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Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity nominations open; judges announced.

The nomination period for the annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity is now open.  In addition the judges for the 2019 award were announced and include returnees Jennifer de Guzman, Joan Hilty, Jamal Igle, Mikki Kendall, Kevin Rubio, Heidi McDonald and Will J. Watkins and new judges Cheryl Lynn Eaton, and Geoffrey Thorne. The annual awards are given out by MAD Event Entertainment, LLC at Long Beach Comic Expo in February.  Last year we were in attendance for the event as Jamar Nicholas’ LEON: PROTECTOR OF THE PLAYGROUND took home the award in a ceremony presented by  Phil LaMarr.

Below you can see pictures that I took from the event last year. 

Full press release is below. 

Nominations for the 2019 DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS Are Open 

Announcing DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS’ New Selection Committee Members

Former Glyph Awards Judge, Cheryl Lynn Eaton and Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest showrunner, Geoffrey Thorne

October 17, 2018: MAD Event Entertainment, LLC is proud to announce the 2019 DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS is now officially accepting submissions and welcomes two new Selection Committee Members: former Glyph Awards judge, Cheryl Lynn Eaton and Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest showrunner, Geoffrey Thorne. 

The 5th annual DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS will once again honor five finalists whose commitment to excellence and inclusion both on the page as well as behind the scenes exemplifies the late Mr. McDuffie’s own career producing entertainment that reflects a wide scope of human experience, created by an equally wide scope of human beings. 

The winner will be announced at a reception to be held on February 15, 2019 in Long Beach, CA during theLong Beach Comic Expo and C3: Comic Creator Conference

The motto of the DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS are Dwayne’s own words: “From invisible to inevitable.” 

List of past winners: 

2018 – Leon: Protector of the Playground, written and illustrated by Jamar Nicholas (Kids Love Comics)

2017 – Upgrade Soul, written and illustrated by Ezra Claytan Daniels

2016 – Ms. Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Marvel Entertainment)

2015 – M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder (www.mfkcomic.com).

“Excellence and inclusiveness. Dwayne held his own work to this dual high standard and accepted no less from others,” said Dwayne’s widow, Charlotte McDuffie. “Our past winners and nominees all continue to make me proud to have their names and careers forever associated with my late husband’s legacy. I eagerly look forward in this 5th submission season to hearing from an even more varied chorus of creative voices ready to share their own outstanding visions with our world.”

“I wish Dwayne was still with us,” continued Charlott McDuffie. “His voice is sorely missed, especially now. As we go into the 5th year of this award, its significance and impact is more important than ever. I’m excited we can again open the door a bit wider for more diverse creators to have their voices heard.” 

“As I reflect on the course of the DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY, I’m immensely proud of the way the larger community has accepted and embraced the mission. It’s been a tumultuous five-year period in the industry, and to be a small part of a movement for change and acceptance for all creators has been rewarding, to say the least,” said Martha Donato, President & Founder of MAD Event Management LLC, producers of Long Beach Comic Expo and C3. “I’m grateful to Charlotte [McDuffie] for including me in the award program and look forward to watching its evolution over time. I firmly believe Dwayne’s legacy is secure in her capable hands. For the nominees and winners of the Award past and future, you exemplify all that he stood for and believed in.” 

 “Dwayne McDuffie was a friend to me both personally and artistically for over a decade. He gave me my first job writing in animation,” said Geoffrey Thorne. “This award serves as an ongoing ambassador of his worldview (and mine.). Everybody who can play should get to play. I’m humbled to have been asked to judge this award that honors his legacy.”  

The DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS’ Selection Committee consists of prominent comics and animation industry professionals who have themselves demonstrated a commitment to Mr. McDuffie’s vision of inclusiveness in their own lives and work.This year’s judges are:

Cheryl Lynn Eatonis a pop-culture commentator and writer of comics. Her creative work can be found at publishers such as Image Comics, DC Comics, and Humanoids. Links to her non-fiction work are available at CherylLynnEaton.com.

