Dwayne McDuffie

Last updated

Dwayne McDuffie
McDuffie in the late 1980s or early 1990s
BornDwayne Glenn McDuffie
(1962-02-20)February 20, 1962 [1]
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedFebruary 21, 2011(2011-02-21) (aged 49)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Area(s)Writer, producer, editor
Notable works
Comics: Milestone Media, Static
TV: Static Shock , Justice League Unlimited , Ben 10: Alien Force , Ben 10: Ultimate Alien , All-Star Superman
Collaborators Charlotte Fullerton
    Patricia D. Younger
    (div. 1991)
      Charlotte Fullerton
      (m. 2009)

Dwayne Glenn McDuffie (February 20, 1962 February 21, 2011) was an American writer of comic books and television, known for producing and writing the animated series Static Shock , Justice League Unlimited and Ben 10 , and co-founding the pioneering minority-owned-and-operated comic-book company Milestone Media, which focused on underrepresented minorities in American comics.


McDuffie earned three Eisner Award nominations for his work in comics. [2]

Early life and education

McDuffie was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Leroy McDuffie [3] and Edna (Hawkins) McDuffie Gardner. He attended and graduated from the Roeper School, a school for gifted children in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1980. [4] Of African-American characters in comics, he later, said:

"You only had two types of characters available for children. You had the stupid angry brute and the he's-smart-but-he's-black characters. And they were all colored either this Hershey-bar shade of brown, a sickly looking gray or purple. I've never seen anyone that's gray or purple before in my life. There was no diversity and almost no accuracy among the characters of color at all." [5]

In 1983, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan, followed by a master's degree in physics. [6] 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.[ citation needed ] Posthumously, comedian Keegan-Michael Key discovered he was Dwayne McDuffie's biological half-brother, by their father. [7] [8]


Marvel and Milestone

Going on staff at Marvel as editor Bob Budiansky's assistant on special projects, [9] McDuffie helped develop the company's first superhero trading cards. [10] 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 Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers in response to Marvel's treatment of its black characters. [11] 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. [12] In early 1991, he divorced his first wife, Patricia D. Younger, in Seminole County, Florida. [13]

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." [10] 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. [14]

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. [10] Serving as editor-in-chief, McDuffie created or co-created many characters, including Static.

Movies, television, and video games

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. [10]

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 . [15] He scripted the direct-to-DVD adaptation of All-Star Superman , [16] which was released one day after his death. [15] 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."

Return to comics

After his popular work in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited , McDuffie returned to writing comic books. He wrote the Marvel miniseries Beyond! .

In 2007, McDuffie wrote several issues of Firestorm for DC Comics, starting in January through to its cancellation. Later that year, he became the regular writer on Fantastic Four , scripting issues #542–553 (cover-dated Dec. 2006 March 2008). [17] As well, he wrote Justice League of America vol. 2, writing virtually every issue from #13–34 (Nov. 2007 – Aug. 2009). [18] He was fired from that series following a Lying in the Gutters compilation of his frank answers to fans about the creative process. [19]

He married comic book and animation-TV writer Charlotte Fullerton in 2009. [10]

McDuffie wrote Milestone Forever for DC Comics, a two-issue, squarebound miniseries chronicling the final adventures of his Milestone characters before a catastrophic event that fuses their continuity with the continuity of the DC Universe.


On February 21, 2011, one day after his 49th birthday, McDuffie died at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California of complications from emergency heart surgery. [20]


The 2012 film Justice League: Doom was dedicated to the memory of Dwayne McDuffie, and the Blu-ray and 2-Disc DVD editions of the film included the documentary, A Legion of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story. That same year, a diner named "McDuffie's" was depicted in the Green Lantern: The Animated Series episode "The New Guy".

In 2012, the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Damage" was dedicated in memory of Dwayne McDuffie. In the episode, a new character named "Mac" was introduced as the CEO of the Damage Control, the fictional company created by McDuffie.

Also in 2012, the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien final episode "The Ultimate Enemy: Part 2", the crew of the series dedicated the episode in his memory in the credits. The same tribute appeared in the racing video game based on the series, Ben 10: Galactic Racing .

In the 2011 Static Shock comics series, Virgil Hawkins' new high school is named after McDuffie.

In 2015, the Long Beach Comic Expo gave out the first Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics. [21] It has since become an annual event for the expo. [22] [23]

The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids' Comics is given out each year at the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival.

In 2019, the DC Comics character Naomi’s last name was revealed to be McDuffie.

Awards and nominations





Regular writer

Fill-in writer


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Icon (character)

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Static (DC Comics) DC Comics character

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Milestone Media is a company best known for creating Milestone Comics, which were published and distributed by DC Comics and the Static Shock cartoon series. It was founded in 1993 by a coalition of African-American artists and writers, consisting of Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle. The founders observed that minorities were severely underrepresented in American comics and wished to address this.

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"Worlds Collide" is an intercompany crossover event presented in July 1994 in the Milestone Comics titles and the Superman-related titles published by DC Comics. A one-shot comic title of the same name was written by Dwayne McDuffie, Ivan Velez Jr. and Robert Washington.

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Preceded by
Danny Fingeroth
Iron Man writer
Succeeded by
John Byrne
Preceded by
Deathlok writer
Succeeded by
Gregory Wright
Preceded by
Blood Syndicate writer/editor
1993 (writer)
Succeeded by
Ivan Velez Jr. (writer)
Matt Wayne (editor)
Preceded by
Hardware writer/editor
1993–1994 (writer)
1993 (editor)
Succeeded by
Adam Blaustein (writer)
Matt Wayne (editor)
Preceded by
Icon writer
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Static writer/editor
1993 (writer)
Succeeded by
Robert L. Washington III (writer)
Jacqueline Ching (editor)
Preceded by
Shadow Cabinet writer/editor
(with Robert L. Washington III) (writer)
Succeeded by
Robert L. Washington III (writer)
None (editor)
Preceded by
Xombi writer/editor
1994 (writer)
Succeeded by
John Rozum (writer)
Jacqueline Ching (editor)
Preceded by
Adam Blaustein & Yves Fezzani
Hardware writer
Succeeded by
John Rozum
Preceded by
Brian Augustyn
X-O Manowar (vol 2) writer
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mark D. Bright (writer)
Matt Wayne (editor)
(in 1997)
Static Shock! Rebirth of the Cool writer/editor
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mike Baron
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight writer
Succeeded by
John Ostrander
Preceded by
John Arcudi
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight writer
Succeeded by
Tom Peyer
Preceded by
Stuart Moore
Firestorm writer
Succeeded by
Preceded by
J. Michael Straczynski
Fantastic Four writer
Succeeded by
Mark Millar
Preceded by
Brad Meltzer
Justice League of America writer
Succeeded by
Len Wein