Tagged: The Black Panel

Michael Davis: The Great New York Con

I’m from New York.

I’m a New Yorker who has lived the last 20 years in Los Angeles or LA, as it’s commonly called. LA is where my life is now; driven here quite literally by an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Despite the often-racist policies of City Hall and its Choke-An-Unarmed-Black-Man-to-Death police force, NYC will always be my home. Every New Yorker will tell you that the city becomes part of you. There’s something about growing up in New York that taints your view of any other city. When New Yorkers leave New York, they may move, but they don’t relocate.

My body may live in LA, but my heart and soul still reside in New York.

When the towers fell, I spent the entire day on the phone with Denys Cowan. We were both in LA less than 10 minutes from each other, yet we were so shocked and heartbroken about our city that neither one of us could muster the brainpower to think to go to the other’s home.

The offer I couldn’t refuse was made by Motown, who left Detroit in 1970 and has operated from Los Angeles ever since. I made a case to keep my main offices on the east coast and Motown agreed. I so loved my city, I endured a weekly flight to LA, and I absolutely hate to fly. After a year I was told to move the business to Los Angeles.

I did, but kept my NYC residence and have that still. I was not happy leaving my cherished city and made no secret of my dislike of all things Los Angeles when I arrived.

My New York egotism is seldom, if ever, modified. Undoubtedly a wise thing to do in many situations, but I can’t seem to make that leap no matter what the setting. I once proudly wore a New York Knick hat during a game between the Knicks and the Lakers played in Los Angeles. Not a big deal – any die-hard New York fan would do that. However, I wore my Knick hat to a Laker game while in Magic’s Johnson’s suite.

But wait, there’s more: I did this during the time I ran a division of Magic Johnson Entertainment.

I worked for the most famous Los Angeles Laker of all time, yet there I sat wearing my Knick hat.

You can’t get much more New York or more stupid than that.

20 years after LA made me leave NY, my answer is the same now as it was then when I’m asked to compare New York and Los Angeles. New York is the greatest city in the world and LA stands for Lower Alabama.

New York is also home to the New York Comic Con (NYCC), billed as the largest pop culture event on the east coast. I’m sure that’s true. It’s a huge and impressive show to be sure. Held at New York’s Javits Center, the convention sold out this year doing “San Diego Comic Con numbers” according to Business Insider.

That’s extraordinary.

What’s even more extraordinary is that NYCC has been around just nine years, and SDCC more than forty. It’s no wonder-people are comparing NYCC to SDCC. When you throw up those kinds of numbers in that short amount of time, you’re a major playa, no doubt about it.

Before, during, and especially after this year’s show, the word coming out of the Big Apple was that SDCC is done.

The king is dead, long live the king!

My dear friend Lucy Valerio, who knows full well of my doings at SDCC, told me a good friend of hers said, “San Diego Comic Con has jumped the shark.”

I wondered two things: had this expert on all things pop culture ever been to Comic Con? Secondly, was Lucy high? I bet her friend was, or he was drinking the Jim Jones Kool-Aid hype social media is selling.

Most don’t know I also have history with NYCC, and believe it or not, I had a small hand in helping them established themselves when they started. Long story short, they reached out to me and I put them in business with two major companies they were unable get to.

After doing so, I was asked to bring The Black Panel to NYCC and I did. So imagine my surprise when the next year, I’m told The Black Panel did not fit the criteria, although I had an open invitation to bring it back anytime I wanted.

The Black Panel has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The New York Times, and Entertainment Weekly, to name but a few. The panel been invited to major universities, film festivals, and just recently Japan.

Damn, that must be some fucking criteria.

The woman from ReedPop, the NYCC promoter, who informed me could not have cared less about my open invitation to bring the panel back, nor did she care about what I had done for NYCC.

Fast-forward seven or eight years and the NYCC has put up some extraordinary numbers, but were not really SDCC numbers. They count ticket sales as people. In other words one person buys two tickets that counts as two people. Nevertheless, their numbers were damn impressive and they did sell out.

That sell out and those ticket sales are going to be the first thing ReedPop, the company behind the NYCC, will show future strategic partners, investors, advertisers, exhibitors, and attendees, and they should – those numbers are an incredible achievement, and as any CEO in corporate America will tell you, numbers don’t lie.

