Tagged: Dwayne McDuffie

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Greatest Story Never Told, Part 2

Please read last week’s installment before reading this. Thanks!

What has gone before – the quick and dirty recap. 1999: I pitched and sold what I consider the greatest idea I’ve ever come up with to DC Comics. Before I pitched the idea I checked with three of the best writers in the industry, Keith Giffen, Lovern Kindzieski and David Quinn. They all thought it was a great idea. Keith Giffen called it one of the greatest ideas he’s ever heard.

After hearing praise from those guys I ran the idea pass Dwayne McDuffie. Dwayne liked the idea so much he said he wanted to write it. It was with that in mind I pitched the idea to Jenette Kahn who was running DC Comics at the time.

Jenette loved idea and said “Let’s do it.”

Jenette Kahn is no longer head of DC. She makes movies now. Big movies. Jenette produced the Clint Eastwood film Gran Torino.

Like I said, big movies.

From the moment I met Jenette, I liked her. I’m glad to say she liked me also. We hit it off right away. We talked about anything and everything. One day, Jenette and I were talking about fine artists and she asked me if I knew the work of William T. Williams. I did. In fact, I knew his work so well Jenette was impressed. I knew more about his work than Jenette and at one point she remarked that I must be a huge fan. “I’d better be.” I told Jenette. He’s my cousin.”

Jenette said she would like to meet him so right then and there I made a call and in a few days Jenette was being given a studio tour by my cousin. In my entire life I’ve only asked my cousin to give two people personal studio tours. Jenette was one of them.

That’s a big deal because my cousin is a huge artist.

How huge?

He’s in the Janson History Of Art, the definitive book on art history.

That’s how huge.

My cousin is my mentor and my surrogate father. He and my mother quite literally saved my life while I was growing up. I’m fiercely protective of my cousin. Every mofo with a serious bank account asks me to hook them up once they find out William T. Williams is my cousin.

Nope.

He’s too important as an artist and as my family for me to make a call on anyone’s behalf just because they can drop a million bucks or more (yes, you read that right) on some art. So I’ve only made that call twice and Jenette was one of them.

I made that call because Jenette is simply a wonderful person and I knew my cousin would enjoy meeting her as much as she would enjoy meeting him.

Some years before that, Jenette and I had talked about me coming to DC as the first black editor. As cool as I thought that was I couldn’t do it. Frankly, I couldn’t afford the pay cut. What I did do was make a list of some people whom I thought would be great choices. Jenette thanked me for thinking of that and actually someone from that list was hired. No, I didn’t get them the job nor do I know if anything I said had anything to do with him getting the job. What mattered to be was DC comics had a black editor.

I tell you the history with Jenette and I because of the importance of what happened to the project I sold to DC. The project I considered the greatest idea I’ve ever had.

Project X was green lit by Jenette and assigned to an editor at DC.

Me not being an idiot, asked Dwayne McDuffie to write it based on my overview and I was to handle the art. Dwayne said yes and I was doubly excited. The editor chosen, loved the idea, and couldn’t wait to do it.

I’d done it.

I’d sold the greatest idea I ever had. This would be an important project, written by an important writer, published by an important publisher with art by an artist with something to prove. I’d had two big projects before this from DC. ETC, the first series ever published by DC’s imprint Piranha Press and Shado, a four issue mini-series written by Mike Grell.

Neither of those projects were my finest hour.

Although, believe it or not I still get fan mail from France on ETC. Two months ago I received an email from a comic club in France asking if I was coming to France in the future. I just so happen to be going to France this September on some business and the club asked if they could take me to dinner and talk to me about ETC.

Damn. The French must do a lot of meth… and coke… together.

Back to Project X.

I was on cloud 9! I was about to begin work on what I still consider the greatest idea in the history of comics! Yes, I’m well aware it’s not the greatest idea in the history of comics but to me it certainly felt that way.

So don’t send me comments about how there is no way I could have come up with the greatest idea in the history of comics. As I said, I know I didn’t.

It’s a close second…

So, let’s recap.

I’d sold 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 with art by a guy 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 wanted to change one thing…

Me.

End, Part 2.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold On Good Fellowship

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Greatest Story Never Told

I’m convinced that there comes a time in every creator’s career when he or she has that one project that becomes the project. Be they a writer, artist, photographer, director or whatever, there comes a time when said creator realizes without a shadow of a doubt that they have created their baby.

