Tagged: Mike Richardson

Michael Davis: I Got Your Diversity Right Here

“What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity. They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not.” Marvel VP of Sales David Gabriel, Marvel Retailer Summit, March 2017

“Let’s find a place they say, somewhere far away, With no blacks, no Jews and no gays” The Machine, Lyrics from There But For The Grace Of God, Go I, Dec 1979

“Now the big publishing guns are on this diversity thing, but for how long? Think it’s going to last? It won’t. It won’t because it’s a trend, a ploy. It’s a stunt. This, my friend, is nothing but business.” Michael Davis, Bleeding Cool, Feb 2015

Just as I predicted the fate of comic’s only true diversity architect, Milestone Media, I said the current diversity bug would go away. I did not think it would be with such a loud send-off. David Gabriel, who I have never met but people tell me is a good guy, tried to walk back his comments.

You can’t.

You can try, but after hearing “yes, i killed that bitch and i’m glad she’s dead” no matter how many times the judge says to disregard that statement the odds anyone does are slim to none.  The only thing that stops a scandal is a bigger scandal.

It would not surprise me if David Gabriel sent the CEO of United Airlines the following letter:

Thank you!

Don’t for a moment think this was not on its way to becoming a bigger national story. Marvel is a global entertainment power, and the story had plenty of legs.

In walked or more appropriately dragged United Airlines and Marvel is off the hook.

Pity.

I say that not because I’d like Mr. Gabriel (who simply told the truth) to be put under anymore duress but because a national debate would have served comics well.

Oh well the best-laid plans, year right. For the record, I’m convinced Axel Alonzo is committed to diversity, as are others at Marvel. Alas, diversity comes at a cost and right now that like the rent seems too damn high.

The following first appeared in Bleeding Cool over two years ago. I think it still rings true.

In 2001 I sent Karen Berger, at the time editor-in-chief at DC’s Vertigo, a proposal for a graphic novel called Miracle Town. The story was about a black super-powered being showing up in Mississippi in 1932, or to put it another way; it was Strange Fruit almost 15 years ago. Along with the pitch were eight pages of detailed pen and inked art. Karen passed, saying it was “all right, nothing special.”

Now Mark Waid and J.G Jones, two white boys (said with love), show up with the same idea and it becomes the talk of the industry. Three weeks earlier Milestone 2.0 was the talk of the industry. Before that, Miles Morales, Black Superman, Black Avengers, Female Thor, Muslim Ms. Marvel, Black Human Torch, Black Captain America, yadda, yadda, whatever.

Now the big publishing guns are on this diversity thing, but for how long? Think it’s going to last? It won’t. It won’t because it’s a trend, a ploy. It’s a stunt. This, my friend, is nothing but business.

Superman will stay black just about as long as he remained dead.

Last year Mike Gold took a project of mine to an established and well-known publisher. Keith Giffen called this project one of the greatest ideas he’d ever heard. Now called Black Reign, it started life almost 20 years ago as The Underground at DC Comics. In asked Dwayne McDuffie to write it he changed the title to Glory Scroll. That lasted for a bit, but DC gave us the runaround, so I took it to Dark Horse, where it became The Underground again.

Mike Richardson’s involvement and keen insight challenged me to rethink the story. I did, and it became an entirely new story. That story with that title is still at Dark Horse, no longer a superhero story. When I pitched it to Marvel, it was called Black Power.

I sent “Black Power” to Marvel and never heard back. That’s not a slight, Axel is up to his ass in projects, and I’m simply not one to hound people. I’m never in any hurry with a pitch although I pitch so seldom. Because I spend lots of time coming up with concepts while servicing my existing projects. I let things take the time they take. If greenlit today, I couldn’t get to it for at least a year or more.

As you can see this project has been around and has had a home at three major publishers, DC, Dark Horse and my imprint Level Next. Level Next is a co-venture with Karen Hunter and Simon & Schuster. I later decided the first project from Level Next shouldn’t be a graphic novel but a mainstream novel.

So, enter Mike Gold. Mike and I happen to talk the day I made the decision to save Black Reign for a later Level Next release. Mike pitched the original superhero story, and for a second the project was called The Movement.

Black Reign BC!

After Mike Gold had pitched it for a moment, it was to be the Milestone 2.0 Foundation universe. That’s no longer happening — if it is, Lucy got some ‘splaining to do. What, pray tell, happened when Gold pitched this “incredible” (Giffen’s words, not mine) idea, rife with Black superheroes’ and filled with diversity?

He was told “Hollywood will never buy this. Too many black superheroes.” The only reason I’m not outing the publisher is the risk some people will find what he said, racist. He wasn’t racist; he was just saying what everyone is thinking.

Which is bullshit. Two words: Hancock, Blade, Spawn. Yeah, that’s three words but I went to public school, and math is not my thing.

“Too many black superheroes.”

So much for diversity, way, way back in 2014.

In 2015, there’s a debate raging whether Mark and J.G. Jones should even be doing this kind of story. Some say no because white guys can’t tell a Black superhero comic book story. What do I think? Of course, they should — Mark’s a fantastic writer and Mr. Jones is a badass artist.

The very real fact about black superheroes is white guys have always told the black superhero story, and unless a white boy does, it doesn’t count or doesn’t count as much. For my money, Mark Waid can tell any story he wants — in my book; he’s that good.

Yes, a black writer adds the certain legitimacy to black fiction. That’s not to say white writers can’t write a good black story; of course, they can. The example I hear most often about white guys in working in black areas is Eminem.

Eminem is one of the greatest rappers ever. To some, he is the greatest. To dismiss him because white is injudicious at best, stupid as shit at worse. To deny Mark because he’s white is just as silly. Few writers are on his level in comics, and that’s just the truth.

On, the other hand, Eminem doesn’t rap about being bnlack.

Regardless of your feeling towards who should write what, the debate shouldn’t be whether Mark or any other writer can tell that story.

