Today in history, February 20, 1962, Dwayne Glenn McDuffie was born in Detroit, Michigan.
I would love to see a feature-length film (whether historical fiction or documentary, or both) on the McDuffie, and of course the celebrated institution he created - Milestone Media/Comics, a coalition of African American artists and writers, and comic book company owned by African Americans, striving to positively address the lack of minorities in American comics, fighting for recognition and acclaim in an industry dominated by whites, both the characters within the comics, as well as the people who create, market and sell them.
The organization has given professional opportunities to many emerging talents.
The closest we've gotten to a film on McDuffie is the feature-length documentary by scholar and University of Georgia Professor, Jonathan Gayles - previously titled Shaft or Sidney Poitier: Black Masculinity In Comic Books, and was eventually released as White Scripts And Black Supermen – Black Masculinities In American Comic Books.
Twenty years ago, Marlon Riggs produced an essential documentary critique of the images of African Americans in US television in his award-winning Color Adjustment. Now comes a documentary on representations of Black masculinity in comic books; a popular culture genre which existed before television and whose reach extends into other areas of cultural production such as movies and animated TV series. White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books analyzes the subject for the first time and looks at it over a 40 year period. In a serious, lively and humorous manner, the film examines the degree to which some of the first Black superheroes generally adhered to and were burdened by stereotypes about Black men.
We've covered both the film and the filmmaker since first hearing about the project about 4 years ago. It screened at several film festivals to much acclaim, and is now available on DVD (although only through California Newsreel. So no Netflix).
It's $24.95, and includes an extra feature titled The Black Age Of Comics. So click HERE to head over to the California Newsreel website to pick up your DVD.
Milestone comics, published through DC Comics, developed titles like: Hardware, Icon, Blood Syndicate and Static, and the Emmy Award- and Humanitas Prize-winning animated TV series that it was based on, Static Shock. McDuffie also served as a producer and story editor on the Cartoon Network's Justice League.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, McDuffie attended the University of Michigan, then received an MFA in Film from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. His most recent work before his death in 2011, was penning the script for the 2011 DC Universe animated film, All Star Superman, which is on DVD! He was survived by his wife.
Watch the trailer for White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books below: