The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics is now officially accepting submissions for its sixth annual ceremony. Like so many other events, the McDuffie award has shaken off COVID delays, but continues nonetheless. The event will name one winner from five honored finalists, whose work resembles a commitment to excellence and inclusion on and off the page, much like the late Mr. McDuffie’s own efforts to produce entertainment that was representative of and created by a wide scope of human experience.
The Dwayne McDuffie Award’s motto, in his own words, is as follows: “From invisible to inevitable.”
Master of ceremonies, actor Phil LaMarr will announce the winner later this year via video. LaMarr worked closely with McDuffie, portraying two characters written by him: Static himself in Static Shock, and John Stewart in Justice League Unlimited. The actor said in a statement:
“It is important right now to acknowledge and reward artists who strive to tell the stories of diverse experiences and points of view. When you know someone’s story, you cannot dehumanize them.”
This year, the Dwayne McDuffie Award will also invite two more members onto its selection committee: Artist, Colleen Doran and Marvel’s Blade and DC Comics’ New Teen Titans creator, Marv Wolfman. They join previously announced Jamal Igle, Joe Illidge, Heidi MacDonald, Kevin Rubio, Geoffrey Thorne, Will J. Watkins, and Matt Wayne.
Along with the announcement, Director Will J. Watkins also issued a statement regarding Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality:
“If Dwayne were still with us, what might he say to diverse creators given the world’s current state of affairs? A global pandemic disproportionately causing the deaths of African Americans, an economic crises considered the worst since the Great Depression, and an ever-growing list of unarmed, African American men killed by police officers. Just one of these horrific situations might prove too daunting for the greatest superhero, but Dwayne knew how to face any challenge with integrity, ingenuity and innovation. Hearing his creative voice in the present wilderness would certainly make it easier to bear. Dwayne’s no longer with us, but as we enter the 6th year of this award in his name, its significance and impact has never been more important. So what might Dwayne say in the midst of such unsettling times? I believe the same thing he’s still saying through this award—he’d encourage diverse creators that their art, their voices, and their lives do matter.”
The deadline for completed submissions is 11:59pm PST on September 1st, 2020, to be received at dwaynemcduffie.com. Previous winners include Archival Quality, written by Ivy Noelle Weir & illustrated by Christina “Steenz” Stewart, Leon: Protector of the Playground, written & illustrated by Jamar Nicholas, Upgrade Soul, written & illustrated by Ezra Claytan Daniels, Ms. Marvel, written by G. Willow Wilson & illustrated by Adrian Alphona, and M.F.K. written & illustrated by Nilah Magruder.
Disclaimer: The Beat’s own Founder and EiC Heidi MacDonald is a judge for the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics.