Last weekend, the Long Beach Comic Expo presented the first annual Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award, named for the late writer whose career was marked by a commitment to creating a more diverse cast of characters and creators in both comics and animation. Actor Phil LaMarr --- best known to superhero fans as the voice of Green Lantern on Justice League cartoons produced and frequently written by McDuffie --- served as MC for the event, and the ceremony included speeches from creators Reginald Hudlin, Denys Cowan, and Charlotte Fullerton, who is also McDuffie's widow. It was Fullerton who announced the winner: Nilah Magruder, nominated for her webcomic, M.F.K.

 

Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award, via Nilah Magruder

 

Magruder's victory is especially impressive when you consider that she was up against titles like G. Willow Wilson and Adiran Alphona's Ms. Marvel and Gene Yang and Sonny Liew's The Shadow Hero, both of which were incredible bright spots of the past few years of superheroes. Magruder, though, has been working on M.F.K. for over a decade, designing characters and background, before launching the comic online in 2012.

According to a writeup of the event at CBR, Magruder's speech before the winner was announced included a sentiment that I think a lot of fans can identify with, especially those who, like Magruder, work in both comics and animation: "I grew up on Static Shock and Justice League --- I knew about Dwayne McDuffie before I knew about him."

ComicsAlliance would like to congratulate Magruder on the win, and if our readers are curious to find out more, you can start with the first installment of M.F.K. right here!