Author: Michael Davis

MICHAEL DAVIS: Fade To Black

MICHAEL DAVIS: Fade To Black

I fully realized that the article I wrote last week was at some times petty and juvenile. I was furious and I forgot that the best way to make a point is a well thought out lucid argument. At one time I may have suggested some people in the Genarlow Wilson case were racist and because of that I wrote that “white women love me.” This was simply not right.

I was wrong and I apologize. In my attempt to strike a nerve with the people in the case I lashed out but I was totally wrong to say that. I was wrong and I hope that those people I lashed out at will forgive me.

The fact of the matter is white women don’t love me…they REALLY love me!

Dudes! I can’t keep them off of me! I’m thinking of changing my name to Mandingo (they love that) and seeing if there’s any money in this!

Yeah, I’m still a wee bit bitter over the whole Genarlow Wilson and Paris Hilton thing. To all my friends’ black and white, all jokes aside I’m just trying to get those morons in Georgia to lose some sleep at night. That way they can share in a little of what Genarlow Wilson is enduring.

I was going to write this particular column last week but I got caught up in the Genarlow Wilson and Paris Hilton debacle so here it is a week later and I hope it’s still relevant.

By now we have all seen or heard about The Sopranos series ending show. The vast majority of the world hated that ending. Me? I thought it was a cop-out UNLESS they are planning a movie. Then I get it. If they are not planning a movie then HBO should change its name to simply B.O., because that ending stunk.

HBO is a funny little network. No one doubts that they do GREAT TV. In fact The Sopranos would not (could not) have been done on any other network. If the show were picked up by ABC then Tony Soprano would have been played by Tony Danza or some such actor. It was The Sopranos that really lit the fire under the rest of the TV world. I remember NBC did a Soprano rip. It was called Kingpin. Everybody in that show looked like supermodels. Even the hit men were wearing Hugo Boss suits. That show went bye bye faster than Barry Allen. Why? Because as I have said a million times: Americans are not the idiots some TV executives think.

Rather or not you like the ending or not it sure did make an impact, this morning I watched a Hillary Clinton parody of the ending on the Today show.

Wait a moment.

Did I just say that Hillary Clinton, the front-runner in the race for President did a Sopranos parody? Love or hate the ending (or love or hate Hillary) you have to respect the power of a television program that can do that. As I said in my very first column my readers would always know where I stand so let me be clear: I hated the ending but I love Hillary. Why do I love Hillary? Well if we elect her we get Bill as a bonus! Why did I hate the Sopranos ending? Because unless there is going to be a Sopranos movie then that was not an ending. It was a big slap in the face of America by a great producer who wants to be considered an artist.

For the most part television is not an art form. It is an entertainment medium. Yes there is great TV and yes there can be some shows, movies etc. that can be considered artistic but TV is not an art form.

Art by definition is an individual who creates something for no other reason except to see it created. They do it because they have a desire to share their vision with the world. Anytime someone pays you to create a product where the sole purpose is to garner ratings, that is not an art.

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MICHAEL DAVIS: My Fair Lady

MICHAEL DAVIS: My Fair Lady

What the flying FISH is wrong with this country? Some ass wipe D.A in Georgia put a black teenager named Genarlow Wilson in prison for ten years. This kid did not kill anybody or rob anybody nor did he rape anybody. He did what teenagers have been doing since caveman days; he had consensual relations with another teenager. So this A-student star athlete was sentenced to jail for 10 years.

10 years?? An A student? Star athlete? Never in any trouble, his whole life in front of him. So he and another teenager do something a zillion other teenagers do and he gets 10 years in prison????

What the Hell is wrong with this country? Or is it just some idiot racist D.A. using his power to kill some kids dream and life. No. I don’t think you should “do it” when you are kids. But they were kids – that what kids do!! Did he rob some body? Did he kill somebody? Did he rape somebody?

NO!

He had consensual relations with another teenager. Oh by the way it was not the “act” that they did. No, they fooled around but did not do the ‘”act.”

Wrong? Yes. Is this what teenagers’ do? Yes.

Hey, judge and D.A of this Georgia case. Could you not give the kid community service, or 30 days or something that reflected the fact that this kid (these kids) were just being kids? No. You and your self-important moral ideals had to teach an A student a lesson by putting him in jail for 10 years. Why did you prosecute him in the first place? Had a bad day? This payback for O.J?  Nothing on TV that day? Had a fight with the wife? Had a fight with your sister? By the way, I hear that may be one fight, you backwoods moron.

What does putting a teenager in jail for being a teenager accomplish? What? Who are you sending a message to? And what is your message? Could your message be “We are just really stupid and are still pissed that we lost the Civil War?” Is that the message?

