Comics and cartoon writer Dwayne McDuffie, who most recently penned the script for the DC Animated feature All-Star Superman, passed away from complications from a surgical procedure he had on Monday.
McDuffie got his start in comics as a member of Marvel’s editorial staff in the 1980s. While an editor at Marvel, McDuffie began writing the Damage Control miniseries and helped to revamp the Deathlok character. Eventually, McDuffie began writing full-time and would help create the Milestone comics universe at DC. Milestone was a separate line that featured minority heroes such as Static, Hardware, and Icon. In recent years, McDuffie began writing for cartoons as well, including a cartoon adaptation of his Static character, Static Shock. He also served as the story editor on the immensely popular Justice League Unlimited cartoon and a writer on Ben 10: Alien Force. McDuffie also wrote the DC Comics straight-to-DVD animated feature Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, as well as an adaptation of All-Star Superman that was released on DVD and Blu-ray today.
I was a pretty big fan of McDuffie’s work. I remember reading Damage Control and Deathlok, and I read several issues of the Static comic series. I also enjoyed Justice League Unlimited and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. McDuffie had a knack for taking obscure DC characters and making them interesting. I really loved his take on The Question in the JLU series, as well as his run on the Justice League of America comic and on Fantastic Four. During his time on Fantastic Four, Black Panther and Storm replaced Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman on the team. Many comic book readers might not have cared for it, but I loved it. McDuffie’s characters, especially his minority characters, always seemed natural to me.
If you have ever watched the special features on any DC animated DVDs or Blu-Rays, you know that McDuffie always spoke about comics in an intelligent fashion and he had a wealth of knowledge about the DC comics universe.
It is an ironic tragedy that he has passed on the same day that All-Star Superman was released. I intend to honor his memory by purchasing that film today. Dwayne McDuffie was a tremendous talent, and comics fans everywhere will mourn his loss. Fortunately, now that DC comics has integrated the Milestone characters into the main universe, there is no doubt that his creations will live on to entertain future comics fans.
[Update: According to Marvel, McDuffie died on Monday, February 21, 2011; the exact date of death was unclear in the initial reports.]
1962 – 2011