Michael Davis: Milestone 2.0 – I Was There, I Didn’t Get It.
There’s much more to this story at Bleeding Cool.
On January 21st of this year, the Washington Post broke the story of the return of Milestone. Missing from the Post and every article since about the new Milestone 2.0 was any mention of me. I’m a founder and co-creator of the original Milestone’s best-known property, Static Shock.
There was to be a statement from Milestone explaining my absence, but in the three weeks since the story broke, Milestone 2.0 has not issued any statement.
Because there was no statement, comic book fans, Milestone fans, and my fan (I had two, one died) took to social media speculating as to why I was missing. Missing from news stories and missing from interviews, which was curious. I was no longer a part of the new venture, but in all the interviews, I was missing from the history of Milestone 2.0.
When I did begin showing up in the news about Milestone 2.0, the articles were about me…missing.
I assumed I was left out because when interviews took place I was no longer involved with Milestone 2.0, even if I didn’t know that. Deciding not to mention me at all was a mistake. If consulted, I would have pointed that out. I did point out what a mistake it would be not to issue a statement once the story broke. I was told they would, but they didn’t. As it turns out, I was right.
I should clarify “right” in this instance. I think not mentioning an original founder, more active than all of the partners combined in keeping the Milestone brand in the public eye in the four years since we decided to re-launch, was a bad idea. It became a distraction, which could have and should have been avoided.
Milestone just may not see things the way I do, and “may” is a bit of a stretch. I think it’s safe to say “does” in place of “may” – all things considered. For their purposes, perhaps it was a good idea. Although what purpose that could be is beyond me. I freely admit I’m a different type of bird. Three weeks ago for a bit I wished I wasn’t – I wished I could just go with the flow. I did this wishing while crying like a little bitch. I actually started to wonder whether or not I’d made a mistake.
Before I continue, I think it’s wise to address my new readers I know are out there. I know this because of the massive amount of emails being forwarded to me since this started.
I write with few inhibitions – I am who I am. I cry when in pain. My favorite movie is My Best Friend’s Wedding. I collect Barbie dolls. When I met Barbara Streisand, my first words were “Now I can die.” She gave me this huge hug and I wept.
Yes, I’m gay. I’m a lesbian. I like women.
I also grew up in what’s now considered, one of, if not the worst housing project in New York City. Two of four of my immediate family were murdered. My sister Sharon Davis, the real life inspiration for Static’s sister Sharon Hawkins among the two. The last two people who stepped to me regretted it instantly and I ended up in jail, see theme song below.
My life can be summed by my motto: Each One, Teach One, and my theme song is Ice Cube’s, “Wrong Nigga to Fuck With.”
But I digress. Peter David owns that line. I stole it; I had to – look where I’m from. Many people think my bravado is from the hood I came from. It’s not. I get that from my mother. It was because of my mother that I thought for a few days that perhaps I should adapt my outlook.
And it was because of my mother I was crying so fucking hard. The Milestone decision piggybacked onto her death, still as fresh as the day it happened. Don’t misunderstand me, I was crying over the Milestone decision, but the severity of my outburst had much more to do with pain I was already in.
Otherwise, it never would have hit so hard because I saw it coming.
I knew years ago it might turn out like this. In fact, I documented my thoughts in writing and in person. I shared my apprehension with some of the biggest names in the industry.
In emails, phone calls and face-to-face meetings, I’ve had the, “It seems the way this is moving may prevent my involvement” talk with 10 people. If ever something I claim is questioned I’m not going out like some bitch, I’m providing proof. Brian Williams, I am not. If I say a bomb hit me, out comes the videotape.
And a bomb did hit me. Believe that. I keep telling people I see the future, but no one listens. Pity.
I’ve wanted this (Milestone 2.0) and worked towards it for 16 years. On Bleeding Cool I wrote 15 years, but that was wrong – I double-checked and it was 16. Yeah, I keep everything, and I keep it forever.
16 years ago I met with Bob Johnson, then CEO and owner of Black Entertainment Television (BET), and one of outcomes of that meeting was BET’s interest in funding Milestone. Also present in that meeting was Debra Lee, who is now CEO of BET, and my producing partner E. Van Lowe. The meeting took place at Mr. Johnson’s suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
That night I was on the phone with all three Milestone founders, but not together.
