MICHAEL DAVIS: Who to Blame, part 3
Please read last week’s article before this final installment.
Maybe, just maybe Grell wouldn’t ask me. I mean he had yet to speak one single word to me in the two plus hours I was in his room.
No such luck. After Grell asked everyone in the room he turned to me.
“What did you think?”
All I had to do was lie. Why didn’t I? I didn’t because lying to me is never an option. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I think lying is such a terrible thing, it’s because I have a horrible short-term memory. I’ll never be able to support a lie once I’ve committed to it.
In other words, if I lie about something and the subject ever comes up again I won’t remember what I said originally.
“It’s not like me to sleep with a man on the first date,” said the very beautiful woman.
“It’s not a first date if I’ve known you forever.” I said with my best Billy Dee Williams voice.
“We just met yesterday.”
“But in my dreams I’m known and loved you forever.”
“You…you love me?”
The next morning I said goodbye and said I would call later that day so we can have dinner and talk about our new life together.
Two weeks later…
“Why haven’t you called me??”
“Who is this?”
Now, here I was faced with lying to Mike Grell a man whose work I loved. I thought long and hard about simply saying I liked the movie. I mean what did I have to lose? I’d most likely never see him again. He was not nice to me at all when we first met and the show did suck.
Then I thought about what Denys Cowan told me about Grell when I told him I was invited to watch Sable in Grell’s room. “Mike Grell hunts.”
“Really? What does he hunt?” I asked wanting to know every thing about the idol I was about to meet.
“It’s not what he hunts.” Denys said. “It’s what he hunts with.”
“Grell hunts with a bow and arrow.”
I didn’t (still don’t) know a lot about hunting but I instantly recognized just how bad ass you have to be to hunt with a bow and arrow.
So now I’m scared as shit to lie to Grell.
What would happen if I said I loved the show and then someone asked me the same question later and I told them the truth and Grell found out, hunted me down, choked the life out of me and then shot me with an arrow?
Hey, stranger things have happened to me.
I decided not to lie. He asked again, “What did you think?”
“I like the comic book better.”
Yeah, sometimes I’m a fucking genius.
“So do I.” Said the man who would soon become my close friend, he added, “Let’s get something to eat.”
So, there I was at dinner with Mike Grell (sitting right next to him) John Ostrander, Kim Yale, Denys (who finally showed up) and tons of other comic professionals that I was totally jazzed to meet.
I was in Heaven. During dinner, Mike and I talked and after finding out I was an artist he asked to see my portfolio.
The next day changed my professional life.
I showed Carol Kalish my portfolio and she gave me a cover assignment for Marvel’s Open Space anthology. I then met with Mike Grell and after showing him my work he made a call to Mark Nevelow. Mark was the brand new editor of Piranha Press, DC Comics new mature reader imprint.
I’ve always been smart when it comes to seeing and seizing opportunities. That doesn’t mean I have not blown some opportunities. Just because I have a knack for spotting them and acting does not exempt me from screwing something up. Been there done that…often. Not this time.
I was to spend another two weeks in Ohio hanging with Denys at a friend of his house. I cut my trip short so I could get back to New York to work on the Open Space cover and meet with Mark Nevelow. I met with Mark and was commissioned to do Piranha’s first project, ETC.
I mentioned in part one of this series that I was about to accept a position running the Art Department of a prestigious prep school. When Mark gave me ETC I changed my mind. It wasn’t just the project that changed my mind, it was the people I met at that Mid-Ohio Convention and my unchanged love of comics I’ve had since I was a kid. The people I met were so wonderful to me that I decided to take a leap towards the dream I was right about to simply let go.
Denys Cowan invited me to The Mid-Ohio con. I met Carol Kalish who gave me a cover assignment and became a great friend and adviser. I met John Ostrander who invited me to meet Mike Grell. Kim Yale kept me from fleeing Grell’s room. Mike Grell called Mark Nevelow on my behalf. Mark Nevelow gave me the ETC series.
I decided to stay in New York and work in comics.
The people above are whom you can blame for me working in comics.
I wrote this with young artists and writers in mind.
Most of you have no idea what I’ve done in comics because I don’t illustrate many comics. The fact is I’m known mostly as a deal maker in the industry. You may not know me but I’m quite sure you know some of the creators that have come out of my mentor program or some of the work I’ve done in TV or The Black Panel.
Or maybe not.
Here’s what you should know if you really want to have a career in comics.
Talent is great.
Desire is wonderful.
Having a dream and sticking to it, priceless.
None of the above will matter if you don’t try and build relationships with good people. I’ve said it a zillion times, I know good people. I’ve pulled off some unbelievable shit in my career but without good people in my life it most likely would have still been shit but that’s about all.
Myr. Grell, Mr. Ostrander and Mr. Nevelow my sincere thanks to you kind sirs.
Ms. Yale and Ms. Kalish, you will never be forgotten and my thanks to you as well.
To every young creator, I leave you with this:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”
WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold