Published: February 23, 2011

Dwayne McDuffie, a comic-book writer known for diversifying the pantheon of superheroes, creating popular black characters in print and on television, died in Burbank, Calif., on Monday, the day after his 49th birthday.

February 24, 2011

John Sotomayor/The New York Times

Dwayne McDuffie’s stewardship the Justice League of America added new black and female characters.

February 24, 2011

DC Comics

Dwayne McDuffie diversified the ranks of superheroes with characters like Static, above.

Mr. McDuffie, a resident of Sherman Oaks, Calif., died of complications from heart surgery, said Matt Wayne, a longtime friend.

Mr. McDuffie was best known as a founder of Milestone Media, described by The Plain Dealer of Cleveland in 2000 as “the industry’s most successful minority-owned-and-operated comic company.”

An independent company whose work is distributed by DC Comics, Milestone produces comics with ethnically diverse casts. Among its major characters (all of whom Mr. McDuffie helped create, in collaboration with illustrators and other writers) are Static, Icon and Hardware, all of whom are African-American; Xombi, who is Asian-American; and the Blood Syndicate, a crime-fighting group of men and women that includes blacks, Asians and Latinos.

Static, perhaps the most famous, is the alter ego of a mild-mannered teenager, who uses secret electromagnetic powers to do valiant things. Mr. McDuffie named Static’s alter ego Virgil Hawkins, after the black man who waged a midcentury fight to be admitted to law school at the University of Florida, a process that eventually led to the desegregation of Florida’s public university system.

That comic inspired the animated television series “Static Shock,” originally broadcast on the WB television network from 2000 to 2004, for which Mr. McDuffie was a creator, story editor and writer.

Mr. McDuffie’s other screen credits include writing and producing several mainstream animated series for television, including “Ben 10: Alien Force” and “Justice League.” Under his stewardship the Justice League of America — predominantly an old boys’ club featuring white males like Batman and Superman — added new black and female characters.

Dwayne Glenn McDuffie was born in Detroit on Feb. 20, 1962. Growing up, he later said, he encountered few comic-book characters who looked like him; he encountered fewer still who were simultaneously black, heroic and even remotely authentic.

“You only had two types of characters available for children,” Mr. McDuffie told The New York Times in 1993. “You had the stupid angry brute and the he’s-smart-but-he’s-black characters. And they were all colored either this Hershey-bar shade of brown, a sickly looking gray or purple. I’ve never seen anyone that’s gray or purple before in my life. There was no diversity and almost no accuracy among the characters of color at all.”

Mr. McDuffie received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan, followed by a master’s in physics there; he later studied film at New York University. After a stint as a copy editor at Investment Dealers’ Digest, he took a job as an editor with Marvel Comics in 1987.

At Marvel Mr. McDuffie helped develop the company’s first line of superhero trading cards and wrote for established series like Spider-Man and Captain Marvel. He also created Damage Control, a mini-series published at intervals from the late ’80s to the present. Mr. McDuffie devised the series to address a long-overlooked but perennially nagging question: Who cleans up the comic-book universe after the preternaturally messy battles between the forces of good and evil?

After leaving Marvel in 1990, Mr. McDuffie did freelance work for DC and other comic publishers before founding Milestone with three partners in the early ’90s. The company’s first comics appeared in 1993 and were published regularly by DC until 1997 and in reprints afterward; two new Milestone series, Xombi and Static Shock, are scheduled to be published by DC this year.

Mr. McDuffie’s honors include a Humanitas Prize in 2003 for an episode of “Static Shock” about gun violence.

Mr. McDuffie’s first marriage, to Patricia Younger, ended in divorce. He married Charlotte Fullerton, a writer of comic books and animated TV shows, in 2009. She survives him, as does his mother, Edna McDuffie Gardner.

To those who thought comic books unlikely vehicles for advancing social justice, Mr. McDuffie’s reply was simple.

