Author: Michael Davis

Michael Davis: Aftermath

I’m back from another San Diego Comic Con.

For almost 20 years (since I was five, Jean) I’ve given a party, a dinner, or both. For nearly that long I’ve hosted the Black Panel.

I’ve had some fantastic events to be sure, but I must say 2012 was my best event year ever. My best party, my best dinner and my best Black Panel.

That, if I say so myself, is saying something.

The party and my panel were reviewed by many news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Comic Book Resources and the powerhouse Machinima.

Every year after the Black Panel, the haters come out in force. There are black people that hate the panel; there are white people that hate the panel.

Guess what? I win.

Until you haters get your own panel at Comic Con, throw your own party and get reviewed by some of the biggest news outlets in the world you are more than welcome to hate me.

I will endeavor to do what I can to continue to give meaning to your small life. I will continue to do great things so that you can go on the net and bitch that way you will feel important and in your mind you are.

You are a legend in your own mind.

I’ll be happy to comment on your success if in fact you were successful at anything except being a legend in your own mind.

So, haters continue to hate, because I win. Why do I win?

Because you are talking about me.

Who is talking about you?

Tuesday Afternoon: Emily S. Whitten and the Civil War

Wednesday Morning: Mike Gold, Creators’ Rights, and One Big Wrong

 

 

Michael Davis: Frankly my dear, they don’t give a damn.

The title of this article is a variation on the most memorable film quote ever. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” spoken by Rhett Butler to Scarlet O’Hara in the immortal film, Gone With The Wind is the number one movie quote of all time, according to The American Film Institute.

After over two hours of actual time and years of movie time Rhett had finally had enough of Scarlet being a bitch and let her know how he felt. When Rhett finally let Scarlet know he was sick of her shit she came to a realization that she did indeed love him.

If Rhett and Scarlet were from the hood that conversation would have went a little something like this:

Scarlet: Rhett, don’t go. I love you!

Rhett: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn…bitch.

That classic movie in so many ways reminds me of the San Diego Comic Con and Hollywood. How so, you ask?

This so. Every year Hollywood comes to SDCC and every year Hollywood studios, agencies, stars and starlets throw parties. There are as many Hollywood parties as there are reasons to hate Mitt Romney.

That’s a lot of parties.

Every year it seems that little or no comic book people are invited to those Hollywood parties. I know of what I speak as I get invited to a bunch of those parties. I stopped going a few years ago. I got sick and tired of being at a party and the only mofo I knew from the industry was whoever was my plus 1.

Yes, there are exceptions. I’m sure that Len Wein and his creative peers get invited to any studio party that is making one of their characters into a movie or TV show. I’m sure Len gets to bring a few of his peeps but a room full of comic book people you will not see at a Hollywood party.

Except at my parties. Yes, I always have a cool ass celebrity host, this year it’s Jamie Kennedy, and yes I have big name Hollywood types attending but the majority of my guests are good old fashion SDCC and comic book folk.

Yep, good old comic book geeks. Friends of mine, creators I just meet at the con, retailors, mega fans, moms of mega fans and random hot Asian women who I just so happen to find invites for after I have no more invites. Go figure.

Speaking of moms, last year I met this woman who brought her grown ass son to the convention but could not get a pass for her self. We got her a pass to the con and she spent a great deal of my party hanging out with Wayne Brady. That, if I say so myself, was cool.

I’m not knocking Hollywood because that’s just the way they operate. I’m still amazed at the people that got mad at the tiger for mauling Roy. Don’t blame the tiger for being a tiger. I can’t blame Hollywood for being a selfish self-congratulatory entity that sees the comic book industry as an ugly stepchild.

But I’d like all my comic book and SDCC friends and colleagues to remember one thing…

The San Diego Comic Con is our house.

We build it. We own it. We live there.

I do believe that one day soon Hollywood will fully accept us for what we are: an industry without which they would be banking on films like My Left Foot to do 100 million in a weekend.

Yeah, like that shit is ever going to happen.

I hope to see you guys at SDCC and perhaps at my party Friday night.

Oh, and Hollywood, get your shit together, don’t make us go all Rhett Butler on your ass.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten Speaks Enlightenment

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Marvels Now and Again

Michael Davis: #TheBlackPanel 2012

A shameless plug.

San Diego Comic Con, Friday, July 13th (Friday the 13th? Really?) 10:00-11:30.

