February 19, 2018


The Fifth Column:
Fish & Birds Have To Swim & Fly, Respectively

By Dwayne McDuffie

I’ve had a tough time writing this column, recently. I’d chalked it up to my freelance plate being very full but now I’m ready to make an admission: It’s because I’ve been struggling so hard to be nicer. After thinking it over for a while, I’ve decided that the "kinder and gentler Dwayne" is too difficult a persona to maintain. Fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly. I gotta bitch and moan, til the day that I die.

So back to basics. Send the little ones to their rooms. No more Mr. Pretending-To-Be-Nice Guy. I’m broken, I’m bitter, I’m cranky and I think technically I’m middle-aged, which I’m not really prepared to deal with because I can’t afford a new sportscar.

Just so you know what you’re getting into.


As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll be reporting from time to time on my laughable attempts to self-publish a comic book called THE ROAD TO HELL. THE ROAD TO HELL is a romantic comedy I co-wrote with Matt Wayne, who despite persistent rumors, is neither African-American, or related to DC Comics Marketing VP Bob Wayne (but wouldn’t it be cool if he were both?). A few weeks back, I told you about how we lost our first two artists on the project and mentioned that I was about to ask yet another artist to come on board our ship of fools for very little money and even less glory. Unaccountably, she said yes. I’m taking this opportunity to introduce to you THE ROAD TO HELL’s severely overtalented new artist, Kris Dresen. If you don’t know her, or her beautiful work on MAX AND LILY and MANYA, shame on you. But if you zip right over to her site at GirlThrow.com and buy at least one copy of everything, I’ll forgive you. I’ll wait here until you get back.

Okay, while you’re standing next to the mailbox waiting for all those books you ordered to arrive, I’ll fill you in on our project’s status. The full script for the book is completed and as soon as Kris finishes work on the graphic novel she wrote and is currently drawing, she’ll be getting started on ROAD TO HELL. There was some talk of trying to do this book as a mini-series at Image but unfortunately they passed. That’s okay. I still intend to do something over there one of these days and when I do, I’ll bore you with news about it. Meanwhile plans for ROAD TO HELL have gone back to our original vision for the project, a massive, 130-plus page, complete in one volume, graphic novel. More on this as it develops.


As regular readers know, evidence from crossover episodes suggests that the last five minutes of the last episode of St. Elsewhere is the only TV series, ever. Over on the Warren Ellis Forum, member Chris Spivey offers an exciting new example of how little of reality actually exists. After cleverly linking THE MUPPET SHOW to St. Elsewhere, he continues, "Sesame Street wipes out Hillary Rodham Clinton, which also wipes out Bill Clinton. Since every inaugurated president has met the previous president, Sesame Street wipes out the entirety of U.S. democracy."

I knew something was doing it.


I went to the Megacon comic book convention in Orlando, Florida this weekend. I didn’t find a single comic I wanted to purchase, Marvel and DC Comics didn’t have booths at the show and worst of all, the biggest convention in the town I live in most of the year wouldn’t comp me. This is the first comic convention I’ve paid to get in since the Detroit Triple Fan Fair in 1974. And technically, my dad paid the admission to that one. So, I’m out 18 bucks and I had a crappy time. Other than seeing John and Virginia Romita, Joe Staton and Jim Kruger and running into old Marvel cronies June Brigman and Roy Richardson, this was a total bust. Not only am I not getting the tonnage of swag and free stuff I’m accustomed to, I’m actually paying to get into places it turns out I don’t want to be. What is this, some kind of Karma thing?


My first episode of JUSTICE LEAGUE airs March 10 at 7:00 PM, EST on Cartoon Network. It’s called "Brave and the Bold." I scripted it from a story by Paul Dini and Rich Fogel featuring Flash, Green Lantern and Gorilla Grodd. Listen for voice actors Powers Booth, David Odgen Stiers and Virginia Madsen. Part 2 airs the following Sunday, March 17, at the same hour. It’s got superintelligent gorillas in it, what’s not to like?

"Never Say Die," a Batman 8-pager I wrote and Denys Cowan drew appears in BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #27, on sale March 20.

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Dwayne McDuffie is the co-creator of STATIC SHOCK and a co-founder of Milestone Media. He contributes scripts to the kids WB series STATIC SHOCK, Cartoon Network’s JUSTICE LEAGUE and with any luck, a third cartoon that you’ve all heard of. He’ll tell you more if he gets the gig.

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