Dwayne McDuffie: Saying Goodbye to an Icon

Born Dwayne Glenn McDuffie in 1962 and raised in the city of Detroit, Michigan, his education began at the Roeper School. McDuffie chose the University of Michigan for his undergraduate studies from which he received a bachelor’s degree in English. Eventually, he went on to receive a Master’s in Physics. Continuing his schooling and creative interests, McDuffie studied film at New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts. He became a radio co-host while simultaneously moonlighting as a freelance writer for stand-up comedians. Some of his scripts made it to late-night television comedy programs.

After an early job as a copy editor at Investment Dealer’s Digest, a business magazine, McDuffie landed a position at Marvel Comics in 1987 as an assistant editor. While working for Marvel, McDuffie helped to create Marvel’s first trading cards and eventually the mini-series entitled Damage Control. McDuffie then went on to write stories for various titles like: Spider-Man, Deathlok II, Captain Marvel, Avengers Spotlight, Hellraiser, X-O Manowar, and others. McDuffie also submitted a spoof proposal for something he called “Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers.” It was said that this was McDuffie’s response to Marvel’s portrayal and treatment of Black comic book characters. McDuffie tried his hand at writing for other comic book companies as a freelancer: DC Comics, Archie Comics and Harvey Comics.

It was in 1993 that McDuffie’s interest in changing the portrayal of Black heroes and multicultural characters began to take shape.  He along with partners Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle created Milestone Media, Inc., which was published through DC Comics. Popular Milestone characters included: Icon, Static, Hardware, Xombi, Shadow Cabinet, Blood Syndicate, and Kobalt. Milestone would become the foremost comic book company which created quality African-American and ethnic heroes. Static, a character McDuffie co-created became a popular animated series on the Kids WB! McDuffie not only wrote for that program, he also went on to write for other television shows including: Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, the Cartoon Network animated series, What’s New Scooby Doo?, the Teen Titans, Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. McDuffie penned the script for the DC animated feature film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and All-Star Superman for Warner Home Video.

McDuffie is the recipient of a Writer’s Guild Award, a 2003 Humanities Prize, two Emmy Nominations, eleven Parents’ Choice Awards, three Eisner Awards, a Golden Apple Award and a Glyph Comics Award. He was an example not only to comic book loyalists and science fiction fans, but also to comic book creators, professionals, artists and writers of what the combination of purpose, talent and hard work can produce. His work was and is revered as having a standard of quality, in which excellence of craft and an unmistakable flavor that was just “Dwayne” came together for our benefit. He was able to take the reader and the audience on rides that were new, wild and adventurous yet authentic, real and respectful. He represented the best in quality and professionalism. He entertained us all and will continue to do so for many, many years to come. The examples on this page are only a sampling of the works of Dwayne McDuffie. He was a creator, an author, a shaper and producer of ideas, and most of all a creative mind, a brilliant and humble soul. His work was his gift to us. Our memory and reverence of his efforts are our gift to him. We urge that you collect, hold dear, rediscover, value and reintroduce yourselves to the works of Mr. Dwayne G. McDuffie. And, after you come down from the ride, simply say: “Thank you, Dwayne!”

Reference:
Dwayne McDuffie Wikipedia page, DwayneMcDuffie.com, IMDB.com,

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