I read yesterday afternoon that Dwayne McDuffie had passed. What a terrible loss for the comic community.
I have always admired McDuffie's work. It is clear he had a passion for comics, a complete respect for the characters and their universes. And he used comics and animation as a forum for social commentary. For me, one of the best examples of his work was the Justice League Unlimited animated series where he was a writer/producer for the bulk of the show.
Season one really ran the gamut and showed McDuffie's range. First and foremost, the Cadmus/Luthor/Brainiac storyline that runs through the show is just fantastic. It treated these characters with intelligence, creating a complex story through which three-dimensional heroes navigated.
We got to meet many of the more obscure members of the DCU for the first time on the small screen. It is one thing to see the big seven. It is another to see The Question, Huntress, Stars and STRIPES, B'Wana Beast, and Hawk and Dove. And some of these minor characters end up stealing the show. I think most people will agree that The Question is one of the most memorable characters of the show. But all the characters seem well rounded, with personality quirks, making them believable and likeable.
Of course, Supergirl is showcased throughout the show and really made out to be the hero. I wish I had the opportunity to have met McDuffie at some point because I would have thanked him for how he portrayed Kara on the show.
But there was also a sense of whimsy in the show, an understanding that these were stories of men and women in spandex fighting. I mean, who thought they would ever see Batman singing 'Am I Blue?' and yet that moment was sublime.
I especially liked the interviews I saw with him where it was apparent that he was as much a fan as he was a creator. I want my comic writers and artists to care about the characters the way I do. It was clear the McDuffie did.
I had high hopes when McDuffie was named as the writer on the JLA comic, only to have his run sort of strangled by the ongoing 'events' happening around the title. Still, he handled the situation in a dignified manner.
Now he is gone.
My condolences to his family and friends. The comic community has suffered a great loss.