Ten Things You Should Know About Dwayne McDuffie

Ten Things You Should Know About Dwayne McDuffie

1. Dwayne was hugely prolific in animation; his credits include lead writer/story editor on numerous hit animated productions, including the Justice League Unlimited series, Static Shock, Ben 10, and most recently the All-Star Superman DVD. In the course of that work, he was responsible for establishing John Stewart, the first black Green Lantern, as THE Green Lantern in the minds of countless fans, through the Justice League animated series.

2. He co-founded Milestone Media, the first comic book line dedicated to reflecting the diversity of American life, which employed top talent including Christopher Priest, Denys Cowan, John Paul Leon, ChrisCross, M.D. Bright, Chris Sotomayor, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jamal Igle, Tommy Lee Edwards, J. H. Williams III, and Humberto Ramos.  As part of this line, Dwayne co-created the the teenage hero Static, whom he brought to success on television as well.

3. He started in comics as a writer/editor for Marvel Comics, where he created Damage Control, a brilliant satire about a construction company that cleans up the messes superheroes make when they fight.

4. While at Marvel, he wrote a proposal parody called "Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers" which highlighted both his own sharp wit, and some of the basic absurdities in how comics dealt with black characters.

5. He earned a graduate degree in Physics from the University of Michigan.

6. According to Marvel editor Tom Brevoort who started his own career working with Dwayne, Dwayne also did some  writing for late night TV show host David Letterman.

7. Growing up, Dwayne was hugely influenced by Don McGregor's Black Panther stories, as detailed in this essay he wrote. At Marvel, he campaigned to have those stories collected, and when they finally were years later, he wrote the afterword.

8. After his ground-breaking success with the Justice League on television, he was brought on to write the Justice League for DC Comics (a run which ended in some editorial turbulence as chronicled here, here, and here).

9. He wrote the Fantastic Four from 2007 to 2008, which was a longtime dream gig for him.

10. Dwayne McDuffie passed away on Monday, February 21st, the day after his 49th birthday, due to complications from surgery, despite the fact that he was reported as being hale and hearty only days before. There are countless people who will miss him, from all walks of life. Just Google his name, read the reactions on his own message board, see our report on the news, or check out what's being said on Twitter to get a feel for the breadth of reaction to his passing.

An event Dwayne was scheduled to attend tonight for his friend Reggie Hudlin at Golden Apple Comics has been converted into an occasion to pay tribute to this comics giant. And thanks in large part to the efforts of his friend and fellow writer Mark Waid, there will be memorials for Dwayne at the Emerald City Comic Con and C2E2, and most certainly other upcoming conventions.

With this kind of outpouring of love, you don't have to have known the man to realize the effect he had on so many lives. But even so, his life and the accomplishments he left behind for us are still well worth getting to know, just for the pure enjoyment his work continues to bring. That's what's known as a lasting legacy.


  1. God Bless, He’ll go down as one of the finest Animation storytellers in my opinion, and ending with JL:C2E and All-Star are two of the finest projects ever released in animation. 

  2. Thank you for writing this up Matt. I felt like I was missing out on McDuffie’s significance, and you helped give me a better understanding of his achievements and importance in comics. Also, the Letterman connection is a pretty cool fact.

  3. He was a giant, indisputably.

  4. His Damage Control mini after World War Hulk is one of the funniest things I have ever read.  Just picturing moments from it can make me smile on a bad day.

  5. Thank you for this.

  6. Great article.  RIP Dwayne. 

  7. Forty-nine! Forty-nine.

  8. The guy really knew how to tell a story.  Damn shame.  RIP

  9. He helped make john Stewart my favorite green lantern.

  10. Thanks for compiling this, Matt. It’s amazing how much work he did in an effort to broaden the reach and appeal of comics and the characters we all love. Whether it was creating Milestone and helping to depict a more racially diverse landscape, or by scripting the cartoons that introduced a lot of kids and casual fans to the the DCU. 

  11. Nicely said Matt.

  12. Just to add on a personal note, that page of Damage Control I posted has stuck in my head ever since I first read it at age 11. Even at the time, I knew it was a wickedly funny poke at the grim ‘n gritty brooding vigilantes so prominent in comics of the time (of which Night Thrasher fit the mold), and laughed my head off despite being a New Warriors fan. Years later, when I heard about his Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers proposal, it added a new dimension of hilarity. So that page pretty much sums up what I love about Dwayne’s writing. Great stuff.

  13. So right about John Stewart. I teach in a majority/minority school. I can’t tell you how many kids, from different walks of life, have asked me after seeing the Green Lantern trailer. “Isn’t Green Lantern supposed to be black?” 

  14. Wow.  This is a shock.  I remember one of the first letters that I written to Marvel was in reference to his Deathlok run way back in the day.  They published the letter in the letter column and as a kid, that meant the world to me.  I loved a good bit of everything that he wrote.  We will miss an excellent writer.

  15. I just picked up the first ICON trade paperback today. I knew McDuffie more through his animation work (phenomenal stuff of course), so I wanted to go back and look at some of the print work I’d missed. 

  16. I have never heard of Damage Control before now, but it sounds like something I would love. It would be great to honor his memory by Marvel issuing an Omnibus/boo of the whole series. 

    On a side note, have any besides WWH been collected? 

  17. RIP. x

  18. From Dwayne McDuffie’s Script Links ( http://homepage.mac.com/dmcduffie/site/Scripts.html )…
    “Deathlok #25 dialogue. As you may or may not know, a “Marvel-style” plot (see Deathlok #2 or Spider-Man #1 above, for examples) is drawn by the penciller from the writer’s description, then returned to the writer for the actual dialogue. Here’s a brief example of dialogue from that process. This is also interesting because it’s my only public commentary on (Afrocentric publishing co-op) ANIA’s relentless attack on Milestone as “not black enough.” While these guys were blowing tons of free publicity by (generally) failing to turn out any decent product to back up their activist stance, Milestone was busy employing three or four dozen black creators (all the while refusing to publicly badmouth ANIA, or any other publishers). In my last story for Marvel Comics, I put ANIA’s arguments into the mouth of Marvel’s “Moses Magnum” and let Deathlok speak for me. Apropos to ANIA’s fake Swahili, I named the story, “Protect and Defend.” This single issue of Deathlok outsold the combined print runs of every ANIA book ever printed. Fuck with me….” 


  19. (Argh the text was small… 🙁  )

  20. Go back to the milestone titles and you will see how good and how different they were to what was out at the time. It was alla bout character and story and the beating up of bad guys was just a context. Dc should use those characters more as it’s nearly 20 years and their universe is just as white as it ever was.

  21. @PaulMontgomery  Enjoy sir, it’s probably my favorite of his work at Milestone

  22. I never realized he wrote Damage Control! That’s awesome!

  23. Matt, thank you for compiling such a wonderful overview of  Mr. McDuffie’s works. He definitely left an amazing legacy of work in the comics and animation industry.

  24. GOD BLESS DWAYNE!! Thanks to all his beautiful work it has brought many of my freinds into comics and the Justcie League.


    THANK YOU!!!!!