Jennifer de Guzman is a freelance editor, comic book marketer and veteran of the comics industry. She was formerly editor-in-chief at SLG Publishing, a regular columnist for Publishers Weekly, Director of PR and Marketing and Director of Book Sales for Image Comics. Her writing has appeared in the anthologies, Womanthology: SpaceThis Is a Souvenir, and, Put the Book Back on the Shelf.

Joan Hilty is Comics Editor at Nickelodeon and editor-in-chief of Pageturner, a boutique comics/graphic novel production house. She was formerly a Senior Editor at DC/Vertigo and syndicated cartoonist. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and co-chairs comics programming for Brooklyn Book Festival and Miami Book Fair.

Jamal Igle is the writer/artist/Creator of Molly Danger for Action Lab Entertainment and the penciller of the critically acclaimed series, BLACK from Black Mask Studios, as well as many titles for DC, Marvel and Dark Horse. He’s been a storyboard artist for Sony Animation and is also a popular guest lecturer on the subjects of comics and animation.

Mikki Kendall is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Swords of Sorrow (Dynamite), Bitch Planet (Image), Spitball 2 (Columbus College of Art and Design), and the Princeless Charity Anthology (Action Lab). Her non-fiction work has appeared in outlets including the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and Time. Her books Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight For their Rights and Hood Feminism will be published by Penguin Random House in 2019 and 2020.

Heidi MacDonald is the editor-in-chief of Comicsbeat.com and a former editor for Disney and DC Comics. She can be heard on Publishers Weekly’s weekly podcast More To Come and the Beat podcast Three Women in a Hotel Room. 

Kevin Rubio is a writer/producer who has contributed to Justice League ActionAvengers AssembleThunderbirds Are Go!Green Lantern: The Animated Series and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. He is also the creator and writer of the Star Wars graphic novel, Tag & Bink Were Here and Red 5 Publication’s Abyss Vol. I & II. He is an inaugural recipient of the George Lucas Film Award for his Star Wars short film, TROOPS, a Promax Award winner, and Emmy nominee.

Geoffrey Thorne is the writer/Creator of MOSAIC for Marvel Comics, PRODIGAL for Genre 19 and JOURNEYMEN for Dark Horse Comics. He is also the head writer and Showrunner of Marvel’s Avengers Black Panther’s Quest as well as a writer-producer on such hit series as LEVERAGE, LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT and THE LIBRARIANS.

Will J. Watkins (Director of the DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS) is a freelance film and animation writer who is also comic book story/world-building consultant on The Protectorsgraphic novel published by Athlita Comics. He had a stint as an assistant editor at DC Comics and before moving to L.A. he owned Chicago’s first African American-owned comics store. Most recently he was writer’s assistant on Facebook Watch’s SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS.

How to Submit a Nomination: 

The deadline for completed submissions to be received at dmcduffieaward@gmail.com for the 2019 DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS is December 31, 2018. Visit http://tinyurl.com/ycwbbsf2 to get started. Please complete all fields fully and consider your asnwers before clicking submit. Examples of the prospective award recipient’s work should be sent in an email to dmcduffieaward@gmail.com with McDuffie Award Submission in the subject line. Please attach a link or a 15MB PDF file of the work to be considered. When submitting work, we strongly suggest sending the first issue of a series. If submitting anything other than the first issue, a one-page synopsis of what came before must accompany the submission. Also, we suggest sending the first 25-30 pages or first chapter of a graphic novel. We cannot guarantee anything more will be considered. If one is available, please also attach a JPG photo of the entrant to the email. Please do not include any further attachments. Submissions will be accepted until December 31, 2018.

About Dwayne McDuffie:

 Dwayne Glenn McDuffie was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. The middle son of Leroy McDuffie and Edna (Hawkins) McDuffie (now Gardner), Dwayne attended the prestigious Roeper School for gifted children before going on to earn undergraduate degrees in both English & Physics as well as a graduate degree in Physics, all at the University of Michigan. (Go, Blue!) He later also studied filmmaking at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Dwayne first entered the comic book industry as an Editor at Marvel Comics, thanks to his NYU friend Greg Wright with whom he recreated the Deathlok character into the one in use today. With artist Ernie Colón, Dwayne also co-­created the comedic Marvel team book, Damage Control.