The Black Panel— Michael Davis (The Littlest Bitch) returns to moderate the wildest panel at Comic Con, the Black Panel! Expect industry insight and outrageousness when Shaquille O’Neal (NBA On TNT, Shaq Entertainment), Jamie Kennedy (The Jamie Kennedy Experiment), Missy Geppi (President, Geppi‘s Entertainment Museum) Reginald Hudlin (Django Unchained), E. Van Lowe (Earth Angel, the sequel to Boyfriend From Hell), and Steve McKeever (President Hidden Beach Records) as they field questions from the audience. The most entertaining and informative Q&A you’ll ever be a part of. It’s African American pop culture and then some! Room 5AB.

This ain’t just for black people, folks. Every year, it’s the don’t-miss panel of the San Diego Comic Con.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Babbles Like A Brook

 

Michael Davis: Spider-Man, Spider-Man does whatever and who cares…

Am I the only one that could give a flying fish about the new Spider-Man movie?

I have no desire to see that film. You would think that a Spider-Man junkie like myself would be counting the days until it opened.

Nope. It could have opened already and it would still not be a blip on my must see radar. It would be great if the reason I have no yearning to see this film is because The Avengers was so good it made waiting to see any other superhero film unattractive.

Nope. I still can’t wait to see the next Dark Knight movie.

I simply have no desire whatsoever to see the new Spider-Man film. Is it the new actor that turns me off? Maybe, in the clips I’ve seen I have none and by none I mean no emotional attachment to him. Granted, I only get to see snippets of him in coming attractions but in those snippets I can garner no interest in this guy.

None.

Perhaps I’ve gone extreme fanboy and by extreme fanboy I mean, perhaps Marvel Studios has done something that just does not sit right with me so I must go to a dark fan place.

I’ll admit to being a fanboy and I’m mighty proud of that distinction, but being an extreme fanboy is something I’d never thought I’d succumb to. The difference between fanboy and one who is of the extreme kind is this; an extreme fan boy will spend endless hours, debating, blogging and otherwise conversing about whatever is bugging he or she. A regular old fan boy will just enjoy the ride and revel in all that is his or hers pop culture drug of choice.

I think with regards to the Spider-Man movie I have made the move to the dark side of fan boy domain and I think I know why. The more I think about it the more I’m certain what has brought me over to the dark side of fandom.

The side in which I must make my ire known to all that want to listen and more importantly those who don’t want to listen and more importantly still is to get my message of disgust out to those who simply could give a shit about any to this stuff.

That is the essence of the true extreme fanboy; talking passionate shit about something most of the world could give a fish about!

So, what has gotten me to extreme fan boy status over the Spider-Man movie? What has sent me from can’t wait to I could give a shit?

Gwen Stacy.

Gwen Stacy is in this retelling of the new Spider-Man movie.

Why? Oh why is that?

There were plenty of places to take Peter Parker after the third movie but someone had the bright idea to dig up Gwen Stacy. My beloved Gwen Stacy.

Why? Just so I can watch her die again? Everyone knows that Capt. Stacy, Gwen’s police chief dad and Gwen bite the damn dust. Well every real fan of Spider-Man knows that. I guess killing Gwen all over again for the delight of the millions who don’t know is O.K.

O.K?

It’s O.K. to kill the first non-real woman I ever loved?

Well, it’s not O.K. with me. No, I have not seen the movie nor do I have any insider knowledge that Gwen will be killed in the movie but whatever other reason is there to jump back in continuity?  What other reason is there to bring back dear, sweet, lovable, I’m old enough now to tap that ass, Gwen?

I can’t think of any reason except Sony and Marvel studios desire to reinvent Spider-Man and bring in some Twilight or some other pussy franchise’s fan base. What better way then getting you to take your girlfriend to a superhero movie and get you to cry like a little bitch when Gwen dies?

That, my friend, is just cold blooded. Or, to put it another way, that’s Hollywood.

So, no I won’t be seeing this Spider-Man. If I’m wrong and Gwen survives I still won’t see it. If she survives this film you can be damn sure she will be toast in the next one.

I’m not going out like that-seeing her neck broke when I was a little kid was enough for me.

Sony, Marvel you killed Gwen Stacy!!!

You bastards!!

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten, real girls, and costumes!

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Follows The Kids!

Michael Davis: Negro, please.

Over the years I’ve had quite a few young black creators insist they should be invited to sit on the Black Panel. For the record, that has never worked and most likely never will. I say “most likely” for two reasons: I try to never say never and I would be happy as a mofo to find someone so damn talented that I put them on the panel at first sight.

The Black Panel, for those unaware, is the African American pop culture forum I founded more than 20 years ago (when I was five, Jean) and for over a decade it has been a mainstay at Comic Con International. One of my pet peeves with some young black creators is they think they are owed something.

