Category: Michael Davis

MICHAEL DAVIS: David

When I was a kid around 12 years old I met another kid around the same age while at the library. This was a big deal because I was black and he was white and I had no white friends, so at the time this was an historic meeting for me at the time.

We were both at the same table at the library both working on a book report. We regarded each other only with sly looks while trying to avoid eye contact with each other. I lived in a housing project and I just knew that David lived in the real nice houses that were not to far from the projects in distance but light years away in lifestyle. For about an hour we played that cat and mouse “look, don’t look” game.

We played that game until David put away his notebook and replaced them with a stack of comics that could choke a horse. I’d never seen that many comics outside of my home. Never had I seen anyone carry that many comics around.

Then I noticed something incredible. All the comics were brand new. I’ve carried comics around with me on many an occasion: grandma’s house, dentist’s office, car trip (which I only did once because I can’t read in a car; it gives me the worst headache, even now) or to a friend’s house to trade.

Whenever I’ve carried comics around, they were never a stack of new comics – never. At 12 I don’t think I’ve ever brought more than three comics at one time. Not that I didn’t want too; I just could not afford it. Now, here in front of me were at least 30 brand new comics that this snot nose white kid was showing off.

I did not want to stare but I could not help it. I was mesmerized by the wealth of comics this kid had in his possession.

I hated that kid.

I hated that I had one comic on me that had no cover.

I hated that I wanted to ask to read some of his.

(more…)

MICHAEL DAVIS Is Bringing Sexy Back

I am far from being a prude.

In fact, I’m so far away from being a prude the next level in my open mindedness would be to become a prude.

I’ve met a lot of prudes in my life and nothing makes a prude more prudish than their views on sex.

Me? As long as it does not include kids or animals I say what ever floats your boat sexually, have at it. You would have to be into some sick shit (kids, animals, Republicans) to disgust me.

I’m not quite at the point that I’m disgusted by the depiction of some women in superhero comics but I’m far from all right with it and have not been all right with it for a while now. It’s just a real turn off to me and it’s also one of the reasons a lot of people still think comics are juvenile fare at best.

The depiction of super titty women is not something I consider as important to be concerned about like some sicko who’s into gerbil love or some other crazy action.  I guess for the most part absolutely unrealizable depictions of women with breasts as big as a weather balloons is harmless, except for giving young men a bullshit unrealistic view of women and demeaning women in all sorts of ways. But other than that, it’s harmless.

But-that does seem to be what the audience wants, though it seems to me the 38 double-D tits, tiny waist and banging booty that appear to be the preeminent portrayal of women in comics is just silly in this day and age. Yeah, I can hear the decades old ridiculous argument “they are drawn that way for the 15-year-old boy audience.”

Really? So those 15-year old boys are not into the guys in tights that beat up on other guys in tights, which is the reason most superhero comics exist?  So doing away with the big titty women would result in those 15-year old boys no longer reading about the men in tights who like to pound other men in tights?

Oh, wait a sec.

Perhaps the reason for the big titty women is to insure that no conservative family value group complains that comics are nothing but guys in tights pounding each other.

That can’t happen. It would destroy the sanity of marriage.

So I guess we are stuck with the 15-year-old boy defense for the reason that big titty superhero women are on the rag…I mean all the rage!

Heh.

That defense is weaker than OJ’s but it’s working just as well I guess. It’s the cop out of all cop-outs and artists who spin that line are just wrong or really horny.

I mean really.

The only thing that’s possibly worst than comic’s big titty women are the big titty women in some video games. Have you seen Catwoman in Mortal Combat VS. The DC Universe? She looks like a porn star that has seen way too many one eyed monsters. I mean…damn.

I often wonder what the wives and girlfriends of the artists who draw big titty super women think. But then again, maybe that’s the problem. Maybe most of these guys have no wife or girlfriend. Maybe they just need to get laid.

Well if that’s the case I’m not here to judge, I’m here to help. Follow the steps below and your pent up frustrations will soon be a thing of the past.

Step 1. Go to a bar.

Step 2: Buy the ugliest or the fattest girl a drink or seven.

Step 3. Get real drunk yourself.

Step 4. Take her home.

Step 5. Tap that.

Note: for even faster action, buy a fat and ugly girl the drinks.

This works. Trust me. How do I know? It’s in the Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain handbook and just look how much tail those guys are getting.

On the very, very slim chance there is a woman artist out there drawing big titty women in comics the followings are steps that you can use to get laid.

Step 1. Go to a bar

Step 2. Look for the guy trying to get a fat or ugly woman (or both) drunk.

Step 3. Go up to him and just say “yes.”

Step 4. Let him take you home and “tap that.”

Step 5. In about two minutes after he is “tapped out,” leave and go home and work.

By the way, shame on you for being such a slut.

Look, kidding aside, I’m a big a fan of big titty women with tiny waist and banging booty as the next guy but I prefer real and not plastic.

That’s the problem with the way some artists depict woman. Their depictions just do not ring true.

Yes, I know that neither does a guy who comes from another planet and can bend steel in his bare hands and who, disguised as Clark Kent is tapping the ass of one of the few female characters who is not a big titty woman. I know that does not ring true either but that’s a non-truth I can live with.

The new guys would do well to take a page from some of the masters of comic book art. They took the time and effort to draw women with grace, style and attitude and those women were hot!

Gwen Stacy as drawn by John Romita Sr. is the hottest comic book woman character ever created bar none.

Who’s hotter? Nobody.

Gwen Stacy was not a superhero but she was still a piece of ass to beat any other piece of ass.

Female agents of SHIELD as drawn by Jim Steranko – hot!!! Nick Fury’s girlfriend Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine as drawn by Jim was sexy beyond words.

Jack Kirby’s Sue Storm was so fine that she was my second pretend girlfriend. The first was Gwen Stacy and the third was Laurie Partridge.

Yeah, I had a thing for white girls. I had to have a thing for white girls; there were no black women in comics or on TV for my 10-year-old self to develop a crush on.

I’m proud to say as a proud African American man, all my crushes now are of women of color…Asian.

What?

I don’t expect anything to change anytime soon with regards to super big titty woman but maybe some artist will read this and check out how the greats did women.

Give that a sec.

You know, if those comic book artists who draw those outlandish women  would simply draw less big titty women the big titty women they did draw would become that much more of a  sex symbol because she would be rare.

That would be sexy.

I miss you Gwen Stacy. I’m sad that the Green Goblin broke your neck.

That sucked.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

MICHAEL DAVIS: Static Cling

It’s not a black or white world. The world is made up of many shades of gray.

Yet somehow when something happens to a black character “racism” always clings to the debate.

There has been a flurry of activity since DC cancelled Static Shock. The DC official line is the book was cancelled because of sales. Some fans think DC should have kept the book alive by whatever means necessary and only canceled the book because they did not think enough of the character to change direction.

Some think that DC cancelled the book because Static was black.

What do I, co-creator of Static, think?

I don’t care why they cancelled the book. I care that they cancelled the book.

A guy once put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed. I didn’t care why the gun jammed, I cared that the gun jammed.

Sometimes the reason for something is not nearly as important as the thing.

In the almost 20 years that Milestone, I company I co-founded, has been around I’ve never publicly commented on the direction of the Milestone universe. Never a word on the management rather I was with the company or not. I’ll do it here, but just to make a point.

I did not like the book.

Moving on…

I mentioned in a post on ComicMix last week that there are some who think that DC cancelled the book because Static was black but somehow fail to acknowledge that DC published the book in the first place.  I love people who don’t let little things like the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

Over on my website, Danny Donovan wrote an amazing piece about the cancellation called “Not shocked.” A reader wrote a wonderful comment making the case that DC’s actions regarding the Static cancellation had strong overtones or racism.

I do not believe DC cancelled the book because of some racist agenda.

So why do I say the writer’s comments were “wonderful?” Because he presented his case, backed up his thoughts and wrote them in a clear concise way. I don’t have to agree with someone to acknowledge they make a good case.

A few years ago during The Black Panel at Comic Con International I addressed one of the many rumors about Milestone Media by telling the audience how Denys Cowan started Milestone and I co-signed, period. Milestone was Deny’s baby and without Denys Milestone never would have happened.

Never.

Ever.

Ever!

Soon after Comic Con, a blogger went on line and wrote that “his sources” told him that my “version” of Milestone’s origin was not the way Milestone started and because Denys (who was on the panel with me) didn’t say anything after I made my comments, somehow that meant I was lying.

Like I said, I love people who don’t let little things like the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

So, me being me, I went online and told this guy that his “sources” were wrong. He came back with “these are very good sources” and he was standing behind them.

He was standing behind “very good sources” instead of giving me (who was there) the benefit of the doubt. What I did next was tell him I’d give him ten thousand dollars if he could prove what he was telling thousands of people on the net.  If he didn’t prove it then he should give me ten grand or shut the fuck up.

He shut the fuck up.

The comment on MDW made by the guy who suggests racism had a hand in the cancellation of Static gave a few examples of DC purposive prejudice towards black characters and creators.

And… he made some good points. I know of one instance when he was on the right track. He did not give particulars so I cannot say for a fact that he was talking about the following incident but it fits the general description.

When Milestone started negotiations with DC there was one meeting in which an important high-ranking DC executive said that when it came to black characters in the market place, black meant death. He went on to suggest we don’t show the characters in any ads so as not to turn off the public. He finished once again with, “black means death.”

At that moment one more racist word out of his mouth may have meant death if the looks on the faces of Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle and myself meant anything.

Here’s my two cents. That guy was an asshole and people in the industry generally accept that he was out of touch and yes I felt at the time he was racist.  I was in his office once admiring a photo of a sports car he had on the wall. “Maybe one day with a lot of hard work you can have a car like that,” he said with a smile.

I reached into my pocket and showed him my car keys. “I already have one.”

The look on his face was well worth the distain he showed me from that moment on. He never spoke to me again unless he had to.

I believe he was racist and because he was a high-ranking member of the DC staff I believe he could be a problem. Was he a problem? I can’t say for sure.

Jenette Kahn and Paul Levitz were his bosses and they believed in Milestone from day one, so fuck him. I saw him once after he left DC, he was very pleasant and so was I. Why be decent?

As Denys says, “too small, throw it back.”

That was then, this is now…

Hey Bruce! How you living? Guess how many sports cars I have now!

Here’d something that’s never addressed in these “DC is racist claims” concerning Milestone.

The founders.

No founder of Milestone would stand for any Jim Crow shit. Not now, not then.

It will never happen and if some people would just look at the backgrounds and resumes of the founders they would know that Milestone is made up of people that Ice Cube famously said are ‘the wrong niggas to fuck with.’

Has race been an issue at DC?  Yes!  Race is an issue everywhere. The question is when race becomes racism. DC did not cancel Static because they were racist; they cancelled Static because the fans did not want to see one of the greatest characters ever created fighting a giant fish.

A giant fish??

Really?

Lastly, DC took a risk with Milestone but almost twenty years later Milestone is still here, still a topic of conversation still a great universe with great characters and I’m sure that Static is a risk they will take again.

As Captain Kirk said, “Risk? Risk, is our business!”

Good job Danny… for a white boy. ;-)

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

MICHAEL DAVIS: Shock To My System

I’ve spent the last few months praising the DC New 52 in one form or another. Months before the books came out, I was debating those who thought the reboot was anything from a simply bad idea to the end of the world, as we know it.

I defended the idea then and in fact over the last three weeks right here on ComicMix. I’ve supported the idea and got into a heated battle with Marc Alan Fishman over the new 52.

Yesterday was Marc’s lovely wife Kathy’s birthday. Happy birthday Kathy and here’s your present…

Marc was right.

The DC New 52 sucks.

Everything about the New 52 is horrible.

I’m going to take a random decision made by DC, a totally arbitrary completely chance judgment they have made to make my point that the entire New 52 is the worst thing to happen to comics since Fredric Wertham and the Spirit movie.

Now. What completely indiscriminate, unplanned, hit or miss just off the top of my head move has DC made with the New 52 that has made me see the light of their atrocious affront to the entire comics, nay, the entire entertainment industry!

Let’s see, lets see, what needle can I grab in a haystack of bad moves?

What?

What?

What??

Got It!!!

DC comics cancelled Static Shock!!

Full disclosure: I co-created Static Shock and wrote the original Milestone bible and named all the characters after my family but that has nothing whatsoever to do with my deciding to use Static Shock as an example as to why I changed my mind about the DC 52. My history with the character is beside the point.

No, I did not like the new Static Shock book after John Rozum left and no, I did not say I didn’t like it before DC cancelled the book for fear that the opinion of one of the creators would affect the sales but that’s besides the point.

The point is DC cancelled Static Shock and that’s just one of the reasons I was wrong about the New 52.

My other reasons?

That’s beside the point.

The little support from the millions of Static Shock fans out there is no reason to cancel something I created! The reason it’s no reason is beside the point. Losing half the sales from issue one is no reason to cancel a book where my Mom was the inspiration for Static’s mom. The sheer audacity of DC comics to cancel a book where I have a vested interest in is why the DC New 52 is horrible. Why that matters is beside the point.

Why not cancel the Justice League? So what if the book is selling in the hundreds of thousands? I don’t like it anymore! The fact that I liked it (loved it) before they canceled Static Shock is beside the point.

There that is my unbiased and completely unprejudiced reasoning behind my change of heart regarding the DC New 52.

You were right, Marc. What was I thinking? Happy Birthday again Kathy, you are married to a very wise man.

WEDNESDAY: Now Mike Gold Takes On John Ostrander

MICHAEL DAVIS: Why I Still Like the New 52!

Because Marc Alan Fishman doesn’t.

A few days ago Marc wrote that he doesn’t like the New 52 and he took me to task over a few things I wrote in my Why I Like The New 5 article last week.

It seems that Marc, or he who is Dead To Me, or simply Dead To Me as I now call him, doesn’t think DC went far enough with the reboot.

I said in my article that I liked a lot of the books but what I really liked about the New 52 is that DC had the balls to do it in the first place. I also said that as fans of the DCU it would be hard to satisfy everyone with the massive undertaking.

A lot of people hate the New 52. I get that. It’s easy to hate from the sidelines. I do it, you do it, everybody does it. My point was, love it or hate it you have to respect the people that put it all on the line to do it. A lot of people don’t think that matters because to them it sucks and it will always suck because change is bad.

Change sucks. The DC comic reboots sucks. I suck for liking the DC comic reboots. And let me not forget to the GOP, Obama sucks.

Mar…  I mean Dead To Me, thinks the reboot was an easy out. He thinks DC didn’t go far enough.

Really? Let’s see how you would have rebooted the DCU. You who are Dead To Me. Here’s how I would have done it.

Batman

I’d make Batman black and call him Black-Man. He became Black-Man because his parents were shot in a drive-by on their way to Yale where they were both professors of Black History. Oh, I bet you thought his parents were walking in the projects looking for some drugs or some other stereotypical black bullshit storyline.

No! In my DCU there will be no stereotypes.  So Leroy Washington son of Ray Ray and Shaiqua Washington becomes Black-Man!

The Justice League

I’d make the Justice League black and call them the Malcolm X-Men.

Hawkman

I’d make Hawkman black and call him Black Hawkman.

Black Canary

What do you think I’d do? I mean, duh.

Green Lantern

I’d make GL black. His name will be John Stewart and his secret identity will be a talk show host.

The Flash

I’d keep the Flash white. I mean a black guy with super speed? Ron Paul would have a field day with that. “If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.” Ron Paul said that. Now just imagine if the Flash was black. Nah; I’m keeping Barry Allen a white guy but I’m making him a teen-age criminal who robs people and runs away.

Aquaman

He would stay white too. Everyone knows black people don’t swim…duh.

Wonder Woman

I’d make WW my flagship book. Why make it my flagship book? To make it clear Michael Davis’ DCU avoids racial and any other stereotypical depictions.For my reboot, I’d make Wonder Woman black. Hell ,in my book she’s already a black woman. She doesn’t take any shit and she’s got a banging booty.

So, Dead To Me, where is your DC reboot? My reboot only features classic characters and it’s taken me 10 years to come up with this new universe. Yes, I started 10 years ago when it was crystal clear to all in the industry that I was going to become head of DC.

After waking up I decided to work on the universe anyway and I’m glad I did because it has certainly come in handy today wouldn’t you say? Yes, 10 years of hard work, research, toil and trouble. I lost a wife with my unwavering commitment to redoing the DCU. Well, actually I was going to call it the MDCU but that’s beside the point.

The point is this type of universe building or rebuilding takes some serious balls not serious eggs like you wrote in your column when you thought you were being clever and used Spanish…wrongly.

It’s obvious you don’t regard research as something you need to do when you create something.

Eggs? Really?

So. I await your universe. If you think it’s so easy let’s see you put the time and effort into it and in 10 years we can talk about it. Or you can knock something out by next week because you don’t have the discipline to take the time to do it right.

I’ll leave you what I would do with DC’s biggest character and the biggest challenge for any DC universe do over, the Man Of Steel…

Superman

I would make Superman black and call him Icon.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold kicks it up a notch

MICHAEL DAVIS: Why I Like The New 52

Because I’m trying to kiss the ass of DC Comics.

The end.

Well that’s not really true. If you know anything about my history you will know the last thing I’d ever do is kiss ass.

It’s simply not in my DNA not now, not ever. I’ve been in many a situation where a well place smack on someone’s ass would have been very beneficial to me but I just couldn’t do it.

I’ve tried to kiss some ass. I really have. I wanted to kiss some ass. I was even looking forward (she was fine) to kissing some ass at one point but I just… could… not…do it.

What always stops me is my inability to show respect to those who do not deserve it.

Respect is a very big thing with me. I’d rather have someone’s respect than just about anything else. To get my respect is not hard on a personal level all I really need on that level is for you to treat me with respect and you have mine.

On a professional level getting my respect is not easy. I’m not the guy to tip toe around people’s absence of professionalism. If you have ever read any of my articles on Michael Davis World (plug!) then you may have noticed a recurring theme in my rants: customer service or the lack there of.