Their triumph. Their masterpiece.

This is the project that they will not compromise on. There will be no quarter given creatively; there will be no major changes to the premise no matter what.

At the many Static Shock pitch meetings at major television networks we were asked if we would consider many changes to the original bible, which I wrote. Some of those changes bothered me, like Static’s mom being killed in a drive-by. How fucking stereotypical was that shit? But as bullshit as I thought that was it wasn’t a deal killer.

At one high level network meeting the question was asked “How about if we make Static…white?”

I said, “How about I bang your wife?”

True story.

OK… almost a true story. I did not actually say the part about his wife. But the network executive did suggest we make Static a white kid, which to me was just as fucked up as me asking to bang his wife. I did think about responding to him with the wife thing but he had a photo of her on his desk and lets just say…ugh.

Many changes were made to the original Static bible. Some I thought were good many I thought sucked. The show was a different story. I thought the show worked on every level regardless of my personal feelings towards the changes to the original bible. Static Shock was handled wonderfully and I have nothing but good things to say about the show.

But Static Shock was not just my baby and I had little to do with the show once it was on the air. But, I do have a baby.

Actually, I have three babies…damn I’ve got the perfect black father joke but I’m going to let it pass… like child support.

My first baby is a project called The Adjuster. I created the Adjuster over ten years ago and twice it came very close to becoming a reality. I refuse to let the Adjuster go just to get it made. Nope. The deal has to be right. The company has to be right.

My second baby is called The Underground. It’s a Dark Horse project and has been for a few years. If by chance Mike Richardson is reading this I will have the book finished this year. It’s a major undertaking and I’m as anal as I am black so it’s been a labor of love and frustration for the last couple of years. But, Mike, to be fair, you took a while approving the story…and I’m still traumatized by the Comic Con incident. You know the one…

Those are my babies and I’m blessed to have the Dark Horse deal and excited about the future of The Adjuster but there is one project which I consider my masterpiece.  I won’t mention the title as it’s currently being considered at a major publisher but I will share with you its journey that is a festinating one. I’ll call it Project X.

In 1998 I had a vision of what I thought was the greatest idea I’ve ever had. The idea was so good it scared me. It scared me because those types of “great ideas” usually suck. It’s never a good idea to think that your idea is a great one.

People lie and the one person people lie to the most are themselves. You may not think it’s lying when you convince yourself that something is a good idea but if you have to convince yourself then to me that’s a lie. But this idea was such a good idea and I was convinced it was great. So, clearly I was lying to myself.

Clearly.

Or was I?

I decided to ask three of the best writers in the industry if they thought it was a good idea. I asked Keith Giffen, Lovern Kindzieski and David Quinn.

They all said it was a great idea. Not a good idea, a great idea. Keith Giffen called it one of the greatest ideas he’s ever heard.

That’s Keith Giffen who said that.

Keith Giffen.

THE Keith Giffen.

After telling those three guys, I ran it past Dwayne McDuffie. He said it was such a good idea he wanted to write it. Not bad eh?

So, with all that love from four of the best in the biz I decided to pitch the idea to DC Comics and I did.  And…I sold the idea.

In 1999 I pitched and sold the idea to DC Comics.

Then things got a bit crazy. Nope, a lot crazy.

End, Part 1!

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Outs Critics

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: Game Change

I’ve seen the light.

I’ve seen the future of comics.

I had a meeting yesterday with a company that is going to change the game on the net and can change for comics and creators. I’ve haven’t been this excited since I was 17 and my very first real girlfriend Yvonne Stallworth said, “My parents won’t be home until the morning.”

At 17you know what that means, right fellas?

Poon tang…yeah.

Or in my case spending the night saying; “Please…please…please.”  Before you think I was begging for poon tang; “Please, Please, Please” is the title of a James Brown song I was singing… as I was begging for poon tang.

I can’t talk about the company or what they are doing…no that’s not true, I can talk about it but I’m hedging my bets just in case I’m wrong…which, by the way, I’m not.

That way if they crash and burn I’m protected and if they succeed I’m golden!

All the above said, I’m at a lost as to what was the last game changing moment in comics.

I guess it was the New 52 from DC.

I guess.

I’m not sure because to say something is a game changer is a big deal. Because it’s such a big deal I started thinking, what does it take to be a real game changer?

This is what I came up with. Areal game changer is a person or event that creates a new way of looking at things and years later that way has become the way.

So, with my personal criteria noted what follows are what I consider the most important game change decisions or people who have done so since I’ve been reading comics. You may disagree and if so feel free to amend, add or challenge some or all of my choices.

This list is in NO particular order.

  • Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man
  • Image Comics
  • Jack Kirby
  • Stan Lee
  • Dwayne McDuffie
  • First Comics
  • Mike Gold
  • Milestone Media
  • Death of Captain Marvel
  • Death of Superman
  • The New 52
  • The iPad
  • The Killing Joke
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths
  • Secret Wars
  • Death of Barry Allen
  • Neil Gaiman’s Sandman
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Kirby’s fourth world
  • Death of Gwen Stacy
  • Dave McKean
  • Bill Sienkiewicz
  • San Diego Comic Con International
  • Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles
  • Alan Speiegal
  • Arkham Asylum
  • Paul Levitz
  • Jenette Kahn
  • Axel Alonzo
  • Howard Chaykin
  • Dark Horse
  • Mike Richardson
  • Len Wein
  • Marv Wolfman
  • The A.P.E convention
  • John Jennings

Like I said the above list is in no particular order. Don’t send me comments about McFarlane being before Stan Lee, the list is in no particular order.

Duh.

Now. Have at it!

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: It Will Never Happen

I am the proud owner of two, that’s right two original pieces of Moebius art.

It’s a big deal and it’s not a big deal. It’s a big deal because Moebius is one of the greatest artists ever. Period.

It’s not a big deal because hundreds, maybe even thousands, have an original piece of Moebius art.

That’s because he gave them away.

At comic conventions he would sit and do free sketches for people. So there is a multitude of people who all have original Moebius art.

Think about that for a second. Moebius one of the greatest artist ever, gave away sketches for free. And he did the drawings just for you.

That boggled my mind then and it boggles my mind now.

I was fan from the second I saw his work in Heavy Metal magazine way back when. Huge fan.

I had – and still have – a Moebius pen and ink style. I also give away free art at conventions, because no one would pay me, and I do those drawings in a Moebius pen and ink style.

When asked (rare as it may be) to do a drawing I still do them for free and, yes, if you catch me somewhere and I have a moment and you would like a Michael Davis drawing I will be happy to do one for you. But…

I only draw one thing… a drunken fat Batman. Long story and I will share… but not now. Now, I must digress for a moment before retuning to Moebius.

Many (I’d say most) of you just know me from my weekly rants here at ComicMix or for my f-word laced rants on my site. I’ve had a weird career in comics. That’s also a story for another time but take my word for it most of the stuff I’ve done has been behind the scenes.

I make deals. That’s what I do. That’s yet another story for another time but that’s pretty much my career in comics I’m a deal maker and I’m talking big deals also.

I’m real good at deal making, Hell I’m the freakin’ best at it if you ask me. I’m not bragging. It’s not bragging if you can do it.

I can do it.

I’m co-founder of Milestone Media and once during one of our San Diego convention trips in the mid 90s my three partners, the late Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle and I, were manning the Milestone booth in shifts.

On this day, during my brake from the Milestone booth I stood on a very long line to get my second Moebius drawing. The day before I stood on line during my break for the first. When I got back to the booth I proudly showed off my new Moebius drawing.

Denys looked at it like he was going to punch me and take it. Dwayne was just as impressed, I think Derek was scaring some kid away. How? Derek took his role as President of Milestone Media very seriously. He wore tailored suits everywhere, even comic conventions. He looked like a Fed and that scares people. Really, it does.

While we were looking at the drawing Denys and I started taking about Moebius and just how cool it would be to get him to do some Milestone covers…

“That will never happen.” Dwayne said in that Dwayne is always right tone of voice, because, well, he was always right.

“Why not?” I asked. “He’s one of the biggest artists in the industry, one of the biggest artist in the world. He’s swamped and impossible to get to.” Dwayne retorted.

“I got to him twice, today and yesterday.” I dead paned.

We all laughed at that and after that moment passed I told Dwayne I was going to ask Moebius. He said, and I’ll never forget it, “If you can get him then I’ll believe the hype.”

I got him.

Moebius did four covers for us and we then turned those covers into posters.

It was quite a coup for Milestone and me.

Moebius passed away Saturday and it really messed me up for most of the day. I not only admired his work I was a fan of the way he lived his life. Never a bad word about anyone or anything, always took the time to talk (and draw!) to his fans. He was just a wonderful man.

All these years I thought the reason Moebius did those covers was because I was such a hot shot dealmaker.

Nope.

He did those covers because he was the real deal just a wonderful, wonderful, person.

He didn’t see Michael Davis, fast talking dealmaker. No, Moebius saw a fan that stood in two very long lines twice to get those drawing. He did those covers for the fan boy who really loved his work not the executive from Milestone.

That realization came to me like a brick to my forehead this morning when I heard the news. I’m now certain the answer would have been “no” if he didn’t know I was such a fan. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do.

Nevertheless, I did get a coup. Four coups, actually.

I have two Moebius drawings, I spent some time with him and he drew characters I co-created.

Not bad for a fanboy eh?

Rest in peace, dear Moebius, you were one of the greats, as an artist and as a man.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Weighs In

 

REVIEW: “Justice League: Doom”

If you’ve been a fan of Warner Bros.’ direct-to-DVD DC Universe movies, you are no doubt eagerly awaiting the February 28th release of Justice League: Doom. ComicMix’s own Glenn Hauman and Mike Gold attended a press screening of the movie, along with the mandatory press conferences and post-game roundtable discussion. We decided to take a conversational approach to our preview – not quite a review, as we’re avoiding spoilers. Still, if you’re extraordinarily anal retentive (the fanboy/fangirl affliction), you might want to just look at the pictures.

Glenn: The story, and the universe, felt familiar – not just because we’ve known these characters forever, but because it was Dwayne McDuffie’s take on them, his POV from Justice League and from Justice League Unlimited. One of those “you don’t realize how much you miss it until it’s gone” things.

Mike: DC’s animated universe came about organically, from the original Fox Batman Adventures through Doom… with major exceptions like that Teen Titans and that unnecessary and initially unwatchable The Batman series a couple years ago. Dwayne played a major part in that Justice League animated universe to be sure, but those Batman and Superman series created the foundation of this universe, as well as the bouncing off point for many of the actors.

Glenn: Speaking of the DC animated universe: one thing that was weird for me, throwing a new bit of unexpected unfamiliarity, was meeting Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman for two decades, because he just doesn’t quite look the part in real life – he looks more like the Scarecrow. I found myself mentally covering up his face from his nose up, superimposing a cowl on him. Or am I just that weird?

Mike: Yeah, Conroy is pretty skinny and he’s got a great face. But I think he’d be perfect as Jason Blood or Orion of the New Gods.

Glenn: Conroy as Jason Blood, live action? Oh, that works really well.

(more…)

Phil Morris reprises role of Vandal Savage in JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM

It’s a busy time for Phil Morris.

Easily recognizable to sitcom viewers as the hilariously slimy lawyer Jackie Chiles on Seinfeld, and renowned throughout the fanboy realm as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter on Smallville, Morris is splitting his time this February celebrating his latest triumphs.

Morris is a NAACP Image Award nominee in the category of Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for Love That Girl!  While he prepares for the awards ceremony and all of its requisite celebrity gatherings, Morris is also making time to attend both the New York (2/13) and Los Angeles (2/16) premieres of Justice League: Doom.

The consummate nice guy, Morris shifts to a darker, villainous approach for Justice League: Doom as he reprises his Justice League animated television series role as the immortal Vandal Savage. Morris is one of nine actors returning to the booth to record their original roles.

Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the all-new, PG-13 rated Justice League: Doom arrives February 28, 2012 from Warner Home Video as a Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD, On Demand and for Download. Both the Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack and DVD will include an UltraViiolet™ Digital Copy.

Justice League: Doom finds Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and Batman on their heels when a team of super villains – orchestrated by Vandal Savage – discover and implement the Dark Knight’s “contingency plans” for stopping any rogue Justice League member. The story is inspired by Mark Waid and Howard Porter’s much-heralded “JLA: Tower of Babel,” and scripted by the late Dwayne McDuffie.

Morris is more than just an actor with a tendency to perform in fanboy-centric productions – he is a devout fan of the genre and its comic book origins. His comics collection exceeds 20,000 and includes gems like a 1948 “Captain America,” issues 1-18 of “Silver Surfer,” the first 20 Barry Windsor-Smith issues of “Conan,” and many of the original run of the “Fantastic Four.” “It goes back pretty far,” Morris says. “I collect to this day.”

Prepping for the onslaught of reporters’ queries on the red carpets on both coasts prior to the premieres of Justice League: Doom, Morris welcomed the opportunity to answer a few questions about Vandal Savage, comics collecting, and the possibility of someday voicing his Smallville character Martian Manhunter in an animated form.

QUESTION: What’s the mindset of Vandal Savage, and what’s been the joy of playing this role?

PHIL MORRIS: Vandal Savage is an immortal who has been around the human species for all time. He’s extremely intelligent – he’s incredibly evolved because of contact with a meteor that landed in his village. And he’s always trying to overthrow the world. His vision is that the world should be his, as many of these despots feel. But he feels that because he’s lived so long, he’s entitled.

I love Vandal. I played Vandal for the Justice League series a few times, but this is a little bit of a different take on Vandal. Back on the series, he was more of a smooth criminal – he was more nuanced, he had more style. Now, I guess, he’s just had it. He’s kind of approaching things as if to say “I don’t have time to play with you.” He has no more guile left in him. He’s straight, no chaser, which makes him much more dangerous, much more evil, and much harder edged, especially in my vocal performance.

And I love this script. Dwayne (McDuffie) really made it a walloping good romp for the Justice League players. And then Vandal is a bit like the Lex Luthor of the show – it’s his mastermind, his ideas, his design that almost or does bring the world to its doom. You’ll have to watch to see. Vandal is very much the thrust of the evil of this show. That’s fun to play. (more…)

MICHAEL DAVIS: Static Cling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I did not like the book.

Moving on…

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

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

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

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

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

Never.

Ever.

Ever!

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

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

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

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

He shut the fuck up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was then, this is now…

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

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

The founders.

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

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

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

A giant fish??

Really?

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

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

Good job Danny… for a white boy. ;-)

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

“Justice League: Doom” on DVD February 28

Earth’s greatest super heroes face foes on all fronts – using a plan initiated from within – in the all-new [[[Justice League: Doom]]], the next entry in the popular, ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the all-new, PG-13 rated film arrives February 28, 2012 from Warner Home Video.

Justice League: Doom finds Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and Batman on their heels when a team of super villains discover and implement the Dark Knight’s “contingency plans” for stopping any rogue Justice League member. The story is inspired by Mark Waid’s much-heralded “JLA: Tower of Babel.” The trailer for the movie is here.

Primetime television stars Nathan Fillion (Castle) and Tim Daly (Private Practice), the reigning voices of Green Lantern and Superman, respectively, join a group of eight actors reprising their famed Justice League cartoon roles. Fillion made his debut as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan in the recent Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, and took his initial DC Universe movie bow as the voice of Steve Trevor in the 2008 hit Wonder Woman. Daly originated his role as Superman’s voice in the landmark cartoon, Superman: The Animated Series. He has reprised the role in two DC Universe films: the 2009 extravaganza Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and the 2010 thriller Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

(more…)

Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress to Receive WGAW Animation Writing Awards

Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress to Receive WGAW Animation Writing Awards

Dwayne McDuffie by Glen Muramaki & Andrew PepoyI guess the write-in campaign worked. Applause to the Writers Guild for honoring these guys.

Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress are set to receive the Writers Guild of America, West Animation Writers Caucus’ 14th annual Animation Writing Award posthumously. The honor recognizes their animation writing work and their efforts to organize animation for the guild.

“This year, animation lost two talented, hard-working people who have given much of themselves and their talent to our field,” said AWC chair Craig Miller. “Dwayne McDuffie was a talented writer and creator of comics and animation who worked hard for others, particularly for minority writers. Earl Kress was a writer whose career included both feature and TV animation and hard work on behalf of all animation writers as a member of the WGA Animation Writers Caucus and the Animation Guild Board of Directors. Both were people I was glad to call friend and colleague, and whose efforts, it can truthfully be said, made all of us the better for them.”

via Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress to Receive WGAW Animation Writing Award – Hollywood Reporter.