I talked to two on one call and spoke to another separately. We were all to sleep on it and decide whether or not to pursue it. Founders were knee deep in their own careers, so it wasn’t an easy decision.
The next day I was again on the phone, first with two founders, then with the other. On one of those calls, the idea was floated to do the BET deal without one of the original founders. This was a business decision, for whatever reason.
I said no.
It was my deal; once I said I wouldn’t do it unless we all did, the deal was dead. For a long time I was conflicted on whether I’d made the right choice.
Nah. I wasn’t. I was fine with it.
16 years later, here we are again, kinda. Dwayne’s gone. The big guy was more Milestone than all of us put together. There’s some talk that Dwayne and I were on the outs when he died and that’s just bullshit. I’ll be addressing that in an article fairly soon. Like I said, I keep everything, and there’s a lot of history Dwayne and I shared few people know of.
Dwayne’s gone and Reggie Hudlin has joined Milestone. There’s talk that Reggie is replacing Dwayne. More bullshit. Reggie has been interested in being a part of Milestone for as long as I can remember. In fact, Reggie was on our short list when Denys and I went over names to invite in. That was the very weekend when Denys came up with the idea for Milestone at the San Diego Comic-Con 22 years ago.
I don’t remember if we asked him and he said no, or we didn’t think he’d be interested because even then Reggie was making big movies. Whatever it was, it does not change and no one can deny that Reggie has always been a major supporter and fan of Milestone. Thinking anyone could replace Dwayne is as stupid as thinking Reggie would even try. Before Dwayne died there was talk of Reggie becoming a part of Milestone.
That would have been something – really, really, something.
Denys Cowan and Reggie Hudlin have been a team on a few projects, all great. Partnering to do Milestone is a motherfucking throw down to the rest of the industry to look the fuck out. Yes, the rest of the industry. Not just those who do Black Comics.
Milestone never did “black” comics. Milestone is and has always been a black-owned company, yes, but producing comics that feature but is not limited to people of color.
Three weeks ago, I was sad at first. Then I was livid. Livid because of things that were said to me and how they were said. Now? Now, I’ve moved past all of that. I can do that because I see the future and I can prove it. Remember how I was left out of the Milestone 2.0 announcement?
Kinda like this:
All the Milestone partners, save one, will receive credit.
Let the name of Davis be stricken from every book and tablet
Stricken from all press and news
Stricken from every mention of Static.
Let the name of Davis be unheard and unspoken,
Erased from the memory of Milestone, for all time.
So let it be written, so let it be done.
I wrote that for a ComicMix article last November. Scary eh?
Like I said, I’ve moved past anger and sadness, like Jay Z: I’m off that.
I’m off that, but I’m on a path, both creative in practice and righteous in my mind. It was right for me to make a stand for all four founders in 1999. To me that wasn’t business, that was the right thing to do. That was my mother’s influence and I’m my mother’s son.
I’ve gotten quite a few emails from people telling me they won’t support Milestone without me.
No. Wrong. Don’t do that. The world needs Milestone 2.0.
The world needs Darryl to keep on making comics, DMC, Mad Square Enterprises, Boondocks, Aaron McGruder, The East Coast Black Age Of Comics, Brandon M. Easton, N. Steven Harris, Watson and Holmes, Paige Tibbs, The World Of Black Superheroes, Ryan Fraser, Erika Alexander, Tony Puryear, Concrete Park, Joe Illidge, Walter McDaniel, David Walker, Shaft, Maia Crown Williams, MECCAcon, Reggie Hudlin, Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle. Hell, the world needs Ania and Big City Comics. The former did horrible books and hated me then; the latter does fantastic books and hates me now.
And the world even needs Tyrone Cash, if, for no other reason, than to show how not to do a black character. We need as many African American comics, creators, and publishers as we can get. We cannot let anger, righteous or not, keep our eyes off that prize. Although there are some who don’t think so, they need Michael Davis. They will find that out soon enough. I do big things and what I’m about to do is the biggest.
Like I keep saying, I see the future. To be fair, I was wrong, once. Nah. That’s bullshit. I’m never wrong.
Those who are interested, watch this space. Those who doubt me, watch me work.