DC and Warner Bros mark Black History Month with new comics, books and merch 

Throughout February, DC and Warner Bros Consumer Products will honour the artistic expression and contributions of Black comic creators, artists and characters by unveiling a new collection of comics, books and merchandise.

The company will also launch initiatives to support and develop Black creators and inspire a new generation of comic book professionals. In addition, Milestone Compendium One allows DC fans to explore the anthology of Black Super Heroes in a 1,300 page book available today.

Announced during DC FanDome 2021, The Milestone Initiative was created by DC and Milestone Media, along with Ally Financial Services, to identify, develop and mentor aspiring comic book professionals of colour. Applicants selected for the Milestone Initiative Development Program will receive both in-person tutelage from working comic book professionals, in addition to virtual education through the prestigious Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. After study, attendees will be paired with other comic book professionals to create new, original stories within the Milestone Universe.

“Continuing our rich history of amplifying Black stories and talent, the launch of our Black History Month selection of new comics, books and merch celebrates the Black visionaries amongst us and collectively promotes and supports the telling of stories from the Black perspective,” says Anne Leung DePies, senior vice president and general manager of DC. “Focused on boosting representation of aspiring comic book professionals of colour and introducing them to positive apprenticeship in the art, The Milestone Initiative will pave the way for change by creating a place for individuals to be supported by mentors and connect over a shared love for comics.”

DC kicks off the celebration by releasing a series of new comics and books, as well as new Black History Month products at the DC Shop. In collaboration with Milestone Comics, titles Static Season One, Hardware Season One and Icon and Rocket Season One celebrate powerful DC Black Super Heroes, now available at participating comic book stores and digital platforms.

DC spotlights Black creators and characters in comic books including I Am Batman, written by John Ridley, NAOMI Season Two, co-written by Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker, with art by Jamal Campbell, Nubia and the Amazons, by Stephanie Williams with art from Alitha Martinez, released today, February 1, plus Aquamen, by Chuck Brown, Brandon Thomas, Sami, Basri and Adriano Lucas debuting February 22nd. Green Lantern, by Geoffrey Thorne, Tom Raney, and Marco Santucci, and Suicide Squad (featuring Amanda Waller) by Robbie Thompson and Eduardo Pansica are also all available at participating comic book stores and digital platforms.

DC released a new Young Adult Graphic Novel as well as Collected Editions including Milestone Compendium One, REPRESENT! on sale today and later this month Batwing: Luke Fox on sale February 15th.  Other titles featuring Black Super Heroes include The Other History of the DC Universe by John Ridley, Andrea Cucchi and Giuseppe Camuncoli; Green Lantern John Stewart: A Celebration of 50 Years, Mister Miracle: The Great Escape by Varian Johnson and Daniel Isles; and Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith, all available at participating comic book stores and digital platforms.

DC UNIVERSE INFINITE Digital Subscription Platform will feature a free selection of curated titles spotlighting Black DC Super Heroes. For more information and a free trial, fans can check out the website at www.dcuniverseinfinite.com.

The DC Shop today revealed designs featuring DC Super Hero and flagship Milestone character Virgil Hawkins, aka Static. Virgil takes front and centre on a collection of items, including tees, hoodies and sporting goods highlighting his electromagnetic powers. Also available exclusively on the DC Shop is a brand new skate deck featuring Static, retailing for US $99.

Additional merchandise coming to the DC Shop this month features the all-new DC Black History Month logo and key art by artist Alitha Martinez and the return of the popular Juneteenth key art by Milestone co-founder Denys Cowan.

Fans can delve into the history and enduring influence of Black characters and creators this month and throughout the year at https://shop.dccomics.com/en-US/collections/black-history-month.

Jewel Branding and Licensing celebrates Black History Month with artist and influencer showcase

Jewel Branding and Licensing is marking Black History Month by highlighting and celebrating the black artists, designers, and influencers from across its portfolio, including Kendra Dandy of Bouffants & Broken Hearts, and Jessi Raulet of Etta Vee.

Now featured on the homepage of Walmart.com as part of the retailer’s own celebration of Black History Month, Kendra Dandy has become a revered name across the art scene as well as an exciting licensing partner across the greetings, stationery, and lifestyle sectors.

