Wednesday, February 10, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Finalists Announced for the Second Annual Dwayne McDuffie Awards at Long Beach Comic Expo

For Immediate Release: Announcing the Finalists for the Second Annual
Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics

February 10, 2016) The finalists for the second annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics were announced today. The five nominated titles are:

  1. ANDRE THE GIANT CLOSER TO HEAVEN by Brandon Easton (writer), Denis Medri (artist) (IDW Publishing);
  2. FRESH ROMANCE edited by Janelle Asselin (Rosy Press);
  3. MOON GIRL AND THE DEVIL DINOSAUR by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder (Writers), Natacha Bustos (Artist) (Marvel Entertainment);
  4. MS. MARVEL by Willow Wilson (writer), Adrian Alphona (artist) (Marvel Entertainment);
  5. ZANA by Jean Barker (writer), Joey Granger (Artist) (Emet Comics)

The winner will be announced at the second annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics ceremony event to be held later this month at Long Beach Comic Expo on Saturday February 20 at 2:30 PM PT, on Dwayne McDuffie’s birthday. Acclaimed comic book writer (GENIUS) and reporter (THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER) Marc Bernardin will be the event’s Keynote Speaker.

“We were thrilled to receive more than three times as many submissions this year as we did for the inaugural award,” said Neo Edmund, the Director of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics. ““After weeks of careful deliberation, we were able to narrow down the submissions from over 100 titles to the five nominees, all of of which speak to Dwayne’s inclusive vision for the industry in unique and significant ways.”

The Award is named in honor of Dwayne McDuffie, the legendary writer and producer who co-founded Milestone Media. As a writer, Dwayne created or co-created more than a dozen comic book series, including DAMAGE CONTROL, DEATHLOK II, ICON, STATIC, XOMBI, THE ROAD TO HELL and HARDWARE. Nilah Magruder was the recipient of the first annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics for M.F.K..

“It’s hard to believe Dwayne has been gone for 5 years this month,” said his widow, Charlotte McDuffie, “but it is gratifying to know that his presence continues to be felt in the comic book industry, through this award in his name shining a spotlight on those creators and content that are carrying on his mission to make the world of comics more accurately reflect the diversity of the real world.”

The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics Selection Committee consists of six prominent comics and animation professionals who knew McDuffie and have demonstrated a commitment to inclusiveness:
  • Neo Edmund – Novelist, animation and comics writer;
  • Joan Hilty – Nickelodeon Comics Editor; editor-in-chief of Pageturner, former DC/Vertigo Senior Editor;
  • Joseph Illidge – Former Editor, Milestone and DC Comics; Columnist, Comic Book Resources; Writer, First Second Books;
  • Heidi MacDonald – Editor in Chief, The Beat;
  • William J. Watkins – Writer; Former owner, Chicago's first African American-owned comics store;
  • Matt Wayne, Former Managing Editor Milestone Media.

“Diversity has been central to Long Beach Comic Con and Long Beach Comic Expo since I co-founded the event seven years ago,” said Martha Donato, Executive Director of Long Beach Comic Expo. “The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics ceremony is one of the highlights of our programming slate and it’s a great honor to have this historic and important event return to Long Beach Comic Expo this month.

Follow Long Beach Comic Expo on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and information about Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics.


ABOUT LONG BEACH EXPO: Long Beach Comic Expo is an annual event held at the Long Beach Convention Center that celebrates comic books and pop culture and showcases the exceptional works of talented writers, artists, illustrators and creators of all types of pop culture. At Long Beach Comic Expo, you’ll find exhibitors promoting and selling all types of related products, as well as entertaining and educational programs for all ages, guest signings and meet & greet sessions with celebrities. Long Beach Comic Expo is a MAD Event Management, LLC production. To learn more and purchase tickets, please visit


Neo Edmund (Member of WGA-W/SFWA) is a native of Long Beach California, who has worked in the entertainment industry as a Screenwriter, Comic Book Writer, Story Development Exec, Novelist, Virtual Reality Producer, and Actor. He is the author of the bestselling novels ‘The Red Riding Alpha Huntress Series’ published by WordFire Press, and the comic series Clan of the Vein. Several of the graphic novels he has written are listed among titles that meet the United States Common Core Standards for English Education. He is currently the V.P. of Creative Development for Reverse Engineering Studios, overseeing the creation of numerous projects for Film, TV, and Virtual Reality.

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.

Joseph Phillip Illidge is a writer, editor, columnist, and public speaker on the subjects of race, the medium and business of comics, and the corporate politics of diversity. His editorial career began at Milestone Media, Inc., the first Black-owned mainstream comic book company and creators of “Static Shock!”. His work as an editor of the Batman line of comic books for DC Entertainment included the introduction of Detective Crispus Allen, appearing in the FOX television series “Gotham”, and the female vigilantes Black Canary and Huntress, appearing on the top-rated CW series, “Arrow”.Joseph is the Head Writer for Verge Entertainment. Verge has developed an extensive library of intellectual properties for live-action and animated television and film, video games, graphic novels and web-based entertainment.His graphic novel project, "The Ren," about the romance between a young musician from the South and a Harlem-born dancer in 1925, set against the backdrop of a crime war, will be published by First Second Books, a division of Macmillan.Joseph's newest comic book project is the upcoming Scout Comics miniseries "Solarman," a revamp of a teenage superhero originally published by Marvel Comics. His weekly column, “The Mission”, appears at Comic Book Resources.

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.  

William J. Watkins is a freelance Writer, the former owner of Chicago's first African American-owned comic shop and a former DC Editorial Assistant.

Matt Wayne is the former Managing Editor Milestone Media and was a Story Editor for Justice League Unlimited, Ben 10: Omniverse, and Niko and the Sword of Light.

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