Next Saturday at the Long Beach Comic Expo the first ever winner of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity will be named, and today the organizers revealed an impressive roster of nominees that includes a tribute to the first Chinese-American superhero, a blaxploitation revival, and the most prominent Muslim superhero in North American comics.

The nominees represent diversity both through the characters in the books and through the creators behind them, all of whom are women and/or people of color. Finalists include several ComicsAlliance favorites; G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona's Ms. Marvel, David F. Walker and Bilquis Evely's Shaft, and Gene Yang and Sonny Liew's The Shadow Hero --- plus two books we're keen to read; Lisa K. Weber and Kelly Sue Milano's Hex11, and Nilah Magruder's M.F.K.

The awards are named for Dwayne McDuffie, whose long and incredible career in comics and animation was tragically cut short by his death in 2011. Not only did he leave behind a legacy of great comics, he was also a major champion of diversity in genre fiction, and his commitment to that cause has inspired a generation of creators and fans.

The award will be presented by Matt Wayne, with the blessing of McDuffie's wife, Charlotte, and will be decided by a committee described by a press release as "comics and animation professionals who knew McDuffie and have demonstrated a commitment to inclusiveness." The committee members are:

 

  • Neo Edmund – Novelist, animation and comics writer;
  • Joan Hilty – Nickelodeon Comics Editor; Creator of Bitter Girl;
  • Joseph Illidge – Former Editor, Milestone and DC Comics; Columnist, Comic Book Resources; Writer, First Second Books;
  • Heidi MacDonald – Editor in Chief, The Beat;
  • Glen Murakami – Producer/Supervising Director, DC animated properties and Ben 10: Alien Force/Ultimate Alien;
  • Eugene Son – Comics writer/Story Editor, Ultimate Spider-Man Animated;
  • William J. Watkins – Writer; Former owner, Chicago's first Black-owned comics store;
  • Len Wein – Co-creator Swamp Thing, Wolverine, New X-Men; Former Editor-in-Chief- of Marvel Comics and Senior Editor, DC Comics.

 

For more information, check out the Long Beach Comic Expo's website.