Category: Michael Davis

Michael Davis: Word On The Street, part 2

HUGGY COMICMIXIt’s been suggested my sense of humor can be silly, risky, risqué, downright ghetto and (on rare days) intelligent. Sure, I’ll buy that. It’s fair.

What exactly ghetto humor is depends on where you’re from, what you meant and who will laugh. I assure you, when I inject humor on a subject somebody somewhere is laughing. It may not be you or your circle of friends and family, but someone gets the joke.

The audience I’m aiming at gets it more times than not. I’m not interested in what those outside that audience think and that’s often the problem for some. The same goes for the matter-of-fact blunt way I speak my mind.  I’m often told my profanity is something I should work on.

I get it. I say and write things not funny to some people who also feel expressing myself without vulgarity is the way I should go. I’m from the hood. The hood took half of my family out. It was only by the grace of God and my mother Jean Davis, the inspiration for Static’s mom Jean Hawkins, that I made it out of the hood. My sister, Sharon Davis, the inspiration for Static’s sister Sharon Hawkins did not make it out and neither did my grandmother.

I still got a bit of a hood in me and will keep that bit in me till I die. I only go buck wild when it’s challenged in such a manner I feel it’s appropriate to let the other party know just who they are dealing with.

Making the rumor rounds now as to why I’m not with Milestone 2.0 are these two never failing Michael Davis major flaws – I’m too loud and brash to be a role model and those failings make me a business risk. The word is there is no place within the black household I’d be welcome and no one in business looking to invest some serious funding would ever consider me. I simply could not be vetted.

Really?

Simon and Schuster, one of the worlds biggest and most successful publishers, must have relied on Huggy Bear for my background information, because word on the street is they gave me my own imprint, the Action Files, which incidentally has been in the schools for 20+ years. What a massive screw up that must have been. To give me my own imprint and continue to publish the high interest, low level, conflict resolution comic book reading program I created for over 20 years.

Pearson Learning, perhaps the biggest educational publishing company in the world, must have jumped on that Huggy Bear bullshit also and then somehow they sucked in the world’s most powerhouse retailor because for the last couple of years you can get the books without the lesson plans and teachers guide on Amazon.

I’m still very much involved in the education market, co-venturing on series for the US Army and testing giant A.C.T among others. My new imprint Level Next published by Simon and Schuster and Karen Hunter Publishing will launch in 2016. The Guardian Line, a line of faith based comics I created distributed by mega publisher Urban Ministries Inc., the most powerful media company in the African-American home and church space, is celebrating its 10th year. I’m hard at work on the second wave universe, also for release in 2016.  I’m also in the music space producing groundbreaking projects with Hidden Beach Records, Wu Tang and Neyo.

When talking about levels and what is needed to be vetted at those higher levels I’m at a real lost. It simply cannot be that Simon Schuster, Urban Ministries, Pearson Learning, and quite few more (all I’m still in business with) are not good enough. No way the Black home and church, education and the music market isn’t big enough. So, whatever can be the basis for the new wave of reasons I’m not with Milestone 2.0? Must be the role model thing.

Funny, Bad Boy Studios, my self-funded completely free to students mentor program, has been recognized with proclamations from over a dozen cites. Mentor Magazine named me Mentor of the Year, and the Gordon Parks Academy is home to The Michael Davis Auditorium.

There’s a lot more, but what’s the point? What I’ve listed is more than enough to get me vetted anywhere. Anywhere except a place where my assets and attitude were once invaluable is now somehow invalid.

Word on the street is that’s all fucked up.

Michael Davis: We Were Friends

Dwayne McDuffieDwayne McDuffie and I were friends, good friends.

When he first came to LA from New York, I was the one who drove him around for weeks. He didn’t drive. Who does in New York? I took him shopping to the barbershop, comic book stores, wherever. If he needed to go somewhere, I was his ride.

His first Christmas in California, Dwayne was my date for director Bill Duke’s Christmas party. He and Bill became the center of the evening engaging in a conversation so riveting everyone – everyone – who went into Bill’s huge ass kitchen stayed and listened. In the African American community the kitchen is always the center of a holiday dinner, regardless if you live in a small apartment or a mansion.

This was something else beyond the holiday tradition. Dwayne and Bill were engaged in conversation that made black Hollywood stop put down the chicken and listen.

Black Hollywood giving that kind of attention to some guy they never met? Rare.

Putting down the chicken? If I didn’t see it for myself…

Dwayne McDuffie and I were not just friends. We partnered on projects after Milestone. We had projects at Dark Horse and DC. Here’s a kicker. I created those projects, and I brought Dwayne on to write them.

I sold DC President Jenette Kahn a limited series Keith Giffen called the greatest idea since Watchmen. Keith wanted to write it and I wanted Keith to do it but the more I talked to Jenette about the project it became clear to us both this was a Dwayne project if ever there was one.

I told Jenette I was going to ask Dwayne, she was overjoyed, as was I when he said it was a great idea and would write it.

All was good in the hood until the DC editor assigned to the project said “Love this… just not with Michael Davis.” Yeah, I get that a lot. The editor suggested DC buy me out. Dwayne told the editor it was my project and he was not doing it without me.

I took it to Dark Horse and sold it there. Mike Richardson and Dwayne went back and forth as to what the direction the series should take until Mike realized the historical backstory was the story he wanted told. Dwayne didn’t want to tell that story, although I did.

The beauty of Mike Richardson’s insight was the original superhero story was still a doable project. A few years later Dwayne took it back to DC and for a while it was a go, until it wasn’t. This was the when Dwayne was retooling the Milestone and DC relationship and there was real talk and excitement of Milestone entering the DCU.

The project was at one point considered the initial starting point of the combined universes. That Milestone reboot didn’t happen and although there was some movement on the project even after Dwayne passed, the New 52 prevented any further talks. DC was all about the New 52 and this did not fit.

It’s important to me to get these events into the public record because of the narrative forming that erases my contribution from Milestone’s history and left unchallenged that narrative will become truth to most. It’s only a matter of time before Dwayne McDuffie’s problem with Michael Davis bullshit makes its way to a black comics forum. All it takes is someone pointing out I didn’t attend his funeral for a senseless rumor to become a certainty to the sheep who live for such trivialness. After a million sheep blog it so, it becomes so.

I didn’t not attend his funeral, not because there was an issue between Dwayne and I but because I decided to stay with a friend who was asked not to attend. I stood by my friend, I always did.

Those who spread poison about me should understand by now I can prove each and everything I say and just as easily disprove what they say. I see things clearly beforehand because I’m smarter than they are.

They will simply look at this preempted strike as just another stroke of luck on my part.

I’ve been betrayed, stabbed in the back, lied to and about, I’m depressed, alone and if not for the kindness and love of some friends most likely I would be dead. Thinking I’m lucky makes “stupid” too polite a word to use on them.

The truth can be bought. The truth can be killed. The truth can be jailed, silenced, controlled, and changed.

However, I can not be brought, I’ve been jailed, I won’t be silenced nor controlled. Unless you kill me the truth can be proven. I keep everything, forget nothing, and fear nobody.

The day before he died, Dwayne emailed me. He wanted me to see the prototype of the adult Static action figure. Keeping in touch with an enemy especially from your hospital bed isn’t something people do. They do that for friends.

Ain’t that the truth?

 

Michael Davis, The Nigga You Love To Hate

comicmixxx“I heard payback’s a motherfucking nigga, that’s why I’m sick of getting treated like a goddamn stepchild, Fuck a punk cause I ain’t him.” • Ice Cube, The Nigga You Love To Hate

The truth will set you free.

As a African American man, my truth is not unlike the action toys I once collected with such gusto. To really enjoy both an action figure and truth I must purchase additional accessories

Truth can be bought. Truth can be killed. Truth can be jailed, silenced, controlled, and changed.

Truth with proof is the only truth that matters most times. That’s most times.

Not to long ago I was arrested after two drunken white people attacked me and I defended my self. It’s on tape. The Los Angeles D.A.’s office didn’t even look at the tape.

They wanted to go to trial even though 18 people in some way supported my story yet only two backed my attacker’s story and those two were my attackers.

Black men (and increasingly more black women) have been targeted long before the current crop of videos that show some cops think so little of black lives. Even when there is a videotape, public outrage on the net and the media in general, even then, it may not matter.

How many millions of people saw what the police did to an unarmed black man for daring to tell them he was tired of being harassed? Eric Gardner was murdered and no matter how many FOX News reports slant that to fit their racist agenda that man was murdered. For as long as I remember, black people have shouted “the truth shall set you free” as if the very words have power.

Truth set nobody free but his murderers.

This sort of occurrence is rare, not as rare as white America thinks but rare. I use it only as an example of how truth can be manipulated to be something other than simply truth. I make no comparisons between others and myself as admittedly, Eric Gardner’s tragic story is much more severe and important than anyone or mine I reference.

The truth is not just what you say is, it’s what others say isn’t.

Almost half a million people have viewed “The History Of Static Shock” on the Variant web site. Almost a year before the Static was a live action show or Milestone 2.0 was announced, I contacted Variant and asked them to changed the credits to “Static Shock was created by Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle and Michael Davis.”

I wrote articles, emails, and Facebook messages. As of July 2015 nothing has been done. I had no idea the show was going to happen, I thought I’d be a part of M2.0 but had no idea when we were going to announce, I just knew that piece was going to be trouble for me, and like always, I was right.

I’ve always looked at truth as a fact that can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

That last line stands repeating. The truth is a fact that can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, having proof isn’t the power play the power play is patience. Patience, my friends, is what most who dismiss me believe I don’t have because I’m loud.

Patience is why many think I’m lucky not smart.

I can prove without a shadow of a doubt I asked Variant to change the Static video before it hurt my business. They didn’t, it did. They most likely paid no attention to me because I’m loud.

Bad, bad, move.

There, hidden in plain site, is the reason I am not a partner in Milestone 2.0. Milestone 2.0 the company I named and have been trying to bring to life since 2000. Patience, the power that allows me to endure the last seven months of M2.0 bias spin.

I wrote of my support of M2.0. I wrote how the change in the infrastructure caused a change in my ability to be apart of M2.0. I wrote how I was not going to be involved in another black-on-black war.

All true, although incomplete. What was also true was the only one talking was me.

I didn’t want to talk. I made it clear to M2.0 I wanted a statement issued that would answer the questions I knew were coming. I just wanted to be left alone, left out of the storm I knew was coming.

I was told a statement was forthcoming. Nope. No, it wasn’t.

I wrote to Denys, Derek, and Reggie and have written to them regularly since the day the news dropped around the world unveiling M2.0

To this day, I’ve been ignored, completely or dismissed as a joke in any M2.0, interview, or panel, and although I reached out time and time and time again to my former partners, I have gotten not one response from any of them via email. Reggie was kind enough (no joke or sarcasm) to return a text I sent him, apologizing for a horrendous message I left him. Denys and I have spoken on two occasions in almost eight months since the bomb dropped.

However, as of this writing, no email I’ve sent has been returned, although one wasn’t completely ignored. In yet another attempt to build a bridge between us I wrote a M2.0 panel description for the SDCC program book: Milestone 2.0: The Return Of The Mack.

They used the description, yet I received no email thanking me. I was responsible for every single Milestone panel, party, event, and hype at SDCC since Milestone folded and over the last four years, I’ve been on a tear.

From the Comic Book Resources article Milestone 2.0 Promises, New Static, Icon & More:

Racialicious editor-at-large Arturo Garcia asked if the new stories would be a reboot and asked about statements made by co-founder Michael Davis at his black Panel previously in the convention, saying that his Milestone legacy had been “glossed over.”

“Some of the mythos and storylines, things that we did before, will resonate in what we’re doing now, but it’s a reboot,” Cowan replied. “It’s a new environment. It’s the Dakota Universe; it’s updated, juiced up. There’s new characters, old characters, there’s a lot of stuff. As far as Static Shock is concerned, Michael’s awesome, but the thing with Static Shock, there were five people in that room when Static Shock was created, very simple. We all contributed to Static, we all had something to say about him, we all jammed on Static just like the rest of the other characters. Any time you see ‘Static Shock’ on the screen, you will see credits. Do you know what those credits say? Michael Davis. Denys Cowan. Dwayne McDuffie. Derek Dingle. Every time. No one has been denied credit for anything. Let’s look at the facts.

That’s just laughable, but since we’ve on that, why has there been no attempt to give that, “five guys in room” explanation to any other Milestone character, none of which I’m credited with most places?

Robert Washington, John Paul Leon, and Dwayne are overwhelmingly credited with the creation of Static. Look at any Static Shock press release over the last year where’s my name? Denys has gone on record saying who was the driving force behind each book. Dwayne, Icon, Denys, Hardware, Static, me.

YES! There were five guys in the room when the superhero Static was born.

YES! A team came up with a black teenage superhero modeled after Spider-Man with static electricity powers! YES! A team came up with Static! YES! There is no ‘I’ in team!

But the guy who created the Static universe, friends, family, attitude and swagger that makes up who and what Vigil Hawkins is? That guy did that by himself when he wrote the Static bible all by himself.

I know! I know! I was part of a team! There is no ‘I’ in team! But…there is a ‘m’ and ‘e’ that spells me.

There has been movement and I do notice my name is appearing more but that’s because of my efforts and the efforts of those who see an injustice happening.

That’s a verifiable fact.

You want to look at some other facts? Fine, lets do that.

  1. Any and all actions I’ve taken regarding Milestone over the last 15 and with the last four years particularly, were undertaken to bring Milestone back to life. Again, I was responsible for every single Milestone panel, party, event, and hype at SDCC since Milestone folded.
  2. I was never told I was not to be a part of M2.0. I was just left out.
  3. The day I found out I cried like a little girl to each and every M2.0 member.
  4. No one has ever expressed anything in writing nor was I told anything of substance when I asked why I was left out.

All of the above are verifiable.

They may think what they did and why they are doing is the right thing to do. But when someone says “Let’s look at the facts,” that implies someone is lying, in this instance that someone is me. I gather M2.0 sees me as a problem. I wasn’t, they made me one.

I don’t want war all I want is, kindness and fairness. I know what’s being said and to whom and I could care less. I have no desire to be part of M2.0 because they don’t want me. My contributions and efforts over the last four years were embraced then without a word to me ignored and discounted. I was called crazy and dismissed at the Milestone 2.0 panel at SDCC. I was devastated when the world knew when I did I was not a part of a Milestone 2.0.

Nothing above makes me a problem.

Sometimes harsh in anger, sometimes begging trough tears so thick I couldn’t see, I put out my hand and still not one act of kindness was I shown.

That’s why I’m a problem.

Next: Reasons To Be Fearful Are Three

 

 

 

Michael Davis: You

maxresdefault copy1You are an actress. You’re an actor. You’re a singer, a dancer, model, novelist, journalist cartoonist, illustrator, photographer, or designer.

You are an artist.

You’re not just any run in the mill artist. You are a badass mofo, the absolute real deal. You’re a phenomenal talent and everyone knows it. Your family and friends, producers and editors, creative and stage directors, publishers and choreographers, marvel at your talent.

You know it’s going to be a hard climb. It’s hard to make it as an artist, any kind of artist. That’s not really a concern because you have the goods. Your Academy Award is assured. Amazon won’t be able to keep up with orders on your first novel. Your single will break iTunes.

Your peers are jealous. They talk about you, spread rumors, and take any opportunity to dismiss your genius. Some who’ve been in the game longer than you, offer council. Before you know it, your circle is full of like-minded people who have your best interest at heart.

It’s certainly hard to get your foot in the door, but you do it. Before you know it, you score an assignment from Marvel. It’s just a fill-in, but its real. It’s all down hill from there. The first day of shooting you have a little run in with the director. No biggie, he needed to understand your point of view and now he does.

It’s obvious the massive amount of notes given were guidelines, not direction. They sought you out for your voice and this is your novel after all.

What is the problem with your boyfriend? He knows the head of Sony. What’s the big deal? Why can’t he simply introduce you? You’re what they are so looking for. Is your girlfriend crazy? She thinks a mention and a plug of your latest article by a well-known editor is a good thing. You know that “mention” and “plug” is all bullshit an attempt to screw you over.

Man, are you tired of people not listening to you when it’s obvious you know what you are talking about. You didn’t need to meet any music producer the day you encountered a nice looking guy who brought you drinks and said he was a movie director.

Your boyfriend can hook that music producer meeting up any day.

So what if it’s the second time you’ve done that. He’ll get over it. You didn’t flake nor did you lie, you simply changed your mind.

Man, is that bitch crazy or what? You can certainly do a boys weekend in Vegas and meet your deadline Tuesday. It’s a 22-page story you have three, almost three pages done and all day and night Monday to do it.

She’s always bitching.

It doesn’t matter if your friend gets a movie; it has nothing to do with you.

Oh, yes it does. You’re much more talented than she is.

You don’t ask a powerful publicist to pitch you especially if she doesn’t represent you.

She reps your girlfriend and it will only take her two seconds. What’s the big deal?

Seeking funding for your production? There’s a procedure you have to follow.

Why? Why can’t they just give you the money?

Just because something’s done a certain way doesn’t mean it can’t be done another way. Don’t you dare listen to him when he say’s you’re not ready for primetime.

You have all the talent in the world, you really do. He’s an idiot when he said that talent, without professionalism, doesn’t mean shit in this business.

He’s full of himself, and his ‘everybody’ example was just ignorant.

Everybody was the best actor, writer, or singer back at Whatever Happened To High School. In entertainment, you need people around that will tell you the truth, not hangers-on who have not done a thing for your career but keep promising they will. “They won’t and you know why? They can’t. They can’t do a motherfucking thing; they have no connections, no power, and no scruples. Posers all.

Just because someone is super-successful and gets paid handsomely for advice they give you for free, does not mean you have to listen.

You keep doing things the way you do things. Don’t listen to anyone’s advice You know better. You are better.

You’re a star and one day all your years and years of shortcuts will pay off!

 

Michael Davis: May 23, 1994

don thompsonMay 23, 1994.

My wife (now ex) came home to find me wailing like a wounded animal. Seeing this started her crying also, convinced yet another tragedy had taken yet another member of my family.

She was right.

Lots Of Years Earlier…

That was my first day on my first job and I was looking forward to my first paycheck. I’d never had that kind of bank all at once. This was to be a day of firsts, after I’d gotten my scratch; I was going to shop at my first bookstore. The 8th Street Bookstore in New York City to be exact. My visit there would see me purchase my first hard cover book as this was the first time I saw value in one thing as opposed to many things.

My first paycheck, my first visit to a bookstore to buy my first hardcover book and the first time I saw value in one thing as opposed to many things?

You’re thinking I was either:

  1. Really stupid
  2. An illiterate adult
  3. A really stupid illiterate adult
  4. All of the above

It’s E, none of the above. Why is E not listed? Why’d you think it had to be one of those? Yeah, right.

I was 10. I said it was a lot of year’s earlier, sheesh.

This was the first day I was going to work in my cousin’s studio. My cousin, William T. Williams, is one of the 20th and now 21st century finest artists. Don’t take my word for it; Goggle him or check out the Janson History Of Art for the last 20 years or so.

I was going to work every Saturday at my cousin’s studio because I’d shown an interest in art. But the real reason is my mother and cousin had cooked this up to keep my ass off the mean streets of Rockaway Queens during the weekends and summer.

I was told I would get paid at the end of my day, a day I spent learning how to carry a painting. Trust me, it not as easy as you think, especially when some of the paintings were twice as big as me.

My cousin handed me my day’s wages and I made a huge mistake when I took the money. It taught me one of many lessons I’ve learned from him – but that’s another story. The moment I had that $10 bucks in my greedy little hands, visions of dozens of new comic books danced in my head.

That was the most money I’ve ever had at one time and nothing was going to stop me from overdosing on candy which I’m sure would include Black Cows, Now & Laters, Mike & Ike’s, Red Hots and Blow Pops. Yeah, back in the day they knew how to name the stuff that one day we would regret ever eating…not!

My plan was to binge on all that sugar love while reading my 50 or so new comics I was sure I could now afford. My cousin suggested we visit a bookstore with my newfound wealth.

“They got comic books?”

“I’m sure they do.”

That’s all I needed to know. On the way he asked if comics were the only books I buy. Nope, in fact I’d just brought my first paperback, 101 Elephant Jokes, a paperback costing an entire 25 cents, so there.

The 8th Street Bookstore did have comics but they were unlike any I’d ever seen before. The Furry Freak Brothers and Fritz The Cat captured my attention because there were a lot of naked people (and cats) having sex in black and white. For a moment I couldn’t care less that there was no Batman, Avengers, Spider-Man and the like. When I was told I was too young to buy them, all I wanted was to get the hell out of dodge, quick, fast and in a hurry.

Then I saw it!

I saw it and after finding the color section within this hard cover goldmine, I had to buy it, but there was wee bit of a problem. All In Color For A Dime cost $11.95, which was more than the $10 bucks my cousin had paid me for working in his studio. There was another problem, if I somehow managed to get the other $1.95 that left no comic book or Black Cow money. When my cousin handed me the two bucks I completely forgot about the candy and the comics, I can’t explain it but I just had to have that book.

Imagine what kind of impact that must have had on me. 10 years old giving up comics & candy for a book costing all the money I had in the world.

Almost Two Decades Later:

Yet another first, I find my “dad” when Don Thompson comes into my life.

It was also the first time I totally lost it upon meeting someone. I squealed like a little girl when I met Don at the old Chicago Comicon with his wonderful wife Maggie.

Maggie, bless her heart, reassured me it’s all right as I could not stop apologizing for my enthusiasm and downright giddiness. Don, along with Dick Lupoff, were the masterminds behind All In Color For a Dime, so to me, he was a god.

I’d spent countless hours reading All In Color and it became and still is one of my most prized possessions. Somehow, at 10 years of age I knew that book would change my life. When I met Don and Maggie, who at the time were the editors of the weekly The Comics Buyer’s Guide (CBG), I knew they would also. CBG was their baby, they were more than the editors and the face of the publication, they were its the heart and soul.

Those two wonderful people became two of my most cherished friends, valued advisors and are directly responsible for my writing career, which has lead to my own imprint among other things. Picture This was the name of the weekly column I wrote for CBG starting way back in 1989 or 90 (I think) don’t quote me on that but I know I started before Peter David.

