Author: Michael Davis

Michael Davis: The Lazy-Man

Today I’ve come up with a brand new superhero and I’m proudly unveiling him right here. ComicMix – meet The Lazy-Man™*

The date of this writing is April 29th, 2012 and it just so happens to be my birthday. Somehow after working all month on two other book projects a TV project and various other stuff like Comic Con and staying up drinking tequila most of last night, somehow Lazy-Man just came to me!

Wow. What an unexpected yet not unwelcome birthday gift!

I work really hard but last week was such a bitch on my time and gray matter that towards the end of the week I felt overwhelmed and a bit depressed. But somehow at the very depths of those emotions came Lazy-Man!

Who is Lazy-Man?

Why, Lazy-Man is all of us when we have reached a point where we just need to be lazy. I say Lazy-Man is all of us, but on the one in a billion chance that this bullshit idea I made up just because I’m too exhausted to think of something to write about catches on, let me be clear-Lazy Man is me and me alone.

Yes, Lazy-Man is me (if it hits big) you (if it goes nowhere) all of us (me, hits big; us, goes nowhere) and sometime we must embrace our inner Lazy-Man and recharge.

I see Lazy-Man as a six-issue mini-series, which coincidently fits my “must write about comics” criteria for ComicMix.

Lazy-Man’s story is told via his journal entries. The first of such are here as a ComicMix exclusive:

From The Journal Of Lazy-Man

April 29, 2012

Yesterday morning I did not exist. Yesterday afternoon I was not alive. Last night at around 11pm I was born fully formed.

My mother was called Tequila my father’s name was Fatigue. Together they made me. I am Lazy-Man! Beware me! Beware my wrath! Now go! Go before you fall victim of Lazy-Man!!

But-before you go, can you hand me the remote?

*Lazy-Man: trademark & copyright Michael Davis 2012. All Rights Reserved.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: The Debut of Emily S. Whitten

 

Michael Davis: The Greatest Story Never Told, Conclusion

Please read the past three week’s installments before reading this. Thanks!

What has gone before, quick and dirty recap… I’d sold (in my opinion) the second greatest idea in the history of comics to one of the greatest publishers (DC Comics) in the business. It was to be written by one of the greatest writers  (Dwayne McDuffie) with art by a guy (me) who was going to make sure this time he got it right. The editor assigned to it wanted me off the project I created. Dwayne told the editor he would not do the project without me.

I told the editor to kiss my ass (at a bar during the San Diego Comic Con some years after all this went down and after Jenette Kahn had left DC). See previous installments as to why I didn’t tell him to kiss my ass while Jenette was there.

What did the editor say?

Nothing. When’s the last time you’re heard a pussy talk? Me? Last Friday but that was …well … you know…

I took the project to Dark Horse.

Mike Richardson loved it…

Mike Richardson runs what is without a doubt the coolest entertainment company in the world in my opinion. Dark Horse does movies, comics, television, animation, toys, collectables and just about any other cool pop culture stuff you can think of.

Mike is not just the founder, owner and CEO, he is also the driving creative force behind Dark Horse. Having a project at Dark Horse is not just cool, its prestigious as well.

Sin City, Hellboy, The Mask, 300 are among the Dark Horse comic projects that have gone on to be come huge movies and merchandising juggernauts. If any project has a chance of becoming something beyond comics, having Dark Horse as your publisher helps tremendously.

Mike gave me my marching orders, which were to come back with a detailed outline of the story, and I did. I came back over and over for five years.

Yep. Five years.

Or 35 years in the DC editor’s life. Why 35 years? Because he was and still is a little bitch.

But (sorry again, Peter) I digress…

Allow me to make another aside to the young creators out there. I have two mottos that I live by…

There is nothing too good to do for my friends, nothing too bad to do to my enemies.

And…

A deal takes the time that a deal takes.

Just to be clear, Mike Richardson and I did not meet every week or so for five years. We met numerous times to go over the story but there were times when we would meet in April and the next time it would be in May.

May of the next year.

