Brash, smart, funny trended worldwide when a hacker posted he committed suicide. What more can you want? Sure, he's that too!
Michael Davis is an artist, writer, teacher, mentor, and entertainment executive, and this is not your average bio. It’s got a bit of swagger, as does Michael Davis.
He has created, written, and produced notable work in television, radio, education, and publishing. Initially, an illustrator, art his first love, he studied at the High School of Art & Design and the Pratt Institute.
In 1987 DC Comics launched a new imprint: Piranha Press. Created for mature readers to reach a new market for the world's largest comic book publisher, Michael was selected to illustrate ETC, the first project from Piranha. 1987 was also the year Michael founded (before Diddy) Bad Boy Studios, his media company, and mentor program. Bad Boy Studios’ mentor program alumni list reads like a “Who's Who” of superstar talent, working in film, television, comics, and illustration.
Along with three partners, Michael co-founded Milestone Media in 1992. Milestone’s joint venture with Time Warner became the gold standard in comic book publishing. The lavish distribution and publishing deal was the first-ever by the entertainment giant with a Black-owned company. Milestone gave birth to a massively scaled multicultural universe told from a perspective never seen before in pop culture. The new world of characters distributed alongside Time-Warner's DC comics.
Since its debut in 1993, Milestone has sold millions of copies worldwide, making it the most successful Black comic book publisher in the world. Among fans, Milestone achieved legendary status, validated when Comic-Con International honored the company in 2013 validation once again in 2017's documentary 'The Color of Comics' the Milestone story. The film captured the massive impact on pop culture media and comics Milestone still holds.
In 1994, Michael left Milestone to head Motown Record’s new animation and film division as President and CEO of Motown Animation and Filmworks. His first move as CEO was to start a comic book line to create a universe of characters and content for multiple media platforms. Development deals with Disney, ABC, WB, Fox Kids, and Nickelodeon soon followed. Cousin Skeeter, developed at Motown, ran from 1998 to 2001 on Nickelodeon. Static Shock, the hit Emmy award-winning animated show originally ran from 2000 to 2004 on the WB.
The show continues in syndication currently at Disney XD. The original creative bible written by Michael based on his life. Static Shock is still the first and only African-American teenage superhero on TV.
1997 Michael moved to CBS’ Viacom with his unique idea, to develop a shared universe across the Viacom family of companies. The purpose to reach kids in the schools, teens on the net, adults in the bookstores, and all at the movies.
From his office at Viacom’s Showtime Networks, he created the Action Files Universe, first as a high-interest, low-level reading program for schools to then be integrated into new Viacom entertainment companies. The Action Files, distributed through Viacom’s Simon and Schuster publishing arm, is still the only comic book reading program curriculum taught in any school system to this day.
The program now published through Pearson Learning has added a curriculum free version available on Amazon.
In 1999, Michael headed the animation division at Magic Johnson Entertainment. 'The Rockaway Detectives’ developed as a conflict resolution reading program for the Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide. 'A little Magic', an animated feature, was optioned for a time by Miramax.
Knowing the enormous influence the African American Church has in the Black inner-city community to reach young black kids, 2005; he pitched the idea of a biblical line of comics, with a twist, to Urban Ministries Inc. (UMI).
UMI is a 40 plus-year-old black Christian Media Company with unmatched distribution into both the African American church and household, in 2006 the Guardian Line debuted. In February 2008, UMI and Michael announced another joint venture, UMI Media West. UMI Media West is the original content and west coast media division for UMI.
The Guardian Line sold over two million copies without mainstream distribution through Diamond Distributors.
Michael’s wicked sense of humor served him well as a comedy producer/head writer for the Tom Joyner syndicated TV show, which premiered Fall 2005. With a bit more of an edge, his humor is the baton he uses to conduct The Black Panel (TBP). Conceived by Michael almost two decades ago, TBP has become the Black pop culture forum, playing to standing-room-only audiences. Held each year at its home, San Diego Comic-Con International, the panel has crossed America as well as France, Italy, Japan.
The Black Panel's influence and reach are second to none in the comics and animation space as such some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry have graced the panel over the years.
Among his current and upcoming projects are mainstream and graphic novels, comics, a television show, and a second major museum exhibit. Michael is writing and illustrating the Underground, a story of the Underground Railroad published by Dark Horse comics.
Jackie Robinson: Year 1 with the Attainment Company. Both works are graphic novels and share target dates of late 2021.
The Hidden Beach is a co-venture between Michael and Hidden Beach Records. In an eerie bit of clairvoyance, the Hidden Beach foretold (almost precisely) the coming of Donald Trump and the Far-Right wave four years before Trump won the presidency. The groundbreaking merger of comics, music, and social media premiered at SDCC summer 2013.
2018 will also see the publication of two mainstream novels. From Full Court Press, Uppity: Everything You Wanted to Know About Black People but Are Afraid to Ask. Simon & Schuster will publish Michael's apocalyptic novel, White Winter, Black Night: Book 1.
The Littlest Bitch (TLB) in development as an animated show based on the not-for-children children’s book co-written with David Quinn and published by Sellers Publishing. The book, in its fourth printing, has developed a modest, devoted, offbeat following. Some sellers on Amazon are asking and receiving upwards of fifty dollars a book.
Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture, And Beyond, an extensive exhibit of media created or influenced by African-American culture, was curated for the Geppi Entertainment Museum by Michael. The show, which opened Feb. 2013, was to run until April 2014.
Fueled by overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and ever-growing crowds, the decision quickly made extending the show for a year. The show is the most successful exhibit in the over 2-decade history of the Geppi. Work on a follow-up show has already begun Milestones 2: The Bad Boy Influence launches Winter 2018.
Since 2005, Michael has written a weekly opinion column for the pop culture site Comicmix. In 2013, he began writing a weekly column for Bleeding Cool, another pop culture site and Comicmix competitor. That rivalry and his blatant exploitation of such is a recurring theme in his third weekly column at his pop culture site, Michael Davis World.
Multiple Emmy Award winner and Grammy-nominated entertainer Wayne Brady, Pulitzer Prize winner, radio host, publisher Karen Hunter joined Michael in announcing their new media company, LEVEL NEXT at SDCC 2017.
Honors Profiles and Awards:
Twice named to Hero Illustrated Top 100 people in comics. Profiled in Black Enterprise magazine on three separate occasions. Feature stories have appeared in The NY Daily News, The NY Times, CNN, BET, MTV, the Today Show, Mentor Magazine, Comics Buyer's Guide, and Our Weekly, to name a few. Images at bottom of the page are links to selected articles.
Michael’s mentor program has earned proclamations from the cities of Los Angeles, New York, and East Orange, New Jersey. A powerful and sort out speaker. Often invited to give the keynote address at prestigious functions. Organization and groups include: New York Federation of Art Teachers Federal Bureau of Investigation L.A. Public Library’s Comics Arts Festival Women in Animation Arizona Black Film Festival Pro Con Partnership for a Drug-Free America The Urban League
In 2018 Michael has given two Google talks and has been invited to give a Ted Talk.
In 1997, Mentor Magazine named Michael “Mentor of the Year.” In that same year, the Gordon Parks Academy- a K-6 magnet school for film, television, animation, and radio named their auditorium The Michael Davis Auditorium. The Arizona Black Film Festival awarded Michael the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
Comic-Con International also awarded Michael the prestigious Inkpot Award for lifetime achievement in 2013
He is called the Master of The Universe (MOTU) because of the many different creative worlds he has created across the media spectrum. He marvels at the many misconceptions his critic's heap on him when he embraced his nickname. Some think he sees himself a cut above, a step ahead of everyone. No, just those who doubt him.
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THE PRATT INSTITUTE, BFA
HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE, PhD
Los Angeles, CA, USA|English