By: David L. $Money Train$ Watts (journalist – FuTurXTV & Funk Gumbo Radio), Auggie Cavanagh (cameraman - FuTurXTV) & Brandon Bowlin (editor – www.theadrkroome.com)

By David L. Watts, FuTurXTV, www.funkgumbo.com & www.thedarkroome.com August 15, 2011

Before I got really excited about going to Comic-Con 2011, I and many other comic book fans around the world had to deal with the sudden passing of groundbreaking cartoonist, writer and Black comic book icon Dwayne McDuffie. So it was a no brainer that the annual Comic-Con Black Panel would be dedicated to honoring the life, artwork and many career accomplishments of Dwayne McDuffie. And it is kinda ironic or maybe sad that The Black Panel might be the only ones at Comic-Con 2011 formally paying tribute to Dwayne because Dwayne to me always strived to be considered a great comic book artist/writer and not just a great Black one. I actually met Dwayne for the first time at Comic-Con 2008 which ironically was my first Comic-Con. I actually filmed and posted on YouTube The Black Panel SDCC 2008 that featured Dwayne as well as Reginald Hudlin, Method Man, Faith Cheltenham, Rusty Cundieff, John Dokes and Denys Cowan. Dwayne McDuffie defied stereotypes about being an influential minority in the mainly all-White Comic Book Industry. He will forever be cherished by millions of his DCU and Marvel fans worldwide, but he will forever have a place in redefining the total landscape of diversity in comics by being one of the founding African-American members of Milestone Media, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle, who’s Milestone Comics which created such memorable multiracial and multicultural comic book characters like Static, Hardware, Icon etc.,:

In the early 1990s,[1] wanting to express a multicultural sensibility that he felt was missing in comic books, McDuffie and three partners[1] founded Milestone Media, which The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio, described in 2000 as "the industry's most successful minorityowned-and operated comic company."[8] McDuffie explained:
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Milestone, whose characters include the African-American Static, Icon, and Hardware; the Asian-American Xombi, and the multi-ethnic superhero group the Blood Syndicate, which include black, Asian and Latino men and women, debuted its titles in 1993 through a distribution deal with DC Comics.[1] Serving as editor-in-chief, McDuffie created or co-created many characters, including Static…Wikipedia…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwayne_McDuffie

I wanted to go into a greater tribute for Dwayne McDuffie be reprinting below the entire ComicCon 2011 In Memoriam section dedicated to his passing by his friend/colleague Alan Burnett:

DWAYNE McDUFFIE (1962-2011) PILLAR OF THE INDUSTRY by Alan Burnett ―Are you sitting there‖ I’ve never been asked that question at start of a phone call, but knew the news had to be something terrible, and it was. Dwayne McDuffie had passed away. Complications following heart surgery. One day after his birthday. He was 49. I didn’t sit down just then, but I did after the call. I sat for a long time. Dwayne was not just a friend and colleague, but a pillar in our industry. He not only helmed several of DC and Marvel’s top titles, he left a legacy of wonderfully conceived original characters in Milestone-certainly the most ambitious and involving comic book endeavors since Stan Lee and the gang hung around the bullpen.
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His animation work was no less astonishing. His scripts were immensely readable. They had the enviable quality of seeming effortless. His dialogue in particular was natural and conversational. (He hated minority sitcom-speak.) He could find humor in the most stressfilled scenes, and it always came out of character. I think he found the superhero world a highly amusing place sometimes, and I imagine him smiling a whole lot while writing about it. Much could be said about how smart Dwayne was—a 12 year-old college freshman, a physics grad, a speed reader of up to three books a day-but what really separated him from the pack was his sense of empathy. Dwayne was a true humanist, which meant he was strong feminist, too. He had the widest embrace for people no matter what race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. He saw the universal in everyone. I learned a lot from Dwayne McDuffie. In his work and his life, he was a liberating experience. How many people can you say that about?

Alan Barnett has produced and written numerous television series, including Batman: The Animated Series and Static Shock, for Warner Bros. Animation over the past 20 years‖….Comic-Con International San Diego 2011 Souvenir Book.

