in remembrance of Dwayne McDuffie

Last night, I met my friend Amy Berg (who created Cha0s on Leverage, and brought me into Eureka as Dr. Parrish) down in Hollywood for dinner. Traffic was horrible (surprise) so she'd been waiting almost 20 minutes when I finally walked into the restaurant. 

While I scanned the crowd to find her, a familiar voice broke through the cacaphony of diners and 90s rock that filled the room. "They'll let anyone in here, I guess."

I turned toward the voice, and saw my friend Yuri with his wife Tara and one of their friends. As it turned out, Amy had chosen a table that was right next to theirs, and though she knew Yuri via Twitter, didn't realize that she had been sitting next the The Amazing Yuri Lowenthal, Close Personal Friend of Me Wil Wheaton. We all talked for a few minutes, and then sort of retreated to our own tables and conversations, separated as they were by just a few feet.

Shortly after we finished eating, the restaurant kicked us all out to make way for a private karaoke party, so we walked next door to this cantina for a beer.

While we waited for our drinks to arrive, we talked about writers and writing. Just as our drinks were put down, Yuri said, "Speaking of great writers and great writing, I'd like to toast to Dwayne McDuffie."

We held our glasses up and were silent for a moment. "To Dwayne," I said. We clinked glasses, took a sip, and set them down.

"That was a good call, Yuri," I said, and took a couple of deep breaths so I wouldn't dilute my beer with tears.

For those who don't know, Dwayne McDuffie died suddenly this week, from what I understand were complications following emergency heart surgery. Many people who know of Dwayne's work knew him as a truly outstanding comic creator whose legacy is felt throughout the comic industry by creators and readers alike.

I knew Dwayne because I worked with him on Teen Titans around 2003. Recently, I'd worked for Dwayne and Titans creator Glenn Murakami on Ben Ten: Alien Force. I didn't know him as well as I wanted to, because the nature of animation puts a thick pane of soundproof glass between the actors and writers and producers, and the nature of television leaves little time for hanging out once the work is actually done. 

What precious little time I did spend with him, though, was awesome. Dwayne was kind, he was supportive, he was incredibly creative, and he genuinely loved what he did. He loved to talk about comics with me, frequently asked me what I was reading, and if I could suggest anything for him to pick up. He always took a moment or two to thank me for coming in to play Aqualad or DarkStar, and whenever I left the studio he told me, "I'll see you next time," because he was always looking for ways to bring me back into his shows.

Dwayne was Good People, and everyone who worked with him loved him. When I found out — via Twitter, no less — that he had died, I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach and submerged in ice water. It's been three days, now, since I heard, and I still have a knot in my stomach that doesn't seem all that interested in going anywhere very soon.

I'm having a hard time fully accepting that I'm not going to see Dwayne next time, so maybe you'll join me in a moment of silence and rememberance for a truly great person, who gave the world many wonderful things.

Here's to you, Dwayne. Thank you for everything.

17 thoughts on “in remembrance of Dwayne McDuffie”

  1. Tuesday night I popped in a Justice League Unlimited DVD to appreciate his work and was struck by a short exchange between Warhawk and Green Lantern.
    Warhawk: What are you supposed to do when you have the weight of the world on your shoulders?
    Green Lantern: Plant your feet.
    Such a great bit of writing, one of many Dwayne McDuffie gave us, and I’m sad there won’t be any more. My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

  2. I was very saddened to hear the news as we were supposed to interview Dwayne at Golden Apple last night for the podcast. It was still great going to the event and hearing Dwayne’s close friends share their memories of him. He leaves a wonderful legacy of work behind, including the amazing All Star Superman that was released this week. He will definitely be missed. Nice tribute, Wil.

  3. I still can’t quite believe he’s gone. Justice League is my favorite animated series, and watching the behind the scenes features on the DVDs, Dwayne comes across as a really nice, really enthusiastic, really thoughtful guy. What you’ve written here confirms all of that.
    Thank you, Wil.

  4. Thank you very, very much for posting that. I’m ashamed that I forgot your involvement with Titans…but I’m deeply touched by your memories of someone I’ve admired for a long time. Always good to hear that someone’s as good a guy as you’ve imagined them to be in your head.
    Thanks again. Pick up “All Star Superman” yet?

  5. it is always difficult to deal with death of someone you care about, at times it can be frustrating and depressing, but if you could remember or think about that mind never dies, the essence does not die and that you never really separate ever because mind is not separate and we are all connected, then it is easier to deal with.
    You writing good things about him is positive energy that helps him on his way. We are all connected through our foundation which is deep within our mind and this foundation is indestructable. Our bodies are temporary and our conscience is fleeting too, but the essence of our mind, our true self, is deathless and it is our home.
    Sorry, Wil, for my buddhist outburst here, I just felt your sincere feelings and wanted to say things that I would to a close friend

  6. I was a big fan of his work on the animated JLU series, it was not only one of my favourite animated shows but favourite tv of all time. It was startling to read of his death at such a relatively early age, it just seemed to come right out of nowhere.

  7. That is a wonderful tribute.
    I unfortunately did not know the full extent of his work, but now I have the opportunity to discover more of these amazing characters that he created.
    Thank you.

  8. I never met Dwayne in person but I was a great fan of his work.
    I just looked him up at IMDb and discovered (as I suspected) that he was the writer and/or producer of many of my “Justice League” favorite episodes. (“The Once and Future Thing: Weird Western Tales: Part 1″ in particular, but part of that is also having Ben Browder as Bat Lash.) Nor did I expect to like “Static Shock” as much as I did.
    From what I saw, he was a heck of a talent and from I see here, he was a heck of guy. He’ll be missed.

  9. Well-written, Wil. Thanks for that.
    I recall Static Shock coming on Saturday mornings and I really liked it, so much so I made a point to watch it. Yes, an adult purposely watching Saturday morning cartoons doesn’t get one too many dates, any at all really, but it was always time well spent. He was deeply talented, and you were fortunate to work with him.

  10. I’m very sorry for your loss, Wil. My thoughts to you and his family. These are such kind words you’ve written here. I’m sure he would be honored.

  11. i was totally shocked.
    first off, he was out and about pimping the release of all star superman…and from vids posted on youtube, he looked great.
    been following him since the milestone days
    great writer and an all around great guy.
    very few people in the biz who no one has a bad thing to say about
    people younger than me should not be dying.
    i kept hoping that warners would put he and timm in charge of of the projects slated for movies
    the batman animated series and jlu, were so far superior to any of the live action stuff.

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