Tagged: Business

Michael Davis: Be Careful What You Wish For… If You Suck

Ever see a movie or read a comic book that just sucked? Ever wonder how that god-awful piece of shit came to see the light of day?

I have. Not only have I wondered how something so terrible can get made, I’ve done stuff and wondered how in the hell I managed to pull it off something so bad and someone paid me for it.

I vowed never to make that mistake again, which is why all my current projects are at least two years in the making. I just signed a deal to write another novel and my first novel has yet to come out. I could write any book in three months but I’m smart enough (now) to take the long road when it comes to content. My latest book deal calls for me to deliver the first draft in a year. Do I need a year? Nope. Will I take the year? Yep.

I’ve learned the hard way that just because you can do a thing in five minutes does not mean you should do that thing in five minutes. Ask any woman, if you get my drift.

Some creative people do as much as they can as fast as they can for a variety of reasons, chief among those reasons, particularly for new creators, is money.

Money is the reason, in my humble opinion, that some new creative people find themselves with a wonderful opportunity and completely fuck it up. Case in point…

Some time ago someone called and told me of the sweetheart deal he had made with a major entertainment company. Frankly I was very surprised because the idea (in my opinion) was just horrible and all the work this person had done that I knew of was just not professional enough to warrant the sort of deal he was talking about. But what do I know?

I have no right what so ever to judge what anyone creates or what some company wants to pay for. My opinion as to what is published or made into a TV show or movie means nothing except to me in reality.

But… as a person who is in the position of green lighting projects for the various production and publishing companies, my opinion matters if you bring something to me. Even then I may not the final decision maker depending on the type of deal I’m in with what company. All that said, the project I’m talking about I would not pitch to anyone I have a relationship with. Besides, the person who has the project somehow secured a deal with a major player and they don’t need me anyhow.

The way the project is being handled it’s only a matter of time before the company writing the check will either pull funding or replace the creator who brought it to them. The project is ripe with production problems and personalities that will cause the funding company to bail or take away all the decision making from the creator who sold his rights to the funding company.

Why has this not happened already? Because the company writing the checks is new to the comic book business and they don’t know what’s bullshit and what’s not. But no one can keep up a smoke and mirror con job forever, eventually someone in the funding company will not give a fuck about the potential of the idea. They will start to wonder why the creator and his team have missed every deadline and call someone outside of the creator’s team to see what the fuck is up.

Sensing he was in trouble, the creator called me and asked me to be involved. I listened to the pitch because the company they had the deal with is huge. After the pitch I took a meeting with the team putting it together and realized that these guys were way out of their league. I explained to them where I saw real problems and cautioned them that the funding company would eventually see the same problems as I and grasp that the business plan and projections the creator and his team presented were unattainable at best and just bullshit at worst.

My comments were met with scorn and disbelief. Who was I to criticize them? They were the people with the deal. They were the people who were now in business with a major entertainment company. Who was I to rain on their parade?

I was the guy the entertainment company called a few weeks later and asked to take over the project.

I declined. It’s just too much trouble, I don’t have the time and working with the creator whose days are numbered would be a nightmare.

This really is a dream project for the creator and rather he listened to me or not I do so wish it works out. I hope that the funding company does not get to a point of no return and decide because they already spent X amount of money they have to publish to recoup at least some of that money back.

That, by the way, is one of the reasons you see shitty product in the entertainment marketplace. Corporate decides that although the product is shit someone will buy it and instead of losing one million dollars they lose nine hundred thousand.

I hope I’m wrong and as bad as the project is it does gang busters in sales. I hope if that happens and the creator is still involved with the project he will count his blessings and not make the same mistakes again.

I also hope for a threesome with Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie while Jennifer Lopez makes me a egg sandwich and Kim Kardashian feeds it to me. I think that has a better chance of happening.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Takes On The Fish… Again



MICHAEL DAVIS: The Greatest Story Never Told, Part 3

Portrait of former DC Comics publisher and pre...

Please read the last two week’s installments before reading this. Thanks!

What has gone before, quick and dirty recap… I’d sold (in my opinion) the second greatest idea in the history of comics to one of the greatest publishers in the business. It was to be written by one of the greatest writers (Dwayne McDuffie) with art by a guy (me) who was going to make sure this time he got it right.

All was right in the world. Except for one teensy little problem. The editor assigned to the project wanted to change one thing…


A few days after Jenette Kahn assigned the editor, Dwayne went to meet with him to map out the production schedule.  I was living in Los Angeles and the meeting was in the New York offices of DC. There really was no reason for me to be there. After the meeting Dwayne would call and fill me in.

I couldn’t wait for that call. In hindsight, yes, yes I could have.


Paramount Modifies Logo for its Centennial

One of the most iconic studio logos of all time is undergoing some modifications in time for the studio’s 100th anniversary celebration. It has withstood the test of time and certainly was brought to life during the opening moments of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Here’s the formal press release:

HOLLYWOOD, CA (December 14, 2011) – Paramount Pictures today unveiled a new company logo that commemorates the studio’s 100thAnniversary in show business. The new logo can be seen on the new Tom Cruise starrer, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL. The movie will open in IMAX and on other premium large format screens on Friday, December 16th and in theatres everywhere on December 21st.

The studio’s first logo, a symbol of a rugged, snow-covered peak from the Wasatch mountain range, was created in 1916. The 100th Anniversary logo was created by Devastudios, Inc.

Paramount will use the logo throughout its centennial year in 2012. Beginning in 2013, the wordingabout the 100th anniversary will be removed from the logo, with the rest of the design remaining in use.

Peter David’s New Novel Launches Crazy 8 Press

c8-final-logo1-300x247-3643009Crazy 8 Press exists because the founders — Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, Bob Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Aaron Rosenberg, and Howard Weinstein — have found selling their original works to mainstream publishers increasingly difficult. Illogical barriers have been erected and the website was conceived to directly connect the authors with the readers.

The concept was conceived by Friedman at last summer’s Shore Leave convention and now, a year later, the site is officially open for business this afternoon. Its initial offering is an original novel, The Camelot Papers, which is unrelated to David’s previous Camelot trilogy. The novel is available in all eBook formats in addition to Print on Demand.

At a launch panel Saturday at noon, the founders will outline their plans for the future, addressing issues such as frequency, backlist, and if non-member authors will be published through the site.  “It’s not a business,” Greenberger said. “It’s a consortium with a handshake binding friends together. Our goal is to have all our audiences come to one source to find our older and newer original works.”

To bring attention to the new operation and to raise much-needed funds for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the six authors will collaborate on a short story, written in shifts during the convention, based on an opening line supplied by a fan during Friday night’s Meet the Authors event.

Since most of the authors write for ComicMix, we’re particularly proud of their accomplishment.

Win a Copy of Transformers: The Japanese Collection – Headmasters

transformers_japanese-_headmasters-_product_shot-272x450-5803484Capitalizing on the popularity of Paramount Pictures’ third installment in the live action Transformers franchises, Shout! Factory is releasing the long-awaited Japanese animated series which we talked about previously. The DVD set is coming out on Tuesday and to celebrate, we have one copy to give away to a lucky fan.

All you have to do is give us your best educated guess what the total domestic box office revenue of Transformers: Dark of the Moon will be when the theaters close at the end of business on Monday, concluding the holiday weekend. We want your guess by 11:59 Monday evening and the winning tally will be based on the finals as released by our friends at Box Office Mojo on Tuesday.

Meantime, here’s a look back at The Transformers: The Japanese Collection — Headmasters. The four disc set will come complete with Original Japnese Audio, English Subtitles, and an Art Gallery.

Batman Artist Lew Sayre Schwartz Dead at 84

lew-detective-300x410-4944089Lew Sayre Schwartz, one of the lesser known Bob Kane ghosts on Batman, died on June 7 at age 84 after a fall according to his son, Andrew. Schwartz began working for Kane as a ghost in 1948 and remained the principal artist under Kane’s name on the Batman features in Batman and Detective Comics until 1953. Art historians believe he produced at least 120 stories during this period.

Kane signed a new deal with DC in 1948 and hired Schwartz to help handle the workload. Schwartz’s work began with penciling the stories, letting Kane do the actual Batman and Robin faces, then ink the lettered pages. Kane was understood to have made frequent changes to the artwork, altering the main heroic figures and secondary characters.

Without benefit of credits in the stories, art experts can usually identify Schwartz work given the detailed backgrounds and his frequent staging of the action that carried less impact than the ones Kane himself composed. Some, including Eddie Campbell, consider Schwartz one of the finest practitioners ever to work for Kane’s shop.

Schwartz toured Korea in the aftermath of the Korean War, visiting the troops and returned feeling he no longer wanted to draw comic book stories. After leaving Kane’s studio, Schwartz went on to teach at what is now known as the School for Visual Arts.  During this period, he also did ghosting work on several comic strips such as Secret Agent X-9 spelling artist Mel Graff, as well as several weeks of The Saint.

In 1961, Schwartz helped form Ferro, Mogubgub and Schwartz which produced live and animated commercials, earning the company four Emmy Awards and six Clio Awards. Schwartz began drawing storyboards and expanded his creative role over time. They may be best remembered for their animated title design work on Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 masterpiece Dr. Strangelove. Schwartz even went on to direct a Barbra Streisand television special. (more…)

National Graphic Novel Writing Month Day 21: Nobody Likes Ten Pages Of Talking Heads

National Graphic Novel Writing Month Day 21: Nobody Likes Ten Pages Of Talking Heads

Day 21, and I’m in hell. Let me give you my particular problem and share my pain with you.

The story for my graphic novel hinges on a bunch of financial manipulations. I’m doomed.

Why? Comics is a visual medium. That means the writer has to find a way to make the story visually interesting. I have to make a story about high finance discernable in pictures.

Is there a way to do this? Yes, there is– you show the characters, and you show them doing things. Show the impact of what’s going on. And as a writer, this means that you have to describe what you want to see on the page so that the artist can draw it.

I was lucky enough to take art classes with John Buscema when I was a young lad, and he would use his book How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way
as his textbook. There was one section that stuck with me, showing how to tell a scene with just two people in it dramatically.

First, the bland version:

And now the dramatic version: (more…)

#SDCC: Oh yeah, the Westboro Baptist Church… UPDATED

#SDCC: Oh yeah, the Westboro Baptist Church… UPDATED

There is a line from C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters: “The devil cannot abide to be mocked.” For some reason, I thought of it today as I contemplated the scene outside the San Diego Convention Center.

Yep, there were there, just as they said they’d be. Here’s a photo taken by Megan Phelps of the family business of a young relative Gabe…

…and here’s a pic of them in action. All four of them.

Now down the street were our people, in a photo snapped by Marc Bernardin:

A bunch of happy mutants yelling “My god has a hammer!” and calls and responses of “What do we want? “Gay sex!” “When do we want it?” “NOW!” The folks at ComicsAlliance have some very good pics of the counter-protestors, but my favorite was from wessgregg:

All I can say for the WBC is that it’s probably a good thing they protested today before the crowds got really large.

UPDATE: Rich Johnston has even more pictures and a great T-shirt.

‘Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion’: The Trials of Toushiro and Why I Watch, part 2

‘Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion’: The Trials of Toushiro and Why I Watch, part 2

For part 1 of this article, click here.

The Soul Reaper Academy (every society needs an academy – see Plato, Aristotle, Hogwarts), founded 1000+ years ago by Commander-General Yamamoto, graduated the youngest person to ever become a captain, Hitsugaya Toushiro. Serious in countenance, sharp of mind, fierce in battle, child-like in stature (brilliantly voiced by seiyuu Romi Park and by English voice actor Steve Staley), with spikey white hair and turquoise eyes that made him an outcast in his rural Rukongai district (where most souls live; the Sereitei, Court of Pure Souls, is for the shinigami and nobility), and thus a loner, he nonetheless mastered the strongest ice-based Zanpakutou ever in its full bankai form, Hyourinmaru (manifests as an ice dragon and a regal humanoid). He stands tall amongst the captains, despite his relative youth, respected and well loved. But his soul knows only hard work and justice, unlike those who had defected and nearly killed him and everything he loves. Toushiro, too, knows loss, and he and Ichigo had seen battle together and they are friends, though opposites: Toushiro the samurai dubbed a “snotty brat” by Ichigo who is…well…15. When we meet Toshiro in this story, he and his lieutenant, Matsumoto Rangiku (who’d discovered him in the Rukongai), and soldiers of Squad 10 are guarding the royal family and the magical artifact, the Ouin, when the entourage is attacked, the Ouin stolen. The forces suffer heavy losses and Toushiro is seriously wounded. He sees his masked attacker, who says, “You haven’t changed,” and thus knows him by voice and leaves his post to go after him.

When a law becomes unjust, it is our duty to defy it and rewrite it. Ichigo taught Captain Kuchiki Byakuya (Rukia’s noble brother by adoption) this during the ordeal of Rukia’s execution and Byakuya eventually thanked him for it. Our Founding Fathers and the revolutionaries before them who’d inspired them voiced such axioms, schooled in the classics back to Plato. The Japanese constitution is based upon ours, framed by MacArthur at the armistice after WWII. We share an ideal and thus Bleach speaks on both sides of the world. And like much Japanese literature, though it shows many fierce battles, it counsels that battles are to be avoided whenever possible between people of reason – a hallmark of Philosophy, Just War Theory (Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas). Ichigo gets all this because he’s the outsider of the Soul Society, 17th vs. 21st C. The others are slower to defy even seemingly unjust laws and decisions, finding injustice in their midst so hard to believe due to their resolve, their utter certainty that what they risk their lives to do every day is Good, that all life on both sides of the veil depends on them (think Sorkin’s Marines in A Few Good Men).