Tagged: Christopher Priest

Michael Davis’ Smoking Gun – A Series of Unfortunate Events

milestone-creators

This was written for Bleeding Cool and a version of it will appear there. I decided a while ago not to run the same article on both Bleeding Cool and ComicMix. Two different audiences is not the reason I write individual articles for each website. My voice remains the same regardless.

I write a different column for each because it’s an honor to write for each and both deserve an original effort from me. That is unless I happen upon a subject that I think is important enough to share on both.

Like… this one.

When I’m absent for lengthy periods of time, I feel it’s my responsibly to give you an explanation. I try to write what my readers will have a response to and not just what gets my goat. That doesn’t always work, but I do attempt to step back and breath a bit before committing words to iMac. So to that end; I have not written any articles in well over a month. Almost two. At times I wish I could, but I just can’t phone it in.

Writing a quick and dirty article using a trending subject the journalistic equivalent of the easy out isn’t my cup of coffee, tea or me. Although I held the standing high jump record in high school (in 1973 I set the high school standing high jump record at Beach Channel High School until another kid broke it about a minute and a half after I did), I don’t jump through hoops or on bandwagons.

Abhay Khosla’s response’ to my Why are we still complaining about Dan Didio article and some trollish posts took a second to bother me but finally it did, and I stepped back.

Some thought I’d gone too far when I wrote my response.

Did I go too far? Was my use of language over the line? Fuck no sir, I didn’t and it wasn’t. No one has a right to rewrite my words then pass it off as something serving their double-dealing purpose… a.k.a. Mrs. Donald Trump.

Also, just how upset I should be is not up for discussion.

Just when I thought it was safe to go back, another brick from the why me wall fell on my head when asked to comment on a Milestone story – specifically on a business item.

What appears to be a smoking gun regarding Milestone’s treatment of me has landed on Rich Johnston’s lap over at Bleeding Cool. How smoking? Jack Ruby’s smoldering .38 comes to mind, and when I saw it, I was beyond pissed. In comparison, what I told Mr. Khosla was how to get to Sesame Street. I set out to compose a tour of Elm Street with enough nightmares to keep my former friends and partners awake for decades.

Over & Done: Part 1, published on June 28th, then Over & Done: Part 2 Dr. Phil Brings Me Breakfast ran on July 6th here at ComicMix. The last segment (this one) complete with a massive Cilo Green fuck you and fuck him too would run in Bleeding Cool July 16. I’d also make it a topic for the Black Panel (TBP) at the San Diego Comic-Con that morning. Friday, July 16. was when I would settle all family business.

Another call and then some thoughts changed things. And just like that, it wasn’t a big deal at all. I’ll tell you why in a bit.

The document Rich has is the 2013 Milestone 2.0 overview/presentation package. I told Rich I’d seen that material. Nope, turns out I didn’t see the one Rich saw. I’m not included as part of Milestone 2.0, in this version of the package, but the three people with whom I started Milestone are. In other words, it appears my former partners decided back in 2013 I would not be involved.

By itself, that’s bad enough. But for years I continued to work toward a goal only to learn via the Washington Post I was not required to do any work because I was out. Did they set out to do something so despicable by design? That would be vile done to anyone but a friend? An unforgivable act of cruelty if ever there was one.

I’ve been called a fool for refusing to declare they used me almost four years on purpose. They still refuse to talk to me, which I think is both good and bad for them. It’s good because I cannot say with absolute certainty they planned this with malice and forethought. It’s bad because it’s a real dick move.

I hold out hope this may have been a series of unfortunate events. Perhaps a perfect storm of circumstances preventing each partner from telling me I was not going to make the team I’ve been working towards, most times alone for 15 years.

In a 2000 meeting with Bob Johnson at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. During that meeting, I was asked if I could “Create another Milestone.” Mr. Johnson was at the time head of Black Entertainment Television (BET). Although I had no obligation to bring anyone in that deal I ended up refusing to pull the trigger on a Milestone publishing imprint at BET because all the partners were not involved. I said to the partners at the time; “If not all of us, none of us.”

static_shockWhen I left Milestone in 1994, there was bad blood caused by an outright bullshit of a lie memo sent to Clarence Avant Chairman of Motown Records. Sent during my negotiations with Motown the memo (which I still have) and Mr. Avant still remembers stated I was forbidden to talk to Motown because I was exclusive to DC and Milestone.

Err, no.

Undoubtedly the memo could have derailed my negotiations, and that’s precisely what it was supposed to do. It didn’t only because I was smart enough to keep detailed records or everything sent me by DC and Milestone. Among those records were my creative release from both companies which by the way they wanted.

Man, was I pissed. But I got over it.

In my first official act as CEO of Motown Animation & Filmworks, I gave Milestone a Nintendo video game deal. Like I said: I got over it.

I spent thousands of hours and dollars on the rebirth of Milestone 2.0. I never thought about the money I could have spent elsewhere nor about the time I will never get back; the betrayal is what fucked me up. After what I’ve done for Milestone and the way they have been proven wrong during the 1994 fiasco as well as other events no doubt they hope I don’t recall, you would think they would embrace me.

Err, no.

Betraying a friend for any reason is an alien concept to me. Being able to sleep without guilt worth far more than dollars. A lifelong friend pointed out Judas couldn’t buy peace with his 30 pieces of silver. I added his chances of getting into heaven pretty slim as well, but he had a chance if he braced himself. “If you brace yourself…” Don’t get it? Ask a black person. Then brace yourself…

This made us both crack up with laughter. A laugh I needed more than I’ve ever needed any laugh.

Until that exchange, I’d spent months in agony, but thinking of Judas brought me some comfort. While I was dwelling on that, feeling a bit better, I realized with a start the signage I granted M2.0 on a major gallery exhibit would become part of their legacy, not mine. So much for Judas.

Bad Boys: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture, and Beyond was to be a retrospective show of my Bad Boy Studios and mentor program held at the world famous Geppi Entertainment Museum. I shifted the public narrative away from my studio to Milestone so we could announce our return at the opening. When interviewed while promoting the show I underscored Milestone was featured prominently but other creators and their influences were still the emphases. Hence Milestones is plural, not singular.

Nonetheless, so many of my students have done remarkable groundbreaking work with Milestone it was both a tribute to Milestone and Bad Boy Studios with one big exception I decided Bad Boys would not be part of the title.

I did this because Milestone failed to announce its return at our 20th-anniversary panel at SDCC. Although that decision made me angry, all was forgotten when surprised with an Inkpot Award at the panel.

The Milestone party I threw that evening celebrating our two decade birthday was pregnant with the promise of our high-minded possibilities. I decided right then my day in the sun could wait. Milestones was born from that pregnancy. It was a painless birth, a beautiful child. The pain would come four years later when the little bastard grew up and stabbed me in the back.

I did a massive amount of work for the venture, and everyone knew it/ Yet still, no one said I should stop. Many will find it surprising that I find it reasonable to assume this simply got away from my former boyz.

Doubtful but reasonable.

But why no word since? Because of this word… Lawsuit.

Why are they worried about that? Suing at this level is by no means cheap. It would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I have no doubt the partners at M2.0 have the bank. No way I could contend with the combined resources of those guys. That’s also been the rumor as to why I haven’t sued.

Nope, as we say in the hood, that ain’t it.

I’m no lawyer, but I have a cousin who is at one of the most influential and powerful law firms in the world. Not a distant cousin; she couldn’t be closer to me if she were my daughter. She’s been a character in novels I’ve written, a television show I created, a radio show I produced and every single comic book universe I’ve imagined. Even the Static Universe.

I call my cousin Captain Picard because if I wanted to sue she would make it so.

That’s funny, but it’s no joke.

Her fee? I’ve already paid it. When she was twelve, I sat through the film Betsy’s Wedding with her at the W. 4th St, theater in Greenwich Village. She owes me.

So why not battle this in court? Why won’t I sue? The same reason I didn’t sue the Hilton when thrown out of their hotel for uttering the words “lower Alabama.” There was no reason in the world good enough for the actions of a front desk manager and what they did to me is on tape.

I didn’t sue the Hilton because I’d much rather affect real change than just benefit myself. I was promised real change, and I take them at their word. I can’t talk to young kids of color and say money isn’t everything if I don’t have the strength of my convictions.

Yes, I’ll settle for the change. Let others take the cash.

I’m not suing the men who in a very real sense may hold the key to finally creating a dominant and sustainable black superhero impression for black kids from black creators. Besides it’s not in my nature to discount all good from those who do me bad. I still hold love for a former best friend and artist, past friend and director and once friend and partner.

Suing a former best friend saddens me beyond belief. The last thing any disheartened person needs is any additional misery. Unfortunately, I’m way beyond disheartened. I’ve been diagnosed with severe depression.

I was there the moment of creation. I, Michael Davis, co-signed one of the greatest moments in black pop culture and the biggest event in black comics history.

Michael Davis sues his former partners at Milestone will not be my legacy. I will not be another black man at odds with other black men. What was done to me fuels the “Nigger Business” argument, I don’t run on that gas so I won’t go there.

My mother said to me quite often “Just because your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” I would proudly say no I would not. So, no lawsuit. Someone has to set an example.

Somebody tell those boys not talking to me will stop a lawsuit like wishing on a star will make your dick bigger. On the other hand, some say because of what they did to me there are no bigger dicks in comics.

So why write any of this? I’m not suing, so why?

