Every year for almost 20 years (since I was 5, Jean) like clockwork I give a party at Comic Con.
Every year like clockwork I host a dinner at Comic Con.
Every year like clockwork I host The Black Panel at Comic Con.
Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for an invite to my party.
Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for an invite to my dinner.
Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for me to put them on The Black Panel.
Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for me to get them a hotel room or a pass to Comic Con.
Comic Con is in July. It’s only February. The requests don’t usually start until a couple of weeks before Comic Con so I’m a few months ahead of the game.
Well, this year I’m nipping all that bullshit in the bud.
The answer is no.
No. No. No.
No, if I don’t know you, you cannot come to my party or my dinner and you certainty cannot not be on the Black Panel.
Regarding the party and dinner, I don’t care who told you they could get you in. You can’t.
Let me explain something to those who are among the many who ask of me the above. Like I said in last week’s article, the Comic book industry is a business. It’s part of the entertainment business. Comic Con is not a place where those who are serious about business come just to hang out.
Comic Con is where deals get done, relationships are cemented, partnerships are explored, opportunities are exploited and money is made.
When you operate at a certain level Comic Con is not a place where you hang out with friends and look for that copy of Spider-Man you had as a kid.
No, Comic Con is a place where you come to solidify and grow your business.
So, no, you cannot come to my annual party, person I don’t know, because it’s business.
Do you think the club my party is at is free?
No, no it’s not. So why, person I don’t know, should I grant you admittance when you don’t even know what I do? What possible reason is there for me to do that?
Do you think the dinner I have is free?
No, it’s not. That dinner costs thousands of freakin’ dollars.
Do you think that the ash can book you drew makes you worthy to sit on The Black Panel?
Go to www.theblackpanel.com and check out the alumni. Once you do, ask yourself if you really think you belong in that group.
I’ll help you out with that one, no.
Like I said last week, comics are a business. Yes, I have fun at Comic Con. That fun is usually at around midnight while sitting at the bar at the top of the Hyatt with 30 or so other hard working comic professionals getting blazed on shots of tequila.
But before I can have that fun I have to spend months setting up the party, the dinner and the panel and that is not fun.
So the answer is no.
However, if Mark Turner (Yes you, Mark) is at Comic Con this year he is invited to anything I’m doing because he gets it.
Please take a moment to look at the graphic that accompanies this article. Chances are you seen it before on the net or right here on ComicMix when Glenn posted it a few days ago.
I’ll admit it’s clever as shit. It’s interesting as shit. It’s thought provoking as shit.
I came across this on Facebook and I must admit I was mad as shit when I read it. I was even madder when I saw it was a marketing ploy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great marketing ploy and I freely admit that shit.
I went to the website and the Facebook page of the person who put it up. After reading some of the stuff on the Facebook page I was disappointed that I was so upset. Why? Because this is the sort of person I should like. We share a great many thing with regards to politics and he seems like a great guy.
But I know a wee bit about the comic book industry and I know a wee bit more about building franchises and a wee bit more about mentoring talent.
I also know you do not do any of that shit with fear.
In any and I mean any part of the entertainment business you will find incredible success and dismal failure. That’s not the industry’s fault. The industry was not set up for you to be either an incredible success or a dismal failure.
That shit is on you.
Are there barriers to entry?
Yes. Tell me, what profession does not have barriers to entry? There are barriers to entry for everything.
That’s what school is for. That’s what working on your craft is for. That’s what life experience is for. That’s what you go to comic conventions for.
If you want to work in comics, you go to comic book conventions to learn the industry not to hang out with your 20 friends in one hotel room with the sole intention of going to the Twilight panel to kiss the ass of the movie company so they will give you a glimpse of that bullshit movie which is the same movie as the previous 15 but “this time it’s personal.”
Yeah, I called the Twilight movies bullshit. That’s my opinion.
The Twilight franchise?
I don’t have to love a thing to respect a thing and I respect the shit out of the Twilight franchise. When it comes to how they run that shit I’m Team Edward all the way.