If by some miracle when you were a teenager you had a girlfriend and you guys got a little freaky, do you think you should have gone to jail?

What crime are you punishing? What evil have you stopped? You have stopped a young bright kid from living his dream. You have stopped a young bright kid from becoming a useful part of society. Instead you have put him in jail where he will learn a helpful lesson. That lesson is that justice is NOT colorblind and you the judge and the jury have used your power to ruin a good life.

I ask you again, what does putting that kid in jail accomplish?

What? What? WHAT?

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MICHAEL DAVIS: Bad Boys For Life

MICHAEL DAVIS: Bad Boys For Life

I was talking to Kevin McCarthy a day or so ago about writing another book for me at The Guardian Line. He’s doing a fantastic job on The Seekers and has done great work for most of the major publishers in comics for a while now. If you don’t know Kevin’s work, you should. He is without a doubt one of the most talented and original people working in comics today. He is a GREAT writer and just as talented as an artist. In fact I would say that Kevin is on the leading crest of creators today.

While talking to him I realized that one of the things I don’t do enough of is talk to creators about the process. I miss the days when I could just sit down and make up a universe or develop a story line. I spend more time dealing with the “deals” in comics and television than I do actually working on the “idea.”

That sucks.

The single greatest thing about working in any creative field is the creative process itself. To sit in a room and just make things up is so unbelievable cool that words fail to describe the feeling when things are just right. Talking to Kevin made me wish for the days when I could just sit down and write a story. This got me thinking about just how long I have known Kevin and how we met. We met because someone introduced me to him and he became part of my life and I his as a mentor.

Late last week I sat down with Marv Wolfman and Len Wein to talk about a business deal. Sitting with us was a young lady who was taking notes. I am a mentor to this person. She asked some really great questions and had some real cool insights. Marv, Len and I were happy to have her there but she was ecstatic about sitting with legends…and with me. Truth be told, at that time during that meeting we were all her mentors and she appreciated our knowledge and was humbled in our presence. OK, she was humbled in Marv and Len’s presence and I just happened to be there…it was my house.

This young lady will soon turn the world of comics and illustration on its ear with her original take on the medium. Like Kevin McCarthy she is a fresh face with fresh ideas that our industry needs. It’s amazing to think that Marv and Len have created some of the biggest icons on the planet between them and they still take the time to share that knowledge with younger people.

Over the years I have seen these guys take the time to talk to many young people about the industry. I have watched time and time again how their information lit up the faces of those they were talking to. I’ve been around a bit but there are some people I still consider mentors: Paul Levitz, Mike Richardson, Mike Gold and Jim Shooter to name a few.

Each of those guys has taken me aside on more than one occasion and shared their valuable insight with me. I remember one Comic Con years ago I was standing with Paul Levitz in a hotel bar when a young colorist confronted me. He told me that I was an idiot for letting a writer go on a project and that I was using his (the colorist) name to promote myself. He said some other things that were just as bad. I was about to respond like he was a Crip and I was a Blood when Paul placed his hand on my shoulder and quietly shook his head “no.” When the colorist walked away (like the little bitch he was, yes I’m still pissed) Paul said to me, “It comes with the job, Michael. The bigger you are the bigger the target on your back becomes.” He was so right.

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MICHAEL DAVIS: Game Over

MICHAEL DAVIS: Game Over

I have the greatest respect for the Sony company, but I have major issues with the way they handled the PS3 launch. So, to my friends at Sony: I still feel you are one of the greatest companies on the planet and it’s because of that I write this.

You should have known better…

Not so long ago in a galaxy real real close there was a giant named Nintendo. They were the undisputed champions of the video game world. They ruled the gaming world with their Mario Brothers Franchise and related games. So successful was Nintendo that the words Super Nintendo and Mario Brothers became part of the American lexicon.

So, there they sat secure in the knowledge that most of the market share for video games was theirs. One day a little guy named Sony showed up. Sony was known for televisions and stereos, not video games. So when they showed up with a new platform – the disc format – Nintendo, as they say in the hood, could give a (insert bad word).

No, Nintendo just sat idle while this “Play Station” chipped away at the big giant’s castle. Years before Sony had learned a bit about under estimating the competition. Back in the 70s they developed a video device called Betamax. It was the first affordable home video recorder. Well a year later other companies developed a VHS format and said to Sony,  “Hey Sony, share your Beta format with us and we will hook you up with our VHS format.” Sony, as they say in the hood said “You can kiss our (insert bad word here).

Well, the rest of the industry went about their business and developed VHS leaving Sony holding the video format that America did not want. So you would think they would have learned their lesson.