Those numbers are reason enough people are listening to the loud voices proclaiming NYCC as the new king of pop culture events.

Numbers don’t lie, but those voices are. Those voices are lying like any husband when asked, “Does this dress make me look fat?”

“No honey bunny.” That’s the lie hubby will tell his spouse.

“No Porky, you’d look fat in any dress.” That’s the truth he’s smart enough to keep from his wife.

The NYCC is a well attended comics and pop culture convention. SDCC is a world-famous pop culture event on a whole other level. Put another way, it’s akin to comparing Jay Z and your cousin Sal who likes to rap.

The numbers NYCC put up this year are undeniably great numbers for attendance to their show. However, the selling out SDCC is assured, not to take anything away from New York, but those are easy numbers to put up for San Diego. The show has sold out completely for over a decade and is still growing in ticket requests.

But, being the new king of pop culture is about a lot more than ticket sells.

More than attendance revenue, SDCC is a pop culture mecca, a place fans from all over the world must visit at least once in their life. Like any Super Bowl city hundreds of thousands of people come to San Diego without tickets. Some hope to somehow attain tickets once there, but for most, just being in the city where Comic Con International is being held is the goal.

The City Of San Diego is number 11 on the 20 most visited cities by international visitors and number 10 on the Forbes list of America’s most visited city. Clearly New York is on both those lists, but I’m damn sure the City of New York will not build new hotels and new convention centers (plural) to keep the NYCC show there.

Undoubtedly, because of Comic Con’s financial impact, San Diego would want to keep them happy by any means necessary. By comparison New York is much bigger and has much more to offer than just one event, True, but just as true, long before SDCC became the monster it is now, San Diego was already one of America’s top tourist destinations.

The economic significance of the SDCC on the city is not measured just in yearly revenue boost but in future investments and growth in the city. The worldwide importance of SDCC is not just a boon to San Diego, but to America as well. SDCC more than any other event in the 21st Century has cemented America’s place as the pop culture capital of the world.

That kind of clout is not what puts SDCC at another level. I was just pointing out the difference between Jay and cousin Sal.

NYCC is a for-profit business. Nothing at all wrong with that… except, in my opinion, in the world of geeks. To look at geeks simply as paying customers at a geek convention is no way to build a pop culture dynasty the likes of SDCC. A recurring issue to many fans and pros is the less than pleasant way convention personnel deal with fans.

To be fair, ReedPop is not running the Javits Center and has little or no control over how Javits security talks to and otherwise deals with fans. But Reed picked the venue, and year after year this seems to be a recurring topic.

SDCC is a not-for-profit educational organization run by a bunch of geeks, and in the world of comic book conventions, geeks rule. The people at SDCC are in the business of conventions, but they are not a convention business.

SDCC Mission Statement:

Comic-Con International: San Diego is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.

Regardless of my past dealings with the convention, I want NYCC to succeed. It’s in my city and they are good for the industry. They and every other pop culture event have a ways to go before they can claim to be on a par with SDCC. For my money, Stan Lee’s Comikaze is the convention with any hope of ever doing what SDCC has.

The SDCC show is a pop culture worldwide happening generating much more than revenue and at its core are the fans, geeks, nerds and growing the industry.

This above all else is why Comic Con International: San Diego is on a different level.

A level that the New York Comic Con is, as of yet, nowhere near.


Marc Alan Fishman: Everything Is Awesome*

*Not really.

I’m in an odd mood, kiddos. Maybe it’s the polar vortex that’s waging war across our country. Maybe it’s seasonal affective disorder causing a case of the blues. Or perhaps the winds of change are blowing, and the time for revolution is nigh. I’ve simply noticed as of late an upward trend of general unrest. It’s got me equally excited, and potentially depressed. Let’s jump down the rabbit hole, shall we?


Michael Davis: Derek, Kitty, Static & The Dog – A Milestone Story

derek-dingle-mitt-romneyMilestone was the idea of Denys Cowan. Denys, Dwayne McDuffie, Derek Dingle, Christopher Priest and I sat in a room (a few rooms actually, sometimes at someone’s home, sometimes at a dive restaurant a lot of times in a dive diner) and we sat and planed for weeks creating the original universe of Milestone main characters Icon, Rocket, Static, Hardware and Blood Syndicate.

