Numerous sites are reporting that Dwayne McDuffie, comic book and animation writer, has died of unknown causes. His death has led me to step out of my beat a bit to celebrate a very fine black nerd. He was an amazing storyteller -- check out the Duffie-penned "Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths" on Netflix Instant Watch if you don't believe me. And as Spencer Ackerman tweeted earlier today, he created "one of Marvel's best ideas: a construction company that fixes property damaged in super-fights." Comic Books Resources briefly recaps his career:
In 1993, McDuffie co-founded Milestone Media along with creators Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle. The company's mission statement involved expanding the role of minorities in comics both on the page and off, and they launched (through DC Comics) a line of superheroes that included "Static," "Icon" and Xombi" - all of which McDuffie had a hand in creating.
In recent years, McDuffie pursued dual tracks in animation and comics writing. He served as story editor for the popular "Justice League Unlimited" animated series and wrote a number of DC's recent direct-to-DVD animated films. McDuffie had notable runs on comic series "Fantastic Four" and "Justice League of America," often incorporating Black characters into the core of the fabled franchises.
But perhaps most importantly, McDuffie proved that incorporating black characters into a series -- and making them more than stereotypes -- is more than a noble goal, it's completely possible. Not only did he choose to use John Stewart, the black Green Lantern from the 1970s, in his version of the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, he gave Stewart one of the most compelling character arcs over the series' run.
Thank you, Dwayne McDuffie.
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