So about that Milestone revival…
At San Diego Comic-Con last month, DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee told panel attendees that the Milestone relaunch would be “codified in the next few months.” Lee also confirmed previously revealed plans that Milestone stories would take place on Earth-M, part of the DC Multiverse. But a new development could derail the already long-delayed project.
Milestone 2.0 was announced back in 2015, a revival of the original Milestone Media by co-founders Reggie Hudlin, Denys Cowan, and Derek Dingle (but not Michael Davis). But according to Charlotte McDuffie, wife of the late Dwayne McDuffie, despite the revival’s genesis taking place at his wake, the new group left McDuffie’s estate out of the new deal.
That’s what McDuffie is claiming in a lawsuit first reported on today by Variety. Suing for compensatory damages, punitive damages, legal costs, and “such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper,” the lawsuit says that “as of February 2011, McDuffie owned 50% of the shareholder interests in Milestone, and Defendent Dingle owned the remaining 50%.” It then states:
Prior to McDuffie’s death in 2011, Defendant Hudlin had no connection to Milestone and had no ownership interest in Milestone. Upon confirmation and belief, shortly after McDuffie’s death in February 2011, Defendant Hudlin attended a wake held in McDuffie’s memory. As Defendant Hudlin recounted to The Washington Post in 2015, it was at McDuffie’s wake that Defendant Hudlin spoke with Defendant Cowan and Defendant Dingle about somehow “restarting” Milestone.
Upon confirmation and belief, Defendants Hudlin, Cowan, and Dingle at that point began a conspiracy to deprive the representatives and beneficiaries of McDuffie’s estate of information and assets to which they were entitlted. Defendants Hudlin, Cowan, and Dingle engaged in this conspiracy to enrich themselves, all at the expense of McDuffie’s heirs.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that when Charlotte McDuffie reached out to Cowan and Dingle about the McDuffie estate’s share of Milestone, they “feigned cooperation” and “engaged in stalling and stonewalling tactics designed to inhibit Charlotte’s investigation (e.g. repeatedly scheduling calls and meetings, then cancelling them at the last minute, playing ‘telephone tag,’ and claiming to be too busy to attend to matters because of the press of ‘other business’).”
Upon formation and belief, Defendants Hudlin, Cowan, and Dingle conspired to cause Milestone to refrain from repurchasing McDuffie’s shares because they had something else in mind: rather than pay McDuffie’s estate the fair market value of MxDuffie’s 50% interest in Milestone, Hudlin, Cowan, and Dingle planned to form a new, sham entity — in which the Defendants would have ownership interests, but McDuffie’s Estate would have none.
Finally, it alleges:
Plaintiff is informed and believes, and thereon alleges, that the books and records of Milestone and New Milestone will show further theft, mismanagement, and/or interference on the parts of Hudlin, Cowan, Dingle, Hudlin Entertainment, New Milestone, and Milestone.
The lawsuit also reveals that the two sides had been seeking to settle the dispute, entering into a tolling agreement in April, but that talks “appear to have broken down” with the filing of the lawsuit. It’s unclear if or how this will affect Milestone’s partnership with DC and the relaunch that was “being codified” over the next few months, but it’s probably safe to say that codification might take a little bit longer now.