CBR is reporting the tragic news that creator Dwayne McDuffie has died of unknown causes. In addition to co-creating the Milestone Universe and its signature character, Static, McDuffie had a long career as writer, editor and producer, story editing the popular Justice League of America cartoon and most recently writing the ALL-STAR SUPERMAN movie. As CBR reports, he was in full stride as a creator:

In recent years, McDuffie pursued dual tracks in animation and comics writing. He served as story editor for the popular “Justice League Unlimited” animated series and wrote a number of DC’s recent direct-to-DVD animated films. McDuffie had notable runs on comic series “Fantastic Four” and “Justice League of America,” often incorporating Black characters into the core of the fabled franchises.

McDuffie’s latest work was the script for the “All Star Superman” animated adaptation, which went on sale today in stores across America. CBR ran a lengthy interview with McDuffie about that project last week and caught up with him, looking in good health and acting jovial, last week at the Paley Center’s Los Angeles premier for the film. McDuffie’s last known public statement was a post to his Facebook page Sunday at 12:17 PM Pacific. He was scheduled to sign at Golden Apple Comics tomorrow evening as part of Reggie Hudlin’s Reggie’s World launch party.

I knew Dwayne on and off for nearly 20 years, and to say his loss is a shock is a pitiful understatement. He was a vibrant storyteller and savvy editor who spoke his mind — a trait that got him into trouble more often than not, but his talent was such that he could get away with it.
He operated a very active message board, at his website (currently down due to traffic) where he discussed comics, storytelling and social issues. He called people on their bullshit and constantly spoke out against the casual racism of many institutions with passion and intelligence.

Knowing we’ll never hear that voice again is heartbreaking.

My condolences to his family and friends.

UPDATE: Here’s Dwayne in action.

UPDATE 2: DC co-publisher Dan DiDio has released the following statement:

“Dwayne McDuffie left a lasting legacy on the world of comics that many writers can only aspire to. He will not only be remembered as the extremely gifted writer whose scripts have been realized as comic books, in television shows and on the silver screen, but as the creator or co-creator of so many of the much-loved Milestone characters, including Static Shock. The industry has lost a true talent.

Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and many friends he leaves behind.”

CBR is reporting the cause of death as complications from surgery last night.


  1. Dwayne was very able, very smart, and very effective. He could be kindly, and when he couldn’t be kindly, he could still be angry without being vicious. He wrote some damn fine comics (there’s some beautiful stuff in Icon in particular).
    We could’ve used a few more of him, instead of this.

  2. When I was participating regularly in the rec.arts.comics newsgroups, he’d pop in quite often to talk about the business aspects of comics. He could cool down conversations at the drop of a hat just by being able to teach us the difference between what we think it should be and what it is.

    Gobsmacking loss to the world.

  3. Horrible news and such a shock. I only met him once, but did some online chat/e-mail exchanges here and there. I can’t say I knew him that well but I’m already going to miss him. Condolences to his family and friends.

  4. Dwayne was one of the most fun people in the world with whom to have a conversation. Funny, insightful, political, self-deprecating – always a good time.

    I can’t believe this. Such a loss.

  5. RIP Dwayne McDuffie. He was one of my favorite writers and people. He was a friend. I’m in tears as I write this. My condolences to his family, his friends, and to the comics community he served so well.

  6. RIP. I read all the milestone comics when they first came out. Remember the DCU/Milestone U x-over?? Dwayne will be missed.

  7. Sad and so sudden that the news is startling. He was a mentor to me. I first talked to him just as Milestone was launched, both him and Cowan. Over the years we continued to talk at every convention when we saw each other. We didn’t do the casual head nod, we would actually cross over and talk, he often walked the con floor and he’d stop at my booth, once he even waited while I signed copies and dealt with my readers. To say he was a a good and honest man and extremely talented would be a massive understatement.

    My sympathies to his family.

