Author: Michael Davis

Michael Davis: Dark Saturday Knight

Davis Art 130108I finally watched The Dark Knight Rises last Saturday.

Just a short recap: personal demons of mine kept me from seeing the film when it opened because of the shootings that happened during an opening night screening.

The first day the film came to Blu-Ray I brought a copy and planed a Dark Knight Rises night, complete with all the man cave fixings. That week another mass shooting happened and again I put the film on hold. Then Sandy Hook happened and again I put the film on hold.

I freely admit that I’m a pussy when it comes to confronting my own demons. I also freely admit that because of those demons I’ve made stupid decisions and reacted quickly instead of smartly.

Comics, animation, video games and the like take up a great deal of my time and my life, but they are not all my time or all my life.

I was not ready to see The Dark Knight Rises and waited until I was.

The film was, in a word, great.

I don’t regret waiting I don’t regret not seeing it on the big screen because the film was so badass I could have watched it on an iPhone and loved it.

On another note…

Dwayne McDuffie was a dear friend and creative partner of mine. I have yet to watch All-Star Superman, written by Dwayne, which debuted around the time of his death. I’m just not ready. But it sure is something to look forward to.

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Laughs!

 

Michael Davis: The Wrong Stuff

Davis Art 130101A few days ago I received an email from my friend John Jennings. John is a fantastic artist and teacher and I’ve known him for a lot of years.

I was not happy with what John had to say and let him know it. What John wrote me was a pretty detailed accounting of why some in the black comic arts community were not happy with the following line from the gallery show I’m curating for the Geppi Entertainment Museum called Milestones: African Americans in Comics. Pop Culture and Beyond.

“Up until now there has been no serious attempt to showcase African-Americans in the world of comic books, and the impact of their creative excellence, which has been a mainstay of the industry for as long as comics have been an American art form.”

Man, I went (as we say in the hood) Negro when I read that that line in the press release offended some people.

My response to John was in affect, how dare these mofo’s (white people, ask someone what that means, oh wait it’s New Years Day and you are all hung over so I’ll just tell you, motherfuckers. It means “motherfuckers”) be offended??

The reason why they were offended is because that line from the press release gives the impression that Milestones is the first exhibit of its kind. I must say, I’ve written some great kiss my ass letters in the past, but the one I wrote about those people who were “offended” was so good I thought about using it for a ComicMix article.

Before I could do that, John wrote a response that pretty much put be on blast (white people, ask someone what that means…oh I forgot New Years Day, hung over, OK “blast” in this instance means you call someone on their shit. Damn! I keep forgetting, New Year, hung over…’calling someone on their shit means you dismantle their argument), John called me on my shit.

John was right.

Milestones is the latest in a line of exhibits that feature black comic book art and artists.

I’m going to give John a forum to break down what has gone before in the Black Comic Space in a guest column here (something he’s just learning right now) as no one is better equipped than John to do so.

Those who know me are well aware that when I’m wrong, I say it.

I was wrong.

I also intend to acknowledge what has come before in any future press releases, interviews, etc. I think letting the millions of people that read me on ComicMix is a good start but I can do more and I will.

I’m excited about the show, I’m excited that Tatiana El-Khouri is co-curator, John is lending his considerable expertise and talent to the exhibition and Obama beat the living shit out of Romney.

That I was right about, was I not?

On a somber note, Peter David had a stroke the other day and all I can think of is how much I love that guy. Peter is not just a friend, he’s not just a great writer, he’s a really great guy.

Get well Peter and do it fast. We all love you dude.

Happy New Year, everyone.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

Michael Davis: The Dark Knight Will Rise, I Just Don’t Know When

I wanted to see The Dark Knight Rises as much as I’d wanted to see any movie. When the film opened, I decided not to see it: the mass shooting that occurred during an opening night screening of the movie screwed me up but good.

