Michael Davis: No Respect. No Wonder. Part 2
Part 1 of this series can be read at BleedingCool.com
You’re not responsible for the overwhelming opinion the general public has of my industry being just for kids. Yes, SDCC is our house, but our house is all fucked up. We deserve to be viewed as nothing but geeks, nerds, and children. We are not ready to play at your level, not even close.
We’re selfish, shortsighted, and stupid. Not all the time, but so often we’ve become a joke to the French and Japanese comics industries. Comics, one of the few original American art forms, are recognized as such by a country whose ass we had to save and a country whose ass we nuked. Yet we’re the joke.
And we deserve to be.
As an example, in about two weeks it will be a year since I sent an email to Variant Comics. It was my tongue-in-cheek attempt to be funny while addressing an important issue. The fantastic video they produced featured wrong “created by” credits.
The response I received wasn’t exactly what I expected. They said they would correct the issue: “We have already added a correction in our next episode to explain that we missed you and Denys as additional creators.”
But they did not think I was funny:
“I have not responded (quicker) because I do my best to steer clear of rude or aggressive correspondence.”
They thought I was being a heavy-handed bastard. Not my intention, and I immediately apologized with the following:
I bear you no ill will. I was being sarcastic, and if you read my Bleeding Cool piece, you will see I underscored time and time again how much I admire what you are doing. My goal was to show how a great piece with wrong information could do some injustice, but in no way did I ever think you guys would take to heart my FB email. I “liked” your page, I took every chance I got to say just how good your stuff and site is.
Clearly you don’t remember we met some time ago, and as such I thought you would get the joke.
Really. My bad.
On the real, I meant to do nothing but poke fun and draw attention to the credits; it was never my intention to insult (except in jest) you or your people. Please accept my apology. It pains me (really) to think my attempt at satire fell short.
If need be, I will say what I just said to you privately in public.
I have no problem with that.
Again – I’m sorry. Try as I might, sometimes I just don’t see what others do. Truth be told most times I care not. This time I do.
The Bleeding Cool article I was referring to foreshadowed possible future events and the real damage that short film could do. That article was not the only article I wrote about this over the year – there were several. Some here on ComicMix, some on Bleeding Cool, and some on my Facebook page, and yes, they were tagged.
Occasionally, I wrote another lighthearted appeal that ended when the “possible” became reality, and the damage sure as hell followed. Since then, I’ve been that Nigga.
Variant has changed nothing on the Static Shock film, and they have had a year to do it. The credits are still wrong. If they added Denys and I to the “next episode” explaining the oversight, how the fuck would anybody know? Those watching an episode of what may be a totally unrelated “History Of” may not even give a fuck.
Anyone going to the History of Static Shock video will see what I’ve asked to be rectified for over a year: the wrong credits. Nothing has changed there.
In that same year, plenty has changed with Static Shock.
Static’s getting a live action television show; Milestone 2.0 was announced; my mother, Jean Davis, the real life inspiration for Static’s mom Jean Hawkins, died. In death Jean (that’s what I called my mom) joins my sister, Sharon Davis, the real life inspiration for Static’s sister, Sharon Hawkins.
As I predicted, the credits cited for Static Shock when the two major media announcements were made are exactly the credits cited in Variant’s film.
I predicted this. The film was so damn good people assumed it was the official version put out by Milestone. The Static live action show and the Milestone announcements went all over the world.
The death of Static’s real life mom?
Nope. No one knew. Not even some young Static fans, cousins of mine from North Carolina who I met for the first time at my mom’s funeral. I’m not naïve enough to think my mom would have gotten a “Static” mention when she died. She wouldn’t have. But it sure would have been nice if my newfound cousins knew who she was before I met them.
Not caring about getting a creator’s credit right is just one example of the unprofessional, childish antics that are commonplace in comics. Missing deadlines, missing shipping, quitting books, taking advances and not delivering work.
Some publishers paying established talent page rates far below what they are worth while using any excuse they can to justify it. Some creators having no choice but to take pennies on the dollar. Artists and writers blackballed on someone’s personal whim regardless of what work they have produced or what they bring to the industry. Been there, had that done.
Hollywood fires and/or sues people who pull what’s routine in comics. Try pulling that missed deadline dead grandmother bullshit at DreamWorks. You’re gone. Take an advance from Disney and decide not to do the work. Rumor has it Tupac and Biggie did that. Yeah, that’s a joke, but once Disney gets done with you, you may well wish you were dead.
Hollywood does not play our games. Disney wouldn’t wait a week after the initial letter sent to you to fix some something that was wrong. Ignoring them, just like I’ve been ignored, (not a word since my apology almost 12 months ago) would just make them increase the level of legal pain they will inflict on you.
And if they think you fucked with their brand, costing them revenue? Wow. Just wow.
Despite our flaws, I love the comic book industry. I love this business even though some in the industry have not loved me back. On a few occasions some serious power players have tried killing me in the industry.
I roll like a boss; people are always trying to kill a boss. They try. I survive and grow stronger. I don’t go public when these things happen – what good would that do? Give Hollywood another thing to look at, point and say, “Look what these children do to their own kind.”
But sometimes … sometimes, there is no other choice.
I don’t want to hurt or hinder Variant in any way. I don’t want to sue or threaten to sue. They do great work, are good for the industry, and I really do like their site.
However, they have done serious damage to my brand. Repeatedly over the course of a year they have been reminded that they were doing so. I’m not alone in being ignored. Those who posted comments echoing me were treated the same.
I’d very much like them to correct the credits on their Static Shock film. I’d like the same credits that appear in every episode of Static Shock and Milestone comics, with one exception: add Christopher Priest. He was a creator and he deserves credit.
Variant, I’m asking you once again, make this right and at least in this instance prove Hollywood wrong. Static was created by Dwayne McDuffie, Derek Dingle, Denys Cowan, Christopher Priest, and Michael Davis.
Let’s show the world we know how to act in matters like this. I’m sorry to say that if no action is taken, you leave me just one option.
End, Part 2. Part 3 can be read on Bleeding Cool and ComicMix next week.