No, the debate should be “why is diversity not a topic until the white boys say it is?”

Google any combination featuring the keywords black and superhero — with very few exceptions, the vast (as in massive) majority were created by white creators. When there were no authors of color, I will be the first to tell just how good it felt to see The Black Panther, Luke Cage, and The Falcon. Shit, as a kid all I cared about was seeing black characters in my favorite comics.

Then the battle was just to see people of color in comics, as characters and creators.

Now, African Americans as well as Latino, Asian and other ethnic groups are represented in both. The representation is small, but it’s there.

What’s not there is the acceptance of these characters and creators as A-listers. When DC or Marvel creates a black superhero, it’s embracing diversity, so when David Walker writes for DC’s Cyborg, that’s real diversity because David Walker is a hotshot, talented black writer.

David is among many writers and artists of color who have been bringing diversity to comics for many, many years. He was a talented writer well before he was writing for DC. He was also black before working at DC, in case anyone asks.

DC and Marvel will exploit diversity as the current fashion until such time it decides not to. Then, back in the closet, it will go to make way for next season’s hot designer and trendy look.

Nothing wrong with that.

It’s my hope this current wave becomes so huge that Marvel and DC stay in it. Failing that, when they get out to remember Marvel and DC don’t suddenly bring diversity to comics, this I know.

I also know diversity in comics was here before this and will be here after they leave. All you must do is Google, independent black comic books, and you can do that right now.

Comics are a business, and right now diversity is good for business. Conversely, for creators of color, diversity is not the current fashion or latest look. As much as the media would have you believe it, Marvel and DC are not the end all and be all when it comes to diversity.

How can they be? They’re not diverse enough.

Next Week: Milestone Is Dead

Michael Davis: Dream Killer 4 – Publish or Perish

dreamkiller4From last week:

That, boys and girl, is called knowing the game. Those who don’t shouldn’t play. So despite being blackballed by one of the big two how was I able to thrive?

Alternative means of finding distribution, budget and happiness.

The vast majority of top tier creators in the industry use one option.

There are numerous more, and I’ll touch on those next time.

As well I will break down what option was preferred and why for the project I’m using for this series. I’ve been in the game for a long time. What I use as examples are not intended as a ‘how to’ to get into the comics biz. If so the series would be named ‘how to ruin your career.’

The underlying point is to look at the big picture when entering this field. I believe with every fiber of my being one should always look to do the right thing. Comics are a very small industry and to have a real shot, it’s counterproductive working on how well you write or draw without working on your relationships skills.

Put another way, when people tell who they are and what they are about, trust but verify.

“The vast majority of top tier creators in the industry use one option.There are numerous more, and I’ll touch on those next time.”

It’s next time.

When I wrote about numerous other options, there certainly are. The four I list are ones I can speak about from a personal perspective.

Publishing Options:

  1. Find a major publisher
  2. Crowd Fund
  3. Fund Yourself
  4. Go outside the box.

The vast majority of top tier creators in the industry use option number one. Presentation to publishers differs from creator to creator. My process varies depending on the entity I’m pitching to.

The Comic Book Companies: Who & Why?

I’m not an idiot. This is a pop culture site heavy into comics. As such a significant amount of this, many readers will know. That’s great, but those who know will be surprised to learn many and by many a mean most of the newbies looking to get into the business have clue zero regarding the publishers in the industry.

There are well over two hundred publishers in the United States and thousands worldwide. For our purposes, we should know the players that meet your criteria for your project. The competitive rules are distribution, brand recognition, and marketing clout. What follows are the current major power brokers of the industry in my opinion.

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics is one of the big two. Marvel has a lineup of some of the world’s greatest comics. They include The X-Men, Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and of course, Spider-Man. When Disney acquired Marvel, the industry thought the mouse would destroy Marvel. Nope Marvel did change but for the better. Marvel is the undisputed superhero king in the mainstream because of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. DC has yet to catch the kind of fire Marvel has on the screen.

DC Comics

DC Comics is the other half of the big two and despite my rocky history with them still my choice universe. Time/Warner owns DC, but as of this writing, the noise is AT&T is about to buy Time Warner.

When Disney purchased Marvel, I was one of the few voices that thought this was a good thing and it was. They were smart enough to let Axel Alonzo and other key playa’s stay and soon fear turned into faith. I also correctly predicted DC would oust Paul Levitz and move operations to the West Coast. This is not to say Paul was an obstacle to DC; he wasn’t. He was problematic. His influence spanned three decades and for better or worse Time Warner knew for DC to compete with Marvel Paul had to go.

In my opinion, and I do so hope I am wrong, if AT&T buys Time Warner and DC Comics is part of that deal (it may not be) then DC Comics may be fucked.

Disney is in the content creation business, and even James Bond can tell you nobody does it better. AT&T is in the telecommunication business and realizes within the high stake arena of telecommunication, they are far from the only game in town. What AT&T has is the ability to deliver content better than anyone. What they don’t have is content they own outright. If they buy Time Warner, they get the mother of all content and instantly become the biggest pimp in town. So big Comcast becomes their bitch, and even Disney had better recognize.

As most of you know, the DC lineup includes Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Flash. DC further has a mature reader line of books called Vertigo. The Vertigo books have a suspense and horror tilt. Recently DC entirely rebooted their entire 78-year continuity with a revamping and retelling of all their major characters twice. The New 52 did not do the kind of numbers DC was hoping for but Rebirth is very strong and the talk of the industry. Outside comics Marvel may be king in the movies, but on TV it’s all DC.

All good right? No. Not really. If this deal happens all it takes is one high powered mofo to say; “What do we need comic books for?” Remember Disney got Marvel because of its superheroes.

