Presented last night at C3/Long Beach Comic Expo, Leon: Protector of the Playground was the winner of the 2018 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity. Written and drawn by Jamar Nicholas, it’s a lively all-ages graphic novel set in a world where superheroes are common but kids still have to deal with hall monitors and grades along with supervillains.
The awards ceremony was a tribute to McDuffie’s legacy with speeches by presenter Phil LaMarr, writer Don McGregor, voice director Andrea Romano and Charlotte Fullerton McDuffie talking about the power of representation and, of course, the importance of this weekend with the Black Panther film’s record breaking opening. It was a touching evening.
Nicholas sent an acceptance speech via video which is up on Facebook (you may not be able to see it due to privacy settings.)
The winner was selected by a judging commitee including myself, Mark D. Bright, Jennifer de Guzman, Joan Hilty, Jamal Igle, Mikki Kendall, Kevin Rubio, Gail Simone, and Will J. Watkins. As always, I am honored to have been able to participate in this, to have read to many excellent books that were submitted, and to be able to keep Dwayne’s formidable legacy alive.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.