Dwayne McDuffie Legends and Myths – Michael Davis, From The Edge

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

I've said countless times there is or was nobody more Milestone than Dwayne McDuffie. Dwayne was the heart and soul behind our universe deserves every accolade every honor bestowed upon him; he was one of the best writers and editors to ever to put pen to paper. He was all that and more. However, Dwayne was not the visionary responsible for Milestone Media as he was called in this latest science-fiction channel flawed yet well made pseudo-documentary. Being well-made is essential to what appears to be a real attempt to devalue Denys Cowan's, and I dare say my contribution to Milestone. There is no better example of this than Variant Comics' History of Static Shock.

The video has a top-notch narrator who is poised and well-spoken. The editing is superb. It's a wonderfully put together work. The issue is the video is full of wrong information, and since it's called a HISTORY, that's a problem. That, to be fair, is standard in comic book journalism. But when I sent a tongue in cheek request to correct the false information, the answer was yes partnered with a stinging rebuke telling me they did not take kindly to threats. I sent a follow-up clarifying the 'threat was a joke' how anyone could think otherwise is beyond me. But it was a joke. The response was loud and clear. The website didn't care. I never received another written reply. The response was 6 years, and over a million views later, the well-made video is unchanged.

"As for its creation, Static was created by Dwayne McDuffie, Robert Washington, and John Paul Leon."

Robert had NOTHING to do with creating Static. PLENTY to do with making it great. John Paul Leon was my student. MY STUDENT who I decided was a better artist than me for THAT book. Both were handed a complete Bible written by me. Like Robert, John Paul made Static the great comic it was.

Then there is The Story of how Milestone reshaped the industry.

This well done yet also filled with wrong info features a lot of fantastic Black creators. Most who were NOWHERE near Milestone when it was created.

That's fine because Derek Dingle, Denys Cowan and myself are interviewed, and who else do you want to hear from than the founders of Milestone?

I mean a biography about Motown without talking to Berry Gordy? A retrospective on Image without a word from Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld, and Whilce Portacio? Doing a Trump bio without talking to Putin? My bad, I meant Satan, I mean Trump.

Guess what? I wasn't interviewed. But Denys and Derek were… NOT interviewed either.

It's so apparent Syfy did not want to interview Denys, Derek or me. They claim that we couldn't be found – really? The website of a successful television network doesn't have access to my IMBD page? Couldn't reach out to Bleeding Cool or Comicmix? Jason Medley and Shawn Martinbrough were my students and are like family to me. Shawn is high profile like Denys and I and they found him. Jason is one of the best designers working today, but it's not like his name is plastered all over the net, yet somehow they found him.

They lifted an image from my PUBLIC Facebook page but could not send me a message there? Hell, Shawn and Jason would have supplied them with a contact and may have. No, they didn't even try. They did not try, in my opinion, because then the narrative would have shifted. That narrative is that Dwayne created Milestone and is the sole creator of Static, having developed it at Marvel. That is not true.

No idea where that Marvel bullsh-t started; it's often served up when my contributions are questioned as to creating Static's universe. It's a brilliant ploy it really is. If Dwayne created it at Marvel, where he was an assistant editor, then it predates Milestone and makes my 'claim' a lie.

There are two GLARING problems with that.

1.NO WAY IN HELL Marvel or any entertainment company pays you to do something and lets you leave with it. "He was working for Marvel but did this on his own time." That's bound to be a comeback. OK, forget most tellings of that say '…developed FOR Marvel', which means Marvel owned Static. If Dwayne outside of Marvel created Static, why mention Marvel at all?

2. If Dwayne created Static before Milestone, why didn't he write the creative bible? Look for this comeback. 'Dwayne was too busy with other Milestone work." OK, well, if that was the case, why did he not give me his existing notes concept art and overview of the characters? Or why didn't Matt Wayne write it? How is it Static's life parallels mine damn near exactly? Family friends' home life etc. Why didn't you name Virgil, 'Michael?' Because I'm only an egomaniac on weekdays. I wrote the Static bible on the weekend.

FUN FACT: Every universe I create features Jean, Sharon, and Robert. Joe and Max from Urban Ministries Joe's sister's name is Sharon, mom's name is Jean, Robert is his daddy. White Winter Black Fall, the long-overdue novel I'm writing for Simon and Schuster, follow Sharon and her little brother MICHAEL (I write that on weekdays) in a post Apocalypse search for their parents JEAN AND ROBERT. The Machine Works Universe, as well as the Action Files Universe, also star my family. I've been correcting those speaking the wrong narrative for decades. For me, it's about the legacy of my family and my contribution to Black Pop Culture. Each small victory I achieve is knocked away.

"If you think Michael created Static because his mom's name is Jean, you should meet Dwayne's cousin." – Matt Wayne

"Dwayne originally developed Static for Marvel."Static Shock: Everything You Didn't Know SYFY WIRE

There's a much bigger issue than me. Milestone was not the brainchild, vision thought idea, or concept of Dwayne McDuffie. That's another well-crafted line designed to booster Dwayne's star. Dwayne's friends and family have no reason to not co-sign that Dwayne created Milestone. There might be a video somewhere or an article from someone that contrasts this. Still, I personality have never seen Denys Cowan mentioned as the creator of Milestone from anyone close to Dwayne. Want to know how to work the media to report your point of view? Pose an alternate 'fact' and let readers "decide' themselves. The issue is when Dwayne is mentioned, Denys and I lose. He represents Milestone on a global level and rightfully so. He's more Milestone than all the other partners combined. I've said that countless times.

I have no beef with Matt Wayne or Charlette Dwayne's widow. Somehow Dwayne's family has the idea I was the reason DC treated Milestone like they owned them. At the memorial, I was told as much by Dwayne's mom. Funny, I was already GONE BECAUSE of DC and GONE when DC started that bullsh-t. So that's but I'm not the guy to correct a grieving mother. Where did they get that impression? I REALLY don't care. It means not a f-cking thing. Not anymore. The truth matters to me regarding Milestone if hurt by the actions of some that does not change the truth. I am not Donald Trump.

I've given props to everyone who deserves them—Paul Levitz, who thinks little of me. I give him his props as I do Matt Wayne. Matt has as much to do with Milestone's early success as anyone we hired. I defended Paul and Matt when the term racist is attached. When Comic-Con was honoring Milestone and had no intention of inviting Derek Dingle, I gave Derek his props, and as a direct result, he was included as well he should have been. The truth is Dwayne McDuffie is more than a writer. He's the standard which Black creators strive for. His legacy is assured and growing rightfully so. Nothing I can say or would say will dim that light. His legacy is assured.

Denys Cowan and I have a legacy also. Few give Denys his due and most of the bullshit comic book media isn't concerned about truth. There are exceptions, ever wonder why Rich Johnston isn't sued? Because he vets his shit, as does Pop Culture Squad, The Beat, Comicwow and Comicmix. Some not all of the rest of those comic book sites think a press release is news.

The truth is I created and wrote Static's Universe. Dwayne didn't, nor did he create Milestone Denys Cowan did. None of this takes anything away from a great man. Some may consider this bad form as today is the anniversary of Dwayne's death. It's also the birthday of my mother who I miss every moment I draw breath. Every year on this day, I call my mother's still connected voice mail just to hear her voice and leave a message. Today I left this message, "Jean, (I called my mom Jean, it's a black thing) say hi to Sharon, Robert Dwayne Denys' mom and grandparents for me and Denys." If I'm lucky I'll dream she gets back to me.

About 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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