Milestone: If You’re Not There, You Just Won’t Get It, by Michael Davis

Michael Davis

Master Of The Universe, Lord Of All Media, Most Interesting Black Man In the World, Sexiest Man on Earth, Mentor, Writer, Artist, Producer & Uppity.

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33 Responses

  1. Martha Thomases says:

    Working on the Milestone launch was among my favorite DC projects. Remember the ad line we wanted to use — a billboard that said, "If you lived here, you'd be dead by now"

    • Michael Davis says:

      Yeah-I also remember a certain 'Bruce' who worked at DC who said 'Black is Death' when we were talking about marketing. Yeah-that was a fun meeting to be sure.

      • Mike Gold says:

        Same guy who shit on the El Diablo series that featured a Latin superhero because "those people don't read our comics."Perhaps he was referring to superheroes.

        • Michael Davis says:

          That asshole came within 1 floor of getting pimp slapped in an elevator ride I took with him once. The only thing that saved him was my then wife who I was bringing to DC for the first time. Remember the photos of his car he had in his office? He told me once if I worked hard enough one day I may be able to afford one. I showed him my car keys (same car newer model) and told him "To late.' He NEVER talked to me again without being in a meeting.DICK!!!

  2. Rick Taylor says:

    Michael – I'm looking forward to hearing the whole story. I was working at DC during the Milestone era and I heard nothing about how the deal was structure or what the deal/agreement had been. Or that we were even DOING the books.The books just landed on us (the production department) with the 'here, print these' idict.Every decision had been made about three levels above production.

  3. Michael Davis says:

    Mr. Gold-I'm not so sure I will 'reveal all next week.' There's a lot to talk about and because I NEVER want to talk about it again it may take a little longer. That and I have to move my family to avoid the hit men…

    • Mike Gold says:

      Well, you'll reveal all that you care to reveal. Which, knowing you, will be more than you thought you would.I can hardly wait.

  4. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    Well, I asked for it.Milestone did some great books. It is also responsible for the single greatest piece of geek chat ever. In an issue of Shadow Cabinet I believe, two sci-fi fans are discussing the idea that The Flintstones takes place AFTER the Jetsons, in a post-apocalyptic scenario.Alas, too damn many people heard about the books, wrote them off as "black comics", and assumed there was nothing in them that would appeal to them. The poor boobs.

    • Michael Davis says:

      I'm not sure that was quite the case Vinnie. The hard core fans KNEW the books were for everyone. Our Milestone panels at conventions were filled with as many white and other kids as Black kids. In fact we were the guest of honor at a convention in a small town in Maine (pop. NO Negroes) and we had standing room only. There were some people who thought we were 'Black only' but you get that kind of ignorance with anything like this. I liken it to the "Obama is Muslim' stupidity that is going on now. Milestone really stared to suffer when the industry started to take a nose dive, in my opinion.And yes-YOU did ask for it.

      • Vinnie Bartilucci says:

        I dunno, that knee jerk reaction seems to be rearing its head (can a knee have a head? Sounds like a Basil wolverton cartoon) already here. A LOT of people on Newsarama are already pawning off the return of the Milestone characters as "More racial diversity for racial diversity’s sake", claiming that’s the only reason they did a new Question, Blue Beetle, et al. I calmly explain to these people that if they truly think that’s all these characters are about, they must never have read the books.
        The parallel to Obama is not unfounded. I’m quite positive there’s at least one person in DC right now trying to decide "How Black" to make the characters.
        All I know is we stand a chance of seeing some great stories and character work. I’ll be very curious to see who else they get to work on them.

        • Michael Davis says:

          Look-two things that WILL NOT HAPPEN. 1) Dwayne McDuffie will NEVER let the Milestone characters become 'More racial diversity for racial diversity's sake" in the DC books.2) I eve

          • Michael Davis says:

            2) I ever give a shit about what people say (Newsarama) about things when they have NO Idea how these things works.

