"Ms. Marvel" by G. Willow Wilson (pictured) and Adrian Alphona is a finalist for the first Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity. (Marvel Entertainment)Link
"HEX11" by Lisa K. Weber, top, and Kelly Sue Milano (bottom) is a finalist for the first Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity. (HexComics)Link
"Shaft" #1 by David F. Walker (top) and Bilquis Evely (bottom) is a finalist for the first Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity. (Dynamite Entertainment)Link
"M.F.K." by Nilah Magruder (pictured) is a finalist for the first Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity. (http://www.mfkcomic.com/)Link
Finalists for the first Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity have been chosen, and the nominees range from independent to mainstream comic books.
The five nominated titles and creators are as follows: “Hex11” by Lisa K. Weber and Kelly Sue Milano (HexComics), “M.F.K.” by Nilah Magruder (http://www.mfkcomic.com/), “Ms. Marvel” by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Marvel), “The Shadow Hero” by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew (First Second Books) and “Shaft” by writer David F. Walker and artist Bilquis Evely (Dynamite).
“Who gets to be the hero, and how readers get to see themselves reflected in the hero are complex matters that Dwayne thought about often. As editor in chief of Milestone Media’s original run of comics, he used terms like ‘multi-experiential’ to describe what we were doing,” said Matt Wayne, the director of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity. “Independent publishing by its nature is more inclusive, so it’s no surprise that a number of the nominees are indies or even self-published. We hope that the DMAD will help these comics find new readers. The major comics publishers need no help from us, but whoa, ‘Ms. Marvel’ deserves every plaudit the world can work up!”
The honor is named after McDuffie, a prolific writer who co-founded Milestone Media and its popular menagerie of heroes. He had stints working on DC’s “Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight” and “Justice League of America” and Marvel’s “Fantastic Four” comic book titles.
He was also an accomplished television writer and producer for such animated series as “What’s New, Scooby-Doo?” “Teen Titans,” “Static Shock” and “Ben 10: Alien Force.” In 2003, McDuffie shared a Humanitas Prize for “Jimmy,” a “Static Shock” script about gun violence in schools. He died in 2011 at age 49 of complications after undergoing emergency heart surgery.
“I am so proud that my husband’s personal mission to include a more diverse array of voices — both in content and creators — is able to continue now through this award in his name, by encouraging others who share his vision of comics, characters, and the industry itself better mirroring society,” said Charlotte McDuffie, Dwayne’s wife, in a statement.
This year’s winner is to be announced at a ceremony at the Long Beach Comics Expo on Feb. 28 at 2 p.m.
Reginald Hudlin, a comic book writer and movie producer of such films as “House Party,” “Boomerang” and “BeBe’s Kids,” is set to be the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony.
With diversity in comics such a hot topic in the industry, the award could have been launched at WonderCon or even Comic-Con International, but the group behind the award decided the LBCE was the best locale.
“The Long Beach Comics Expo was our first choice for a venue. It’s a great show for fans, attracting lots of creators and celebrities, without the miasma of crowds and hype that some larger cons wallow in,” Wayne said.
The award and the selection committee for the award were introduced in 2014 at Long Beach Comic Con. Comics writer Neo Edmund suggested the idea to Charlotte McDuffie and she passed it on to Wayne, one of McDuffie’s closest friends and collaborators.
“Charlotte trusted me to make the DMAD something that Dwayne would have signed off on. I chose a selection committee made up of eight comics pros whose opinion I know Dwayne respected,” Wayne said.
“There was no formula [in choosing the finalists], beyond designing a comics world and an editorial style that left room for something new to occur. And each of the DMAD nominees is something new, which, through its combination of inclusiveness and excellence, broadens the scope of the industry. Had Dwayne not left us, I’m sure he’d be recommending these comics.”
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