(February 20, 1962 – February 21, 2011)
Dwayne McDuffie was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Leroy McDuffie and Edna McDuffie Gardner. He attended The Roeper School and went on to the University of Michigan, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English, then earning a master’s degree in physics. He then moved to New York to attend film school at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. While McDuffie was working as a copy editor at the business magazine Investment Dealers’ Digest, a friend got him an interview for an assistant editor position at Marvel Comics.
Going on staff at Marvel as editor Bob Budiansky’s assistant on special projects, McDuffie helped develop the company’s first superhero trading cards. He also scripted stories for Marvel. His first major work was Damage Control, a miniseries about the company that shows up between issues and tidies up the mess left by the latest round of superhero/supervillain battles.
After becoming an editor at Marvel, McDuffie submitted a spoof proposal for a comic entitled Ninja Thrashers in response to Marvel’s treatment of its black characters. Becoming a freelancer in 1990, McDuffie wrote for dozens of various comics titles for Marvel, DC Comics, and Archie Comics. In addition, he wrote Monster in My Pocket for Harvey Comics editor Sid Jacobson, whom he cites on his website as having taught him everything he knows. In early 1991, he divorced his first wife, Patricia D. Younger, in Seminole County, Florida.
In the early 1990s, wanting to express a multicultural sensibility that he felt was missing in comic books, McDuffie and three partners founded Milestone Media, which The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio, described in 2000 as "the industry’s most successful minority-owned-and operated comic company." McDuffie explained:
"If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren’t just that character. They represent that race or that sex, and they can’t be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people. You know, Superman isn’t all white people and neither is Lex Luthor. We knew we had to present a range of characters within each ethnic group, which means that we couldn’t do just one book. We had to do a series of books and we had to present a view of the world that’s wider than the world we’ve seen before."
Milestone, whose characters include the African-American Static, Icon, and Hardware; the Asian-American Xombi, and the multi-ethnic superhero group the Blood Syndicate, which include black, Asian and Latino men and women, debuted its titles in 1993 through a distribution deal with DC Comics. Serving as editor-in-chief, McDuffie created or co-created many characters, including Static.
After Milestone had ceased publishing new comics, Static was developed into an animated series Static Shock. McDuffie was hired to write and story-edit on the series, writing 11 episodes.
His other television writing credits included Teen Titans and What’s New, Scooby-Doo?.
McDuffie was hired as a staff writer for the animated series Justice League and was promoted to story editor and producer as the series became Justice League Unlimited. During the entire run of the animated series, McDuffie wrote, produced, or story-edited 69 out of the 91 episodes.
McDuffie also wrote the story for the video game Justice League Heroes.
McDuffie was hired to help revamp and story-edit Cartoon Network’s popular animated Ben 10 franchise with Ben 10: Alien Force, continuing the adventures of the ten-year-old title character into his mid and late teenage years. During the run of the series, McDuffie wrote episodes 1–3, 14, 25–28, 45 and 46 and/or story-edited all forty-six episodes. McDuffie also produced and story edited for the second sequel series Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, which premiered April 23. 2010. He wrote episodes 1, 10, 11, 16, 30, 39 together with J. M. DeMatteis and 52.
McDuffie wrote a number of direct-to-DVD animated films featuring DC Comics characters - including Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Justice League: Doom. He scripted the direct-to-DVD adaptation of All-Star Superman, which was released one day after his death. Justice League: Doom was released posthumously in 2012.
McDuffie’s work was also seen on Ben 10: Omniverse, having shared story by credit on the first two episodes, “The More Things Change, Parts 1 and 2.”
A pioneer who paved the way for increasing awareness and diversity within the mainstream comic book industry as well as animation, Dwayne’s memory and contribution will never be forgotten. Rest In Power, brother.
One of my heroes.