“You don’t feel as real if you don’t see yourself reflected in the media,” he told The Chicago Sun-Times in 1993. “There’s something very powerful about seeing yourself represented.”





Published: February 24, 2011

Dr. Edwin D. Kilbourne, a medical researcher who figured out how to outwit fast-evolving flu germs, developing a new vaccine each year by intermingling genes of different disease strains, died Monday in Branford, Conn. He was 90.

February 25, 2011

Associated Press

Dr. Edwin Kilbourne in 1973.

His family announced the death. He lived in Madison, Conn.

For all his prestigious discoveries, awards and positions, Dr. Kilbourne had his greatest visibility during the swine flu epidemic of 1976. When a soldier died at Fort Dix, N.J., after being infected by a particularly virulent flu virus, Dr. Kilbourne wrote an Op-Ed article in The New York Times warning of a worldwide flu pandemic, and personally led in developing a vaccine to meet its challenge.

President Gerald R. Ford ordered 200 million doses of the vaccine to be administered to that many Americans. Dr. Kilbourne was a principal adviser to the president on the program. But even as the disease seemed to subside on its own, several hundred people who received shots contracted a kind of paralysis. Some died.

Time magazine asserted that “election-year fever” had prompted the president to move quickly, while The Times called Mr. Ford’s scientific advisers “panicmongers.” The program was stopped after 43 million vaccinations.

A causative connection between the vaccinations and the paralytic syndrome was never proved. And Dr. Kilbourne remained convinced that the mass vaccinations were the right policy, pointing out that the virus that killed the soldier bore a sinister resemblance to the pandemic of 1918-19, which infected two billion people around the world and killed 20 million to 40 million. He also warned that the disease could be hibernating, which he had proved it could do.

“Better a vaccine without an epidemic than an epidemic without a vaccine,” he said years later. He called the episode “my 15 minutes of infamy.”

Although Dr. Kilbourne never stopped believing that Mr. Ford’s aggressive actions were warranted, only 230 cases of flu were diagnosed at Fort Dix, and none elsewhere.

Of the 43 million who got flu shots, 535 came down with the paralytic syndrome known as Guillain-Barré; 23 of them died.

Dr. Kilbourne’s early research examined links between hormones and viruses, but it was his work on the flu that earned him global note as early as the mid-1950s. His goal was to find weapons to combat the flu virus comparable to the way penicillin fights bacterial infections.

He was up against one of the most fickle, enigmatic, persistent microbes to attack man or beast. These microbes are capable of changing their surface characteristics to elude barriers the body has erected against them. Dr. Kilbourne’s solution was to mix, or “recombine,” the genes of different strains of the virus to “persuade” the body to come up with new defenses.

“This accomplishment represents the first deliberate genetic engineering of any vaccine,” the New York Academy of Medicine said in presenting Dr. Kilbourne with its highest award in 1983. For years after, he created annual versions of flu vaccine targeted at emerging viruses.

In 1973, Dr. Kilbourne proposed that worldwide epidemics might be terrestrial “Andromeda strains” coming to man from the barnyard and then retreating to await the next great outbreak. “The Andromeda Strain” in Michael Crichton’s novel of that name is an organism from outer space that Earth is not prepared to handle.

In delivering the R. E. Dyer lecture to the National Institutes of Health in 1973, Dr. Kilbourne suggested that two conditions must be met for a new viral strain to go from swine or other animals to man. One was the random recombination of a virus, making it infectious to man. The other was an ecological niche for the virus in a human population unprepared to fight back.

“If my hypothesis is correct,” he said, “the pandemic viruses of tomorrow and of remote yesterdays may already exist in our domestic animals today.”

Edwin Dennis Kilbourne was born on July 10, 1920, in Buffalo. He graduated from Cornell University in 1942 and Cornell Medical College in 1944. For the next two years he served in the Army, where he became intrigued with influenza while treating soldiers.

He next worked as a researcher at the Rockefeller Institute before working at four medical schools: Tulane, Cornell, Mount Sinai (as chairman of the microbiology department) and New York Medical College.

