If You’re Not There, You Just Won’t Get It – Conclusion, 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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31 Responses

  1. Martha Thomases says:

    I think I may have been one of the people who did not want to respond to Ania. I thought, at the time, that responding to them gave them legitimacy. In retrospect, and after having watched a ton of cable news, I see that the media likes "two sides" to a story, as if everything can be reduced or magnified to two sides, and they'll always look for a conflicting viewpoint.

    • Michael Davis says:

      You took me aside back then and offered many reasons why we should not crush those guys. You were right to a point but what I thought then and think now is this; people are sheep. I have said that a million times right here at comicmix. If you let people define you then that's what they will take away with them. That said, I also don't think that people are stupid. Once you put the Milestone books next to those done by Ania no sane person would think they were any good. In fact Stevie Wonder could look at the Ania books and see they sucked. The problem I saw is that Milestone was EVERYWHERE and Ania was defining us to such a point that people were going into stores and asking for those 'books they saw on TV' and getting the Ania books. If anyone anywhere defines me or what I'm doing unjustly I will always make them accountable. I know there are those who want to take the 'high road' well when it comes to what I'm doing I will drive a truck right over someone on that road, stop back up and drive over them again. Dear Martha, you have always given me sound advise but I think that in the Ania case you assumed those guys had some class. They did not. YOU have class. Your point of views are tempered with fairness and thought for the other side. That is why I love you. But sometimes you just have to pimp slap some people…with apple sauce.

    • Joe in Philly says:

      Sounds like the John Kerry-"Swift boat" stuff in 2004…and why Barack Obama can't afford to repeat that mistake when the GOP attacks.

  2. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    A great conclusion to a great story Mr. Davis. Milestone obviously broke down many barriers within the industry, and it's a boon to you and the other founders that it's resonated with fans to the day. I've attended the Chicago Comicon now for 9 years in a row, and been to the DC panel every year. There's never been a year where someone didn't come up to the mic, and ask when Milestone would make a return. As a creator, so much of what you wrote resonates with me. My studio mates and I are democratic in our process of creating concepts, and I'd have it no other way. It's akin to George "I Swear Jar-Jar isn't in blackface" Lucas… when you hold a creation so tight to your chest… it gets strangled. When we create we bounce ideas off of one another because we each bring something to the table. By the sound of it, some of those Milestone creations may share some of who you are, too. I should also note my studio mates and I have to pimp to make money these days too. And in the south suburbs of Chicago… pimpin' ain't easy. Hope you got the book. Thanks for sharing some of your history with the comicmix readers.

  3. Rick Taylor says:

    Great series of articles.It really helped clarify things.

    • Michael Davis says:

      Thanks Rick.

      • Rick Taylor says:

        Having been involved situations wear staffs are small but creativity is high is always a wild dynamic.Add personalities, nitro and shake.The account, while the length (timing and all) was most likely tough for you was nicely detailed.Had one of those 'flashbacks' myself recently.It really gave me perspective.Peace.

  4. Cheryl Lynn says:

    Aw, I loved these essays. Y'know, the only time I see the word Ania in print is when I'm reading an article on Milestone. What did they put out? I've never even seen an Ania comic on the shelf.

    • Michael Davis says:

      If you goggle 'Ania' it may take you to an ebay page where you can find some of those books for around a buck. Here's the funny part about the Ania story, before they started up with us I brought every single one of their books to show support for what they were doing. I still have every one. Funny.

  5. Elayne Riggs says:

    Very enjoyable, Michael. Only, you sound… angry…In all seriousness, Ania always struck me as "black-guy comic book company" as opposed to Milestone's "comic book company which happened to be headed by black guys." You're absolutely right that Ania never had the level of craft or professionalism that Milestone did. I wanted to like their stuff, I've always had a soft spot for identity politics, but it was so mediocre I couldn't warm to it.

    • Michael Davis says:

      Mediocre would have been a step up. W A Y U P.

      • Mike Gold says:

        The fact that their books sucked had nothing to do with the fact that they were pompous assholes who were trying the oldest trick in PR: promoting yourself by pissing on the guy at the top of the heap. Trouble was, their arc was limp and their stream was weak.

  6. Jeremiah Avery says:

    Great article and thanks for bringing more of the facts rather than the rumor mill we've had to read for years. It always amazes me that people will root for the underdog to succeed but then when the underdog manages to garner some level of success, people turn on them.Instead of pigeon-holeing Milestone to pander to only one demographic, there was more of an attempt at quality stories with a different face/perspective than most readers were accustomed to. As someone who is a few shades short of albino, I thank you and all the people at Milestone for bringing something exciting into my life at the time.

  7. John Tebbel says:

    I will quote Oscar Wilde:Punctuality is the thief of time.

  8. John Tebbel says:

    Which comment should go with my wife's very fine column "Shipping Late" out now on this website.And, on topic: the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on. Another quote.Better get back on patrol.

