Don’t Quote NWA And Public Enemy Then Act Like Vanilla Ice – Michael Davis On The Silence Of Milestone, From The Edge

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Michael Davis © 2016

Michael Davis is an artist, writer, mentor, entertainment executive and co-founder of Milestone. He writes,

More than a few on-line inquiries wondering where the new Milestone 2.0 books have popped up. One of the best I’ve seen is by Harry Crosland and can be found here.

if anyone remembers, Milestone made an announcement over a year ago that they were returning to comics. While among my colleagues there was an air of excitement, I was very cautious with my approach.   My thoughts at that time,  don’t believe anything until you actually see something.   Then of course, San Diego Comic Con came along and we get the announcement that Milestone Media would team up with DC Entertainment to create Earth-M and then…nothing.   I really want to know what happened with this deal and why we haven’t seen any books. We haven’t heard any further announcements nor even any works in progress.

 

Where are the books? My theory is the books were told they were going to be part of the new universe but Milestone changed their minds and are going to launch without them not saying a word as to why.

What?

Truth is I’ve no idea where the books are but I’d check the bars around Hollywood and…yeah, I know, I’ve just about beaten the sh-t out of that horse haven’t I?

I don’t know what’s up with the books but it’s a fair guess reality bit over at M2.O.

Here’s a dose of that reality, Reggie Hudlin is running M2.0 – he was also producing the Academy Awards and prepping for another movie. Like I said, I’m not sure in the least what the book delay is; it could be a million things. That said I’d be willing to wager time constraints due to the Oscars were pretty high on the list.

This phone call never happened; “Hey, Icon is in trouble so I’m gonna stay here and work with the artist.” Yeah, RIGHT. Miss a day over a comic book? A comic book? Miss a day producing the Academy Awards? Over what Hollywood still considers an ugly step child at best?

Icon had best lift himself up by his own bootstraps. But Milestone isn’t an island there’s more than one chief at the helm.

Derek Dingle has a full-time high-powered job in New York City and I can’t see him making that call either so that leaves Denys Cowan with a Herculean task, if in fact he’s overseeing editorial by himself. Then again maybe all he needs is someone shouting “Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!” Don’t get the joke? Ask a Black person.

I don’t know if any of what I say has any validity it’s all silly conjecture but there is nothing silly about missing deadlines when the stakes are this high.

The problem isn’t just late books; it’s bigger than that, much bigger than that.

The worlds most significant Black comic book company announces its comeback with a major news story in a major newspaper, the Washington Post.

What followed was a torrid of mainstream and industry press all leading up to the big reveal at San Diego Comic Con International.

Then nothing.

Missing the Black History Month launch date was a horrible misstep. It plays into all sorts of stereotypes about Black people and Black companies and no public announcement just makes the bad look even worse.

There is not a word from Milestone as to why, there is no word on anything. I’m willing to bet I’ve written more positive industry spin on M2.0 since their announcement than whoever is doing the P.R. for the company. What do I get for my efforts?

Silence.

That’s not personal believe it or not, it’s a Milestone tactic and has been since Milestone began. No matter the issue, if not in control of the narrative, say nothing.

When attacked in the press by another Black publisher the company line was not to respond. All the partners but I felt that was the way to go. It wasn’t then and it’s still not now.

Attempts to ‘be above all the noise’ and ‘take the high road’ is fine for some but for a new Black comic book company who professed to be the comic book answer to music’s hip hop movement? You don’t quote N.W.A and Public Enemy and act like Vanilla Ice.

The noise was yelling; ‘Milestone is a bunch of house niggers.’ You respond to that and we did not. That is until one faithful day I just had enough. So when asked about the ‘house nigger’ comment at our Comic Con panel I answered and the crowd responded with a standing ovation.

Of course they did.

It had nothing to do with me or what I said. Derek Dingle could have whispered “that is absolutely wrong” and the crowd would have been just as enthusiastic. They were hungry for something and whoever gave it to them was not important.

Imagine a relationship where your love interest embarks on a business trip but before leaving with much fanfare, you’re told they have something wonderful to share with you upon their return on Valentine’s Day.

Imagine on Valentine Day, you’re waiting at the airport, gift in hand oh wait…you’re waiting at home because you don’t know what time, don’t know what airline don’t know what airport. You don’t know sh-t. You don’t know sh-t about sh-t because you ain’t been told sh-t. All you do know is you feel like sh-t.

Ain’t that some… crap?

That’s pretty bad but what’s worse is Valentine Day comes and goes and you hear not a thing from your boo, nothing. It’s not to long before you start to think someone else is hitting that.

Hard.

Hitting it for hours, over and over. One night you dream your baby is loving that lovin’ so much in the middle of all that lovin’ she screams, “nIHDaq motu SoH DADDY!”

Yeah, in Klingon.

Milestone, and every other publisher, is in a relationship with their fans. It’s my belief the fans must be considered above all else. Some think because they have good intentions that goodness will somehow resonate with others who have no idea what those intentions are.

Assuming others are comforted by your unspoken insights is just crazy.

I can’t say with any authority why the books are late but silence is not the way to go, especially after such a loud launch. What always happens when you talk a big game and then disappear is happening, people are creating their own narrative.

Those nasty rumors have begun, put another way, people are starting to think their boo is stepping out and as the song says; that ain’t good.

Pretty soon, if it hasn’t happened already, those rumors play as fact. Those ‘facts’ become problematic that becomes an impression and that impression converts into a setback, very, very quickly.

Impressions are everything in media. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, isn’t a saying it’s a scientific fact, a law of nature and the 11th commandment.

I don’t speak for Milestone but I know the playas pretty well. So well I think I can say this on their behalf, they won’t disappoint. Whatever the reason for the delay it was necessary for the good of the books. Those books will amaze at the very least; of that I have no doubt.

I support Milestone but, except for a yet unreleased interview, I won’t be publicly commenting on them* anymore.

What’s the f-cking point?

*Writers note: The above article was to run before a piece I wrote for ComicMix entitled, ‘What Do You Want’, where I detail why I will no longer publicly comment on Milestone.

The piece ran under the title; On being loud and smart. Long story short, I had no idea that article had run as I had no clue the titled had changed.

So, yes this piece mentions Milestone after I wrote that except for that yet unreleased interview that was the last time I would mention Milestone in public. Please spare me the hater posts regarding this but feel free to hate something else.

About Rich Johnston

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