Michael Davis, the co-founder of Milestone Media, did not commit suicide on April 28, despite a post on his Facebook page saying that the artist had passed away. The posting read, “It is with much sadness we’re sharing this, my cousin, Michael Davis took his life early this morning. Details about services are forthcoming. Michael was in constant pain bodily and mentally. We hope he is finally at peace. The Family.”
Bleeding Cool, a comic book website that Davis wrote for, has confirmed that Davis was the victim of a hoax and that he is alive and well.
If you, or anyone you know, is suffering from depression please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Shortly After the Founding of Milestone, Davis Left to Take a Job at Motown
Davis is best known in the comic book world as one of the founders of Milestone Media, along with Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan and Derek T. Tingle. The company was founded in Davis hometown of New York City in 1993. Their comics, which sought to represent minorities in superhero stories, were distributed by DC Comics. A feature on Milestone from the Village Voice in February 2019 described Davis and Dingle as being on the business end of the company with Cowan and McDuffie being the creative brains.
Davis left the Milestone two years before the company went out of business to become the president of Motown Machine Works, where he was soon joined by Denys Cowan. Dwayne McDuffie died in 2011 after suffering from heart issues at the age of 49.
2. In 2015, Davis Was Left Out of Plans for a Rebooted Milestone Media
Gizmodo published an article in 2016 which described one of their comics as “The Superman Crossover That Perfectly Explained White Privilege Decades Ago.” The company ceased publications in 1997. Twenty years later, Davis published a column detailing the financial difficulties he went through while working with Milestone.
In 2017, a reboot of Milestone, Milestone 2.0 was launched. This resulted in a lawsuit filed by McDuffie’s widow, Charlotte Fullerton, reported Variety at the time. Fullerton claimed that her late husband’s share of Milestone Media had been completely ignored by the company’s new leadership. As news of the reboot spread, Davis wrote a column detailing his dismay at being left out of the reboot.
3. Davis Once Said That It Was ‘Easier for an African-American Kid to Get Into the NFL Than Into Animation</h2?
According to his Facebook page, Davis says that he left Motown in 1996. At the time of his death, the New York City-native was living in Jersey City. On the intro section of that page, Davis joked, “What part of I am the Master Of The Universe don’t you people understand?”
An article on The Root that mentioned Davis said that his business card featured the letters “MOTU” which stood for “Master of the Universe.” In that same article, Davis is quoted as saying, “If you are a creator, it’s easier for an African-American kid to become a football player than it is to get a job in graphic arts or animation.”
4. Davis Had Written Regularly About His Suicidal Thoughts in His Bleeding Cool Column
For many years, Davis published a column, From the Edge, on the comic book news site, Bleeding Cool. In an obituary, the site’s founder, Rich Johnston, wrote that Davis had written multiple times about depression and suicidal thoughts. In the wake of Davis’ death, Johnston writes, “We would talk on the phone for hours, he knew I had been there in the past, and we would somehow come out of the call together. This time, he didn’t phone.”
5. On April 29, Michael Davis’ Name Became One of the Biggest Trending Topics on Twitter
As news of Davis’ death spread, his name became one of the biggest trending topics on Twitter. The vast majority of the tweets saw fans and colleagues expressing their sorrow and respect for one of the most influential figures in comics. Here are some of the most poignant messages: