, Static Shock, and joined the Teen Titans shortly after the Milestone characters were merged into the DC Universe in 2008.

Frazer Irving joins John Rozum for Xombi revival

Xombi #1

DC Comics announced today that Gutsville and Batman & Robin artist Frazer Irving will join writer John Rozum on the new Xombi series that’s coming next year. They also shared the cover for the first issue (above)

“Creator and writer John Rozum returns to the fan-favorite title to continue the story of David, and to give the DCU a new corner of urban horror to explore,” said Editor Rachel Gluckstern on The Source blog. “Right from the start, John’s throwing David in over his head, giving new readers and old friends alike the chance to dive into a new story and hold on for the ride. Joining him will be the excellent star artist Frazer Irving on all visual duties to create a world few have seen and fewer still dare to dwell.”

Xombi, the story of a medical researcher whose supernatural wounds were cured by nanomachines that render him immortal, ran for 22 issues. Like the other Milestone characters, Xombi is now part of the DC universe, having been introduced into it last year in Brave & the Bold #26. Rozum recently posted more background information about the character on his blog.

Static gets his own comic again in 2011

staticDC Comics announced on their Source blog today that former cartoon star Static would get his own ongoing series again next year. Felicia Henderson, who has written the character before in the pages of Teen Titans, will write the title, while the art team will be announced at a later date.

“When I met Dan DiDio, the first character we ever discussed was Static,” Henderson told the Source. “Writing Teen Titans gave me an opportunity to play with this character a little. Now he’s getting his own book and I’m writing it! I’m a big Dwayne McDuffie’s fan, so it’s a privilege to reimagine the coming-of-age of a character he created. If not for the big bang, Static would be a regular, awkward, teenage guy trying to find himself — chasing girls, playing video games, downloading underground mixes of his favorite music. Instead, he has no time to find himself because the call of the superhero has found him. It’s a comic book writing dream for me.”

Static was one of the four original titles published by Milestone Media back in the 1990s, and his title ended in 1997 when the comics line was shuttered. He made the jump to TV in the form of an animated series, Static Shock, and joined the Teen Titans shortly after the Milestone characters were merged into the DC Universe in 2008.

Quote of the day | Dwayne McDuffie on race and writing

Dwayne McDuffie

Dwayne McDuffie

“I’m conscious of race whenever I’m writing, just as I’m conscious of class, religion, human psychology, politics — everything that makes up the human experience. I don’t think I can do a good job if I’m not paying attention to what’s meaningful to people, and in American culture, there isn’t anything that informs human interaction more than the idea of race.”

Dwayne McDuffie, addressing how conscious of race he was while working as a writer, story editor and producer on the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited television series

Black History Month ‘09 #17: Still Dreaming

Editor’s note: In honor of February being Black History Month, David Brothers is taking “every day in February to talk about specific aspect of black culture and comic books. It’s mainly focused on superhero comics, since that’s what I grew up reading and still makes up the bulk of my reading material.” The series is running over at the 4thletter!, and David was gracious enough to let us repost some of them each Saturday in February. The one reprinted below appeared on the 4thletter Feb. 17.

by David Brothers

One thing Marvel has always pushed, which DC hasn’t, is the idea of social injustice. The X-Men and other mutants are hated and feared. Many of their heroes are outlaws. I think this is a large part of why most black people I’ve talked to preferred Marvel to DC as a kid.

It’s a strictly unscientific survey, but every once and a while I’ll ask my black friends, who I know read comics, what they read as a kid. So far, I think it’s been all Marvel, with a focus on X-Men and Spider-Man. The ’70s pulpy books (Cage, Shang-chi, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider) get a lot of love, too. I’ve always been surprised at the answers I get, though they tend to be the same answer each time. I don’t know if the results are due to some sort of selection bias, but they’ve been pretty true on two different coasts now.

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