Peter’s column, But I Digress, went on to become a must read for the entire industry and is considered the gold standard of weekly comic book opinion columns. Nobody even remembers Picture This (PT) and even I can’t recall what the other column name I wrote under before or after PT at CBG.

Forget This, does seem really close.

But I digress…

Don & Maggie, along with their kids Steven and Valerie became like a family I never knew I had. Every big move I made in comics I’d seek council from Don and Maggie. When they met me I had just began working in comics. Before comics I was a full time illustrator, my comics industry involvement was pretty much hanging around with Denys Cowan at conventions and comic book stores.

Someone must have spiked Mark Nevelow’s Diet Coke or had blackmail photos of him because Mark, the editor and supreme overlord at DC’s groundbreaking new imprint Piranha Press, gave me the assignment to illustrate ETC, the first offering from Piranha.

I had hit the big time and just knew after ETC, the comics’ world would bow at my feet. I would show these ‘artists’ just how to do a painted comic book!

Err, nope. Did not work out that way. The reviews were mixed; when they were good they were great. One reviewer wrote that ETC was ‘”one of few books which deserved the deluxe format and the price.” Like I said, when they were good they were great. When they were bad, ouch. Well, I knew CBG would have a positive review.

Err, nope.

Don Thompson wrote a review handing me my ass.

That broke my heart and he knew it. He spent a couple of hours on the phone with me explaining what was right (very little) and what was wrong (that took the two hours) with the book. After talking to him I was a much better artist.

Maggie on the other hands dismissed ETC entirely. That dismissal was not a grueling review but a personal insight she shared with me. “Michael, there will be other comics, that’s not what’s needed in this industry. What’s needed is your mentor program. What’s needed is what you’re doing there.” Don co-signed soon after, adding to a growing library of wonderful advice I’ll never forget.

If not for those two, my Bad Boys Studio (before Diddy) Mentor program may have ceased to exist. I was looking for more time to do comics and cutting that was looking pretty smart until Maggie and Don set me straight.

Before I accepted the position of President/CEO of Motown Animation & Filmworks I once again sort council from Don and Maggie. I flew to Iola Wisconsin (population 0 black folk) and spent a wonderful day with my “mom & dad.” It would be the last time I’d see my adoptive father.

May 23, 1994.

My wife (still now ex) came home to find me wailing like a wounded animal. Seeing this, started her crying also, convinced yet another tragedy had taken yet another member of my family.

She was right; the news that Don had died destroyed me for a few days. I’ve seen a lot of death in my life and when it happens I cry. Sometimes I sob so uncontrollably I’m amazed it ever stops. There are those who think men crying are a sign of weakness. Where I’m from, any black man crying is branded a little bitch or worse.

Whatever.

I cry for those I love. I cry for those I need but lose or leave. I cry when people I love hurt me. The day I had to leave Milestone 2.0 I cried. Like a little bitch I cried. I have no pride when it comes to pain in my life so I cry. If I didn’t cry I’d be the crazy motherbadsword some people think I am. Don’t get me wrong; I am a crazy motherbadword but only to those who come at me with malice and cruelty.

There was no malice and cruelty intended by M2.0. Yes, I was hurt and I cried over the lost of a dream. A dream I worked towards only to see it realized then fade away then vanish. People all over the industry are still waiting for the war I’m going to bring. News flash: I don’t live a life where I have to avoid something or someone for fear of a lawsuit or fear of losing face.

When things go south in my life I always (after pricing hit men) reach out to those whom I’m having the problem with. Especially if there was once love there. That’s a lesson many in the black entertainment space should learn. Often when I’ve reached out, I’m ignored.

What have I done when ignored? If for whatever reason those at odds with me refuse to even acknowledge me, then I move on, I leave it alone. Those who have squandered their chance to be kind and civil will one-day regret it. That’s not bravado, that’s the truth. The truth is those who create but don’t face the problem are always, always the worse for it.

Karma, my dear friends, Karma can be a real badword.

Don Thompson broke my heart with that review. It really wasn’t even the review, it was my hero, my ‘dad’ crushing me, that is what hurt most of all. I can’t comprehend on any level reaching out to Don after that heartbreak and Don ignoring me. He wouldn’t and neither would Maggie. I was thinking just that about Don on the eve of the 21st anniversary of his death.

March 23, 1994, that’s when I wanted my article on Don to run but couldn’t finish it. Thinking about him with all the badword I’m dealing with brought a new wave of sadness followed by a torrent of tears. Then, I was just angry. Angry at the last two years of my life, angry at Don for leaving but most of all angry with myself.

Indeed, I felt the most anger towards myself. Considering a final solution to my world of pain that I’m sure Don would find deplorable made me angrier and once I had that thought about Don an abundance of fury was undone as I imagined disappointing the rest of my departed family.

I was ashamed and my humiliation fueled my anger and I certainly couldn’t write about my “dad” angry. So I waited and wrote other things where my anger would be better served. I returned to this remembrance in the middle of the night weeks later, hoping I’d be able to finish my tribute and pay my respect to Don’s memory.

And I will. Don is still helping me. His light is still guiding me, his council easing some of my pain and some of my anger. I knew this for sure when Maggie tweeted me at the exact time I’d just written her name.

My regular readers will notice “badwords” instead of my usual bad words. That’s because there’s a pretty good chance Maggie may show this to some people who don’t know me. Like any good son I’d like to make mom proud. The knowledge she has a black son will likely be shock enough profanity would be too much. ;)

I love you, mom, more than any words I can say. I miss Don more than any words I could write.

 

Michael Davis: The Problem With Jaden

Jaden Smith

With the possible exception of the Black Panther, no other black franchise has garnered as much “it’s going to be a major movie or TV show” hype within the fan rumor mill than Static Shock. Finally the Black Panther is going to happen. As for Static Shock … kinda.

In 2018 the Black Panther movie will be released from what is now the best superhero moviemaker bar none, Marvel Studios. Static will make his way to the Internet as part of Warner Bros’ Digital arm later this year.

I find that rather disappointing.

More than any other black property, Static pretty much already owns the Internet. The massive amount of love Static has on the net is nothing short of extraordinary. In the 22 years since Static burst on the scene the admiration for the character has only grown and at no point shows signs of waiving.

That’s simply remarkable and considering the half of a half ass way Warner Bros. has “supported” the franchise. Unbelievable. I will concede, on one hand it makes perfect sense to exploit the immense allure Static enjoys on the net.

But…

On the other hand, Static is the only African American superhero with the overwhelming popularity created by African Americans and boy would it be nice to see him with a couple zillion dollars budget on the big screen or just a billion dollar budget on television.

Two white guys, Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan created Blade and I’m happy to say, Marv’s like family. I said as much to a sold out crowd at The Magic Johnson Theater on Blade’s opening night. When his name appeared in the credits, I could not control myself (story of my life). I leaped up and clapped like a maniac.

“What you clapping for?” Said a rather large black guy who was not amused at my outburst. Imagine that, someone pissed in a black theater over a loud outburst! Silly me, I should have remembered to only shout out during the movie.

“I know him.” I said, while eyeing the exits.

“Yeah? Is he a brother?” He retorted. Then I realized everybody black was now paying attention and except for a white girl some idiot had brought with him, everybody was black. Shit, I had to think fast…

“Yeah.” I said trying to sound hard. “He’s my brother.”

Big smile from the big guy and cheers from the audience. I sat down and my date put her arm around me. “Yo, white girl, what you doing?” I said as I took her arm from around my neck and whispered, “Hey, here’s some cash, take a cab back to my place.”

What?

