“So, honestly, I love Milestone Media, Inc., what it was for me as a younger man and extending into the present. Their heroes are my heroes. The founders are my mentors, friends, and allies. But instead of someone asking me ‘When is Milestone coming back?’
I’d prefer they know the answer.
I’d prefer the answer be ‘I am the next Milestone.”
– Joe Illidge, former editor at DC Entertainment and Milestone Media
We only value ourselves when others value us first.
Brother Joe Illidge wrote an amazing article for his The Mission segment at Comic Book Resources. You can check out the original post here.
I remember when Black folks were frontin’ on Milestone Media in the beginning… Now, they sing its praises.
With my Halfrican ass, it’s the equivalent of being called an African Booty-scratcher when you were 8 only to have to same fools rock Africa medallions when you got to high school…
The thing that people forget is that when Milestone first launched, people fronted on it as well. But, thanks to a great marketing campaign, quality product and perseverance, Milestone became legendary.
The creative market is much, much more than just the American market. There is a global market that most Americans, especially African Americans, tend to ignore, largely based on the American arrogance that we are the center of the world.
For example, Detroit Techno is a global musical force on par with Hip Hop, which, of course, originated in New York. Artists like Derrick May, Carl Craig, Moodyman and others are considered gods in Europe and Asia. The Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit is the equivalent of the San Diego Comic Con amongst the Electronic Dance Music crowd.
Yet, Derrick and his brethren are virtually unknown in the mainstream American music market. In fact, they can walk, in large, free from paparazzi in their home town because of the lack of awareness, knowledge and coverage in the larger American Media. It doesn’t matter, however, because they have flourishing careers and stay paid thanks to foreign dollars.
Remember, the Euro carries a higher value than the American dollar.
Now, the comic book scene is a global one as well. As we all know the massive influence manga has not only in Japan, but over here in the States as well, the UK, France, Italy, India, Nigeria and other countries have extremely healthy scenes that go well beyond the “Corporate Two.” Superheroes do not rule those industries over there as they do in the States.
If we, as creators, realize this and navigate the global waters, we could quite possibly find greater success… International success. In addition, the “Columbusing” effect (because some folks love to say that they discovered something that existed for some time) would occur as well as these successful “foreign” concepts would make enough noise for the home team to finally pay attention.
Case in point: my man Felipe Smith. A mash-up of Jamaica and Argentina, Felipe and I met at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. We were both comic book fans and burgeoning creators. He had an interest to create original manga. So much so, my brother went to Japan, found huge success with his creation Peepo Choo, and Marvel came calling to hire him as the writer for Ghost Rider…
He is the first brown writer of color for the “Corporate Two” since 2009.
We’re currently experiencing the groundswell of the next movement in comics by creators of color. And, we CoC are facing the same challenges that Milestone faced during its inception:
We only value ourselves when others value us.
Here’s my question: when are fans of color going to stop looking to others for approval of their buying choices? When are fans of color going to start giving proactive, not reactive, attention to those who look like them and represent a true diversity of the African American experience and vision that the “Corporate Two,” by the sheer fact of that corporate structure, cannot give them with any amount of satisfaction?
In short, when are y’all gonna stop begging for crumbs from one table, when a full-course meal is waiting for you, made with love, on the next table?
Genius. Concrete Park. Rat Queens. Wildfire. One Nation. Watson and Holmes. The Horsemen. T.A.S.K. Shaft. Midnight Tiger. There is so much more out there.
To my comrades in the game, stick to your guns and keep exceeding the standard that’s been established, fam. BGSS is real and the grind continues…
To the rest of y’all, in the words of Wu-Tang Financial…
Diversify yo’ bonds.
I heard the call loud and clear years ago, fam.
Speaking of, The Horsemen: Divine Intervention, Manifesto: The Tao of Jiba Molei Anderson and Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson are now available for the Kindle. Each title only $9.99. You can cop them right here.