On February 21, 2011, the world lost a legend. Dwayne McDuffie passed away at the age of 49, leaving behind a towering legacy in comics and television. McDuffie was one of the founding fathers of Milestone Media, a prominent writer for DC Comics, and the brains behind DC TV Classics like Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Static Shock. His influence on comics and superhero storytelling reverberate to this day. One writer who was inspired by McDuffie is David F. Walker, currently writing Occupy Avengers for Marvel and has previously written Cyborg for DC. David joins Keith and Desiree (Britney is out this week) to remember the life and times of Dwayne McDuffie.
One cannot discuss black excellence (specifically in speculative fiction) without discussing one of the most gifted and progressive storytellers, ever to walk this earth, the late Dwayne McDuffie.
As expected, many discussed the amazing work he and his team did with making Milestone Comics a success, others mentioned his phenomenal work with fellow phenom Bruce Timm creating over a decade of superb animated series and films.
Of course people pointed out that McDuffie paved the way for black storytellers in a way too vanilla-centric medium that is the comic book industry.
The Washington Post broke the news this morning, but it looks like Milestone Media will be making its long awaited return in 2015. This time, filmmaker Reginald Hudlin will be joining original co-founders Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle in rebooting Milestone 2.0.
Coincidentally, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum recently announced it would be extending its “Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture, and Beyond” exhibit — curated by original co-founder Michael Davis and Tatiana EL-Khouri — through February. (Here’s my recap of the exhibit’s opening in December 2013).
Needless to say, NOC HQ is very excited about these events.
by Gene Yang
[Ed. note: Over the weekend, Gene delivered the following speech at the National Book Festival gala in Washington, DC.]
I’m a comic-book guy, so tonight I’d like to talk about another comic-book guy. Dwayne McDuffie was one of my favorite writers. When I was growing up, he was one of the few African Americans working in American comics. Dwayne worked primarily within the superhero genre. He got his start at Marvel Comics but eventually worked for almost every comic book publisher out there. He even branched out into television and wrote for popular cartoon series like Justice League and Ben 10.
Dwayne McDuffie is no longer with us, unfortunately. He passed away in 2011, at the age of 49. But within comics, his influence is still deeply felt.
Three years ago today, we lost the beloved Dwayne McDuffie. In person, Dwayne towered well over six feet tall, which lent itself to a larger-than-life image that was really the opposite of how he carried himself. You could always spot Dwayne in a crowd, but you couldn’t necessarily hear him over the crowd. With his intimidating size, Dwayne knew how to not be intimidating in his demeanor. His work spoke much louder than he did. That’s part of the reason so many people miss him, and part of the reason people like me, who were only casually acquainted with him feel the loss so greatly.
[Ed. note: David originally wrote this for BadAzz Mofo on Monday, and we’re running it today in honor of what would have been Dwayne’s 52nd birthday. Tomorrow is also the third anniversary of his passing. My own memory of meeting Dwayne is here. The image above is by graphic designer Ed Williams. —KC]
Things were different when I was a kid growing up. For the most part, you didn’t know what comic book creators looked like. Sure, everyone knew what Stan Lee looked like, but that was about it. The few comic creators I had contact with back in my youth were all white, and for some reason, it just sort of stuck in my head that all comic creators had to be white. This was, of course, reinforced by the vast majority of comics that were being published, which only had a relatively small number of black characters.
In this landmark live-streamed episode, the founders and creators of Milestone Comics join Keith (@the_real_chow) for a special retrospective of one of the most important companies in comic book history. The show’s panel consists of Milestone founders Denys Cowan and Michael Davis, editor/writer Joseph Phillip Illidge, artist Shawn Martinbrough, and production manager/writer Erica Well.
Dwayne McDuffie is one of the most important figures in the history of the comic book industry. Perhaps that’s hyperbole, but I don’t think so. I know that his work has left an indelible mark on me, and the world is a lesser place without him in it.
I didn’t know Dwayne McDuffie personally. I only met him once. Briefly. It was in San Diego in 2009. The fellas (Jerry Ma, Jeff Yang, Parry Shen) and I were at Comic-Con to promote Secret Identities. Dwayne was on a panel moderated by Jeff, and the five of us were able to chat for a bit afterwards.
This Thursday evening, the co-founders and creators of the groundbreaking comics company Milestone Media will be the guests on a special episode of Hard N.O.C. Life, bringing together a panel of some of the most talented voices in comics to discuss the legacy of the company that revolutionized the industry two decades ago.