In this installment of #Friday5, I’m really happy to be chatting with Mike Davenport, Founder and Creative Director of the video game pitch project, The Marvel Universe Online. An avid comic book fan, Mike’s a father of 4 with a day job working as an IT Specialist for the Department of Defense.
Growing up in the inner city of Washington DC in the 1970s and 80s, the imagery in graphic novels and comics had Mike hooked from a young age. A gamer later in life, Mike became a huge fan of the MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) as it melded two of the things he loved: a virtual experience that drew you like a good book.
Inspired by the potential of City of Heroes as a game, Mike created The Marvel Universe Online. He decided to create MUO because he realized that Marvel had already laid the narrative groundwork for a game even more expansive than City of Heroes, DC Universe Online or Marvel Heroes, in their Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition. His plan going forward is to build a cohesive world with feedback from Marvel & comic fans to pitch to game developers and eventually Marvel, themselves.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
To date, buying a home. I’ve moved a lot growing up and actually owning a home and planting roots is something I never imagined I could achieve.
What’s a book you re-read over and over again?
The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clark and Stephen Baxter. If you’ve seen the HULU show Devs, you kind of know the premise.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Hands Down – Carl Sagan
A place you’ve never been, but is on your bucket list?
Who was the greatest influence/inspiration in your career?
Stan Lee, who believed the “super” should never outshine the “hero”
What’s your greatest joy?
Greatest “A HA “ moment?
If you lay all the covers of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition side-by-side, all the characters are running toward the cemetery in the “Book of the Dead” issues. An allegory for the life of a comic book character.
Greatest pet peeve in business?
Poor marketing strategies. Ads that miss the target audience, are confusing, or are in poor taste killing good or even great products.
At this stage in your career, what would you consider to be a dream project/opportunity?
I am nearing retirement in my day job, so if Marvel were to call and have a sit-down about supporting the Marvel Universe Online, I wouldn’t be against becoming a creative director in an official capacity.
What piece of advice would you give young people just starting out in their career?
Always have an idea where you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years, but always be flexible enough to go where your talents and opportunities take you.