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Business Cards

December 9th, 2013 | Posted by Eugene Son in Dwayne McDuffie Stories

A friend found one of Dwayne’s old business cards and sent the image to me. This led me to dig out a few of Dwayne’s other business cards and scan them in.

dmcduffie_businesscard_1
This was probably Dwayne’s card when he first moved to California from Florida to work for WB Animation.

dmcduffie_businesscard_2
This was Dwayne’s card through the time he was working on Static Shock and Justice League Unlimited.

dmcduffie_businesscard_3
This was Dwayne’s card when he first was at Cartoon Network developing what would become Ben 10: Alien Force. The back of his card listed his credits and work resume.

This card is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. Check out the artwork – which is very early development art for what was called at the time Ben 10: Hero Generation. You can see that many of the alien and character designs later changed.

Also, the card was noteworthy because it had a misprint. The printer had fouled up and Dwayne’s phone number on the card was wrong. I asked Dwayne about it, and he said he didn’t care. He preferred to correspond with people via e-mail. So he still gave out the misprinted cards one year at Comic Con, and reasoned most of the people calling him were people he didn’t want to have to deal with anyway.

Of course he had given ME this misprint card, too…

dmcduffie_businesscard_4
This was Dwayne’s last card. The back of his card listed his contact information, along with resume and credits.

A lot of writers I know stick with plain business cards. They don’t want to risk making cards that look cluttered and amateurish. But Dwayne came from the world of publishing, and he knew how to make a good-looking professional business card.

This seems like as good a time as any to stop blogging. Thanks for letting me share so many things Dwayne-related with you. The McDuffie family has plans for the website, so look for some new stuff here in the future. Thanks!

When Dwayne McDuffie first moved to Los Angeles, he didn’t have a car and the only comic book shop in walking distance of his apartment was Earth 2 Comics in Sherman Oaks – which was fortuitous since it’s an excellent shop.

There’s a door in the back of the store where the owner had artists and writers doodle. At some point, Dwayne was asked to draw something on the door, so he doodled this-

IMG_0475

Maybe I’m biased, but I think it’s pretty cool…

TO BE CONTINUED… was Dwayne’s weekly opinion column on the comic book industry, hosted by Psycomics.com from October 1999-February 2000.

To Be Continued #4

Poke

For you it’s almost November, or possibly even later but for me it’s still early October. In fact, as I write this, Psycomics.com has been on-line for a mere 14 hours. It’s appropriate, I suppose, that a comic-book column should operate on what we in the business call “comic-book time.” What this means, other than the fact that the events of this column all took place within the last 7 years (ten years if I’m talking about DC), is that at this point you know more about the column than I do. You’ve read three of them and you’ve had your horizons expanded. You’ve come to appriciate your new clarity of thought and purpose. You’ve accepted the truth of Dwayne McDuffie’s First Law (chant it with me, “Dwayne is Right. I agree with him.”) and suddenly, for the first time in your life, everything makes sense. By now, most of the statues are up and you’re out raising money for the churches you’re building in my name. And I appreciate it, guys.

But what I want right now, is some feedback.

Not that some of you aren’t already on the ball. In the few, short hours since the premiere of To Be Continued… I’ve received a couple dozen e-mails, from as close as my brother sitting in the living room playing with my PowerBook, and from as far away as Israel (where my step-children, Angel and Abshalom live -but the letter wasn’t from them. Do they write?). I’ve likewise received several applications for the Dwayne McDuffie Genius Grant of 5 bucks American for anyone with a workable plan to save the comic book industry (I’m still going through the early entries). Even the graft I’ve requested (free comic books from comic publishers in return for a mention in this column -e-mail me for details) has begun to trickle in. Although, I note that Marvel and DC have remained, thus far, mysteriously silent on the matter. It couldn’t be ethical standards, so what’s the hold-up? Oh, right. My attitude. Look guys, I can easily be bought, just throw in the hardcovers.

What I thought I’d do is list a bunch of my plans for future columns -pitch them to you, sort of. Then based on your feedback, I’ll make sure that the ones you most want to see will show up sooner, rather than later. So here you go, right from my notebook, in no particular order:

• A personal profile of comics legend Walter Simonson. He’s outstanding as a writer, a genius as a penciller and an unaccountably nice guy who used to come over to the Milestone offices and teach anybody who asked everything there is to know about storytelling. Then he’d tell us entire continuities of old newspaper strips.

• A day in the life of a comic book editor. What do we do all day, besides piss off your favorite creators and make them quit?

• I’ll attempt to say something new about Alan Moore, probably focusing on his America’s Best Comics line even though I’d rather talk about From Hell. Did you know he was going to co-write an Icon Annual? Oh, I guess that should go in the column.

• A discussion of the women in comics organization, Friends Of Lulu and why it is that they make some folks so nervous (but not us).

• The Melissa Joan Hart/Sabrina TV series contremps (as of this writing, the Publisher of Archie Comics wants her to be fired for appearing in some magazine photo spreads scantily clad). I briefly worked for Archie in the early 90′s when they were attempting to be more contemporary. They changed their minds pretty quickly but not before a friend of mine slipped Betty a Black boyfriend. Hilarity ensued.

• More comics on TV: Is Nightman the worst thing you’ve ever seen? Stop lying, it is too.

• A profile of Christopher “The Godfather Of Soul” Priest and his remarkable, ground-breaking carreer.

• Kid’s comics. Why don’t we make more of them? I’m going to ask Harvey and Star Comics editor Sid Jacobson and Disney Adventures-turned-Cartoon Network editor Heidi MacDonald.

• 3 embarrassing secrets I know about Marvel Comics editor Tom Breevort that can remain secrets if I get to write The Avengers (2 of them can remain secrets if I only get Iron Man, instead).

• An appreciation of the legendary Will Eisner and how I can love his stuff and still go nearly blind with rage whenever I see his drawings of The Spirit’s humorous jig-a-boo sidekick, Ebony White.

• A discussion of certain trends in comic book art, including why I’m an old fogy who prefers story-tellers to “kewl” pin-up guys. Is there middle ground?

• Jim Shooter. Valiant. Defiant. Broadway. Valiant again? Why do people say such horrible things about him? He was nice to me.

• My Semi-Annual Name-Droppers Feast, in which I serially use up several of my best anecdotes including; accidentally insulting Frank Miller; “making” John Byrne quit She Hulk; meeting my childhood idol Harlan Ellison (and thrilling to him complimenting my work, then getting really torqued at him when he “tested” me on my knowledge of Bessie Smith); and as always, more death-threats from Pat Gabrielle and Rich Buckler.

