These past few days I have been ranting about how excited I was to watch the new All Star Superman movie and in doing so was more than happy to mention the man who wrote the script for the movie, Dwayne McDuffie. I have enjoyed his comics and cartoons/movies (even before I knew he was involved in making them), and wanted to give proper credit and explanation for why his work is so good. I have never been very good at writing stuff like that (always more technically minded, sorry)… I was going to ask my buddy/cousin Jeremy to write something to put on here to better explain why McDuffie is such a great asset to the Comic community, but I had no idea it would end up being under these circumstances.
Today I was informed of one of the hardest things I’ve had to hear so far in this short year of 2011: Dwayne McDuffie has passed away today (2/22/2011) after a surgery Monday had complications. for those that are wanting to see: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30969 was the page tweeted to me by Alex Mason (thank you for keeping me updated man). This is something that is really hard for me to deal with at the moment because i just worked 13 hours on 4 hours sleep so for those that are reading this, bare with me because I’m about to go off on a tangent.
Dwayne McDuffie is/was my favorite Comic Book writer to read. Everything he wrote in my opinion was gold. From the co-creator of Milestone Comics (which includes my favorite comic book character period: Static) to the recent run in JLA vol 4 that was hampered severely by Dido’s executive team his writing always stood out to me. He had a way of making you want to know more about the characters he was writing about, a different take than the usual straight forward status quo, and often times he would use often forgotten characters to make the ones he was working with better. He could take a story that many would avoid and work it into a realistic yet fiction setting. A talent like McDuffie can be replaced? but it’ll never be duplicated or respectfully mirrored. He was a man that could break down and rationalize any fight fans could think of (look up McDuffie’s break down of a fight between Superman/Wonder Woman it makes you step back and really think about the characters in a different light) when asked on his forums.
I’ve yet to read a comic book series as good as the Static 1-45 (owns about 2500+ comics and has read about 2x that). This series covered a lot of REAL issues within each of it’s pages. A lot of DC comics can be broke down into about 4 styles: Superman, Batman, Cosmic, random. By this I mean: Superman: super light side, with a lot of justice yet big blue holding his morals, Batman: grit and schemes and plans and the ‘shadows’ everything dark about the world (note I believe about 70% of comics tailor to this style), Cosmic: space stuff like GLs and Darkseid, Teams: JLA/Teen Titans/JSA/Outsiders/Doom Patrol/REBELS/LoSH/etc. each of those styles cover a different issue of sorts, most avoid the real issues at all possible usually only alluding to them. In Static’s series? you name it it was more then likely in there if a teenager has to deal with it (lol of course not everything, but it did a really good job).
I would of liked to see Dwayne’s comments on the first issue of the new ongoing Static series that Felicia Henderson (writer of Fresh Prince and the 2010 run of TTs) is going to be writing. While a lot harp on her? McDuffie displayed a respect and a lot of praise in her work in that short span with Static. I think they’ll probably make the first issue a ‘in memory of Dwayne McDuffie’ issue, if not I’ll be disappointed in DC comics as a whole.
Now I have to sit back and look at whose left? while I like Johns and Morrison work a lot, they did not bring a balance view to comics imo. That added to Dido’s tyrannical reign leaves little faith that McDuffie’s characters will be treated with the respect they deserve (other than Static and possibly Hardware). He was one of the only writers that when writing a African descent character that did not immediately make everything about the usual wrongs of their history. He would put them in the here and now, respect their history, and not make such a deal to the point of pushing away readers (for example: what a lot of Black Panther’s writers do). He made me want to read more of different race characters that’s for sure, because besides Black Lightning and Apache Chief in Super Friends I didn’t know of many, then Green Lantern John Stewart in JLA cartoon (which i later learned was being produced by McDuffie) and Static in Static Shock (written/produced by McDuffie) cartoon.
Static Shock the cartoon is what made me go out and start buying comic books (which at the time Static was not in comic books… so i started on Xmen academy and Teen Titans). I now own a lot of the Milestone comics titles, including the complete Static series 1-45, his mini in 2001, and the more recent stuff too including Milestone Forever (a 2 comic must read imo) and his JLA vol 4 run.
I think I’ve spoken enough/explained how strongly i feel about this man’s impact on my life. Without him? I wouldn’t be the comic book fan I am today. I will miss you and your writing Dwayne. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family/loved ones. most of all, as a loyal fan you will never die to me, because you’ll live on in my heart/mind and forever be a foundation to my comic book views, opinions, and approaches to comics.
thank you for the amazing time you gave to us.
RIP Dwayne McDuffie
About the author: Jeremy Campbell is a young well-rounded and hard-working Michigan man. He owns thousands of comics and has read even more. When he’s not sharing his knowledge and love for comics, he is probably writing his own (in the form of role-playing stories) or watching sports (or working).
Note from Alex: if you are looking for any books/comics written by Dwayne McDuffie, you can find them, but they are selling out fast! Here’s a good place to start.
Also look here for movies/cartoons he wrote/produced.