Category: Michael Davis

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

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.


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.




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.


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?


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.


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.


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?


Black doesn’t sell?


Black doesn’t sell?

Jamie Foxx.

Black doesn’t sell?


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.


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.


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?


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


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


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


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?


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



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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.


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…


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.


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