A Letter To The Maestro
Dear Mr. McDuffie,
It’s been three years since you made your transition to the cosmos and 52 years since you arrived. A lot of people are going to be talking about you this week. Some who worked alongside you. Some who you’ve called friend. One you’ve called wife. Some that put you down. And others who try to co-opt and usurp your legacy.
Trust me, sir, you have a strong legacy.
Your live on in the characters and universes that you’ve put your mark on and those “kids” you brought to life across comic pages and the TV screen. You live on in the fans that were entertained by your works and now a younger generation who is just learning your name. You live on in the creators, both those who were your peers and those you’ve inspired to enter the industry you poured your heart out on, even though on too many occasions, you got crushed.
Sad to say the industry hasn’t changed too much since you’ve been gone. Too many voices are still being silenced. There’s still not a lot of diversity in the mainstream comics, both on the talent side and the characters in those four-color worlds. Sure, there are a few guys doing great covers now and then, but I wonder why they’re not actually doing interiors. It’s like we’re good enough to sell the book to those who judge a book by its cover but not good enough to fill the sheets. And even when folks that look like us are in the pages, others question why we’re there. They ask if they’re fitting a quota, being “politically correct,” and other such bigoted nonsense, but this isn’t something you haven’t heard while you were here.
But dammit if those who are still trying to live up to your ideal aren’t trying. I wonder what you’d make of the modern wave of indie creators. I wonder what you’d think of a lot of things to be honest. I know a lot of things, but compared to you, I’m just a novice student. Your insight and advice are sorely missed because you always seemed to know the right thing to say, the right piece of advice for those in need, and a great bit of wit to enlighten the day even at its darkest.
You’re still the ideal, sir, and we’re still chasing your ghost. There will never be another cat like you for us. Oh, there will be folks trying to fill your shoes throughout the years, but they’re still too big to fill. Seriously, you were a big dude! But you left a great mark on all of us you inspired, and there are so many ways to thank you, sir. We still dream, and we still create.
And we still miss you.