I need some closure.

You would think since I’ve danced around this in articles and forums for nearly two years Milestone would have talked to me and I’d have my closure. No. The last contact I had with Milestone, I was told a press release would be forthcoming to explain to the world I had decided to pursue other projects.

I asked them to do such because I did not want to deal with what I knew would follow: speculation, gossip and rumors which if left unchecked would become fact. I’ve fought that for years on Milestone’s behalf. I was the only one fighting that fight. No other partner ever addressed any rumor, bullshit or straight-up lie.

Because of me, fewer people think Milestone is owned by DC comics. Dwayne McDuffie created Milestone and hired Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle, Christopher Priest and myself. The argument I made (make) consistently is that you can’t let stuff like this stand. If let alone it will become fact in the minds of many and affect your ability to get something done. The more important that something is the more damage done.

You don’t think so? Still wondering how a Muslim born in Kenya who hates America and wants to kill your grandma is still President?

I rest my case.

I try and inject humor when I can, but depression is no fucking joke. I need peace from this, I need closure. These kinds of emotional blows (especially from those I thought cared for me) can be very dangerous to my health.

Before some asshole tweets something dumb let me be clear: no one at Milestone is responsible for my depression and would not be even remotely at fault in the event I make the news one day for taking a walk off a bridge.

The fault would be the election of Donald Trump.

Joke.

The fault would be mine and mine alone.

Since they won’t deal with me, I’ll deal with this by myself

To disregard totally any thought of what something like this could do to somebody would be an act of severe cruelty, and frankly, I don’t think these are cruel men. Putting aside the four years as a series of unfortunate bullshit, why did they do this?

Maybe it’s just business bullshit.

If twenty plus years of friendship and an undeniable record of professional support I’m then terminated without a word as to why I’d rather not be involved in that kind of company. Faced with standing by a friend or taking a check, I’ll take the friend every time not doing so was never an option.

Although I’ve written critically of M2.0 over almost two years since they discarded me on purpose or not the overwhelming things I’ve penned, have been positive because I still believe in Milestone 2.0.

Apparently, despite my accomplishments, they don’t believe in me. That’s their loss.

Some will say I should have known better. I did. I foresaw this coming.

From February 2011 to January 2015 different dates were chosen for the Milestone 2.0 announcement. Each date was canceled at the last minute. Each time I objected. It made no sense to set times then cancel always at the last moment unless there was another play at hand.

As my suspicions grew from time to time, I’d put something in writing and publish it. See for yourself the following were all posted well before Milestone’s announcement in January 2015:

https://www.comicmix.com//2014/11/03/michael-davis-the-milestone-contract/

https://www.comicmix.com//2014/10/06/static-shock-comes-to-the-big-screen/

The Milestone Contract was a tongue in cheek look at admittedly what I thought was a far-fetched plan to exclude me. Written as silly satire it details what happened to me months before it happened. Static Comes to The Big Screen also written as satire foretold the WB live action Static Shock announcement which was to follow weeks later.

No one at M2.0 or Warner Bros. said a word to me about Static becoming a show. I found out when the rest of the world found out. Again I saw this coming. Not buying that?

Perhaps you’ll buy the following, On July 23 of this year Jim Lee gave this reason the Milestone books were late.

I said the same thing four months before.

Still not convinced?

I unofficially voiced my suspicions to Jim Chadwick at DC Comics, Marge Dean at Mattel, Mike Gold, editor at ComicMix, Steve Geppi, CEO Diamond, Jeffery Wright CEO Urban Ministries and some other media heavyweights. Except for Mike Gold, most thought it far fetched and frankly so did I. Mike told me what I tell those who seek my advice: trust but verify.

Why did I tell these power brokers anything and why unofficially? If I were right, anyone who casts doubts on my narrative would not dare challenge those folk listed above. If I were wrong I could just nod and wave it away.

I saw this coming. Whether or not I believed it fully didn’t matter I was prepared. Playing me is almost impossible, as I told a partner in a heated phone call and a follow-up email. I insisted Milestone let me know if there were any issues with my partnership because any other role at Milestone wasn’t something I was interested in.

Not a word was said, but somehow I was excluded from meetings and updates which I found out about anyhow so ousting me was a reasonable expectation and I voiced as much. I was ready with a strategy to get them to commit or not because this stupid game of “Don’t tell when asked” was a waste of my time. Unfortunately, horrible events in my life created yet another perfect storm that put me way off my game.

My diagnoses left me broken, my mother’s death destroyed me, people who loved me left me I don’t blame them anymore. Depression takes a lot out of you and those around you. Add about a dozen other incidents in a run of bad luck that Job would lose his faith over.

When Milestone dropped their bomb, the timing couldn’t have been worse for me or better for them. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, a case could be made the timing was precise to take advantage of my damaged mental state. They knew just how bad a shape I was in.

