Friday, February 3, 2012

Black History Month Day 3: A Milestone.

Dwayne McDuffie (Feb. 20 1962- Feb. 21 2011)
  I was pretty upset last year when Dwayne McDuffie died. A part of it being that Static has to be my favorite character from any medium. However what hit me the hardest had to be the fact that literally minutes before the news broke of his death I had just finished watching All Star Superman and I didn't have the most positive of words for it. (That's an understatement.) But Justice League: Doom- his final work is coming out on the 28th and it looks pretty good. (You're such a nerd KJ.) I know right. Anyway if you have no idea what I'm talking about; allow me introduce you to the late Dwayne McDuffie. 
 Dwayne McDuffie was a comic-book and television writer who in 1989, was an editor at Marvel Comics. While at the company he jokingly pitched a series concept entitled "Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers"(That's just an urban legend right?) Actually no, you see the proposal poked fun at the fact that most comics aimed at "Urban Youth" during that time period involved colored people who rode skateboards, spoke in slang and relied on White characters to, for lack of a better phrase, "keep them in line". After his brief tenure at Marvel he became a freelance writer working on a long list of comics for DC, Marvel and Harvey comics. In 1993, feeling that minorities were underrepresented in mainstream comics, McDuffie along with a number of other Black writers and artists created Milestone Media which has been described as "the greatest minority owned and operated comic-book company of that time". It gave us the likes of Icon, Blood Syndicate, and of course Static. Unfortunately in 1997, Milestone Media ended it's comic division and today is primarily involved in licensing. Since 2008 the Milestone characters have been a part of the DC Universe and you can still find some of the older comics around the interwebs.  He later went on to television, writing for The Emmy Nominated Static Shock, Teen Titans, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and Ben 10: Alien Force. He's also worked on a number of Direct to Video DC films my favorite being Justice League a Crisis on Two Earths so go ahead and check that out. I highly recommend it. 
 I've been a fan of his for just about as long as I've been into comics and superheroes. What I loved most about this guy's work had to be the fact that unlike a lot of comic or T.V writers, even some of the more famous ones, he really showed the diversity we human beings have that transcends our skin tone. There's more than just two types of Black people (Gangsta and Comic relief). All gays aren't flamboyant promiscuous creatures and women are more than just things you have sex with. He said it best: 
"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 had to present a view of the world that's wider than the world we've seen before."
 Well I have a headache, I think I'm going to watch some Justice League or something. Catch you later. 

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