MICHAEL DAVIS: My Secret Origin

Editor’s Note: This originally appeared at www.michaeldavisworld.com on January 28, 2011. It is being reprinted here without permission. It’s been reformatted to meet ComicMix’s high editorial standards.

A long time ago in a galaxy, blah, blah, blah…

…Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz and I shared a studio next to some creators who are all legends now. It was the second silver age of comics and we were in the thick of it.

Howard Chaykin was doing American Flagg!, Walt Simonson was on Thor, Al Milgrom was doing Spider-Man. Jim Sherman was in the studio but I forgot what he was working on, I do remember it was bad ass.

The studio where all those superstar upstarts were was called Upstart Studio.

Duh.

Also at Upstart was Frank Miller who was doing Daredevil and about to do Ronin. I seldom saw Frank but when I did more often than not he would ask what I was working on and was just a great guy. I remember being a bit jealous when Bill and Frank started working on Elektra and for the life of me I can’t remember why.

All that said, how’s that for a line up?

Those guys (Denys included) sounds like a comic fan’s dream team even now. Speaking of my best friend Denys a few years forward in time from our studios days would see him nominated for an Eisner for best penciler… twice. People forget just how badass Denys Cowan is.

Our studio never got an official name although Bill liked to call it Bill and his little helpers… the bastard.

As far as what we were doing at Bill and his little helpers Studio, Bill was working on Elektra and The New Mutants; Denys was doing The Black Panther for Marvel, V (the comic adaption of the original TV series) and Vigilante for DC.

What was I doing? Nothing great in comics, that’s for sure.

I was working on children books, movie posters, etc. I had one comic book assignment for the Marvel magazine Epic. The assignment was given to me by the late great Archie Goodwin. I made an appointment with Archie hoping for a cover assignment I never dreamt he would give me an interior job.

I loved comics but I was trained as an editorial and mainstream illustrator. I never learned to do comics like, say, a Denys Cowan who can imagine and draw anything from his head. I need reference, I need to look at stuff, and I need dozens of layouts before I start a finished piece. Comics that are fully painted and tell a non-liner story at that time were rare. I was always jealous (still am) of guys that can do that make it up from nothing jazz.

Dwayne McDuffie recently commented on multitalented guys that can write and draw. Truth be told Dwayne, just as a writer, is light years away from where I will ever be as a visual storyteller. That, to me, is multitalented. When Christopher Priest was the editor on the Spider-Man book he once dissected a cover painting I did for him like he was a high school science teacher and I was the frog. He’s also a hell of a writer and just as good a musician. Reggie Hudlin glides between producing and directing movies and TV shows to writing some of the best comics I’ve ever read. Those guys are multitalented.

20 or so years ago, except for Heavy Metal and a few other outlets, painted comics were few and far between. The graphic novel as a fully painted editorial piece of art and content was not quite there yet. It was about to come into its own lead by people like my brother from another mother Bill Sienkiewicz. The work of Kent Williams, George Pratt and Dave McKean was just around the corner as well but not there yet.

Howard Chaykin saw over 20 years ago where comics were going and produced a few painted books before just about anyone did.

Like an asshole, I tried to do comics the way Denys, Walt, Howard and Frank did. I was too stupid to listen to Howard Chaykin when he told me, “Do what you do, the industry is changing and you can bring something new to it.’

Some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. It’s right up there with, put your hands on the wheel and answer in a civil tone of voice, “Yes officer, whatever you say officer.”

I wish I was joking about the cop advice, but I assure you I’m not.

I did not listen to Howard. Years later Mike Gold told me the same thing after I delivered a Wasteland story, which was not my finest hour. I didn’t think he would but Mike gave me another Wasteland story and said, “Do this like any other illustration assignment.” The story was about South Africa and I nailed that mother.

Of all the high profile regular illustrations gigs I was doing (Newsweek, NBC, etc.) the assignment I was the most excited about was Epic. It was a six-page story I was writing and drawing and taking forever to do because I wanted to do it like “regular” comics artists did. Could not do it then, can’t do it now.

Long story short, I will never forget those late night talks with Howard, Bill, Frank, Jim, Al and Denys. It was indeed the second silver age but for me it will always be my golden age.

Bill and his little helpers. Somehow that does not brother me anymore.

Yeah, I know this is pretty damn sappy.

That’s OK. Sap is the new black.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold