Dwayne Glenn McDuffie
Justice League Series
McDuffie blazed a bright trail for future African American writers in the comic book and animation industry.
By Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer
Born Dwayne Glenn McDuffie on Feburary 20, 1962, he was raised in Detroit, MI where he received most of his education. McDuffie attended The Roeper School, and later the University of Michigan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in physics. McDuffie would later attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
His early career consisted of working in broadcast, and writing for comedians and for television. McDuffie would later work in copywriting for the publication, Investment Dealers’ Digest. His career in comics would begin with an interview at Marvel Comics for an assistant editor position.
Some of his early contributions to Marvel Comics included, working on trading cards and writing scripts for stories. His next big break was writing for the miniseries, “Damage Control.”
His stint on “Damage Control” would lead to him becoming an editor at Marvel. McDuffie proved to be a pioneer as he addressed how Black comic characters were treated within the comic book industry.
After doing some freelance work writing for Marvel, DC Comics and Archie Comics, he and some partners- Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, Derek T. Dingle and Christopher Priest founded Milestone Media (MM). MM went on to be one of the most successful minority-owned comic companies ever. Out of the MM brand would come popular characters like Icon, Xombi and the Black superhero, Static, to name a few. McDuffie served as editor-in-chief and was responsible for the creation of many of these popular, minority characters.
The character Static would later get his own TV series, “Static Shock.” After MM stopped publishing, McDuffie sought out further endeavors in television. He wrote for DC Comics’ animated show, “Teen Titans,” the rebooted cartoon, “What’s New Scooby Doo,” and many other projects.
The apex of his writing in animation was arguably for the DC Comics’ animated series, “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited.” He acted as staff writer for “Justice League” and was later promoted to story editor when the show transitioned to “Justice League Unlimited.” He was responsible for writing and producing many of the episodes during its run on the Cartoon Network. McDuffie would also write for the “Justice League Heroes” video game. His later work would be on the popular cartoon “Ben-10” series.
McDuffie later returned to writing in the comic book industry, working again with Marvel and DC Comics. He wrote for various books such as DC Comics “Firestorm” and Marvel’s “Fantastic Four. “He even witnessed the fusing of some of his Milestone characters in the DC Comics universe.
Some of his last works would include the straight-to-DVD animated feature film, “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” and more recently, “All-Star Superman.”
Some of his many awards include the Golden Apple Award, received in 1996 from his alma mater, the Roeper School; the Humanitas Prize; nominations for an Emmy Award for his work on multiple animated series, a Writers Guild of America award, ‘Favorite Breakout Talent’ by Wizard Magazine; and the Comic Con International’s Inkpot Award in 2009.
McDuffie passed away the day after his 49th birthday from complications during heart surgery at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, CA according to media reports. He will be greatly missed by the comic industry and community. He will always be remembered as a comic book icon and a pioneer in Black History.
He is survived by his wife, Charlotte Fullerton, a comic and TV animation writer and his mother, Edna McDuffie-Gardner.