Todd McFarlane created Spawn…Oh! Some of y’all didn’t know Spawn was black? Yep. Al Simmons, Todd’s black pal, was the real life inspiration for Al Simmons a.k.a. Spawn. I guess that means Spawn is no longer in the running for the Tea Party’s favorite comic book character.

Todd’s a friend, and as far as I know still white. Cyborg is another character from my brother Marv and George Pérez. George’s a great guy also a friend and he’s Latino. That’s close, but not black.

Luke Cage was created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr. Both white guys, both part of comic book, each a dear friend. Archie gave me my first professional job in comics and when I met John I quickly forgot how I planed to kidnap him and hold him until Marvel brought back Gwen Stacy, my second love after Laurie Partridge.

What??

So, I had a thing for white girls! Get over it. I did!

Archie died in 1998, leaving a comic book legacy that will stand forever. He’s still widely regarded as the best-loved comic book editor, ever.

Sabre was created by Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy. Both white guys … sort of. Don’s so cool he could be black.

Don means the world to me so much so I’d take a bullet for him. He’s a wonderful writer (one of the best) and just as wonderful a person. I’ve never met Paul but he’s on a very short list of artist I wanted to draw like at one time.

There’s a few more famous black superheroes but trust me all were created by white guys, the grand daddy of them all, the Black Panther having sprung from the two coolest white boys, nah, scratch that, the two coolest creators in comic book history, period.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Stan was and still is the man and Jack will always be the king. Stan and I used to have lunch a couple times a week. His office at Marvel productions a floor above mine at Showtime in the Westwood Los Angeles office tower at which both companies were housed. I became friends with Jack a few years before the king of comics left the building forever. Sad, sad day.

Unless one of those fantastic creators are hiding a past which includes a white sheet and a southern drawl, African Americans had no better friend in comics. Much like those in Hollywood who dared create movies and TV shows around black people that were not bellboys, slaves or servants these men fought our fight before we were allowed on the battlefield.

Imagine the sheer balls it took Columbia Pictures to green light and then distribute the ground braking film, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? That film, a love story about a black man and white women, is still not shown in certain parts of the south. Released in 1967 during the height of the C=civil rights movement more than a few death threats were issued.

Now, imagine its 1966 a year after the assassination of Malcolm X. There’s another side emerging from the civil rights movement. The Reverend Martin Luther King’s non-violent approach was being challenged by those who cultivated Malcolm’s original “by any means necessary” doctrine.

No group was more ready to go to war against there oppressors than the Black Panther Party.

With that as a back drop Stan and Jack create the Black Panther in 19stillhanganiggerincertainpartsofAmerica66. That takes the kind of balls reserved for those few men and women with a sense of purpose, a goal, and selfless heart.

In a very real way the sons of Stan and Jack created Static Shock. Co-created by my former Milestone Media partners and I a great deal of our inspiration was the Black Panther, Luke Cage and Stan and Gene Colan’s Falcon. As a kid seeing those Black superheroes I have no doubt they brought us where we are today, African American comic book creators.

Static Shock may not be as well known as those black heroes but without a doubt it’s the most well known black superhero created by black people. It’s time that black kids see fully what they are capable of.

Any positive black face on television or in a film is important but we all know people of color are still the stuff of, “wow there’s a black (fill in the blank)” or “the (ditto) now has a black (ditto, ditto).”

Shock and awe still accompany way too many occurrences in America when a person of color is placed in a station denied until then. Kids of color need for those occurrences to become as commonplace as images of the black thug, lazy welfare mom or absent father.

That, my friends is my long-winded reason I find a live action Static Shock debuting on the net rather disappointing. The most successful black superhero created by black people will be seen in media outlets where black kids have less access than any other group.

Not a whole lot of MacBooks in the hood. Hell, not a whole lot of any book or computers. If there is a computer the odds are it’s the family computer. Everyone having their own is about as realistic as Ted Cruz giving a fuck about poor people.

Why Warner Bros. Consumer Products never made Static Shock toys when the cartoon was a mega hit is just as curious to me as to why Static has never been a movie or why a live action version can’t be on television.

Speaking of the live action version, there’s been a pretty hot rumor flying around that Jaden Smith will be playing Static Shock. People are losing their damn minds, clearly hating on the kid because of his off screen antics or secondly saying he can’t act and he will kill the show.

Bullshit. Jaden Smith will do fine.

Reggie Hudlin is the show runner and a better person to spearhead Static I can’t think of. If Jaden sucked (he does not) there is no way he would have that gig, Will Smith or not, Reggie wouldn’t cast someone not right.

I’m amazed people who call themselves fans of Static want that kid to fail.

Newsflash, fan boys and girls. If he fails so does Static.

I know a bit about Static.

Trust me, I should know, I’m not just a co-creator I’m the lead creator having created the Static Universe as part of the Milestone Dakota Universe. Static’s world is based on life and family growing up.

Despite what you’ve read as few so-called entertainment “journalists” do any background vettes Static’s my baby. Funny, an entire lying myth has been created, a lie, based upon lazy journalism printed somewhere else and copied over and over has now become reality to most.

That “reality” doesn’t make it true.

I’m the lead creator of Static Shock. I based him on my family and my life. That’s the truth. A lie may prevent most from knowing but like global warming the truth won’t go away and neither will I.

Jaden Smith is a good actor his personal life doesn’t make him a bad actor.

That’s also the truth. Hating him for no other reason except his idiosyncrasies is the stuff of simpleminded fools. He’s not playing himself, he’s playing Virgil Hawkins, A role he was born to play, in my opinion.

The problem with Jaden isn’t his off screen antics or his haters. The problem is a great many kids he was created for won’t be able to see him until some genius at the WB realizes just how important Static is.

That may take another kind of Static.

 

Michael Davis: It’s Hard Out There For A Dick

I’m a dick.

Or more to the point, a lot of people think I’m a dick.

Most times I’m of a mind to simply dismiss those clearly inferior beings, loudly and with purpose. Not so many years ago, nothing made me happier than to double down when those who opposed me dared call my conduct uncouth or outrageous and labeled me among other things, a dick.

I didn’t start off with the intention of being a dick. I didn’t even start off trying to be in comics Oh, my greatest wish growing up in the hood was to be a comics artist.

Technically, my greatest wish was to stay alive but being a comic artist was RIGHT behind that. Well, technically it was right behind not getting hooked on drugs or getting a girl pregnant, oh and avoiding being shot.

Let’s just say this, after surviving my environment; becoming a comic book artist is all I wanted to do. That was my plan and that plan didn’t include becoming a dick.

Then my famous artist cousin had ‘the talk’ with me. “Michael.” Said my famous artist cousin; “If you become a cartoonist, you will starve and die.”

So, at the High School of Art & Design and the Pratt Institute I majored in illustration. My plan then was to become a big time illustrator.

That was my plan and that plan didn’t include becoming a dick either.

I can pinpoint the exact moment when I became said dick. (more…)

Michael Davis: The Cosmic Cube Revised: The Perfect Storm

This was originally written for ComicMix. The perfect storm of self doubt (Me??) my paranoid thoughts (yeah, that one fits) prompted me to send it to Bleeding Cool instead.

ComicMix has an article of mine sitting in its cue that’s been sitting there for weeks.

No doubt because of another perfect storm fueled by Murphy’s Law. Just one of those things I’m sure was no one’s fault.

When I saw it still wasn’t up today, my willingness to be THIS forthcoming evaporating like the last vapors of a meth pipe I pulled the trigger and sent it to Bleeding Cool instead of a kick ass article on Brotherman that will have to wait until next week.

As is my policy I don’t duplicate the same article for BC and CM but if something’s important enough to me I want it t be seen on both sites so I’ll go back and add or edit things accordingly.

