Out of nowhere.

22Feb11

Man. Dwayne McDuffie’s gone.

I mean, I think he’s gone. But there’s this thought in the back of my mind that maybe it’s some rumor that’s blown up, he’ll show up at his computer tomorrow and go “Wait, tributes to me? What’s going on?” He’ll come in and correct it, and then we’ll all kind of kick ourselves for falling for it, but not really say it because hey-he’s not gone. Not yet.

I know that’s not the case, though. Not this late in the cycle. If he was still around, he’d have said something to correct it by now. So he’s really gone.

I never met the man, unfortunately. I didn’t even read most of the comic he wrote. But his work on the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoon really touched me. Sometimes it was just the overall quality of the show, but also the badass moments. Hell, he gave me the only version of Wonder Woman that I really enjoyed, her and that crush/flirtation with Batman that I’d never thought of, but which made a lot of sense after I first saw it.

And then I hear it was from a surgical complication, and I want to rage about hospitals and poor cleaning and super bacteria and surgical incompetence-

But no. That’s not the important thing. Dwayne McDuffie is gone, and both comics and animation are poorer for it today. No matter what work he’s done up to today, he won’t be able to do any more. That’s a sad thing. All we can do is to try and take inspiration from the quality he brought to it, and keep it up ourselves. Even if we’re not writing or drawing comics, we can try to look at them carefully, teasing out the best things and encouraging them, pushing creators to do better with positive encouragement instead of just railing against the things we don’t like. And maybe keeping a specific eye out for good minority characters, of which there aren’t that many, unfortunately.

Rest in peace, Mr. McDuffie.

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