I’ve got plenty more planned but this should give you enough of a sense of what I’ve got in mind that you can start heckling it with authority. So get going, I’ll never be able to complete my plans for Total World Domination if my column isn’t up to snuff (I know that seems unlikely, but if you were really capable of understanding these sort of subtleties, you’d be the cult leader, not me). Make no mistake, the Earth will be mine.

But until then, this is To Be Continued…

Dwayne McDuffie is supposed to let you know who he is in this space and maybe tell a little joke if there’s room but he suspects Editor-In-Chief Randy Lander doesn’t read this far. At least not this week (I mean, who could?). So he’s sneaking in this link to his web site. Click it, my acolyte!

TO BE CONTINUED… was Dwayne’s weekly opinion column on the comic book industry, hosted by Psycomics.com from October 1999-February 2000.

This is one of my favorite columns that Dwayne ever wrote. His amazing blend of entertaining story-telling, mixed in with a bigger point. Read the column, and then I’ll add my post-script-

To Be Continued #3

Brought to you by…

Alan Thompkins interrupted my one-on-none backyard basketball game with some important news. “The Hulk is gonna fight Thor. It’s supposed to be out already.”

If Alan said so, it must be true. He knew more about comic books than anybody in the whole neighborhood. Even though my interest in the subject was a good deal less fanatical than Alan’s, this was definitely worth checking out. Much of our rapidly-dwindling summer vacation had been spent in heated arguments over who would emerge victorious is such a contest. I was quite certain that the incredible Hulk would have no problem waxing a little guy who wore a cape and feathers in his hat. Alan however favored Thor, citing the Asgardian’s mighty Uru hammer and mystical control over the weather as the likely decisive factors. Maybe so but then, Alan also preferred Joe Fraiser to Muhammad Ali.

In any case, the solution to our debate was suddenly at hand. Only one obstacle remained. Lindsey Drugs, the “good comic store,” was over three miles from my house and I was expressly forbidden from going there. I concocted a clever story to cover my illicit tracks, “I’m going over Alan’s, okay?”

Mom went for it.

Alan and I hopped on our bikes and made the long ride. It was 1973.

We ran into the drug store and scanned the comic racks. The Hulk vs. Thor comic was nowhere to be found. Alan consoled himself with a bag of “Gold Rush” bubble gum. I had twenty cents burning a hole in my pocket and was determined to buy a comic book. I’m very glad I did.

The comic book was JUNGLE ACTION #6. It featured a super hero I’d never heard of called the Black Panther, but then, I’d never heard of the Black Panther political party either. The irony of a black character being the lead in a book called Jungle Action escaped me completely. What didn’t escape me was the powerful sense of dignity that the characters in this book possessed. I was instantly and hopelessly hooked.

My first Black Panther comic.
Way better than gum.

The Black Panther wasn’t the first black character I’d seen in comics. Blacks had already appeared in crowd scenes and even occasionally as supporting characters (the Panther himself first appeared in THE FANTASTIC FOUR). One Black character even starred in his own book. Marvel’s LUKE CAGE, HERO FOR HIRE had been running for over a year when I first discovered JUNGLE ACTION. But I never connected with Cage, a super-strong “angry black man” who wore chains around his waist, didn’t seem particularly bright and spoke in a bizarre version of “street slang” that didn’t even remotely resemble the speech of any Black people I knew. Spider-Man made sense to me, Cage? I just couldn’t relate.

In those days, when black people in comics weren’t busy being angry, they appeared either as faithful sidekicks, or worse, as helpless victims who begged white super-heroes to rescue them (“How come you never did nothing for the Black skins, Mr. Green Lantern?” And this was actually progress). The Black Panther was nobody’s sidekick and if there was any rescuing to do, he’d take care of it himself, thank you. Moreover, the Black Panther was king of a mythical African country where black people were visible in every position in society, soldier, doctor, philosopher, street sweeper, ambassador -suddenly everything was possible. In the space of 15 pages, black people moved from invisible to inevitable.

I’ve spoken ad nauseam about the importance of multiculturalism in fiction, as in life. I’ve preached about the sense of validation a kid feels when they see their image reflected heroically in the mass media. This particular summer afternoon, reading about the dastardly (but nuanced) Eric Killmonger’s villainous plot to usurp the Black Panther’s rightful throne, is precisely when it happened to me. I realized that these stories could be about me, that I could be the hero. Years later writing in my own comic I’d describe that wonderful feeling as “the sudden possibility of flight.” Milestone Comics was, among many other things, an attempt to pass that feeling along. It’s all about gaining the high ground. From up there, you gain the perspective to allow you to see the many possibilities open to you. This issue of JUNGLE ACTION single-handedly revealed to me that there were new heights to reach, new vistas to view. It also, not incidentally, entertained the Hell out of me.

Thank you, Don McGregor.

Of course, if you’re currently a comic book fan, you probably know that BLACK PANTHER is again among the best books on the stands. In the hyper-talented hands of writer Christopher “Don’t Call Me Chris” Priest (and whoever might be drawing it this week) the BLACK PANTHER monthly is a thoughtful, contemporary take on the Lee/Kirby creation that changed my life. If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s much too good to pass up. That said, in my opinion the current run, terrific though it is, still comes in second by several lengths to writer Don McGregor’s epic JUNGLE ACTION saga, “The Panther’s Rage.”

For 13 bimonthly issues, over the course of nearly three years (yeah, I know. Let’s just say that Marvel wasn’t exactly a stickler for shipping dates, back in the seventies), aided and abetted by a number of artists, including the late, great Billy Graham, “The Panther’s Rage” was everything a super-hero comic should be. This overlooked and underrated classic is arguably the most tightly-written multi-part superhero epic ever. If you can get your hands on it (and where’s that trade paperback collection, Marvel?), sit down and read the whole thing. It’s damn-near flawless, every issue, every scene, a functional, necessary part of the whole. Okay, now go back and read any individual issue. You’ll find in seamlessly integrated words and pictures; clearly introduced characters and situations; a concise (sometimes even transparent) recap; beautifully developed character relationships; at least one cool new villain; a stunning action set piece to test our hero’s skills and resolve; and a story that is always moving forward towards a definite and satisfying conclusion. That’s what we should all be delivering, every single month. Don and company did it in only 17 story pages per issue. Compare this to the bloated, empty, ill-planned “story arcs” you see in many of today’s comics. Four 22-page issues to tell about one issue’s worth of story seems to be the norm. Ah, but now I’m just bitching.