The following is typical of how I’m approached…

A few months ago I was walking the floor at Wonder Con with Denys Cowan and a young black artist noticed my nametag, came up to me and insisted he should be on the Black Panel. After he spent a good five minutes or more telling me how good he was I asked him if he felt he was good enough and established enough to be on a panel with Denys Cowan.

He had no idea who Denys Cowan was.

I told him he was not ready and he asked how could I make that decision without looking at his work. I said when he figured that out then maybe he would be good enough for The Black Panel.

A young African American artist who does not know who Denys Cowan is?

Negro, please.

The Black Panel is a forum of truly extraordinary people who have done extraordinary things within the African American media space. The panel is set up so these amazing professionals can share their insights with their fans and with young creators.

This year I expect more asshole haters on the net because there are two white people on the panel. The Black Panel is not just for black people. It’s for people who have done noticeable work within the African American media space. Over the years I’ve had plenty of blue-eyed soul brothers on the panel. This year will be a first as we welcome our first blue-eyed soul sister to The Black Panel.

I’ll see if I can let my ComicMix readers in on the panel participants before Comic Con releases the info on their website. If they won’t mind I’ll post the names here. The panelists are some of the coolest I’ve ever had and I’ve had some cool ass panelists.

Check them out for yourself at theblackpanel.com.

If by chance you are the young artist I spoke to at Wonder Con and you still can’t figure out what I meant when I said you were not ready, here’s some clues:

  1. Know your industry.
  2. Do your homework.
  3. Show some respect.
  4. Shut the fuck up and listen.

If you do that, come find me after the Black Panel and I’ll spend some time telling you how to get to the next level.

Oh and one last thing. Don’t suck.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten and that Deadpool Thing

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Grabs The Kids

 

Michael Davis: Once You Go Black, Part Four

I got the idea for this series when I received a call and was told a project of mine was turned down because “Black doesn’t sell.” I was told to my face more than once by a certain asshole “when it comes to entertainment, black means death.”

Really, Bruce? How you living now, motherfucker? I’m going to guess it’s nowhere as good as I’m living, bitch.

Yeah, I tend to hold grudges but in my defense I’ve been pretty good lately. I’ve been known to rant like a mad man from time to time. In fact when I first started in the industry I did and wrote some shit that got me tagged as the “bad boy of comics.”

You know what I did upon hearing that? I changed the name of my studio from, Michael Davis Studios to Bad Boy Studios and, yes, this was before Diddy.

Why embrace what many think is a negative? Anger. I was very angry back in the day. I figured if people wanted a bad boy I’d be a bad boy.

How that work out for me?

Very well, actually.

Now, young creators, just don’t think you can develop an asshole, take no prisoners, attitude and the world will beat a path to your door. That road is paved with the bodies of many mofos who think that personality equals talent. It does not. People put up with Harlan Ellison’s shit because Harlan is the real deal, or to put it plainly, Harlan is one of the greatest writers to ever pick up a pen: Harlan once told Frank Sinatra to fuck off.

This was during the time when Frank was not only the biggest star in the world but he was also hanging out with more than a few wise guys, if you know what I mean. Harlan takes no shit and he calls a spade a spade. Harlan’s opinions are bigger than life but there is not a single publisher on this planet that would not love to publish a Harlan Ellison project.

But if you think that just being a bad ass is a great way to secure a rep and thus secure a career, you are an idiotic asshole or a Right Wing radio host and that shit will not work in comics.

How did (do) I get away with the occasional rant? Because I deliver the goods. I’m real good at what I do and I generate revenue and it’s all about the revenue.

I’m nowhere, even remotely in Harlan’s league but the people I work with know what they are getting with me and either they don’t care about my rants or they don’t think about them.

Why don’t they care? Would you care if the million dollars someone was bringing you were old or new bills?

It’s all about the money folks. It’s all about the Benjamins. It’s all about the cash. It’s all about revenue.

One day I realized that even though it had worked for me, anger was not the only way to fight against what I thought were injustices some wanted me to endure.

I figured I’d just cool out and not let little things bug me. Why be angry?

So over the past few years I’ve been mostly “rant free” on the comics and entertainment front. Politics is another matter; I regularly lose my mind about that over at www.MichaelDavisWorld.com.

While working on this series of articles I started to get angry. Angry like the Michael Davis of old. The Michael Davis of old that was the “I don’t give a fuck” Michael Davis.

My plan when I started writing these series of articles was to make my case in parts one through three and bring in some of my heavyweight black entertainment friends to underscore that black does indeed sell in this, my final installment.

So much for the plan.

I was on the phone with the director Bill Duke when the anger I’ve tried my best to curtain over the last few years returned with a fury. I told Bill I’d call him back and sat down to write this last segment and, yes, the old Michael Davis is back.

