CHICAGO — Daimon Hampton, an aspiring artist from Chicago’s South Side, knows comic books are some of the most colorful stories we have. But the “legacy characters’ like Superman, Batman and Spider-Man are mostly white men, and so are the vast majority of the writers and illustrators, according to an analysis. 

That’s why Hampton is working to get a seat at the artist’s table.

“I can share my point of view with other people,” Hampton said. “Urban environments and the diversity of the city, and the complex history – you want to bring that into your artform and bring that and show it to people who haven’t experienced that before.” 

This year, he was one of two dozen talented artists who were chosen from hundreds around the country to complete an intensive training program as part of the re-launch of the Milestone Initiative.

“It’s really exciting to learn how the business works from some of the best people in the business (and) to get their input into our work and learn how to be better at it and attempt to try to make it into like a career,” he said.  

In 1993, four Black artists and writers founded Milestone Comics, which they billed as “a new universe of diverse superheroes, brought to life by black creators and other artists of color.”

Hampton’s original work

The goal was to increase opportunities for traditionally excluded talent, meaning writers and artists.  

“You get a chance to learn about what it’s like for us as Black kids and how we see the world,” Hampton said.  “And how we interpret comics, superheroes, right and wrong, all these things, and how similar all that stuff is, and how it all connects us as people.”

The comics Hampton worked on during that training program have not yet hit the shelves.