A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Milestone 2.0 – Michael Davis, From The Edge

From The Edge

Michael Davis is an artist, writer, mentor, and entertainment executive. He writes,

On January 21st of this year, the Washington Post broke the story of the return of Milestone Media.

The Milestone announcement has remained hot industry news. Following the Post story, an onslaught of media attention both mainstream and industry swamped social media. Now called Milestone 2.0 there's no shortage of information on the newly formed company and no shortage of gossip.

I'm an original founder and co-creator of Milestone's best-known property, Static Shock. My absence from the announcement, numerous subsequent news stories and interviews has created some sizzling fan gossip. "Word on the street is Davis and Cowan had beef so Davis is out." Said, Huggy Bear.

On-line chatter as to why I'm not mentioned varies greatly. The three leading perceptions are:

  1. 1. A fist fight with Denys.
  2. 2. My public persona scares investors and potential strategic partners.
  3. 3. I'm too controversial, loud my articles are profanity laced rants and I could care less who reads them.

Ok, lets take those one at a time.

1. Denys Cowan is a martial artist. What belt is he? What belt isn't he? You fight him; I've grown accustomed to breathing.

2. Serious investors look for two things above all when vetting a company. Previously generated revenue and demonstrable resources. I'm golden with both. I've been vetted and funded by major media companies, government agencies and two Christian media companies.

Put another way, Hollywood, the Feds and Jesus have written and are writing me checks.

3. All true. So? This is business and the reach of those 'profanity laced rants' has been very, very good for business.

The reason I'm not mentioned? Simple, I'm not part of Milestone 2.0.

Well, not anymore.

Four years ago this month, Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle, Reggie Hudlin and myself started making plans to bring back Milestone. On July 22, 2011 the announcement was to be made at the end of the Black Panel at Comic Con. That was the year the Black Panel celebrated the life and work of Dwayne McDuffie. Dwayne tragically passed away a day after his 49th birthday that year. The panel would have been the first time in almost two decades Denys, Derek and I all were together. I even hinted at the news of our planed Milestone rebirth in the full page Black Panel Ad created for the Comic Con souvenir book.

That announcement didn't happen. Over the next four years it was supposed to happen but didn't. It didn't happen at the Comic Con Milestone 20th Anniversary Panel. I set up. It didn't happen at the opening of Milestones: African Americans in Pop Culture, the museum show I curated. Nor did it happen at last years Comic Con Milestone panel or any of the last 4 Black Panels, all of which I set up.

The story didn't break on Bleeding Cool or Comicmix although I set up exclusives with each years ago. This may explain Rich having a wee bit of a bone to pick with me and a bigger bone with Milestone 2.0.

I must say, the Mark Millar angle he wrote was brilliant, alas not true…I don't think.

It's no secret, I've been advocating for Milestone to return for decades. I've written about constantly it, talked about it, consistently and four years ago I thought 'it' done. So much so, the name, Milestone 2.0 was my idea and I have the T-shirt to prove it. Last year I gave Milestones 2.0 shirts out during the Black Panel as promotion for Milestones 2: The Bad Boy Influence, the follow up show to the wildly successful Milestones show.

Following the Black Panel we were to announce Milestone 2.0, during the Milestone panel. The shirts were to be given out during the panel tying the two major events together. Nope. Didn't happen.

Why didn't any of this happen? Why was I part of Milestone 2.0 and now I'm not? Why did the Milestone announcement take 4 years? The simple and sad answer is people change. Deals change and ultimately the company changed and that changed my involvement.

When the post article came out, I broke down and cried. Although I should have known how it would affect me, it still didn't stop me from dying a bit inside. My world felt just like a weather report, 40 degrees outside but with the wind chill factor it feels like minus 2.

The Post story and the dozens of stories since read like I'm simply not involved and I am not. Yes, simply put that's what it is except it's not simple at all. Simplicity went out the door when there was no statement from Milestone 2.0 about me. Hey, don't EVEN look at me, that statement was supposed to come from them.

Because there was no statement the last three weeks have been media torture for me. I met with Bob Johnson at BET in 2000. That was 15 years ago that's how long I've tried to bring Milestone back. I've had that determination for 15 years and admittedly upon seeing the media frenzy and knowing I was not to be a part of it, hurt like hell. No statement to quell the rumors about me made it much worse, that made it feel like I'd been discarded.

Discarded and played for four years, used for my resources without a thought to my efforts and without even a word to me when the bomb would go off in my life. Watching rumors become fact and a cover story concocted that erase's my labor and history.

Chalk my feeling up to an active imagination if you will. Let's see you ride a Roller Coaster when you're not actually sick, but feel sick, chances are you will get sick.

Bottom line, in the four years since Milestone 2.0 came to be, the focus has changed.

Those changes have made it impossible for me to be a part of Milestone 2.0 at this time.

There had been talk of my doing a project or co-venture with Milestone 2.0 but all that stopped when Reggie Hudlin, Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle called me crying like babies begging me to come back in.

What? Don't believe that? Shit…OK, it was the other way around. Really.

Seven months ago, Derek Dingle stood in front of my mother's casket, held me and said; "We're family." My mom, Jean Davis was the real life inspiration for Static's mom, Jean Hawkins. Denys Cowan recently said to me, "You're my best friend, that's not going to change." Reggie Hudlin texted me the day the Post story ran, expressing concern because he knew how the news affected me.

With that kind of love my contribution stamped all over Milestone and now Milestone 2.0 it should be clear, I'm not out. I'm away.

Is there more to the story? Oh hells yes! There's also more to the original Milestone story, which I've not divulged in over 20 years. 20 years plus is a long time. I think its time for the whole story to come out and it will, at the right time and that's sooner than anyone thinks.

Milestone 2.0 is in three capable hands. What they are about to do will change the game just like the original Milestone did almost 22 years ago. Also just like the original Milestone a great deal of the talent that will work on the new universe came out of my studio mentor program.

So, in a very real way, I'm involved and they couldn't have done it without me.

Milestone is back, I never left and its about to get real up in here.

Michael Davis is an artist, writer, mentor, and entertainment executive. 

His positions as an entertainment executive include: President & CEO of Motown Animation & Filmworks, President of Animation at Magic Johnson Entertainment, President of Publishing at Blackboard Entertainment, and Vice President, Director Of Talent, and Co-founder of Milestone Media. He's created, written, illustrated, or produced original content for comics, television, radio, publishing, and reading programs as an independent producer. Alumni from his Bad Boy Studio mentor program are some of the most respected talents working in comics, television, and illustration today.

Current projects include graphic novels, The Underground from Dark Horse and Jackie Robinson Day 1, mainstream novels such as Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Black People But Were Afraid To Ask from Full Court Press, White Winter, Black Night Books 1-4 from Simon & Schuster. The Littlest Bitch from Sellers Publishing (with David Quinn) is in its third printing and currently in development for television.

Michael is also the creator and host of The Black Panel, a powerhouse forum that brings together some of the biggest names in the African American media space.

Among his honors and awards are Mentor Of The Year from Mentor Magazine 1995, The Michael Davis Auditorium named at The Gordon Parks Academy 1996, Renaissance Award from the Arizona Black Film Festival 2006, and The Inkpot Award at Comic Con International 2013.

He fully realizes his bio is now the longest and most corporate of the BC contributors, something his haters will no doubt consider just another way to talk about himself.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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