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In Memoriam: Dwayne McDuffie

In 2009, I get a call from my mother, wanting to go to a comic book convention, in Novi Michigan, near Detroit. After brushing the the carpet fibers from my jaw, and placing it firmly back where it belongs, I looked it up online. And there found out everything one needs to know about the Motor City Comic-con, except the appearance roster. It was no big deal, I was still reeling from the prospect of going to a comic-con with my mom.

After meeting up with my mother at her Hotel, and getting settled. We went to lunch, had some laughs, and headed to the Con. It was fairly, underwhelming. There were a few notable exceptions, Doug Jones being one, and the other, Dwayne McDuffie.

I’d read everything he did at Marvel Comics (I was and still am, very much a Marvel Maven), and I am a rabid fan of his Static Shock, Milestone Media (at the time Milestone Comics), as well as his work on everything from the animated JLA, to his Ben 10 work. So, it was with a dry mouth and a sweaty palm, that I shook his hand, introduced my Mom, and croaked out my sputtering utterance of fanboy admiration. He was completely aware of my nervousness, and mused reassuringly, and then joked with me about attending a con with such a cool Mom. After stealing 15 minutes of his time, I walked away elated and giddy, because I’d just met a man whose work gave me a place to go, when sometimes as a kid, being in my world, was not a great place to be.

The next day of the Con, I made it a singular priority, to attend his panel. What the panel was, I can’t accurately recall, but it was 30 minutes of Q&A, with a man so knowledgeable about his art-form and his craft, and so very much in love with the medium in which he works, that asking inane, and often, silly questions, just to hear his point of view, was well worth the embarrassment of asking the same question twice.

There is no way I knew him as well as his colleagues, and now, never having a chance to work with him, I will hold onto the coolest moment, thus far, in my burgeoning comics career. The time I met Dwayne McDuffie, and he turned out to be a class act.