Frustrated by the lack of diversity of both characters and creators in comics, Dwayne—together with Derek Dingle, Denys Cowan, and Michael Davis ­­co-­founded MILESTONE COMICS (later MILESTONE MEDIA), the first African ­American owned comic book company in history, with a mission to provide a wide array of characters, content, and creators that more accurately represent the racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and physical diversity of real life. (Also? They were just outstandingly good books. Seriously. If you haven’t read them, seek them out. Now. You won’t believe what you’ve been missing!)

StaticIconHardwareXombi – to name just a few. Throughout his career in the comic book industry, Dwayne created or co­-created these and more than a dozen other series, in addition to writing stories for too many other titles to list but here are some highlights: Justice League of AmericaFantastic FourSpider­-ManBatman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Captain Marvel, Avengers Spotlight, Hellraiser, Ultraman, even The Tick, and Back to The Future. Dwayne also co-­created The Road To Hell with fellow writer and Milestone editor, Matt Wayne, the inaugural Director of the DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS, established posthumously by Dwayne’s widow, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie, with the invaluable assistance of writer, Neo Edmund. 

Dwayne transitioned into the animation industry as a Story Editor and Writer on the Emmy­-winning Kids WB series, Static Shock, which he co-­created and for which he won the 2003 HUMANITAS PRIZE. Dwayne was also a Producer, Story Editor, and Writer on Cartoon Network’s Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series, for which he received a 2004 WRITERS GUILD nomination.

With artist/producer Glen Murakami, Dwayne redeveloped Man of Action’s Ben 10 animated series into Ben 10: Alien Force then Ben 10: Ultimate Alien – 98 episodes of what became the global blockbuster (350 ­episodes ­and­ counting!) franchise for Cartoon Network. Dwayne also wrote the animated features Justice League: Crisis on Two EarthsAll Star Superman, and Justice League: Doom, as well as episodes of What’s New, Scooby Doo? and Teen Titans, all for Warner Bros. For his indelible work in animation, Dwayne was posthumously presented with the WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA’s 2011 ANIMATION WRITING AWARD, the first African ­American in history to be so honored.

The winner of 3 EISNER AWARDS for his work in comic books, 11 PARENTS’ CHOICE AWARDS, 6 “BEST EDITOR” awards, the 2009 INKPOT AWARD presented by Comic-­Con International, and a GOLDEN APPLE AWARD from his alma mater for his “use of popular art to promote and enhance human dignity,” Dwayne McDuffie’s life’s work exemplified both diversity and excellence. 

Mr. McDuffie’s belongings are currently being curated by the SMITHSONIAN for inclusion in the NATIONAL MUSEUM of AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY and CULTURE in Washington, D.C. 

He led by example while presciently stating, “From invisible to inevitable”­­ – now the motto of the DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS. The man may be gone, but his mission lives on.

About Charlotte McDuffie: 

Dwayne’s widow, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie, is a twice Emmy­-nominated animation writer, best known by fans for her work on Hasbro’s My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Cartoon Network’s Ben 10franchise (its multiple TV series incarnations and accompanying videogames, chapter books, and comics), and the Star Wars’ parody short film, Troops, aka the internet’s very first viral video before there even was such a term for it. She served as the first female chairperson in history of the Animation Writers Caucus at the Writers Guild of America, and is committed to continuing her late husband’s legacy through The Dwayne McDuffie Fundhttps://www.gofundme.com/DwayneMcDuffieFund

The 2019 DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS’ final five nominees will be formally revealed to the press in anticipation of the 2019 Long Beach Comic Expo where the winner will be announced live at a ceremony on February 15, 2019. 

The next MAD Event Management events are the C3: Comic Creator Conference being held on February 15, 2019 and the Long Beach Comic Expo, being held at the Long Beach Convention Center on February 16 & 17, 2019.

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Dan Berry
Dan Berry
Dan Berry is a man of mystery, an enigma that flits from convention to convention like a spectre, like a spirit. His interests range far and wide: he cannot be determined, he cannot be defined, he cannot be contained. He's like the wind. He also is a Sagittarius and enjoys a nice Italian.

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