When you are dealing with the head of an A-list entertainment company you have to realize that they have a lot of other stuff to do.  Often Mike would be out of town, way out of town like in Prague filming Hellboy or in Japan working on a toy deal or in San Diego at Comic Con where he stabbed me through my heart…long story.

Before your mind goes to dark places, he stole a toy out from under me at a vendor during Comic Con. That’s how he stabbed me in the heart…and he never called.

So young creator: remember a deal takes the time that it takes. If you think countless phone calls and emails are going to make a difference, you are right.

Countless phone calls and emails will make a difference. The difference it will most likely make is you will phone call and email yourself out of a deal. Nobody likes a pest.

I know that first hand. Ask Halle Berry.

We went back and forth on the story until Mike called me one afternoon and said; “Let’s get rid of the superhero element.”

That’s what Mike had been struggling with during my many revisions to the story.

The story was a superhero story that dealt with a certain time in American history. Mike realized all at once that the history was more important than the superheroes.

This under any other circumstances would have been a deal killer for me. That was not the idea that Keith Giffen said was one of the greatest ideas he had ever seen. This was no longer my dream project.

But…

It was a great project and more importantly it was a story that needed to be told.

Mike was right.

Soon after we had that talk I turned in my new story overview and Mike said “Go do the book.”

That was three years ago.

I’ve been working on that graphic novel for three years. The comic book work I’ve done in the past has been me trying to do comics the way others do comics. I’m not that type of artist and I’m not making that mistake again.  Graphic novels are done in as many styles as there are artists and I’m not taking any chances that I’m not true to how I work and how I work is a bit involved and tedious.

My pen and ink style is a wee bit time consuming.

I’m including examples of the Dark Horse project with this article. Mike Richardson has not even seen this work yet. I’m not showing any story pages, as I’d like to keep the story under wraps for a bit more time.

As I hope you can see from the art, the work is a bit time intensive.  All of the originals are 20 x 30 inches, double or single page spreads.

But just as a deal takes the time that it takes a good artist takes the time that he or she needs to do the work to the best of their abilities.

That being said-my project at Dark Horse has an opened ended deadline, meaning I have the luxury of turning the project in when I want.

I have that luxury.

If any young creator is on a deadline but thinks they can turn in a project whenever they want just so they can get it right that creator at risk of becoming an asshole of the highest order and at a higher risk to be unemployed.

The Dark Horse project should be done this year, and I’m as happy as Mitt Romney’s dog was when he came down off that car roof. It’s a major graphic novel from a major publisher and Mike Richardson is one of the greats to work with not just in comics but the entertainment business.

But, you ask, what about the original earth shattering idea?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Last year at Comic Con I met with the head of another major comic book company who expressed great interest. We met again last November and he was still very interested I was told he would get back to me in two weeks to see rather or not it was a fit within his publishing plan.

Two weeks turned into four months. We met again briefly two months ago and he said he would get back to me shorty.

So far it’s been six months and I’ve heard neither yay nor nay.

That’s really not a big deal. Really it’s not. I’ve been waiting to do this project for over ten years, so six months is nothing. I’m also dealing with the head of the company so he’s got a lot on his plate. I don’t take any of this stuff personally.

Similarly, I’m a busy guy. I’ve writing three books (novels, not comics) and I have another graphic novel project as well as a TV show in development. Moreover I have a couple of other little things I’m doing, so like I said, I’m a busy guy so I was fine with waiting.

I was fine with waiting.

Last week another major player entered the game. They want to do Project X and they want to do it now.

So what do I do? Do I…

A. Pull the project from the publisher who has had it for six months and take it to the new publisher?

B. Do I give the publisher who has it as much time as they want to make a decision?

C. Do I tell the publisher who has the project to shit or get off the pot?

D. Do I not say a word to the publisher who has the project and let them know when the new publisher announces it at the San Diego Comic Con?

Pay attention here, young creators…

A is an asshole move.

B is simply a stupid move with another power player in the game.

If I were the old Michael Davis, it would be D. I’m not that guy anymore.

So that leaves C.

That’s the ticket, boys and girls. I’ve patiently waited six months, Hell, if you think about it I’ve patiently waited more than ten years.