Dr. Kilbourne is survived by his wife of 58 years, the former Joy Schmid; his sister, Sylvia Hosie; his half-sister, Lynn Norton; his sons, Edwin, Richard, Christopher and Paul; and eight grandchildren.

Over the desk in Dr. Kilbourne’s laboratory, the most prominent award, obscuring honors like his membership in the National Academy of Sciences, was a plaque honoring his contribution to his team’s 1988-89 victory in a men’s bowling league in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.

He was also a published poet, devoted to extolling the bizarre mating habits of animals like hairy-legged fruit flies. A paean to the bighorn ram illustrates:

His wooly wooing is neither smooth nor is it unctuous,

And therefore can be fairly termed rambunctious.





Published: February 22, 2011

Edward Zigo, a seasoned New York detective who helped arrest David Berkowitz for the so-called Son of Sam serial murders, which terrorized New York in the mid-1970s, died Saturday at his home in Lynbrook, on Long Island. He was 84.

February 23, 2011

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Edward Zigo with David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Sam, in August 1977. Mr. Zigo had searched Mr. Berkowitz’s car.

His death was confirmed by Michael Grant, a director of the Flinch & Bruns Funeral Home in Lynbrook. The Associated Press reported that he died of cancer.

The Son of Sam case was one of New York City’s signature crimes. Starting in July 1976, a serial killer wielding a .44 caliber Charter Arms revolver preyed on young women or couples in Queens and the Bronx. By the summer of 1977, the toll had reached five dead and six injured. A bizarre four-page letter, addressed to Capt. Joseph Borrelli, the head of the homicide unit for Queens, and peppered with allusions to vampires and monsters, heightened the unease by warning that he would strike again.

When the killer shot Stacy Moskowitz, his sixth murder victim, and wounded a companion in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn on July 31, 1977, Mr. Zigo, a homicide detective at the time, was assigned to work on the case with Detective John Falotico, Mr. Borrelli said Tuesday. Fifty detectives had already been assigned to the manhunt in a task force known as Operation Omega.

A significant break in the case came when a woman walking her dog the night of the Moskowitz murder remembered seeing an officer ticketing cars. Another detective, James Justus, followed up on the tickets, one of which had been issued to a David Berkowitz of Yonkers for a Ford Galaxie parked too close to a fire hydrant.

According to an account of the case in Jonathan Mahler’s 2005 chronicle of the year 1977, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning,” Detective Justus called the Yonkers police and reached the switchboard operator, who turned out to be the daughter of Sam Carr, a neighbor of Mr. Berkowitz. Mr. Berkowitz later told the police that Mr. Carr’s dog was giving him instructions to kill.

On the afternoon of Aug. 10, Mr. Zigo arrived outside the apartment house where Mr. Berkowitz lived and saw the Ford Galaxie. In its back seat, he spotted a duffel bag containing a rifle. In the glove compartment, he found a letter threatening to attack a disco. “Eddie said the writing resembled what I had shown him,” Mr. Borrelli said.

The police waited until Mr. Berkowitz emerged and got into his car. Detective Falotico, his gun drawn, approached the car and ordered Mr. Berkowitz out.

“You got me,” Mr. Berkowitz said, adding a moment later, “I’m the Son of Sam.”

When Mr. Berkowitz was led into the 84th Precinct station house the next day, with an army of photographers and reporters recording the event, Detectives Zigo and Falotico flanked him. For his role, Mr. Zigo was promoted to first-grade detective.

The A.P. reported that he is survived by his wife, Eileen; a son, Edward III; a daughter, Susan; and eight grandchildren.

Mr. Zigo, who retired from the police force in 1982, went on to have a brief movie career, playing law enforcement figures in two movies and working as a technical consultant on four others.

In a 1985 television movie about the Son of Sam case, “Out of the Darkness,” Mr. Zigo was portrayed by Martin Sheen.



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