Return Of The Mack – Michael Davis, From The Edge

davisMichael Davis is the co-founder of Milestone Comics and a current graphic novelist. He runs The Black Panel at San Diego Comic Con. And he now writes a weekly column for Bleeding Cool.

In addition to my work here, I also write a weekly column for Comicmix.

Excluding a brief truancy, I’ve written for them for the better part of a decade. During my initial run, the chances of me ranting about politics were just as good (often better) than me commenting on pop culture on a pop culture site.

One of the reasons for that can be found in Comicmix’s secret origins.

Much like the mega hit show American Idol, which started with two hosts, Ryan Seacrest and a guy who’s name may as well be Trivia Question, many people are unaware Comicmix originated with columnists, only to one day banish all of them from the site.

Unlike he-who-cannot-be-named, the Comicmix writers returned with just one directive: remember its pop culture mission and write about pop culture…duh.

When I arrived at Bleeding Cool, what I wrote was never an issue. Bleeding Cool is and always has been a pop culture site so that’s what I wrote about and I wrote about it my way.

My way was viewed by many as the wrong way and with a quickness I was labeled a self-centered braggart concerned about nothing and no one but myself. Oh, that and I was off my meds.

There was a time 25 or so years ago when I gave a damn what people said about me. That all ended when I wrote an article on professionalism for Comic Buyers Guide.

A woman, who was(is) a star in the industry, criticized me for what was a no-nonsense straight talk to young professionals or those that endeavored to become professionals. Being on time, good hygiene, and knowing some history of the comic industry were the primary points of the article. Her response? I was a destroyer of dreams and a very bad influence on young people.

My response? I renamed my studio and mentor program “Bad Boy Studios.”

It was her support from industry sheep, more than her initial condemnation, which cemented my determination to simply stop caring what others thought of me.

I gotta admit — when the shit first hit the fan over things I’d written at Bleeding Cool, it just fueled my resolve to double down on whatever it was that pissed people off.

In short, I was loving it.

When someone posted that I was a horrible writer, I responded in my next article by mentioning my book deals. As expected, that information was met with many severe criticisms, one being that a book deal did not make me a good writer, and having one is no indication of writing quality.

That guy was 100% right.

In my next article I acknowledged he had indeed made a valid point. Doing so didn’t bring me a single response, and while it took me a moment to figure it out, I realized why that is.

The noise is so deafening from the naysayers that at times, it drowns out any honest debate. A dissenting opinion showing support for what I’ve written and/or the way I’ve written it, will be met with a brutal attack that takes over the entire discussion.

But what’s the harm in being right in your indignation and having me admit as much? Perhaps acknowledging I agree with some of the haters takes away the reason (one at least) for their bitch fest. I could be wrong but it’s as good a guess as any. I thought of commenting on the site and making my points, but after reading countless well-thought out answers to many of the negative comments, I decided what a waste that would be.

When presented with a reasonable response to a negative statement, the writer of the critical post often simply ignored the response, answered with another negative reply, or dismisses the response as invalid, as if their account posted under their alias is somehow more valid.

So, I decided to simply give the naysayers what they wanted.

I’d write with little to none of my swagger, no more boasting about what I’ve done, no more writing personal accounts of my greatness, no more rants about people, places, or things. I’d write about industry doings, leaving any personal shit out. I’d write as if my life was devoid of whatever annoying personae those at BC found not to their liking.

The more I thought about what goal I wanted to accomplish, the easier it became to write with that goal in mind. At first I was convinced it would make little difference writing without my trademark audacity. Then I began to hope that it would.

Then, I started thinking that perhaps people just didn’t get the joke as I assumed most did.

What joke?

The glib way I always write about what I’ve done as if I’m Master Of The Universe.

That joke.

It occurred to me, many at Bleeding Cool had no idea who I was, and as such, had no knowledge that it’s all a fucking put on. With the not-so-rare exception of correcting misinformation or anger at someone who assumed I was their bitch, my bravado is used to expand my brand as Master of the Universe.

I wondered, given my “come in like a wrecking ball” arrival at BC, if the cynics were justified? Maybe they were, and if so, then I’ve been an insensitive asshole and should own up to that fact.

So I’d see if changing my tone would make any difference, and hoped it would.

Not one bit of difference did it make.