You would think.

Anyway, as I was saying, Nintendo was so secure in their complete dominion of the video game market that they paid no mind to the little disc driven Play Station. Nintendo could have paid a little more attention to the disc format, but no!! They figured that the entire world would stay with them. They could have met the challenge head on developing a disc system of their own, but NOOOOO the world would stay with them they were *NINTENDO!

* Note: Please feel free to add your own ominous sound track whenever you see NINTENDO!

They were the leaders were they not?  No one could catch them they were NINTENDO! They were so sure that their brand was so strong that they ignored the up start Play Station. Well it was soon evident that Play Station was the coolest thing on the planet.

And Nintendo heard what they thought they never would.

Game Over.

You would have thought that Nintendo would have quickly learned their lesson and converted to a disc system at the moment when Play Station kicked their ass.

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MICHAEL DAVIS: I’m with the band… not.

MICHAEL DAVIS: I’m with the band… not.

I am a huge believer in personal choice. I think that you should be allowed to make up your mind freely on all matters. If you don’t like something you have every right to say so. If you do like something then you have the right to say that also. You don’t have to believe what I believe and vice versa.

For the most part I’m a liberal.  Well I’m a liberal except when it comes to violent crime, then I’m so conservative it hurts. Get it? Violent crime? Hurts?

No?

I firmly believe that if you commit a violent crime you should rot in jail or rot in Hell. If it were up to me, first you would rot in jail, then you would rot in Hell. But hey, that’s my belief. You can believe in rehabilitation if you want to, but let me see you hire that convicted murderer when he gets out of jail. Me? Oh hell no. Now that I think of it, I’m very conservative on many things. The reason I have not joined the conservative ranks fully is because they tend to want to tell you what to think. Usually it’s under some "moral" banner. They also throw God in the mix a lot.

Funny, as much as they bring up God, they never bring up "free will." That seems to never make the moral argument. Also, some seem to think that their God is the God. That’s OK but why can’t I believe that my God is the true God without them calling me wrong or wanting to change my mind? Failing both, some conservatives would want me to simply disappear.

I think that whatever you believe is your right and if I disagree that’s all it is, a disagreement. We don’t have to go to war as some countries do. I think that disagreeing on faith to the point of war is the single stupidest thing on the planet. I frankly don’t believe that Allah has a problem with Jehovah.

So I hope it’s clear from my too long intro that I believe people should think for themselves. So, why don’t they?

I go to this great Karaoke bar in L.A. The KJ (that’s the host) loves Elvis so someone in my Karaoke group suggested that we do an Elvis night for his birthday. The sheer venom that rocketed across the insuring emails made it look like Elvis took part in 9/11. This from a group of people I love hanging out with. These are good people. Every year I get invited to great New Years Eve Parties given by A-list celebrities. I prefer to be at this Karaoke bar because the people are just really cool.

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MICHAEL DAVIS: Ask Michael! Because I know.

MICHAEL DAVIS: Ask Michael! Because I know.

Last week’s article on privilege and other ranting produced quite a few responses – so many, in fact, I feel it’s my duty to respond and elaborate on my views. So with that in mind, welcome to the first installment of Ask Michael! Because I know. 

The "What about me? What about my needs?" article garnered these important comments.

Terry at 7:58 AM on Fri May 11, 2007 writes:

“I hate that show more than slavery,” is the best sentence I will read this month.

Yes Terry, yes it is.

But let’s look deeper; let’s look to why? Do I really hate the show Sweet 16 more than slavery? Well, if given the choice to be a slave or to watch that show, it would be a tough decision but I will most likely have to go with watching that show. Yeah I think by a 51 to 49 vote I would have to go with the show. Unless we are talking about a MTV Marathon. Then it’s “take me to the cotton fields, because a marathon would be worst than Adam West thinking he can still play Bat-man.” Yes, that show is that horrible.

Mike Baron at 8:11 AM on Fri May 11, 2007 writes:

Ditto.

"Ditto?" This from one of the greatest writers in the history of comics? Ditto? Well, Let’s look deeper; let’s look to why. Maybe, Mike, you are realizing that the world is an eternal flame of duplication where nothing is left to say. With a simple Ditto. You can say to the world “There’s no originality left. Woe is me.” Or maybe you just agreed with Terry. Both would be right.

Rob at 9:22 AM on Fri May 11, 2007 writes:

Hey Michael!
I am new to this site. I thoroughly enjoyed your column and look forward to many more. I agree with you on Paris. The letter for leniency to the governor, made it seem like she thought she had been given a death sentence. Perhaps she should read up on people who spent time in prisons for things they were later exonerated for (then maybe doing time for something she did would make sense).