Look at all AT&T gets:

HBO

TBS

TNT

Cartoon Network

Adult Swim

CNN

The CW

Warner Bros. Pictures

DC Entertainment

New Line Cinema

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

You see comics on that list? Nope. DC Entertainment, yes. Comics, nope. You don’t need comics if you own the property already. Far-fetched? Maybe, but so was AT&T buying Time Warner a month ago.

Image Comics

Image Comics started in the early nineties. They quickly rose to the number three position in the industry. They have a consortium of studios that all contribute to the publishing line. Many creators do creator owned books under the Image banner. Their publishing deal is as follows authors deliver the book Image manages the publishing distribution and marketing.

When I ran Motown Animation & Filmworks, my comic book division had its publishing deal with Image.

Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse Comics have lots of success with taking their comics to movies. The Mask, Time Cop, Barb Wire, Mystery Men, and Hellboy to name a few. All of those movies were Dark Horse comics first. Their CEO and publisher also owns a chain of comic book stores. They have the most “Hollywood” take on the comic book business. Dark Horse has a history of working with maverick creators and Mike Richardson publisher is one of the smartest men in the industry.

IDW Publishing

Idea + Design Works (IDW) was formed in 1999 by four entertainment executives and artists, Ted Adams, Alex Garner, Kris Oprisko and Robbie Robbins. They decided to create a company that would allow them to work with a variety of clients on the things they liked: video games, movies, TV, collectible card games, comic books and trading cards. They have produced some of the best-looking books in comics.

NBM Publishing

NBM is a graphic album publisher. They rarely do superheroes but do science fiction, fantasy, horror and what they call Eurotica. They are more of a mainline publisher in the way they conduct business. NBM has published many graphic novels in comics stores with a second window in mainstream bookstores such as Barnes and Noble. Smart people run NBM, and they don’t suffer fools on any level so before you pitch to them, or any publisher make it a point to know what they do.

Dynamite Entertainment

Dynamite Entertainment focuses primarily on comic book adaptations of existing properties, with most of their original holdings being new interpretations of the classics. They hold or have held the rights to publish titles based on films (Army of Darkness, Darkman, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, RoboCop, and Highlander), television series (Xena: Warrior Princess) and literature (Sherlock Holmes, Alice in Wonderland, Dracula, and Zorro). Other properties include Buck Rogers and Sherlock Holmes.

Lion Forge Comics

When Lion Forge added Joe Illidge as senior editor they changed the game. That move should put a certain landmark publisher on notice. Or put another way, you slow you blow.

Crowdfunding

Crowd funding the second option was at one time something I was not at all interested in attempting. I thought there was no formula to speak of and I don’t do maybe or hit and miss in business.

What many people fail to realize is once funded they assume all the roles that go along with a crowdfunding gig. It’s true that some notable people (Spike Lee for one) have crowd funded projects. It’s easy with that kind of name recognition and people at that level have an existing infrastructure.

Funding must cover marketing creative, printing, and fulfillment of whatever incentives promised those who chip in. That alone is a massive undertaking. To reach a mass market would in my estimate take funding of between $30,000-$70.000.

There is a growing number of companies that will handle the undertaking for you. Some for a small fee some for a huge stake in your creation. I’m rethinking crowd funding mainly because I found a gem of a project which wasn’t moving. Taking a chance, I funded it all myself then brokered a deal for the property at a mainstream publisher. I don’t own it, didn’t create it but the creator can now think about just doing the work and let someone else do the heavy lifting selling.

What do I get? Right now nothing but the future isn’t built on right now.

Next week I’ll break down funding yourself and try and get you out of the box.

 

Michael Davis: We Were Friends

Dwayne McDuffieDwayne McDuffie and I were friends, good friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ain’t that the truth?

 

Ed Catto’s Conversation with Steven Grant

Palicki Mockingbird !

As part of my ongoing series exploring today’s creators’ reactions to their comic creations’ successful crossovers into other media, this week I reached out to Steven Grant. His impressive career includes reviving Marvel’s The Punisher, creating characters like Whisper and writing the long running comics industry column, Permanent Damage.

2_guns_CoverEd Catto: Your 2 Guns comic was a hit movie in 2013. Can you tell us a little about the process of bringing your comic to the movies, from your perspective as the writer?

Steven Grant: Getting a film made from a comic is generally a much longer and more arduous process than most people seem to think. I wrote 2 Guns somewhere between 1998 and 2001, and I had the idea for it much earlier than that. I’d tried selling it for years to various comics publishers, but selling a straight crime comic with no other genre aspirations is a very difficult thing. Finally I had a lull in my schedule and just didn’t want to let go of the notion, so I wrote it anyway. It took a long time. Still couldn’t sell it.

Finally, around 2006, Ross Richie, who I’d known for years, launched Boom! Studios, and he asked if he could publish it, though he couldn’t pay me for it at the time. I wasn’t doing anything else with it, so I said sure. I wanted to see it in print. It was published in 2007. This was right at the time Hollywood started paying a lot of attention to anything published in comics, and Hollywood was somewhat more open to the material – once it had seen print. Prior to that, I’d never been able to rouse any Hollywood interest in the story either, and I had tried – than comics was.

I wasn’t actively involved in any of this, but Ross kept me regularly apprised. Interest grew, studios got involved. I’m told there was something of a bidding war between Fox Atomic – I think it was Fox Atomic, it was one of the Fox sub-brands of the day – and Universal that Universal won, then the person who was involved in that at Fox ended up at Universal so everyone was happy. But even something like that doesn’t guarantee a movie.

A Hollywood deal is basically an unsecured promissory note. Putting a movie together these days is a complicated game requiring the right assemblage of what are now called “elements”: concept, a good production company (established track record preferred), a script by preferably a studio-approved screenwriter that’s good and interesting enough to attract actors with a reputation for “opening” a film (i.e. selling a lot of tickets the first weekend).

Prior to founding Boom! Ross had spent several years working in Hollywood and studying the mechanics, so with some help he was able to navigate the waters. Even at that, the script, cast and crew went through several iterations, and the studio came close to dropping the project a couple of times for Hollywood reasons that had nothing to do with the project itself. Things are always touch and go in Hollywood, even after filming starts.

I think ultimately that 2 Guns got made – and I’m not trying to diminish the many people who worked diligently throughout, like Adam Siegel and Marc Platt of the Marc Platt Co., our production company, who like Ross were also key and ceaseless champions of the project – came down to Mark Wahlberg, who we were lucky enough to land in one of the key roles and who made it his mission to get the film made, bringing in both additional financing when some of our financing fell through (also an incredibly common occurrence in Hollywood) and the wonderful Baltasar Kormákur when the previous director bailed. Baltasar brought such a great visual and stylistic tone to the film. It finally filmed in 2012, four years after the “bidding war,” and hit theaters a little more than a year after that. Trust me, if you’re invested in a film project based on your project, invest in a lot of Maalox because it’s a very bumpy road, and the road to 2 Guns was smoother than a lot of them.

EC: When you saw the movie, were you happy the finished product?

SG: I love the film, but why wouldn’t I? From the beginning, Ross, Adam and screenwriter Blake Masters, who’s a great guy, by the way, were determined to stick as close spiritually to the material as possible. There were changes of course, but you can do so much more in a film than you can on the comics page that I’d’ve been pretty disappointed if they’d stuck strictly to what’s in the book. I do think they kept everything that was important in and to the story. Blake in particular (and Baltasar later) picked up on 2 Guns being a very deadpan comedy. That’s how I always thought of it. Ross and I would have long arguments about that, but I wrote it so of course I was right. I think Blake did a wonderful job. Like I said, I love the film, and considering how many comics guys crab about what Hollywood did to their work, I can’t tell you how happy I am to be able to say that. I didn’t see the film until the premiere, and was terrified I’d have to lie my ass off about liking it afterwards, but thankfully it never came to that. I not only love the film and still find it tremendously watchable, I like their ending better than mine.

Dark Horse's X characterEC: In the ‘90s you created a character called X for Dark Horse Comics. What sparked the creation of that character?

SG: I didn’t create X. For several years, Dark Horse had been quietly developing a superhero universe concept in house, and X was one of their linchpin characters. What happened was a guy named Jonathan Peterson was an editor at DC and asked me to write some Deathstroke issues for him, then I started doing other work for him as well. DC was big into “reimagining” old characters, and they had one called Americommando in the ‘40s that I thought was both one of the greatest and worst names in the history of comics, so I created a political thriller concept around it that was probably a bit more left-wing than DC would’ve been comfortable with.

Then Jonathan left and, as is often the case, the projects he’d been setting up, including several of mine, evaporated. I retooled the concept, retitled it Patriot X and pitched it to Dark Horse, which had recently picked up the Badlands project I’d started at Vortex Comics before they hit the skids. Mike Richardson really liked the Patriot X concept, but asked if I could name it something else because they had this character X they were doing for their superhero universe. So I retitled that project Enemy, then Mike asked me to write X as well.

EC: I always remember X being called “the Batman from Hell.” Was that a fair assessment?

SG: Sort of. I didn’t create X but I did kind of recreate it. Their original concept for the character was – and this is badly bowdlerizing it into convenient shorthand – Batman dressed as a Mexican wrestler. I tuned him up into the relentless, fixated psychopath of the first X series. I don’t recall whether the “Zorro” gimmick – one strike as a warning, the second strike (completing the X) as death sentence – originated with me or with Mike, Randy Stradley and Chris Warner, the original architects of the character. Anyway, yes, Batman was key to their conceptualization of the character, but I tried my best to keep specific parallels to Batman beyond the unavoidable out of it.

EC: At one point it looked like X was headed to the Fox Network for a TV series. Can you fill us in on what happened and what where your reactions to that then?

SG: If X was ever a Fox pilot, I never heard about it. They were trying to get it done as a film for a while that I wrote a very bad screenplay for (I really didn’t know what I was doing at the time) that was quickly trashed. You might be thinking of Enemy. David Goyer and Columbia approached Dark Horse about getting the rights for a potential TV series after the book came out. I think it might’ve been David’s first producing job, whereas previously he’d just been a screenwriter. I could be misremembering. Mike was involved too as an executive producer, since he’d already had The Mask as a TV series. They pitched it to Fox, which paid for the pilot. I’ve seen it; I’ve got a copy around here someplace I’m not supposed to have. It’s okay. I’m not sure what happened. I know it was on Fox’s schedule for at least a few days prior to them announcing the schedule, but when they announced it wasn’t. I’ve heard various explanations from different people. It basically boils down to “It’s Hollywood.” Things are go, then they’re suddenly not go. Nothing’s real until it’s real.

Of course, I was thrilled they wanted to make a series. I had nothing more I especially wanted to do with the character. It was one of the first times I thought completely in terms of the story rather than a franchise, so a TV show meant I could make lots of money from it and they’d be the ones worrying about a franchise.

I doubt I’d’ve been very involved in it. Network TV didn’t pay much upfront then – not sure what the terms are these days but I doubt they’ve changed much – then you get a little chunk of change for every episode that airs (with some restrictions I forget), but as creator you don’t make a lot of money until the show goes into syndication, meaning it had to stick around for five to seven years, which are slightly better odds than winning the lottery, but not by a lot. But I would’ve liked to have seen it on TV in any case.

MTU MockingbirdAs it turns out, Mike and I have recently been in discussion and I’m probably bringing back Enemy at Dark Horse next year.

EC: You also created the Marvel super heroine, Mockingbird. What’s the ‘secret origin’ behind her creation?

