DC Comics is getting some fresh blood.
First up: the introduction of Milestone Comics characters into the DC line.
Milestone Media, a black-owned company, created its ethnically diverse characters in the early 1990s. DC published the Milestone titles though a special agreement, but the two remained separate companies and the Milestone adventures occurred in a universe apart from DC's. The Milestone line ended in 1997.
Now Milestone is returning as part of a new agreement between the two companies. And this time, the Milestone characters will be part of the DC line. Icon and Hardware, among Milestone's earliest characters, will show up in "Justice League of America" next month.
And Static Shock - who was the star of his own cartoon series as well as a comic book - will appear in "Teen Titans" before long.
It won't be a matter of universes colliding, says DC executive editor Dan DiDio.
"The goal is to say they're not coming from another universe but that they existed in the DC universe and this is ours and our heroes' first introduction to them."
Judging from the covers to upcoming issues of "Justice League," which show Justice Leaguers squaring off against the Milestone characters, those first meetings may not be friendly ones.
"You know, the first thing heroes do is they fight before they team up," says DiDio, citing what he calls a tried-and-true method of introducing heroes.
"Justice League" writer Dwayne McDuffie knows the Milestone characters well - he's a founder of Milestone Media and the co-creator of Static Shock.
"Everything that we're doing with Milestone we run through Dwayne," DiDio says. "He has the clear vision, the clear voice, of who these characters are."If readers clamor for it, look for the Milestone characters to star in their own titles.
"I'm going to see which ones break out," DiDio says, "but when you have characters like Icon, Hardware and Static, you'd be surprised if they didn't have series."
The DC universe is also becoming home to the old Archie Comics superheroes - characters that harken back to as long ago as the 1940s in their original incarnations.
While Archie Comics is known obviously for Archie, Jughead and the gang, the company also produced heroes such as The Shield, The Fly and Black Hood.
Those heroes will blend into the DC universe starting next year via "The Brave and the Bold," a team-up title that's being taken over by writer J. Michael Straczynski.
Straczynski is the creator of TV's "Babylon 5" and the writer of Clint Eastwood's new film "Changeling." In "The Twelve," a series for Marvel Comics, he brought a dozen obscure heroes from Marvel's original incarnation as Timely Comics into the present.
Now Straczynski has a chance to take the old Archie heroes and put them under a new light as well, DiDio says.
"He really has had a lot of fun reimagining a number of characters out there for other companies, and we wanted him to try his hand at doing it for us."
As with the Milestone characters, there's a chance these new/old heroes could end up with their own titles.
"My goal," DiDio says, "is to make sure that every one of these has the best chance possible to succeed and also, more importantly, they have a chance to stand out on their own without just working under the light of the DC heroes."
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