Back and I’m mad as fuck.

Hollywood’s unofficial “Black doesn’t sell” attitude is simply bullshit and the more I think of it the madder I become.

It’s all about the revenue and black properties and people generate revenue in every category of entertainment. Hell, in music and sports we are the rule, not the exception. You don’t see anyone saying that the white players in the NBA who fail is because they are white. No, they fail because they are not good enough, just like the black players that fail.

Duh.

I don’t have to call my Hollywood black powerbrokers to underscore that black does indeed sell. Take a look at what has been done across all entertainment areas. Every single one of the people on my list to call has made a grip in Hollywood and not just selling to black audiences. The Cosby Show was the most successful sit-com on television. Will Smith and Denzel Washington are two of the biggest box office draws ever. In fact, Samuel L. Jackson is the highest grossing film actor…ever.

Black doesn’t sell? Give me a fucking break.

Black projects sell like crack… if done right. That’s goes for every damn project in Hollywood. If done well, the project will do well.

Every time a black project does not do well Hollywood makes black creators in effect show their papers like a freed slave at a southern checkpoint. The black President of the United States of America has been vetted by the CIA, FBI and scores of other agencies. He has showed his birth certificate time and time again and yet some on the right continue to insist he show his papers, again, like a suspected slave stopped in the middle of Alabama in 1850.

Well it’s not 1850 and Hollywood is not Alabama. It’s 2012 and there’s a brother in the White House and Samuel L. Jackson is the highest grossing film actor… ever. If the leader of the free world and the king of the box office are both black don’t insult the intelligence of the people who buy those tickets you sell Hollywood with your “Black doesn’t sell” lie.

I am under no misconception that the Far Right inbreeding bastards will stop the attack on the President, but I still harbor some hope that the entertainment industry and hell yes this includes some comic book publishers will stop condemning projects because some black projects have failed, its stupid and has to stop.

In comics it’s not just a black thing either, projects that feature women fail and that’s reason for some publishers to be wary of the next project featuring women no matter how bad ass the idea is.

That’s just stupid.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

The new Static Shock series was not cancelled because Static was black. It was cancelled because Static was fighting a giant fucking fish.

Grow the fuck up, Hollywood. It’s all about revenue and any project that succeeds or fails in this day and age does so on its creative merits or many other factors, bad marketing, horrible word of mouth, opened on the same weekend as Avengers II.

Reasons for a movie failing or succeeding are many. Making the reason black people is a bullshit reason. Granted if there is ever a movie called Kill All White People and it starred an all-black cast of white people hating black militants and the story line was to kill all white people and that movie failed then Hollywood would have a point.

Then, yes, if that was a real project, black meant death… on more than a few levels, if you think about it.

I know how hard Hollywood hates change, so here’s my idea. Ready, Hollywood?  Keep that silly black doesn’t sell bullshit line when a film that features a black storyline or actor in a leading role fails. Keep that but the next time Will Smith or Sam Jackson star in a film that makes a zillion dollars say the reason it did so is because they were black.

I’d be OK with that, but somehow I don’t think you would be.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold

 

Michael Davis: Once You Go Black, Part 3

If you have not done, so please read last week’s article. Thanks.

I’ve encountered quite a few things in my Hollywood journey. Some great some not so great and some that really sucked.

Really sucked.

I once sold a show on a Monday morning and by Monday night the show was gone and so was my deal.

I once had a great idea for a reality show. I took the idea to a huge Hollywood player with the intention of making him the host of the show. He loved my idea. He loved my idea so much he tried to sue me and take the show. The show I created and asked him to be a part of.

One of the fun things about Hollywood is finding project financing. That’s always the highlight of any deal…not.

My partner in one particular deal was the fantastic writer, TV producer and now huge young adult novelist E. Van Lowe. E (yes, I call him E) and I spent a weekend in San Francisco securing funding for this great project.

We were a well-oiled money getting machine that weekend. We pitched the project like major league all stars and the money people were so impressed we had a yes before we left to go back to L.A. In fact, the meetings went so well that after we sold the idea and spent the rest of the weekend in the city by the bay just hanging out and celebrating our new fully financed deal!

Monday morning bright and early we boarded our flight secure in the knowledge that we were about to make television history!

When we touched down in LAX all was right in the world. E dropped me off at my house and before he left he took a phone call.

The deal was dead.

Dead like Lincoln. What happened? Or in hood speak, What had happened? Why hood speak? Because this is an article about blacks in the entertainment field and unless I throw in some hood speak many in Hollywood won’t take this seriously.

I know, I know. It’s pandering but you have to understand there are some in Hollywood that thinks my Ph.D. stands for pretty hard dick.

Well, continuing hood speak, what had happened was a third partner had decided she had not contributed enough to the closing of the deal so while E and I were happily flying to L.A. that bright Monday morning, she who must not be named was having a talk with the investors at breakfast.

Neither E nor I had any idea she was having this talk, and what a talk it was. She talked us right out of the deal.

Ah yes, there’s no business like show business!

I’ve got more horrible yet uplifting to my enemies stories but I’d best get to the point. In the blah blah years I’ve been doing the Hollywood thing I’ve had some great experiences and some (obviously) not so great experiences. Rather great or sucky I’ve never had a deal go south because I was black.

You would think that the way some in Hollywood react to black properties that would be the standard issue rejection.

Dear Michael Davis,

Thanks for coming in to pitch Negro Stories: Stories about black People.

Unfortunately, although we loved the concept, we could not help but notice there were many segments about black people in your pitch.

We completely understand the need for more diversity on TV but we are a business and everyone knows that black does not sell.

Sorry, homie.

Sincerely,

Ian White

Executive, Fox Studios

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that black doesn’t sell or black is death and many more asinine statements regarding black properties in the entertainment business.

Think about this for a moment. There are people running studios, networks and comic book companies in 2012 that think that black doesn’t sell. These people think that America will not pay to watch black people entertain them.

That’s as stupid as thinking that just because I’m a black man I have a huge peni…nope, wrong example. That’s as stupid as thinking global warming is a myth. Global warming has been proven without a shadow of a doubt. Those people who refuse to believe in it despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary do so, in my opinion, because they simply don’t want to believe it.

Who denies facts? Well the GOP for one, and many in the entertainment business for sure.

Black doesn’t sell?

Really?

Here’s a news flash, Hollywood. Young people drive Hollywood revenue. Young people decide what’s hot and what’s not. Pop culture is a young person’s playground.

Here’s the kicker. Black culture is youth culture. Let me be clear, African American culture is youth culture all over the world.

It’s our swagger that drives pop culture. That’s our music your kids are listening too. That’s our style of dress you kids are wearing, that slang you don’t understand comes from us. That’s us who dominates sports, that’s our dance your daughter is trying to do…badly.

The film Heaven’s Gate was made for what was in 1980 an unheard of budget of 50 million dollars. That’s like 75 billion dollars in 2012 money. OK, maybe I’m a tad off but it’s not a stretch to think that in 2012 dollars that 50 million would be upwards of 300 million or more even.

Heaven’s Gate made three million dollars.

Damn! That, as they say in the hood, is ghetto!

Now that would be bad enough if the lost was just 47 million but the lost was much more. The budget was 50 million to make the movie. The adverting and marketing costs added millions more to that sum.

Result?

Heaven’s Gate just may be the worst box office disaster in the history of the world…that and The Spirit. Sorry, Frank.

Using the Hollywood formula applied to black movies that box office performance should have prevented another western from being made for years and years. When a black movie fails Hollywood loses its mind and then it’s years before another black movie is made because black means death and black doesn’t sell.

Here’s what I think, when any movie fails, black or white it’s because the movie could not find its audience for whatever reason… or perhaps it’s because the movie sucked.

George Lucas wrote a $58 million dollar check to produce Red Tails, an all black film about the Tuskegee Airmen. He said in an interview that Hollywood did not want to fund the movie because they did not know how to market it.

Translation: black equals death.

The movie did not do well. Here’s my guess why that was. It wasn’t a great movie.

Duh.

I wanted to like it but there were too many plot issues for me and the film seemed a bit contrived. The movie was the problem, not the racial element.

According to some in Hollywood, when a black movie fails its because it was a black movie – when any other movie fails it’s because of a zillion other reasons.

If that’s not the world is flat thinking then I really don’t know what is.

I’m amazed at the sheer idiotic thinking of some in Hollywood.

Black doesn’t sell?

Will Smith.

Black doesn’t sell?

Oprah Winfrey.

Black doesn’t sell?

Tyler Perry.

Black doesn’t sell?

Blade.

Black doesn’t sell?

Hancock.

Black doesn’t sell?

Jamie Foxx.

Black doesn’t sell?

Spawn.

Black doesn’t sell?

Denzel Washington

Black doesn’t sell? Bullshit, Mr. Hollywood, simply bullshit. The above list is a very short one to be sure but I think it makes the point rather well.

I think the problem is not that black doesn’t sell Mr. Hollywood but rather you don’t know how to sell black.

End, part 3.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten wants stuff!

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold takes on Secret Identities!