SG: That was one of my early on things, when I first arrived at Marvel. When you go to a company like Marvel, everything’s niched. It’s very difficult to find something to put your stamp on. I wanted my own characters to play with, and to do that I had to create them. Mark Gruenwald, who I quickly became friends with because we both originated in Wisconsin, was assistant editor of Marvel Team-Up at the time – that book jumped back and forth between editors like crazy, if I remember correctly – got me assigned a bunch of fill-in issues. Marvel traditionally struggled with deadline problems, so they regularly assigned fill-in issues. I couldn’t get a regular book there but fill-ins kept me alive and taught me versatility, if nothing else.

Mark and I concocted a mini-series within Marvel Team-Up (which largely specialized in isolated stories) set in Los Angeles, and to wrap up that arc. Influenced by the mid-‘70s House investigations of illegal activities by the CIA, I’d pushed several times without success for a Nick Fury Vs. SHIELD idea, and wanted to incorporate that in a story suggesting SHIELD might not be quite the good guys they’d been made out to be. Despite my own failure, this obviously wormed its way into the creative psyche up there, as Nick Fury Vs. SHIELD was done some time after I was mostly divorced from the company.

I’d run across the Huntress character who’d briefly appeared in a Marvel magazine, but by then DC had a character named The Huntress, so Mark and I rechristened her Mockingbird and I retooled her shtick into something I could work with. The main response was fan outrage that Marvel Team-Up had debuted a character rather than team Spider-Man up with an existing one.

Palicki TV MockingbirdEC: I’m anxious to hear your reactions to seeing Mockingbird on the television show, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

SG: I’ve only seen the first couple episodes she was in – I have the rest on DVR but haven’t had time to watch – but loved her first appearance. Adrienne Palicki works fine in the part, and I thought the shtick was great, very much in keeping with the espionage angle I always wanted for her that Marvel had mostly abandoned. I take it all as vindication, especially if ABC puts her in her own series, which I understand is still a strong possibility.

A funny thing: when I created Mockingbird, I came up with the interlocking staves as her key weapons that could be used in various ways: individually as two-fisted clubs, as climbing picks, locked together as a vaulting pole, etc. I can’t swear by it but don’t recall that being a thing before her.

Now Mark, at heart, was always a DC Comics fan first, and had this dream of creating a Marvel Comics analog of The Justice League. In that scenario, he envisioned Mockingbird as Marvel’s Black Canary, and hooked her up with Hawkeye (Marvel’s Green Arrow) at the first opportunity. I don’t especially like the whole concept of analogue characters (re: X) and tried to keep away from it. So a TV version of the Black Canary shows up on the second season of Arrow, and what do I see? Her key weapons are interlock staves that can be used in various ways: individually as two-fisted clubs, etc… They lifted Mockingbird’s bit and gave it to the Black Canary. Full circle.

EC: Gerry Conway has detailed his frustrations with the corporate policies dictating recognition and compensation for characters he created for DC Comics. Can you reveal your own experiences, specifically as they relate to the Mockingbird character?

Mockingbird CosplaySG: They were nice enough to start crediting me on every episode she’s in, though they kindly don’t mention what anyone’s credited for. I haven’t seen any checks yet. Those are my experiences so far. We’ll see what happens. But I don’t question that Marvel/Disney own the character. I’m not sure yet what their policy on these things is.

EC: Do you feel today’s creators are better prepared to deal with creation of their characters and their possible success in other media?

SG: Probably not, unless they’ve had a lot of personal experience. I’ve noticed by and large comics talent all think they’ll be the exceptions, and don’t seem to get what a minefield media is. It can be navigated but in general it’s all hard choices and risk, and most don’t understand the process and have wildly unrealistic expectations to both extremes.

I’m not suggesting people should start out cynical – that’s as good a way to kill of good opportunities as any – but it pays to educate yourself on the risks and pitfalls, and find out how things are really done rather than swallow the snake oil usually peddled as “how Hollywood [or anything, really] works.” A good education in the workings of whatever field and realistic expectations are the best shields against disappointment and bitterness anyone can get, and the best ways to increase the odds of success.

EC: Great insights and stories. Thanks for your time, Steven.

 

Michael Davis: Milestone Raising 2.1

static_cv2-291x450A couple of weeks ago Paul Smith asked rather or not Milestone would be better off away from DC.

Last week I addressed his question—but must now admit I did so in a drugged out haze. The drugs (some legal) affected my thought process and I’m afraid what I wrote was a result of such.

Or, it was an April Fool’s gag.

Either way here’s the non-drugged (much) and/or non-gag answer.

Paul, every partner in any partnership be it personal or professional will at some time or from time to time ask if they would be better off with someone else. Its human nature at it’s most pure.

I’ve asked that question, many times.

Regardless if business or personal relationship after I ask that, I ask the following, what’s my goal?

What would the goal be in leaving DC?

(more…)

Martin Pasko: Got Jokes?

Pasko Art 130704By now, those of you who probably greeted with thudding indifference my first regular post here last week may be whining (privately) about my tone.

As of this writing, that piece hasn’t gone up yet, so I haven’t yet read the comments I probably won’t get. No doubt some of you will slander me as a cranky old fart. I would prefer that you read me, if you read me at all, as Grumpy Cat with alopecia and a litter box that looks like a Mylar snuggie.

My purpose here is mainly to provoke thought, but in this overcrowded blogosphere, what that means is, one has to provoke, period. So I also try to entertain by trying to be funny. (I have some experience with this, having been paid to do so on several occasions.) I’m counting on there being ComicMix readers who know that “shock jock” doesn’t have anything to do with Lightning Lad’s penis.

Which brings me to my subject today (Why Patton Oswalt Is So Lonely At Comic Book Conventions). Fanboys have no sense of humor? Well, why the fuck not?

You like to laugh, right? And you love comics, right? Where is it written that loving something means you can’t see its absurdities? (Oh, wait. Married Geeks = a minority. Forgot.)

OK, now that we’ve solved that problem…

Assuming you do like laughing and you like comics…WTF have you got against a one-and-done, and getting both fixes from the same place? Why do so few of you have any interest in comic books that aren’t populated by characters so teeth-grittingly grim that they always look like they’re on the crapper and constipated? Is it too gross to contemplate the idea of a comic book that tries to make you laugh?

