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A history of the trailblazing comics that broke color barriers and portrayed African Americans in heroic storylines What do the comic book figures Static, Hardware, and Icon all have in common? Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans gives an answer that goes far beyond "tights and capes," an answer that lies within the mission Milestone Media, Inc., assumed in A history of the trailblazing comics that broke color barriers and portrayed African Americans in heroic storylines What do the comic book figures Static, Hardware, and Icon all have in common? Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans gives an answer that goes far beyond "tights and capes," an answer that lies within the mission Milestone Media, Inc., assumed in comic book culture. Milestone was the brainchild of four young black creators who wanted to part from the mainstream and do their stories their own way. This history of Milestone, a "creator-owned" publishing company, tells how success came to these mavericks in the 1990s and how comics culture was expanded and enriched as fans were captivated by this new genre. Milestone focused on the African American heroes in a town called Dakota. Quite soon these black action comics took a firm position in the controversies of race, gender, and corporate identity in contemporary America. Characters battled supervillains and sometimes even clashed with more widely known superheroes. Front covers of Milestone comics often bore confrontational slogans like "Hardware: A Cog in the Corporate Machine is About to Strip Some Gears." Milestone's creators aimed for exceptional stories that addressed racial issues without alienating readers. Some competitors, however, accused their comics of not being black enough or of merely marketing Superman in black face. Some felt that the stories were too black, but a large cluster of readers applauded these new superheroes for fostering African American pride and identity. Milestone came to represent an alternative model of black heroism and, for a host of admirers, the ideal of masculinity. Black Superheroes gives details about the founding of Milestone and reports on the secure niche its work and its image achieved in the marketplace. Tracing the company's history and discussing its creators, their works, and the fans, this book gauges Milestone alongside other black comic book publishers, mainstream publishers, and the history of costumed characters. Jeffrey A. Brown is an assistant professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University. He has been published in Screen, Cinema Journal, African American Review, Journal of Popular Culture, Discourse, and Journal of Popular Film and Television.


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A history of the trailblazing comics that broke color barriers and portrayed African Americans in heroic storylines What do the comic book figures Static, Hardware, and Icon all have in common? Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans gives an answer that goes far beyond "tights and capes," an answer that lies within the mission Milestone Media, Inc., assumed in A history of the trailblazing comics that broke color barriers and portrayed African Americans in heroic storylines What do the comic book figures Static, Hardware, and Icon all have in common? Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans gives an answer that goes far beyond "tights and capes," an answer that lies within the mission Milestone Media, Inc., assumed in comic book culture. Milestone was the brainchild of four young black creators who wanted to part from the mainstream and do their stories their own way. This history of Milestone, a "creator-owned" publishing company, tells how success came to these mavericks in the 1990s and how comics culture was expanded and enriched as fans were captivated by this new genre. Milestone focused on the African American heroes in a town called Dakota. Quite soon these black action comics took a firm position in the controversies of race, gender, and corporate identity in contemporary America. Characters battled supervillains and sometimes even clashed with more widely known superheroes. Front covers of Milestone comics often bore confrontational slogans like "Hardware: A Cog in the Corporate Machine is About to Strip Some Gears." Milestone's creators aimed for exceptional stories that addressed racial issues without alienating readers. Some competitors, however, accused their comics of not being black enough or of merely marketing Superman in black face. Some felt that the stories were too black, but a large cluster of readers applauded these new superheroes for fostering African American pride and identity. Milestone came to represent an alternative model of black heroism and, for a host of admirers, the ideal of masculinity. Black Superheroes gives details about the founding of Milestone and reports on the secure niche its work and its image achieved in the marketplace. Tracing the company's history and discussing its creators, their works, and the fans, this book gauges Milestone alongside other black comic book publishers, mainstream publishers, and the history of costumed characters. Jeffrey A. Brown is an assistant professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University. He has been published in Screen, Cinema Journal, African American Review, Journal of Popular Culture, Discourse, and Journal of Popular Film and Television.

30 review for Black Superheros, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julio Bonilla

    The assumptions or rejection of the Milestone stories at a general level has also been shaped by their conformity, or lack of it, to popular comic book trends. I first read about Milestone Comics while researching comics in Your Brain On Latino Comics for a college paper. That book left me wondering, What happened to Milestone Comics? Sometimes people want to differentiate themselves from others so much, they end up falling into obscurity! 🤓Damn, I love this book! Regardless of some typos I notice The assumptions or rejection of the Milestone stories at a general level has also been shaped by their conformity, or lack of it, to popular comic book trends. I first read about Milestone Comics while researching comics in Your Brain On Latino Comics for a college paper. That book left me wondering, What happened to Milestone Comics? Sometimes people want to differentiate themselves from others so much, they end up falling into obscurity! 🤓Damn, I love this book! Regardless of some typos I noticed in the book, this is really informative.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris Keeve

