RIP Dwayne McDuffie

Dwayne McDuffie died.

It’s a shame that you don’t know who that is…but I understand.  And that’s why I’m here.  To tell you these things.

Dwayne McDuffie was a comic book, TV, and film writer.  Most of his work was fairly comic-book related.  He is perhaps best known as the creator of the titular character of the Static Shock TV show from a few years back, but also was involved with the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited show, wrote for such comics as the Fantastic Four, Deathlok, and The Amazing Spider-Man.  His work was very present in most of the DC Universe direct-to-DVD movies, and he even did a title for the Scooby-Doo people.

One of the most notable characteristics to McDuffie’s work is that he integrated characters of a wide ethnic background, and more often than not did it with no stereotype, no over-effort, and often without it even being an issue.  He painted a world where good fights unfathomable evil…but also an idealized world where Blacks, Whites, Asians, and whatever-else-you’ve-got stood side by side and didn’t even notice that they were different.  His characters managed to be of all backgrounds, and maintained that very delicate line where they were genuinely of their own racial background, but never clichéd.  In an industry that created characters like Apache Chief, Black Lightning, Egg Fu, et al, McDuffie’s voice was unique, and something other writers should strive for.

Plus—and this is an understatement, if ever there were one—his stories were good.  He wrote amazing stuff, and some people have even called him “the Stan Lee of our generation.”  I don’t know if that’s true.  I’m not sure Static Shock is going to stand up alongside Spider-Man, the X-Men, and Daredevil…  But maybe it should.  Maybe it would have.

Either way…it’d be a fitting tribute if you took a look at his last work, All Star Superman, released only this week.  Sad that he didn’t get to see how it will be accepted…but glorious that he got to see it released and go out having done something he loved.

The cause of death is uncertain at this time…all that is publicly known is that he suffered complications from a surgery he’d had the day before his death—we don’t even know what the surgery was for.  He is survived by his wife.  And his work, which will live for as long as there are geeks who love comics and people striving to write better ones.

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