One early Sunday morning I was visited by a partner who along with another read something I wrote and wanted to make sure I didn’t try and kill myself. So, yes, that case could be made moreover If made by a persuasive lawyer from a gigantically influential law firm…

Never. Never in a zillion hundred billion years would that be true. The timing had nothing to do with me or my depression. I just wasn’t able to cope. Evident by my total breakdown at my annual SDCC Dinner. In front of 52 of the most powerful people in the entertainment arena, I just lost it.

I said I was off my game but in truth, I’d already quit the game, almost for good. Say for the help of a once loved confidant I’d be as dead as some WB executives if Wonder Woman tanks.

Anger, resentment, and despair will kill me as sure as a bullet, so I have to get back to the brilliant Dick I once was. Nothing but anguish is gained obsessing about M2.0, and I can’t go there anymore.

So, this brings me here. Milestone is a remarkable achievement. Those books deserve your support and yes they have mine. There needs to be an Icon movie, a Static television show a Hardware novel and a Blood Syndicate musical or any combination of such. Yes, a Blood Syndicate musical.

I mentioned earlier a call then some thoughts stopped me from venting my anger. The call was with a friend and after talking to him I couldn’t publish a “fuck you pay me” article or announce a major deal at SDCC. That energy would devour me. Bad energy leads to more bad energy enough of that would kill me.

My friend’s in a fight, and I’ll need all my strength and power to assist him with his conflict. Ya, hear that MFDJ? We’re going to do great things together; we’re going to make history, help a lot of people and have a lot of fun. I then started to think about a buddy who’s mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s. He drives her back and forth from Queens to Connecticut three, sometimes four times a week. When in his home in Connecticut he will look for signs she has become disoriented. When this occurs, he will drive her back to Queens to be in a familiar setting. He could put her in a home. Yeah, he could he’s got more than enough money.

Sometimes money isn’t everything.

This wonderful man finds time in his day to call me and say, “What’s up, Michael, you OK?” That’s the kind of black man I aspire to be.

Funny. Milestone took my name off the presentation package then ultimately removed my name and me from the company. They haven’t said a word as to why. There’s also an effort to reduce my role as creator of the Static Universe to “one of five guys in the room.” As if “Static was Michael’s baby” was not a quote from a Milestone partner frequently until it wasn’t. I keep everything, and that’s on videotape.

I removed my name from the Gallery show. Ultimately, this removed acknowledgment for what was my doing. This as well to benefit Milestone. I told people why I did so; it was out of love. Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture, and Beyond is the most successful show in the history of the Geppi Entertainment Museum.

Static is the most successful property Milestone has and the most successful African American character ever created by African-Americans.

I am the undeniable driving force behind each.

Like I said. Funny.

Michael Davis: No Respect. No Wonder. Part 2

Part 1 of this series can be read at BleedingCool.com

static comicmixHollywood, I’m sorry. I’ve been wrong.

You’re not responsible for the overwhelming opinion the general public has of my industry being just for kids. Yes, SDCC is our house, but our house is all fucked up. We deserve to be viewed as nothing but geeks, nerds, and children. We are not ready to play at your level, not even close.

We’re selfish, shortsighted, and stupid. Not all the time, but so often we’ve become a joke to the French and Japanese comics industries. Comics, one of the few original American art forms, are recognized as such by a country whose ass we had to save and a country whose ass we nuked. Yet we’re the joke.

And we deserve to be.

As an example, in about two weeks it will be a year since I sent an email to Variant Comics. It was my tongue-in-cheek attempt to be funny while addressing an important issue. The fantastic video they produced featured wrong “created by” credits.

The response I received wasn’t exactly what I expected. They said they would correct the issue: “We have already added a correction in our next episode to explain that we missed you and Denys as additional creators.”

But they did not think I was funny:

“I have not responded (quicker) because I do my best to steer clear of rude or aggressive correspondence.”

They thought I was being a heavy-handed bastard. Not my intention, and I immediately apologized with the following:

I bear you no ill will. I was being sarcastic, and if you read my Bleeding Cool piece, you will see I underscored time and time again how much I admire what you are doing. My goal was to show how a great piece with wrong information could do some injustice, but in no way did I ever think you guys would take to heart my FB email. I “liked” your page, I took every chance I got to say just how good your stuff and site is.

Clearly you don’t remember we met some time ago, and as such I thought you would get the joke.

My bad.

Really. My bad.

On the real, I meant to do nothing but poke fun and draw attention to the credits; it was never my intention to insult (except in jest) you or your people. Please accept my apology. It pains me (really) to think my attempt at satire fell short.

If need be, I will say what I just said to you privately in public.

I have no problem with that.