    This was a pretty enlightening study about the state of black masculinity in the comic book industry as of the turn of the millenium. I really appreciated the provided history and controversy over Milestone Comics, which I previously knew very little about, and the history/controversy surrounding black comics in general. Also, Brown went so far as to break down the systems of blackness and constructions of gender that operate in the media and how they relate to comic book lovers of color.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tone

    It's a good book if you know nothing about comics. For someone like me, who knows everything about comics it's pretty basic, but I did like the parts about Milestone and Ania comics. It's a good book if you know nothing about comics. For someone like me, who knows everything about comics it's pretty basic, but I did like the parts about Milestone and Ania comics.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cole Jack

    This is one of the worst books of academic writing I have read. The author's sample size is far too small, he dismisses the existence of female fans too quickly, and the title of the text is misleading. Since the author ultimately seems most interested in masculinity in both comics and readers of comics, he should have established that as his title rather than the overarching term of "fans," which does not imply exclusive male gender. The organization of the book leaves much to be desired and I This is one of the worst books of academic writing I have read. The author's sample size is far too small, he dismisses the existence of female fans too quickly, and the title of the text is misleading. Since the author ultimately seems most interested in masculinity in both comics and readers of comics, he should have established that as his title rather than the overarching term of "fans," which does not imply exclusive male gender. The organization of the book leaves much to be desired and I found far too many spelling and grammar mistakes in this text. If you are interested in finding out more about Milestone Media, read a different book about it or better yet, read some of the many interviews by the creators. Creators that are barely referenced in this text.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    I was extremely disappointed by this book. The back cover promises "A history of the trailblazing comics that broke color barriers and portrayed African Americans in heroic storylines." But that's not what this book is. It's an extremely dry academic examination of comics culture and, secondarily, Milestone Comics' place in it. It does include a very cursory history of Milestone's formation and a summary of its titles and characters, but the founders and creators are almost entirely absent from th I was extremely disappointed by this book. The back cover promises "A history of the trailblazing comics that broke color barriers and portrayed African Americans in heroic storylines." But that's not what this book is. It's an extremely dry academic examination of comics culture and, secondarily, Milestone Comics' place in it. It does include a very cursory history of Milestone's formation and a summary of its titles and characters, but the founders and creators are almost entirely absent from the book. A more accurate back cover blurb would have been "A college professor spends 200 pages un-self-consciously hanging out at comic book stores and conventions talking to teenage boys. Nothing weird about that!" Not only does the cover and back cover copy bait-and-switch the reader, the book is riddled with obvious factual errors and poor copyediting. For example: Will Eisner and Jerry Iger's legendary studio was not the Eisner & "Inger" Studio. Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns was published in 1986, not 1985. John Byrne rebooted Superman in 1987, not 1990. A comics long box holds about 300 comics, not 100. Compton's favorite son is not Snoop Doggy "Dog." "David" Banner is the Hulk's secret identity on the TV show, not his comics alter-ego. Damon Wayans' superhero parody wasn't titled "Blank Man," nor was Marvel's first openly gay superhero "North Star." The boxer doesn’t spell his name "Riddock" Bowe. And the Black Panther was never a "jive-talking, ghetto based hero." There are interesting nuggets to be found in here, specifically around young readers’ perception of Milestone's comics, and an exploration of traditional and non-traditional views of masculinity (particularly Black masculinity) and how they're presented in comics. But these are few and far between. The author promised a book that told the story of one of the most fascinating comics publishing experiments in the history of the medium. Instead, he delivered an unfocused, sloppily researched mess. What a wasted opportunity.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cara Byrne

    "If comic book superheroes represent an acceptable, albeit obviously extreme, model of hypermasculinity, and if the black male body is already culturally ascribed as a site of hypermasculinity, then the combination of the two - a black male superhero - runs the risk of being read as an overabundance, a potentially threatening cluster of masculine signifiers" (178). An interesting analysis of an African American-run comic book publishing company called Milestone Media, Inc. "If comic book superheroes represent an acceptable, albeit obviously extreme, model of hypermasculinity, and if the black male body is already culturally ascribed as a site of hypermasculinity, then the combination of the two - a black male superhero - runs the risk of being read as an overabundance, a potentially threatening cluster of masculine signifiers" (178). An interesting analysis of an African American-run comic book publishing company called Milestone Media, Inc.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  8. 4 out of 5

    Osvaldo

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Strand

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mav

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sean Xavier

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Barron

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

  15. 5 out of 5

    Allison Hanna

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andriana

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Dublin

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Jamison

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dennis G

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  22. 5 out of 5

    Richard Stevens

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jerica Griffin

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dbrickashaw Ferguson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rafael Ponce-Cordero

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emmanuel Ortiz

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Haynes

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wakandan Furyan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Marie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dave

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