Michael Davis: Nut jobs
I said in my first article that I was a pretty simple guy. I see clear distinctions between right and wrong, good and evil, love and hate, and Republican and Democrat. Blah, blah, blah. To that end, I think there are some things that people don’t talk about but should. Clearly in comics there is a subject or fifty that we don’t talk about. Well I’m going to talk about one right now. That subject is… nuts.
Not the nuts that come in a can, but rather people who are nuts… as in crazy.
No, I am NOT talking about people who have a real mental illness. I am talking about those people who have convinced themselves (sometimes with plenty of help from friends and family) that they are entitled to something that nobody else sees. Or their way of doing something is the only way something should be done regardless of any logical reasoning.
These people have no idea that they are nuts or that other people think they are. Not knowing that people think about you is not a big thing for the most part. But if you are clearly out of your mind then someone should clue you in.
With apologies to Mr. David, let me digress for a moment. I am aware of what some people think of me. There is one particular well-known artist that thinks I’m a fraud. This guy was a friend of mine up until I got a big gig in the entertainment world. He tried to get a project in without going to the guy who approved all the projects… me.
After he tried to get this project by me without success he starts telling people that he thinks I’m a fraud. He’s been doing it for years and I have known about it for years. This guy tells people who turn right around and tell me. It’s kind of sad really. What makes it even sadder is I think this guy is one of the greats and I have never said an unkind word against him. That said, I have been known to pimp slap people for less, so fair warning fellah.
Other people think I’m just lucky and then there are those who just can’t stand me. Most of this comes from the fact that I tend to tell people what I think. I’m also am a very upbeat person and love what I do. The "love what I do" part really irritates some people, that they attribute to bragging.
My response to all of this? As Yogi Berra once said. "It aint bragging if you can do it." Oh, and by the way (and you know who you are) this "fraud" has a PhD and a school auditorium named after him. Most people don’t know that but then again when people talk bad about you they tend not to bring up your accomplishments.
What does this have to do with nutty people? Very little, but I’m on a roll. Okay, back to the subject at hand. We all know nutty people in the industry or if not we know them in life.
Don’t think so?
Guys, just think of that girl who yelled at you and all you said was "Hi." Girls, just think of that guy who text messages you 30 times an hour after you told him you had a boyfriend. The same boyfriend who just got out of jail, for beating up a guy who kept texting you.
In the comics industry nuts come in many different shapes and sizes. If you are an editor, publisher, writer or just a (most important) fan, odds are you have encountered a nut or two in your travels.
I will give you just a few examples. There’s that guy with the terrible independent comic who hates Marvel and DC because they won’t publish his book. The book is badly drawn with awful writing. The lettering and inking look like it’s in ballpoint pen and all the art is pin-ups. There are no backgrounds and the girls look like their chest is connected to their butt. This guy is like those people on American Idol who really suck but think they can sing.
There is the person who thinks that editors owe him a deal because he has submitted work for years and that should count for something. The problem with this person is that he has submitted the same lame book over and over.
There is the writer who wants to write for comic books, but has no idea how to format the work so he gets mad at editors for not using him. I tried to explain to a guy who called me recently that if you want to write comics there is a way to do it. His response to me was I do it his way. And what was his way? He wanted to submit his story hand written with no middle act — just a beginning and an end. He also wanted to change the name of a major character because he did not think it worked. I told him that we had already printed and shipped thousands of the books and there were copyright issues and the like. He simply said "So? Try something different." I did. I hung up the phone.
Now my absolute favorite nut is the one that claims he/she actually came up with your idea. Now people do rip other people off. That does happen. I’m not talking about people with legitimate claims. I’m talking about the nut cases who actually believe that they came up with your idea and there is clearly no connection except the one they have created in their small little brains.
When the press started to report on Milestone Media a bunch of people said they came up with the idea for "Black Superheroes" and that was the reason they were going to sue us. What was true enough is there are many people who have come up with black superheroes. Milestone was not the first — but we were the best! Our black superheroes were original characters that the founders of Milestone created. Now understand, they were not going to sue over the characters, oh no, they were going to sue over the fact that we came up with BLACK characters, period.
Now is that nuts? It’s like me suing DC because they are using two letters that are in my name. I remember one guy who wanted a piece of Milestone because he had a character named Black-Man. This guy’s character lived in the Black Cave and drove the Black Mobile. He actually thought we were going to write him a check. Instead I suggested he have a moment with fast car and a cliff. After that we suggested that maybe he should sue DC because obviously they ripped him off with this little character named Bat-Man. This IDIOT really thought he might have a case. The fact that Bat-Man was created decades before this nut job was even born was not relevant to him.
Not too long ago I got a call from a person who told me that they were mad at me. Believe me, that’s not new! Against my better judgment I asked why and they said it was because they were the one that created my most recent comic book universe.
I thought this was funny until I realized that this person was serious. Once I realized that this person was indeed serious I got mad. This person really thinks they can get a piece of my deal. Now I won’t go into details but their reasoning is even more asinine than me suing DC because I have a D and a C in my name. A lot of people think they can get some money just by threatening to sue. It is a fact that a lot of companies do write a check because it may avoid a legal "pain in the butt" case.
Not me buddy. I’m not that guy.
I hope this idiot sues. I’m from the projects and we don’t run unless you’re a cop.
Or as George Bush said, "Bring it on!"
Is this a smart business decision? I think so. Put it out there that you and your creations are not to be messed with. I was once told by a man I respect that the rap on me is I come armed and I’m not afraid to shoot. Damn right.
I am VERY tired of no talent NUTS who try and earn their money on the fruits of someone else’s labor. This person’s idea is close to mine like ham is close to a moonwalk.
Wait! Now that I think of it, there is an "a" in the word "ham" and there is an "a" in the word "walk" So NASA ripped off the idea to send a man to the moon from ham!
I can see the pigs at the lawyers’ office now…
Michael Davis is a comics creator, was a co-founder of Milestone Comics, is a television producer and writer, and is the founder of The Guardian Line series of comics. And, like, you’ve never been cranky!