Bouffants & Broken Hearts’ Kendra Dandy

Most recently Dandy’s Bouffants & Broken Hearts brand joined forces with Athleta for a collection of masks and t-shirts as part of its limited edition artist series. Meanwhile, American Greetings partnered with Dandy to launch an endcap collection of greetings cards slated for release at a major US retailer this year.

International growth for Bouffants & Broken Hearts has arrived via partnerships with Vadobag, Stationery Team, Bagtrotter, Vivat, and Top Creative, all launching across Europe. The popular Dutch online kids’ clothing retailer Kleertjes is scheduled to launch an exclusive Bouffants kids’ clothing collection through licensee Retail Tribes.

The personalised online card retailer Moonpig is refreshing Kendra’s collection of cards with some new sassy designs in the UK. Additionally, Dandy has signed with Chinese subagent Zenulla, who is working on key promotional and product opportunities in China.

Meanwhile, 2021 has been earmarked as a ‘big year’ for EttaVee.

Founder of EttaVee, Jessi Raulet

LANG is scheduled to release a new EttaVee collection of calendars, stationery and gift products that will be available at retailers including Barnes & Noble and Walgreens, American Greetings has partnered with founder Jessi Raulet to create a collection of greeting cards that will be featured on an end-cap in a major national retailer, and this summer, Fit & Fresh is launching a collection of Etta Vee lunch bags and lunch kits at key retailers in time for back-to-school.

Elsewhere, Riley Blake will release a collection of apparel fabric in collaboration with Fabric.com and Tervis has a collection of drinkware available on Tervis.com and Target.com.

Stay tuned for a big announcement about a brand new collaboration for EttaVee in the home space slated to launch this summer.

Jewel Branding and Licensing also handles the licensing programme for Nikki Chu for whom 2021 promises to be a busy year, too.

Nikki Chu Home continues to be a top selling name in home fashions and décor with a line of rugs, bedding, decorative pillows, throws and wall art. Chu recently launched a new collection of home products exclusively through Walmart.com. York Wallcoverings has been recently signed to develop a unique collection of peel & stick wallpaper, slated to launch later this year.

Celebrity interior designer, Nikki Chu

Additionally, Chu recently signed with a leading home décor partner and will be introducing home décor accessories and accent furniture later this year. Her wall art continues to sell out at all major retailers, and most recently she was profiled on FineArtCanvas.com.

“I feel fortunate to be partnered with Jewel Branding & Licensing because they understand the importance of highlighting a diverse portfolio of designers,” said Nikki Chu.

“The success of my line has been years in the making and I’m thrilled that retailers and consumers are committed to amplifying black female designers like me.”

Zion Rootswear and Selfridges celebrate Black History Month with exclusive Bob Marley clothing collection

Zion Rootswear has partnered with Selfridges to launch an exclusive clothing collection inspired by the spirit and ethos of the reggae icon Bob Marley in celebration of UK Black History Month. The collaboration was brought together by Bravado, Universal Music Group’s merchandise and brand management company.

The range takes inspiration from Marley’s outspoken commitment to social justice and unity; a voice that the partnership underlines is still relevant today.

The collection is comprised of five t-shirts, two long sleeve t-shirts, three hoodies, a denim jacket, a pair of jeans, a cap and a beanie each featuring images of Marley, including a poignant picture of the artist-activist being stopped by the police, and his words: ‘Stand Up For Your Rights’, a slogan drawn from his iconic track ‘Get Up, Stand Up’.

Cedella Marley, daughter of Bob Marley, said: “Daddy’s message of love, courage and unity is so relevant right now. A moment in time that to this day seems unthinkable yet is so real. This collection is something special and to have it launch during Black History Month, makes it that bit more important to us, a perfect time to reiterate the essence of my father’s legacy.”

Grounded in his view that “if humankind failed to stand together, it would fail to stand at all”, Marley embedded his views into his music, a unique sound that shook the world, crossing cultural, racial and socio-economic borders, from the small island of Jamaica.

Daved Bridges, creative development and special projects manager, added: “Bob’s legacy extends far beyond his timeless music. We’re honoured to continue to play a part in delivering his message to the world through inspired, meaningful and stand-out ways.”