I followed Don’s work and became a hard-core fan, first of the Panther, then Marvel and then of the medium. Meanwhile, Don McGregor has continued to turn out gems like KILLRAVEN, SABER, RAGAMUFFINS, NATHANIEL DUSK, ZORRO and LADY RAWHIDE. If you want a taste of the good stuff for yourself, run directly to the comic shop this instant. You may still be able to grab copies of the two exquisite DETECTIVES, INC. graphic novels Don recently re-released through Image. One has art by Gene Colan, the other by Marshall Rogers. You pays your money, you picks your genius. Or better yet, buy them both.

Well, I’d like to gush on this topic for another couple hundred words but I’m already way long this week. So let me take a little bit more space I don’t have to ask you guys for some feedback. What do you want to see happen in this column? How am I doing so far? Click on the link below and drop me a line, will you? Until then, this is TO BE CONTINUED…

The Incredible Hulk vs.(or, as we used
to say, “vizz”) The Mighty Thor.

Dwayne McDuffie is the creator of HARDWARE, BLOOD SYNDICATE, DEATHLOK II and ICON. In the fall of 1973, he and Alan finally got their hands on a copy of DEFENDERS #10, the Hulk vs. Thor comic book. The fight was a lousy tie.

Eugene’s post-script.

When I first read this article, I told Dwayne how much I loved this story. Dwayne revealed that after he got back with the comic, he got punished by his mother for going to the forbidden Lindsey Drugs store… AND HE COULDN’T FIGURE OUT HOW SHE FOUND OUT. And his mother wouldn’t tell him how she had figured out that he’d lied to her. Almost forty years later and she STILL wouldn’t tell him. Dwayne complained vociferously that it wasn’t like he could use this information to avoid getting caught the next time and that she was only holding back the information to frustrate him.

After Dwayne’s death, I told his mother about our conversation. She revealed to me that earlier that day, she had spotted Dwayne counting up his money. So when he later came over and said that he was going to his friend’s house, she knew he was lying.

Then she added, “A mother always knows.”

I told Dwayne’s mother how devoted Dwayne was to her. How even through the complaints, there was nothing but complete and total love for her. But she already knew. A mother always knows.

With the new Star Trek movie out, this seemed like a good time to finally write this one down.

Here it is. I don’t want to over-hype this, but we’ve held off telling this story for a while. This is one of Dwayne’s most memorable stories. This is the famous one.

This is the “When Dwayne met Halle Berry” story.

As everyone knew, Dwayne was a big Star Trek fan. Some of his writings on Star Trek can be found in his columns, STAR TREK, The Original Series, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and More Star Trek Movies.

The year was 1991. Dwayne was living in New York City, working in comic books. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was due to be released in December. Dwayne was eagerly looking forward to seeing it.

Then he got a call from a friend who had an in. The New York City premiere of Star Trek VI was coming, and he could try to find a way to get Dwayne in. Of course Dwayne was interested.

So the night of the premiere came, and while Dwayne’s friend wasn’t able to get him an official invite, he was able to sneak Dwayne into the theater. Once in, Dwayne went upstairs to the balcony, found himself a seat, and sat down. No one had asked to see his invitation. The perfect plan. All Dwayne had to do was sit there without being discovered and he would get to see the new Star Trek movie before anyone else.

As Dwayne waited patiently for the new Star Trek movie to begin, a few rows in front of him, two women entered and took seats. One of the women: HALLE BERRY.

hb

Now this was before Boomerang had come out and made Halle Berry a household name. But even before then, there was still a lot of buzz about Halle Berry being the next big thing. She’d been in movies and television, and, oh by the way, she was stunningly gorgeous.

So Halle Berry and her even HOTTER-looking friend were there for the Star Trek movie. Before the movie began, the two turned around and LOOKED AT DWAYNE, then turned back around.

A moment later, Halle Berry and her friend turn around and look at him again. This time GIGGLING and pointing.

Now Dwayne is starting to get worried. People around him have noticed and now are looking at him. Dwayne starts to sink in his seat. He’s not supposed to be here and if anyone asks to see his invite, he’ll be kicked out. All he has to do is not get noticed and he’ll get to see Star Trek. But now Halle Berry and her friend keep staring at him.

Halle Berry turns around again. BIG smile on her face.

HALLE BERRY

I’m sorry to bother you, Mr. Dorn. I’ve always had a huge crush on you and I’m a huge fan.

Beat.

DWAYNE

(softly, trying to keep a low profile)

I’m sorry. I’m not Michael Dorn.

HALLE BERRY

You don’t have to lie. I know who you are.

DWAYNE

I’m not Michael Dorn.

Halle Berry’s smile fades. Now looks angry. She turns around and talks animatedly with her friend. Dwayne hopes this is over.

Halle Berry turns around again.

HALLE BERRY

I don’t know why you’re acting like this. You’re OBVIOUSLY Michael Dorn.

DWAYNE

(pleading)

I am telling you. I am NOT Michael Dorn.

Pictured: Michael Dorn. Not Pictured: Dwayne McDuffie.

Pictured: Michael Dorn. Not Pictured: Dwayne McDuffie.

So the theater goes dark and the movie begins. Dwayne breathes a sigh of relief. No one is going to ask him for his invite now. Not unless…

The movie begins. Everyone is watching...

...when Halle Berry turns around again.

HALLE BERRY

I can’t believe I had a crush on you! You’re a real jerk, you know that?

Everyone in the balcony is now watching Halle Berry and Dwayne.

DWAYNE

I AM NOT MICHAEL DORN!

HALLE BERRY

YOU BETTER NOT BE IN THIS MOVIE! I SWEAR, YOU BETTER NOT BE IN THIS MOVIE!

The movie goes on. Dwayne watches the movie. But every few minutes, Halle Berry and her friend turn around to glare at Dwayne, muttering things like, “I know. Can you BELIEVE the way he’s being?”

Then we reach this point of the movie-

Kirk and McCoy

If you’ve seen Star Trek VI, this is when Kirk and McCoy are on trial. They’re accused by the Klingons of murder, and their court-appointed attorney steps onto screen. Their Klingon attorney, portrayed by…

You know? I can maybe see a passing resemblance from Halle Berry's point of view. In a movie theater...

You know? I can maybe see a passing resemblance from Halle Berry’s point of view. In a movie theater…

Halle Berry leaps to her feet, turns around, and points accusingly at Dwayne.

HALLE BERRY

I KNEW IT! I KNEW YOU WERE IN THIS MOVIE! YOU ARE SUCH A PHONY--

DWAYNE

SIT!! DOWN!!

With that, Halle Berry and her friend got up and left the theater in a huff. Dwayne got through the rest of the movie without getting caught. Halle Berry presumably never finished watching Star Trek VI. And Dwayne had a great story to tell afterwards.

But this being Dwayne, of course there’s a great epilogue that took place years later.

Flash forward to Los Angeles. Working on Justice League Unlimited. The voice of Kalibak is voiced by Michael Dorn. So after the record, Dwayne talks to him.

