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Monday, July 16, 2018 

Did Marvel really have a lack of diversity when Dwayne McDuffie worked for them?

The LA Sentinel wrote about the history of the late McDuffie, considered a pioneer thanks to his creation of Milestone in the 1990s. But what they say about how he was led to develop his creations is a puzzler:
Some of his early contributions to Marvel Comics included, working on trading cards and writing scripts for stories. His next big break was writing for the miniseries, “Damage Control” which led him to becoming an editor at Marvel. While working at Marvel, McDuffie took notice of the lack of diversity and racism that was present at that time at the publication. His next move made him a pioneer and trailblazer as he addressed how Black comic characters were being treated within the comic book industry.
Is this serious?!? There was no diversity as they put it, but there was racism? They had black heroes like Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Cloak [and Dagger], the 2nd Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau, Robbie Robertson, senior editor of the Daily Bugle, Glory Grant, a Bugle secretary during the Bronze/Iron Ages, and also Asian heroes like Sunfire and Colleen Wing, and they're insinuating - very ambiguously, I might add - that there was no diversity? Sounds like manufactured accusations from the Perpetually Unsatisfied who're throwing Marvel under the bus, and DC too, their introductions of Mal Duncan, Bumblebee, John Stewart, Black Lightning, Vixen, Lucius Fox and Cyborg notwithstanding. And what do they mean by racism anyway? I don't get it. Entirely unclear to me.
One of arguably his best works writing for television was DC Comics’ animated series, “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited.” He acted as staff writer for “Justice League” and was later promoted to story editor, writer and producer when the show transitioned into “Justice League Unlimited.” He was responsible for writing and producing many of the episodes during its run on Cartoon Network. McDuffie would also write for the “Justice League Heroes” video game. He later went on to work on another popular Cartoon Network series, the “Ben-10” franchise.

McDuffie later returned to writing in the comic book industry, working again with Marvel and DC Comics. He wrote for various books such as DC Comics “Firestorm” and Marvel’s “Fantastic Four“. He even witnessed the fusing of some of his Milestone characters in the DC Comics universe.
It's not mentioned per se, but for a short time in the late 2000s, he briefly scripted a volume of Justice League, and after mentioning on a forum he wasn't happy with editorial mandates he had to cope with, Dan DiDio fired him over a thoughtcrime. And the merging of the Milestone cast with the DCU proper didn't last long, save for possibly Static. In hindsight, it was honestly a big mistake to merge them, because the DCU's already been clogged with far too many properties from different companies, and it reduces their significance. Besides, it's clear they didn't know what to do with them, nor knew why they had to be there.

McDuffie was significant as a contributor to comicdom, but this article doesn't do him justice, and it lets DiDio off the hook.

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Lack of diversity means that there were too few black creators on staff. It is not a reference to the characters (although if you are putting Glory Grant, a very minor bit player, on the list, it suggests you don't have that many to choose from.)Racism refers to the corporate climate; one example that is mentioned by some is an editor who kept a Sambo figurine on his desk, or suspicious attitudes to the black creators they did have.

DC didn't want the entire Milestone universe, just Static due to his success in the Static Shock TV series. The show was so well received that the next season they retroactively made it part of the DC Animated Universe and DC wanted that character in their main universe. But at the time Milestone was a license exclusive to DC, not a DC owned property. (I think it still is actually.) They didn't care about Icon or Hardware. Just the one that would make them money and they screwed over McDuffie to get him.

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