Yes, Rob. But Let’s look deeper; let’s look to why. You did enjoy my column and I will write many more. You know why you enjoyed my column? You know why you are looking forward to many more? Because you are a smart guy, Rob! I like you, Rob. Not in a Brokeback way but in a kind of “Hey that Rob is a smart guy who knows a good writer when he sees one” way.

Josh at 5:23 PM on Fri May 11, 2007 writes:

Agreed. 
The degrees of elitism and entitlement you see around these days is nothing short of disgusting. I’m really hoping the judge reneges on giving her a more private cell for her own security. Let her get some common sense the old-fashioned way – by having it beaten into her. And seeing some rich, white, no-sense punk get smacked feels great; DOING the smacking feels SOOOOO much better.

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MICHAEL DAVIS: What about me? What about my needs?

MICHAEL DAVIS: What about me? What about my needs?

I have no idea what this piece will be about. I really don’t. I’m sitting in a Chicago airport waiting to get a plane back to L.A. and my mind is a complete blank. I sent my last Straight No Chaser in last night (Wednesday) and I am determined to get a jump on my next one. The problem is I usually wait until something bugs me or interests me before I start my weekly rant. I would call this another random thought article but I have no thoughts random or otherwise.

Let’s see, lets see. Well I got another angry email. This one was about what I said about how my dogs are pets and not a member of my family. People are really passionate about their dogs, eh?

 

There is a TV show called Me or the Dog. I think it’s on Animal Planet. This show is about how dogs run the lives of people. There was a woman on one of these shows who actually said she preferred her dogs to her husband and son. She said if given a choice between her family and the dogs she would put the family out of the home before the dogs. I think she thinks she’s a dog. Well if she thinks she’s a dog then I will address this in a way she would understand.

That bitch is crazy.

Ah, I have found my rant for this week… ranting!! One of my absolute favorite TV shows is Cheaters. I love that show! Every week the show exposes someone who is cheating on his or her partner. Here’s what I don’t understand: when you find out your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, sheep etc. is cheating on you, why are you mad at the person they were cheating with? Shouldn’t you be mad at the person who cheated on you? Being mad at the other party is like being mad at the mailman for bringing you your phone bill.

Well, mark my words someday Joey (the host) is going to put that camera in the wrong person’s face and BLAM! Can you imagine what will happen if they run up against that guy or girl?

Fade in: The Cheaters crew prepares to jump out of their band. Joey turns to the client, Lewannabe.

Joey: Would you like a chance to confront Ray Ray?

Lewannabe: No, you go ahead Joey. I’m not crazy.

Joey jumps out of the van with his crew and confronts Ray Ray.

Joey: Ray Ray, I’m Joey Greco from Cheaters. Do you want to explain why you are cheating on your wife Lewannabe?

Ray Ray: I’m not.

Joey; We have you on tape.

Ray Ray: That’s not me.

Joey: Really, well let’s just look at the tape.

Ray Ray on tape: I like cheating on my wife, my name is Ray Ray.

Joey: Still say that’s not you?

Ray Ray: That’s not me; it’s my twin brother.

Ray Ray on tape: If Cheaters ever shows up I will say it’s my twin brother and not me.

Ray Ray has produced a handgun and is pointing it at Joey’s face.

Joey: You know that does not look like you at all Ray Ray. What were we thinking?

Joey: (Yelling) Lewannabe! Why did you waste our time??

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MICHAEL DAVIS: The Boulevard Of Burning Bridges

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Boulevard Of Burning Bridges

I’m about to put together a major deal with a powerhouse entertainment company. I’m putting a group of people into that deal and I have a bit of a problem. I know this guy who is MAD talented. He’s a superstar professional and I have known him for years. Bringing him into this deal would help him get to the next level in his career. It would be great for me also but I’m thinking… is he too much trouble?

I have a pretty good idea what most people think of me. I have a reputation of being brilliant or lucky. People are always amazed at what I manage to get myself into. Some people love me, some people hate me. I once cared about what people think about me, now I just don’t. Why people, why any person would spend his or her time thinking about someone else’s demise is beyond me. You know what I think of those people who wish me ill?

I don’t think of them. It’s too much trouble.

For my entire career I have said that DC Comics does the best books in the industry. Mike Richardson would disagree with me and Dark Horse has done fantastic books but I just think that DC does the best books. I am and will always be a part of DC’s history. Milestone, Static Shock and being the illustrator on the first ever project from Piranha Press makes me part of their history.

I will most likely never work with DC again.

Not because I don’t want to, but because they see me as too much trouble.