I was not being noble trying to make a stand for the victims or against the gunman. As much as I’d like to see the gunman gutted like a fish and left to die a painful slow death on national television and my heart did and does go out to the victims and their families, my refusal to see the film was because of personal events in my life which in my head I link to the mass shootings and then link that to The Dark Knight Rises.

Watching that movie after the shooting would have been much too painful it would had been near impossible for me to separate the incident from personal recollections of a tragic event. There is just something about the way my mind works and how I connect incidences to each other that seldom even makes sense to me so I know some people think my thought process is just bizarre.

Those people can kiss my ass, it’s my head, stay the hell out of it.

As the months went by I felt more and more confidant that I was ready to see it. Waiting for it to be available on home video soon became as unbearable as waiting for the movie to open.

The day the Blu-Ray went on sale I was at my neighborhood Target when they opened at 8:00 am just so I could have it in my greedy little hands, even though I was not going to watch the movie that day.

No, I was planning a decadent movie night. Bad food, tequila, 80 inch big screen, Bose sound system cranked up so loud my neighbors call the police and when they show up I wouldn’t hear them.

Friday night December 14th was my big night with the Bat.

Friday morning December 14th a crazed gunman killed 20 kids and six adults at an elementary school in Connecticut.

Once again my heart goes out to the victims and their families. Once again I will have to wait for The Dark Knight to rise.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

Michael Davis: Karen Berger

I met Karen Berger around 20 years ago when Vertigo first became a DC Comics imprint. I was 5… heh. At the time I was doing work for Piranha Press, another DC imprint, which started around the same time as Vertigo.

From her start at DC, Karen was a no nonsense yet kind editor. What that means is if she did not hire you she let you down with the knowledge that you could come back.  Soon after Karen began her reign at Vertigo it became clear that you may have been welcomed back but if you sucked going back would just be a waste of everybody’s time especially Karen’s because if you sucked you would never ever work for Vertigo.

Now that did that mean just because you were a brilliant artist or writer your project would get a green light at Vertigo. Talent was just one of the factors Karen used to chose project. I pitched a project to Vertigo and Karen passed.

Hopefully it was because the project lacked something not because I sucked. Although when I saw Karen after the rejection she pretended to faint. The next time I saw her she pretended to have a heart attack and after that amnesia and so forth and on.

Karen, in my opinion is the last of the great comic book editors. That’s not to say there are not great comic book editors but Karen had a vision that was unique and her books wore that stamp.

Karen leaving Vertigo is one of the dumbest moves DC could allow. If she decided she wanted a change and I ran DC I would have told her to do whatever she wanted but just do it at DC. I like and respect Diane Nelson and I don’t know the particulars of why Karen is leaving so maybe dumb is the wrong word so I’ll say in my opinion it’s dumb to me.

Letting one of the most talented and original voices in the history of comics go is to me is just plain dumb. But for all I know Diane tried to talk Karen into staying but Karen faked a heart attack in the middle of the meeting.

Well, DC’s lost is someone else’s huge gain.

I can’t wait to see where she ends up. The moment I do I’m calling her using a fake name so she won’t have to fake amnesia. J

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

Michael Davis: The Next Level

So there I was playing Battlefield 3 on my PlayStation 3 like the addicted gamer I am. Yes, gentle reader, this middle aged (I’ll be 26 in April…what?) is a serious no joke gamer.

You name the system I have it and it’s hooked up to my big screen in my living room. In fact, except for my office where I write this and my bathrooms, I have a gaming system in every room in my house.

I love video games.

At any given moment I’m playing four games at one time. One on the PS3, one on the X-Box 360 another on the Wii and yet another on an old you-never-heard-of system called a 3DO. Shit, sometimes I even break out the Dreamcast! If you don’t know what a Dreamcast is then you are way to young or way to jaded to continue to read this particular rant.

To this day I think Dreamcast is the greatest game system ever but then again I think telling a woman she does look fat in that dress is a good move, so what do I know? Like I said, there I was playing Battlefield 3 on my PlayStation 3 like the addicted gamer I am until I get to a level and no matter what the heck I do I can’t get pass this level. So when stuck like this what do I do?

I cheat. Duh.

Every major game release, of which the Battlefield franchise is one, has a strategy guide that costs a pretty penny and all I need do is consult said guide and I’m on my way to the next level.

What a waste of money.

I’m sure there are a zillion reasons to pay a grip for the strategy guide but the only reason I can see is to show me how to get pass a level I’m having an issue with. Anything other than that is a waste of my time and my money.

Why is the strategy guide a waste of money if it can help you get pass an impossible level?  Because real gamers don’t use strategy guides…they get the information free on the net. I freely admit I may be additive to gaming but I’m no where near as good as some people so I need help every now and then. Most hard-core gamers measure success in hours, as in how many hours it takes them to finish or “beat” a game.

Not me.

It can take me weeks sometimes months to finish a game. In some cases I never finish a game. I just leave it until I can come back to it and figure it out. So, no, I don’t use the net to resolve every single road block I come across but I’m not a fan of  “puzzles” as in figure some shit out instead of shooting somebody to get to the next level.

I only resort to the net when something strikes me as so dumb (making me even dumber because I can’t figure it out) I no longer want to deal with it. That moment came in Battlefield 3 in a level called ‘ a rock and a hard place.’

I get to the part in this level where a Russian jet is tearing me and my team’s ass apart. To defeat this jet I have to find a stinger missile launcher and take it down. I find where the stinger is but there is no stinger and after about an hour of trying to equip the words that say stinger missile (only the word is there; the missile is nowhere to be seen). I’m pissed as shit so I go on the net to see what simple thing I’m missing.

The walkthrough on the net is simple enough, in fact I did every single thing it says to do on the walkthrough but I still cannot equip the stinger.

Do you know why I can’t pick up the stinger and blow the Russian jet out of the sky? Because the game has a glitch and no matter what the fuck I do I will never be able to grab that stinger because the game is corrupted, flawed, broken or whatever you deem is the right word for something that does not work in a video game.

I’m beyond pissed when I learn (on line) that this is the issue with the game that I paid $60 goddamn dollars for.

Then it hits me.

This is the reason video games are not doing anywhere near the business in the movie theaters that comics are doing. Except for one franchise, Resident Evil, video games made into movies are woefully lacking the punch at the box office that comics have in the film industry.

Video games have a massive legion of fans but cannot translate those eager thumbs from the controller to pulling out their wallets to buy a couple of movie tickets.  You would think that video game movies would be leading box office sales any and every weekend they debut.

Nope.

Here’s my theory for what’s it’s worth why the video game industry still eats the dust of the comic’s industry when it comes to movies.

At the heart of the video game industries attempt to bridge the movie world is a great big glitch. Much like the glitch in Battlefield 3, which I now have to return to Game Stop and explain to them why it took me months to return the game.

Because it took me months to get to that damn level, Dick Heads…duh.

In a nutshell the video game industry is still a babe in the woods compared to comics. Comic book creators, publishers and even the evil empire that can be publishers have a long relationship with the other evil empire, Hollywood.

Hollywood and the creators of comic book content are at a point now (mostly) where we respect each other and (mostly) that respect results in movies like The Dark Knight.

Hollywood does not really respect the video game industry yet that’s why you get movies like Max Payne.

Great game franchise, movie not so much. Truth be told, I really liked that movie but then again I love the Max Payne games and I’m sure that accounted for the reason I liked the movie so much. It really tried (at certain points) to do the game justice.

Therein may lay the heart of the video game glitch, again in my opinion, to get a hit in Hollywood you just can’t depend on the fans of the original material. You are not driving a 40-year old woman dragged to see Max Payne by her husband into a video store no matter how bad she may like the movie.

And she won’t like the movie because it will make no sense to her because she has not played the game.

Get it?

To put it another way, I loved the original David Lynch Dune movie. I loved it because I understood it having read the book. My date at the time, a Sunday school teacher, looked at me after the film and asked, “What the fuck was this about?”

Yeah, she was a Sunday school teacher.

Make no mistake, the video game will get it right and then all (except me because I’m Master Of The Universe!) will bow down to what will be the most powerful engine in the movie business. That is going to happen, when I can’t say but it’s going to happen.

Well that’s my two cents. Now I’m off to Game Stop (greatest store ever) to return Battlefield 3. I’m sure they have encountered this before and will have a fix all ready for me.

I wish I could say that about Hollywood and the gaming industry.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

Michael Davis: Egg Sandwiches And a Moo

When I started dating seriously, and by seriously I mean dating women with a goal of a relationship, I tried to get every girlfriend to read comics.

Before relationships, my goal was obvious. After achieving that, my secondary goal was getting up and leaving in the middle of the night. That’s if I had a car. If I was taking the subway or bus I’d stay until the morning with hopes of my date making me an egg sandwich.

OK, that’s not true. I didn’t hope for anything. I knew I was getting my egg sandwich. There is nothing a woman finds sexier than a man who makes her moo like a cow and if you can get a women to moo like a cow you can get her to do anything.

I’d say, “Make me a egg sandwich.”

She would respond, “How do you want your eggs?”

Yeah, that’s how I roll.

When I finally grew up and opened my mind to the possibility of something more than a meaningless sexual romp and a egg sandwich, I realized the woman I was with had something to say. When I was in my non-relationship stage all I wanted to hear was “yes.” I would tune out anything else being said until I heard “yes” after I heard it I’d tune out again until I heard mooing.

I remember this girl I fell for – hard. I was really into her and felt that I could share with her like she was sharing with me. One fateful night after she made me moo I told her I wanted her to read some comics I thought she would like.

That was the day the mooing stopped.

Long story short, every woman and I mean every woman I have ever really wanted to know me I’ve tried to get to read comics. All of them except for one declined. Some were nice about it some were down right insulted that I would think they would read some kid shit like comics.

One woman I met and fell in love with tried the books I gave her. She fell in love with Love and Rockets, Watchmen and quite a few other titles.

What happened to that woman?

I married her.

Every woman except her I tried to get into comics said no. Eventually that relationship ended. The one woman who embraced the medium became my wife.

I often wonder why comics are still considered childish among many women today, especially in a world where comics are responsible for some of the biggest films on the planet as well as being accepted as art more and more.

I took to heart being married to a woman who realized that comics are also a viable adult entertainment medium. She knew a good thing when she saw or in this case read it. She was hesitant but agreed to try reading some and was glad she did, all the others didn’t even try.

Yep. I got her into comics and you know what she did?

She left me.

Coincidence? Most likely, but after my divorce I noticed I was spending less time trying to get women into comics and more time writing egg sandwich recipes.

Moo.

WEDNESDAY: The Mike Gold Who Walks!

 

Michael Davis: The Baron Of Comics

One of the best writers the comic book industry has ever seen is Mike Baron. He created two of the greatest comic book properties ever, Nexus and the Badger. Mike has written for all of the major comic book companies and handled some of the biggest characters in comics. Mike has won two, count ‘em, two Eisners and has been nominated for a slew of awards including a Harvey.

On a personal note, Mike is also one of the few people I’ve given a painting to. That may not be a big deal for you but I don’t give away art so it’s a big deal for me.

Mike is a comic book treasure.

Mike is a fantastic writer.

Mike not only writes comics, he writes kick ass novels.

Mike is also a major pain in the ass.

Yeah, Mike is one persistent pain in the ass motherfucker.

