INTERVIEW: Milestone Initiative Creators Talk Their Experiences, DC Comics Characters, and Advice for Newcomers

“We’re a big familia. It’s fantastic. I really love that anytime we have questions, we can all rely on and support each other as we rise through the ranks, keep growing and building our careers,”

Andrea Rosales shared.
milestone comics initiative workshop writers artists
Credit: DC Comics / Milestone Media

In the second part of this article, I interview the cohorts of the Milestone Initiative about their overall experience, what other Milestone and DC characters they’d love to work on, their thoughts on diversity in the industry and advice for people wanting a chance in the industry.

Edited for clarity.

Vanessa: How was last year’s Milestone summit and workshops for y’all?

Jordan Clark: The initiative was fantastic. For a lot of us, comics is, typically, a place that feels like you’re just grinding on your own and doing your own thing, trying to figure out how to make those next steps. This [opportunity] was great, because it introduced us to each other and gave us those tools and resources so that, while you’re on this journey, it doesn’t really feel like you’re doing it by yourself anymore. It feels like you’re part of  a larger family now, you know, the DC family, the Milestone family, but also our own little Initiative family that we’ve created. 

Jarod Pratt: Oh, yeah, the initiative was great. I always like to tell people, most of my life, my comic book fandom has been an insular, solo thing. I haven’t really necessarily had a lot of friends, been to a lot of comic cons. So meeting everybody was the first time I really felt like I had a group of friends that I connected with on a level of passion I had ever since I was in third grade. We got to see the DC Comics offices before they closed down and moved. And that was pretty special.

Andrea: It was tremendous. The way that the program was structured where they would equip all of the artists and writers with the tools they would need to succeed in terms of really understanding their craft better. Learning different ways to approach storytelling, but also the professional, business side. We learn a lot about not only just production and what editors are looking for, but just seeing the pipeline in terms of where they get paper, how production needs to work around things like shipping complications and stuff. There’s a whole lot of ways in which I feel like my eyes were opened, in terms of how comics and the business works. It was incredibly empowering to have that experience.

Dorado Quick: Dream fulfillment, opportunity, and community. Everybody has a story. In college, I emailed Marvel and DC, but couldn’t get any response or anything. Then, over a decade later this program happens. Not only that, I get an opportunity. I get training, I get community. This talent book is going to be great as our first shot. But we know it’s gonna be a long road ahead. We’re in our Discord daily, supporting each other, sharing work or inspiration. I think to Jarod’s point, having that community, the other people who love comics as much as you want to write them, or archive or draw them as much as you, it’s good to have that as something that many of us did not have prior to this program.

Ashley Allen: Initially applying, my first goal was to build a creative community. I think that’s been the biggest takeaway with the Milestone Initiative, is having this community, seeing everyone’s faces, on Zoom and stuff, is always such a fun time. We have our group chat, everything. Yeah, it went really well.

Yasmín Flores Montañez: My biggest takeaway from this whole experience is the connections that we have made, and especially meeting people on the same boat that you are, and going through this journey, at the same time, is very reassuring. It means you can have more energy and be more pumped about it. Because, otherwise, you’re alone. Maybe you tell your family or your friends and they might not understand as much but with this community, you definitely feel like everybody’s in the same boat. We go through happiness and frustration and all the roller coaster that this industry is together. 

Kameron White: Going into this, I didn’t really know what to expect. But coming out of this program, I definitely feel like I found a new family. Everyone’s just so supportive of each other. And it wasn’t even just like comics, if anything was happening with anyone, we’d always check in on each other, make sure each other is okay. If any one of us had any doubts or concerns about things or even when I was down on myself or not confident, this group has definitely helped me with a lot of things. This group is great at reminding you to take care of yourself and I really appreciate that. I’m glad [I’m] fortunate [enough] to be in this program.

Morgan Hampton: I definitely feel like I have 23 new siblings after going through the program. What’s great about our cohort, I think DC did a really good job of choosing everyone. Because we’re launching into the industry at the same time, these are going to be the people that we’re working with for the rest of our careers. We all really get along. We all have that same creative fire from within. That’s going to be very fruitful for all of us as we move through the years, that we have this foundation with this group of people. Breaking into the industry is hard and finding creative partners that you work with well is hard. We all have this shared experience. There’s always going to be this level of connectivity that we have.

[This in-depth interview was incredibly enjoyable and hefty, enjoy the rest via audio.]

If you haven’t read theNew Talent Showcase: The Milestone Initiative, check out our previous interview and review and then pick up a copy, in stores right now (except my closest comic book store because it was already sold out).