Tag Archives: Joe Illidge

Man, This Wakandan Lemonade Is Delicious

The Black Panther keeps making waves in this comic book landscape.

Get this money… Erryday, erryday, erryday…


Straight up, this is the Black nerd’s Lemonade right now.

For the first time in history, a comic book featuring an African superhero, written and illustrated by African Americans, is the highest-selling title from the Corporate Two. Yeah, having the character steal the show in the best comic-book related movie this year and a major marketing push definitely helped, but this is what happens when you #BetOnBlack

The Black Panther marketing plan should be taught in schools. It’s actually a pretty textbook marketing strategy. They got the right team, did the proper product placement and marketing and got a winner on their hands.

Furthermore, they respect the importance of the character that is in their stable, a character, which encapsulates the hopes and dreams of a marginalized demographic. They actually heard this fan base and gave the character its due respect, steeped this character in its culture (fictional, but based on an amalgam of existing cultures from the marginalized demographic) and gave this character the necessary agency this character, and the marginalized demographic it represents, deserves. Because of this, Marvel produced yet another profitable situation that they, and their parent company, will benefit from greatly. This bit of good will is, in fact, good business.

In short, Marvel created the climate in which the Black Panther could be Columbused. We are seeing the effects of this as I write these words.

This should be a call to arms of what happens when you produce a fantastic product and market a great property.

Too bad DC Entertainment wasn’t in class that day… If you’re in the minority that DC has kept it on point cinematically, read this article written by Verge Entertainment bigwig and former Milestone and Batman editor Joe Illidge:

Gurl… Once again, Man’s World is playing an Amazon close…


This information puts to bed a lot of superfluous “explanations” of why product featuring and created by people of color doesn’t sell. Independent creators should use this fact to push our products to the forefront…

Some people want to bring up Spawn as a counter to my statements. To that I say…


I am way more excited about this development than I ever was with the introduction of Spawn in the early 90s. In fact, if you wanna be real Image about it, I will always hype Tribe way more than Spawn as it was the first comic book featuring characters, and created by people of color, Todd Johnson and Larry Stroman, that sold over a million copies, which adjusted for inflation is on par with BP’s sales.

In other words, I’d rather celebrate the whole cake rather than just the frosting

This should be inspiring to a lot of us independent creators of color and we need to capitalize on the climate. In fact, a number of us are.

We have seen an increase in coverage concerning independent properties dealing with the discussion of diversity (i.e. Black, The Legend of the Mantamaji, Niobe: She Is Life, Watson and Holmes, Exo: The Legend of Wale Williams, Solarman, etc.) exactly because these cats had their marketing game down and went beyond the perceived market to find their audience.

We got next…

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that these projects are expertly created (i.e. writing, art, etc.), but creating is the easy part. Marketing is where the work comes into play.

This is the kind of work we should continue to push and purchase in addition to showing love to the “Corporate Two” when they “get it right.” Way more than being a DC or Marvel fan, I’m a fan and practitioner of the art form.

Interesting times indeed.

So, let me know if you are interested in more than just enjoying this historic moment in representation. Let’s keep it going. Let this be more than just a moment. Let’s make this a fact of life.

Speaking of, I’m going to be teaching a course on this exact subject through the International School of Comics starting in July. Granted, this class will be in Chicago, but if there is enough interest, I would possibly take this bad smoker into the remote teaching realm.

Sign up for the class… You know you want to…

P.S. Personal note to the brothers Johnson and Stroman, c’mon fellas. We need to do a Tribe trade so that people can experience the loveliness that book was and can be again. Get at me.



At What Cost Self-Value?

A live-action Static Shock project is being developed for Warner Brothers... A Black nerd dream realized...
A live-action Static Shock project is being developed for Warner Brothers… A Black nerd dream realized…

“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

More Watson and Holmes coming soon!
More Watson and Holmes coming soon!

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…

Concrete Park... Rough, rugged and raw...
Concrete Park… Rough, rugged and raw…

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.

Rat Queens is being developed as a television series... Run tell dat...
Rat Queens is being developed as a television series… Run tell dat…

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.

Mad props to my man Felipe Smith for sticking to his guns...
Mad props to my man Felipe Smith for sticking to his guns…

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.