The 2018 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics are now OPEN, and the selection panel has added three people: Jennifer de Guzman, Jamal Igle and Mikki Kendall. Sadly, it has also lost one, as the late Len Wein was also on the committee for the first three years of the award.

Submissions for the award, which recognizes work that furthers the spirit of diveristy and humanity that the late Dwayne MCDuffie exemplfied in his work, are now open as well. 

DISCLOSURE: I am also involved in this as a judge. I was honored to serve with Len and the other judges, and thrilled to be exposed to so much outstanding work that I might not have been aware of. The award is sponsored by MAD Events and winners will be announced in February at the Long Beach Comics Expo. More below:


The 2018 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics will honor five finalists following in Dwayne’s footsteps and announce the winner at a reception to be held February 17, 2018, in Long Beach, CA during the Long Beach Comic Expo.

The motto of The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics comes from Dwayne’s own words, “From invisible to inevitable.”

​​“I am heartbroken by the death of Len Wein, who was a dear personal friend as well as valued colleague, in addition to the icon he was to all comic book fans, including Dwayne,” said Dwayne’s widow, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie. “When I approached Len at his booth at Long Beach Comic Con 2014 and asked if he would be willing to lend his marquee status as a judge for an award I was hoping to establish there in Dwayne’s name, without a moment’s hesitation, even though his own health was already becoming fragile, Len said “Anything for you, dear. And anything for Dwayne.” Regardless of his other commitments or failing physicality, Len returned as a judge for us every single year and was enthusiastically on board for 2018. It’s so impossible to believe he and Dwayne are now both gone…” but their tireless commitment to inclusion endures.

“Len Wein wasn’t just a pillar of the entertainment community, he was one of the rocks upon which this award was built,” said the award’s director Will J. Watkins. “His presence will be dearly missed as we once again welcome new selection committee members who are not only incredibly talented at what they do, but are also passionate and committed to the things Dwayne stood for. Dwayne offered the world a more accurate representation of the diversity that is humanity, both behind the scenes and within the art and entertainment he created. That is his legacy and the constant goal of this award.”

“The McDuffie Awards are an important way of honoring Dwayne’s memory while embracing those concepts he believed in – diversity, inclusion, and respect. We are proud that Charlotte (McDuffie’s widow) has chosen Long Beach Comic Expo to host the awards ceremony.” said Martha Donato, Founder and Executive Director of Long Beach Comic Expo. “We believe so strongly in this mission and look forward to supporting the Awards on February 17, 2018.”

The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics Selection Committee consists of prominent comics and animation professionals who have demonstrated a commitment to McDuffie’s vision of inclusiveness. This year’s committee includes:
Mark D. Bright is a storyboard artist for commercials, television and feature films. Prior to his career as a storyboard artist, he was an artist for Marvel, DC, Acclaim and Milestone Media working on titles including Iron Man, Green Lantern, G.I. Joe, Power Man and Iron Fist and Icon. He is also the co-creator of Quantum and Woody.

Jennifer de Guzman is a freelance editor, comic book marketer and 16-year veteran of the comics industry. She was formerly editor-in-chief at SLG Publishing, a regular columnist for Publishers Weekly, Director of PR and Marketing and Director of Book Sales for Image Comics. Her writing has appeared in the anthologies, Womanthology: Space, This Is a Souvenir, and, Put the Book Back on the Shelf.

Joan Hilty is Comics Editor at Nickelodeon and editor-in-chief of Pageturner, a boutique comics/graphic novel production house. She was formerly a Senior Editor at DC/Vertigo and syndicated cartoonist. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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. He’s been a storyboard artist for Sony Animation and is also a popular guest lecturer on the subjects of comics and animation.

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 forthcoming Princeless Charity Anthology (Action Lab). Her non-fiction work has appeared in outlets including the Boston Globe, the Washington Post and Time.
Heidi MacDonald is the editor-in-chief of and a former editor for Disney and DC Comics. She also edits the graphic novel review section for Publishers Weekly and can be heard on PW’s weekly podcast “More To Come”.

Kevin Rubio is a writer/producer who has contributed to Justice League Action, Avengers Assemble, Thunderbirds Are Go!, Green Lantern: The Animated Series and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. He is also the creator and writer of the Star Wars graphic novel Tag & Bink Were Here and Red 5 Publication’s Abyss Vol. I & II. He is an inaugural recipient of the George Lucas Film Award for his Star Wars short film, TROOPS, a Promax Award winner and Emmy nominee.

Gail Simone is a writer known for the DC titles Birds of Prey, Secret Six (for which she was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award), Batgirl, Wonder Woman and The All-New Atom. She recently wrote Dark Horse’s Tomb Raider, Dynamite’s Red Sonja, DC/Vertigo’s Clean Room and is currently working on the acclaimed series Crosswind for Image Comics.

Will J. Watkins is a freelance film and animation writer who is also comic book story/world-building consultant on The Protectors graphic novel published by Athlita Comics. He had a stint as an assistant editor at DC Comics and before moving to L.A. he owned Chicago’s first African American-owned comics store and is currently developing several projects about the experience.
Submissions are now open to the public! Visit to get started. Please complete all fields fully and consider your answers before clicking Submit. Examples of your prospective award recipient’s work should be sent in an email to [email protected] with McDuffie Award Submission in the subject line. Please attach a link or a 15mb .PDF file of the work to be considered. When submitting work, we strongly suggest sending the first issue of a series. If submitting anything other than the first issue, a one-page synopsis of what came before must accompany the submission. Also, we suggest sending the first 25-30 pages or first chapter of a graphic novel. We cannot guarantee anything more will be considered. If one is available, please also attach a .JPG photo of the entrant to the email. Please do not include any further attachments. Submissions will be accepted until December 31, 2017.