For twenty or so years there have been ‘Blacks In Comics’ panels at various comic book conventions. These panels featured mostly black artists and writers who had broken into either DC and or Marvel comics. This status quo was shattered when the success of Milestone Media propelled Denys Cowan, Dwayne McDuffie and Michael Davis to a level of prominence within the comic book creative community. Cowan, McDuffie, Davis and a fourth partner Derek Dingle founded Milestone in 1993 amidst much fanfare and well deserved hype. Cowan; McDuffie and Davis were frequent panelists on many ‘Blacks in comics’ panels.
The next year Milestone had its very first comic con panel in front of a standing room only crowd. Up to that point most comic book panels were set up with a moderator, four to six panelists and little Q & A from the audience. The goal was to sell books and listen to the panelists talk about their projects and themselves. Milestone’s panels broke the mold. Led by Michael Davis the panels were a fun filled event where the multi-cultural audience were as much participants as the panelists. Meanwhile the ‘Blacks In Comics’ panels had become (according to Davis) a ‘bitch fest’ where many creators simply complained about the lack of Black Characters and Black Creators at Marvel and DC Comics.
Davis started The Black Panel more than 10 years ago. Over the last decade the panel has been presented at conventions, seminars, book fairs in New York, Chicago and has been a mainstay of Comic Con International in San Diego for many years.