HBO Max is under fire for some questionable decision making, but I need to applaud it for one very important project. The streaming service recently debuted the documentary Milestone Generations. The film explores the original creation of Milestone Media and its relaunch in 2021.
In case you’re not an obsessive nerd like me, Milestone is the company that created game-changing characters like Static, Rocket, Icon and Hardware. The Black heroes signaled the arrival of groundbreaking representation both on and off the page.
In an interview with IGN at San Diego Comic-Con, co-founder and comic book legend Denys Cowan discussed how important the project is to telling Milestone’s story. “It’s something I’m very proud of, what we did,” he said.
“I shared this story in the film, how Jim Steranko had been approached by a major comics publisher and asked to create Black comic book characters,” Cowan said. “Jim came up to me [at a comics show] in New York City and said, ‘I don’t think I’m the right man for the job. Do you know who might be?’ And that was like a light bulb going off for me.”
Actor, rapper and comic book fan Cliff “Method Man” Smith narrates the doc, which features interviews from DC Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee; writer and widow of Milestone co-founder Dwayne McDuffie, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie; voice actor Phil LaMarr (Static Shock!, Justice League) and journalist/author Angélique Roché (My Super Hero is Black).
In April, I got the chance to speak with Cowan and Milestone partner Reginald Hudlin about how much it meant to me to finally feel seen when Static was created. In their endlessly humble way, Hudlin thanked me for being a fan, but also acknowledged that my joy at being represented was exactly why they started Milestone.
“We’re all the same tribe. It’s great that we get to represent ourselves and commune with each other and just go, ‘Oh, my God, that’s me,’” Hudlin said. “That’s us. That’s the conversations we have.”
Milestone Generations is streaming on HBO Max.