Instead of going to a portfolio review or a small press panel the young creators who will fall for that “call me” ploy from the comic industry poster spend their time trying to catch a glimpse of Jim Lee at the DC Comics panel. Jim is not there to talk to you about getting into DC he’s there to sell you the books you are already buying.
So, how does any of the above help your career?
The graphic depicts the comic book industry as an industry of people who will try and stab you in the back. Really? You think Jim Lee wants to stab you in the back so he can steal your idea? That great idea that you drew with a ballpoint pen, inked with a magic marker, colored with Photoshop 0.1 in tones of nothing but blue?
You know why Jim Lee does not want your great idea, which all your family and friends have convinced you will be bigger than Superman?
I’ll tell you why, because if you have been reading comics and using that as your only education and attending Twilight like and not career oriented panels at comics conventions then most likely your idea is shit.
Why would all your family and friends tell you had created the greatest thing since Star Wars? I’ll tell you why; your family and friends love you. They are bias as shit.
Think of what you say to that fat ass 300-pound girlfriend when she’s asking you if she looks fat in that dress.
Fat 300-pound girlfriend: Do I look fat in this dress?
You lie. You lie because you want to tap some of that fat ass. Guess what? She knows you are lying. She’s 300 pounds, dude. She would look fat in stranded in the middle of the ocean.
Your family and friends are yourfamily and friends; they are supposed to lie to you. Your family and friends they don’t know shit about what makes a concept a good idea.
Secondly, your “bigger than Superman” concept was drawn with a ball point pen, inked with a magic marker, colored with Photoshop 0.1 in tones of nothing but blue and your can’t spell so your lettering sucks also.
Is the comic book industry fair?
Does some projects that suck get published?
Is there an “old boy” network at many publishers?
Are there people who don’t want you to succeed?
Welcome to Earth, motherfucker. Or more specifically, welcome to the real world of grown-up business.
In every single business on the planet there are unfair policies, projects that suck that get green lit, cliques of people who won’t let you in and people who do not want you to succeed.
Fuck that shit and fuck them.
Learn the game before you hook up with somebody who claims he can help you with your “franchise.”
Give me a fucking break. Learn to write, learn to draw. Ask Jim Lee for advice not an autograph. Stand in line to hear Marv Wolfman or Harlan Ellison talk about writing. Stop standing in line to see clips from a movie you are going to see anyway.
Comic creators like giving advice. You will be surprised to see how much you can learn from an conversation about that creators craft. Set realistic goals for yourself. Seek criticism from people that know what they are talking about.
Here’s a hint. Make appointments with people you would like to talk to. All they can say is “no” but would not a “yes” make your day and help you?
Take classes, go to school make an effort to learn the industry.
Yes, think about your own Franchise!
Yes, build, your own Franchise!
But before you call someone to help you do something that they have not done, do the work that’s needed to achieve your goal. Yours – not someone else’s.
When you do all of that and more, when you have gotten to a place of excellence in your craft and still don’t succeed, try again and again and then again.
Frankly, if you are that good you won’t have to keep trying because you will succeed.
Anything less, anything quick, anything that does not involve the kind of commitment to your the craft is just bullshit.
Officially, I’ve worked in comics since 1983. In all that time I think I’ve only met one black woman who was involved in comics in a decision-making capacity. I’ve known black woman receptionists and assistants but I can only think of one who had a job in which she was part of the comic book hierarchy.
Before I set the wrong tone, this is not a piece on how comics have discriminated against women of color. It just may be that African-American women don’t want to work in comic books, for whatever reason. I have no idea why there are not a lot of black women in comics and I’m not about to speculate. There may be dozens of black woman in the industry that I just haven’t met.
I doubt that, because as you know, all black people know each other. At least that’s what more than a few white people have said to me over my lifetime.
The following conversation from a woman I met at a club last week. A real pretty, but short white girl at the bar was having trouble getting the bartenders attention. I caught his eye and asked her what she wanted to drink.
“That’s so nice of you, thank you very much.”
“Do you know Leroy Washington?”
Really? I swear I almost asked her if she knew Bilbo Baggins. She was that short.
The one black woman I know who has worked in comics on the corporate level is Tammy Brown. I met Tammy sometime in the 80s (yes I was working in comics when I was in grade school, Jean) I don’t remember how we met or where we met. Most likely at DC where she worked.
