This year’s programming included a spotlight panel discussion that recognized the 20th anniversary of Milestone Media, a pioneering comic book company founded by a group of Black writers and artists that included the late Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, and others.
The article was about The East Coast Black Age Of Comics Convention — the Milestone panel was just one of many great things that went on at the convention over the weekend, and it was nice that PW gave us a shout out.
Publisher’s Weekly is a big deal — a mention there, even a small one, is never a bad thing…well, unless that mention is a review and the reviewer thinks the book you wrote sucks ass. I’ve been mentioned and/or reviewed in PW a few times. The last time was a review they did on the book David Quinn and I wrote, The Littlest Bitch.
That review got us a call from a network looking to talk to us about an animated series of the book. It’s safe to say that in entertainment, all the major playas read PW.
So, when I see that PW has relegated Derek Dingle and I to “other” status regarding Milestone, that’s a cause for concern, and frankly PW should have done a better job with their background checking. Milestone Media changed the game so much that we are being celebrated at Comic Con International this year. Comic Con is the biggest pop culture event in the world. You don’t use “and others” to describe founders of ANYTHING that important. It’s shitty reporting at best, and fucked up journalism at worse.
This year’s programming included a spotlight panel discussion that recognized the 50th anniversary of The Beatles, the pioneering rock and roll band that included John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and others.
I mean come on.
Don’t get me wrong, the article was a wonderful piece, extremely well-written but, “…and others?”
Come the fuck on!
I could be wrong, but here’s what I think happened — the reporter got his or her background information from those she or he interviewed at the convention. The reporter’s name is Bobbi Booker — I have no idea if that’s a girl or guy, and YES I do know a guy that that spells his name that way, so it could be a guy, smartass. Like I said, I could be mistaken, but I think whoever Bobbi spoke to gave the impression that Derek and I didn’t matter as much or we were junior partners.
There’s a myth a lot of people have taken as truth that persists about Milestone. The myth is that my dearly-departed friend and partner Dwayne McDuffie started Milestone and everyone came after.
That myth is so strong that a few years ago some clown went on Facebook and called me a liar when I stated at my annual Black Panel at Comic Con the following:
“Denys Cowan created Milestone, I co-signed, but the creation of Milestone is ALL Denys. Anything else you hear is just bullshit”
By “co-sign” I mean, I was with Denys the moment he came up with the idea and said it was a good one — that (white people) is called a co-sign.
Imagine my surprise and anger when this motherfucker went on Facebook and called me a liar during a major forum. He stuck to his “sources” until I bet him $10,000.00 that his information was simply bullshit.
This guy was convinced that Dwayne put everything together then called Denys, Derek, and me. On another Black comic forum someone SWORE Robert Washington both created Static and wrote the Static bible.
Denys Cowan, Dwayne McDuffie, Derek Dingle, Christopher Priest, and I created Static. Oh, and the Static bible? I wrote that. What Robert Washington did was take our good idea and make it FUCKING GREAT. Those books were some of the best comics to ever see the light of day, and that was ALL Robert and John Paul Leon. Speaking of John Paul, I read somewhere that Matt Wayne discovered him.
Nope. That was me.
On many online forums, people who have no fucking clue about Milestone except what they have “heard” are holding court as if they wrote the business plan and pitched it to DC and Marvel.
Oh, you didn’t know Milestone almost ended up at Marvel? I guess Ray Ray didn’t get that from Huggy Bear who knows all. “Word on the street is that Milestone was started by John Lennon and Ringo Starr…”
This is not sour grapes on my part — I’m not bitching because I’m not getting the proper credit for my contribution to Milestone, but rumors and misinformation have a tendency to become fact that can affect everything that you do. I’ve seen news stories that mention no one but Dwayne when discussing Milestone.
Why is that important to correct?
It’s important because brand is important. How you manage or don’t manage your brand can be the reason the business world gives you respect and takes you seriously.
Don’t think so?
MySpace is a fucking joke, Paris Hilton is an afterthought, Blackberry is just another smart phone, and Tim Tebow is fucking unemployed.
Brand management, or lack thereof, is why those above are no longer on any A-list.
Tiger Woods, Robert Downy Junior, Vanessa Williams, and Bill Clinton are at the top of their game after all of them faced career-ending scandals. That’s brand management.
For my money, the single best example of great brand management is Tylenol. Years ago, tainted Tylenol tablets were killing people. Tylenol managed to not only come back, but are bigger than they have ever been.
The Milestone story is too important to let just anyone who heard some shit through the grapevine tell it. If the accepted narrative becomes just Dwayne created Milestone, what happened to me at a meeting some time back will become commonplace. I was in talks with a mainstream publisher about an imprint deal I would have with them. During a meeting with eight people in the room, including the publisher, someone mentioned Milestone. I promptly interjected that I was a founder of Milestone and someone actually said, “No, it was McDuffie who started Milestone with backing from Quincy Jones.”
Now, I’m put in the position where I have to address that. Having to deflect, correct, restate, or clarify anything in a corporate setting is almost always bad.
Anytime you take the position that information you provided or spoke is flawed, inaccurate, or wrong puts your credibility in question. The perception that Dwayne is solely responsible for Milestone is problematic because Dwayne was such a massive talent, so future Milestone business could be at serious risk if a company decides they don’t want to be in business with Milestone because the guy who started it is gone. He’s not gone — his name is Denys and he’s even more talented than he was when he started Milestone 20 years ago.
Derek, Denys, and I are truly BLESSED to have been partners and friends with Dwayne. Milestone was a great idea, and Dwayne made it a GREATER idea, of that there is no doubt.
I’ll leave you with a bit of advice Dwayne gave me and no doubt countless others…
Get it right.