The Outhouse remembers Dwayne McDuffie and his work in the comic and animation industries.
Dwayne McDuffie passed away today. Those words are still sinking into my head. To me, Mr. McDuffie will be best remembered for his large body of work in animation. From Static Shock to Justice League Unlimited to Ben 10, Mr. McDuffie was responsible for bringing countless children and adults innovative and fleshed out characters in fun, adventurous and surprisingly deep stories.
Static Shock was a favorite of mine in grade school. It was a shockingly deep cartoon that dealt with real world issues and actually gave deep characterization beyond the typical Saturday morning fluff that populated the airwaves at the time. Sure, it had its visual gags and bad guys of the week, but it also had continuity and subplot and likable heroes that showcased diversity without being preachy or forced. Virgil Hawkins was a good kid trying to do good in a three-dimensional world filled with violence and suffering, providing the world with a great role model.
In my mind, his work on the Justice League cartoon had as big of an impact as any widely acclaimed comic series in the last fifteen years. Dwayne McDuffie was the man who brought the DC Universe to television. While Batman and Superman had been putzing around on television for years (and occasionally featured guest stars in forgettable one-shot episodes), Dwayne McDuffie brought the entire DC Universe to the masses and made it accessible in ways that the comic book industry could only dream of. He kept superheroes in the imagination of children long after comic books had disappeared from groceries and drug stores and had risen in price beyond what the typical child could afford. While the comic book industry may not be directly enjoying the benefits of Justice League Unlimited now, I'm willing to bet that McDuffie's Justice League will help bring in a new generation to comic book readers just as many younger comic book readers credit the old X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons for their initial dip into the world of superheroics.
Of course, it would be impossible not to mention Mr. McDuffie's work in comics. From Damage Control to the Milestone Universe, Mr. McDuffie brought a bevy of unique characters and ideas into the comic book industry. My favorite work of McDuffie's was not one of his lesser-known stories, the miniseries Beyond. You see, my first brush with single issues was a miniseries featuring the new character Gravity. McDuffie brought Gravity along on an intergalactic adventure that not only showcased the strengths of Gravity's characters, but also foreshadowed all the wonderful things he would do with Gravity in his Fantastic Four run. Dwayne McDuffie always had a knack of finding the strengths of any character and showcasing them.
Mr. McDuffie's newest work, the animated adaptation All-Star Superman, hits stores today. It's sadly interesting that Mr. McDuffie's final script was about the passing of a legend and the impact he leaves on the world before his passing. Dwayne McDuffie was a master storyteller and will be remembered as a legend in both the animated and comic book fields.
The Outhouse staff and members pass along their thoughts, prayers and condolences to his family in their time of mourning.
Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer