The selection and award committee for the inaugural Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity has announced the finalists for 2015, selecting titles which showcase creators and characters who defy the stereotype of comic books as an industry dominated by straight white males in skin-tight suits and the similar-looking people who create them.
The committee nominated five titles for contention: Dynamite’s Shaft by David F. Walker and Bilquis Evely, KexComics’ Hex11 by Lisa K. Weber and Kelly Sue Milano, MFK by Nilah Magruder, Marvel’s Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, and First Second Books’ The Shadow Hero from Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew.
The award is named in honor of the late Dwayne McDuffie, remembered by comic book fans as the creator of such characters as Static Shock, one of the co-founders of Milestone Comics, and for his work shepherding the DC animated universe. He i also fondly remembered for his penning of the infamous Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers pitch. McDuffie passed away in February of 2011.
Matt Wayne, director of the McDuffie Award and longtime collaborator of Dwayne McDuffie, cited the importance of independent comic books in explaining their place as four-fifths of the nominees in a statement, saying “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.”
Charlotte McDuffie, who married Dwayne in 2009, echoed the theme of inclusion and expansion within the comic book industry, saying “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,”
After the announcement, G. Willow Wilson, the writer behind Ms. Marvel, the only mainstream title to be nominated for the award, expressed her gratitude to the committee.
So very pleased and honored to have been nominated for the Dwayne McDuffie award. He was a great guy and we have big shoes to fill.
— G. Willow Wilson (@GWillowWilson) February 18, 2015
The award winner will be announced at the Long Beach Comic Con on February 28th, in a ceremony presided over by movie producer Reginald Hudlin.