Remembering Dwayne McDuffie
The heart is always heavy when you’ve lost a loved one. And Dwayne McDuffie was loved by many. I began my pursuit of a career in comics shortly after I graduated from art school in the late eighties. Confident in my artistic abilities, a few years later I attended a comic book convention at the Jacob Javits center in New York. Any pro will tell you that the Javits shows of the early nineties were definitely the place to be. This was also the time that Milestone Media made its debut. I had first read about them in Black Enterprise magazine. I loved all of their books and knew in my mind, that if I was going to work with a publisher in this business…it had to be Milestone. After being completely overwhelmed by all the long portfolio review lines and overall chaotic nature of the convention scene back then, I was ready to go home without a single connection or a job. As I made my way toward the exit I saw Dwayne. He was all by himself with nobody around him, just hanging out. I immediately said to myself…”That’s Dwayne McDuffie! Go introduce yourself and show him your work! This could be your big chance!” So I did. Without a moment’s hesitation he looked through every page of my portfolio. I received some of the best advice and criticism of my career that day. When I was a kid I attended comic book conventions with my friends. I’ve met professional artists before, but Dwayne was the first professional African American comic book creator that I met. He was also the most humble. Unfortunately I never got my chance to work for Milestone back then. So when DC comics called and asked if I would be interested in working on the highly anticipated Milestone Forever project, I naturally said yes. I was finally able to realize a personal goal, by being given the opportunity to be recognized in the same light as the original creators from a company I wanted to work for at the beginning of my career. A proud moment indeed.
I can’t believe you are gone my brother. You had more work to do. More people to empower and inspire. And, probably above all else, so many more stories to tell. We will miss you dearly.
This is a revisit on a drawing of Hardware that I originally drew back in 1993. I call it “My Homage to Dwayne.” This was one of the pieces I had in my portfolio when I met him for the first time. I intentionally did not want to change much on it. Just slicked it up a bit. And before all you purists start attacking me for costume accuracy, please note that this was MY interpretation of Hardware from 1993…aiight!