I don’t care if you are an artist, IBM or Larry the Hot Dog Vender, if I’m going to write you a check for your services your professionalism had better be your A game.  Anything less than an A game I’ll never work with you or use your services again. You can forget any respect I may have had for you because that my friend, like the old south, is gone with the wind.

Chief among all the reasons I have for liking The New 52 from DC is the massive amount of respect I have because DC went there.

DC comics went where no other comic book company in the world went before: they started over. If the books sucked which they still would have had my respect. There are some in The New 52 that have left me wondering why they went into the direction they went but for the most part I like or love what they have done.

Liking or even loving what DC Comics did with the re-boot creatively is not the main reason I like The New 52. It’s really about respect and balls.

I respect the balls the editors at DC showed in going there.

Every die-hard comic book fan has thought how cool it would be to completely overhaul a comic book universe. The fan forums are filled with what’s wrong with DC, what the problem is with Marvel, or what was Dark Horse thinking? I don’t think there is any comic book universe that is so darn cool that everyone agrees they are doing everything right. I’ll let you in on a little secret; I’m a closet Archie fan. Actually, I’m a huge fan of Little Archie. I’m not sure they even do Little Archie stories anymore but when I was a kid I loved me some Little Archie.

That’s the only comic book universe I had no problem with. The Little Archie universe was perfect to me. Because I was such a fan of Little Archie I tried the regular Archie books.

After reading the regular Archie books for a while I decided if I ran the Archie universe the first thing I would do was have Archie tap Veronica and Betty’s ass.

Hell, I’d have Archie tap them both at the same time. You think that’s bad? Then you don’t want to know the plans I had for Mr. Fantastic.

That’s why it’s good not to have fan’s revamp comic book universes.

Like any young fan, I often wondered why comic book companies don’t do the obvious. Why can’t Uncle Ben come back? Why did Gwen Stacy have to stay dead? Why doesn’t Superman tap the ass of all those people whose initials are LL?

Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Lucy Lane, Lori Lemaris? If I were in charge of the Superman Universe Clark would have had some serious LL booty. I mean the LL list is endless!

Lara Lor, Linda Lang, Lighting Lad, Lex Luthor…eh…wait a sec…maybe tapping all the LL’s is not a great idea after all.  Another reason it seems that fans should not be in charge of universes.

So, as fans we don’t have the power to make massive changes in our comic book universes but why don’t the comic companies make massive cool ass changes a lot more?

Yes. Every so often some new event happens that sorta, kinda, changes stuff but not really. Not like you are I would have changed it.

Massive, cool, earth shattering new shit that will be the envy of all of comicdom!

DC went there.

However, as easy as it may seem to fans to simply hit the reset button it’s not easy at all. You may think as I did when I was just a fan that imagination is all you really need to run a comic book universe and you would be as wrong as I was.

If you are Larry Comics and you started your comic book company a couple of years ago you can reboot all you want and the only people you have to please is your new fan base.

DC Comics has been around since 1935. That’s a lot of history to muck with.

The people at DC Comics just couldn’t sit in a room and decide to do this. That’s not how it works in the real world. The people who came up with the reboot idea had to sell that idea to the parent company and that parent company is Time Warner. Time Warner is one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world.

I’m not sure what kind of relationship DC has with Time Warner. Time Warner could be completely hands off. I doubt it, but that could be the case. DC may have complete control over the comics and Time Warner may not give a sheet.

I’d think something this big would have had to be run up the flagpole at corporate on some level. Again, I’m not aware of DC’s relationship with Time Warner so I can only speculate from my own corporate experience.

I’ve been President or President and CEO at a few entertainment companies and any major decision over a certain dollar amount I made had to be at presented to the powers that be on some level.

When I ran Motown Animation & Filmworks I was hired to create, develop and sell film and television properties. When I decided to do a comic book line, Motown Machineworks, I had to create a business plan, present it to my boss and hope to God it did not crash and burn.

That’s what a lot of fans don’t understand about comics. It’s a fantastic medium and great entertainment, but it’s a business.

Whoever came up with the reboot and then sold the idea to corporate had good creative intentions to be sure but something that big has a lot more to worry about than creative ideas.

Regardless if the ideas were great or if Time Warner is hands off or not, if the reboot would have been a dismal failure heads may have rolled.

This is the real world folks, with great power comes great responsibility is truer in the real world than in comics. Peter Parker fails to stop a guy who then busts a cap in his Uncle is tragic but at any point Marvel could change that.

Real people put their careers in play on some level. I don’t know to what extent those people were at risk if at all but something as big as a reboot it stands to reason that someone’s ass would be on the line if it went south.