  8. This is NOT the headline I was expecting to see regarding Dwayne. Not even close. I figured something about All-Star Superman, maybe a Static movie announcement, Dwayne getting named president of DC Comics or getting a promotion at Warner Bros…

    A great man, and a great writer.

  9. I can’t really wrap my mind around it. I met him once and he was one of the best guys in the biz in my opinion. Totally straight up no bullshit but ultimately nice guy. If it weren’t for that meeting I’d have quit even drawing years ago. So I really owe him more than I could possibly give.

    My sympathy for his family. He will be very missed.

  10. I didn’t really know him personally, but I feel like I’ve lost a friend. I came back to comics right around the time Milestone came out, and Dwayne McDuffie helped make sure I stuck around, by what he wrote, what he said, and what he did.

  11. DeBT, I trust you do not realize what bad taste your comment is in given the circumstances. I have removed it for your own comfort.

  12. Very shocked and very sad. I definitely remember him as being outspoken about what he had achieved.

    All my condolences go out to his family and everyone who was close to him.

  13. Sad news, and quite a loss to our community. Justice League Unlimited is one of the best interpretations of the league, and DC characters, in any media. I’m sure is was due in no small part to McDuffie’s involvement as story editor. Condolences to his family.

  14. Like so many have said, Dwayne was a great guy. I worked with him at Milestone where, without going into details, he showed me what an upstanding guy he could be. Always admired him. We stayed in touch on and off over the years. I was always happy to run into him at a con and, not long ago, have dinner with him. He was one of the really good guys of this business. I’ll miss him.

  15. He was very inspirational. As an African American small press publisher his work with his company made it seem possible that others could fallow in his footsteps.

    He really will be missed.

  16. Dwayne certainly did have a tendency to rub higher-ups the wrong way, as witnessed by the botched 2008 Milestone relaunch and Dwayne being forced into a “PR” role early on.

    Looking back at Milestone, McDuffie really struggled to provide positive African-American role models without descending into negative stereotypes, and I think ultimately he failed with characters like “Rocket, the Unwed Mother” and “Buck Wild, Mercenary Man.”

    Not that Static should have been preaching Bill Cosby-esque cultural conservatism towards black teens, but too often the message was muddled in standard superhero conventions.

  17. I’m in shock. Just horrible news, for comics, for animation and just for all of us. My condolences to his family and those who knew him.

  18. I loved the Milestone comics, and pretty much every other comic he wrote that I read. A wonderfully creative and inspiring writer. He’ll be missed.

  19. Ugh. That’s unbelievable. How can such a young and still busy as hell comic and animation creator have passed like this. I confess I feel bad recently posting that his work out today on All Star Superman might be disappointing, was thinking of getting it anyway and definitely will now as it’s sadly one of his last animated works, but not everyone bats 1000 and I was surely looking forward to whatever his next project is. It’s heart breaking we’ll never really see more of his work. I’ve followed a decent amount of his stuff and I was interested in seeing where he was going. Dammit. This is devastating seeing a bright star like him snuffed out.

  20. While I am saddened by Dwayne McDuffie’s passing does anyone else feel it is timely that it occurred during Black History month?
    I think he would crack a smile at that.

  21. I just got done watching the animated All Star Superman and thought Dwayne McDuffie’s adaptation was excellent. A great goodbye from a great talent, although I’d rather he was still here on this mortal realm.

  22. Condolences to his family and friends.

    It was neat digging out my Damage Controls and having a chance to talk to him about it at an SDCC a while back… and then realising later how that series, along with Watchmen and DKR, determined how I looked at “Super Hero”[tm] Comics afterwards.

    and then realising later how that series, along with Watchmen and DKR, determined how I looked at Superhero Comics afterwards

  23. I’m stunned. I met him for the first time at ECBACC a couple of years back. Great guy, very approachable, easy going, and funny.

    He is a trailblazer in so many ways. Milestone. Static. Justice League, the list goes on. He created a legacy that will entertain and inspire for years to come.

    My condolences to his family and friends.

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