After a vigorous round of judging, the five finalists for the Dwayne McDuffie Award For Diversity In Comics have been revealed (I was one of the judges) and they are:

Upgrade Soul by Ezra Claytan Daniels


Shaft: Imitation of Life by David Walker and Dietrich Smith



Amazing Forest by Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas and more


StarHammer by J. N. Monk and Harry Bogosian


14 Nights by Kristina Stipetic

The nominees include two webcomics, two print comics and one comic (Upgrade Soul) that was originally an iPad app. I think it’s a pretty good spectrum of works that are all excellent…and have absolutely nothing in common. The winner will be announced at a panel at the Long Beach Comic Expo this Weekend — and I will be there.

The McDuffie Award was established to highlight diversity both on the page and behind it and were founded in 2015 to honor the memory of the late writer Dwayne McDuffie.

“I am pleased to once again welcome another group of outstanding work and all of these remarkable  creators to be forever associated with my late husband’s name, and I look forward to seeing where our 2017 nominees’ careers go from here,” said Dwayne’s widow, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie.”Everything they create from now on, they’ll do attached to Dwayne’s reputation for not just inclusiveness but excellence. Please continue to do him proud in all ways, always.”

The complete judging panel comprised Mark D. Bright, Neo Edmund, Joan Hilty, Joseph Illidge, Heidi MacDonald, Don McGregor, Kevin Rubio, Cassandra Pelham, Gail Simone, Will J. Watkins, Matt Wayne, and Len Wein.


  1. The link for UPGRADE SOUL is outdated: it’s moved to Comixology for digital, and Radiator Comics for print. In
    a September 2016 interview at Pipedream, Ezra Claytan Daniels discussed the digital history of his 2012–2016 graphic novel. (Concluded last December, with Vol. 3 of 3 upcoming in print.)

      Q: “Speaking of which, whatever happened to Upgrade Soul?”

      A: “I’m still working on it! It’s just the development of the app that’s stalled. I’ve been releasing volumes on Comixology. Once I finish the whole thing, hopefully by the end of the year, we’re going to finish the app and relaunch it as a one-time-purchase thing–and don’t worry, anybody who’s purchased chapters will be taken care of!”

    (By the way, they’ve re-released the two volumes of THE CHANGERS, Daniels’s great speculative-fiction graphic novel from 2000.)

  2. P.S.: Just checked if Vol. 3 was already on Comixology but they now have a weird “Site error: The content you were looking for is not currently available” for each of its pages (series, Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Daniels), as if the comic had been removed?

    Google’s cache shows they were still on Comixology on January 20, but Daniels’s site only links to iTunes now. (The print version is still at as of now.)

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