… we are not lost upon the idea that this character’s beginnings ARE questionable. Yet, no one ever really called Marvel out on it. McDuffie did it with style in Icon #13.
I miss Dwayne McDuffie. I just did not know it until I went into one of my DC long boxes and pulled out several issues of Justice League that Mr. McDuffie wrote on. As I made my way through a decent amount of books including a Milestone DC crossover, I was captured by the story and my thirst to read more was barely satisfied. Why? I was just enjoying a pastime hobby. I was able teleport my mind into this world and take a seat. I was not invited and then suddenly rushed out of the room. I was not only invited, but I was encouraged to stay for a spell. I caught a glimpse of Dr John Henry Irons working alongside Batman. I got a chance to observe Vixen share a moment of transparency with her former love Bronze Tiger. I bugged out on Superman and Icon putting on a show for everyone just so their comrades wouldn’t know that they are secretly working together. It felt right but for whatever reason their respective groups probably detest them if they dared to be “friends”. I even saw Anansi spinning a web for good measure.
McDuffie’s writing in comics has always been fun to read. His writing on the original Static book is very funny. It was that book that made me nearly puke over the reboot. Cats were explaining to me that this was a new day. New day meaning new way. My stubborn behind was like, “no way”. Virgil Hawkins is supposed to funny, lighthearted and quick with the wit. While I cannot be mad at the new approach to Static as a character, I remain a fierce advocate for the original writing and source material. Dwayne McDuffie did not just start telling jokes in Static. The creation of Damage Control by McDuffie is hilarious. Who would be so bold as to send Dr. Doom a bill for damages? His writing is the stuff of nerdiness. It was wonderful that in the latest Spiderman movie, he was credited for his creation which was used in the movie. Its one of those full circle moments because the first issue of Damage Control features Spiderman on the cover.
While McDuffie’s writing was cut with a heavy dose of humor, he could be very serious. The Deathlok run he wrote was fantastic. He was able to detail the struggle of Micheal Collins, who is a Deathlok, a killing machine with a conscious. McDuffie tackles heavy issues like identity or drawing parallels from W.E.B. DuBois. McDuffie also utilized many characters in the Marvel universe in this particular run. Black Panther, Misty Knight, Punisher, Ghost Rider and even Moses Magnum make appearances in the run. McDuffie’s writing makes you think, whether you are laughing or in a somber mood.
When I think about writing, I think about what the writer is trying to communicate. Some writers can over think things and some can even be too simple. Dwayne’s writing in short was balanced. When he wrote the character Buck Wild which was a spoof of Luke Cage, his message was clear. He wanted Marvel to know that he “saw” them. While we all know and love Luke Cage, we are not lost upon the idea that this character’s beginnings are questionable. Yet, no one ever really called Marvel out on it. McDuffie did it with style in Icon #13. It was these little things he did and more that only added to his legend. He was an educator. He was an artist. He was a genius. In a few days on February 21st, our brother will have been gone 11 years. Funny thing is I have not seen any Black History tributes or nothing on Dwayne McDuffie. While a lot of blerds and geeks are bugging on cover art for Black History Month, I do not know if anyone is aware that Dwayne McDuffie is Black History. For those of us who love reading comic books that have faces that look like you and me, we owe debt of gratitude to the one of the GOATS. People love drawings and coloring in comics but for me, I am a story guy. I just wish my man was here to tell me another story. -Richard J Wright
NOTE: Richard J Wright’s complete blog listing can be found at blackwardslivingincomics.blogspot.com