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Dwayne McDuffie: 1962-2011
Dwayne McDuffie Remembered.
By Kurt Anthony Krug
February 22, 2011
The comic book and animation worlds suffered a major loss as several sources have reported that writer/editor Dwayne McDuffie has died. He was 49.
The cause of death was unclear, although Comic Book Resources reported that the Detroit native "died from complications due to a surgical procedure performed Monday evening (Feb. 21)." More details will be revealed as they become available.
The prolific author’s eclectic body of work spanned more than 20 years, gracing the pages of Marvel’s Damage Control, Fantastic Four, Beyond!, as well as DC’s Justice League of America. One of his greatest unfulfilled ambitions in the comics medium was to write the Fantastic Four, something he stated in 1988. In 2006, he got his wish, becoming to regular writer for a short yet memorable run on the Fantastic Four, bringing Storm and Black Panther on to the team.
“When I first started at Marvel, I helped train a young intern named Tom Breevort – mostly, I told him where we kept the yellow stickies – who’s now (the executive editor). We were talking Fantastic Four one day and he was impressed that I (understood)the FF. He told me that if he ever edited the book, he’d get me to write it. I laughed and said, ‘Yeah, yeah.’ So 20 years later, he called me up and offered me Fantastic Four… It was the ultimate joy; I’d stay forever if I could,” McDuffie told Mania.com in 2009.
A proponent of pushing diversity in the comics medium, McDuffie co-founded Milestone Media, establishing a comic book universe called in 1993 of predominantly minority super-heroes that was revitalized and implemented into the mainstream DC Universe in 2009 during his tenure on Justice League of America.
“We wanted to portray a fictional world that looked like the real world. We wanted to do the kind of comics that were very story-driven and character-driven, not pinup artwork-driven,” McDuffie told Mania.com in 2009. “A big part of it was creating characters from a wide-range of backgrounds – ethnic, religion, class. Usually, heroes are white, middle-class males or upper-class males like Batman. This made sense in the 1940s and 1950s, but it didn’t represent the world very well (in the 1990s), nor did it represent the audience very well.”
When Milestone ceased publication in 1995 due to the collapse of the comic book industry, McDuffie broke into animation. Warner Animation bought the rights to Static – one of the Milestone comics – and turned it into an animated series called Static Shock. Alan Burnett, who was one of the main writers behind Batman: The Animated Series, brought McDuffie aboard to pen the adventures of his creation on the small screen. McDuffie and Burnett earned the Humanitas Prize in Children’s Animation for the “Jimmy” episode of Static Shock. It also earned McDuffie two Emmy Awards
He also wrote episodes of Ben 10: Alien Force, Teen Titans, and Justice League Unlimited, as well as several of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line that includes All-Star Superman, which was released only yesterday.
Dan Didio, co-publisher of DC Entertainment, released a statement regarding McDuffie’s death: “Dwayne McDuffie left a lasting legacy on the world of comics that many writers can only aspire to. He will not only be remembered as the extremely gifted writer whose scripts have been realized as comic books, in television shows and on the silver screen, but as the creator or co-creator of so many of the much-loved Milestone characters, including Static Shock. The industry has lost a true talent. Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and many friends he leaves behind.”
McDuffie is survived by his wife, Charlotte, and his mother Edna McDuffie-Gardner.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.