Dwayne McDuffie


Dwayne Glenn McDuffie


Dwayne McDuffie was an African American comic book and animation writer best known as one of the founders of Milestone Media, an imprint of DC Comics dedicated to promoting better stories and characterizations for minorities and for his contributions to Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, the final installment of what DC Comics fans refer to as "the DCAU". McDuffie, who notoriously despised stereotypes and vehemently fought against them in his work, won three Eisner Award nominations for his work in comics.

Born Dwayne Glenn McDuffie in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Edna McDuffie Gardner, as a child he initially dreamed of becoming an astronaut and studied physics, but he was rejected from that occupation due to his 6-foot-5 stature. A voracious reader, McDuffie then dedicated his energy to writing. Following a stint as copy editor for Investment Dealer's Digest (a business magazine) a friend's connection helped him win an interview at Marvel Comics as an assistant editor to Bob Budiansky, where he cut his literary teeth on helping develop the company's first superhero trading cards and writing "Damage Control", a miniseries dealing with the insurance company that has to deal with the collateral damage of the super-hero Vs. super-villain brawls that plague the company's fictional interpretation of New York City. When he became an editor for Marvel he submitted the spoof proposal Ninja Thrashers in response to the company's treatment of its black characters.

Following freelance writing in 1990 for various Marvel, DC Comics and even Archie Comics titles, McDuffie wrote Monster In My Pocket for Harvey Comics editor Sid Jacobson, whom he cited as a mentor.

Following his early 1991 divorce from his first wife, Patricia D. Younger, McDuffie and three partners founded Milestone Media, in order to express a multicultural sensibility he felt comic books were lacking. With McDuffie as editor-in-chief, Milestone's characters included the African-American Static, Icon, Hardware, the Asian-American Xombi, and the multi-ethnic superhero group the Blood Syndicate, which include black, Asian and Latino men and women. Milestone debuted its titles in 1993 through a distribution deal with DC Comics.

Following the discontinuation of Milestone Media's publishing, Static would be adapted into the animated series Static Shock, for which McDuffie wrote 11 episodes, also serving as story editor. McDuffie then joined the writing staff of Justice League, essentially replacing long time DCAU writer Paul Dini, later promoted to story editor and producer when the series became Justice League Unlimited, writing, producing or at least story-editing 69 of the series 91 episodes. Other animation writing credits included What's New, Scooby-Doo?, Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben: Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, and Teen Titans.

In addition to his TV animation writing credits, McDuffie also wrote for a number of direct-to-DVD animated films for Warner Brothers featuring DC Comics heroes. Among these were Justice League: Crisis On 2 Earths (2010), based on an abandoned story idea he'd originally pitched as a bridge between the end of Justice League and the beginning of Justice League Unlimited, All-Star Superman (2011) and Justice League: Doom (2012).

During his return to comics, McDuffie wrote the Marvel miniseries Beyond! and the Fantastic Four, and Firestorm and Justice League America for DC Comics, the latter he was unfortunately fired from following his very frank and unflattering answers to fans about the creative process. McDuffie then wrote Milestone Forever, chronicling the final adventures of the Milestone characters he'd helped create before they were added to the regular DC universe.

Friends, family and fans were devastated when McDuffie died on February 21, 2011, only one day after his 49th birthday, due to complications from emergency heart surgery at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. His younger brother, Darryl, had died only a few months earlier, while their older brother Brian had died as an infant. Truly a titanic, larger than life visionary who fought relentlessly for better quality storytelling for all, McDuffie was a talent lost too soon. He is survived by his second wife, animation-TV writer Charlotte Fullerton, and his mother. When Justice League: Doom, loosely based on Mark Waid's Tower of Babel miniseries, was released a little more than year later it was dedicated to his memory.

Producer ( 3 credits )

Ben 10: Ultimate Alien (2010) producer (23 episodes, 2010-2012)
Ben 10: Alien Force (2008) producer (46 episodes, 2008-2010)
Justice League (2001) producer (65 episodes, 2003-2006)

Writer ( 7 credits )

Ben 10: Omniverse (2012) (2 episodes, 2012)
Ben 10: Ultimate Alien (2010) (7 episodes, 2010-2012)
Ben 10: Alien Force (2008) (10 episodes, 2008-2010)
Teen Titans (2003) (2 episodes, 2004)
What's New, Scooby-Doo? (2002) (1 episode, 2002)
Justice League (2001) (33 episodes, 2002-2006)
Static Shock (2000) (11 episodes, 2000-2004)