I’m lucky enough – no that’s not right; I’m good enough not to have to work with DC. I have put together some major deals that have to be respected regardless if you like me or not. I think my résumé should count for something at DC. It doesn’t. Would I work with DC if a deal made sense? Yes. Would they work with me? Most likely not. Why? Long story, not important – let’s just say that we agree to disagree. Just so we are clear – I have a great deal of respect for DC Comics and their chief Paul Levitz. And here’s the thing about Paul you never hear if you disagree with him he’s man enough to listen even if he thinks you are wrong. I think Paul will go down in comics’ history as a great man.

For whatever reason, DC Comics thinks I’m too much trouble and they have every right to run their business without me and I respect that. I think it would be too much trouble to try and convince them to be in business with me. So we won’t work together. That’s cool – as I said I’m good enough with what I do to not need DC comics. I could be wrong about why we won’t work together but with all due respect to the powers that be at DC they could be wrong also. So I will most likely just have to enjoy what I consider the best books in the comics industry from the cheap seats. They on the other hand will not have the benefit of my ability to do what I do. I’m not vain enough to think they need me.

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MICHAEL DAVIS: You’ve got a friend in me… a comic book story

MICHAEL DAVIS: You’ve got a friend in me… a comic book story

For most people, comics are a small part of their lives. By that I mean if your comic book collection and your girlfriend were hanging by a cliff and you could only save one your choice would be simple.

Your choice would be simple, right? If not then you should really seek some professional help.

As much as I love comics I have never thought that comics would affect my life in any significant personal way. By personal I mean that outside of my love for the medium and income from the business, comics would not play a major role in my life. I have always thought that comics were an important but small part of my life.

Boy, was I wrong. Sometimes it’s the small things that lead to the big things.

My birthday is Sunday and I have been thinking about my life and my friends lately. Everybody in the comic book industry who knows me knows that Denys Cowan is my best friend. I don’t have a lot of friends (insert your joke here) but those friends I do have are great people. I know I’m a bit hard to get to know-truth be told people meet me and they either love me or (insert your next joke here) hate me.

Of those friends I consider among my best friends: Mike Stradford, Lovern Kindzierski, Roger Klohr, Jason Clark, Ehrich Van Lowe, Lee Speller, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, David Quinn and Denys. Of those guys Denys has been around the longest except for Lee, and we go back to Junior High. I would take a bullet for every one of those guys. That said, Denys and I grew up and went to school together – even if we did not know it.

So how do you grow up together and not know it? Here’s how. I grew up in Queens, New York: Jamaica, Queens then Rockaway, Queens then back to Jamaica, Queens. In all the years I lived in Jamaica, Denys literately lived around the corner from me and we NEVER met.

That’s nothing special until you consider that we went to the same specialized high school, The High School Of Art & Design in Manhattan and we still never met.

Consider this: Denys and I lived around the corner from each other, we rode the same bus, from the same bus stop took the same subway train from the same subway station everyday. We then had to walk the same blocks to the same school in Manhattan. We did this for years and never met. What are the odds?

How did we meet? Why did we meet?

Comics.

We literally met at Marvel Comics years after high school because a mutual friend of ours thought that two black guys working (or in my case trying to work) in comics should know each other. We both resisted that meeting but our friend Darlene was smarter than both of us and arranged it. She asked me to have dinner with her one day and told me to meet her at Marvel where she was the receptionist. When I got there she asked me to Xerox something for her. I went to the Xerox machine and standing there was Denys Cowan.

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MICHAEL DAVIS: The Blame Game

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Blame Game

Monday April 17, 2007 at Virginia Tech University a gunman took 32 lives. I am writing this the following day, Tuesday April 18. To give this piece a little more perspective I tell you this: I lost my sister and grandmother some time ago and when ever I hear of any random act of violence like what happened at Virginia Tech I always pause and think of what the families are going though. I say a silent prayer and hope that somehow the pain that they feel now will ease a bit over time. It never goes away but I hope that they find some comfort from what will seem like an eternity of grief.

My family unit was my mother, sister, grandmother and myself. So half of my family was taken from me. I had to deal with losing my sister and grandmother; my mother had to deal with losing her first-born child and her mother. It hit us both very hard. We were lucky enough to have friends and family around us to comfort us. After a while – a great while we had to deal with the why of what happened. Why them? Why now? Why not me? Why were they there? Etc, etc.

There was always a why.

Those questions are as biting now as they were then. My mother and I still deal with those questions every single day. As I said we had help getting though it.

In the last 24 hours I have heard the Virginia Tech Massacre described in many ways by many people in the media.

A National tragedy

A Nation mourns

America is saddened

United as one

We all feel this

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