Ms. Marvel has won the second annual Dwayne McDuffie Award For Diversity In Comics at a ceremony held this weekend at Long Beach Comic Expo. Aside from honoring Ms. Marvel and other diverse works being published today, the event celebrated the life and career of the late McDuffie, with friends and collaborators in attendance to share stories and lessons from the legendary creator.

As reported by Alexander Jones at The Beat, the event was hosted by McDuffie’s long-time collaborator Khary Payton, who shared stories of his experiences working with his friend throughout the night. Payton told the story of how McDuffie found his way to comic books, and eventually to the foundation of Milestone Media in 1993. Listing McDuffie’s extensive body of work in comics alone, Payton aptly summed up the spirit of the awards by saying, “We can all use a little bit more perspective from Dwayne McDuffie.”

Marc Bernardin was the keynote speaker of the event, and spoke about comics' long march to true representation, noting that while he still doesn’t see many faces like his own on the comic shelves, the industry is improving thanks to comics like those nominated for the award. Writer and nominee Brandon Easton, publisher Maytal Gilboa, and last year’s winner Nilah Magruder were also in attendance, and spoke about McDuffie and the importance of diversity of comics and animation.

When Ms. Marvel was announced as the winner, G. Willow Wilson accepted on behalf of the entire Ms. Marvel creative team via a video message. Wilson pleaded with someone to let her know via social media that they had actually won the award, and thanked Ms. Marvel’s fans for keeping the book alive when no-one thought it would make it past issue seven.

Ms. Marvel also won the prize for best series at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in January, while last year it received five Eisner nominations, two Harvey nominations, and the Hugo for Best Graphic Story, despite attempts to rig the voting.

The other nominees were Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur, by Amy ReederBrandon Montclare, and Natacha BustosAndre The Giant Closer to Heaven, by Brandon Easton and Denis Medri; Zana, by Jean Barker and Joey Granger; and Fresh Romance, edited by Janelle Asselin. (A full list of Fresh Romance contributors is available here.) The judges panel for The Dwayne McDuffie Award For Diversity In Comics were former Managing Editor of Milestone Media Matt Wayne, industry analyst Heidi McDonald, director Neo Edmund, writer William Watkins, editor Joan Hilty, and writer, editor and critic Joseph Phillip Illidge.


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