When Milestone Media creator and acclaimed comics writer Dwayne McDuffie unexpectedly passed away last month, the response from the comics community was immediate. Former collaborators, friends and executives from both Marvel and DC Comics were open and forthright in celebrating the legacy and life of the creator online, and soon DC had announced a special homage one-shot to McDuffie in its June 2011 solicitations.
However, at least one former collaborator of McDuffie's has taken issue with the particulars of the comic's release. While the special issue (being crafted by McDuffie friends including Felicia Henderson and Denys Cowan) was billed as "a special one-shot paying homage to Dwayne McDuffie and the world of Milestone Media, with tribute material from Milestone co-founder Denys Cowan and other Milestone alumni," artist Tommy Lee Edwards soon took to his Twitter account to offer a rebuttal to the comic.
"DC is planning a Dwayne McDuffie 'tribute' book, but has no plans to donate profits to the poor guy's surviving family or any charity," Edwards Tweeted.
Asked by CBR News to provide the story behind the complaint, Edwards gave the following statement:
Along with many other Milestone alumni, I was approached by DC to take part in a special Static Shock Dwayne McDuffie Tribute comic. And like many colleagues who have nothing but thanks and admiration for Dwayne, many of us would do anything to fit such a project into our schedules. I'm busy as hell, but obviously wanted to take part in a one-shot comic that paid homage to Dwayne's legacy as a writer and visionary publisher. The editor was about to send me a voucher, when I suddenly thought about the financial aspect of this book.
What do you mean, voucher? I didn't want to get paid. Wait, where is the profit going from this book? To Dwayne's family or to a charity, right?
DC told me no. They see this as a Static book that features Dwayne. Not a book strictly about Dwayne.
But it's still a Dwayne tribute book?
So I declined to take part, and so did at least one other Milestone alumni.
I'm glad that DC is doing more business with the Milestone characters, but there will be better ways to honor Dwayne's memory in the near future.
Reached for a response to the complaints, DC offered the following statement:
Before Dwayne McDuffie's tragic death, an editorial decision was made to reschedule the planned, ongoing STATIC SHOCK series for later this year.
When we heard of Dwayne's unexpected passing, we decided it was appropriate to have an oversized STATIC SHOCK comic book this spring, with the ongoing series still starting later this year as planned.
This June, Felicia Henderson, Denys Cowan, Prentis Rollings, Eric Battle, John Rozum, Matt Wayne, John Paul Leon and others will contribute to a STATIC SHOCK Special, with a cover by JH Williams III.
This Special is our way of acknowledging the industry's loss. It is not a tribute comic intended to raise proceeds for charity.
We regret if there was any confusion regarding our intentions caused by the solicitation of this project.