 

Michael Davis: Once You Go Black… Part Two

If you have not done so, please read last week’s article. Thanks.

The opening night of the movie Blade, I was sitting in a packed Magic Johnson Theater in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. Crenshaw is a predominantly black community, so needless to say the crowd for a black superhero movie in a black neighborhood in theaters owned by a black sports superstar was overwhelmingly Jewish. The Jews, they so love to hang in the hood. Black hats, long black coats – they roll big pimpin’ style.

I kid, I joke. The audience was crushingly African American. There was a lot of excitement in the crowd. When the lights went down the audience started to clap and that’s rare in a black movie house. To have a black crowd clap for a movie before they have seen it is extraordinary.

Black people rarely do that. We take our leisure time seriously. We are also very vocal about entertainment and we expect our monies worth. If a black crowd does not like a film – no that’s wrong – if black people don’t like a movie we will not be shy about voicing our opinions immediately.

Yep. I freely admit we can be a bit loud in the movies but for us it’s part of the show. To be fair we only tend to get loud during action and horror movies. You will seldom hear, “Yo! Henry Fonda! Don’t get in that motherfucking row boat!” during a screening of On Golden Pond.

Black people by in large don’t go see a film. We go to the movies. What’s the difference?

My Left Foot, film.

Die Hard, movie.

Still confused? OK, try this. A film is a motion picture that many may consider art. A film will have these elements in it: a story, a point of view, and a message.  It will make little or no money but will win lots of awards and always features white people.

A movie will have these elements; some kind of story that won’t be important, shit that blows up, sex, violence, vampires, it will only win special effects awards, it will make tons of money and always features white people.

The one thing you will find in both a movie and film is white people. From time to time you will find black people in movies but you will always find white people in every movie ever made. Most times those white people will include Nicolas Cage.

But, (man, I wonder why Peter David hasn’t pimp slapped me yet) I digress… As I was saying, black people take our movie going outings very seriously. We don’t clap just to clap (that’s why we have sex), we clap to show appreciation for the work. So the reaction by the sold out crowd at the Blade opening was quite the pleasant surprise to me. Clearly some of the applause was because this was something rarely seen in movies, a black superhero.

When the credits began Wesley Snipes got quite an ovation and the crowd continued giving props to some other recognizable names. Then up on the screen came this gem: “Blade created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan.

Oh, yes!” I screamed like 40-year old woman who just had her first orgasm after being married for 20 years. “Oh hell yes!” Much, like I imagine that 40-year old woman would react, I did not notice that everyone else had stopped hollering and were looking at me. A large, as in large like the Hulk, man noticed my outburst had occurred during the “created by” credit.

“What you yelling for?” He asked. “I know Marv Wolfman, one of the guys who created Blade.” I said, hoping this guy wasn’t a Crip because I had on a red sweater.

He asked, “Is he a brother?”

What? Is he a brother? Marv Wolfman? I mean come on! Before I could answer I noticed that there were others listening and realized that I could dampen the mood of the crowd. But I’m not a lair so I told him the truth.

“He’s my brother.”

“Right on!” Someone shouted!

That was a great moment in what would turn out to be a great night.

The move was wonderful. The crowd loved every minute of it and me? I was in cloud nine.

Blade was a great movie. It featured a black superhero but it was not a “black” film. Nope. It was a superhero movie, period. Not long afterwards I ran into Marv Wolfman at Comic Con in San Diego. I recounted to him my interaction with the Bulk (black Hulk, get it?) and he was pleased as can be. Up until I told him he did not know that he had gotten an entire card in the credits. A “card” is what the credits are called in the industry it’s a big deal when your name is the only name on a card or is shared with just one other name. Big Deal. Marv created Blade at a time when black superheroes were few and I mean very few. Here’s the kicker: Blade does not have to be black.

Nope.

Blade could be just another white guy who kills v. The character works just as well as a black character as it does a white character. Marv created a good character and that’s why it works.

I’m of the opinion the color of the character really does not matter as long as the character is a good character. That said I’m a comic book fan first and I get a little pissed when a character I’m familiar with in the comics has a race change in the movies. You would think that as a black man and a black comic book creator I’d be happy that Nick Fury was turned into a black man.

Nope.

I liked Nick Fury as a badass white super spy.

That’s because of the Steranko comics. Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was one of the greatest comics ever! When Fury was changed in The Ultimates it pissed me off. When I saw Samuel L. Jackson as Fury in Iron Man it pissed me off even more.

I know Sam Jackson, Sam Jackson attends my annual Comic Con parties, Sam Jackson is a huge comic book fan, Sam Jackson is a great actor, alas Sam Jackson is not Nick Fury.