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Upon co-founding Milestone Media, Dwayne McDuffie stated: "If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren't just that character. They represent that race or that sex, and they can't be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people. You know, Superman isn't all white people and neither is Lex Luthor. We knew we had to present a range of characters within each ethnic group, which means that we couldn't do just one book. We had to do a series of books and we had to present a view of the world that's wider than the world we've seen before."

―When I was a kid, I used to have this parakeet. And sometimes, when I’d open up his cage to clean it…he’d escape. The little bird would see the backyard and make his move. Invariably, he’d head straight for the window, fast as he could. And inevitably, crack his head on the windowpane…a barrier of glass, unseen and incomprehensible to him. So he’d try again, over and over until, spent and defeated, he couldn’t try any longer. My bird made a common error. He mistook being out of his cage…for being free. The parakeet died a long time ago, without ever enjoying the freedom of the yard. The boy grew into a man, who spent many years bumping his head against a similar barrier: a ceiling of glass, unseen and incomprehensible to him. The lesson is clear: escape is impossible until one perceives all of the barriers. My name is Curtis Metcalf. But you can call me Hardware.‖…Dwayne McDuffie…Hardware #1
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I’m ending on a personal note that Dwayne McDuffie being a talented African-American artist/writer/story editor/producer is not a coincidence when it comes to his influence and work on the Justice League and Justice League United. Dwayne either wrote, produced or story-edited 69 out of 91 episodes of the very popular WB animated series. He was influential to the historic Cartoon Network show because there was the most genuine and honest interracial romance between the Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. I have to say that it is not even a given to have serious and well-written interracial relationships in action driven cartoons and films. But anyone who is a fan of JL or JLU will know clearly that GL and Hawkgirl were a couple. Then Hawkgirl’s planet invaded Earth and their relationship cooled off and GL stared dating the Black heroine Vixen. But another crisis later on revealed that a future Justice League included Warhawk that was descended from the parents of John Stewart and Shayera Hol. So without a doubt Dwayne not only pushed a current storyline of interracial superhero love, but also said that this couple would eventually have a child together that also grows up to be a bi-racial superhero. I cannot say 100% that without Dwyane McDuffie at the helm of the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited that we would have ever seen such a highly evolved minority character as John Stewart. And having a love life for Black characters in cartoons is still routine or high on Hollywood’s priorities. There have been many X-Men cartoons and Storm was no closer dating Wolverine than I am at being elected president soon. You can’t just show diversity and equality in comic books you have to fully demonstrate and implement those ideas like Dwayne did with John and Shayera. So really to me Dwayne McDuffie’s massive comic book legacy will inspire a new generation of kids, tweeners, teens and even old Gen-Xers like myself to be more excited and accepting of minority characters in animated series like Cartoon Network’s new “Young Justice”. Dwayne McDuffie maybe gone, but his inspirational imagination, art and words will live forever.

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www.funkgumbo.com • FuTurXTV • Funk Gumbo Radio • Hollywood, CA 90019 • funkgumbo@gmail.com • www.thedarkroome.com


By: David L. $Money Train$ Watts (journalist - FuTurXTV), Auggie Cavanagh (cameraman FuTurXTV),) & Brandon Bowlin (editor – www.theadrkroome.com)

By David L. Watts, FuTurXTV, www.funkgumbo.com & www.thedarkroome.com August 25, 2011

After I got over the shock of Dwayne McDuffie’s death and fully immersed myself in Comic-Con 2011 I was pleasantly surprised at again how packed and stacked the Convention Center was with many Con attendees, I met and got great interviews with some new exhibitors and even witnessed a rare and special event at any Comic-Con— a surprise wedding proposal by two costumed attendees wearing detailed Halo gear and weapons. What I liked about the dude’s proposal was that his fiancée was convinced that she was just going to Comic-Con to support his Halo fan fantasy. So after the couple performed a mock battle in their Halo gear for attendees passing by, the woman was beyond shocked when her boyfriend got down on one knee in the middle of their performance and suddenly asked for her hand in marriage. And it was truly a happy Comic-Con ending because the very stunned and elated woman removed her halo helmet and loudly shouted yes. I even got to interview the couple and will be posting that footage of the proposal soon. All I can say is that if you plan to successfully propose at Comic-Con than you better go all out big and make it memorable. And you also cleverly have a great and highly unique story to tell all your family and friends.

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And it cannot be stated enough that Comic-Con 2011 was leading up to one of the biggest Hollywood blockbuster Comic Book/Sci Fi/Fantasy themed years with the upcoming release in 2012 of long awaited and much hyped The Avengers, Amazing Spider-man reboot and The Dark Knight Rises which will be the last installment in Chris Nolan’s and masterful Batman trilogy. Not to mention Hasbro ‘s Battleship and their revamped and more serious looking G.I. Joe: This new G.I. Joe is very ambitious and has added the star power of The Rock and Bruce Willis. Another blockbuster coming out next summer is Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus. But before the mega-Comic Book Summer 2012 hits there still were many major new films being promoted heavily at Comic-Con 2011 that will be released in 2011 and early 2012 like Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Lionsgate’s Conan the Barbarian in 3D, Universal’s The Thing remake, Paramount’s Paranormal Activity 3, Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, Walt Disney’s The Muppets, Paramount’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Sony’s Underworld 4: Awakening, Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace 3-D, Disney’s very expensive John Carter, Sony’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Lionsgates’s The Hunger Games. Comic-Con 2011 was filled to brim with promotions hyping up a wide variety of major Hollywood films.

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Some of my favorite Comic-Con 2011 Exhibitors were eigoMANGA & Music Saves Lives Booth. I would have to say that I had no idea that there was a Danity Kane Graphic Novel when there is not even an active Danity Kane group. P-Diddy’s reality show R&B group Danity Kane seems to be disbanded after their short rise of Pop stardom. But at least they live on as Manga characters. I got to interview, Natashia McCough, the writer behind the Danity Kane Graphic Novel. And Natashia told me that Dawn Richards from Danity Kane is the brainchild or creator on the whole project. It seems Dawn is a big Anime and Manga fan and wanted a new or alternative way to reach out to the large Danity Kane fan base. And from what I could tell from looking over the Danity Kane Graphic Novel is that it looks highly impressive. But if you are following Dawn’s career than you will know she is no longer with Danity Kane and is now in P-Diddy’s new group Dirty Money. Maybe later on Dawn will launch another Manga inspired book about Dirty Money. I also got a candid interview with eigoManga’s CEO about the direction of his San Fran based independent comic book publishing company. And I got to get the Comic-Con scoop on the non-profit Music Saves Lives.

Danity Kane Creator Dawn Richards

Danity Kane writer Natashia McCough

San Francisco-based comic book publisher eigoMANGA released an official press release statement regarding their official release of Japanese manga-inspired Danity Kane: Keeper of Life. The comic is available on the iPhone, iPad and at retailers nationwide. (San Francisco, CA) – May 11, 2011 — San Francisco based comic book publisher, eigoMANGA announces the release of the comic book graphic novel ―Danity Kane: Keeper of Life‖. The graphic novel contains the complete Danity Kane mini-series that was first released on February 2010. ―Danity Kane: Keeper of Life‖ is currently available at retail bookstores everywhere. The graphic novel focuses on a naïve yet powerful young girl who was sent from a distant planet to liberate her people. She must combat a secret war between her people and their oppressors – a war that is now being fought on planet Earth. ―Danity Kane: Keeper of Life‖ was co-written by Natasha McGough and Austin Osueke with contributions from recording artist, Dawn Richard. The graphic novel was illustrated by Korean comic book artist, Kim Ji-Min.
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In the Small Press Section on the very crowded convention floor I would have to say FST Pulp booth was a lot of fun as well as Keith Knight’s booth. We filmed interviews with FST’s Daniel G. Ringquist, Keith Knight, Lonnie Millsap and Ken Tanaka. Keith should be noted for having his own very witty and introspective comic strip and blog called the “K-Chronicles, The Knight Life”. I think this is the future of comic strip is to be a hybrid of the cartoon and social media. So not only is a San Francisco based cartoonist like Keith commenting on society in his artwork, but he can also directly promote his life and new projects like his book called “The Knight Life: Chivarly Ain’t Dead”, which is a collection of his weekly syndicated comic strip. Keith also said was in an indie rock band in the mid to late 90’s. I had to let Keith know as soon as he sends those tracks from his defunct band we will be playing them on Funk Gumbo Radio. That’s a definite promise. "The Knight Life is undeniably the best new laugh- and thoughtprovoker on the comics page. Not since Calvin and Hobbes has there been so novel an entertainment in the funnies." R.C.Harvey, The Comics Journal