        • Alan Kistler says:

          "more racial diversity for racial diversity's sake"Are you friggin' kidding me?Why is it the first thing some people looked at with the new blue beetle was that he was a Latino? I don't recall people looking at Kyle Rayner and thinking "Man, this guy is just another example of a white dude becoming a super-hero just for the sake of doing stories about white dudes becoming super-heroes."God forbid we actually try to decide whether we like the characters themselves instead of discussing if their skin color and heritage is being done for publicity.

  5. BobH says:

    Interesting reading.Point of interest in the background, in 1989 Cowan gave an interview (AMAZING HEROES #163) talking about a series for DC that I don't think ever came out, with "a black writer named James Owsley. It's with a black character…" and even with a black inker if he didn't ink it himself, explaining he had two reasons "One, it's going to garner some kind of media attention which will make people aware of who the different creators are and the contributions they've made to comics. Two, I want to prove that black characters do sell". So while at the time he doesn't seem to have been thinking of starting a whole new company, the genesis of the idea seems to be there.I'd be curious what the series was going to be. The description ("going to mix politics with spies and intrigue") doesn't seem to match any of the eventual Milestone books.Hey, why wasn't Owsley invited in on the early stages? He would seem to be a natural….(kidding, just kidding)

    • Michael Davis says:

      Bob,That project was called 'The Spook' and it was BAD ASS. It still is. I forget why it never came out but I would love to see that in print. I think Denys would love to also. HEAR THAT COMICMIX?

      • Mike Gold says:

        I was to edit that puppy. We had a couple amazing lunches on DC's dime plotting that one out. It got buried because one of my fellow group editors (who was, and probably still is, white) threatened to resign if we published a book (by two or three black guys) with the racist name "The Spook."True story.I'd do that one in a heartbeat, but Denys is tied up right now with another writer. Lucky for me, they're both working on a graphic novel for ComicMix. But, Michael, if you're suggesting I delay that one, I'd give Jim Owsley a call in a nonce.

        • Vinnie Bartilucci says:

          If I recall correctly, the phasing thief character in Tom Joyner's magnificent (tho all but forgotten) Hammer Locke miniseries was to be named "Spook" but got changed to the more hep-sounding "Phayde" for much the same reasons.And let's not forget the story of DC's first idea for a black hero – a white bigot who turns into a black guy at night. Mayhap The Wild Itralian would like to relate that story for a new audience?

          • Tony Isabella says:

            Vinnie…If folks will Google "Black Bomber," I'm sure they will find more information than they need to know. DC should pay me a pension just for my role in keeping that disaster from seeing the light of publication.

        • Michael Davis says:

          'Delay that one?' OH HELL NO!

        • Michael Davis says:

          That editor is still white and still a Dick. What was his problem? Did he not understand that ALL CIA agents are called spooks? Yes, Denys and Owlsey were being cleaver with that name but COME ON!! Maybe they should have changed the name to Uncle Tom Adventures. Man

  6. Michael Davis says:

    Look-two things that WILL NOT HAPPEN. 1) Dwayne McDuffie will NEVER let the Milestone characters become 'More racial diversity for racial diversity's sake" in the DC books.2) I ever give a shit about what people say (Newsarama) about things when they have NO Idea how these things works.

  7. russ carreiro says:

    Static shock and Hardware were both great books. Most of the Milestone comics were good too. I remember the group book, cant remember what it was called, where they killed the leader of the group in the first few issues. No real fanfare, just killed him. I dont think anyone had ever done something like that before. I always thought that took balls to do that.

    • Delmo Walters Jr. says:

      Try the original T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #7, where they killed Menthor.

    • Vinnie Bartilucci says:

      The book was Blood Syndicate, and the character was Tech-9. And yeah,it was a shock, and very well done.And in keeping with comic tradition, they brought him back a while later.

