Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rest In Peace, Dwayne McDuffie

My Twitter stream was full of the breaking news this afternoon. African-American comic book creator and animation producer Dwayne McDuffie had died suddenly. As evidenced by how quickly this news became a trending-topic, it is very clear how much this man and his work meant to so many people.

I was first exposed to Dwayne's work when he co-founded Milestone Media in 1992, a comic company whose focus was to bring ethnically diverse titles to the market. He served as editor-in-chief for the line as well as co-creator to many characters.

In 2000, he helped move one of those creations to the fore-front with Static Shock, a very successful cartoon on the Kids WB network. I recall often watching that show every Saturday morning with my elementary school-aged son. He enjoyed the show as much as I did. Like the comics where Static appeared before, the show was about presenting a diverse cast.

In 2001, Justice League debuted as an animated series on Cartoon Network. Dwayne was involved in that series in many aspects: writer, producer, story-editor on 69 of the 91 episodes total. Again, this was a show that my son and I watched religiously and enjoyed immensely. Through Dwayne's direction, so many great DC Comics characters got a chance to make their animated debuts.

The last comic work of Dwayne's I read was his short but very enjoyable run on Justice League of America a few years ago. Like so many of his other projects, he again helped to prevent a diverse League membership and even had Vixen doing a stint as the team leader in his run.

His work in all these fields are a legacy, albeit an abruptly shortned one, that will not soon be forgotten by fans of comic books and animation alike. The DC Universe is a little bit dimmer today.

Rest in peace, Dwayne.

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