It’s easy to talk a big game when it’s not your ass on the line. It’s not so easy when that great power comes with a great responsibility that could result in you having a real bad ending to your story.

That takes balls and that gets my respect.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

MICHAEL DAVIS: Comics in Black… And White

I am a black man.

Well that’s not really true. I’m a tall and unbelievably handsome black man. I work in television, mainstream books and comics. Most of the works I’ve created in all of those mediums have featured black people in foremost roles.

I create black characters because I’m a black creator and I’d like to see more black people represented in the media and I think it’s my job to…yada, yada, yada…

Over the years I’ve said a zillion times that the reason I create black characters is because I felt we were under represented and I did believe it was my responsibility to create characters so young black kids can feel themselves represented.

But is it really my responsibility to create black characters because I’m a black man now? Have we come far enough in the country and the industry for me to give up the fight?

When I was growing up there were no black superheroes of color except for the Black Panther and Luke Cage, Hero For Hire. So my two black superheroes role models were an African King and an ex-con who was a superhero only when he got paid to be.

As hard as I tried I just could not identify with The Black Panther; he was an African king in his secret identity. “Oh, that’s a wonderful black man to aspire to be like.” I’m sure some of you are thinking.

Really?

I was born in Queens and the last thing I wanted to imagine myself growing up to be was an African king. I’d seen enough Tarzan movies as a kid to know I would not look good with a bone through my nose. I mean… ugh.

What about, Luke Cage Hero For Hire?

Really?

Hero for hire?

Really?

Like I said, I grew up in Queens or to be more precise, the hood in Queens. I could not imagine being a superhero that sold his services, that as they say in the hood is ghetto.

The young Harlem mother and her child were coming home very late one evening. The bus they were on was empty except for the driver and some gang bangers who looked like they wanted to start some trouble.

She was not worried, there was a rule written in stone in the hood among gangs, mothers and kids were off limits.

Written in stone…

The problem was these gang bangers could not read.

 “Yo, (bad word starts with B) what cha lookin at?”

He rose, slowly removing a gun from his jacket.

 “I said (bad word starts with B) what cha lookin at?”

She was frozen in place. She had never seen a real gun before and it was at the moment she knew this was the end of her life. She held her child close to her and said softy, “Close your eyes honey it will be OK.”

The bus stopped. Cage entered the bus. Paid his fare and stared down the thug with the gun. The woman’s face lit up as she realizes she is saved!

 “Oh, thank God! He was about to shoot me! I’m sure of it! He called me a…”

Cage puts his hand up to silence her then says; “I can save you for $500, your kid for another $500 so that’s $1000,00.”

The woman looks at Cage, she can tell by the stern look on his face he is not kidding. “ All I have is $500 to my name!”

 “Then you better tell your kid to keep his eyes closed.”

Really? Hero for Hire? Really?

Neither The Black Panther nor Luge Cage, neither of those black heroes seemed as good as the white heroes I was so in love with. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and the like.

Superman was an orphan from another planet whose parents were blown the F up and he had a cool ass secret identity. He was Clark Kent, reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper. Batman’s secret identity was equally as badass, another orphan whose parents were shot the F up. His cool ass secret identity was rich ass playboy Bruce Wayne.

Spider-Man was another orphan whose parents were shot the F up AND as a bonus he was responsible for his Uncle Ben being shot the F up. His cool ass secret identity was a high school student and he worked for a great metropolitan newspaper as a photographer.

Why couldn’t I have a black hero whose parents were shot the F up? Why couldn’t I have a black hero who was an orphan? Why couldn’t I have a black hero whose cool ass secret identity was to work for a great metropolitan newspaper and not as a janitor?

No. I got an African king. In my mind, Tarzan (according to the movies my seven year old ass was watching) would soon rescue a white couple from a boiling pot the Black Panther had placed them in while waiting for a visit from The Fantastic Four, and I got a hero who people had to pay to protect them or in other words…

Super Pimp.

Also, Super Pimp didn’t even have a secret identity. Like I said, ghetto.

That’s what I grew up with. That’s what the African American comic book artists of my generation grew up with. It’s no wonder many of us felt it was our responsibly to create black heroes that our black kids could use as real role models, heroes that spoke to them not just in skin color but in experience.

When I was a kid a black GI Joe action figure was just a white GI. Joe painted brown. That made him black to me back then but that was not good enough for my kids when I had them.

Don’t get me wrong; I grew to love Lee and Kirby’s Black Panther. I realized just how cool it was to have an African king be his secret identity. That’s around the time I also realized those Tarzan movies were racist bullshit. Hasbro eventually came out with a black version of GI Joe that was a Black Joe. The lips, nose and even hair were modeled after black features. I still remember when I got my first real Black Joe. It was so damn cool.