For months I’ve written articles with none of the elements some readers have objected to, and what has the response been? Few took note of my change in tone and style, and when noted, it was always with venom. No discussion was ever free from a reference of something I had written from months prior.

Last week, it hit me. Some people don’t get the joke, and wouldn’t ever get it, even if they were aware of my Master of the Universe alter ego. I know this because in the middle of a pretty good forum about Milestone, some objected to the way I answered a question about John Byrne’s work on Milestone’s debut issues.

John Byrne didn’t do any work on Milestone’s debut issues.

I answered with as silly an answer as I could think of. The protest to my answer was as if I’d insulted a mentally disabled child, and not had a little fun with a person who posed an inaccurate question. The question, to me, is not the issue (although I’m confident someone will make it the issue). What really set me off is that a silly joke then became the topic of the forum.

Okay trolls, sure, get your absurdity in, but come back to the subject at hand. It’s my intention to answer every single question sent to be about Milestone. I’m giving insight never heard before and this stupid troll tread highjacks the forum?

COME THE FUCK ON!

So. Here we are.

What comes next is as much at the soul of who I am and what I’m about as anything you will ever get without knowing me personally.

Originally my goal was to prove no matter how I wrote something, haters were going to hate, and I was right. Months ago I looked forward to writing this article just to put my righteous foot up the asses of those haters. In fact, I got head start on doing just that on my website and what I wrote there I was just going to print here.

Writing it was one thing, reading it, that’s something else entirely. After doing so a few times, over a few days, my anger and resolve dissolved.

One question kept nagging me, was the point I made, a point worth making?

I’m easy to dislike. I get that and that’s not bullshit, I understand clearly why people react to me the way they do, why the haters and trolls just can’t stomach my shit.

Why?

Simple, no hater or troll thinks they’re a hater or a troll, they believe what they are saying is right. So do I so how can I fault them?

I could, easily in fact but, nah-too small throw it back.

This will give you a chuckle, despite the hate they have for me I don’t hate them. Despite the dismissal given to my work regardless if written without my bluster as requested in no uncertain terms time and time again I don’t dismiss them.

I can, but I won’t.

They are as much and dare I say, more a part of Bleeding Cool than I am.

I like Bleeding Cool. I like its arrogance. It does not give a flying fuck what other sites do or how they do it. Bleeding Cool from day one came with a different type of approach, a different kind of original swagger. People love the site or hate the site, it’s not for everybody and it could care less.

Just like me.

So, haters, love me or hate me, read what I write, don’t read what I write, that is all you son. Get the joke, don’t get the fucking joke, it’s your world I’m just a uppity ( my word) son of a bitch that somehow keeps your hating ass coming back for more.

It’s your world but you’re welcome to it. But, here? Here it’s not your world, it’s MY universe and I’m the master of it.

Cue, the motherfucking swagger!

Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond, the exhibit I curated for the Geppi Entertainment Museum, has become one of (if not the most) successful exhibitions ever staged there. So successful that the show has been extended for a year. In addition, due to the overwhelming response, plans are underway for the 2016 debut of Milestones 2.

That happened months ago, yet I didn’t say a word.

I have to confess, the following was hard to keep to myself, almost as hard as keeping the news that four Bad Boy Studios alumni have been nominated for 2014 Eisner awards.

Many comments implied my bluster and uppity attitude (my word) is nothing but an attempt to create a higher place for me in the industry than actually exists. This was evident again in a post written just last week when a comment elucidated how I gave UPS nothing but hot air, as I do everything I rant about. This was to remind me that I’d said nothing about my unquestionable certainty that I would make UPS find the 28 pages of ‘lost’ Denys Cowan artwork.

Some wrote my big mouth would ensure that UPS would refuse to help. A few insisted all I had done was make things worse for Denys. Last week’s post said, in no uncertain terms, I had not mentioned UPS because I was just full of shit.

Nope.

UPS did find every single one of Denys Cowan’s 28 pages of art, the same 28 pages I was told finding would be ‘impossible, because it was packed wrong and could have fallen out anywhere’ from a UPS official days before. They found the work less than a day after a phone call was placed to them, explaining just who and what they were dealing with. This also happened months ago.

Bottom line — they found it because I made them find it.

BLAM!

That was the sound the mike made when I dropped it.

I will continue answering Milestone questions a bit at a time over the next few months but until next time enjoy the “you got played” comments from some who, no doubt still won’t get it.

I’m baaaaaaaaacccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.