  9. Russ Rogers says:

    Michael, great column. (You didn't lose my interest. I was on vacation.) Thank you for clearing way some of the smoke from the mists of history surrounding Milestone. The early Milestone books were really good. I have a box full of them in the basement. But, they are just historical artifacts, documents from the past. Hopefully the new Milestone/DC project will breath new life into those great Milestone characters that have lain fallow too long. Hopefully the Milestone characters can breath new life into the DC Universe, where the killing and resurrecting of characters has become a macabre and tedious merry-go-round of story lines.And are you saying that you helped create Milestone, but you never had any "official ownership"? You were never bought out or paid much of anything for your work? Hmm. It seems this connets with Mike Gold's column this week on "Getting Screwed".

    • Michael Davis says:

      'And are you saying that you helped create Milestone, but you never had any "official ownership"? You were never bought out or paid much of anything for your work? 'I'm not saying that at all. If I was I would have said it. To be clear I was an official owner. When I left Milestone my lawyers negotiated my exit.

    • Michael Davis says:

      Welcome back by the way.

    • Marc Alan Fishman says:

      Given DC's current "pimping" of milestone properties into the lexicon of contiunity… I doubt sincerely, it will be a proper resurgence. Static is moving into the Titans, which could be good, if handled well… Icon looks to appear in Superman. I don't know personally. I guess as with anything, it'll come down to how it's handled. My hope personally, is that the characters don't lose their edge, and that their past isn't just skimmed retconned away.

      • Vinnie Bartilucci says:

        Well, considering Dwayne will be writing the Icon stories (in JLA, not Superman), I'm confident in the quality of the characters remaining. But to be fair, considering the books came out over 15 years ago, is it fair to new readers to bring all that continuity with the characters? I'm not saying start from scratch, but I'll lay odds far more readers will know Static from the cartooon than the original comics. Re-introduce the characters with the same backstory et al, but don't be tied to everything that happened in the old books. I look forward to the first interview with Dwayne about the return of the characters. I'd love to know how much (if any) oversight he has over the use of the characters. He's been so protective of the characters all these years, I highly doubt he'll just cut them loose and not worry about how they're written or portrayed.I'm betting the appearances in Teen Titans and JLA are a big pilot season. If there's enough interest, then regular titles will follow. If not, they'll pop up every so often to keep the old school fans happy, but that'll be about it.

        • Marc Alan Fishman says:

          Vinnie,You got exactly what I meant. My ultimate hope is in keeping the characters true to their respective back stories, as opposed being "re-upped for the hip new generation!". I thnk Dwayne is a great writer, and will handle them well. Let us hope then that the final products are good, and fan turn out is big.

      • Michael Davis says:

        Marc,I don't think that DC is 'pimping' Milestone. I have had major issues with DC comics over the years but I have always said that DC does the best books in the biz. As a whole I think that DC is a very fair company who gives creators their due…but sometimes they just get caught up in silly personality shit. DC Comics is the best place for Milestone with the possible exception of Dark Horse. Man, it would have been cool to work with Mike Richardson on the Milestone books! As far as how DC handles these books-trust me Dwayne will not let them suck.Again to your DC 'pimping' statement-I would kill to see Paul Levitz in a lime green jump suit and big ass hat.

        • Marc Alan Fishman says:

          I'm mind my words then Mr. Davis, for sure. Don't let me misrepresent myself… I am a DC fan thru and thru. Of the 38 titles I subscribe to, 29 of them are DC. I agree they are (one of) the best book makers out there. I agree, Paul Levitz in a nice Pimp Suit would be perfect. And Didio needs a solid gold rope to wear around his neck. Maybe some high wasted slacks, and a diamond tipped cane.

  10. Reg Gabriel says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for giving the 'rest of the story'… Milestone was that gift to those of us who longed to 'see us' represented in that almost singular genre that gave liberty to our imaginations. We could see ourselves as heroes. We could see ourselves as scientific geniuses. We could even see 'our' story through the eyes of a stranger in a strange land. But not as a victim or without power. Milestone was an oasis. And Milestone was a success in the visionaries commitment to excellence. Milestone was empowerment without the exploitation.And no matter what shakes out in the future….you KNOW that you and D were the catalyst points for the vision. And now so does everyone else. That truth can't be expunged. So again, Michael…thanks for the memories and the inspiration.p.s. I was very recently blessed to get your boy's ink on my copies of the first 3 issues of Hardware. So I be happy.

    • Michael Davis says:

      'And no matter what shakes out in the future….you KNOW that you and D were the catalyst points for the vision.'Thanks Reg, but Denys was the catalyst and I co-signed. However Dwayne,Derrick and Priest were just as important. I often think what would have happened if Denys would have said, "Let's do Milestone' and I would have said-"You stupid,waste of time. Let's sell crack and make some real money." Would Denys have abandoned the idea? Not likely, it was his baby he never would have left it in the dumpster like some people would have.Besides when we tried to sell crack, didn't work. We kept smoking the product.

  11. Reg Gabriel says:

    "… but Denys was the catalyst and I co-signed. However Dwayne,Derrick and Priest were just as important."Michael, I hear you on both points….and both reflect your integrity. But I still submit that being at the event horizon of the creation of a cosmic singularity… is sumptin' that very few people can lay claim to. Knawmean? :-)