Where have all the funny mainstream comics gone? Plastic Man has either gone all deadpan or invisible; Kyle Baker’s given up on the Big Two; Joe Quesada probably doesn’t even know WTF Not Brand Ecch was; and Mike Richardson won’t be blowing any money on another Instant Piano anytime soon. But when did the industry get so risk-adverse? When did their commitment to product diversity become so transparently lip-service?

I know being married to the floppy is a burdensome job, but let’s all learn to lighten the load by leavening it with laughter, aight? In the grand scheme of things, comics aren’t really that important, yo. Your school, if you’re unlucky enough to go to one, will still have textbooks designed to turn you into a Marching Moron. Or it will keep you in debt till long after comics have ceased to exist.

Your job, if you’re lucky enough to have one, will still suck, and the fries that go with it will have been reconstituted, blow-dried, flavor-sprayed, and frozen by a 12-year-old Chinese girl in one of those two-cents-an-hour laborers’ dormitories that gave Mitt Romney a hard-on. And even if you don’t get around to reading this till September, your phone company will still be letting Black Ops guys look at pictures of your junk.

Me, I will recklessly continue trying to bring smiles to your lips, despite your dogged resistance. If I and like-minded writers can’t be funny in comic books, I, at least, will defiantly and unapologetically try to be funny about them – as I did here, and got hugely trolled for it by a lot of Geek jobs who sounded like they were about to cry.

That’s why you’ll also find in my columns that there will be links for some things you don’t immediately understand but also for others that you do.

Well, FYIYCTAJ. And I’ll let you figure out what that stands for on your own time.

You’ve been warned. But imagine a smiley face after that.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

 

Michael Davis: Dark Horse Wants Me Dead, Part 2

SONY DSCLast week I started telling the tale of Mike Richardson, CEO, publisher and owner of Dark Horse Entertainment and the hit he has put out on me. Please refer to part one before reading this.

After years of back and forth Mike Richardson finally gives me the OK to proceed with my graphic novel, The Underground – A Story of The Underground Railroad.

I’ve written hundreds of pages and produced dozens of preliminary drawings for the project but now it was time to produce the book.

Shit.

Shit.

Shit.

This was (is) a dream project and I wanted to do wonderful if not award winning work on it. I was so happy it was finally green lit I did the one thing I shouldn’t have: I became obsessed with the process.

SONY DSCI wrote the full script like a comic book script, breaking down each panel on the page complete with captions and word balloons. Didn’t like the first draft so I did another. Didn’t like that so I did another.

This went on for about a year. Then one day I realized my problem, the format the script was in was not working for me. I then wrote the story as a novel. After about three months I realized writing a novel was a stupid as shit way to do a graphic novel.

Duh.

SONY DSCThen I figured it out, write the script as a novella (short novel) then illustrate that.

Duh.

That process took another few years.

Before I go on it’s important for me to tell you that like Mike Richardson was busy with a multitude of projects during the years it took to green light my project, I had nowhere near the workload of Mike but while working on the Underground I also had numerous on my plate.

SONY DSCI don’t want to give you the impression that all I was working on was The Underground and was taking years to complete it. During the time I was working on the Underground I was also the head writer on a television show, creating content in a joint venture with a large entertainment company, not to mention writing two books and writing and illustrating another graphic novel and writing two weekly columns, one of which is for ComicMix.

However, Mike Richardson runs a massive entertainment company, yes he has a staff but Mike makes it a point to be involved and he takes the time to make sure the project is right before he green lights it. That’s why Mike’s involvement took the time it took.

After my project got the go ahead no matter what else I had to do it doesn’t matter I should be finished with the Underground by now.

And…I almost am.

Finally.

It will still be a few months but in an effort to show Mike some of what I’ve been doing I’m premiering some of the art here. Hopefully Mike will see this and call off the hit.

I hope so; the last two people who owed Mike a graphic novel were Tupac and Biggie.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Goes Toonie

 

Michael Davis: Dark Horse Wants Me Dead

Davis Art 130129Mike Richardson CEO, publisher and owner has ordered a hit on me. Here’s the story…

Over a decade ago I sold a project to DC Comics and that deal fell apart.

Why? Why does the phone always ring when you are in the bathroom? Why do gay people join the GOP? Why from behind certain white guys look like girls? Why after I found out he was a guy did I still buy him a drink?

Sometimes it’s just silly to ask why. Sometimes you just continue on your journey the why becoming less and less important. I’m also not one to relive old dumb shit in my life.

This is not the place to pick at old wounds…but since I know you want to know…

The editor assigned to the project wanted me off the project. Yeah, my project, my idea and he wanted me gone. Why?

Why ask why? Why does every fat girl you made fun of in high school turn out to be a skinny fox who won’t give your stupid ass the time of day? Why don’t Democrats make it a point to never let the country forget we went to war twice for no fucking reason because of the GOP? Why do some people like fruitcake?

I’m above asking why and won’t lower myself to even think about why the editor wanted me off my own project. But what kind of writer would I be to leave my fans (both of them) wondering?

The stupid motherfucker just didn’t like me.

DC would have wrote me a check and still did the project without me but I politely told the editor “No thank you, I’ll take the project elsewhere.”

I think my exact words were something like “Fuck you bitch.”

Two days after that polite conversation, I was pitching the project to Dark Horse. Mike Richardson loved it and signed on to do it.

Take that, DC Comics!

Dark Horse is one of, if not the, best place, to do a creator owned property was going to do my project! On top of that Mike Richardson was going to edit the book himself!

Mike Richardson a legend in the business! Mike Richardson, maker of great comics, great movies, great toys!

Mike Richardson was going to oversee my project! That was indeed great news!

Mike Richardson was going to oversee my project! That was indeed a great problem!

