Dwayne McDuffie
McDuffie seated at a drawing table
McDuffie in the late 1980s or early 1990s
BornDwayne Glenn McDuffie
(1962-02-20)February 20, 1962[1]
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedFebruary 21, 2011(2011-02-21) (aged 49)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Area(s)Writer, producer, editor
Notable works
Comics: Milestone Media, Static
TV: Static Shock, Damage Control, Justice League Unlimited, Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, All-Star Superman
Patricia D. Younger
(div. 1991)
(m. 2009)
RelativesKeegan-Michael Key

Dwayne Glenn McDuffie (February 20, 1962 – February 21, 2011) was an American writer of comic books and television, known for producing and writing the animated series Static Shock, Damage Control, Justice League Unlimited and Ben 10, and co-founding the pioneering minority-owned-and-operated comic book company Milestone Media, which focused on underrepresented minorities in American comics.

McDuffie earned three Eisner Award nominations for his work in comics.[2]

Early life and education

McDuffie was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Leroy McDuffie[3] and Edna (Hawkins) McDuffie Gardner. He attended and graduated from the Roeper School, a school for gifted children in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1980.[4] Of African-American characters in comics, he later said:

"You only had two types of characters available for children. You had the stupid angry brute and the he's-smart-but-he's-black characters. And they were all colored either this Hershey-bar shade of brown, a sickly looking gray or purple. I've never seen anyone that's gray or purple before in my life. There was no diversity and almost no accuracy among the characters of color at all."[5]

In 1983, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan, followed by a master's degree in physics.[6] He then moved to New York to attend film school at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. While McDuffie was working as a copy editor at the business magazine Investment Dealers' Digest, a friend got him an interview for an assistant editor position at Marvel Comics.[citation needed] Posthumously, comedian Keegan-Michael Key discovered he was Dwayne McDuffie's biological half-brother, by their father.[7][8]


Marvel and Milestone

Going on staff at Marvel as editor Bob Budiansky's assistant on special projects,[9] McDuffie helped develop the company's first superhero trading cards.[10] He also scripted stories for Marvel. His first major work was Damage Control, a miniseries about the company that shows up between issues and tidies up the mess left by the latest round of superhero/supervillain battles.

After becoming an editor at Marvel, McDuffie submitted a spoof proposal for a comic entitled Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers in response to Marvel's treatment of its black characters.[11] Becoming a freelancer in 1990, McDuffie wrote for dozens of various comics titles for Marvel, DC Comics, and Archie Comics. In addition, he wrote Monster in My Pocket for Harvey Comics editor Sid Jacobson, whom he cites on his website as having taught him everything he knows.[12] In early 1991, he divorced his first wife, Patricia D. Younger, in Seminole County, Florida.[13]

In the early 1990s, wanting to express a multicultural sensibility that he felt was missing in comic books, McDuffie and three partners founded Milestone Media, which The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio, described in 2000 as "the industry's most successful minority-owned-and operated comic company."[10] McDuffie explained:

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 knew we had to present a range of characters within each ethnic group, which means that we couldn't do just one book. We had to do a series of books and we had to present a view of the world that's wider than the world we've seen before.[14]

Milestone, whose characters include the African-American Static, Icon, and Hardware; the Asian-American Xombi, and the multi-ethnic superhero group the Blood Syndicate, which include Black, Asian and Latino men and women, debuted its titles in 1993 through a distribution deal with DC Comics.[10] Serving as editor-in-chief, McDuffie created or co-created many characters, including Static.

Movies, television, and video games

After Milestone had ceased publishing new comics, Static was developed into an animated series Static Shock. McDuffie was hired to write and story-edit on the series, writing 11 episodes.[10]

His other television writing credits included Teen Titans and What's New, Scooby-Doo?.

McDuffie was hired as a staff writer for the animated series Justice League and was promoted to story editor and producer as the series became Justice League Unlimited. During the entire run of the animated series, McDuffie wrote, produced, or story-edited 69 out of the 91 episodes.

McDuffie also wrote the story for the video game Justice League Heroes.

McDuffie was hired to help revamp and story-edit Cartoon Network's popular animated Ben 10 franchise with Ben 10: Alien Force, continuing the adventures of the ten-year-old title character into his mid and late teenage years. During the run of the series, McDuffie wrote episodes 1–3, 14, 25–28, 45 and 46 and story-edited all forty-six episodes. McDuffie also produced and story edited for the second sequel series Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, which premiered April 23. 2010. He wrote episodes 1, 10, 11, 16, 30, 39 together with J. M. DeMatteis and 52.

McDuffie wrote a number of direct-to-DVD animated films featuring DC Comics characters – including Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Justice League: Doom.[15] He scripted the direct-to-DVD adaptation of All-Star Superman,[16] which was released one day after his death.[15] Justice League: Doom was released posthumously in 2012.

McDuffie's work was also seen on Ben 10: Omniverse, having shared story by credit on the first two episodes, "The More Things Change, Parts 1 and 2."

Return to comics

After his popular work in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, McDuffie returned to writing comic books. He wrote the Marvel miniseries Beyond!.

In 2007, McDuffie wrote several issues of Firestorm for DC Comics, starting in January through to its cancellation. Later that year, he became the regular writer on Fantastic Four, scripting issues #542–553 (cover-dated Dec. 2006 March 2008).[17] As well, he wrote Justice League of America vol. 2, writing virtually every issue from #13–34 (Nov. 2007 – Aug. 2009).[18] He was fired from that series following a Lying in the Gutters compilation of his frank answers to fans about the creative process.[19]

He married comic book and animation-TV writer Charlotte Fullerton in 2009.[10]

McDuffie wrote Milestone Forever for DC Comics, a two-issue, squarebound miniseries chronicling the final adventures of his Milestone characters before a catastrophic event that fuses their continuity with the continuity of the DC Universe.


On February 21, 2011, one day after his 49th birthday, McDuffie died at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, of complications from emergency heart surgery.[20]


The 2012 film Justice League: Doom was dedicated to the memory of Dwayne McDuffie, and the Blu-ray and 2-Disc DVD editions of the film included the documentary, A Legion of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story. That same year, a diner named "McDuffie's" was depicted in the Green Lantern: The Animated Series episode "The New Guy".

In 2012, the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Damage" was dedicated in memory of Dwayne McDuffie. In the episode, a new character named "Mac" was introduced as the CEO of the Damage Control, the fictional company created by McDuffie.

Also in 2012, the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien final episode "The Ultimate Enemy: Part 2", the crew of the series dedicated the episode in his memory in the credits. The same tribute appeared in the racing video game based on the series, Ben 10: Galactic Racing.

In the 2011 Static Shock comics series, Virgil Hawkins' new high school is named after McDuffie.

In 2015, the Long Beach Comic Expo gave out the first Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics.[21] It has since become an annual event for the expo.[22][23]

The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids' Comics is given out each year at the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival.

In 2019, the DC Comics character Naomi’s last name was revealed to be McDuffie.

Awards and nominations





Regular writer

Fill-in writer



  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index". FamilySearch. February 21, 2011.
  2. ^ Moore, Matt (February 23, 2011). "Dwayne McDuffie, comic and animation writer, dies at 49", USA Today
  3. ^ "Charlotte L. Fullerton and Dwayne G. McDuffie". Eagle Tribune. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  4. ^ "A Superhero Tribute of "Comic" Proportions- Dwayne McDuffie '80 | The Roeper Record". Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  5. ^ "WHOOSH! New Superheroes Liberate the Old-Boy Network". The New York Times. August 4, 1993.
  6. ^ What Dwayne McDuffie Meant To Comics And Why There's An Award In His Name, by Matt Wayne, in Playboy; published February 27, 2015; retrieved April 18, 2017
  7. ^ "YOU MADE IT WEIRD #275: KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY". Nerdist Podcast. Archived from the original on June 18, 2018. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  8. ^ "Keegan-Michael Key Has Learned That He And Dwayne McDuffie Were Half Brothers". Bleeding Cool. September 18, 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  9. ^ "Bullpen Bulletins", Marvel Comics cover-dated June 1990.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Fox, Margalit (February 23, 2011). "Dwayne McDuffie, Comic-Book Writer, Dies at 49". The New York Times. WebCitation archive. Print edition February 24, 2011, p. B12.
  11. ^ Cronin, Brian (February 18, 2008). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #138". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  12. ^ "Comic Book Scripts, DwayneMcDuffie.com". Archived from the original on March 21, 2012.
  13. ^ "Public Record: Divorce Orders", Orlando Sentinel, January 13, 1991. WebCitation archive.
  14. ^ "The Landmark of Milestone" Archived February 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, DwayneMcDuffie.com. WebCitation archive
  15. ^ a b Phegley, Kiel (February 22, 2011). "Milestone Creator Dwayne McDuffie has Died". Comic Book Resources. United States: Valnet Inc. Archived from the original on February 23, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2011. (requires scrolldown)
  16. ^ Cavna, Michael. "A Top Talent Remembered: RIP, Comics/Animation Force Dwayne McDuffie", The Washington Post, February 22, 2011. WebCitation archive.
  17. ^ "McDuffie, Dwayne" at the Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators. WebCitation archive.
  18. ^ Justice League of America (DC, 2006 series) at the Grand Comics Database
  19. ^ Parkin, J. K. (May 28, 2009). "Dwayne McDuffie Fired from Justice League". "Robot 6", Comic Book Resources. WebCitation archive.
  20. ^ McLellan, Dennis. "Dwayne McDuffie dies at 49; comic book and animation writer", Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2011. WebCitation archive.
  21. ^ "Magruder's "M.F.K." Wins First Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity". March 2, 2015.
  22. ^ "Diverse Comic Book Nominees Unveiled for McDuffie Awards". February 10, 2016.
  23. ^ "Syndicated Comics". September 16, 2016.
  24. ^ "1995 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  25. ^ a b "About Dwayne McDuffie". dwaynemcduffie.com. Archived from the original on August 23, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  26. ^ "Inkpot Awards". Comic-Con. December 6, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  27. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (November 17, 2011). "Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress to Receive WGAW Animation Writing Award". The Hollywood Reporter.
Preceded byDanny Fingeroth Iron Man writer 1989–1990 Succeeded byJohn Byrne Preceded byNone Deathlok writer 1990–1992 Succeeded byGregory Wright Preceded byNone Blood Syndicate writer/editor 1993 (writer) (editor) Succeeded byIvan Velez Jr. (writer)Matt Wayne (editor) Preceded byNone Hardware writer/editor 1993–1994 (writer)1993 (editor) Succeeded byAdam Blaustein (writer)Matt Wayne (editor) Preceded byNone Icon writer 1993–1997 Succeeded byNone Preceded byNone Static writer/editor 1993 (writer) (editor) Succeeded byRobert L. Washington III (writer)Jacqueline Ching (editor) Preceded byNone Shadow Cabinet writer/editor 1994(with Robert L. Washington III) (writer) (editor) Succeeded byRobert L. Washington III (writer)None (editor) Preceded byNone Xombi writer/editor 1994 (writer) (editor) Succeeded byJohn Rozum (writer)Jacqueline Ching (editor) Preceded byAdam Blaustein & Yves Fezzani Hardware writer 1995 Succeeded byJohn Rozum Preceded byBrian Augustyn X-O Manowar (vol 2) writer 1998 Succeeded byNone Preceded byMark D. Bright (writer)Matt Wayne (editor)(in 1997) Static Shock! Rebirth of the Cool writer/editor 2001 Succeeded byNone Preceded byMike Baron Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight writer 2002 Succeeded byJohn Ostrander Preceded byJohn Arcudi Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight writer 2003 Succeeded byTom Peyer Preceded byStuart Moore Firestorm writer 2007 Succeeded byN/A Preceded byJ. Michael Straczynski Fantastic Four writer 2007–2008 Succeeded byMark Millar Preceded byBrad Meltzer Justice League of America writer 2007–2009 Succeeded byLen Wein