As one of the judges for the  annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics, I’m extremely proud to announce that the five finalists for this year’s prize have been selected and this might be the best crop yet. I’ll leave the rest to the press release, but this was an honor and a privilege. The five selections are as different as can be and represent all kinds of creators and all kinds of stories. Jeez, I love comics.

And even as time strapped as I am, getting exposed to new creators and visions by being a judge for this is truly, no exaggeration, one of the highlights of my year. And as a chance to remember and honor Dwayne, it’s another highlight all by itself.

The winner will be announced live at an awards ceremony at the Long Beach Convention Center on Friday, February 15 at 7:30pm PT, the eve of Long Beach Comic Expo weekend, and serving as the closing ceremony of the 2019 C3: Comic Creator Conference.

This year’s finalists are:
“I’m immensely proud of the way the larger community has accepted and embraced the mission of the Dwayne McDuffie Award. To be a small part of a movement for change and acceptance for all creators has been rewarding, to say the least,” said Martha Donato, President & Founder of MAD Event Management LLC, producers of Long Beach Comic Expo and C3. “For the nominees and winners of the Award past and future, you exemplify all that he stood for and believed in.”
“This year’s nominees join an illustrious short list of visionary creators who continue to impress, humble, and make me proud to have them and their work forever associated with my husband’s name and his life’s mission — excellence and inclusivity for everyone in all entertainment media,” said Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie, Dwayne’s widow.
Fan-favorite actor, Phil LaMarr, who worked in person extensively with Mr. McDuffie as the voice of Virgil/Static on Static Shock and Jon Stewart/Green Lantern on Justice League, returns as Master of Ceremonies.
“I am, as always, proud to be part of the work the DMADs do to keep Dwayne’s legacy alive. But this year, when a movie based on the first major black comic book superhero (Black Panther) is up for Best Picture, his (Dwayne’s) striving for excellence and diversity in the field seems even more prescient, even more important,” added Phil LaMarr.
The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics 2019 selection committee consists of nine prominent comics and animation professionals who personally knew and worked with Mr. McDuffie and/or have demonstrated a serious commitment to his vision of excellence and inclusiveness on the page and behind the scenes:
  • Cheryl Lynn Eaton is a pop-culture commentator and writer of comics.
  • Jennifer de Guzman is a freelance editor, comic book marketer, and veteran of the comics industry.
  • Joan Hilty is Comics Editor at Nickelodeon and editor-in-chief of Pageturner, a boutique comics/graphic novel production house.
  • Jamal Igle is the writer/artist/Creator of Molly Danger for Action Lab Entertainment and the penciller of the critically acclaimed series, BLACK from Black Mask Studios, as well as many titles for DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse.
  • Mikki Kendall is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Swords of Sorrow (Dynamite), Bitch Planet (Image), Spitball 2 (Columbus College of Art and Design), and the Princeless Charity Anthology (Action Lab).
  • Heidi MacDonald is the editor-in-chief of and a former editor for Disney and DC Comics.
  • Kevin Rubio is the creator and writer of the fan-favorite Star Wars graphic novel, Tag & Bink Were Here, as well as the Red 5 Publication original, Abyss Vol. I & II. He is an Emmy nominee for songwriting on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. His Star Wars short film TROOPS is acknowledged as the very first viral video in the history of the internet.
  • Geoffrey Thorne (DMAD 2019 Keynote Speaker) is the writer/Creator of MOSAIC for Marvel Comics, PRODIGAL for Genre 19, and JOURNEYMEN for Dark Horse Comics, who is currently head writer of the current animated series, Marvel’s Avengers Black Panther’s Quest.
  • Will J. Watkins (Director of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics) is a freelance film and animation writer who is also comic book story/world-building consultant on The Protectors graphic novel published by Athlitacomics.


  1. No one’s objecting to bad gay tragedy porn that whitewashes Stonewall & has godawful art being written by a straight white man who’s clearly out of his proverbial lane, huh? I’m guessing that the panel is pretty het if they think Russell’s Snagglepuss is good reading, let alone good representation.

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