Why you ask was that both great news a great problem?

Why ask wh…oh fuck it, I’ll just tell you.

It’s great because Mike is one of the best at what he does. Just look at the numerous products Dark Horse does all over the entertainment world Dark Horse is into movies, television, toys you name the media chances are good that Dark Horse has a project in it.

Not to shabby being in business with the guy that runs all that eh?

Why is this a problem?

Because Mike Richardson may be in Portland on a Monday, Los Angeles Monday night and Prague Tuesday afternoon. When Mike is overseeing your project meetings and feedback can take a day a week or a couple of months.

I started sending Mike outlines of the four-issue superhero mini series and Mike would send me notes or we would sit down and go over it. I did many and I mean many drafts of this superhero epic over a couple of years.

That’s right, years.

One day out of the blue Mike called me and said; “This isn’t a superhero story. Let’s take the superheroes out ”

Mind you, I had written literally hundreds of pages of outline over the course of what was now three years. Also this was to be my “Black Watchman,” a term coined by Keith Giffen, BTW.

So now I have to start all over. So I did and this was when I realized that my “Black Watchmen” story was a good story but it wasn’t this story, so Mike was right.

So for the next couple of years I’m submitting outlines to Mike he’s giving me notes and we meet on occasion to talk about the project.

Then low and behold, one day Mike says to me about my latest outline, ‘This is it, go do the book!”

So now I have to do the book.

Shit…

End Part One.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold And Alfred Pennyworth’s Guns

 

Mike Gold’s Top 9 of 2012

It’s the end of the year, so it’s time for still another mindless list of favorites – maintaining a cloying, egotistical annual tradition throughout the media. Once again, here are my self-imposed rules: I’m only listing series that either were ongoing or ran more than six issues, I’m not listing graphic novels or reprints as both compete under different criteria, I’m not covering Internet-only projects as I’d be yanking the rug out from under my pal Glenn Hauman, and I’m listing only nine because tied for tenth place would be about two dozen other titles and I’ve only got so much bandwidth. Besides, “nine” is snarky and when it comes to reality, I am one snarky sumbytch – but only for a living. On Earth-Prime, I’m really a sweet, kind, understanding guy.

Having said all that, let’s open that hermetically sealed jar on the porch of Funk and Wagnalls and start.

1. Manhattan Projects. If I had to write a Top 9 of the Third Millennium list, I’d be hard pressed not to include this title. It’s compelling, it’s different, it’s unpredictable and it’s brilliantly executed by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Nick Pitarra. It turns out the scientists and the military leaders behind the creation and the execution of the Atomic Bomb had a lot more in mind than just nuking Japan… a lot more. And their plans run decades longer than World War II. Based largely upon real-life individuals who are too dead to litigate, each person seems to have his own motivations, his own ideas for execution, and his own long-range plan for how to develop the future. Yet the story never gets bogged down in political posturing or self-amusing cuteness – the latter being a real temptation for many creators. Each issue gives us the impression there’s more than meets the eye; each successive issue proves there most certainly was. If the History Channel spun off a Paranoia Network, Manhattan Projects would be its raison d’être.

2. Hawkeye. If you’ll pardon the pun, Hawkeye has never been more than a second-string character. An interesting guy with an involving backstory and enough sexual relationships to almost fill a Howard Chaykin mini-series, this series tells us what Clint Barton does when he’s not being an Avenger or a S.H.I.E.L.D. camp follower. It turns out Clint leads a normal-looking life that gets interfered with by people who think Avengers should be Avengers 24/7. He’s also got a thing going with the Young Avenger who was briefly Hawkeye. Matt Fraction and David Aja bring forth perhaps the most human interpretation of a Marvel character in a long, long while. Hawkeye might be second-string, but Clint Barton most certainly is not.

3. Captain Marvel. Another second-string character. Despite some absolutely first-rate stories (I’m quite partial to Jim Starlin’s stuff, as well as anything Gene Colan or Gil Kane ever put pencil to paper), the guy/doll never came close to the heritage of its namesake. This may have changed. A true role model for younger female readers and a very military character who uniquely humanizes the armed forces, Carol Danvers finally soars under writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Dexter Soy – both as a superhero and as a human being. DeConnick doesn’t qualify as “new” talent, but this certainly is a breakthrough series that establishes her as a truly major player… as it does Marvel’s Captain Marvel.

4. Creator-Owned Heroes. Anthology comics are a drag upon the direct sales racket. They almost never succeed. I don’t know why; there’s usually as much story in each individual chapter as there is in a standard full-length comic. I admire anybody who choses to give it a whirl (hi, there, honorary mention Mike Richardson and company for Dark Horse Presents!), and I really liked Creator-Owned Comics. Yep, liked. It’s gone with next month’s eighth issue. But this one was a lot more than an anthology comic: it had feature articles, how-to pieces, and swell interviews. The work of Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Steve Niles, Steve Bunche and a cast of dozens (including swell folks like Phil Noto and Darwin Cooke), there wasn’t a clinker in the bunch. I wouldn’t mind seeing follow-ups on any of the series featured in this title, although I must give a particular nod to Jimmy and Justin’s Killswitch, a take on modern contract killers, and on Steve’s work in general. This is no light praise: I’m not a big fan of horror stories because most of them have been done before and redone a thousand times after that. Niles is quite the exception.

5. Batman Beyond Unlimited. Okay, this is a printed collection of three weekly online titles: Batman Beyond, Justice League Beyond, and Superman Beyond. But it comes out every month in a sweet monthly double-length printed comic, so it meets my capricious criteria. Based upon the animated DC Universe (as in, the weekly series Batman Beyond and Justice League, and to a lesser extent others), these stories are solid, fun, and relatively free of the angst that has overwhelmed the so-called real DCU stories. Yeah, kids can enjoy them. So can the rest of the established comics audience. Pull the stick out of your ass; there’s more to superhero comics than OCD heroes and death and predictable resurrection. These folks have just about the best take on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters than anybody since Jack Kirby. That’s because Jack remembered comics are supposed to be entertaining. Honorable mention: Ame-Comi Girls. It’s based on a stupid (but successful) merchandising idea but it’s just as much fun as anything being published today.