Michael Dorn listens politely – nods, but doesn’t react as he listens. Dwayne finishes explaining how Halle “one of the most gorgeous women in the universe” Berry had a huge crush on Michael Dorn. Until Dwayne ruined it. And Dwayne apologizes that Halle “one of the most gorgeous women in the universe” Berry now hates Dorn and it’s all Dwayne’s fault.

Finally...

MICHAEL DORN

(in Klingon voice)

I’VE KILLED MEN FOR LESS THAN THAT!

Of course Dorn was kidding. He thought the story was hilarious. I mean, wouldn’t you find it hilarious if one of the most gorgeous women in the universe no longer had a crush on you, but was actually now angry at you, because of a misunderstanding? Okay, maybe not.

All this because Dwayne McDuffie wanted to see Star Trek VI early…

An excerpt from Dwayne’s script for Static Shock! #4 – Rebirth Of The Cool titled, “Places Left Unfinished At The Time Of Creation”.

This is from his First Draft, dated August 3, 2000. There are some unusual notes in this script – such as the “[ed." on page 11. It's not clear if these were notations that Dwayne made in this first draft to be changed later - or if perhaps the data file has gotten corrupted. Either way, the text is presented below unchanged from Dwayne's first draft document.

Page 1

SPLASH

Similar to last issue, page 22. In the CHAMBER OF HORRORS. STATIC is looking at HARDWARE’S corpse in shock. POWER JUNKIE stands over Hardware’s smoldering body. It’s cut in two.

LEGEND

(typeset)

"The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress." --Frederick Douglass

LOGO

MILESTONE COMICS PRESENTS

LOGO

STATIC SHOCK!

TITLE

"Places Left Unfinished At The Time Of Creation"

CREDITS

Dwayne McDuffie - Writer and Editor

John Paul Leon - Artist

Melissa Edwards - Colorist and Separator

John Workman - Letterer

POWER JUNKIE

So much for the Calvary.

STATIC

You killed Hardware.

POWER JUNKIE

Yes, Static. I did.

CREDITS

STATIC created by McDuffie, Dingle, Cowan and Davis

INDICIA

[LEAVE SPACE]

Page 2

Panel 1

Angry Static fires a huge, two handed electrical bolt.

STATIC

(burst)

Nooooo!

SFX

ZZZRRRRAK

Panel 2

Power Junkie casually blocks the bolt with a FORCE FIELD.

POWER JUNKIE

That would have hurt.

POWER JUNKIE

No need for the disguise any longer, I suppose.

Panel 3

Power Junkie bursts out of his clothes, transformed into his NEW COSTUME and appearance.

SFX

(clothes bursting)

rRRRIPPPPP

POWER JUNKIE

The blood of your fellow bang babies did more than just heal me, it changed me--

Panel 4

Closer on Power Junkie, his eyes are glowing, crackling with power.

POWER JUNKIE

You have no idea how much power --how many powers I now posses.

Panel 5

Static, flying on his disk, dodges the deadly EYE BEAMS from Power Junkie. Power Junkie is fading out in his TELEPORTATION EFFECT.

POWER JUNKIE

Energy Projection.

SFX

ZZZZZOKKKK

Page 3

Panel 1

Power Junkie is teleporting in right behind Static, he’s grabbed him from behind, by the collar. Static’s forward motion is stopped, his disk is still going.

POWER JUNKIE

Teleportation.

STATIC

(burst)

Wha!?!

Panel 2

Power Junkie flings Static through the air and across the room.

POWER JUNKIE

Super strength.

STATIC

Ahhhhh!

Panel 3

Entire second tier. Power Junkie’s speed lines zip from where he was just standing, right past Static (still flying through the air), and coming to a stop right where Static is headed.

POWER JUNKIE

Super speed.

Panel 4

Power Junkie is holding up one hand, projecting an energy field that wraps around Static and suspends him helplessly in mid-air. Static is in pain, as if being crushed.

POWER JUNKIE

Telekinesis.

STATIC

Nnnnnnn...

Panel 5

On Static, struggling in vain against the energy bands.

POWER JUNKIE

Pyrokinesis. Flight. Agility. Weather Control, Shapeshifting. Time Travel. Enhanced Healing. Invisibility. Energy and Matter manipulation.

Page 4

Panel 1

Favoring Power Junkie, gesturing with his energy projecting hand.

POWER JUNKIE

All the powers of any bang baby whose blood I’ve tasted is at my command. I’ve barely scratched the surface of my abilities.

Panel 2

On Static, sweating, looking very bad.

POWER JUNKIE

But we appear to have reached the limits of yours.

Panel 3

On both. Static’s hands begin to crackle with power.

POWER JUNKIE

Still, your electrical talents will make an interesting addition to my collection.

STATIC

You want a taste of m-my powers?

Panel 4

Static fires a huge lightning bolt.

STATIC

(burst)

You got it!

SFX

ZZZRAK

Panel 5

Static’s electrical bolt passes harmlessly through Power Junkie’s semi-transparent body.

POWER JUNKIE

Intangibility.

Panel 6

Static’s lightning bolt strikes the wall where WISE SON is pinned, shattering his bonds. Power Junkie is partially turned to see what happened.

STATIC

Overconfidence.

SFX

SHRRAAKK

POWER JUNKIE

Eh? Wise Son?

Page 5

Panel 1

Wise Son strains against his bonds, his muscles swelling.

WISE SON

You son of a bitch! Sucking us dry. Holding us against our will. It ain’t right!

Panel 2

Wise Son tears free of his bonds and is leaping down, his blood tubes trailing from his body.

WISE SON

What are you thinking? Some of the guys in here ain’t even Bang Babies! You don’t even need them!

Panel 3

Power Junkie catches Wise by the throat in mid-leap.

WISE SON

>Gack<

POWER JUNKIE

True. But I may find a use for them later. Waste not, want not.

Panel 4

Power Junkie has opened his hand and is telekinetically levitating a struggling Wise Son back up to the wall.

POWER JUNKIE

You belong to me. All of you do. Not because it’s right. But because I can.

WISE SON

Arrrrgh!

Panel 5

Wise Son struggles against the wall. Power Junkie lifts one of Wise’s thick blood tubes in his fist.

POWER JUNKIE

My continued existence depends on you --and many more like you.

Panel 6

Power Junkie is pouring Wise son’s blood into his open mouth. The blood overflows and pours down his chin and onto his chest.

POWER JUNKIE

I’ll never let you go.

Page 6

Panel 1

On Static, watching the off-panel action in horror.

STATIC

Oh, no!

Panel 2

Wider, Static bursts free of Power Junkie’s energy with a SURGE OF ELECTRICITY.

STATIC

(burst)

Nooooo!

SFZ

SHZZZZRAK

Panel 3

Static has dropped to the floor. On hands and knees, he reaches out with one hand. His flying disk is heading towards him.

STATIC

(thought)

Gotta get out of here...

Panel 4

Background Static flies out of the room, foreground Power Junkie is still drinking blood, oblivious.

STATIC

(thought)

Maybe I can find Xombi, or get Icon to come back and help.

Panel 5

Static flies towards the camera, he’s just entered a cavernous chamber.

STATIC

(thought)

Maybe...

STATIC

Geez...

Page 7

Panel 1

Big panel, establishing TOWER’S TROPHY ROOM. It should evoke the Batcave and Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. The room is filled with Display Cases and trophies from John Tower’s career. Like the Batcave’s Dinosaur, the room is dominated by a GIANT RAT. Instead of the giant coin, there is an equally large DAKOTA SUBWAY TOKEN (the token reads, “Dakota Token” and “Good for one” although we can’t yet read all of this). By no means do you have to work all of this stuff into this panel, but I’d like to see it all in the sequence that begins on page 13. I’ll make suggestions as to where you can place items. Ignore me if you have a better idea.

Other items around the room include; a black LAWN JOCKEY, carrying what looks suspiciously like Green Lantern’s Power Battery; A STATUE of two planets crashing into each other, as in the Worlds Collide ads (they are the DC bullet and the Milestone “M”, rendered as planets, but we can never quite make that out); Tower Girl and Kid Tower’s costumes hanging empty in GLASS CASES, ala Batman; a brass URN, inscribed “Fair Play”; a glass case with a girl pirate in it labeled “ADVENTURE OF PIRATE JUDY.”

STATIC

...Some people never throw anything away...

Panel 2

Static flies out of the chamber.

STATIC

(thought)

I think this is the way out.

Panel 3

Angle on TRAFFIC MAN #2 from issue # 3 is prominent standing at the front of a dozen or so more TRAFFIC MEN.

TRAFFIC MAN #2

Hello, Static. Remember me?

Panel 4

New Angle, Static facing off with Traffic Man #2. Other Traffic Men stand at the ready.

STATIC

[.

TRAFFIC MAN #2

Yep. And guess who just stepped in it.

Panel 5

Flying Static dodges blasts from the staves of several Traffic Men while firing a bolt back at them.

TRAFFIC MAN #2

This time you can forget about electrocuting us with our staffs. These are insulated.

Page 8

Panel 1

Wide. Virgil is surrounded on all sides and from above and below.

TRAFFIC MAN #2

Thanks to you, I haven’t had a hit in over a day.

STATIC

C’mon up here, I’ll hit you right now.

Panel 2

Favoring Traffic Man #2.

TRAFFIC MAN #2

Brave talk. You’re outnumbered and surrounded. If you got another card up your sleeve, it better be an ace.

Panel 3

Big Panel. New angle, HARDWARE bursts into the room through the ceiling. He’s firing away from both fists.

SFX

CHOOM

TRAFFIC MAN

(burst)

Hardware!!

HARDWARE

(signature balloons)

Sorry I’m late, I was waiting for a good entrance line.

Panel 4

Static blasts a Traffic Man. Hardware fires a bolo shell that wraps up two others.

STATIC

But I saw you get killed!

SFX

(Static’s blast)

zZZRRAAK

SFX

(bolo)

whupwhupwhup

HARDWARE

Oh, please. That was a robot.

Panel 5

Interior HARDWARE’S LAB. Curtis Metcalf, legs still broken, is sitting in a high-tech Virtual Reality rig, his arms in the same pose as Hardware’s in the previous panel. On a SCREEN in front of him is Hardware’s point of view.

CURTIS

So is this one. I’m using a telepresence rig. My legs are broken, remember?

Page 9

Panel 1

Back at the fight. Hardware wrestles with two Traffic Men, he’s facing panel left. Panel right, IOTA is holding a BOWLING BALL is GROWING in multiple images, from a spec on the floor. She’s up to about half-size, and grinning.

HARDWARE

Unfortunately, I’m down to my last working model. So I’m going to need a little help, here.

IOTA

You called, sweetie?

Panel 2

Full-size Iota uses her bowling ball to clock one of the TRAFFIC MEN Hardware was struggling with.

SFX

THOK

HARDWARE

Good to see you, Iota. But you left the spare.

Panel 3

Static zooms in and blasts the last man.

STATIC

Got’ems.

SFX

ZZZRAKK

Panel 4

Hardware, Static and Iota stand talking to each other. Unconscious Traffic Men are all over the room.

IOTA

The rest of our people will be along presently. They’re following my beacon to this position.

STATIC

Well, Tower’s probably on his way too. We better jet.

Panel 5

Favoring Static. Iota is skeptical.

IOTA

John Tower?

STATIC

Yep, still alive. He’s the one behind all of this.

Page 10

Panel 1

Similar to previous.

IOTA

That simply cannot be true. John Tower has been a hero for generations. He’s the greatest of us all.

STATIC

Was. Now he ain’t nothing but a power junkie.

Panel 2

Favoring Hardware.

HARDWARE

Yep. And junkies steal. In this case, lives.

Panel 3

PANEL. Wide as all react to the HEROES arriving: IRON BUTTERFLY, GLORIA MUNDI and PAYBACK. Captions label the new guys.

CAPTION

Iron Butterfly.

CAPTION

Gloria Mundi.

CAPTION

Payback.

PAYBACK

You guys have been busy.

Panel 4

Favoring Iota.

IOTA

You didn’t do so badly yourselves, dears.

IRON BUTTERFLY

What is our battle plan?

Panel 5

Favoring Hardware. Payback frowns.

HARDWARE

We retreat. Their top man is way out of our weight class. We don’t have enough power to fight him.

PAYBACK

Where’s Blizten?

Page 11

Panel 1

Hardware explains to Payback.

HARDWARE

She was captured. We’ll come back for her, later. Right now we have to regroup, find more help.

Panel 2

FLASHBACK PANEL. Reminiscent of panel 3 page 18, Issue #1 Static’s’s big, panel left face dissolves into an image of DUSK bounding towards a burning building. Let’s go in closer on Dusk, this time and see her face.

OFF PANEL STATIC

Dusk, please! Don’t go back in! We got everybody, there’s no time!!

Panel 3

Similar to previous. Static is speaking now.

STATIC

No.

Panel 4

Wide on the group. Static on one side of the panel, everyone else on the other.

GLORIA

(ornate balloon and script)

I’m sorry. Did you say, “No”?

IRON BUTTERFLY

I understand your loyalty to our comrade. But in order to win the war, we must survive the battle.