Again – I’m sorry. Try as I might, sometimes I just don’t see what others do. Truth be told most times I care not. This time I do.

The Bleeding Cool article I was referring to foreshadowed possible future events and the real damage that short film could do. That article was not the only article I wrote about this over the year – there were several. Some here on ComicMix, some on Bleeding Cool, and some on my Facebook page, and yes, they were tagged.

Occasionally, I wrote another lighthearted appeal that ended when the “possible” became reality, and the damage sure as hell followed. Since then, I’ve been that Nigga.

Variant has changed nothing on the Static Shock film, and they have had a year to do it. The credits are still wrong. If they added Denys and I to the “next episode” explaining the oversight, how the fuck would anybody know? Those watching an episode of what may be a totally unrelated “History Of” may not even give a fuck.

Anyone going to the History of Static Shock video will see what I’ve asked to be rectified for over a year: the wrong credits. Nothing has changed there.

Nothing.

In that same year, plenty has changed with Static Shock.

Static’s getting a live action television show; Milestone 2.0 was announced; my mother, Jean Davis, the real life inspiration for Static’s mom Jean Hawkins, died. In death Jean (that’s what I called my mom) joins my sister, Sharon Davis, the real life inspiration for Static’s sister, Sharon Hawkins.

As I predicted, the credits cited for Static Shock when the two major media announcements were made are exactly the credits cited in Variant’s film.

I predicted this. The film was so damn good people assumed it was the official version put out by Milestone. The Static live action show and the Milestone announcements went all over the world.

The death of Static’s real life mom?

Nope. No one knew. Not even some young Static fans, cousins of mine from North Carolina who I met for the first time at my mom’s funeral. I’m not naïve enough to think my mom would have gotten a “Static” mention when she died. She wouldn’t have. But it sure would have been nice if my newfound cousins knew who she was before I met them.

Not caring about getting a creator’s credit right is just one example of the unprofessional, childish antics that are commonplace in comics. Missing deadlines, missing shipping, quitting books, taking advances and not delivering work.

Some publishers paying established talent page rates far below what they are worth while using any excuse they can to justify it. Some creators having no choice but to take pennies on the dollar. Artists and writers blackballed on someone’s personal whim regardless of what work they have produced or what they bring to the industry. Been there, had that done.

Hollywood fires and/or sues people who pull what’s routine in comics. Try pulling that missed deadline dead grandmother bullshit at DreamWorks. You’re gone. Take an advance from Disney and decide not to do the work. Rumor has it Tupac and Biggie did that. Yeah, that’s a joke, but once Disney gets done with you, you may well wish you were dead.

Hollywood does not play our games. Disney wouldn’t wait a week after the initial letter sent to you to fix some something that was wrong. Ignoring them, just like I’ve been ignored, (not a word since my apology almost 12 months ago) would just make them increase the level of legal pain they will inflict on you.

And if they think you fucked with their brand, costing them revenue? Wow. Just wow.

Despite our flaws, I love the comic book industry. I love this business even though some in the industry have not loved me back. On a few occasions some serious power players have tried killing me in the industry.

I roll like a boss; people are always trying to kill a boss. They try. I survive and grow stronger. I don’t go public when these things happen – what good would that do? Give Hollywood another thing to look at, point and say, “Look what these children do to their own kind.”

But sometimes … sometimes, there is no other choice.

I don’t want to hurt or hinder Variant in any way. I don’t want to sue or threaten to sue. They do great work, are good for the industry, and I really do like their site.

However, they have done serious damage to my brand. Repeatedly over the course of a year they have been reminded that they were doing so. I’m not alone in being ignored. Those who posted comments echoing me were treated the same.

I’d very much like them to correct the credits on their Static Shock film. I’d like the same credits that appear in every episode of Static Shock and Milestone comics, with one exception: add Christopher Priest. He was a creator and he deserves credit.

Variant, I’m asking you once again, make this right and at least in this instance prove Hollywood wrong. Static was created by Dwayne McDuffie, Derek Dingle, Denys Cowan, Christopher Priest, and Michael Davis.

Let’s show the world we know how to act in matters like this. I’m sorry to say that if no action is taken, you leave me just one option.

End, Part 2. Part 3 can be read on Bleeding Cool and ComicMix next week.

 

Michael Davis: I Am Static

Twenty-one years ago, five friends, Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle, Dwayne McDuffie, Christopher Priest, and I partner to form Milestone Media. The Dakota Universe was born soon afterwards. There was one goal above all: to create a universe of good stories, well told, featuring characters of color.

We did, and when we did, comics changed.

Milestone was international news on a grand scale. That news rarely, if ever, just showcased one of us. We all had a hand in the creation of what may be the most influential, certainly the most successful, superhero universe featuring characters of color ever.

What we thought was a pretty good idea to create heroes of color became a cultural phenomenon and movement. Needless to say at the core of any real pop culture movement are its fans, and Milestone’s fans take their Milestone seriously.

I was counting on that when two weeks ago I wrote a satirical piece called Static Shock Comes To The Big Screen. I “revealed” a big screen version of Static Shock was in the works. The big screen debut was actually the animated series playing on a newly purchased 80-inch television.

The response ranged from disappointment and anger that it wasn’t real to joy and excitement from some who thought it real to the haters, who wouldn’t know satire if it bit them on their hairy palms, who (what else) thought it was trash.

As you’ve no have doubt heard by now, Static Shock is indeed being made into a live action series, announced this week by Warner Bros.

That announcement came just two weeks after my article. The project has been in the works for a while and my article was a restrained way of venting my frustration at the studio progress and process. Neither of which I have anything to do with by the way. To be sure, the timing of my article was just a happy coincidence. Also, to be sure, I’d rather cuddle than have a threesome.

Regardless of what lit a fire under WB, this is a huge thing for the Milestone Universe. This will carry the Dakota Universe to mainstream audiences and give young Black kids, as well as other kids of color, a new hero that looks like him or her.

The massive love on social media the announcement is getting is fantastic and, bittersweet for me. For years I’ve fought to have Milestone’s true history represented and the bigger the project, unless stopped, the bigger the myth.

Milestone’s creators changed history and history is changing Milestone’s creators.

It started as soon as Milestone was announced. Back then the big lie was DC Comics owned Milestone. That still prevails as the official account of our publishing and distribution deal.

DC does not and has never owned Milestone.

When we ceased publishing monthly, many thought that Milestone Media ended as a company.

Milestone has operated on some level since 1992.

The false history of Milestone Media is so entrenched as fact that people doubt the words of the founders when we say otherwise. Without a doubt, the biggest fan-fueled invention is that Dwayne McDuffie – and Dwayne McDuffie alone – created Milestone.

Denys Cowan came up with the idea and the plan that created Milestone.

The latest in a long line of Milestone fabrications is this: Milestone stole our business plan from Big City Publishing. Big City published the truly wonderful Brother-Man comic.

Our books were on the stands nine months before the plan was alleged to have been stolen.

Denys Cowan, the architect of Milestone Media and its first creative director, today is mostly known as a Milestone artist. Few know him as a founder, and fewer credit him as the man who started it all. Milestone was named after Deny’s son, Miles, and Denys designed all the major characters, most of the minor characters, and a great deal of the City Of Dakota.

Christopher Priest, Milestone’s first Editor-in-Chief, was the driving force behind the original Dakota Universe Bible. Die-hard Milestone fans know he was Milestone’s first Editor in Chief, few others do. Priest is a very successful Hollywood screenwriter and music writer and producer.

Derek Dingle, the President of Milestone, was responsible for the groundbreaking deal Milestone received. Derek is at best a trivia question. His contributions and involvement in Milestone is almost never mentioned. Derek is still President of Milestone, and also heads up Black Enterprise, the biggest and most successful African American financial publication in history.

Dwayne McDuffie defined Milestone, and no one is more responsible for the Milestone mystique than Dwayne. The Dakota Universe that millions of fans can’t get enough of is because of Dwayne. Dwayne was more Milestone than any one of the partners, even more than Denys, and without Denys there never would have been a Milestone. Today Dwayne is widely known as the founder of Milestone and creator or co-creator of all the Milestone main characters.

I was a founder and Milestone’s Director of Talent and Special Projects. I’m mostly known as the creator of the SDCC Black Panel, and I’m rarely credited with anything corporate or creative at Milestone.

With the exception of Derek, the partners at Milestone had corporate responsibilities but also worked on the books as creators. We all choose a book that would be our baby. Denys wanted Hardware, Dwayne, Icon and my baby from day one was Static. The forth book in the universe, the Blood Syndicate was as Denys puts it, “An orphan child.”

I was not only to create the Static Creative Bible but draw the monthly series as well.

The Static Universe is based on my life. His family, his home, and his friends all come from my experiences. My mother Jean Lawrence became Jean Hawkins. Robert Lawrence, my step-dad, became Robert Hawkins. Static’s original real name was Alan, Dwayne changed it to Virgil. Hawkins was the surname of my cousin’s family on my step dad’s side and Alan was my cousin, crib mate and first best friend.

In a very real way I am Static.

My inspiration for the Static Universe was my mother and sister. In the original bible and comic book, Jean Hawkins was very much alive. The decision to have her killed in a “gang war” for the show was not Milestone’s; that bright idea came from Warner Bros.

What few people know is in real life Jean was not murdered, but Sharon was.

