A Dwayne McDuffie memory

Dwayne McDuffie

Dwayne McDuffie

I was already a fan of Dwayne McDuffie’s writing for comics and animation when he attended the convention I helped start, CONvergence, as a Guest of Honor in 2009. I got to interview Dwayne for a panel, escort him on a tour of the convention parties, and spend some good time with him over the weekend. It wasn’t until the weekend was over that I showed him some of my own comic art, which included art from The Batman Strikes, the series I had been drawing at the time. He said some complimentary things as he flipped through the binder of art, and then upon getting to a page with a streamlined silhouette of Batman said “Yeah, you GET IT.” That made my weekend.

If I’d been a fan before of Dwayne’s work, that weekend made me a fan of Dwayne. His warmth, humor and generosity really blew me away, so I was glad to have played a role in creating a warm welcome for him.

First of all, I had done the badge art you see above. I do custom badge art for all of CONvergence’s guests. Dwayne’s badge featured a face to face meeting of the comic book and animation versions of Dwayne’s signature¬†Static character.

I also play a role in crafting what goes on at the convention’s opening and closing ceremonies. In researching Dwayne to plan for his time at CONvergence, I came across this “ProFile” of Assistant Editor Dwayne McDuffie from a 1988 Bullpen Bulletin page from Marvel Comics.

Dwayne McDuffie - ProFile

Dwayne McDuffie – ProFile

In the questionnaire, Dwayne said “The reason I got into comics” was “So I could hit Wolverine in the face with a pie.” This was too good to pass up.

At Closing Ceremony when Dwayne was brought up on stage to say goodbye to the convention, we brought up this ProFile and this quote, and told Dwayne that CONvergence was the place where dreams come true…

Ready... aim...

Ready… aim…

I would have preferred a volunteer Wolverine cosplayer, but you work with what you’ve got, so I brought out a color marker drawing of Wolverine I’d done on foam core board and Dwayne was given a cream pie to use as ammunition. I was half-expecting that the pie was going to hit me rather than the 2-dimensional mutant, but Dwayne took careful aim at Logan and nailed him square in the puss.

SPLAT!!!

SPLAT!!!

After that, Dwayne left the stage and as I went backstage with the remains of the comedy bit, I heard our next Guest of Honor horror author Brian Keene say “That’s funny. I got into writing so I could hit Chris Jones in the face with a pie.” Before I finished laughing, another pie had been readied and was being delivered to Brian and I dutifully marched back out on stage for the sake of comedy. But that’s another story.

I still have that rather smeared Wolverine drawing. I also have the copy of Dwayne’s script for the Justice League episode “Epilog” that Dwayne had donated to our charity auction, which features an original Bruce Timm Batman sketch on the cover page!

I’m happy to have those treasures but I’d rather still have Dwayne around. I miss you, Dwayne!