Michael Davis: Model Behavior
I have to apologize to my editor Mike Gold for this column upfront. Sorry, Mike, I told you I would write an article about education and empowerment and I will, I promise! But I have to write this article because, well, you will see why…
A few days ago I was at the Sprint store trying to get my cell phone serviced. Some idiot at the Palm Company sent me an email telling me that I needed to download some new software so my smartphone can handle the new daylight saving time.
Well let’s just say my smartphone is as dumb as a brick. When I downloaded the darn software it erased all my information on the phone. By the way, the phone automatically changed the date an hour later.
I went to the Sprint store to get them restore some of what I lost. While I was there a sweet young lady named Azy hooked me up by spending two hours with Palm technical support on my problem. She was cool but I had just wasted two hours of a beautiful day and this was first day in weeks that I had a moment to myself. Need to say I was not happy!
When I left I went to a car dealership across the street. I went there to calm down (hey, nothing calms a dude down like shopping for a new car; ladies – cars are a man’s shoes) When I got to the car dealer there, in all her glory, was a SUPER MODEL! I won’t tell you who it was because this is about to get ugly, but you would know this person. Whenever I see a celebrity, and I see a lot because I work in television, I always ask the same thing, “Can I have some money?”
Well she thought that was funny and we started talking. She was fairly nice until she noticed I had a comic book in my hand. It was the new Blokhedz graphic novel. It’s called Genesis and it’s great! She asked about it and I told her it was really cool, she looked at it for a few seconds and then she said “Comics are for kids, and stupid.”
I tried to explain the rich history of comics; she was having none of this. “Comic books are just silly.” I tried AGAIN to explain about comics. She just gave me a “You stupid” look.
She told me she thought comics were a juvenile medium. I told her that I was a comics professional and she should take another look at the medium. She then told me that I did not have a real job.
I thought to myself – I don’t have a real job???
This from a woman who is one zit away from unemployment? She then turned and walked away. I guest she realized that not having a real job I could not buy her anything so she wanted no more to do with me. I wanted to yell Comics are stupid? How would you know? How can you read with a finger down your throat? I didn’t because with my luck I would have ended up on TMZ linked romantically with her, so I held my tongue. I know what you are thinking – me hold my tongue? That’s like Star Jones passing up a sandwich. Well I did hold my tongue…with her anyway.
She was with a rich guy who I’ve seen in the tabloids. This guy was giving me a smug smile and a “you poor” look. He then said to me his voice dripping with mock pity –“Maybe you should try writing something more upscale.” That got a little giggle from Super Model until I said,” Why don’t I start with your obituary?”
Neither of them thought that was funny; a nearby salesman did. The rich guy then had the nerve to ask me if I knew who he was. I said “The problem with people like you is one day you will meet someone who doesn’t care who you are. Today’s that day.” He gave me a REAL hard look this time. This was supposed to make me scared. I think. NO, I’m sure of it. Hey, as I mentioned in this column before that I’m from the Projects, so his hard look was laughable at best. He held that look as best he could, then he started to walk away.
As he walked away I heard him mutter something under his breath. I’m not sure but I think what he muttered was I wish I could fight, or I wish Daddy was here to fight for me. I’m so lame… but I have money so that’s fine.
I know, I know. I’m immature. I’m petty. I’m acting like a child. Or am I just fed up with the perception of comics in this country? How can a woman whose entire job is to just look good talk bad about comics? Her job is to stand in front of a camera and smile or give that stupid stone face expression. You know that look – they stare at you with their eyebrows down and their lips pushed out. They are going for a cool look. But what they achieve is an I’m not going to make it to the bathroom, where’s a bush? look.
Let me tell you something. The model wasn’t the brightest bulb in the socket. I’m fairly sure a modeling session with her would go like this:
Photographer: I want you to make love to the camera!
Super Model: Oh… OK.
Photographer: HEY!!! STOP!!! IT WAS JUST A FIGURE OF SPEECH!!!
How can modeling have such wide acceptance in this country while comics are still fighting for respectability? How can modeling be considered cool and comics still have a stigma?
So how many models have had movies made of their lives? How many kids want to be models on Halloween? How many ICONS have comics created?
How many TV shows have been inspired by models? Two that I know of: America’s Next Top Model and The Janice Dickerson Show. Both of those shows have as much chance of becoming icons like I have as much chance of having a baby. Wait, I have been feeling a bit queasy in the morning.
How many Hollywood blockbusters have been made from the lives of models? How many newspaper scripts have a daily cartoon based on models? How many models have won a Pulitzer Prize? How many models can spell “Pulitzer?” Quick: name as many models as you can. Now name as many comic book characters as you can. Go to a venue where there is s LOT of people and ask for a show of hands as to how many people know who Beverly Johnson is. Now try asking for a show of hands of who knows who Superman is.
(Beverly Johnson was a MEGA STAR SUPER MODEL in her day. Did YOU know who she was? Do you think more people would know her over Superman?? How can MODELS have more clout than comics in this world?)
Now the real question. In a fight, who would win: Cindy Crawford or the Hulk?
It’s high time we took the respect that comics deserve. Take it, I say!! The next time some anyone decides to bad mouth our medium you tell them that comics are an major MAJOR part of popular culture and you are proud of that!
If it happens to be a Super Model who says something to you – ask them if modeling has ever made a child smile or brightened the day of someone or broadened the imagination of people, or has…wait this is a model you are talking to. Tell them to say cheese. Heck, tell them to eat some cheese, tell them to eat something. Anything.
Then tell them to read a comic book. Or have someone read it to them. Maybe they will have a new respect for this juvenile medium. I will extend an olive branch to my Super Model friend and buy a copy of Cosmo. Truth be told, I’ve always wanted to know the top 10 fashion tips that will make you a hit at a party.
Yeah, that’s important. That’s grown up.
Michael Davis is a comics creator and the founder of the Guardian Line series of comics as well as being a television producer and writer. He was a co-founder of Milestone Comics and his artwork has appeared in Wasteland, Green Arrow: Shado, Green Hornet and The Question, among others.