In December 2013 Geppi’s Entertainment Museum opened their exhibit Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond. Curated by Milestones Media’s Michael Davis and co-curated by Tatiana EL-Khouri, the exhibit has presented a full spectrum of Black historic contributions made throughout comic book and graphic novel history. The event came about after brainstorming sessions between GEM President Melissa Bowersox and Davis three years ago, when the pair discussed the need to showcase the many talented artists, writers, and creators in the African-American community.
“When Missy asked me to curate something, the easiest way to go was to do Milestones retrospective because Milestone has always been inclusive. I wanted to showcase established African American artists, but also the guys who came before us, including Don McGregor. Don invented Sabre, which is one of the premier African American comics, invented by a white guy. African American culture, African American pop culture, African American culture in comics, has had a long influence. I wanted to do something which didn’t just focus on Milestones, but focus on where Milestone came from and what came out of Milestone,” Davis explained.
The event kicked off with an invitation-only celebration at GEM on December 13, 2013 and then was opened to the general public the following day. It has proven so popular that the end date set for April 30, 2014 was pushed back to December 2014 then it was pushed back again to February 2015. “Curating the Milestones show was a dream come true. The show being extended due to its incredible success is beyond even my wildest dreams,” Davis said.
Bowersox added, “We are reaching so many people in Baltimore and the surrounding area, from classes coming on field trips to civic leaders and everyone in between.”
Milestones has received community and industry praise, “Representing a true cross-section of popular culture, the pieces on display spanned decades and demonstrated the vastness and diversity of African American artistic expression,” said Keith Chow of TheNerdsOfColor.org. With such a popular event and so much positive feedback GEM staff members may explore future Milestones-esque exhibits, though none have been planned yet.