In his role as major pain in the ass, Mike wants me to read two of his latest novels, Helmet Head and Whack Job and has been on me like the KKK on Obama to do so. I have not been able to read them as of yet, just as I have not been able to produce a long promised drawing for a fan, more on that completely unrelated to this article later.

Mike bugs the shit out of me and I take it because Mike is not only a great talent he is a dear friend who I love like a brother. Yes, Mike understands that I’m swamped like a bitch with my workload and understands as much as I’d love to read one of my favorite writers latest work I need the time to do it justice but Mike could give a fuck.

It’s a great problem to have. One of the best writers the industry has ever produced wanting my opinion on his work is so damn cool I pinch myself sometimes at the sheer coolness of it. Yes, I could garb a few hours during the week and fly trough the books but I simply cannot read a Mike Baron story like that.

A Mike Baron story you have to sit and enjoy and if it’s a Mike Baron horror story you have to take the extra step of making sure you are not alone in the house while reading. That’s because it’s a certainty that at some point the story will be so scary and/or brutal you will long for the comfort of human contact.

Clearly it’s not just my lack of time preventing me from reading the two novels it’s all the prep that goes into reading a Baron novel. I just don’t want to read it, I want the time to read, enjoy and prepare for it.

Those are not excuses, they are facts. That persistent pain in the ass motherfucker is that good.

Really.

Mike, I know you are reading this so know this, I plan on reading at least one of your books during the Thanksgiving holiday this week. So stop sending me emails with the subject line; What the fuck are you doing that’s more important than reading my books?

Nothing, Mike. Nothing is more important than reading your books, please no more dead cats nailed to my door.

On a completely unrelated yet somehow I see a parallel so I’m working it in here note, I owe a fan a drawing and I have every intention of doing that drawing but if said fan keeps posting shit on Facebook trying to shame me into doing it then he is in for a rude awakening.

Mike’s not the only guy who can nail a cat. Hell, now that I think of it I’ve nailed quite a lot of pussy in my life…

Blam!!! Rimshot!! I’m here all week! Try the chicken! Read Mike Baron!

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold

 

Michael Davis: Does The Comics Industry Have A Soul?

Spoken to the intro of The Adventures Of Superman

Faster than a speeding police pursuit! More powerful than a community organizer! Able to leap tall GOP bullshit in a single bound!

Look, up in the White House! It’s an African! It’s a Muslim! It’s Black-Man!

Yes, it’s Black-Man! Strange visitor not from Hawaii but Kenya if you believe Fox News, who came to Washington with promise and abilities far above those of Herman Cain.

Black-Man!

Who can change the discourse of any discussion; kill Grandma with his bare hands! And who, disguised as a Socialist, mild mannered President for the 99% leads a never-ending battle for truth, justice all to prove he’s an American and deny he’s gay!

Yes! This column is about comics.

Unless I’ve missed my deadline, today is Election Day. Since I’m on the west coast and my column goes up in the afternoon east coast time the polls should be closing within a few hours.

So in a matter of hours we will either have a new President or Wednesday morning we will wake to a Donald Trump news conference where he demands Obama prove he did not kidnap and kill the Lindbergh baby.

Absolutely, I’m an Obama supporter but no, this article is not about why I hate Romney and I’m voting again for Obama. Yes, I worked hard to get that last sentence in. That said, this article is about the comics industry and who or what we are or we are not.

Remember four years ago the zillion comic books featuring Obama? There were books just about him or about his wife or kids or books where he was hanging out with everyone from Spider-Man to the Savage Dragon.

Remember that super bad ass Alex Ross painting and tee shirt?

Love him or hate him, the comic book community overwhelmingly backed Obama. I came late to the party, having been a Clinton supporter, but eventually I was taken in by the Obama enthusiasm within the industry.

It was something palpable about the industry support for Obama. As an example, the San Diego Comic Con the summer before the election was brimming with Obama fever and those Alex Ross tee shirts were everywhere.

At my annual SDCC party, Samuel L. Jackson almost jacked Art Tebbel of MDW Pop Art fame for his Alex Ross Obama shirt. Yeah, that Sam Jackson and that Art Tebbel.

It seemed everyone in comics was on the Obama love train during the last election but four years later that train has long left the station. Yes, I’m fully aware that everyone in the industry does not back Obama; people I like and respect (Batton Lash and Billy Tucci high among those people) differ greatly with Obama, which is their right.

I don’t want to give the impression that everyone in the industry was an Obama fan, they were not. To me however, it sure seemed the majority of the comic book world was firmly in Obama’s corner.

Whatever Obama Kool-Aid the country was drinking last time is gone. The wave of freshness and optimism, now, as compared to the last election, is laughable.

The comic industry portrayed Obama as a superhero now his opponents portray him as a Muslim (as if that’s evil) who is not even really a citizen. The industry that was damn near universally behind him has shut up like a Ho whose pimp just caught her stealing money. The best thing that Ho can do is just shut up because nothing she’s says can help her but it could make things worse. The comic book realm deserted Obama like Alpo would abandon Michael Vick is he were their spokesman.

That got me thinking (the non existent peep this year about anything political after the craziness of the last election got me thinking, not the Ho) what, if anything, has ever seen that kind of comic book industry support?

Was the industry just getting on the band wagon to sell some books or was the Obama movement really something that energized the business and if so, are we a bunch of pussies that withdraw that support because it was only fun while it lasted?

Look, I’d be writing this column if Hillary won instead of Obama. If she generated the kind of support industry wide that Obama did, yes this piece would be about her. Would I be writing this if a Republican won and generated the excitement that Obama did?

Yes, but come on! What Republican (with the exception of Lincoln after he was capped in the head) ever generated that type of excitement?

Consequently, I’d really like to know, regarding comics, what kind of industry are we?

What, if anything, do we stand for?

What’s our purpose except selling superheroes with an occasional Road to Perdition and Maus thrown in to give us a reason to say at parties “Comics are far more than just silly superheroes. Have you seen Road to Perdition? Well, that’s from a comic book or more appropriately, an graphic novel!”

Are we political outside of what’s cool and fresh?

Do we pride ourselves on the artistic merits of the business?

I’m not talking about big name individuals who do all of the above, as evidenced by any Alan Moore interview or the occasional rant by Frank Miller putting something or someone in the industry on blast.

I’m talking about the comic book industry as an entity as a whole, are we anything more than collection of people who draw funny books?

Does, for lack of a better term, the comic book industry have any redeeming value?

Does the industry have a soul?

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Why Mike Gold Didn’t Cold-Cock Walter Simonson

 

Michael Davis: Off The Hook

Marvel Now! A new beginning for the Marvel Universe!

Those words are the title and tag line for Marvel’s latest universe direction and marketing approach. Seems a bit like the DC reboot to me, I could be wrong. I was… once.

Full discloser. I don’t spend a great deal of time following the comic book industry. That is to say I don’t make it a point to go to comic book websites, publishers websites or any of the zillion forums where people talk about what goes on in the industry. So, I don’t know how much press or hype surrounds the Marvel Now agenda. If I’m late to the party it’s because I simply don’t pay attention to press or hype.

Given the stuff I’ve been able to pull off in my career you may find it strange that I don’t follow the industry closely at all. I won’t bore you with my résumé but trust me, it’s impressive. I’m mostly clueless as to trends or news in the industry and I plan to stay that way. My way of doing business works best for me if I’m not influenced by what or who is hot.

As an example just about every mainstream publisher does comics these days. I put Simon & Schuster in the comic book business…in 1996. One of the reasons I was able to do that deal was because I don’t pay attention to trends, I pay attention to the idea and where would be the beat place to exploit that idea.

Disco was a trend, Hip-Hop was a movement created by ignoring what was popular at the time and which music now dominates the planet?

Here’s a hint, KC and The Sunshine band are not represented.

I visit ComicMix a few times a week but just to read the columns; any news I get is because I see something on the site that just screams to be read. ComicMix is how I learned about the DC reboot, Before Watchmen and Marvel Now.

Incidentally, I thought I would hate Before Watchmen and love the DC reboot. I actually like some of the Watchmen books and the DC reboot was for the most part cool, but did I love it?

Nah.

Regardless of what I thought of the books I knew and I said the reboot would be a success and it was, big time. I was sure it would be effective because of the buildup which, after I was aware of the reboot, I noticed everywhere and the originality of the concept didn’t hurt either.

But, here’s the thing, it wasn’t original, far from it. That particular kind of event has been being done for – all DC did was changed the “hook.”

Marvel is not ripping off DC vis-à-vis a universe reset; they are following DC with a new hook for their books.

I write for television as well as mainstream publishers. Here’s a little of what I’ve learned as a television creator.

Very few things are new.

Consider these classic TV shows: Father Knows Best, Eight is Enough, The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, Charles in Charge, Home Improvement, Modern Family, The New Normal, The Cosby Show.

All of the above are based on the same premise essentially they are the same show, to produce a “new” idea the creators simply changed the hook.

The Cosby Show was pitched like this, “it’s Father Knows Best except the family is black.” They changed the hook. Now you can take any of the above shows and do the same thing.

Some require changing more than one hook but you get the idea.

The Partridge Family is the Brady Bunch except they sing. Home Improvement is The Cosby Show except the family is white. Etc, etc, etc.

Marvel Now is DC’s new 52 except it’s Marvel…Now!

Look, redoing comic book universes is not new. Publishers have been doing it for decades on a smaller scale usually just rebooting a character. DC and Marvel did universe overhauls in the 80s and have been doing it ever since. DC with the Crisis series and Marvel with Secret Wars.

DC came out of Crisis with one earth and Marvel came out of Secret Wars with a black Spider-man, sort off.

DC’s New 52 was a brilliant move because they changed the hook on everything. Universe overhauls staring with a mini-series or one title were always implied to span the entire universe but DC went ahead and said it out loud and kept saying it so the age old universe overhaul was now something bold, new and that seemed to never have been done before.

Why?

Because of the way DC presented it. You call something “new” enough times and even if you have seen it a million times after a while you start believing the hype.

I have no dog in the fight between the New 52 and Marvel Now. Neither company is writing me a check these days so speaking as just a fan I hope the Marvel Now stuff is great.

A lot of people are going to think Marvel ripped off DC with this idea, they didn’t. The idea is not new. Rather or not Marvel was motivated by the success of the New 52 I’m sure that played a part in it but that is just par for the course in comics and in a few years it will happen again on some level.

Meantime, Dark Horse, Image and IDW are not thinking about “universe overhauls,” they are thinking about original content. Those publishers are doing some great work, or as we say in the hood, those publishers are off the hook.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Wants You Off Your Ass

 

Michael Davis: Why Do I Read Comics? Part 2

(Intermezzo)

Some weeks ago I wrote part one of this series then I went to France and forgot to file it before I went. Once I arrived in France I was blown away by my comic experience and wrote about intending to file this once I returned.

When I returned a suicidal next door neighbor of mine placed a bag of shit on my doorstep and that pissed me off to such an extent that I completely forgot to file the article and instead dealt with that idiot whom I’m sure will never ever look at my house again after my visit to his home.

Why, you ask, did someone place a bag of shit on my doorstep? Long story short, this asswipe keeps feeding my dogs after being told numerous times not to.

So, dogs being dogs, they keep sniffing around his yard (we share a short brick wall in our backyards and my dogs can easily jump over it) looking for food. Well one of my dogs must have left a bundle of doo-doo as a “thank you for feeding us” or a “fuck you, where’s the food” on that particular visit.

