Michael Davis was a co-founder of Milestone Media, and the co-creator of Static/Static Shock. A comics writer, artist, publisher and producer, he launched Motown Machine Works, was president/CEO of Motown Animation & Filmworks, and was President of Animation for Magic Johnson Entertainment. He also created The Guardian line of comic books, selling through black churches in the USA with Urban Ministries. He also writes a regular column for Bleeding Cool.
He has also noted that DC Comics has attempted to erase his participation in Milestone, including the recently announced return of the diversity-focused superhero line for February 2021. A co-creator of all the publisher's launch characters, Static is most close to his heart as the character's family life and background were specifically based on Michael Davis' own family, including his late sister. Davis was the lead creator on Static at Milestone and wrote the bible for the character.
However, in recent months, DC Comics has been more willing to mention Michael Davis in passing, such as at DC Fandome, and we noticed what seemed to be more of a rapprochement as certain employees left DC Comics, and the Milestone revival got closer.
Which is why an article published yesterday for Black History Month on the DC Comics website has caused such an issue. Titled Making Their Mark: Five Iconic Black DC Creators, the article lionised Kyle Baker, Denys Cowan, Dwayne McDuffie, Jamal Igle and Brian Stelfreeze, there's something missing. When talking about Denys Cowan, it states;
Cowan, along with Derek Dingle, Robert Washington III and Dwayne McDuffie (more on him in just a moment) co-founded Milestone Media and co-created the character Static, designing his costume and illustrating many issues of his initial series.
And then, with Dwayne McDuffie.
co-founding Milestone Media in 1994. Milestone was created to present a range of diversity and authenticity in superhero comics that wasn't represented in in the mainstream industry at the time. Together, McDuffie, Cowan, Dingle and Washington III co-created the characters Icon, Hardware and most famously, Static.
Even a quick Wikipedia check would give the right names (and date) saying of Milestone Media "it was founded in 1993 by a coalition of African-American artists and writers, consisting of Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle."
No slight to Robert Washington III of course, who was the writer on Static. But he wasn't a founder of Milestone, and it wasn't his life story used as the background for Static either.
Michael Davis told Bleeding Cool this morning "What else is new? they've been doing it for twenty years. There's some precedent there." The author of the article, Donovan Morgan Grant told Bleeding Cool "Bad oversight on my part. Conflating his contributions with Robert Washington III who had writing duties on Static, I twice missed out on crediting him and it's completely my mistake. No disrespect was intended on DC's part."
The digital relaunch of Milestone 2.0 is meant to around now, for Black History Month. Maybe DC Comics can check their history again?