On Monday April 23rd (tomorrow to me, yesterday to you) I’m sending a very nice email to the company that has my project and I’m saying very nicely to them please make a decision.

I know what they are going to do. I’m real good and according to many, I’m scary when it comes to predicting what others will do.

My birthday is a week from the date of this writing. That’s next Sunday, April 29th.

I’m sure I’ll be celebrating Project X and a new deal.

That’s a great gift. In fact it will be a first.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Thinks Up Something Just In The Nick Of Time

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Greatest Story Never Told, Part 3

Portrait of former DC Comics publisher and pre...

Please read the last two week’s installments before reading this. Thanks!

What has gone before, quick and dirty recap… I’d sold (in my opinion) the second greatest idea in the history of comics to one of the greatest publishers in the business. It was to be written by one of the greatest writers (Dwayne McDuffie) with art by a guy (me) who was going to make sure this time he got it right.

All was right in the world. Except for one teensy little problem. The editor assigned to the project wanted to change one thing…

Me.

A few days after Jenette Kahn assigned the editor, Dwayne went to meet with him to map out the production schedule.  I was living in Los Angeles and the meeting was in the New York offices of DC. There really was no reason for me to be there. After the meeting Dwayne would call and fill me in.

I couldn’t wait for that call. In hindsight, yes, yes I could have.

(more…)

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Greatest Story Never Told, Part 2

Please read last week’s installment before reading this. Thanks!

What has gone before – the quick and dirty recap. 1999: I pitched and sold what I consider the greatest idea I’ve ever come up with to DC Comics. Before I pitched the idea I checked with three of the best writers in the industry, Keith Giffen, Lovern Kindzieski and David Quinn. They all thought it was a great idea. Keith Giffen called it one of the greatest ideas he’s ever heard.

After hearing praise from those guys I ran the idea pass Dwayne McDuffie. Dwayne liked the idea so much he said he wanted to write it. It was with that in mind I pitched the idea to Jenette Kahn who was running DC Comics at the time.

Jenette loved idea and said “Let’s do it.”

Jenette Kahn is no longer head of DC. She makes movies now. Big movies. Jenette produced the Clint Eastwood film Gran Torino.

Like I said, big movies.

From the moment I met Jenette, I liked her. I’m glad to say she liked me also. We hit it off right away. We talked about anything and everything. One day, Jenette and I were talking about fine artists and she asked me if I knew the work of William T. Williams. I did. In fact, I knew his work so well Jenette was impressed. I knew more about his work than Jenette and at one point she remarked that I must be a huge fan. “I’d better be.” I told Jenette. He’s my cousin.”

Jenette said she would like to meet him so right then and there I made a call and in a few days Jenette was being given a studio tour by my cousin. In my entire life I’ve only asked my cousin to give two people personal studio tours. Jenette was one of them.

That’s a big deal because my cousin is a huge artist.

How huge?

He’s in the Janson History Of Art, the definitive book on art history.

That’s how huge.

My cousin is my mentor and my surrogate father. He and my mother quite literally saved my life while I was growing up. I’m fiercely protective of my cousin. Every mofo with a serious bank account asks me to hook them up once they find out William T. Williams is my cousin.

Nope.

He’s too important as an artist and as my family for me to make a call on anyone’s behalf just because they can drop a million bucks or more (yes, you read that right) on some art. So I’ve only made that call twice and Jenette was one of them.

I made that call because Jenette is simply a wonderful person and I knew my cousin would enjoy meeting her as much as she would enjoy meeting him.

Some years before that, Jenette and I had talked about me coming to DC as the first black editor. As cool as I thought that was I couldn’t do it. Frankly, I couldn’t afford the pay cut. What I did do was make a list of some people whom I thought would be great choices. Jenette thanked me for thinking of that and actually someone from that list was hired. No, I didn’t get them the job nor do I know if anything I said had anything to do with him getting the job. What mattered to be was DC comics had a black editor.

I tell you the history with Jenette and I because of the importance of what happened to the project I sold to DC. The project I considered the greatest idea I’ve ever had.