I want my comic book heroes to be like the comic book. I can hear some black people now “Man we need more black superheroes… and you’re stupid, Davis!”

I know we need more black superheroes, but Nick Fury will always be the cool ass super spy white guy in the Steranko comics to me.

The fact is I care that Nick Fury is not white in the movie because he’s white in the comic book. Did it stop me from seeing The Avengers?

Here comes that 40-year old first time orgasm woman again, Oh Hell No!

Did I like Sam Jackson as Fury? Damnit, yes, yes I did. Did anyone seem to care in the two sold out showings of the movies I sat through that Nick Fury was black?

Nope.

Did Blade not make a zillion dollars and spawn two sequels?

Yep.

And speaking of Spawn (damn I’m clever) did Spawn, another black superhero, not make a grip in movies, television and toys?

Yep.

Was Static Shock (still seen in reruns to this day) not one of the highest rated animated shows on television?

Yep.

I’m told often, black doesn’t sell. Clearly that’s bullshit. Just ask Will Smith, the biggest star in the world. He has played a few superheroes and all made serious bank.

With these examples and many more why does Hollywood still think that “black means death” when it comes to black superheroes?

End, part 2.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten On The Job

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Covers Covers

 

Michael Davis: Once You Go Black… Part One

It’s funny. In my adult personal life there was a time that I simply did not see color. I was just as likely to hang out with a white guy as a black guy. I still listen to all types of music and in fact after a lifetime of thinking it would never happen I’m starting to get into country music.

Yeah. Hell has indeed frozen over.

99% of my Facebook friends are real friends. I rarely “friend” people I don’t know. The overwhelming amount of people whom I’m a friend with are white. The overwhelming amount of people I’m in business with are white. I’m the only black guy on my block.

I like bagels and lox. I love The Beatles. I adore classical music.

I’ve dated many and almost married two white girls.

The first white girl I almost married broke it off because her family did not want her to marry me. Her family that she was very close to refused to let her marry me. I just assumed it was because they did not think I was a good enough guy. It was ten years later that the girl who broke my heart called me and said she was sorry for her actions ten years earlier and that’s when I found out the real reason.

It was because her father “Did not want his daughter marrying a nigger.”

That’s what I get for asking. “What exactly did he say” for over an hour.

She explained to me that her mother and father would disown her if she continued to even see me. How like a bad movie is that? Who the hell does that happen to in real life?

Me.

Up until then it never occurred to me that she broke up with me because I was black. I believed her when she told me that she just fell out of love with me. She contacted me because she had married some guy and it was he who suggested she make the call. She told him how terrible she had felt for all those years and he said to get it off her chest.

Man, that reminds me…how I loved that chest.

After the call she suggested we meet for lunch. At first I was hesitant, I had a hell of a time getting over her. I thought if I met with her my feelings may return and then I would never get over her again. But against my better judgment I went to have lunch with her. The moment I saw her I realized I was over her for good.

The bitch got fat.

I’m talking huge.

That was one fat bitch. How fat? I had four hundred dollars in cash and a Gold American Express card on me and I was starting to wonder if I could afford lunch.

That fat.

Yes, I’m well aware that “bitch” is a horrible thing to call a woman and yes I am over her but I’m still a wee bit bitter and I’m making a point but more on that later.

Today, I wish the fat bitch well. OK, maybe I’m more than a wee bit bitter. That moment with, let’s call her, oh I don’t know, fat bitch, was the moment when I started thinking about race in my adult personal life.

I grew up in a housing project that was 99.9% black. When I was a kid every person in my life was black.

All my music, friends and family were black and getting blacker everyday. And by “blacker” I mean my future seemed to me to be more of what my past was, black. There was nary a day when I did not think about race. That all changed when I entered the High School of Art & Design, the best high school in the universe. Trust me on that, I am the Master of The Universe so I know these things.

I went from hating gay people and not trusting white people and assuming I would always exist in a black only world to a person who just stopped seeing color. That was until that lunch with fat bitch 20 years later.

If you know anything about my work you know that the vast majority of stuff I do features African-Americans. Currently I’m working on projects about the Underground Railroad, Jackie Robinson and a book called, “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Black People But Were Afraid To Ask.”

I also do non-black theme projects such as the book “The Littlest Bitch” with David Quinn (in it’s 3rd printing and currently in development as a animated show…plug!) , that’s a real book; you can look it up on Amazon (another plug!) and see for your self.

For the most part I still do not see color in my personal life. I’m aware of it. I’m very vocal about it when I see racism but if you are a person in my life you are there because you are you not because of your race.

That’s my personal life.

In business I’ve always seen color and working in Hollywood I’m blinded by it.

