It’s funny to think as I write this that I scoffed at bringing my Justice League DVDs down from my parents’ place over the weekend. Maybe scoffed is a hard word, but essentially when I was over-packing my stuff I said to my girlfriend as she was standing next to me, “I’ll just get them next weekend.” I think that oversight alone sums up how we view individuals in the comic book world. Where Mr. McDuffie was concerned, and now that I think of it, he was responsible for many of my favourite cartoons from that Justice League series, notably because I’m a biased Green Lantern fan and appreciated the extra attention John Stewart was getting. It obviously doesn’t end there though.
Personally, I feel like he was hit and miss. The comics he wrote that I read were underwhelming, most recently his mediocre JLA run. I recall enjoying his Firestorm arc several years ago, but beyond that nothing sticks out to me. No, Dwayne’s greatest contributions rested in the adaptation of our favourite DC comics superheroes and stories into a visual medium, writing great, if not excellent character driven stories regardless of whether we’re talking about Justice League, JLU, Crisis on Two Earths, or arguably the definitive Superman story of our time, Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman. You may not be the biggest fan of series like Teen Titans, Ben 10, or Static Shock, and he certainly left himself open to criticism; but to underestimate his worth to the medium from an alternate perspective is unfair. His talent was to tell stories featuring the characters we love for a visual format, and he did it very well.
I think we overlook the brilliant contributions people within the comic book medium like Dwayne make all too often. Just think of your favourite creator at the moment and imagine if they were to unceremoniously pass away tomorrow morning. When was the last time you read any of their work? Your favourite stories they were responsible for? I’ve watched a fair bit of his work, and I can recall handfuls of Justice League episodes he wrote that I’ve watched again and again, simply because they were good stories and I enjoyed them. I thank him for that.
R.I.P. Dwayne McDuffie
Until next time,
Over and out.