Project X was green lit by Jenette and assigned to an editor at DC.

Me not being an idiot, asked Dwayne McDuffie to write it based on my overview and I was to handle the art. Dwayne said yes and I was doubly excited. The editor chosen, loved the idea, and couldn’t wait to do it.

I’d done it.

I’d sold the greatest idea I ever had. This would be an important project, written by an important writer, published by an important publisher with art by an artist with something to prove. I’d had two big projects before this from DC. ETC, the first series ever published by DC’s imprint Piranha Press and Shado, a four issue mini-series written by Mike Grell.

Neither of those projects were my finest hour.

Although, believe it or not I still get fan mail from France on ETC. Two months ago I received an email from a comic club in France asking if I was coming to France in the future. I just so happen to be going to France this September on some business and the club asked if they could take me to dinner and talk to me about ETC.

Damn. The French must do a lot of meth… and coke… together.

Back to Project X.

I was on cloud 9! I was about to begin work on what I still consider the greatest idea in the history of comics! Yes, I’m well aware it’s not the greatest idea in the history of comics but to me it certainly felt that way.

So don’t send me comments about how there is no way I could have come up with the greatest idea in the history of comics. As I said, I know I didn’t.

It’s a close second…

So, let’s recap.

I’d sold the second greatest idea in the history of comics to one of the greatest publishers in the business. It was to be written by one of the greatest writers with art by a guy who was going to make sure this time he got it right.

All was right in the world.

Except for one teensy little problem.

The editor wanted to change one thing…

Me.

End, Part 2.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold On Good Fellowship

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Greatest Story Never Told

I’m convinced that there comes a time in every creator’s career when he or she has that one project that becomes the project. Be they a writer, artist, photographer, director or whatever, there comes a time when said creator realizes without a shadow of a doubt that they have created their baby.

Their triumph. Their masterpiece.

This is the project that they will not compromise on. There will be no quarter given creatively; there will be no major changes to the premise no matter what.

At the many Static Shock pitch meetings at major television networks we were asked if we would consider many changes to the original bible, which I wrote. Some of those changes bothered me, like Static’s mom being killed in a drive-by. How fucking stereotypical was that shit? But as bullshit as I thought that was it wasn’t a deal killer.

At one high level network meeting the question was asked “How about if we make Static…white?”

I said, “How about I bang your wife?”

True story.

OK… almost a true story. I did not actually say the part about his wife. But the network executive did suggest we make Static a white kid, which to me was just as fucked up as me asking to bang his wife. I did think about responding to him with the wife thing but he had a photo of her on his desk and lets just say…ugh.

Many changes were made to the original Static bible. Some I thought were good many I thought sucked. The show was a different story. I thought the show worked on every level regardless of my personal feelings towards the changes to the original bible. Static Shock was handled wonderfully and I have nothing but good things to say about the show.

But Static Shock was not just my baby and I had little to do with the show once it was on the air. But, I do have a baby.

Actually, I have three babies…damn I’ve got the perfect black father joke but I’m going to let it pass… like child support.

My first baby is a project called The Adjuster. I created the Adjuster over ten years ago and twice it came very close to becoming a reality. I refuse to let the Adjuster go just to get it made. Nope. The deal has to be right. The company has to be right.

My second baby is called The Underground. It’s a Dark Horse project and has been for a few years. If by chance Mike Richardson is reading this I will have the book finished this year. It’s a major undertaking and I’m as anal as I am black so it’s been a labor of love and frustration for the last couple of years. But, Mike, to be fair, you took a while approving the story…and I’m still traumatized by the Comic Con incident. You know the one…

Those are my babies and I’m blessed to have the Dark Horse deal and excited about the future of The Adjuster but there is one project which I consider my masterpiece.  I won’t mention the title as it’s currently being considered at a major publisher but I will share with you its journey that is a festinating one. I’ll call it Project X.

In 1998 I had a vision of what I thought was the greatest idea I’ve ever had. The idea was so good it scared me. It scared me because those types of “great ideas” usually suck. It’s never a good idea to think that your idea is a great one.

People lie and the one person people lie to the most are themselves. You may not think it’s lying when you convince yourself that something is a good idea but if you have to convince yourself then to me that’s a lie. But this idea was such a good idea and I was convinced it was great. So, clearly I was lying to myself.

Clearly.

Or was I?

I decided to ask three of the best writers in the industry if they thought it was a good idea. I asked Keith Giffen, Lovern Kindzieski and David Quinn.

They all said it was a great idea. Not a good idea, a great idea. Keith Giffen called it one of the greatest ideas he’s ever heard.

That’s Keith Giffen who said that.

Keith Giffen.

THE Keith Giffen.

After telling those three guys, I ran it past Dwayne McDuffie. He said it was such a good idea he wanted to write it. Not bad eh?

So, with all that love from four of the best in the biz I decided to pitch the idea to DC Comics and I did.  And…I sold the idea.

In 1999 I pitched and sold the idea to DC Comics.

Then things got a bit crazy. Nope, a lot crazy.

End, Part 1!

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Outs Critics

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: Game Change

I’ve seen the light.

I’ve seen the future of comics.

I had a meeting yesterday with a company that is going to change the game on the net and can change for comics and creators. I’ve haven’t been this excited since I was 17 and my very first real girlfriend Yvonne Stallworth said, “My parents won’t be home until the morning.”

At 17you know what that means, right fellas?

Poon tang…yeah.

Or in my case spending the night saying; “Please…please…please.”  Before you think I was begging for poon tang; “Please, Please, Please” is the title of a James Brown song I was singing… as I was begging for poon tang.

I can’t talk about the company or what they are doing…no that’s not true, I can talk about it but I’m hedging my bets just in case I’m wrong…which, by the way, I’m not.

That way if they crash and burn I’m protected and if they succeed I’m golden!

All the above said, I’m at a lost as to what was the last game changing moment in comics.

I guess it was the New 52 from DC.

I guess.

I’m not sure because to say something is a game changer is a big deal. Because it’s such a big deal I started thinking, what does it take to be a real game changer?

This is what I came up with. Areal game changer is a person or event that creates a new way of looking at things and years later that way has become the way.

So, with my personal criteria noted what follows are what I consider the most important game change decisions or people who have done so since I’ve been reading comics. You may disagree and if so feel free to amend, add or challenge some or all of my choices.

This list is in NO particular order.

  • Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man
  • Image Comics
  • Jack Kirby
  • Stan Lee
  • Dwayne McDuffie
  • First Comics
  • Mike Gold
  • Milestone Media
  • Death of Captain Marvel
  • Death of Superman
  • The New 52
  • The iPad
  • The Killing Joke
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths
  • Secret Wars
  • Death of Barry Allen
  • Neil Gaiman’s Sandman
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Kirby’s fourth world
  • Death of Gwen Stacy
  • Dave McKean
  • Bill Sienkiewicz
  • San Diego Comic Con International
  • Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles
  • Alan Speiegal
  • Arkham Asylum
  • Paul Levitz
  • Jenette Kahn
  • Axel Alonzo
  • Howard Chaykin
  • Dark Horse
  • Mike Richardson
  • Len Wein
  • Marv Wolfman
  • The A.P.E convention
  • John Jennings

Like I said the above list is in no particular order. Don’t send me comments about McFarlane being before Stan Lee, the list is in no particular order.

Duh.

Now. Have at it!

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: Paige

A few weeks ago my dear friend Lisha invited me to a dinner party.

I hate dinner parties.

I especially hate those where I don’t know the majority of people at the table. I hate them with a passion. I’d rather sit at home alone with a bowl of Frosted Flakes watching movies than attend 99.9% of the dinner parties I’ve been invited to.

I don’t care if they are serving my three favorite foods in the world, steak, lobster or bacon.

I’d do anything for bacon, but as Meat Loaf says “I won’t do that.”

At most dinner parties it’s always the same kind of people. Boring. Boring people.

I just cannot abide people sitting around a table getting drunk and talking smack about things I just could give two cents about. I always end up in a debate with someone over something and the person who invited me in the first place always ends up apologizing for me pimp slapping someone verbally.