My sister Sharon died alone in a vacant lot people used as a short cut to get to the South Jamaica NY neighborhood we lived in. She was horribly hurt yet alive after being assaulted late that night. People walked passed her all evening and did nothing and it wasn’t until early the next morning that her boyfriend, of all people, found her.

By the time he did, Sharon Davis, the inspiration for Sharon Hawkins and the Static universe was dead.

My mom, the muse for Jean Hawkins, died June 21st of this year. She often watched old episodes of Static to see the interaction between Virgil and Sharon and never missed an opportunity to repeatedly tell me how she would never forgive me for having her killed on the show.

In my original version of the Bible both Jean and Sharon were alive. Once the notes came down from on high to change that, there was nothing I could do but voice my opposition and you see how well that worked out.

Once again, Static is about to blow up.

The live action version will take the Milestone universe to a whole other level and unless changed that false history will go right along with it and become fact.

Yes, I’m talking to you, again, Variant Comics.

This is not just a Milestone problem it’s an industry problem.

Helped along by those like Variant who profess love for our industry but forgo doing the type of real due diligence that will elevate comics. No, instead they and others continue to allow Hollywood to treat us like un-professional, stupid stepchildren when it’s clear no effort is made to speak with one unformed voice.

I have no idea what role if any I will play in the live action series. I may write it or just watch it on TV. That’s the future and I can’t say. I can say Denys Cowan created Milestone. Derek Dingle, Dwayne McDuffie, Christopher Priest, Denys and I created the Dakota Universe and within that universe I created the Static Shock bible.

I can say these things because unlike what you see at Variant’s website, that’s the truth.

 

Static Shock Comes To The Big Screen!

static_shock_movie_by_robert_man-d7gov15I’m so happy I can hardly breathe!

Static Shock! The character created by Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle, Christopher Priest, Dwayne McDuffie and myself is on its way the big screen!!

Soon and I mean very soon, Virgil, Richie and Sharon will be given their long overdo due on the big screen! I’m ecstatic, delighted, and blissful that finally my friends and family will be able to sit down in a theater and rejoice in the wonder that is Static Shock!

Sookie, Sookie, now!!!

Err, white people ask somebody.

Get on the good foot!

Ditto.

Can you feel it?

Perhaps it’s best you have a black person read this to y’all.

I need to testify!

Yeah, that would be best.

Can I get a witness?

Look, just call Leroy and stop punishing yourself.

I’m king of the world!!!!

That one you should have no problem with. Think big boat, Leo & Kate.

Man oh, man, I still can’t believe Static Shock will finally coming to the big screen.

Thank You Jesus!

I just brought an 80-inch flat screen and as soon as it’s hooked up, Static Shock will be all over my home theater.

What?

Did you think I meant a movie?

BHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I’m… sorry…snicker… but… snicker … that…Bah… that… BHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

That makes no sense!

Why on earth would anyone want to do a movie or live action television show on one of the most popular animated shows ever?

Don’t be silly, people. I mean just because today (well as of this writing, that today, lord knows when I will or if I will finish this. It’s only by the grace of Go…. Gold I still have a forum here. Yeah, I’ve had a rough year but a weekly article every now and whenever? That can’t last much longer.

But I digress. Check’s in the mail, Mr. David.

I ask again, why on earth would you want to take the most successful black superhero in the DCU and make a movie out of it? Why just today, (maybe) Entertainment Weekly named Static Shock one of be best-animated shows ever from a comic book.

Is you stupid?

That makes no sense when you can make Superman Icon Black. Batman, Black the Flash’s wife Iris, Black, Spider-Man half-black, Captain America, all-black, The Avenger’s Black. It makes no sense what so ever!

I ask yet again, is you stupid?

Why make a movie when could simply colorize the movies made out of all the above? Duh. Shit we have plenty of great black superhero movie which all made mucho bucks! In the thousands and thousands of dollars!! Who can forget the great Blank Man? Solo? Meteor Man? Shit! Don’t forget Warner Bros. and DC did the daddy of all black superhero movies.

How could anyone forget Steel?

I can’t and lord knows I’ve tried but that film is engrained in my mind. Shaq’s a friend and I remember the very day he asked me what I thought. I was so moved by that picture my answer was to start weeping like a little girl. A little girl remembering the say I saw my best friend, my puppy purposely run over by my beloved daddy.

I know, I know, there are millions of Static fans; in fact the ‘movie’ poster running with this article is an example of fans making their own Static Shock films. There are dozens maybe hundreds perhaps thousands of fan films out there.

If you go to https://twitter.com/ReviveStatic you will see another in a long line of fan attempts to see Static made into a TV show or film. That’s just silly! I mean why not continue to make movies like the one about the Black Superman (Steel…sniffle) where Steel (the Black Superman, sniffle), sorry I need a moment…

Like I was saying; why not continue to make movies like the one about the Black Superman (you know the one) where the Black Superman doesn’t even get to wear the ‘S’?

Now that’s way to use the old Hollywood noodle!

Also, who needs a movie about a hip young mega successful Black superhero that already has a massive fan base? Nobody obviously, not when you can make fantastic superhero TV shows where nobody’s really a superhero or wearing a costume?

Well, the TV’s on the wall, the popcorn is ready and the lights are out!

It also seems the lights are out at Warner Bro’s but after a long day of developing Green Lantern 2: The Rise Of John Stewart they deserve a good nights sleep.

Or maybe they’ve had enough sleep. They’ve been sleeping on Static for over 20 years.

 

Michael Davis: Am I a Liar or a Dick or What?

“Now, You Can’t Leave.” – Chazz Palminteri, A Bronx Tale

Seven months ago I contacted the people at Variant Comics. They put a wonderful piece on Static Shock together so I sent them what I thought was a satire filled message that pointed out that they were wrong in regards to whom created Static and to please fix it. Before they answered I’d written a respectful piece on Bleeding Cool, which again pointed out how great their work was.

Check it out right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU4_BXDzZU0

When my email was answered the person did not see any humor in what I wrote and thought I was being heavy handed and said the piece would be changed. I felt in his response he was addressing me as if I were a 10-year old. I thought it best to let him know I meant no ill will so, I sent another message.

He has every right not to respond to me and has every right to think I’m a dick but my intention was to make nice:

Really, dude, take a chill pill.

I bare you NO ill will. I was being sarcastic and if you read my Bleeding Cool piece you will see I underscored time and time again how much I admire what you are doing.

My goal was to show how a great piece with wrong information could do some injustice but in no way did I ever think you guys would take to heart my FB email. I ‘liked’ your page, I took every chancre I got to say just how good your stuff and site is.

Clearly you don’t remember we met some time ago and as such I thought you would get the joke.

My bad.

Really. MY BAD.

On the real-I meant to do nothing but poke fun and draw attention to the credits it was never my intention to insult (except in jest) you or your people. 

Please accept MY apology. It pains me (really) to think my attempt at satire fell short. If need be I will say what I just said to you privately in public.

I have NO problem with that.

Again, I’m sorry, try as I might sometimes I just don’t see what others do. Truth be told most times I care not, this time I do.

In seven months I’ve heard nothing, but that’s his right. Some people just don’t get me, like how I come off or whatever, nothing I can do about that.

Let’s recap, I go out of my way to let Variant know I like what they did and I’m sorry if they mistook my intentions as anything but good-natured fun. Like I said, they have every right not to give a fuck about me.

It’s been seven months and, frankly I’ve been a bit busy with people dying, floods and the like to give any more thought to this.  Also, I took those guys at their word so I was confident it would be changed.

It wasn’t.

Let me be very clear. This piece is so good it reeks of truth and it’s the sort of thing that people will think is a credible source.

Why even mess with it?  If it’s so good why not just let the credits ride and give thanks to those who put it together? I’ll tell you why in a bit. First I’d like to address the people at the site and this time I’m not being sarcastic, silly, or attempting to be funny.

Over two hundred thousand people have seen, what is an impressive piece of work to be sure. Last week I was in a meeting with some people who also saw it. In that meeting it was pointed out I was not a creator of Static Shock.

Guess who looked like an idiot?

No big deal, I’ve looked like an idiot before.

Guess who had to spend a few minutes proving that I had indeed created Static Shock?

I don’t know what circles you people roll in but in mine looking like you’re a liar is not a good look.  Due diligence on my level is a serious undertaking by serious people. You say it, it better ring true. You write it down, it better be true. So when someone cites what appears a sanctioned and legitimate representation of what I claimed part of my resume to doubt that which is so, that’s problematic to put it very, very lightly.

I take my business seriously and the people I’m in business with take me seriously even if some don’t. Trust me when I say I’m operating at a level where due diligence is not a fucking phone call to some guy who knew me “back in the day.”

Derek Dingle, Denys Cowan, Christopher Priest, Dwayne McDuffie and myself created Static Shock. You don’t have to change a thing in the film; John Paul and Robert Washington were the soul of that book – and still are if you ask me.

I like your site, I respect you and your right to operate anyway you choose. That said, I’d ask you again to show some respect to those who created Milestone and Static and get the credits right as you said, and I believed, you would.

Lastly, I said seven months ago it was important to make sure credits on something as grand as your Static piece is right. This is not about ego, fuck ego, this is about business, real business not comic book business where shit like this is ignored.

You guys are smarter and your work is better than 90% of what’s out there and for the umpteenth time I admire what you do. However my admiration was pretty much spent when I found myself having to convince a room full of people I wasn’t a liar.

I’m done having to do that and like I said, I’m not liar.