  8. Russ Rogers says:

    This is the single best column I've read by Michael Davis here at ComicMix. It's easily the most heavily steeped in "comics" and "comics history," but that's not exactly what is great about it. It displays the strange and wonderful mix of bravado and self-reflection that I've grown to love In Michael Davis Columns. Few MotU would say, "That does little to erase the feeling that we somehow let our friend down," when talking about Malcolm Jones III. The description of Malcolm Jones III is equal parts scary, disturbing and sad.There is a fine article by Priest about the early days of Milestone at [This isn't the exact page. Priest uses a VERY slick, funky, flashy web design. It looks and sounds cool but it's crap to navigate, especially with Firefox, or point to directly. But look for it. It's worth the read.] Priest is very proud of his work creating Milestone. He has also felt slighted by history for not acknowledging his fundamental role in Milestone's Creation. Priest refers to himself as "The Pete Best" of Milestone for having left the group just before Milestone burst on the public scene. Hopefully, Priest will appreciate this column and Michael's direct acknowledgment of Priest's contributions. And here's a bit that Dwayne McDuffie wrote about Priest and his contributions to comics and Milestone.…It's interesting to see this story from three different perspectives.This is important stuff. And I'm not sure why. It's important to know the history. Sure. I'm a fan. I have lots of Milestone comics squirreled away in long-boxes in my basement. But it's not because I'm a fan-boy that this seems powerful. Maybe it's the deep respect, admiration and love Michael shows for the other founders of Milestone that resonates with me.Michael, thanks for writing this as openly and honestly as you have. It's an understatement to say that I'm "looking forward" to next weeks column.

    • Michael Davis says:

      "This is the single best column I've read by Michael Davis here at ComicMix.'What? you didn't like my 'Death Ray' column? I'm hurt…

      • Russ Rogers says:

        The Death Ray column is good. But I hadn't read it before today. I'm a late bloomer to ComicMix, coming in some time around March of this year, I think. That's when my annoying, Obsessive Commenting began. Even after reading your plans to clean up the world, this is still the single best column I've read by you, and there have been a lot of other very good columns.

        • Alan Coil says:

          Is You Stupid?No, not you. That was the title of one column that I consider to be among Michael's best. Especially fun was the discussion where it was pointed out that Michael's grammar was wrong.

  9. Jeremiah Avery says:

    Wonderful column and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the story. As a history buff, I'm always fascinated at learning different aspects of the history of this medium. My first exposure to Milestone comics was from a friend of one of my aunts. I was starting to collect comics around that time and a friend of my Aunt Marie was also a big comic collector and brought over a bunch of his comics for me to look through and pick what I wanted. I rummaged through and I started seeing these comics with a big "M" on the front and stupid me I thought they were from "Marvel" at first. I was reading the stories and I thought the writing and art were really great. While I like some cartoonish-style art, I like artists with a sense of anatomy and these Milestone books were great. As someone who is a few shades short of albino, one would think that I wouldn't gravitate towards these books and they would be wrong. The concepts were great, the stories were fun and I thought they (looking back of course) transcended color. If it's entertaining, I'll give it a chance.Thank you for making wonderful works that gave me some fun moments as a young geek (now a mid-20 something geek). I'll definitely be here for part 2!

  10. Alan Kistler says:

    I asked Dwayne McDuffie. I'm asking again.Where is the Milestone Omnibus edition?HMMM?! YOU LISTENING, DC?

  11. Shane Kelly says:

    Mike, Thank you for shedding some light on the creation of Milestone, for the mass public to consume. In knowing you as long as I have, I am (as we all are) beyond happy, to finally be able to get the full story (well, at least as much as you will be able to let out, in order to avoid death threats, mob hits, pimp slaps, paternity tests, and lawsuits) in a "Straight No Chaser" form.I am also really glad to know that Dwayne will be able to oversee what is done, to make sure it remains true to it's form and intent. Please pass on my congratulations to him…And at some point, I look forward to being able to do a full catch up session over the phone…Without any damn schedules, kids, and life events..and that's just from my end.

  12. Reg Gabriel says:

    I owe Signor Isabella a tremendous debt of gratitude for posting the tragic 'Story of O' to Dwayne's forum. Otherwise I might never have found my way here. *THIS* is the origin story I've been waiting to read for a very long time. Many thanks Michael, for sharing 'the rest of the story' as it concerns the oasis in the desert that was/is Milestone. P.S.And thank you for sharing the horror stories as well. 'That which doesn't destroy you, makes you stronger.' I'm keeping that in mind as I follow my vision.Peace.