I. READING SALON

*Black

*Miles

*Kindred

*Cyborg

*Strange Fruit

*Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

*Victor LaValle’s Destroyer

II. LISTENING SALON

Music Lab – Flying Lotus

[from Wikipedia] Flying Lotus was born Steven Ellison, the grand-nephew of the late jazz pianist Alice Coltrane, whose husband was saxophonist John Coltrane. His third studio album, Cosmogramma, was released in 2010. It was a hard-hitting afrofuturistic shrine to soul, hip-hop, and jazz, and featured Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat.

[The album was accompanied by live instrumentation (Thundercat on bass, Miguel Atwood Ferguson on strings, Rebekah Raff on harp) and live vocalists (Thom Yorke, Laura Darlington) – all picked to help communicate the spiritual musical lineage of Ellison’s family (Ravi Coltrane, himself, played tenor sax)]

His fifth studio album, You’re Dead! was released in 2014. It features guest appearances by Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Herbie Hancock. Flying Lotus then appeared alongside Thundercat on Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly and received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year for his credits as producer.

 

III. CALL TO ORDER: An intro to the history of black comics

 

All-Negro Comics: published in June 1947. It was the first independent comic and was also the first comic to feature black characters by black creators. Superheroes, detectives, kid characters.

Milestone Media/Milestone Comics (from Wikipedia)

Milestone Media was a company best known for creating Milestone Comics, which were published and distributed by DC Comics, and the Static Shock cartoon series. It was founded in 1993 by a coalition of African-American artists and writers, consisting of Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle. (Christopher J. Priest participated in the early planning stages of Milestone Media, and was originally slated to become the editor-in-chief of the new company, but bowed out for personal reasons before any of Milestone’s titles were published).

 

Although Milestone comics were published through DC Comics, they did not fall under DC Comics’ editorial control; DC retained only the right not to publish any material they objected to. Milestone Media retained the copyright of their properties and had the final say on all merchandising and licensing deals pertaining to them. In essence, DC licensed the characters, editorial services, and creative content of the Milestone books for an annual fee and a share of the profits. Dwayne McDuffie said that DC held up this agreement even though some of Milestone’s storylines made them “very uncomfortable” as they were from perspectives that DC weren’t used to.

 

All Milestone Media titles were set in a continuity dubbed the “Dakotaverse”, referring to the fictional midwestern city of Dakota in which most of the early Milestone stories were set. The first batch of titles included: Hardware, Icon, Blood Syndicate and Static.

 

UNFORTUNATELY: The comics market was experiencing a glut of “new universes” as several other publishers launched superhero lines around the same time (a slump would start in 1993 and a market crash in 1994), a significant number of retailers and readers perceived the Milestone books to be “comics for blacks” and assumed they would not interest non-African-American readers.

 

By 1997, the line folded (only the Static Shock cartoon remained). In 2008, the characters were merged into the regular DC universe. In 2016, DC Comics announced the creation of “Earth-M” within their multiverse. 2018 saw the release of five titles, including Milestone (featuring Icon and Rocket), a new Static series, Duo (based on the character Xombi), and two other new titles: Earth-M and Love Army.

 

[Literally, Milestone began with two brothers in a basement talking comics and possibilities]

 

IV. CHOPPING IT UP WITH LOCAL CREATIVES

Introductions: Nick Perry, Arric Thomas, Jamahl Crouch

 

-What got you into comics books/art?

 

-How would you describe your art?

 

-What is the guiding philosophy behind your art?

 

-What is the relationship between your art and community work?

 

-What would you like to do moving forward?

 

RESOURCES OF INTEREST:

The Unacknowledged History of Black Creators and Black Characters in Comic Books

 

All-Negro Comics

https://www.digitalcomicmuseum.com/?dlid=22625

 

The Real Reasons for Marvel Comics’ Woes

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/05/the-real-reasons-for-marvel-comics-woes/527127/

 

Why Milestone Comics’ Revival Matters

https://medium.com/@nerdypoc/why-milestone-comics-revival-matters-2a9ff59e05dd