DC Announces 24 Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants

DC Comics announced the participants of this year's Milestone Media Initiative Talent Development Program, set to begin on the 15th of March. The programme is intended to create access and opportunity for Black and diverse storytellers in the field of comics. Here is the announced class of participants for 2022.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Andrea Rosales, Portland OR Andrea Rosales is a bi, third-generation Mexican-American comics artist and graphic designer based in Portland, Oregon. Her love of storytelling as a creative outlet led her to Loyola Marymount University, where she received her degree in graphic design and animation. Since her time at LMU, Andrea has worked as a graphic designer, co-created webcomics, had her work published in multiple anthologies, had her work showcased in gallery shows, won multiple art grants, and received the Joan Eliot Sappington Award for her short comic "Conchas y Chocolate." Her primary goal is to tell stories tackling complex issues with multidimensional characters while offering positive representation and instilling readers with a sense of pride in their roots.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Ashley Allen, Orono MN Ashley Allen is a storyteller from Minnesota who loves learning about the world around her. Having grown up with apraxia, a verbal and processing disorder, she struggled to verbally communicate at a young age. However, she never struggled putting words on a page. While attending speech therapy, she began to fall in love with language and the ways people communicate. Writing served as her initial means of communication and continues to be her favorite way of connecting and processing the world around her. She aspires to tell stories that catalyze change and help others do the same. As a recent graduate, Ashley currently works in marketing and dreams of someday running her own creative studio and finally putting to use her economics degree.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Atagun Ilhan, Syracuse NY Atagun Ilhan is a storyteller mostly involved in comics illustration and originally from Turkey. He was born and raised by artist parents; therefore, his upbringing revolved around drawing, consuming pop culture, art, and playing video games. He is currently pursuing an MFA in illustration at Syracuse University and working as a freelance comic book illustrator as much as he can. His favorite comic book is Batman: The Killing Joke.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Charles Stewart III, Washington D.C. From the early age of five, it was evident that Charles Stewart wanted to make art. He fell in love with being creative, especially with pencil and paper. He had opportunities and blessings as well as different life circumstances that helped shape and form who he would become. Those things together are what formed the way that he thinks and processes creativity in his head. Most people would just categorize it as daydreaming, and from one point of view that's accurate, but on another level it's more his exploration of wonder and imagination. Because of this, Charles has chosen to seek a career path to utilize his passion and gift for artistic creativity.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Cheryl Lynn Eaton, New York NY Cheryl Lynn Eaton is a writer born and raised in the New York metropolitan area. Though currently living just outside of the Atlanta perimeter, she has spent the majority of her life within the tri-state area working as an editor, a teaching assistant, and—in the most fondly remembered time of her youth—as a comics shop clerk. She recently attempted to follow the long-established family tradition of a career in education or property management. However, she found the call of creative pursuits too strong to ignore and soon turned to creative writing—a decision that has proved to be incredibly rewarding.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Daimon Hampton, Chicago IL Daimon Hampton is a writer, artist, and amateur comedian. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and spent the entirety of his childhood there save for a four-year period when, due to circumstances beyond his control, he was lost in the dangerous wilds of Holt, Missouri. Since he wasn't, as they say, "'bout that life," he didn't do much during that time other than watch anime, read comics, talk to himself, and draw, which is one reason why he ultimately chose to become a professional artist and storyteller. Over the past 10 years, he has worked on and self-published a diverse array of indie comics including 12 Gauge Stereo, Escape from Babylon, Hold Me Down, The Animal Journal, Beat Samurai, and Oh! Valencia.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Dorado Quick, Inglewood CA Dorado Quick is a writer from Inglewood, California. His uncle, Charles Quick, introduced him to the world of comic books at an early age to help him escape and cope with the realities of his neighborhood. For Dorado, comics became a crash course on perseverance. Always carrying a love for storytelling, he went on to study writing at the VCU Brandcenter. After receiving his master's degree, he began scripting commercials, branded content, documentaries, and short films and creating original shows featuring the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Nas, LeBron James, and more. Dorado currently serves as a creative director for Six Course Inc. and UNINTERRUPTED/The SpringHill Company. He is eager to explore Milestone's rich history and to build upon the stories of DC's legacy characters further in comic book lore, TV, and film.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Greg Burnham, Norcross GA Greg Burnham is a writer based in Norcross, Georgia. As an Air Force child, he lived in several places all over the world before finally settling in Bossier City, Louisiana. He attended college at Grambling State University and, after establishing a full-time career for himself in finance, decided to pursue writing. He and artist Marcus Williams teamed to produce two children's books, Broken Glass and Grandpa's Shoes, and then in 2016 decided to jump back into comics, producing the very successful indie sci-fi action-adventure Tuskegee Heirs. Since then, Greg has created another comics series, The Search for Sadiqah, and is currently at work on a number of other creator-owned projects.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Gregory Maldonado, Bronx NY A Bronx resident all his life, Gregory has considered creating comics his life's passion. While mostly self-taught, he has taken courses at the famed School of Visual Arts in New York City, through its continuing education program on comics storytelling and perspective. His published credits include short stories in Create, Destroy, Repeat: A Comics Anthology of Rebirth and Redemption, through Pronto Comics, and Shock-a-Rama, through Mondo Comix, which led him to meeting J.C. Carter and co-producing The Shaolin Nun. Greg is a founding member of the Comics Arts Workshop and is hard at work at his desk churning out future stories. His project updates can be seen through his regular Instagram posts under his handle @gremal_art.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Jarod Pratt, Detroit MI Jarod Rhys Pratt is the father of two wonderful girls and hails from Detroit, Michigan. During the day, he works as the mild-mannered development and communications coordinator for Black Leaders Detroit, a nonprofit organization that provides access to capital for Black-led businesses and organizations that have historically faced systemic discrimination from traditional financial institutions. At night (and once the kids are in bed), he transforms into a wild-yet-still-mild-mannered writer of stories and builder of worlds. His debut graphic novel, Lemonade Code, was published by Oni Press in 2021.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Jarred Luján, Del Rio TX Jarred Luján is a writer from the wildlands of Texas, where he was born and raised three miles from the Mexican border. He graduated cum laude with a double major from Angelo State University—one in philosophy and the other in political science. Since then, Jarred has been neck-deep in the indie comics scene for six years, doing everything from one-page comics to crowdfunded one-shots to small-print series, all the while preaching the good word of self-belief. He now lives in West Texas with his wife, teenager, chubby little dog, and small horde of cats. He likes French existentialism and gangsta rap.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Jerome Rhett, Charleston SC Jerome Rhett is a writer and filmmaker originally from Charleston, South Carolina. Growing up drawing from the age of six, Jerome developed an appreciation for all things creative, especially comic books. At age seventeen, he left high school to pursue his dream of being a filmmaker. He moved to Seattle, Washington, to meet creatives who shared his drive. Now a graduate with a filmmaking degree and working freelance in the film industry, he has set his sights on doing more and more creative projects and producing amazing content that entertains and, more importantly, inspires.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Jordan Clark, Baltimore MD Growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland, Jordan Clark was raised on Devo, The Simpsons arcade game, the '90s Bulls, and Rap City: Tha Basement. One fateful Christmas, he received a treasury of 1940s Superman comics and a lifelong love of comics began. In college he even skipped his morning class to see The Dark Knight on opening day (don't tell his mom). Jordan has been writing comics for a little over a decade now, and his passion grows with each project. Now residing in Baltimore, his hope is to tell stories that give a voice to those rarely seen or heard, to create work that inspires radical joy, and to make it known that Booster Gold is the world's greatest superhero.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Julio Anta, Miami FL Julio Anta is a writer based in New York City. Raised in Miami, in a Cuban and Colombian family, Julio strives to tell narratively rich stories about diverse and empowered Latinx characters for readers of all ages. His debut comic book series, Home, began publication in 2021, courtesy of Image Comics. Forthcoming work includes Frontera, a YA graphic novel from HarperAlley, and Si, Se Puede, a nonfiction graphic novel from Ten Speed Press.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Kameron White, Houston TX Kameron White is a comics artist, illustrator, and designer. His favorite thing is to create original characters, fashion designs, and fun stories. Within his work, he aims toward displaying a diverse group. This includes people of color, LGBTQ+ characters, and characters of various backgrounds. One of his stories was featured in We're Still Here: An All-Trans Comics Anthology, which recently won the 2019 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Anthology. He also illustrated a story that was included in Proud, an anthology of stories and poetry by LGBTQ+ YA authors that won Book of the Year at the 2020 Visionary Honours. Although born and raised in Houston, Texas, and a Southern boy at heart, Kameron lives in Minneapolis with his fiancé, their three cats, and hundreds of squishmallows.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Lucas Silveira, Indianapolis IA Lucas Silveira began his journey as an artist after falling in love with comic books and superheroes. These stories taught him that it was okay to be different and made him want to bring stories of his own to life. At age 19, Lucas moved from his home in Brazil to the United States, where he obtained his degree in studio art and began to explore his creativity to develop artistically even more. Lucas currently works as a freelance artist illustrating books. In his free time, you can find him playing video games and spending time with his partner and their little dog.