Case in point: the last dinner party I attended was around four years ago. If that seems like a long time it is, now consider this, I’m invited to a dinner party at least at the very least 5-10 times a month. That’s a lot of dinner parties, is to not?

The previous dinner party I went to I got into it with a woman on, of all things, being black. She thought I didn’t know how to be black.

She was a white wasp in her mid-fifties and she just could not understand why I was not supporting Obama. This was during the Democratic primary season and at the time I was a Hillary supporter. This woman could not imagine a black person who was not prepared to vote for Obama. I tried to explain to her that I supported Hillary because I thought she was a better candidate and I just wasn’t prepared to vote for Obama just because he was black.

She didn’t get it. She refused to get it. After a good 20 minutes of her telling me how ignorant I was I had had enough so I went… here… “Voting for Obama just because he’s black would be like marrying a women just because she’s a Ugly Bitch. It makes no sense to me, but clearly it made sense to your husband.”

Like I said. I went there.

She went away.

That sort of things always happens to me at dinner parties, so I simply do not go.

This occasion, I did go. I went because lovely Lisha invited me. Truth be told, I trust Lisha like I trust few people. I figured if the people there were Lisha’s friends I was in good hands…and there might be bacon!

The party started at 7:30 pm and I didn’t get to the house until 8:30. I had a few challenges finding the home and more than once I considered just going home. Home to my Frosted Flakes, movies… and bacon.

Right when I decided to go home I found the residence (guided by Lisha’s phone call) so I walked in to the Lion’s Den trusting that Lisha had not put me in the middle of a Herman Cain rally.

Guess what?

Everyone in the party was ultra cool. Well except for this one black guy who kept eyeing me… (It’s a Black Man thing; you wouldn’t understand) but discounting him these were all great people.

At the party I noticed a young lady who was breathtakingly beautiful. I mean she was stunning. She also had a great smile and there was an empty seat next to her so

I ended up sitting next to her… what???

Her name was Paige, she was beautiful, smart and she was also something that almost knocked me off my feet…

She was 14.

I was amazed that she was 14, not because she was attractive but because she was so well spoken and she was smart. I’m talking real smart.  Paige was sitting next to a woman whom at first I thought was her sister but turned out to be her mom. I knew it was her mom not because I was told but because she was giving me the “I’ve killed before and I’ll kill again” look only a mom can give when defending their children.

Paige, her mom and I hit it off pretty well mostly because they both have a sense of humor and, as most people know, I’m a funny guy.

Now here’s the kicker… Paige is not just pretty, smart and mature. She’s… wait for it… wait for it… an artist.

She’s a fantastic artist. She showed me some of her work and again, the level of sophistication to what she was showing me was wonderfully beyond her years.

Paige and I spent most of the party talking about art. She loves to draw and is going to a prestigious high school for the arts.

Paige wants to be an interior designer.

That’s a problem.

Don’t misunderstand me, Paige would be an incredible interior designer, in fact she already is. Her mom told me Paige designed their home and it looks fabulous.

The problem is I want Paige in the comic and related industries and I’m trying to figure out a way to get her interested in such. Not too long ago I wrote an article about what it takes to make it in this industry. Paige at 14 has everything I was talking about.

Did you hear me, industry? She’s 14 and more professional than some artists I’ve met who are twice her age. We need people like Paige in the industry; we want people like Paige in the industry.

Over the weekend I attended Wonder Con and caught up with my dear friend Barbara Randall Kesel. She was sitting with a few other women artists signing this incredible book from IDW called Womanthology / Heroic.

It’s a hard cover anthology featuring women artist. I brought two, one for myself and one for my girl Tatiana. The book is simply wonderful. I need to buy another one because even though the artist signed my book to me, I’m giving my copy to Paige.

If anything can cause her to take a look at comics as a career it’s this book!

Paige is going to be my guest at Comic Con. I’ll take the time to introduce her to the playa’s in the industry and hopefully she will take an interest. Who knows maybe she will decide to be a comic book creator and an interior designer? I’m sure she could do both-she’s that talented.

No idea if Paige will see this as I’m sending it to her mom first to make sure it’s OK. If you are seeing this, Paige, I hope you consider becoming a creator in an industry that is great and can use new blood like you.

If not-I want my book back and I’m spreading a rumor on Facebook that you have been in and out of jail since you were three.

Your move young lady, your move.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: It Will Never Happen

I am the proud owner of two, that’s right two original pieces of Moebius art.

It’s a big deal and it’s not a big deal. It’s a big deal because Moebius is one of the greatest artists ever. Period.

It’s not a big deal because hundreds, maybe even thousands, have an original piece of Moebius art.

That’s because he gave them away.

At comic conventions he would sit and do free sketches for people. So there is a multitude of people who all have original Moebius art.

Think about that for a second. Moebius one of the greatest artist ever, gave away sketches for free. And he did the drawings just for you.

That boggled my mind then and it boggles my mind now.

I was fan from the second I saw his work in Heavy Metal magazine way back when. Huge fan.

I had – and still have – a Moebius pen and ink style. I also give away free art at conventions, because no one would pay me, and I do those drawings in a Moebius pen and ink style.

When asked (rare as it may be) to do a drawing I still do them for free and, yes, if you catch me somewhere and I have a moment and you would like a Michael Davis drawing I will be happy to do one for you. But…

I only draw one thing… a drunken fat Batman. Long story and I will share… but not now. Now, I must digress for a moment before retuning to Moebius.

Many (I’d say most) of you just know me from my weekly rants here at ComicMix or for my f-word laced rants on my site. I’ve had a weird career in comics. That’s also a story for another time but take my word for it most of the stuff I’ve done has been behind the scenes.

I make deals. That’s what I do. That’s yet another story for another time but that’s pretty much my career in comics I’m a deal maker and I’m talking big deals also.

I’m real good at deal making, Hell I’m the freakin’ best at it if you ask me. I’m not bragging. It’s not bragging if you can do it.

I can do it.

I’m co-founder of Milestone Media and once during one of our San Diego convention trips in the mid 90s my three partners, the late Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle and I, were manning the Milestone booth in shifts.

On this day, during my brake from the Milestone booth I stood on a very long line to get my second Moebius drawing. The day before I stood on line during my break for the first. When I got back to the booth I proudly showed off my new Moebius drawing.

Denys looked at it like he was going to punch me and take it. Dwayne was just as impressed, I think Derek was scaring some kid away. How? Derek took his role as President of Milestone Media very seriously. He wore tailored suits everywhere, even comic conventions. He looked like a Fed and that scares people. Really, it does.

While we were looking at the drawing Denys and I started taking about Moebius and just how cool it would be to get him to do some Milestone covers…

“That will never happen.” Dwayne said in that Dwayne is always right tone of voice, because, well, he was always right.

“Why not?” I asked. “He’s one of the biggest artists in the industry, one of the biggest artist in the world. He’s swamped and impossible to get to.” Dwayne retorted.

“I got to him twice, today and yesterday.” I dead paned.

We all laughed at that and after that moment passed I told Dwayne I was going to ask Moebius. He said, and I’ll never forget it, “If you can get him then I’ll believe the hype.”

I got him.

Moebius did four covers for us and we then turned those covers into posters.

It was quite a coup for Milestone and me.

Moebius passed away Saturday and it really messed me up for most of the day. I not only admired his work I was a fan of the way he lived his life. Never a bad word about anyone or anything, always took the time to talk (and draw!) to his fans. He was just a wonderful man.

All these years I thought the reason Moebius did those covers was because I was such a hot shot dealmaker.

Nope.

He did those covers because he was the real deal just a wonderful, wonderful, person.

He didn’t see Michael Davis, fast talking dealmaker. No, Moebius saw a fan that stood in two very long lines twice to get those drawing. He did those covers for the fan boy who really loved his work not the executive from Milestone.

That realization came to me like a brick to my forehead this morning when I heard the news. I’m now certain the answer would have been “no” if he didn’t know I was such a fan. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do.

Nevertheless, I did get a coup. Four coups, actually.

