Today is the first anniversary of the death of comic creator Dwayne McDuffie. If I have to point to a single moment that saddened me about comics in the last year (and there has been a lot) losing Dwayne hurt the most.
McDuffie, through his creation of Milestone comics and titles and his work on DC animated programming such as Justice League Unlimited and Static Shock, presented a different and much needed world of superheroes where white wasn’t the default and superheroes of all races existed.
While comics still has much to do reach the level of diversity that Dwayne was able to achieve in animation (and briefly in his run on Justice League of America), there have been some bright points around race in comics over the last year.
Certainly the arrival of Miles Morales at Marvel has been the most promising and exciting development. While DC Comics didn’t have quite the big moment that Marvel did with Miles, they clearly made an effort around the new 52 to expand the diversity of their comics. Sadly with three of the titles starring men of color canceled due to low sales its clear that more needs to be done to market these books beyond the “traditional fan base.” As many have noted, when Static Shock was on TV, he was watch by millions of kids. But his comic (which clearly had some issues) sold about 20,000 copies.
The role of women of color in the new 52 has been a more frustrating story. There is still only one book headlined by a women of color, Voodoo. Still there is now diversity in more of the team books. Birds of Prey now has Katana. Vixen is in (though underused) in Justice League International, and Element Woman/Emily Sung is due to join Justice League. I predict we’ll see another women of color on a team book very soon.
While the steps that DC have made are promising, I worry that without the consistent oversite and vision of someone like Dwayne that these steps will be just that - baby steps rather than a consistent effort and push. His passing has left a very important void that I fear may never be filled.
As the parent of a multiracial family I appreciate everything Dwayne did for comics. As I said one year ago today:
His vision, his work, his belief that EVERYONE deserves to have a superhero like them, shouldn’t be forgotten. Must not be forgotten.
Let’s not forget.
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- reginaldanderson said: Dwayne McDuffie: Man, Legend, Never be forgotten…
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