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Marcus Smith, Chicago IL Marcus Smith is a freelance illustrator from Chicago, Illinois. Since childhood, he has been immersed in the world of all things comics, film, and video games. He cites characters such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman, Spawn, and the X-Men as the influences that drew him to the world of comics in particular. After drawing every day and making lunch money throughout high school designing tattoo decals, he chose to pursue the career path of freelance design. Over time, fans of his work began to refer to him as "MAS" because of the initials that he stamps on all of his artwork. He looks forward to working more in mainstream comics, film, and game design and one day lending his talents to the many franchises that inspired him growing up.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Miguel Hernández, Cleveland OH Miguel C. Hernández is a Cleveland, Ohio, native, comics artist, and martial artist. His fascination with comics started at a very young age in the early '90s, thanks to his brother's continued access and introductions to X-Men and Spawn comics and manga titles such as Blade of the Immortal and Dragon Ball Z. Miguel was also fascinated by the Mamoru Oshii animation era (Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell), which led to his great passion for Japanese animation and culture. After a long career as a preschool teacher, Miguel slowly found his way back to making comics. This path eventually led to his self-published illustration books and comics, combining his loves for sequential art and the martial arts. He currently teaches comics workshops and illustration classes to children and teens in the greater Cleveland community.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Morgan Hampton, Chicago IL Morgan Hampton is an MFA student at Loyola Marymount's School of Film and Television, working toward a degree in television writing and producing. He graduated from San Francisco State University in 2016 with a degree in creative writing, dedicating as much time as possible to self-publishing comics, and learning the tricks of the trade through writing reviews and conducting interviews with industry professionals for Black Nerd Problems. In his free time, he likes to contemplate existence and eat cookies.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Nathaniel Cayanan, Corona CA Nathan Cayanan is a writer, illustrator, and college professor. At age seven, after reading Batman #416, which introduced him to a surprisingly complicated Caped Crusader, Nathan developed a passion for storytelling that followed him as he attended the University of Southern California, Cal State Long Beach, and Cal Poly Pomona, where he studied fiction, screenwriting, filmmaking, and business. Being Filipino-American, he has written about the Asian diaspora, evolving AAPI identities, and the struggles of the perpetual foreigner. He has taught writing in Taiwan, China, and the United States at USC International Academy, UC Irvine, and Irvine Valley College, where he is currently a part-time associate professor. He is currently earning an MBA while he continues to tell the stories that are often untold.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Petterson Oliveira, Naples FL Petterson Oliveira is an artist born in Brazil and raised in Florida. He began drawing when he was four years old and never stopped. In 2013 Petterson made the decision to move to New Jersey to attend the Kubert School. After graduating in 2016, he spent several years as a freelance artist working with independent creators. He successfully crowdfunded his first creator-owned project, The Angel of Sadhill, and is currently working on issue #2. By day Petterson is a storyboard artist for a marketing firm, and he loves watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 while he works. When he is not drawing or watching a movie, Petterson enjoys being on the beach with his wife and with a homemade margarita in his hand.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Tiah Ankum, Atlanta GA Tiah Ankum is a young artist who was born in the Midwest, raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and currently resides in southern Alabama. Throughout her artistic journey thus far she has experimented with different media including music, traditional art, and digital illustration. She counts comic books, manga, video games, and music as her biggest influences. She attended a magnet high school where she majored in music and minored in art. This passion led her to enroll at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2017. Later that year she and her twin sister created a creative artistic partnership known as the SiameseFros. Her goal is to continue to grow as an artist and bring to life as many of her comic book ideas as possible.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants
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Yasmín Flores Montañez, Toa Alta PR Yasmín Flores Montañez is an illustrator and comics artist from Puerto Rico. The youngest of three siblings, she always found herself in love with drawing and books and frequently visited one of the few comic book shops on the small Caribbean island. Most of the time, she was busy reading superhero team books because they often showcased a diverse group of friends joining forces. Yasmín's current work focuses on creating diverse cultural stories with a carefully balanced mixture of action and thought-provoking scenes. She has illustrated stories for IDW, Oni Press, Black Mask Studios, and Somos Arte. Her latest comic book projects include Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp and the upcoming graphic novels Sí, Se Puede and Godzilla Rivals: Round 1.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants

Zipporah Smith, Los Angeles CA Zipporah Smith was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Growing up neurodivergent, it was difficult for her to engage with others, but stories were her pathway to expressing herself and interacting with the world. She attended Pomona College and earned her degree in English language and literature, then received her MFA in screenwriting from Chapman University. She has had several jobs, from data entry to writing assistant, placed in the Austin Film Festival for a pilot script, and is currently on the cusp of finishing her first book (on the cusp!). She's excited about being in the Milestone Initiative and learning more about writing comics.

The 10-week program is promoted as offering participants opportunities to learn from industry experts and sharpen their storytelling skills to become part of the upcoming generation of great comic book writers and artists. WarnerMedia Access will provide the participants with training in equity and inclusion so it will be instilled in them as they hone their creative mindset. The immersive training program will be comprised of a virtual technical course through the prestigious Kubert School and an in-person seminar at DC's offices in Burbank, CA. Well, they have the space these days. The comprehensive curriculum will allow participants to improve their storytelling skills and understand the creative process from ideation – and yes, that is the word that they are using – to execution, providing education that goes beyond the drafting table. Programming will focus on the history of comic books, creating content that spans cultural differences, incorporating dynamic perspectives to create a better product, navigating the industry as an underrepresented talent, learning best practices for financial and entrepreneurial success and much more.

The mission for The Milestone Initiative – to empower the next generation of Black and diverse comic book creators – will be supported across a multi-pronged marketing campaign from WarnerMedia and Ally. Building off the historic storytelling rooted in the Milestone comics, WarnerMedia's brand studios and Ally have united to create brand storytelling that uses the full might of the WarnerMedia ecosystem – including its advertising inventory – to focus on the pertinent topic of representation and diversity in media.

It is named after Milestone founder Michael Davis' original DC talent programme that found creators for Milestone Media comic back in the nineties. Ostracised from Milestone of late, Michael Davis applied for the programme himself, but was rejected.

"This is a monumental day for Milestone and the broader comic book community. We've always believed in the importance of sharing underrepresented stories, so we're thrilled for new creative voices to join us in our mission," said Milestone partner and Emmy award-winning producer Reggie Hudlin. "Mentorship has always been a critical aspect of our comic book world, and Milestone co-founder Denys Cowan and I are

Speakers set to participate in the program include but are not limited to DC's Jim Lee, Marie Javins, Chris Conroy, Benjamin Le Clear, Marquis Draper as well as Milestone's Reggie Hudlin & Denys Cowan, Warner's Karen Horne and Ally's Erica Hughes.

It also coincides with a new Milestone advertising campaign. The storytelling series kicked off with "SuperFan," a video profiling Denys Cowan, co-founder of Milestone Media, in conversation with Feon Cooper and Kareem Burton, co-owners of Black Star Collectibles, the first ever Black-owned pop culture collectibles store in Carson, CA. The video discusses the lack of Black representation in the comic book world in the 1990s and how Milestone ignited the founders of Black Star Collectibles to become the businessowners they are today.

This month, The Power of Representation launched as the next installment of the year-long campaign. The branded vignette from Ally and Courageous Studios is intended to focus on Ally's mission to promote equity and inclusion inside and outside of its organization. The branded short film will explore Ally's approach to increasing access for marginalized members of their communities and historically disenfranchised groups.

"Ally is focused on improving financial literacy, economic mobility and access to opportunities and products that help all communities gain financial stability and independence," said Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer, Ally. "It is critical that our marketing efforts further this cause, and we believe our collaboration with DC, Milestone Media and WarnerMedia allows us to build upon our efforts for lasting social impact that directly reaches Black and Hispanic communities with generation-changing opportunities."

"The stories we are telling as a part of The Milestone Initiative illustrate a variety of perspectives and voices in an effort to further the Milestone mission of illuminating underrepresentation in comics," said Michal Shapira, Head of Marketing Solutions and Brand Studios, WarnerMedia. "Our studios' wide range of storytelling capabilities – from producing documentary-style video to animated stories – along with our ability to leverage our incredible IP in meaningful ways, allows us to connect with our audiences and inspire real change, across communities and society at-large."

Ally's team will be attempting to provide participants with the financial lessons needed to set them up for success as they embark upon their creative careers. Ally states that it is currently surveying the participants to gauge the financial topics most important to them and will tailor the curriculum to their needs.

DC Announces Successful Milestone Media Initiative Participants

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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