Panel 5

Favoring Static, stubborn.

STATIC

Do what you want. I can’t leave Blitzen behind. The last time I didn’t go back for somebody, she died.

Panel 6

Wider. Iron Butterfly is irritated. Hardware.

IRON BUTTERFLY

That is irrational and futile. If we are ever to prevail, we will require your power.

HARDWARE

She’s right, kid. You stay here and fight, we’re pretty much [ed.

Page 12

Panel 1

Iron Butterfly looks at Hardware with irritation.

HARDWARE

So I guess what I’m saying is, I’ll stay too.

IRON BUTTERFLY

Hardly a sacrifice, as I sense your real body doesn’t reside within this shell.

HARDWARE

Never claimed to be noble.

Panel 2

Iron Butterfly has turned back towards Static. Payback is visible.

IRON BUTTERFLY

Nevertheless, I will also remain here and fight.

PAYBACK

Stop showboating, Kahina. We’re all staying.

Panel 3

Favoring Iota. Static explains.

IOTA

One assumes you have some sort of plan?

STATIC

Kinda. You guys mop up the rest of the Traffic Men. Keep them away from the torture chamber. I need maybe half an hour.

Panel 4

Gloria is curious. So is Payback. Static is still filled with resolve.

GLORIA

(ornate balloon and script)

And what will you do?

STATIC

I’ll take care of the Power Junkie.

PAYBACK

How?

Panel 5

Hardware has a hand on Static’s shoulder.

STATIC

I dunno. Reason with him?

HARDWARE

You got a lot of guts, kid.

STATIC

Yep, I don’t even know the meaning of the word “fear.”

Panel 6

Static flies away from the group.

STATIC

Which does not bode well for those fast-approaching SAT’s.

TO BE CONTINUED… was Dwayne’s weekly opinion column on the comic book industry, hosted by Psycomics.com from October 1999-February 2000. Pasted below was his second column, “Introducing the author and his comic book resume, as fan and creator.” Read on-

To Be Continued #2

I was at the corner store with my Dad. I’ve never liked candy but he was determined to get me something. He picked out a SUGAR AND SPIKE comic book. I don’t remember ever seeing a comic book before then, much less showing any interest in one. But as long as Dad was offering, I decided I prefered ADVENTURE COMICS, featuring the Legion of Super Heroes. My reasoning, as I recall, was that it contained more superheroes and therefore was a better value (in addition to which, the big fat guy who bounced like a ball seemed… intriguing). Anyway, Dad buckled under the pressure and bought both. By the time we got back to the car, I was hooked for life. And that’s when I fell in love with comic books.

I learned to read from comics. I learned to dream.

I imagined that babies could talk to each other, that men could fly. That good does triumph, inevitably, over evil.

When I got older, I wanted to be Spider-Man, because all the other kids thought he was a geek, too. Then I wanted to be the Black Panther, who possessed a dignity and strength that I wished were mine.

Comics took me to places that never existed and made me believe in things that could never be true.

But should have been.

Most of my old comics are landfill now. Although to be fair, Mom did warn me she’d toss them if I didn’t clean up my room that very moment. But it doesn’t really matter that I lost them because I remember. Those dreams will always be with me.

And then I got a chance to share my own dreams. Thanks to Greg Wright, I got a chance to pitch some SOLO AVENGERS stories to Marvel Comics. A few weeks later, I created and wrote DAMAGE CONTROL, a sit-com set in the Marvel Universe about an engineering firm who cleaned up the debris left behind after all those senses-shattering battles. A little later, I joined Marvel’s staff as an assistant editor to Bob Budianski. I worked on Movie tie-ins, Marvel Press Posters, trading cards, toys, licensing guides -pretty much anything that wasn’t a regular monthly comic. While I was there, I continued to freelance as a writer, turning in scripts for SHE-HULK, IRON MAN, DOUBLE DRAGON, AVENGERS SPOTLIGHT, MARVEL SUPER HEROES, POWER PACK, GIANT MAN, ST. GEORGE, HELLRAISER, CAPTAIN MARVEL, WHAT IF?, WEST COAST AVENGERS and several SPIDER-MAN “custom comics,” (you know, like SPIDER-MAN AND WHITNEY HOUSTON FOR UNICEF). I also got to write my personal favorite, DEATHLOK.

After leaving staff, I kept working doing freelance for Marvel but I also branched out to do work for other companies. I wrote PRINCE and THE DEMON for DC Comics; MONSTER IN MY POCKET, BACK TO THE FUTURE (where the movie’s screenwriter, Bob Gale had the annoying habit of correctly pointing out which of my jokes were lame) and ULTRAMAN for Harvey Comics; and SOLAR, THE TICK and X-O MANOWAR for Valliant/Acclaim. In-between, I wrote and edited comics for several other companies, too.

I’m probably best known for teaming up with Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle and Michael Davis to form our company, Milestone Media, Inc. I served as Editor-In-Chief and created or co-created ICON, HARDWARE, STATIC, BLOOD SYNDICATE, XOMBI, SHADOW CABINET, DEATH WISH, WISE SON, HEROES and the rest of the Dakota Universe for Milestone. Milestone was an attempt to have greater creative control over our work and to increase the number of minority characters and creators in the field. These goals were widely, and sometimes willfully, misunderstood. I’m sure I’ll talk about this some more in future columns. For now, I want to focus on the pleasant side of it all. Over the course of Milestone Comics’ four-year run, I was privileged to work with dozens of terrific creators, making some damn fine comics. With any luck, we’ll see those characters again one day. As rough a run as it was for me personally, I’m still in love with comics and making them for Milestone is still the most fun I’ve had in my entire professional life.

Almost as much fun as reading SUGAR AND SPIKE.

***

I guess the point of all that was to demonstrate that when I talk about comics, I can speak from any of a number of different perspectives. I’ve been a fan, who couldn’t understand why the companies were doing such awful things to my favorite titles. I’ve been a writer, who was sure that my editor was screwing up my work on purpose, simply to torture me. I’ve been an editor, frustrated by the unreasonable and incomprehensible demands of my publisher on one side, and the petulant refusal by my creative team to do anything I asked them to do, ever, on the other. I’ve been a publisher, trying to make payroll while wondering why my editors seem determined to run stories that drive away advertisers, while refusing to take the very sensible action of doing a company-wide crossover every month. Whichever hat I’m wearing at any given moment, I think the other three guys are the worst possible combination of insane and incompetent. It’s probably not that simple. On the other hand, I’ve been wrong before. We’ll talk it over in the weeks and months to come.

