WWC: McDuffie Welcomes Millar & Hitch to the Family

Sun, August 12th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Jeffrey Renaud, Staff Writer

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This weekend's news of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch taking over "Fantastic Four" has every superhero fan talking, and one reader who will be adding Millar and Hitch's book to his pull list is current "Fantastic Four" writer Dwayne McDuffie.

"[The editorial staff at Marvel] were kind enough to let me see the scripts, many of which were done before I even started, so I kind of knew where [Millar] was going. It's going to be cool. Oh, yeah, I will be reading it," said McDuffie, who told CBR News that he knew his run on Marvel's first family would be limited from the outset.

"That was the whole purpose of me coming onboard," explained McDuffie, who started his run in January of this year with #542. "I was just making some extra time for those guys."

It was announced at Wizard World in Chicago on Saturday, that "those guys," the dynamic duo of Millar and Hitch, are joining "Fantastic Four" in January as the new creative team.

McDuffie, who jumps from the Greatest Comic Book Magazine in the World to the World's Greatest Heroes, "Justice League of America," beginning in September, said he was thrilled with the opportunity to write "Fantastic Four," his all-time favorite book.

"I've had a good time. I really enjoyed writing 'Fantastic Four.' It was my favorite as a kid and it remains my favorite," said McDuffie.

While the Black Panther and Storm joining the Thing and the Human Torch as members of the Fantastic Four wasn't his original concept, it was a career highlight for McDuffie to shepherd his favorite team during the fallout of "Civil War" and its direct effect on Reed and Sue Richards. "That was planned before they even talked to me," McDuffie confirmed. "The Black Panther/Storm thing was planned, I assume, sometime when they were planning "Civil War.'"

McDuffie's final three-issue arc on "Fantastic Four" begins in October and features the team's ultimate nemesis, Dr. Doom, a super-villain so bad McDuffie can't help but love him. "Oh yeah, Doctor is a favorite of mine," said McDuffie. "The first Fantastic Four story I wrote was a 'Fantastic Four What If?' featuring Dr. Doom. And the story that brought me back into Marvel after many years away was a Fantastic Four special one-shot that was about Reed and Doctor Doom's relationship."

Even though he is leaving a book he loves, McDuffie said fans shouldn't worry too much about him, as he is returning to another super-team he knows so well that he considers them family, too.

"The Justice League has been very good to me in my career and I am going to try and give back a little bit," said McDuffie, a veteran of all five years of the popular Cartoon Network series "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited," serving as both head writer and as a producer.

Beyond his work in comics, McDuffie is kept very busy writing for television, so the fact that "Justice League of America" will be his only ongoing won't mean he will be sitting around with his feet up now that he is off "Fantastic Four." "I am working on a couple of TV shows, so it's kind of tough fitting all this stuff in," McDuffie confessed. "There are a couple of little projects that I am talking to both Marvel and DC about. We'll see how it works out. Whether they want to them and whether my schedule will allow them."

And while he wouldn't say who exactly was involved in those "little projects," McDuffie did drop a slight hint:

"I have had a fair shot at pretty much everybody, but I wouldn't mind saying 'Hello' to some old friends, if that opportunity came up," said McDuffie, who started his career in comics 20 years ago as an assistant editor at Marvel, just after he finished film school.

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