Milestones (R.I.P. Dwayne McDuffie)

It’s the morning of February 22, 2011, and volume one of The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury is completely finished and now in the hands of Archaia…

And with that I now end my self-imposed internet exile that probably no one but me was ever really aware of.

For the last few months, my number one goal has been to see the first volume of Miranda Mercury finished and out in time for this year’s upcoming con season. More on actual release dates and such when the details get firmed up, but I told myself that I couldn’t write anymore about other people’s comics until I can say that I’ve actually finished my own. And that’s finally been done at long, long last. The files have been turned in and I’m assuming the actual pre-press work is imminent, so sometime in the next few months (fingers crossed) the hardcover will be available for purchase.

Strange feeling right now as I write this, but I could just be a little sleepy and dazed from staying up almost all night working on lettering corrections for the final four stories in the hardcover with letterer and production man Matty Ryan. Definitely one of those days where I’m in absolute awe at how connected and (sometimes) efficient we can be because of technology. Cause while he’s in Atlanta knocking down a list of edits and sending them to me, I’m sitting in my darkened living room in Chicago watching TV on mute so I won’t wake the wife and the dogs sleeping in the back bedroom. And we’re connected by gchat the entire time so that we can just fire questions to each other without having to wait for a response. After hours of this, I got to head to bed with the strangest thought—the first volume of Miranda Mercury is done. Really done after all this time. Imagine that.

And right here as I was writing this next section came the news that acclaimed writer and creator Dwayne McDuffie suddenly passed away.

We met a couple times in person over the years and traded a few e-mails about a variety of comic related things, and he was always a kind and extremely candid resource to me about the additional challenges that came with being a black writer trying to make it in the comics industry. He was enormously supportive and I’ll always remember him remarking that he and I were the only black writers to ever script Fantastic Four stories, and more than that, him saying it like the two of us belonged to this small exclusive club within another small exclusive club meant a lot to me. To think that Dwayne McDuffie and I had something so important in common was a tremendous inspiration both now and then. But especially now.

His career in both comics and animation is really one I’ve always aspired to have—one where he’d earned the opportunity to write some of the most established characters in comics, while also creating a number of strong, endearing black characters that inspired the next wave of minority creators and comics. He was one of the fellow creators that I was very excited about giving a copy of the Miranda Mercury hardcover when it released. Just last week I had this random thought about the prospect of there being a Miranda Mercury animated series one day, and how if that was ever the case, I would demand that Dwayne McDuffie be named the lead writer/executive producer on it. And over the weekend when I saw his number in my new phone when making sure all my contacts got transferred over, I thought about all the positive buzz surrounding his animated adaptation of All-Star Superman and how I was confident it was well deserved. That if anyone could successfully adapt one of the most relevant Superman stories of the last decade, it was Dwayne McDuffie.

Just an absolute shame and a real loss to the worlds of comics, animation, and those that shared his views on how important it was to include and accurately represent all peoples in stories of heroism, love, sacrifice, and justice.

My deepest condolences to his family and friends, and I only hope that I can have even half the impact on comics and popular media as he did. I’ll work harder and push myself further because his example and his memory demands no less.

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3 Comments

Filed under Ambidextrous

3 responses to “Milestones (R.I.P. Dwayne McDuffie)

  1. Markisan

    Congrats is in order for finishing Miranda Mercury, B. Looking forward to reading it. But more importantly, thank you for such a moving tribute to Dwayne McDuffie. He will be missed.

    -Markisan

  2. DMcD was a truly underrated writer, and an inspiration.

    I’d try to say more, but you’ve really said it all far more than I could.

    He will be remembered by many.

  3. Excellent post. A staggering loss.

    BTW, we’ve missed you.

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