GEM Presents: Milestones

GEM Presents: Milestones – The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles – August 2012

Up until now there has been no serious attempt to showcase African Americans in the world of comic books, and the impact of their creative excellence, which has been a mainstay of the industry for as long as comics have been an American art form. That will change during Black History Month 2013 as Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (GEM) presents “Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond,” a major special exhibit developed and curated by Michael Davis, co-founder of Milestone Media.

The special exhibit will run from February 1, 2013 until March 1, 2014 and it will feature not only the work of mainstream Black creators, but also that of those who consider themselves outside the mainstream, and even those who want nothing to do with the mainstream.

Major comic book publishers such as Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse will have sections devoted to them and their efforts over the years to level the racial playing field, as well as the mistakes made along the way.

“Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond” will be about the vast talent and wonderful innovation that came from (or were influenced by) African Americans, and it will also showcase the important contributions of publishing executives at companies such as Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics. This special exhibit will embrace the totality of Black comics.

With a significant focus on Black creators and their art, the exhibit will pull together experts, essayists, filmmakers, and creators from inside and outside the world of comic books to fully explore the successes, failures, and expectations for the future of this vital component of our national fabric.

“In many ways African American culture is pop culture. This show will shine a spotlight on a segment of Black creativity rarely seen by the mainstream,” said Michael Davis.

“As this year’s Black History Month winds down, it seemed fitting to announce this momentous project on Leap Day, a particular day that only comes every four years. There will be plenty of details to reveal about this special exhibit in the coming months, but I can say without a doubt that Black History Month 2013 will be a landmark set of dates at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum,” said Melissa Bowersox, Executive Vice-President of GEM.

“‘Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture, and Beyond’ offers irrefutable evidence of African Americans’ profound contribution to the comic book medium and the vital role that Black super heroes have played in shaping its unique, ongoing narrative. In a world where race matters, the true beauty of this exhibit is those moments when it is utterly irrelevant and all that matters is the pure wonder of creation,” said Axel Alonso, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics.

“Growing up an avid comic book kid in the late 70s – early 80s, the impact of seeing someone who looked like me in a comic book was just as important as seeing someone who looked like me on the big screen or TV. I remember being so stoked at seeing Falcon, Luke Cage, and Black Panther. Finally we had our Supermen and things would never be the same again. I didn’t have to fight other kids on the playground to be Batman! I had a choice,” said actor and comedian Wayne Brady.

“If comics are modern mythology, then black participation and representation is crucial. The Milestones exhibit will document those dreams on paper through the years,” said filmmaker and comic book writer Reggie Hudlin.

“The black experience in the comic art medium is virtually incognito: we do not list talent’s race in our credits, nor should we. But there are thousands of young black writers and artists struggling to perfect their craft who are deeply in need of role models. This show is the perfect vehicle, and I can think of no better person to put that together than my good friend and collaborator, Michael Davis,” said Mike Gold, Editor-in-Chief of ComicMix.com.

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