As for Luke Cage, Hero for Hire?

That, in my opinion was and will always be ghetto. I mean damn, a Super Pimp? Come on! Really?

I grew up wanting and frankly needing black heroes that I could look up to and that spoke to me.

That was then.

Now, there is still need for more black superheroes as there is a need for many heroes of color but is it the job of people of color to create them?

Or…

Are the characters of any creator as valid as any other creator regardless if the creator is black or white?

In other words, would Blade be even cooler if a white guy did not create him? Would Spawn be even more badass if a black creator had created him?

Can white creators create viable black characters and vice versa? It seems the answer is an easy “yes” if you look at the success of some black characters created by non-black creators. It’s a easy yes in the marketplace to be sure but how about in the industry and the homes of those black kids who grow up wanting to be Blade?

Does it matter that an white guy created Blade? Should it matter? A great white guy and my dear friend Marv Wolfman but a white guy nevertheless.

Should we even care?

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller…?

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

MICHAEL DAVIS: The New DC 52 – Is It All That?

Most people in the industry know that my best friend is Denys Cowan.

Denys is one of the greatest comic book artists that the business has ever seen. He’s the artist a lot of other artists look at and as to underscore that fact he’s been nominated for not one but two Eisner awards for best penciler.

He has worked for every major publisher out there. He’s one of the few artists that commands respect from both Marvel and DC without pissing one or both off.

That’s rare.

There’s not a major publisher out there that would not consider it an honor to have a Denys Cowan project under their imprint.

Denys is really hard to impress when it comes to comics.

Me?

I like what I like but I don’t have the depth of knowledge about comic books like Denys does.

Both Denys and I both think the new DC 52 are just wonderful comics.

I’ve got a less than stellar history with DC comics. That said, they are and have always been my favorite comic book universe since I was a kid.

It’s not just nostalgia I’m thinking about. I feel that way because I think DC comics has done some great creative stuff in the last 20 plus years. The second silver age was 90% DC in my opinion.

Denys looks at comics from a much more artistic point than I do, but we are both fans of the New 52.

So, are Denys and I on crack? Is the New 52 as good as we think?

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: I’ve Got A Secret

This week I received a very early Christmas gift! It’s something I’m dying to tell everyone, but I have to be cool for at least a little while.

However…

If I tell people what it’s not then I can talk about it without talking about it! And… if someone guesses what it is, how is that my fault?

Well, except that I opened my big mouth in the first place and talked about what it wasn’t thus giving raise to what it could be so someone could guess, except for that, how is it my fault?

I mean really.

There’s an old TV game show called I’ve Got A Secret. The object of that show was to figure out the secret of the contestant on the show. This was done with questions being asked by a panel.

I’ll give clues as to what my secret is and will if someone guesses cool! If not and some of you out their want to send me questions to answer that help you along, great!

If no one plays that means no one will win the fantastic prize!

What’s the prize? No idea, but when I figure it out it will be fantastic!

So here are the clues!

It’s a huge deal that features comics.

It features a book but not a comic or graphic novel.

Some of the biggest names in the industry are involved.

The project will take a year to complete.

It’s not a TV show or movie.

It’s not a benefit or comic convention.

It will be newsworthy in comics and mainstream.

It’s not a new comic company.

That’s all I’m going to share because there are way too many nerds and geeks out there that can figure this out very quickly.  Yes, I am a proud and geek and I know just how smart my people can be.

Let the guessing begin!

Send your e-mails now to my erstwhile editor, mike@comicmix.com

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Art of the Deal, part 4

Please refer to part 1 and part 3 of this series for background. Part 2 was my attempt to try and underscore what I was trying to get across by writing these series of articles. Yeah, I still have no idea why I wrote part 2 either. To recap, I had an idea to get comics in the school system taught as a high interest low level reading curriculum.

Step by step my process was:

Come up with the idea.

Do the research.

Figure out the barriers to entry.

Developed two specific programs: one for Texas, one for California.

Wrote the business plan.

All above steps taken, so now I need a partner.

First rule of fight club: never talk about fight club.

First rule of business: never use your own money.

That’s my first rule anyhow, rather or not you talk about it is on you but the less said about who is writing you a check the better.

There was a period in my career when I wanted to own everything so I paid for everything. I had some success but realized later than I should have, paying for everything can be a dangerous road to travel on unless you have really deep pockets and can afford to lose a grip.

A “grip” is a lot of money. Sorry, sometimes I revert back to where I grew up. You can take the man out of the hood but you can’t take the hood out of the man.

That’s not entirely bad and I’ll get back to that later.

I’ve done quite a few deals where I put up the development money and took all back end… meaning I waited for the venture to start making money to recoup and profit from it.

Sometimes paying for everything was a great idea, sometimes not so much. I don’t regret paying for development the projects I did so one but except for a passion project of mine I doubt if I will ever do it again.

If you have the cash and want to control and own everything in your deal financing everything may work for you. But before you empty your life savings to finance, direct and produce and own your project give this a thought, would anyone but you pay to do what you are about to do?

Each time I sign a deal where someone else is investing in my idea that further validates that I just may be on to something.

I mentioned above a passion project that I want control all aspects of the production. I’m holding out to completely control 100% of everything so I may bite the bullet and write the check myself but for now I’m still looking for the right partner to underwrite the venture.

The right partner is what I needed for The Action Files, my comic book reading program for schools.

And I’m back!

When looking for a partner, be very careful to consider everything, not just the money. I don’t care how much money they bring to the table – it can be a nightmare.

I’ll say it again, it can be a nightmare.

I can’t go into particulars as to why a deal or two bankrolled by a partner turned out to be a nightmare (gag order, restraining order, hit men and a angry midget among other less pleasant things) but trust me it can be so think long and hard before you take that check.

I was lucky enough to have three different companies interested in The Action Files. I met with all three and decided the best place for The Action Files and myself was powerhouse publisher Simon & Schuster. At the time they were one of the biggest publishers of mainstream and educational materials in the world.

At the time they were one of the biggest publishers of mainstream and educational materials in the world.

After a series of meetings we came to an agreement and The Action Files was no longer an idea I came up with a year before it was now about to be a reality.

There is one more step that no one seems to tell young people.

One of the things it’s very important to remember which no one talks about is the vetting process. Any serious player who is about to invest millions of dollars in your idea is going to do their due diligence and vet you. That, in layman’s terms, means to check you out.

The process may be as simple as asking for references or as in-depth as a full background check. So don’t even think about telling a company you did something that you did not do when discussing your resume or bio.

I’m not just a seller of ideas (content) but I’ve run a few entertainment divisions at major companies and was a buyer. As head of my own company I’m often pitched projects for me to take to a film or television studio, comic company or mainstream publisher that I’m already in business with. I’m approached to find financing or finance projects myself or partner with someone to create a project. I’ve been very successful in brokering quite a few deals that I did not create.

I’m currently developing a slate of projects with Wayne Brady as an example of how a partnership would work. Wayne and I are working on a book and an animated project.

Unless I know someone well personality or someone comes to me from a real good referral I almost never get involved with other peoples’ projects. I’ll give advice all day long but I’ve been burned too many times to get involved with others I don’t know from Adam. It happens from time to time but it’s as rare as a black guy from Compton voting Republican.

The vetting process can killed your dream deal faster than a sex scandal can kill your hope to be President Of The United States… Herman!

Tell people the truth about what you have or have not done. If your idea is a great idea and you have no experience at all tell the buyer. More than likely the company will respect that and proceed with that in mind.

I’ve sold TV shows and I had no idea how to produce one when I sold my first show. I have a better idea now but I’d be an idiot to think that I could produce and an even bigger idiot to say that I wanted to.

The vetting process would have outted me faster than Ricky Martin on TMZ.

It’s not just making sure your background is legit – it’s also avoiding the one bullshit line that I’ve heard a million times and it’s just bullshit.

“Disney wanted to do this but I didn’t like the deal.”

I’ve heard that line at least a thousand times in 20 years.

It’s bullshit, and unless your name is Tom Hanks or someone of that stature using that line in a meeting will surely kill any deal you had dead if it was not dead already.

Yesterday at a restaurant some guy recognized me from a CNN interview I did years ago. He pitched me this project while I was waiting for a meeting. Frankly, the idea was pretty darn good and I was considering meeting with him to discuss it when he said…

“Disney wanted to do this but I didn’t like the deal, so I’m bringing it to you.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Whom did you meet with at Disney?”

Nothing from him but a blank look, because it was all bullshit. After what had to be a minute he said he had to check his notes and blah, blah, yada, yada, yada.

Bullshit.

So, if you have the next great idea and you manage to get a meeting to pitch someone, tell the truth my friend, nothing but bad things can happen if you don’t.

My project from idea to signed contract took a solid year and a lot of work. The Action File reading program started in 1996 and has since moved to Pearson Learning where it’s still going strong.

As you go forward remember my second rule of business: don’t let anyone discourage you or try and kill your dream. Dreams do come true and maybe there’s a tip or two within this series that can help a little bit towards yours, young Jedi. Good luck… and if Disney wants to do your project let them.

Wednesday: Mike Gold