***

Next time, I’m going to tell you about an endless summer, blacks in comics, the Incredible Hulk vs. the Mighty Thor, a trip to the “good comic store” and most importantly of all, how Don McGregor’s BLACK PANTHER changed my life. Until then, this is TO BE CONTINUED…

Dwayne McDuffie, creator of DAMAGE CONTROL, ICON, XOMBI and STATIC, has gone to comic stores hundreds of times since that first one but he never again brought home so much good reading for a quarter. Or bought gum for his cousin Raynard with the change from the quarter.

Marvel.com recently posted a terrific article about Dwayne McDuffie’s work at Marvel Comics with Deathlok.

A Deathlok Retrospective
Writer Gregory Wright looks back at his classic collaboration with the late Dwayne McDuffie.

http://marvel.com/news/story/20290/a_deathlok_retrospective

Highly recommended reading.

Random script of Dwayne McDuffie’s that I found. This is an early draft of what was then titled, “Ben 10: Ultimatrix” – that was later renamed to “Ben 10: Ultimate Alien.” This is script #1 – titled “Fame” – and was dated June 20, 2009.

TEASER

A SERIES OF ANGLES

Beginning with a stock Photo of EARTH FROM SPACE.

JIMMY (V.O.)

The aliens are already among us...

They’re all REUSE, perhaps doctored to look less slick. Try to make them all single angle.

GOOP deforms himself.

HUMONGOUSAUR smashes something.

A blurry, still photo of WILDMUTT (REUSE from original series). Ken Burns across it, like a doccumentary filmaker pretending there’s some action.

A short clip of SWAMPFIRE, making giant vines do his bidding.

A still of BRAINSTORM.

ECHO ECHO multiplies.

JIMMY (V.O.)

Strange creatures, with unbelievable powers...

JETRAY flies above, the camera struggles to find focus and keep him in view.

KEVIN, in Alien Force season 3 Monster Form, uses a hammer hand to smash something.

CANNONBOLT rolls up and rolls off.

JIMMY

Aliens are real. But that isn’t the amazing part, this is:

A rapid series of stills, ALL of Ben’s transformtions (except for Alien X), plus Kevin’s monster form, and a couple of randomly-distributed red herrings (The Dragon, Argit and Heatblast II) dissolve from one to the next.

JIMMY

All of the creatures you’ve just seen are actually alter-egos of one man...

The final image is a still of BEN TENNYSON, looking up at a camera, surprised and a bit goofy.

JIMMY (V.O.)

...His name is Ben Tennyson.

The image of Ben holds as we...

FADE OUT.

END OF TEASER

ACT ONE

FADE IN:

INT. BEN’S ROOM – DAY

ON THE TV MONITOR. A freeze-frame of the last image of the teaser: Ben Tennyson looking up at a camera, surprised and a bit goofy.

WIDE

Kevin, Ben, and GWEN have Been watching TV.

KEVIN

You are so busted.

BEN

Yeah...

Back on the TV.

KEVIN

And goofy-lookin’.

Ben frowns at the TV.

BEN

That’s not my best angle.

Gwen changes the channel several times with the REMOTE. We see:

HUMONGOUSAUR with his foot stuck in a car he stepped on, he’s hopping around trying to shake the car off like a kid trying to remove a rubber bootie.

Gwen frowns, pursing her lips, and changes the channel again. We see:

RATH falling out of the air from high above, it’s like the Hulk coming in for a landing on a long leap. He lands on a FREEWAY OVERPASS. And plows right THROUGH it, demolishing it into a pile of rubble as he lands on the road below.

GWEN

Every channel, Ben. All weekend. Nothing but you wrecking things. And they know who you are!

BEN

Nobody cares if I’m a super hero.

KEVIN

(helpfully)

Super menace.

Ben opens the door. There’s a dozen PAPARAZZI right there, all reacting by pointing cameras and microphones at him. He’s blinded by the camera FLASHES.

PAPARAZZI

[WALLA: “Ben Tennyson!”/”Ben 10!”/I”s it true?”/”Are you an alien monster?”/”Do you want to take over the Earth?”/et cetera]

Ben shuts the door in their faces, shutting out the noise

BEN

Okay, maybe a few people care.

KEVIN

You should lie low for a while. Maybe go to Julie’s.

Gwen peeks out the curtains and frowns as she looks out the window at the Paparrazzi.

GWEN

Good idea, but how do you get past them?

Ben grins, disconcertingly.

EXT. BEN’S HOUSE – DAY

The front door OPENS, and Ben comes outside. The paparazzi leap into action, crowding Ben, taking pictures and pushing camera’s and microphones into his face.

PAPARAZZI

[excited WALLA: “There he is!”/ “Ben Tennyson!”/ “Mr. Tennyson, do you have a statement?”]

Ben reaches over and takes one of the Microphones.

BEN

Yeah: It’s hero time!

Ben ACTIVATES his Ultimatrix, TRANSFORMS into HUMONGOUSAUR and ROARS. We should try to get the transforming Ben/Humongousaur and the stunned Paparazi into a single shot at least once for Promo.

HUMONGOUSAUR

Humongousaur!

The Paparazzi panic and FLEE for their lives.

PAPARAZZI

[SCREAMS and WALLA: “Run!”/ “He’s a Monster!”]

As the last of the Paparazzi disperse, Gwen and Kevin walk out the front door.

HUMONGOUSAUR

[ROARS, then COUGHS]

Humongousaur REVERTS to Ben, still coughing.

BEN

[Coughs]

Still looking at the fleeing press corps, Ben puts out a hand.

BEN

Hey, Gwen? You got a cough drop? Growling’s rough on my throat.

Gwen hands him one, he takes it without looking.

KEVIN

You should have used one of your new Ultimate transformations.

Ben frowns.

BEN

I wanted to scare them, not me.

INT. JULIE’S LIVINGROOM – DAY

Ben and Julie are in the living room. They are eating fresh Popcorn from a big bowl.

BEN

Thanks for letting me hang out, Julie.

JULIE

I have to go to tennis practice in an hour, but you can stay here until I get back.

They both hop on the couch. Julie turns on the TV.

BEN

Cable news?

JULIE

Extra credit for AP Current Events.

She looks at the screen and pouts.

JULIE

Ooh! This guy hates you.

THE WILL HARANGUE NATION

It’s a cable news editorial show, a middle-aged white guy in a suit, at a desk. He’s generally pretty upset. His video backdrop changes from his show logo to the picture of Ben looking stupid.

HARANGUE

...welcome back to the Will Harangue Nation. Our top story? It’s gotta be Ben Tennyson, a 16 year-old high school student who has been outed as a one-man -or should I say boy?- alien invasion.

BEN

Why does everybody use that picture?

JULIE

You look cute in that one.

BEN

(relaxing)

Really?

