Early Monday morning, someone posted on the Facebook page of Milestone Media co-founder Michael Davis that the comic book writer, artist, and mentor had taken his own life. Hours later, Davis himself emerged to confirm that he was very much alive, and had been the victim of a hack.
The initial post, from someone claiming to be Davis' cousin, sent shockwaves through the comics world, as various comic book news sites reported his death and commemorated his legacy as a trailblazer for creators of color, and friends and colleagues paid tribute via social media.
Things took a turn when Bleeding Cool's Rich Johnston — who'd also been deceived by the initial announcement of Davis' death — reported that he'd actually received a phone call from his longtime friend asking if the death announcement was some kind of birthday prank (Davis' birthday is April 29).
"I picked up the phone, after grieving for my friend since I had woken up 8 hours previously, and my knees buckled, I burst into tears and Michael has to calm me down," Johnston said. "He’s good like that."
Later Monday morning, Davis himself was able to log back into his own hacked Facebook page and post a video livestream to confirm that he was indeed still alive. Visibly shaken by a new low in what he described as a persistent hacking attack, Davis spoke at length about various obstacles and tribulations in his long career in comics, sometimes speculating about the motive for the hack and sometimes simply reminiscing.
“I’m trying to stay alive, and do good work," he said.
Davis noted that he's had to keep all of his current contact information secret for fear of further hacking, and also said he's preparing to take the issue to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Davis emerged as an exciting voice in the comics world in the 1980s as a columnist for the Comic Buyer's Guide and the founder of Bad Boy Studios. In 1992, he co-founded Milestone Media — a company devoted to creating black superheroes in a proactive and energetic way that other publishers weren't — with fellow creators Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, and Derek T. Dingle. Of their numerous creations, Static Shock was inarguably the most popular, spawning a hit animated series and numerous comics.
After Milestone, Davis moved to Motown Animation & Filmworks, where he served as CEO for some time. In recent years he has remained a prominent columnist at ComicMix and Bleeding Cool, and is a frequent speaker at various conventions. In his livestream, he revealed that his most recent art project has been a series of paintings, which he offered glimpses of.
We're glad Davis is still here, and wish him the best in sorting out these ongoing hacking issues.