Priest left right before we signed our publishing & distribution deal with DC. For a very long time Priest was the Pete Best of Milestone. Pete Best’s claim to fame is that he was the original Beatles drummer before Ringo. Pete left to get a real job. That’s pretty much it. His music career amounts to little but a trivia question.

Christopher Priest, on the other hand…

That mofo did just fine without Milestone. He’s writing movies, novels and just about anything he else he wants to write. However, for a very long time Priest was our trivia question. Few people knew he had anything to do with the Dakota Universe.

Now, few people think the original Milestone partners were just four, most fans and all the industry know that Priest was there at the start.

Most people are aware that Derek Dingle was there from the start of Milestone, few people know and even fewer believe Derek Dingle was a major co-creator on the original universe of Milestone main characters.

Translation, Derek came up with many ideas that made it into the Milestone Bible his contribution was just as valued as anyone sitting at the creative table.

I remember how much Derek Dingle had to do with creating Static’s powers and costume. I remember that very clearly because I wrote the Static Bible (meaning I created his family, backstory, supporting characters, etc.) I ran many an idea passed Mr. Dingle for as long as I could.

It’s easy to understand how Derek was casted in non-creator role by the fans. As Milestone went from idea to business plan to universe bible to joint venture with DC Comics, Derek’s visibility as a creator became less and less.

We were all equal partners but we all had separate roles in the company. Derek’s role was President of Milestone.  You wouldn’t call the President of Milestone at 4 in the morning to run possible names of Static’s dog sidekick pass him.

Well you wouldn’t… but you know me…

Oh, you didn’t know that Static had a dog sidekick? Well he did for about 35 seconds until the genius that thought it was a good idea was laughed out of the room.

Who’s bad Idea was it?

I’ll never tell, unless at SDCC I’m asked during the Q&A session of the Milestone panel, Friday July 19th Room 5AB (Shameless Plug!) 11:30-12:30!

Ask me then and I’ll spill like a drunken gossip columnist on TMZ.

Look, all of the Milestone partners had horrible ideas at one time or the other. Sometime a bad idea becomes a terrible idea when the person who’s idea it was starts to defend the idea. Trust me, that’s never pretty.

There were plenty of heated exchanges at Milestone but I’d have to say the one person who always kept his cool was Derek. In fact, the only time I ever saw Derek lose his cool was not over anything creative or corporate.

It was over a Kitty.

Kitty was her name and she was (is) one beautiful woman or as we say in the hood, she’s Super Fine. How fine is she? Stevie Wonder could see how fine Kitty is.

One day I was having lunch with Kitty so I had her meet me at Milestone. That was the only time I saw Derek a bit rattled. When I introduced Kitty I swear it took him a full hour before he could say ‘hi’ Kitty is that fine.

OK, it wasn’t an hour his hesitation was maybe 2-4 seconds and wasn’t really noticed by anyone but me, but a 2-4 second delay from Mr. Cool-As-Ice Dingle is rare and you know me, give me an inch…

So, to recap, Derek Dingle was just as involved, I’ll say it again, Derek Dingle was just as involved as anyone in the creation of the core Milestone Universe. Since the day Milestone began there has been reams of wrong information, misinformation and outright bullshit about our company. Believe it or not that continues to this day.

It’s Milestone’s 20th Anniversary and our fans, which I sincerely believe are the greatest and most loyal fans in the history of comics; deserve to celebrate with the truth.

I hope to see many of you in San Diego. As a guest this year I’ll have a space in Artists Alley thanks to the kind people at SDCC!

If you come by and I’m not there someone should be there to tell you when I’d be back. As much as I’d like to hang out there all day, I’ll be a weeeee bit busy expanding my media empire… and scoping out Asian girl cos players.

Come on by! I’ll be more than happy talk to you about my ComicMix columns and upcoming novels. Yeah, I’ll be talking about writing in Artists Alley.

That Michael Davis, what a rebel!

If you miss me at the booth you can catch me here:

The Black Panel Room 5AB 10-11:30 am Friday July 19th

The Milestone 20th Anniversary Panel 11:30-12:30 am Friday July 19th

*The Milestone 20th Anniversary Party Friday 9pm July 19th

*You need an invite for the party I’ll have a few on me during the Milestone Panel and if you mention ComicMix and hit me up before they are gone I’ll hook you up.

