THE INFLUENCE FACTOR: Dan DiDio, Andrew Rev, & Studio 54 Philosophy
“NO Bridge or Tunnel people.”
Steve Rubell, owner, Studio 54
That meant if you were not from Manhattan, you had little chance of ever getting into what is now known as the world’s most famous nightclub.
Back then and even now, only the very rich or very poor live on the isle of Manhattan. I’m neither, although I’ve been poor and have had a bit of wealth.
Wealth, in this case, being able to afford a Manhattan residence. That by no means is a declaration of endless Benjamin’s. The thing about being from no money when you get some, you either blow it (done that) lose it (done that) or finally learn to make it work for you.
If you’re wondering what the difference between losing it and blowing it is, you’re blowing it.
I was able to move on up because of Clarence Avant’s guidance and influence, as well as my own sense of self.
Put another way; listen to people who’ve been there no matter what the subject.
Money management is a serious issue within the Black creative community but just as dangerous within the mainstream (whiteboylandsaidwithlove) world. As with most things industry, I draw attention to Black folk frankly because the odds are stacked against us a bit more than against those who Dave Chappelle calls ‘the whites.’ Except for everyone’s favorite enigma, Andrew Rev of Terrific Productions, I know of no publisher who offers insight or choices as to how creators address their wealth or, in the case of comics, lack of such.
The comic book industry shares a great deal with the adult industry. The less talent knows, the better.
The most significant change in modern comics history came when Image Comics formed.
That was brazen and risky, although the risk was more losing face than career suicide as some tellings would have you think. Come on, you think Marvel Comics would have said, “Why HELL NO Jim Lee! We don’t want you back and tell that to Todd, the other Jim, Erik, Marc, Rob, and that Filipino guy.”* That had as much chance of happening as Destiny’s Child saying, “Shit, Beyoncé’ you think we want to deal with your no-talent ass?”
Could you see this from NSYNC, “Timberlake? You back? HELLTOTHENO! YOUSUCK! GETHEFUCKOUTOFHERE!”
Like if DC Comics would say, “Listen, never in a million years will you EVER be allowed to work with us again, Davis.”
Shit. Three out of four isn’t bad.
* Whilce is the name of that Filipino guy. Hey, my ex was Filipino, so I had to give a respectful shout out to the culture, and he deserves a solo line.
There is ample reason why publishers want creators less informed. The less you know, the more they control. That does not make them evil (SURE it doesn’t), but it does make creators less empowered.
Todd realized he was the main reason Marvel was making millions off Spider-Man and acted on it. That alone was smart; his brilliance was getting those other superpowered creators on board.
It’s not surprising that one result of the Image play was exclusive contracts. Those contracts do much more than just shore up talent—they also keep talent with a following within the industry quiet. If someone with a sweet deal is speaking out, I’d wager it’s not about their publisher.
That’s what you want if you’re running shit. You don’t want those with influence on a soapbox unless it’s your soapbox.
What do you do to stop that?
You give little to no attention to people like Larry Hama except to credit him with what the industry already knows. Larry has an undeniable grasp on dismantling bullshit. Mr. Hama can destroy an argument, change a point of view, bring focus to an issue all without breaking a sweat.
Larry’s a threat if weaponized, so it’s best to appease him. The funny thing is you can’t. Larry can’t be brought if he sets his sights on something, that something is going to be in play. However, Mr. Hama has no interest in engaging in trivial bullshit. Petty bullshit is most of what passes for so-called important industry issues.
I, on the other hand… spent the better part of the last six years depressed and neck-deep in meaningless bullshit. That trip is over. That’s the longest amount of time I’ve ever gone dark. It got so bad I tried to check out, but a dear friend saved me.
Last year on my birthday, I was hacked. I’ve provided tons of proof that I was a victim of a hacker, yet there are still some thickheaded dicks passing their judgment to any who will listen that I planted my own suicide post. Not only does that make no sense when presented with the evidence, but it also makes no sense when presented with no evidence.
Why even dispute me? Two reasons.
- Trolls have no life, I mean zilch none, zip, nada.
- The establishment will always try to discredit those with a viewpoint that differs, alters, confronts, or disproves something they have an interest in.
Love him or hate him; Trump is a master of that.
Trump’s primary weapon? He repeats his bullshit over and over, no matter what, he stays on lying message.
If proven wrong-doesn’t matter, he repeats it.
If confronted with facts that prove he’s not only wrong but what he’s saying is ridiculous- doesn’t matter, he repeats it.
If a tape exists proving he’s a liar- doesn’t matter, he repeats it.
Trump could lie on live TV at a Notary Public’s office; the lie could be CERTIFIED TRANSCRIBED NOTARIZED TELEVISED— doesn’t matter, he repeats it.
I’m a problem to some but a different kind of threat than Larry. As a Black man, racism is considered the default setting regardless of the issue. It’s no secret I’ve faced challenges in my career; moreover, race has played a part at times. No racial situation has affected my career path long term. That honor belongs to DC Comics.
The issues I’ve had with DC don’t stem from possible racism. They stem from good old fashion payback. I said the right thing to the wrong person; his buddy ran DC at the time, so I was targeted.
Twenty years later, that hostility still exists.
I’ve covered my issue with DC in every media. Print, film, the net, TV, live, taped, on stage at conventions, etc.
DC never responds.
Doing so empowers me and gives public awareness to my cause. Once you’re recognized by a superpower, you become more powerful. Besides, those in authority always want to control the narrative.
Unfortunately for DC and all my haters, that ship has sailed. Turns out, God doesn’t hate me. I screamed he did the moment I realized I’d been hacked. I felt the hack, was just another in a long line of horrific events the past six years produced.
I was wrong. Turns out, being hacked was the first good thing in what’s now been ten months of getting back to full lovable asshole mode.
Why? Before I became horribly despondent, I had a superb view of myself. I wasn’t conceited, I was convinced. If you smelled something that was me. I was the shit. When the darkness hit, I was no longer convinced. I wasn’t shit.
Then, my hacker posted I was dead, and I trended worldwide. It took a few months of new meds and a new shrink for me to grasp what that meant.
I AM THE SHIT.
I didn’t know how much sway I had. Turns out, I’ve got quite a bit.
Regarding DC ignoring me. So? I know how to get them to address my issues. They think I don’t, but I do.
Say what I’ve said thousands of times in a mainstream venue. POW! Instant response. Why haven’t I done so?
I’m trying my best to let all that shit go. I’m focused on much more essential matters being distracted by bells and whistles cheapens my greatness.
Comic book industry leaders deflect with bells and whistles from matters that may cost them, readers, aka revenue.
The loudest bell would be a false notion that Marvel, and DC are rivals.
They are not.
They could be called competitors, but they are far from rivals.
Disney and Warner Brothers are rivals. Marvel and DC only seem to be because the comic book industry press makes it seem that way.
If they were indeed rivals, they would offer vastly different content. They don’t. There is nothing in either universe that stands so far apart from the other an outsider could tell the difference between them.
Also, they don’t go after each other. Rivals go after each other.
You’ve seen Coke vs. Pepsi, Yankees vs. Mets. Lakers vs. Clippers. Red Sox vs. Cubs. When (IF EVER) have you seen Marvel vs. DC except in the “industry” press?
Andrew Rev is creating a smart new (to comics) way of doing business in the comic book market.
He is literally throwing shade at Marvel with his upcoming Thor book. And it’s working.
That brings me back to the most famous nightclub in the world, Studio 54.
Although it may look like Studio 54 is an abstract entry to an article about money and influence, I assure you it ties in.
Lacking celebrity status (although that did not guarantee entry) getting into 54 was to some a near-impossible task. Imagine an underage poor Black kid from the hood trying to get in?
For most, the odds were stacked against them. What do you think my odds of getting in were? I lived in Far Rockaway Queens (that’s two bridges AND A tunnel) I was an underage poor Black kid from a hood far far away.
I’d say less than zero, and so would you.
I did it.
In fact, I was able to get into Studio 54 and its rivals Xenon- Electric Circus -Bonds- Crisco Disco- Limelight- and X.
Any high-end wait behind a velvet rope nightclub I could get into.
I not only got in, but I also got in for free, and so did any people lucky enough to roll with me, and so can you!
For just $100.00 per month for…ever I will teach you the ways of the shit! These proven tactics have been tested by people just like you.
“In just four months, I was able to go to a club. All I had to do was get Michael’s YOU SHIT course.”
Sorry, I watch a lot of infomercials.
Why is getting into a night club 40 years ago (when I was 5. I said I was underage, didn’t I?) relevant in the comic book business?
That’s the juice in this drink, folks. I’ve built my career around what I call my Studio 54 philosophy. It’s that philosophy that I’ll use to explain how money is vital but not always necessary. I’ll also break down how those dancing on Dan Didio’s grave (you thought I’d forgotten him, eh?) do so at considerable risk.
To be continued…