In my opinion there is an abundance of racism in the entertainment business and, yes, that includes comics.

Now, this is not going to be a series of how the white man continues to fuck me because I’m black. I’m sure to some it will seem that what I’m going to write about with the way I went about setting this up.

Nope. This is the point I’m going to be making is this; racist decisions are being made by good people who have no fucking clue that their actions are racist.

What’s that I say? Try the following example on for size…

I’m convinced that I’m not disrespecting women by calling one a fat bitch because I’m bitter. I’m convinced that all women know that I’m not disrespecting them.

But, did I not just call a woman a fat bitch?

Get it?

End Of Part One.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten and that Deadpool Thing

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Snarls

 

Michael Davis: The Avengers … Or The Anatomy Of The Bitch Slap.

Mickey Mouse just bitch slapped Scooby Doo. Donald Duck just put his foot up Shaggy’s butt. Goofy just cold cocked Velma.

Disney just kicked Warner Bros’ ass.

Marvel just told DC “fuck the New 52!”

This all happened the moment The Avengers movie opened.

The Avengers is the best superhero movie ever made.

E.V.E.R!

Yes, this is just my opinion but consider this: I’ve had my problems with DC Comics but I’m a huge fan of the DC universe. I’ve always considered Superman The Movie the best superhero movie ever. I thought that because Superman works on so many different levels and it still holds up decades later. Superman The Movie is over 30 years old and it still works. It was made without the crazy shit that exists now in special effects and it still works.

In the movie, that mofo caught a helicopter in 1979 without CGI, without Industrial, Light and Magic, and it still works.

You get that? That mofo (Superman to those unhip out there) caught a helicopter without the 2012 computer magic that exists today and I was all in!

What does that mean really? It means a good superhero movie is not just about guys or girls in tights who fly and have lots of fights throughout the film.

Superman The Movie remade the character but kept the original story intact. The story was the story of Superman that everyone knew before they went into the theater to see it, yet it was also new. That’s hard to do.

I’ll say that again. That’s hard to do.

Don’t think so? Did you see The Punisher movie when the Punisher was not even in his costume? Did you see the Captain America movie when Cap walked from the North Pole? Those were horrible movies to be sure but Hollywood gets it right sometimes and still screws some of the comic book mythos for no reason. That’s no reason except some guy in the room with juice gives a “note” that he thinks is a good idea and the other monkeys in the room agree.

For instance, take what I consider a great superhero movie, Batman. That’s the 1989 version – but yes I still love the 1966 version! For some reason known only to whothefuckever came up with it they made the Joker the killer of Bruce Wayne’s parents.

I bet if the same guy worked on Superman he would have said, I have an idea! Let’s make Superman from Compton instead of Krypton!”

Hollywood seems to think they know better than the people and the industry that created the property and that’s why doing a superhero film that respects the source material is so hard.

Just ask Alan Moore.

I’m lucky enough (or badass enough if you happen to be a pretty girl impressed by this type of bullshit) to work in Hollywood. If some studio wanted to make a movie out of one of my creations I would most likely let them do what they want even if they disagreed with my vision of my creation.

Why?

Because what I do is not art, it’s entertainment.

So as a writer who has three books coming out between late 2012 and mid-2013 (if the Earth is still here) I can say without hesitation: Hollywood, take my work and make it a movie. If you want my input, great! If not, then write me a big check and spell my name right in the credits.

As a writer I have to be smart about the way the business of entertainment works. I have to play the game. That said, I will not roll over like a little bitch if you want do something so stupid like making Static Shock a white kid (that was a suggestion by a studio executive) or you tell me some dumb 1950s shit like black superheroes don’t sell. Yeah, that happened as well.

So I will bend but I won’t break when confronted with real world scenarios when it comes to being a writer.

But as a fan? As a fan I won’t stand for any shit that does not fit my view of what a great superhero movie is and first and foremost is respect the source material!

The Avengers movie not only sticks to the comics, it adds to the brand.

Not easy to do.

Marvel Studios and Disney produced a superhero movie that rabid geek fan boys can take a girl and even if that girl hates all things geek she will love this movie.

Result? Possible tapping of some ass.

I’m watching The Avengers in 3-D. Live action IMAX 3-D. The Avengers!!! I’m watching the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, The Black Widow and Hawkeye and they are the characters I know and love. This is what I want as a fan-this is what all comic book fans wants from their superhero movies.

That’s why, for my money, this is the best superhero movie ever done.

Warner Bros. can’t even get the goddamn Justice League movie made.

That’s why Tony Stark just made Bruce Wayne his bitch.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten Gets The Scent!

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Gets Nancy, Good!