I have two Moebius drawings, I spent some time with him and he drew characters I co-created.

Not bad for a fanboy eh?

Rest in peace, dear Moebius, you were one of the greats, as an artist and as a man.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Weighs In

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: African-Americans in Comics Exhibit

I’m looking for a few good artists.

In February 2013, I will have the honor of curating a galley show called Milestones: African Americans in Comics. Pop Culture and Beyond. The show will held at the Geppi Entertainment Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

It’s  my goal to make this the most comprehensive showing of black comic and related content ever assembled.

The Geppi Museum is nothing short of fantastic and as mentioned I am indeed honored to be creating this show for them. The best of the best will be showcased… but that’s not what I’m writing about today. Today I’m looking for a few good artists.

A few good new artists.

Soon the process will begin to select the professional artists for the show. Some will be invited others will be asked to submit work for jury selection. Consider this my ComicMix reader jump start for any new artist out there who may want to submit work for the show before the official call for entries.

I want to showcase new creators who may not be published yet. The show will have a worldwide audience as it will be up for a year and the press coverage will be massive. The opening of the show will surely attract comics elite and powerful and will be a grand way for a new artist to have his or her work showcased.

The show is not just open to black creators. It’s a show about African-American impact in pop culture. I’m open to any art that features or has been influenced by the African-American experience.

To put it another way, the Black Panther was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.

‘Nuff said.

I’m looking for creativity, excellence and above all voices with something to say.

In the months ahead, the Geppi Museum will be releasing information on submissions and updates on the show as it progressives.

If you can, try and see the show while it’s up. There will be punch and pie.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold 

MICHAEL DAVIS: Get a Clue

I don’t get it.

The San Diego Comic Con is a yearly event.

Every year for almost 20 years (since I was 5, Jean) like clockwork I give a party at Comic Con.

Every year like clockwork I host a dinner at Comic Con.

Every year like clockwork I host The Black Panel at Comic Con.

Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for an invite to my party.

Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for an invite to my dinner.

Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for me to put them on The Black Panel.

Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for me to get them a hotel room or a pass to Comic Con.

Comic Con is in July. It’s only February. The requests don’t usually start until a couple of weeks before Comic Con so I’m a few months ahead of the game.

Well, this year I’m nipping all that bullshit in the bud.

No.

The answer is no.

No.

No. No. No.

NONONONONONONON0NONONONNONONONO.

Hell, no.

No, if I don’t know you, you cannot come to my party or my dinner and you certainty cannot not be on the Black Panel.

Regarding the party and dinner, I don’t care who told you they could get you in. You can’t.

They lied.

Let me explain something to those who are among the many who ask of me the above. Like I said in last week’s article, the Comic book industry is a business. It’s part of the entertainment business. Comic Con is not a place where those who are serious about business come just to hang out.

Comic Con is where deals get done, relationships are cemented, partnerships are explored, opportunities are exploited and money is made.

When you operate at a certain level Comic Con is not a place where you hang out with friends and look for that copy of Spider-Man you had as a kid.

No, Comic Con is a place where you come to solidify and grow your business.

So, no, you cannot come to my annual party, person I don’t know, because it’s business.

Do you think the club my party is at is free?

No, no it’s not. So why, person I don’t know, should I grant you admittance when you don’t even know what I do? What possible reason is there for me to do that?

Do you think the dinner I have is free?

No, it’s not. That dinner costs thousands of freakin’ dollars.

Do you think that the ash can book you drew makes you worthy to sit on The Black Panel?

Really?

Go to www.theblackpanel.com and check out the alumni. Once you do, ask yourself if you really think you belong in that group.

I’ll help you out with that one, no.

Like I said last week, comics are a business. Yes, I have fun at Comic Con. That fun is usually at around midnight while sitting at the bar at the top of the Hyatt with 30 or so other hard working comic professionals getting blazed on shots of tequila.

But before I can have that fun I have to spend months setting up the party, the dinner and the panel and that is not fun.

That’s business.

So the answer is no.

However, if Mark Turner (Yes you, Mark) is at Comic Con this year he is invited to anything I’m doing because he gets it.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Stays Put