Lastly, Derek I’m keeping you to your promise. This is your moment my friend, enjoy it! No work! Have fun!

BTW… I still have Kitty’s cell…







Martha Thomases: California, Here I Come – Except…

Thomases Art 130712In a few days, I’ll be in California. Not in San Diego, but in California. I’ll get the good weather without the mobs.

It is the habit of old farts (check out our editor-in-chief’s tirade in this space next Wednesday morning) such as myself to complain about the San Diego Comic Convention. It’s too big. It’s not about comics anymore. Nobody kisses my ass anymore. I don’t have an expense account. (Those last two might be unique to me.)

My major philosophical objection is that a fine, non-profit educational organization has been completely co-opted by Hollywood. True, comic book companies used the occasion of the convention to promote their books, but the convention was at least about comics. Now, it’s a stop on the promotional train for television, movies and video games, complete with red carpets and stylists.

And, apparently, rock bands. Metallica will be performing a live concert for those lucky enough to get tickets (in case you haven’t waited in line for Hall H long enough), to promote their new movie.

Metallica is no doubt a fine group of people (although their music is not my genre), and, since they’ve been together since 1981, they aren’t exactly amateurs at attracting and keeping fans. They should live and be well.

But, as the New York Times story in the link reports, there is going to be a panel about rock music at the Con. And it will include people who score movies, but not the people behind the new Dark Horse graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle, which actually combines rock music and comics. It won’t include John Holmstrom who was combining rock’n’roll and comics even before Metallica was a band.

Look, I enjoy soundtracks as a musical form. Mark Knopfler did some of my favorites. It is an interesting and a demanding musical form with its own unique challenges and structures. There are lots of places that could host interesting panel discussions on the subject with a variety of experts, including composers, directors, and editors. I just don’t think the panel, as described in this article (and maybe it’s not accurate? Could happen) is that kind of conversation.

If you are going to San Diego, I hope you have a fabulous time. I hope you get into The Black Panel because it is so much fun.  I hope no one hits you in the face with a backpack.

And, if you’re really lucky, I hope you find some cool new comics.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


Michael Davis: Aftermath

I’m back from another San Diego Comic Con.

For almost 20 years (since I was five, Jean) I’ve given a party, a dinner, or both. For nearly that long I’ve hosted the Black Panel.

I’ve had some fantastic events to be sure, but I must say 2012 was my best event year ever. My best party, my best dinner and my best Black Panel.

That, if I say so myself, is saying something.

The party and my panel were reviewed by many news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Comic Book Resources and the powerhouse Machinima.

Every year after the Black Panel, the haters come out in force. There are black people that hate the panel; there are white people that hate the panel.

Guess what? I win.

Until you haters get your own panel at Comic Con, throw your own party and get reviewed by some of the biggest news outlets in the world you are more than welcome to hate me.

I will endeavor to do what I can to continue to give meaning to your small life. I will continue to do great things so that you can go on the net and bitch that way you will feel important and in your mind you are.

You are a legend in your own mind.

I’ll be happy to comment on your success if in fact you were successful at anything except being a legend in your own mind.

So, haters continue to hate, because I win. Why do I win?

Because you are talking about me.

Who is talking about you?

Tuesday Afternoon: Emily S. Whitten and the Civil War

Wednesday Morning: Mike Gold, Creators’ Rights, and One Big Wrong



Michael Davis: #TheBlackPanel 2012

A shameless plug.

San Diego Comic Con, Friday, July 13th (Friday the 13th? Really?) 10:00-11:30.

The Black Panel— Michael Davis (The Littlest Bitch) returns to moderate the wildest panel at Comic Con, the Black Panel! Expect industry insight and outrageousness when Shaquille O’Neal (NBA On TNT, Shaq Entertainment), Jamie Kennedy (The Jamie Kennedy Experiment), Missy Geppi (President, Geppi‘s Entertainment Museum) Reginald Hudlin (Django Unchained), E. Van Lowe (Earth Angel, the sequel to Boyfriend From Hell), and Steve McKeever (President Hidden Beach Records) as they field questions from the audience. The most entertaining and informative Q&A you’ll ever be a part of. It’s African American pop culture and then some! Room 5AB.

