When news broke of his death 2 weeks ago, I felt like I was punched in the head and the gut. Hard. I remain crushed.
As a big fan, I love the stories he crafted. Compelling plots and emotionally resonant dialogue, it's amazing what he delivered in all-ages media.
As a person of color, I deeply appreciated his work to make people of various backgrounds, who are too often ignored, disrespected, and distorted in the mass media, visible. Not only were they seen, but he and his frequent collaborators made sure to give them dimension and showed how they were much more than their race, ethnicity, sex, religion, sexual identity, or economic status. Just like people in real life are.
Dwayne's work reflected the America that I know exists. He injected just enough reality to fantastical worlds and ideas, which made them all the more believable and worthwhile to believe in.
As an aspiring creator, I'm greatly influenced by his efforts and have always made it my mission to represent for those who are too often made to be invisible and easily cast aside. I aspire to take on projects that reflect and promote the look, feel, and spirit of the everyday heroes that I encounter and read about in my life, who are usually not only white men and definitely not space aliens.
It's a social responsibility. And it's the right thing to do.
I want to help prepare a world (unlike the one where I grew up) where my nephews and future child/children can see that people who look like them can also be cool superheroes and so they, in turn, can aspire to grow up to be heroic themselves for the benefit of all.
Dwayne McDuffie did this for an entire generation of children and he inspired peers and up-and-comers alike to continue the good work.
I salute and thank you, Maestro. One of my real-life heroes.
Rest in peace.