I don’t see why this isn’t a common practice (is it?) attitudes and points of view change with the wind and if writers are honest and are given the chance why not go back in and write what the hours or days have brought since the original piece was written.

If by chance you’ve read this on Bleeding Cool, it’s the same article with added insight and perspective. I hope you give it a read also.

This story begins with me sitting on the floor of my bedroom. How long ago is really to chilling even for me to write so y’all will just have to use your imagination. After enduring yet another night of uncontrollable pain, fueled by severe insomnia, migraines and painful memories, I was convinced putting a bullet my head was the only way to stop the agony.

Not wanting to give up hope I started to pray. That will come as a surprise to many but I’m trying to get closer to God. Yeah, freaks me out also.

After praying for the usual, deliver me from etc, etc, I prayed for a Cosmic Cube.

Clearly I was desperate.

The Red Skull wielding the Cosmic Cube: Tales ...

The Red Skull wielding the Cosmic Cube: Tales of Suspense #80 (Aug. 1966). Cover art by Jack Kirby and Don Heck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those reading this not aware of what a Cosmic Cube, is allow me to enlighten you. Captain America first encountered the Cube when fighting the Red Skull back in the good old Lee and Kirby (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) days of the sixties.

You’re seen the cube, it’s the shiny, energy box thing in the Avengers and other Marvel movies. That’s a Cosmic Cube, although they call it some other silly ass name.

What does it do? Simple, the Cube can make anything real.

Yep, desperate.

When you’re in the kind of pain I was in it makes perfect sense to pray for something you know doesn’t exist but I wasn’t doing that. It does exist. I know, because I have one, or I did.

All I needed was a minute, hell, less than a minute with the cube and all would be right in my world. Throughout the day, no cube materialized. Nah no cube, I did however, have a gun.

(more…)

Michael Davis: Another Paige

paigeart1 peg copyDraft number one of this narrative was written not 24 hours after I met yet another amazing young lady named Paige. This draft is number 15, and at almost six months this is the longest it’s ever taken me to finish a single article.

More than two years ago, I wrote about a talented young artist whose name was also Paige.

It seems like yesterday when I met that Paige. A 14-year-old artist who so captivated me with her talent and self-possession at that young age, I wrote an entire article about her. The only other artists I’ve devoted entire articles to were Bill Sienkiewicz and Denys Cowan.

My editorial was a plea for Paige to consider comics and its related businesses as part of what will certainly be a fantastic career in art. She’s a woman, she’s black, and she’s an artist.

A Compton office for the Klan would not be as rare a combination in this industry.

What are the odds I’d meet two black girls named Paige? What are the odds that both Paige’s would be artists, beautiful, and brilliant young ladies? They even look a bit alike – although the Paige I recently met is much darker, they could fool a person or two into thinking they were related.

They have so much in common, share so much, and couldn’t be more different if one was born in outer space.

The original Paige’s story was one of a bright young artist without a care in the world. Her smile as bright as the sun, her story and future a happy one. This Paige’s story is not a happy one, her future is anyone’s guess and her smile is dim and sad.

I talk a lot of smack – some think my smack is spun hype. It’s not. Unfortunately, it’s my life. Those ‘boys in the hood’ survival stories are all true. I’ve survived some shit that people I’ve known for 30 years thought was smoke-and-mirror bluster to underscore my badass image.

Nope – all true. Where I grew up, threats to one’s life weren’t uncommon. Twice someone tried to kill me. I survived mostly by luck and a bit of street smarts.

Compared to Paige’s ordeal, my brushes with death now seem comical.

Paige was raped repeatedly for a week, brutally and without mercy, when she was eight years old. I’m sorry, there was no easy way for me to say that, lord knows I tried 14 times. The attacks were at her school and came from older kids Paige had to see every day.

I survived my brushes with death mostly by blind luck, a well-connected sister, and an incredible mother. I was helped and still just barely endured. Paige not only survived her hell, she beat the shit out of the devil in the process, and up until very recently did so on her own.

Paige, like her namesake, is a remarkable young lady. To be so young and so well put together is rare. Unfortunately, what happened to Paige is not nearly as rare. Most black women (yes, most) I know have had some type of sexual assault committed on their person. Paige fell hard into that category. A horrible and all too-common classification.

Paige’s horror, at the time, did have an uncommon distinction: kids raped her. Eight years later it’s not so uncommon. I can’t fathom in the least the nightmare her 8-year-old self lived. I’ve written about violence against women I’ve known much too often, and always at some point I rant about how I’d like to see the rapists suffer.

I’d like to hope and pray for a time machine, confront those miserable little bastards before they reached the bathroom where the attacks took place, and erase them.

Fuck the space-time continuum.

But are the kids to blame? Yeah, they sure as hell are. I don’t give a damn how liberal I am, kids past a certain age know full well what’s right and what’s wrong. I will concede they most likely lacked the care other kids were afforded, having the misfortune of being born to worthless parents.

How I came to know Paige’s story is both humbling and empowering. Paige’s mom is producing a documentary film looking at the alarming amount of sexual assaults there are on America’s college campuses. For women of color, three out of five will be subject to the violence of rape.

For more than 20 years I’ve been involved in efforts to bring attention and ultimately end widespread violence against women. I prefer smaller venues like high schools and community centers. There’s an intimacy in a smaller setting that never fails to unite the audience. It also emboldens those to seek help or counsel in the midst of a supportive group.

On occasion, I’m lucky enough to do a large event that manages to produce the same kind of closeness. Such was the auction benefiting battered women that my dear friend and idol Harlan Ellison and I co-hosted at DragonCon in 1995. It was with that in mind I accepted a speaking engagement at a large event targeting a vast, ill-informed, and unsuspecting audience.

Think about this for a second – three out of five women of color confronted with violence on a college campus where they should expect to be safe. That’s unacceptable at any level for any woman, black, Asian, white, or fucking green. That should shock every parent of a young lady bound for college.

Before the event, I got to know Paige and we became close very quickly. I’m pretty sure Paige read some of my articles on women in my life. This year I’ve written reams about my mom Jean and my sister Sharon, the real life models for Jean and Sharon Hawkins, Static’s mom and sister. Late last year I wrote a series of articles about my beloved high school art teacher, Mrs. Darwin.

All of the articles deal with loss and pain. All of those incredible women met with untimely deaths – in the case of my sister and grandmother, violent ones. I’m convinced Paige was somehow moved by what I wrote and decided to share with me what she had not shared with anyone else.

“I’m not sure how to ease into this so I guess I will just go for it. It’s taking me a long time to be able to write let alone say these words. Nine years to be exact. Its affected me physically and most of all emotionally. I am not proud of how I used to handle what happened but this is the truth.” 

“When I was eight years old, I was raped by boys at my school. It went on everyday for an entire week.”

That’s how my young friend began her letter to me. The rest of the letter is a heart-wrenching description of her torment, which succeeds in doing what I thought impossible. Paige’s account succeeds in making me cry the moment I think of it.

I thought I was cried out from my year of death and betrayal. I thought wrong.

As of this writing, Paige has told her mom she was raped. Nonetheless, she has not shared with her mom what she shared with me and I’m not sharing it here. Trust me, you don’t want to know. I’m panicking some people with my constant balling and that includes myself.

This incredible young woman lived with this gargantuan nightmare by herself for 9 years. Not just any nine years, her childhood years. It’s hard to imagine what kind of strength that takes if you’re an adult, let alone a child.

I couldn’t do it. That kind of pain? Alone? No way. I’m nowhere near that strong. I’m nowhere near that magnanimous. At eight, Paige was afraid of what to do, ashamed of what happened and confused. As she got older, her choice became clear to her: to protect her mom from the realization that would (did) knock her off her feet as hard as a Mike Tyson right hook.

Why am I telling Paige’s story here?

Fate.

This from a guy who does not (did not) believe in fate, destiny, providence or any ‘outside force’ that dictates my life on a pre-ordained path.

I have no other way to describe the ‘why’ of this and yeah, I tried – 14 times before this, I tried. Thousands and thousands of words later, fate is as accurate a word to describe the chain of events as wet is to describe water. It’s my belief fate intervened and you, dear reader, are just the latest stop on its path.

Paige’s mom starts working on a film about women of color and the epidemic of sexual abuse on college campuses. She had no idea that Paige, at 17 about to enter college, was abused. Paige and her mom were godsends during my dark days dealing with my mom’s death. Paige confides in me, when I had no strength. None.

Yet somehow her trust in me gives me strength, not just for her, but also for me.

What are the odds?

After almost 10 years Paige is moved to unburden herself and thought her mom strong enough to handle it. She wasn’t, she was floored, understandably so. But as hard as her daughter’s revelation hit her, Paige’s decision to go public with her story uplifted her.

Yeah, Paige is going public with her story. Like I said, compared to Paige, I’m a little bitch.

I sent this article to my first Paige before it was published. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t exploiting her uplifting story to try and tell the heartrending story of her namesake. She would have to be okay with it or I would not mention her. The parallels and dissimilarities between the two Paige’s are remarkable and my take on the story would suffer for sure. I know, more than a few drafts taught me that.

She said yes, as I knew she would. She’s cool like that.

She was easy – my job was hard: write, then convince myself what I wrote was worthy of a young lady’s incredible act of selflessness and generosity. Fourteen drafts later, I felt I wasn’t even close. On top of that, I imagine many of you are wondering what the hell this story is doing on a pop culture site where the primary objective is to regale you with news of superheroes. that I’ve got covered: this story is of a superhero, or more accurately, it’s the continuing story of a superhero.

The two Paige’s are as different as night is from day and as similar as Clark Kent and Superman, because the two are the same person. Like Superman, Paige hid her secret identity from her friends and family to protect them. Deciding to fight the almost decade-long battle by herself.

Until now.

I first wrote about an incredible 14-year-old girl. Then I wrote about a scared 8-year-old child and the 17-year-old teenager. I’m sure I’ll be writing about Paige again – how could I not? She’s my superhero.

All that’s missing is her Invisible Jet.

Or… is it?

 

Michael Davis: A Comic Book Tale – The Director’s Cut

Fair warning: this one is long and a bit sappy. I would, however consider it a personal favor if you would give it a read and send me a hug.

I need one.

OK, another version of this article will be appearing on Bleeding Cool but this is the Mike Gold special edition, chock full of what’s not in the BC article.

A week or so ago I was writing the fuck you article to beat all fuck you articles. You would think with the year I’m having, I’d be ranting away all the time but somehow that’s not been my aspiration. Nope. Some how I’ve avoided ranting anywhere but on Facebook. I don’t have a lot of Facebook friends as I choose to police my page like Ferguson P.D. so anyone I don’t know, I shoot down their friend request like a unarmed black kid.

Even there, I’m not as rant crazy as I was once. Lately I’ve just been sad, very sad and no one wants to read that so my articles have been, well, tame. I’ve been tame where I write and sad where I live.

Then I read the comedy stylings of Kevin Maher and it was on. Man, I’m writing what I think will be my rant masterpiece. I’m so pissed at this guy’s Esquire article I could scream. Except, I don’t really feel like screaming.

What, in the world of fuck, is wrong with me?

All, it seems, of my fire and brimstone, righteous, (or not even) indignation and could give a flying fuck attitude are gone. The Facebook rants? Those are like an exhibition game; as such, they don’t count.

As I did with my Spider-Woman – Milo Manara drew her ass is up in the air, so Marvel thinks girls are sluts – article I was going to wait to put both feet in the ass of Mr. Maher after everyone else had their moment. I wait because the comics industry still does not get it. This guy blasts the industry and what does the industry do?

They agree and tweets about it.

In case you’ve not aware, he thinks comics are just the lowest form of shit and Hollywood should treat them as such. He didn’t say that exactly but it was real close.

That was the start of the article. I went to town. Then Mike Gold sent me an email, just asking how I was. Out of the blue he did the one thing I needed at the exact time I needed it.

That’s when I needed to stop what I was writing and write this…

A True Story

My mother threw out a very good-condition copy of Superman #1.

She did not throw out the copy of John Byrne’s Superman #1; I did that after I met John. He turned out to be a dick. I kid! I joke! John has always been nice to me, although each time I see him I have to explain to him I’m not Denys Cowan.

It wasn’t John’s Superman or any of the who-knows-how-many #1’s and reboots the Man Of Steel has had. This was the granddaddy of the Superman #1’s. My mother threw out Superman #1 from 1939.

This, as it says above, I assure you, is an absolutely true story.

My mother Jean Davis, the inspiration for Static’s mom Jean Hawkins, was an incredible woman.

Raising my sister Sharon and me in what is considered one of the worst housing projects in New York City would have been a superhuman task for a full-time stay-at-home mom, even with support from a father.

A father? In the projects? You’d have more luck finding a black, gay ex-marine pastor at the Westboro Baptist Church. There was no father in my house. I knew one family with a dad, they were the Harrison’s – they were strange.

By herself, my mother was working seven days and two jobs to get us out of there.

She and the other single mothers in the hood were bona fide Superwomen. They knew well the one rule that may keep your kids alive in a crime-infested community: keep them off the streets.

One thing above all kept me off the streets: comic books.

“I don’t think so.”

That, in my most grown-up serious way, was what I said to my then-best friend Julian Butler. That was the very day I became a playa in the comic book world.

Julian wanted me to trade him my favorite comic book ever, Fantastic Four #73, guest-starring Thor, Spider-Man, and Daredevil, for a Batman comic that featured Batgirl.

This was a big deal because Batgirl was on the Batman TV show and this book was something everyone coveted. No way anybody would have traded that book except for something so cool you couldn’t resist.

That was Fantastic Four #73. The same FF #73 I almost broke a bully named Ronnie Williams’ back for. That’s another absolutely true story I wrote about some time ago. That should tell you how important that comic was to me.

Nowadays, characters show up in each other’s books so often you forget which book you’re reading. Not so back in my day – one guest star was a big deal, so imagine three, and the book was drawn by Jack Kirby. I was 10 years old and a huge comic book fan, and it’s all I thought I’d ever want in life.

Julian asked for FF#73 because he knew how badly I wanted that Batman comic. I did, but that wasn’t my real objective. My real objective was Fighting American, a another comic he had. This book was not put out by Marvel, but it was drawn by Jack Kirby in what looked like a new style. How could that be? All my comic book trading buddies could not believe weak-ass Harvey Comics was able to get Jack Kirby away from Marvel.

They didn’t. The book was a reprint of Fighting American stories drawn in the 50s by the King. But for all we knew, it was a new comic and new Kirby style. I wanted that book bad, and was willing to do what it took to get it.

And I got it, and I have my mother to thank for it.

“I’ll trade you FF#73 for Batman and Fighting American,” I said to Julian.

Fighting American was Julian’s favorite, Fantastic Four #73 was mine, and we both knew it. This deal was our AOL buys Time Warner, Disney buys Marvel – this was a deal no one ever thought would get done among my comic book pals. These two books were Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, and they weren’t going anywhere.