This ain’t just for black people, folks. Every year, it’s the don’t-miss panel of the San Diego Comic Con.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Babbles Like A Brook


Michael Davis: Negro, please.

Over the years I’ve had quite a few young black creators insist they should be invited to sit on the Black Panel. For the record, that has never worked and most likely never will. I say “most likely” for two reasons: I try to never say never and I would be happy as a mofo to find someone so damn talented that I put them on the panel at first sight.

The Black Panel, for those unaware, is the African American pop culture forum I founded more than 20 years ago (when I was five, Jean) and for over a decade it has been a mainstay at Comic Con International. One of my pet peeves with some young black creators is they think they are owed something.

The following is typical of how I’m approached…

A few months ago I was walking the floor at Wonder Con with Denys Cowan and a young black artist noticed my nametag, came up to me and insisted he should be on the Black Panel. After he spent a good five minutes or more telling me how good he was I asked him if he felt he was good enough and established enough to be on a panel with Denys Cowan.

He had no idea who Denys Cowan was.

I told him he was not ready and he asked how could I make that decision without looking at his work. I said when he figured that out then maybe he would be good enough for The Black Panel.

A young African American artist who does not know who Denys Cowan is?

Negro, please.

The Black Panel is a forum of truly extraordinary people who have done extraordinary things within the African American media space. The panel is set up so these amazing professionals can share their insights with their fans and with young creators.

This year I expect more asshole haters on the net because there are two white people on the panel. The Black Panel is not just for black people. It’s for people who have done noticeable work within the African American media space. Over the years I’ve had plenty of blue-eyed soul brothers on the panel. This year will be a first as we welcome our first blue-eyed soul sister to The Black Panel.

I’ll see if I can let my ComicMix readers in on the panel participants before Comic Con releases the info on their website. If they won’t mind I’ll post the names here. The panelists are some of the coolest I’ve ever had and I’ve had some cool ass panelists.

Check them out for yourself at theblackpanel.com.

If by chance you are the young artist I spoke to at Wonder Con and you still can’t figure out what I meant when I said you were not ready, here’s some clues:

  1. Know your industry.
  2. Do your homework.
  3. Show some respect.
  4. Shut the fuck up and listen.

If you do that, come find me after the Black Panel and I’ll spend some time telling you how to get to the next level.

Oh and one last thing. Don’t suck.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten and that Deadpool Thing

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Grabs The Kids



I don’t get it.

The San Diego Comic Con is a yearly event.

Every year for almost 20 years (since I was 5, Jean) like clockwork I give a party at Comic Con.

Every year like clockwork I host a dinner at Comic Con.

Every year like clockwork I host The Black Panel at Comic Con.

Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for an invite to my party.

Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for an invite to my dinner.

Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for me to put them on The Black Panel.

Every year like clockwork I hear from people I have not heard from since last year looking for me to get them a hotel room or a pass to Comic Con.

Comic Con is in July. It’s only February. The requests don’t usually start until a couple of weeks before Comic Con so I’m a few months ahead of the game.

Well, this year I’m nipping all that bullshit in the bud.


The answer is no.


No. No. No.


Hell, no.

No, if I don’t know you, you cannot come to my party or my dinner and you certainty cannot not be on the Black Panel.

Regarding the party and dinner, I don’t care who told you they could get you in. You can’t.

They lied.

Let me explain something to those who are among the many who ask of me the above. Like I said in last week’s article, the Comic book industry is a business. It’s part of the entertainment business. Comic Con is not a place where those who are serious about business come just to hang out.

Comic Con is where deals get done, relationships are cemented, partnerships are explored, opportunities are exploited and money is made.

When you operate at a certain level Comic Con is not a place where you hang out with friends and look for that copy of Spider-Man you had as a kid.

No, Comic Con is a place where you come to solidify and grow your business.

So, no, you cannot come to my annual party, person I don’t know, because it’s business.

Do you think the club my party is at is free?

No, no it’s not. So why, person I don’t know, should I grant you admittance when you don’t even know what I do? What possible reason is there for me to do that?

Do you think the dinner I have is free?

No, it’s not. That dinner costs thousands of freakin’ dollars.

Do you think that the ash can book you drew makes you worthy to sit on The Black Panel?


Go to www.theblackpanel.com and check out the alumni. Once you do, ask yourself if you really think you belong in that group.

I’ll help you out with that one, no.

Like I said last week, comics are a business. Yes, I have fun at Comic Con. That fun is usually at around midnight while sitting at the bar at the top of the Hyatt with 30 or so other hard working comic professionals getting blazed on shots of tequila.

But before I can have that fun I have to spend months setting up the party, the dinner and the panel and that is not fun.

That’s business.

So the answer is no.

However, if Mark Turner (Yes you, Mark) is at Comic Con this year he is invited to anything I’m doing because he gets it.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Stays Put


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.




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??


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. ;-)


MICHAEL DAVIS: Who To Blame… Part 1

I’ve had a very interesting career in comics.

I’ve done some pretty interesting things in my career. Co-founded Milestone Media, created The Action Files, the only line of comics taught as a curriculum in the school system and created another universe, The Guardian Line, for African-American churches and Christian book stores.

When DC comics launched Piranha Press in 1987 I was the artist chosen to illustrate the first series for the line. The Black Panel, a comics and entertainment forum I started over a decade ago, is now in development as a TV show as is The Littlest Bitch (TLB) a book I co-wrote with David Quinn.

David and I first conceived TLB as a graphic novel on the New Jersey turnpike almost 20 years ago. We were driving home from The Kubert School where I was teaching a master illustration class and David was my guest speaker that day.

Speaking of TV, Static Shock, based on the character I co-created, can still be seen on a Disney channel, which cracks me up because Disney turned it down quick, fast and in a hurry when we pitched it there 10 years ago.

I’ve done some other pretty note worthy things (I think) in comics but I’m most proud of my mentor program. Some of the biggest names in comics have come through my program. I won’t bore you with the names but I will say that because of my self-funded mentor program I have four city proclamations and a school auditorium named in my honor.

I’ve also managed to carve out a bad boy type of reputation in the industry. That reputation has many origins, depending on whom you get the story from but that story is for another time. I will tell you this: when it comes to getting that bad boy rep, I have no one to blame but myself.

I don’t tell you some of what I’ve accomplished in comics to impress you but rather to impress upon you that is there is plenty of blame and help to go around and there lies within a tale, which just may help someone who’s trying to break in now. Sooo…

In 1987 I was offered and was right about to accept a position overseeing the art department at a very prestigious prep school. This was a dream job. They were going to pay me a fat salary, give me an on-campus apartment as part of my compensation package and all my meals were free. The only thing I had to pay for was my phone bill as there was also a clothing stipend.

That was a dream job, so why didn’t I take it? Those of you who hate me are thinking ‘Oh why, oh why, did that loud mouth mofo not take that job?’

In fact, I was going to take it. I had started packing my bags when Denys Cowan talked me into going to the Mid-Ohio con with him. As fate would have it I went to the Mid-Ohio Con to attend a very small but very cool comics convention.

It was clear when we got there, Denys knew everyone and everyone knew Denys. I did not know a soul there. Denys would often leave me alone to go and talk to some one, which left me to wander aimlessly around the convention. It was during one of these aimless walks that I met John Ostrander.

Wait a sec-before I go on I should let you know that I was (still am) a comic’s geek. Although I had a very good career going as an illustrator it was my dream to somehow work in comics.

John and I hit it off very well and before I knew it he was inviting me to Mike Grell’s room to watch the Sable pilot. I thought I had died and gone to Comic Book Heaven. I adored Mike Grell’s work. At the time he was my favorite artist on the planet! Later when Denys arrived I causally mention that I was going to Mike Grell’s room to watch the premier of his new TV show.

The look on Denys’ face was priceless. It said “how the hell did you manage that?” We still had some time (I told Denys he could come as my guest; you should have seen that look) so we decided to browse the convention floor.

If you know me, you are well aware I talk to everyone. I mean everyone. I’m just wired that way. Standing at an artist’s table looking at their work without uttering a sound is just freakin crazy to me.

Little did I know the two guys I was now chatting with would go on to change the industry in a huge way!

End of part 1.