Did Milestone Almost Do a Marvel Comic Line in 1995?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and fifty-seventh week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As we’ve been doing it for some time now, one legend today, one tomorrow and one Sunday.

Let’s begin!


Milestone Media was going to have a line of comic books at Marvel in 1995.



The recent episode of Secret History of Comics that spotlighted the impressive history of Milestone Media reminded me of an interesting piece of Milestone Media history that doesn’t get a whole lot of play. You see, for a brief period there in 1995, Milestone was actually going to do a comic book line at MARVEL!

As you probably know by now, in the late 1990s, Marvel Comics was all about having outside comic book companies package their comics. In 1996, they had two Image Comics studios take over the production of Avengers, Fantastic Four, Captain America and Iron Man. In 1998, they had Event Comics package Daredevil, Black Panther, Ghost Rider and Punisher under a line called “Marvel Knights.” The Event Comics packaging went so well that Marvel just put Event Comics in charge of the entire Marvel Comics line of comics.

Well, guess what? Before either of those events took place, Marvel was set to do the same thing with a different comic book company – Milestone Media!

Yes, during a break in their exclusive contract with DC Comics, Milestone was going to package a line of four inter-connected comic book series for Marvel, with former Marvel employee (and then-Milestone Media Editor-in-Chief) Dwayne McDuffie being in charge of the line.

A new Heroes for Hire title would drive the line…

There was also a new take on Shang Chi. Here is McDuffie’s hook for that series:

There are fifteen of them and they attack as one but Shang Chi has faced more and better men countless times before. Each uses a different style, but Shang Chi responds in kind, meeting each assailant on his own ground. Fist for fist; weapon for weapon. In less than a minute, fourteen men have fallen, buying the fifteenth enough time to draw a Czech M52 – a sleek 7.62mm automatic pistol with a muzzle velocity of 1600 feet per second.

Shang Chi is faster. Before the deadly 7.62mm slug grazes him, he has drawn his own Makarov and put four neat holes into his opponent.

The Master of Kung Fu has changed his ways…

Essentially, Shang Chi decides to dismantle his father’s criminal empire. He has to travel around the world doing so and he ends up adding guns to his weapons repertoire, as well (McDuffie was going for a John Woo-style approach).

There would be a team book led by Photon (Denys Cowan was going to be the artist on the project), who McDuffie had written two one-shots for, back when she was still going by Captain Marvel.

There would also be a Psi-Hawk series, spinning out of the New Universe series, Psi-Force…

The problem was that McDuffie arranged it with Tom DeFalco and Mark Gruenwald and DeFalco was soon replaced as Editor-in-Chief by a collection of Editors-in-Chief and then Mark Gruenwald sadly passed away. So the project was dead.

Boy, it would have been cool.

Thanks to the late, great Dwayne McDuffie for the information about this proposed line of comics.

Check out some legends from Legends Revealed:

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Was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Originally Designed as a School Project?

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Check back Saturday for part 2 of this week’s legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you’re curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

Comic Book Legends Revealed, , Milestone Media

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