But, in a trade heard around the world (that world being P.S.105), we did it.

Julian traded me Fighting American and the Batman for FF#73.

That was the moment, even at 10 years old, I knew I would always get what I wanted in a comic book trade, all thanks to Jean. Yes, I called my mother Jean, it’s a black thing. That trade made me the Donald Trump of comics, at last claiming the best-trader title from my hated archenemy, Karl McKenzie.

From now on Karl would never stand a chance against me. He would fall just as Julian did because my mother told me the meaning of “ace in the hole.”

Earlier that day, my mother brought me home another copy of Fantastic Four #73 along with some other comics someone left at her nursing home job. I was going to give my copy to Julian, but she told me to trade it and not tell anyone about having two copies.

That brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, woman.

She knew how important my comic book collecting and trading were to me, and she helped with building my comic book empire. She became very interested in my hobby a few before, when she watched a news report about the comic she threw away, Superman #1.

The day I returned from spending the summer in Alabama, I made a beeline to my room looking for my prized possessions: Golden Age comics I had paid a cousin one dollar for. They included Captain Marvel, All-Flash, Superman, Daredevil, and a Justice Society.

I loved those books.

I looked everywhere for those comics only to discover my mother had thrown them out “because they were old.”

“Because they were old.”

I was devastated. Those books were irreplaceable, and at 10 I knew that. No 10-year-old should know what irreplaceable means. Knowing something you love is irreplaceable at 10 years old is a terrible cross to bear. My mother never really understood what those books meant to me. To her, they were just… old.

For months I was miserable and mad at my mother. One day we were watching the news when, during the broadcast, a report on how much Superman #1 sold for prompted my mother to ask me “How come you don’t have a comic like that?”

I said, “I did a comic like that, I had that comic.” My mother turned from the TV as quick as I’d ever seen anyone move. “What? You did? What happened to it??”

“You threw it away.”

She didn’t.

Superman #1 was not one of the Golden Age comics thrown away by my mother. I lied and didn’t feel one tiny weeny bit guilty. Over the years that became my get-out-of-jail free card for anything and everything. Anytime I needed some emotional ammo, I’d pull out the ol’ Superman #1 guilt.

I had every intention of telling her that it wasn’t Superman #1, but time ran out for me to do so when she died June 21st of last year. For three weeks my mom hung in there after having both her legs amputated due to a leg aneurysm, and I told her everything I could to keep her spirits up, saving the Superman story for when I really thought I would need it.

My mother Jean Davis was the real life inspiration for Jean Hawkins. Static’s mom had a great sense of humor and would have gotten a kick out of an almost 40-year old joke.

Joke’s on me. I waited too long.

The night before my mother died, she called me and left me a message telling me that I should let her go. She clearly knew I wanted her here. If I had not been asleep when she called, I’m sure I would have pulled out the Superman #1 guilt as a reason she couldn’t leave me. My mom would have gotten the irony and maybe stayed a while longer. When I got the phone call telling me she passed, I flashed back to packing up her apartment during the three weeks she tried, I’m absolutely sure for my sake, to stay on earth. The plan was to take her back to L.A. to live with me.

That was the plan, and as we all know, the best laid plans…

While going through a closet my childhood, which I thought I’d lost, hit me in the face. There, where I’d left and forgotten it 30 years ago, was my trunk. My trunk was a real WW II army footlocker given to me by my Uncle Red. I kept all my important possessions in there. I thought I’d lost it forever when a New York storage company sold the contents of my storage unit, in error.

I must have been a real asshole in my last life because karma is kicking my ass: I’ve lost the possessions I valued most three times. The things I own that I value most have no value to me monetarily, even if it’s a copy of Superman #2, which is the actual comic my mom threw away and must be worth, although I never checked, a great deal of money.

The value I assign to material things is always memories. Three times those things which preserved my strongest memories were lost to me.

The first time I’d felt that heartbreaking loss and despair was when my Golden Age books were thrown away. The second was when my complete Silver Age collection of Marvel and almost complete DC were, among other things, sold from that storage company. Sold because my credit card info was credited to another account. I found this out when I got a check from the storage for $123.00, which was what was leftover from the sale.

My collection was appraised in the high six figures. Because of a mistake, a near complete Marvel Silver age collection was gone, just like that. Most of the important books from DC’s silver age, including complete runs of the original Teen Titans, Doom Patrol and AGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Let’s just say some great shit was in there. That was in 2001, and that was the last time I set foot in the dealers’ room at the San Diego Comic Con. I can’t bring myself to see my remembrances hanging from a dealers wall.

I could care less about the monetary value – gone was most of my childhood and a great deal of my teenage and young adult years. My comics, school records, most of my artwork from when I was a kid, thru the High School Of Art & Design and Pratt Institute as well as tons of books, toys, and a great deal of my personal written history.

But with the discovery of my trunk, maybe some of my childhood could be salvaged.

It was.

Inside were about one hundred silver age books, including both Fighting American and Fantastic Four #73. How incredibly cool and just wonderful was this?

I forgot about the trunk again while planning my mother’s funeral. After the service I went back to L.A. I was in NYC for a month and there was nothing left for me to do until probate was done. I couldn’t go back to the apartment until I could prove I was legally able to remove my mother’s belongings.

Months passed and with each month I dreaded going back to Rochdale Village where my mother lived for 40 years. When the courts finally declared me her sole heir, NYC was hit by a blizzard and there was no way to get there, so I was unable to clear her apartment then. My second attempt was met with similar weather.

When I was ready for my third attempt, I’d managed to talk myself into a fairly decent place. After all, my mother was gone, but she left me a massive amount of love and would want me to try and be happy. Then, as if confirmation that she wanted me to try and be happy, I remembered waiting for me was a big slice of my childhood, secure in my trunk.

But it wasn’t waiting.

Once again the joke’s on me, and yet again everything thing I valued was gone.

Somehow Rochdale managed to evict my mother, treating her belongings as trash.

Seven months earlier, and every month since, management was made aware she was dead, I was her son and I gave them all manner of how to contact me.

They never contacted me, although I’d been in touch with them the entire time regarding the apartment. They were informed in writing, and I spoke to the management confirming my arrival each time in addition to the email.

Why?

Because I’m just fucking anal, nothing beats a paper trail, and just in case the other guy is an idiot. They evicted a dead woman, the other guy was.

Last year, my entire home flooded. State Farm, who I’ve paid for 20 years, filing only two small claims, one which was rejected, at first balked at my claim. Treating me as if it was my fault or my idea to flood my fucking home. After a month I got all up in their asses, then they paid.

Then they canceled my policy.

That was pretty bad but just the beginning of a series of unfortunate events that got worse from there. 2014 was the worst year of my life on a personal level – on the business side, could not have been better and that stopped exactly zero tears.

I start 2015 off with high hopes for a great year! This is the year a number of my long term projects will finally see the light of day.

So far in 2015, the agony that was Milestone 2.0, the end to a friendship I thought would never end, a betrayal of unimaginable scope, impending surgery and now my mother’s belongings thrown away like she meant nothing, have killed that high.

What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger? Who comes up with this shit??

This is now the longest article I’ve ever written and damn if I don’t feel a little better after having written it. Writing this comics tale has kept me off the street and kept alive, albeit bittersweet, memories of a good friend, good times, and a mother who outsmarted her smart ass kid every single time, save one, but I needed Superman’s help that one time.

Speaking of Superman, I know I said this was a true story and except, Superman #1 was actually #2 it was true.

Please forgive me if put off by my fib, I’ve had a rough year. ;)

Thanks Mike.