Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dwayne McDuffie, RIP

Multiple sources around the Net have reported that Dwayne McDuffie has shockingly passed on. I say shockingly because no one seems to have even been aware that he might have been ill- he has been active in his writing career, both in comics and in animation, right up until now. No cause of death has been reported as of this writing.

I won't try to BS you and tell you that I've been a lifelong fan of his or anything- I can only think of one series I've read regularly that he scripted. Back in 1993, when my then-11-year-old son wanted me to start getting him comics to read on my weekly Wednesday run, some of the titles he liked were DC's teen heroes- Robin, Impulse, Superboy. One other that caught his eye was the series above, Static. Now, since I was as much a comics geek back then as I ever was, I read not only the titles I bought, but the titles I bought for him (he liked X-Men, Spawn, Gen13, and other hot books back then too- I didn't read them often) as well, and I enjoyed Static. McDuffie only scripted the first four issues, along with the mysterious Robert L. Washington III, but was instrumental in creating the character with artist J.P. Leon, the first place I saw his soon-to-be excellent work as well. He was a driving force behind the whole Milestone imprint company published by DC which was designed to spotlight minority characters. Many years later, I found myself addicted to the animated TV series Justice League Unlimited, as far as I'm concerned one of the high-mark programs of its kind- he was its story editor and a producer, and also scripted many of its best episodes. I may have to go back and look up some of the other comics work he's done, such as the late 80's Marvel series Damage Control and his troubled stint on Justice League of America. He seemed to be a talent whose best work was still ahead of him, whether it was in animation or comics.

Reaction all over the Web has been heartfelt and overwhelmingly sad- he seemed to have been well-liked by everyone whose lives and careers he touched. I never had the pleasure of interacting with him online, but I can see his obvious talent and importance in the industry, and he will be missed by all who care about comics. I just thought I should write a few lines.

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