1176325_10151847646271612_1397689469_nI think that we are most touched by a culture or a civilization or even a person by what they contribute to the arts. While there is a rapidly shrinking number of people that don’t consider comic books and cartoons to be “art,” I do. So, today’s entry is kind of personal for me, because the man pictured here is Dwayne McDuffie and he was a hero of mine. Dwayne passed away in 2011 at the age of 49 and all the stories he could have written passed with him. In an industry where African Americans were the smallest of minorities, McDuffie was a giant.

Right now I am speaking to the nerds and geeks. You may not know the name Dwayne McDuffie, but trust me, you know him. While Dwayne made huge contributions to comics, he will always be remembered for a little TV series he wrote and produced — it was called “Justice League” (and later “Justice League Unlimited.”) JLU changed cartoons. It had continuity, story arcs, and told human stories. It made you laugh and cry and cheer. It was acclaimed by critics and fans alike and it was the stepping stone that took us from the defunct “Batman the Animated Series” to a never ending stream of quality animation starring the heroes of the DC Universe. It made superheroes cool. This is where it started. Thank you Dwayne.

Prior to that, in 1993, Dwayne and some friends created Milestone Media and (in cooperation with DC Comics) created the world of Dakota City and populated it heroes and villains that looked like America. They were Black, White, Asian, Latino, and Native American. One character from this world he created got a TV series — his name was Static. Yeah, THAT Static (from “Static Shock.”)

During his career Dwayne wrote and edited and created for every big company in the business. His name was a byword for quality and brilliance. He gained a nickname among fans and creators — they called him “The Great McDuffie” — because he damned sure was.

We miss you Dwayne.

Read more about him here: http://comicsalliance.com/dwayne-mcduffie-career/

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