Either way, this moron picks up the doggie doo and leaves it on my doorstep. I was so livid that I forgot to file this article again. Instead, I stood in front of my neighbor’s house throwing up gang signs while the stereo at my house blasted 50 Cent’s, “my gun go off.” I knocked on his door but he didn’t answer hence my gang and 50-cent serenade. In hindsight, perhaps I should not have been yelling “Open the door, bitch!”

 (And Now… Back To “Why Do I Read Comics?”)

Please refer to part one of this article. Last whenever, I wrote about my love of comics and how I stopped reading them all together by the time I got to college. I was pretty sure that I was done with comics when Frank Miller brought me back.

I was at all places, an Elton John concert, and the guy sitting next to me was reading a Frank Miller Daredevil. I smiled remembering when I was a young impressionable lad who once wasted his time on comics. The guy caught my smile and asked “Have you read this one yet?”

I told him I didn’t read comics anymore. He asked me why and I explained that I grew out of them, yada, yada, yada. He said (and he was right) that it sounded like I stopped reading comics because of peer pressure. He also offered that I didn’t seem like the type of guy who cared what anyone else thought.

That surprised me.

“What makes you say that? You just met me.” I said.

“Take a good look around.” He responded.

I was at Madison Square Garden and I did take a look around. Nothing struck me as anything that would give this guy a clue to what I cared about or not. I was about to ask him what he was smoking when it hit me.

As far as I could tell I was one of maybe four to possibly six black people who were there to see Elton John so, clearly, he was right, I’ve never cared about what anyone thought of me. It dawned on me at that moment that I did stop reading comics because I was concerned about how I would be perceived.

The look of “oh shit” must have taken up residence on my face because my new friend just laughed. He then did something I will always be thankful for, he gave me that copy of Daredevil to read while we waited for the opening act and while reading I’m sure my “oh shit” look never left my face.

I was amazed just how different and damn good Frank Miller’s Daredevil was. The comics I read before I stopped collecting were good but this was another kind of good, this was on a level I had not experienced before in comics.

Forbidden Planet is located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and has a huge comic book community presence. The next day I went there and purchased the entire run of Frank Miller’s Daredevil and returned to my home to eagerly read them.

Wow.

I had no idea who this Miller guy was but these books were some of the greatest comics I’d ever read. In fact they were some of the greatest stories I’d ever read regardless of the format. After discovering Daredevil I went on a pretty good buying spree of comics and realized quickly that the game had changed in six years so much so that I was blown away almost daily by the work that was being done.

Wolfman and Perez’s Teen Titans, Walt Simonson’s Thor, Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg and Moore and Bolland’s The Killing Joke were among the many new (to me) comics I was overdosing on. In the six years I was away from comics there had been a sea change and I was back, like an addict at a crack house.

For me that sea change still exists in the industry and that my friend is why I still read comics. Forget about the glut of Spider-Man or Batman titles. Forget the yearly cross over or the predictable “death of” storylines. Forget the gimmicks such as variant covers or stories “ripped from today’s headlines” like the gay character or Archie kissing black girl bullshit.

Forget all that crap, some of the work coming from today’s creators is just fantastic. I picked up a trade paperback of The Twelve from Marvel while in France and it was simply incredible and that’s just the tip of the creative iceberg of what is being done today.

Yes, comics for the most part are the same superhero crap that it has been for decades but the best of this industry, the original outstanding work being done in comics translates into the best of any industry.

Film, television or under-fucking-roos, the best material from comics makes any other medium worth watching or, in the case of Underoos, worth wearing.

To put it simply, I still read comics because no matter how old I am (21, Jean) comics are the best entertainment available for my money today and I don’t care who knows I think that way.

Oh, I’m sure some of you are wondering why the black guy from the hood was at an Elton John concert. The short answer is like comics; Elton John’s music is something I enjoy because he’s just that good. For any other explanation, consult someone who gives a fuck what other people think.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Got Mad?