6. Batgirl. O.K. The real story here is that DC Comics mindlessly offed writer Gail Simone from this series only to restore her within a week or so after serious (and occasionally, ah, overly dramatic) protest from both the readership and the creative community. But there was good reason: Gail took a character who was in an impossible situation and, against all tradition, put her back in the costume without resorting to ret-con or reboot, which have been the handmaidens of the New 52. She brought Barbara Gordon back to action with all the doubts, insecurities and vulnerabilities one would expect a person in her position to have, and she does so in a compelling way exercising all of her very considerable talent. This title thrives despite being engulfed in two back-to-back mega-non-events that overwhelmed and undermined all of the Batman titles.

7. Orchid. I praised this one last year; it comes to an end with issue 12 next month. That’s because writer/creator/musician/activist Nightwatchman Tom Morello has a day job and the young Wobblie still has a lot of rabble to rouse. Orchid is a true revolutionary comic book wherein a growing gaggle of the downtrodden stand up for themselves against all odds and unite to defeat the omnipresent oppressor. Tom manages to do this without resorting to obvious parallels to real-life oppressors, although the environment he creates will be recognizable to anybody who thinks there just might be something wrong with Fox “News.” But this is a comic book site and not the place for (most of) my social/political rants (cough cough). Orchid succeeds and thrives as a story with identifiable, compelling characters and situations and a story that kicks ass with the energy and verve one would expect from a rock’n’roller like Morello.

8. Revival. A somewhat apocalyptic tale about people who come back from the dead in the fairly isolated city of Wausau Wisconsin (I’ve been there several times; it is a city and it is indeed fairly isolated). But they aren’t zombies. Most are quite affable. It’s the rest of the population that’s got a problem. The latest output from Tim Seeley and my landsman Mike Norton, two enormously gifted talents. Somewhere above I noted how Steve Niles is able to raise well above the predictable crap and that is equally true here: the story and formula is typical, but the execution is compelling. That I’ve been a big fan of Norton’s is no surprise to my friends in Chicago.

9. Nowhere Men. I’ve got to thank my ComicMix brother Marc Alan Fishman for this one. Admittedly, it’s only two issues old and it has its flaws – long prose insertions almost always bring the pace of visual storytelling to a grinding halt – but the concept and execution of this series far exceeds this drawback. Written by Eric Stephenson and drawn by Nate Bellegarde and Jordie Bellaire, the catch phrase here is “Science Is The New Rock ‘N’ Roll.” Four guys start up a science-for-the-people company and that’s cool, but twenty years later some have taken it too seriously, others not seriously enough, and things got a little out of hand. Sadly, I’m not certain who understands that, other than the reader and one of the major characters. Science is the new rock’n’roll, and exploring that as a cultural phenomenon makes for a great story – and a solid companion to Manhattan Projects.

Non-Self-Publisher of the Year: For some reason, I’m surprised to say it’s Image Comics. They’ve been publishing many of the most innovative titles around – four of the above nine – all creator-owned, without going after licensed properties like a crack-whore at a kneepad sale.

No offense meant to either publishers or crack-whores; I said I’m really a sweet, kind, understanding guy.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

 

Scott Allie, Dark Horse Editor-In-Chief

Scott Allie becomes Dark Horse Comics Editor-In-Chief

Scott Allie, Dark Horse Editor-In-ChiefDark Horse Comics has announced that Scott Allie has been promoted to editor in chief. Allie, who celebrated his eighteenth year with the company last month, made his mark at Dark Horse quickly when he began editing Mike Mignola’s [[[Hellboy]]] only a month after joining the Editorial department. Since that time, he has gone on to both write and edit some of the company’s top-selling books, including [[[Buffy the Vampire Slayer]]] and cult favorites like The Goon, and he continues to collaborate with Mignola, including co-writing the upcoming series B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Abyss of Time.

He has shepherded multiple projects with names outside the comics industry, such as Lance Henriksen with [[[To Hell You Ride]]] and Gerard Way with The Umbrella Academy. Along with Dark Horse’s director of public relations, Jeremy Atkins, and recently appointed VP of Marketing, Matt Parkinson, Allie helped to develop and edit the company’s first foray into digital publishing with the critically acclaimed anthology MySpace Dark Horse Presents. Most recently, he engineered a three-month publishing initiative that showcases some of the company’s best horror titles and introduces new miniseries by top-tier talent.

“I’ve worked with Scott, day in and day out, for more than fifteen years now. In all that time he’s talked me off any number to cliffs, kept me going, kept me focused and organized (as much as anyone could), and, quite simply, made it possible for me to produce the best work of my career,” said Mike Mignola. “He’s been everything I could ever want in an editor and I cannot imagine a better choice at Dark Horse for editor in chief. Congratulations, Scott—you more than deserve it.”

“I’m delighted and relieved to hear that my great collaborator Scott Allie has been made editor in chief, because, to be perfectly honest, I thought he already was,” said Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon.

“I’m very excited about this promotion for Scott. The position has been his goal for some time now and he’s worked very hard to achieve it,” said Dark Horse’s president and founder, Mike Richardson. “It has been very rewarding to watch Scott’s evolution as an editor over his eighteen years with the company and I look forward to working with him in his new role to make Dark Horse the best comics company in the world.”

“The first Dark Horse book I ever picked up was the DHP fifth-anniversary issue with the first chapter of Sin City. Now I’ve spent most of my adult life here, and every day it still feels new,” said Scott Allie. “I’m grateful to be at the core of what Mike Richardson’s created, working with him and Randy Stradley and an incredible list of people I admire inside and outside Dark Horse.”