JULIE

Yes! Sweet and goofy.

BEN

[low growl]

Dwayne wrote this, explaining-

“Catching Lightning in a Bottle” is both an introduction to the STATIC SHOCK: TRIAL BY FIRE compilation, it also sort of serves as a FAQ about the origins of the chracter.


Catching Lightning in a Bottle (and Other Moral Victories)

If you’re a STATIC fan from back in the day, it’s good to see you again. I know we’ve got a lot of catching up to do but first I want to welcome our new readers, who probably only know about Static from the TV show. I’m going to take a moment and bring them up to speed. I know, I know but we’ve waited over three years for this moment, what’s another few hundred words? Just bear with me, won’t you?

I have a good friend who is fond of repeating the aphorism, “moral victories don’t count.” I couldn’t disagree more, not only do they count but in the long run, they’re the only kind that matter. Case in point: Milestone Comics. In 1992, I joined forces with three extraordinary men, together we set out to change the face of the comic book industry. This proved to be somewhat more difficult than we had anticipated.

Although Milestone’s sales were always respectable, we never set the world on fire. Our books lacked the speculator heat and collectable foil covers that drove the market in those days. Moreover a small but vocal group of people, including some readers, retailers and fellow professionals, found our very existence suspect. All sorts of bizarre, even sinister, motives were attributed to us. We battled against those impressions when we had the time but mostly we kept our eye on the ball. We figured our product would speak for itself, if we got it out there. So we did, every month for five years. Good comics, exactly the way we wanted to do them. Moral victory, folks.

Milestone’s story is an adventure worthy of any of our heroes. Against enormous odds we set out to accomplish something both unprecedented and important. The results were 250 comics that respected our readers’ intelligence, from a company dedicated to the idea that if you want fresh water, you have to draw from new wells. STATIC is character-driven, exciting, inventive and above all fun, as good an example of our values as one could choose. It’s a particularly fitting standard-bearer for what we hope will be Milestone’s 21st century renaissance. With the rebirth of STATIC as STATIC SHOCK!, the adventure continues.

STATIC SHOCK!: TRIAL BY FIRE is the long-overdue collection of the first four issues of the late, lamented STATIC monthly comic, created by Milestone and distributed by our long-time partners at DC Comics. In my years as Milestone’s Editor-In-Chief, I’ve made my share of mistakes, ask anybody. But on occasion, I’ve also shown flashes of inexplicable brilliance. STATIC was the occasion for a number of such flashes. I had already written the series bible (which included beautiful character designs by co-creator Denys Cowan) as well as Static’s origin story arc for the first four issues when I belatedly realized that there was no way I could write four books a month (I was already writing HARDWARE and ICON and co-writing BLOOD SYNDICATE) while simultaneously learning how to run a comic book company. I needed help. That’s when I had my first really good idea.

I’ve known Robert L. Washington III since he was about eight years old. Even as a child he was one of the most brilliantly creative people I’d ever met. I’d caught up with Bob again after he grew up and moved to New York. Only a couple years earlier, I’d introduced him around at Marvel Comics. He’d had a couple of nibbles but hadn’t yet landed a major assignment. All the better for me.

Bob took my outline and ran with it, adding his own totally unique spin to STATIC. In addition to frequently topping my one-liners with better ones, he reworked our villain Hotstreak (you probably know him as F-Stop), adding the very cool gimmick that Static deduces in issue #2. He created Tarmack out of whole cloth. He replaced Static’s brother with two sisters (the second sister seems to have gone the way of Richie Cunningham’s big brother on HAPPY DAYS). He gifted Virgil with his own encyclopedic knowledge of comics, sci-fi, gaming and other fan-boy ephemera. And when I told him that I wanted this series to be as much about Virgil and his friends as about Static and his adventures, Bob made me watch about 18 hours of DIGRASSI JR. HIGH. Much cribbing ensued.

After co-scripting the story you’re about to read, I left STATIC in Bob’s obscenely talented hands. If this collection does well, perhaps future volumes will collect Bob’s solo work on this title. I know I’m not alone in my desire to see it all in print.

My second really good idea was listening to my old Milestone partner Michael Davis, who brought to my attention an incredible young artist named John Paul Leon. These days, John is best known as the artist of Alex Ross’ EARTH-X. Back then, all he had was a portfolio full of Xeroxed samples. Really good Xeroxed samples.

I’m told that John doesn’t like to look at his early work anymore. While I’ll stipulate that his talent has grown tremendously since 1993, I don’t care what he says, I adore this stuff. As you will plainly see, when John drew the first four issues of STATIC, he was already a genius. He’s an expert storyteller who creates living, breathing characters. He can draw action and he can draw human drama. He can make a bad scene work and a good scene sing. Best of all, while some of his influences might be apparent, even at this early stage of his career John’s stuff doesn’t look like anyone else’s.

Before I slip a disc from patting myself on the back for all my good ideas, I should direct your attention to the rest of the STATIC team. Veteran inker Steve Mitchell helped our talented newcomer past some of the rough spots and just generally made great pages look even better. Color Editor Noelle C. Giddings hand-painted these comics, routinely achieving the kind of look usually found in top of the line graphic novels. Letterer Steve Hayne somehow found room for way too much dialog and still managed to keep it off of the art. Shawn Martinbrough pitched in with an ink job that foreshadowed his own remarkable talents. STATIC is a three time winner of Parents’ Choice Honors and also racked up 5 on-line fan awards, including two for “best new character.” Hardly surprising results from a team this good.

A final note to our new readers, if you only know Static from the show, you’ll quickly notice some differences between what you’re about to read and the Static you’re acquainted with. Don’t study on it, the differences are superficial. In every important way, this is the Static you’ve come to know and love, only more so. Consider this a hit of uncut funk.

If, after reading TRIAL BY FIRE, you find yourself craving more STATIC SHOCK! (which, of course, you will) you can watch his animated adventures every Saturday on the Kids WB! And if that’s still not enough, I’ve re-teamed with John Paul Leon for the all-new STATIC SHOCK!: REBIRTH OF THE COOL mini-series, on sale very soon. Get it wherever you bought this book.

With the continued support of fans like you, our moral victory can eventually be counted as a victory of the other kind. will our succès d’estime be reborn as a big fat commercial hit? We hope so. And you know what that would mean, right?

More new adventures.

It’s all in your hands again, folks. Enjoy.

Dwayne McDuffie
Chicago, IL
June 8, 2000

Dwayne McDuffie is the co-creator of STATIC, the Milestone Universe and Marvel Comics’ DAMAGE CONTROL. He has written several episodes of the STATIC SHOCK! animated series and continues to serve as Milestone’s Editor-In-Chief.