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I also got to meet Keith’s booth partner Ken Tanaka who is the author of the dark humor and twisted inspired “Everybody Dies: A Children’s Book for Grown Ups.”

And I also met and interviewed Lonnie Millsap (Rollyhead Publishing) was also sharing space with Keith’s booth to sell his humorous book collection of single panel cartoons called “I Hate My Job” and “My Washcloth Stinks”. You can easily buy them on Amazon.

―I Hate My Job! is a book of cartoons meant to appeal to the teenage through adult demographic. It fills an unusual niche in that the human characters in are predominantly African American and all of the cartoons are single panel. Some people have stated that it is reminiscent of the humor in Gary Larson's The Far Side. The cartoons are twisted, nonsensical, silly, outrageous, and funny, funny, funny. Lonnie Millsap III was born in Hollywood, California. His dad was a carpenter who now sculpts and builds houses. His mother, Ruby, is a jazz dance instructor and choreographer. His first memory of drawing was getting caught after drawing a huge crayon Batman on his living room carpet, but his number one love has always been to draw cartoons that could make people laugh. His earliest influences were Charles Schulz and Sergio Aragones. Later, his influences grew to include Gary Panter, Matt Groening (Life in Hell), Charlie Callahan, and Gahan Wilson. In 2009 his first book of cartoons called My Washcloth Stinks! was published to positive reviews, which led to his current release. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California, and draws every day ... or so he says.‖…Bio of Lonnie Millsap from www.lonniemillsap.com
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If one is a regular Comic-Con attendee like myself than you stop freaking out every time you read the Comic-Con 2011 events guide and realize that many of the panels you want to attend are pitted against each other as if the Comic-Con organizers studied your Facebook page or blog and deliberately choose to mess up you up. So when I saw that the Black Panel honoring Dwayne McDuffie was going up against my favorite Saturday morning idols Sid and Marty Kaufman, than I have to have enough faith that this won’t happen at Comic-Con 2012. Thus I can catch the Sid and Marty panel next year. But if one just hung out at Hall H on Sunday than they could see the panel for my favorite Sci-Fi TV show BBC America’s “Doctor Who”. There were 6,000 Comic-Con attendees packed into Hall H, which is usually saved for the biggest and most popular Comic-Con panels. The panel showed a trailer of the upcoming Fall season of Doctor Who on BBC America. What I love about Matt Smith’s 11th take or turn as Doctor Who is that he is far more light-hearted, fun-spirited than David Tennant. Matt loves the role and to me is the closest Doctor Who performance to rival my all time favorite Doctor Who Tom Baker.

(L-R) Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Matt Smith (Doctor Who) and (middle photo) writer Toby Whithouse

(L-R) Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Matt Smith (Doctor Who) and Artuhr Darvill (Rory Williams)

I will start another report for my preview of Comic-Con 2012 soon. But until them you can check out all our Comic-Con 2011 photos on our Funk Gumbo Radio Pinterest.com Board that we are going to launch soon. Until then I really hope Comic-Con 2012 is as exciting as this year’s and I still get to cover the world’s greatest multi-day media event.
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