I do remember that Tammy hated me. Tammy did not like me at all. I mean if looks could kill I’d be dead and random members of my family and my pets would be dead also.
It was not just her looks that clued me in to Tammy’s loathing of me. It was also how she spoke to me. Tammy would talk to me in short and to the point sentences like “I hate you Michael Davis.”
I never heard her say those exact words, but no matter what she said that’s what I heard.
She may not have really hated me but it sure felt that way.
I’m sure Tammy thought of me as a loud mouth, in your face, guy and she had no time for loud mouth in your face people. Tammy was all business and ultra professional.
I was a loud mouth, in your face, guy.
I know that…now.
I’ve mellowed out considerably since my loud mouth, in your face, days. You may not think so from some of the rants I write on my www.MichaelDavisWorld.com or some of my old ComicMix stuff but I’m so much calmer now.
I’ve always been up front with my readers when it comes to my considerable shortcomings, I admit freely I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career.
That said, when it comes to business I’ve learned not to take anything personally. I categorically live by two set of rules the first is: “It’s not personal, it’s business;” the second is “Nothing too good to do for my friends, nothing to bad to do to my enemies.”
It was with that first rule in mine that Tammy’s name came up when I was looking for someone to run the day to day operations at Motown Film & Television where I was President and Chief Executive Officer.
She was on a very short list, and I had my Chief Operating Officer contact her. I thought she would be perfect for the gig and even if she still hated me Tammy was a no-joke professional so she would put any issues with me aside if she were interested in the position. After talking to Tammy my COO, told me she would not be a good fit. I never followed up or even called Tammy.
I realized just the other day that was a mistake.
Motown Records is the most famous record company in the world. Most music superstars are bigger brands than their record company. Motown had (has) some of the biggest superstar artists the world has ever known and they are still identified as Motown artists.
Don’t think so? Without Google tell me what record label Sting is on. Now, without Goggle tell me what record label Stevie Wonder is on.
Hell, name a record label besides Motown.
Motown was one of the greatest African-American business success stories. The company has a wonderful history of hiring African-Americans and has (yes, white people have always worked at Motown and still do) become the model for many companies of color even today.
I should have called Tammy.
There may have been something I could have said or found out what my COO’s issue with her was. Maybe there was a way around it. Maybe my COO was threatened by her. That may sound to you like paranoia but I assure you dear reader, paranoia runs wild in Hollywood and I’m not joking.
I’m convinced now; if we could have gotten Tammy to Motown I’m sure she would have been great.
A few days ago Tammy, who is always positive, posted on Facebook that she was having a bad day.
The moment I read that, it hit me like a brick what a terrible mistake I’d made more than a decade ago that I did not call Tammy. Over the last few years Tammy and I have become close. I have not seen her in, I don’t know how many years, but we reconnected on Facebook and I really value her friendship.
I have not thought about Tammy coming to Motown since it happened. Tammy and I have never even spoken about it but for some reason when I read she was having a bad day my mind went right there.
My mind went there and to the realization that there exist very few women of color in the comics industry.
Why I thought about Tammy and Motown now I have no idea. Why that led me to the lack of black women in the industry, again, no idea.
This I do know, having Tammy Brown run anything is a good idea. Having more black women in the industry is a good idea. If I ever get the chance to work with Tammy again I won’t make the same mistake twice.
As far as black women in the industry, I’m working on that. Why I haven’t been working on it before?
Like I said, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career but seldom do I make the same mistake twice.
Tammy, I’m sorry you were having a bad day. I’m sorry someone caused that for you. I leave you with these words of wisdom:
I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
– Noel Coward
You are the best Tammy. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 StaticShock. 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.
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.
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.
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??
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!”
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?
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.
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 5article 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.
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.
I’d make Hawkman black and call him Black Hawkman.
What do you think I’d do? I mean, duh.
I’d make GL black. His name will be John Stewart and his secret identity will be a talk show host.
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.
He would stay white too. Everyone knows black people don’t swim…duh.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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?
Hero for hire?
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…
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?
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.