Submissions now open for 7th Annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics


The 7th Annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics is now officially accepting submissions. Moreover, comic creator David F. Walker has now joined the selection commitee. 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.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, last year’s DMAD ceremony was held virtually. This 7th Anual Dwayne McDuffie however will return to a live event at Long Beach Comic Con.

Read the official PR below for details:

In conjunction with National Superhero Day, the 20212 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics is now officially accepting submissions and also welcomes new Selection Committee Member: David F. Walker, co-creator (with Brian Michael Bendis) of DC Comics’ and The CW’s Naomi McDuffie, so named in honor of Dwayne McDuffie.

Quote from writer, David F. Walker:

“The thing I love about the DMAD, and it’s part of what I loved about Dwayne McDuffie himself, is that the award is about recognizing talent worthy of being praised, yet may be struggling to be seen.”

The prestigious 7th annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics will once again honor five finalists whose commitment to excellence and inclusion, both on the page as well as behind the scenes, exemplifies the late Mr. McDuffie’s own career producing entertainment that reflects a wide scope of human experience, created by an equally wide scope of human beings.

Quote from Dwayne’s widow, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie:

“It is my honor once again to invite all–and I do mean ALL–creators of diverse, inclusive content to enter this contest that bears my late husband’s name. Dwayne always said he wanted to see all kinds of stories being told, by all kinds of people; and he did whatever he could, whenever he could, to make that hope a reality. Please take this submissions’ opportunity to proudly add your own creative voice to the world.

The winner will be announced at the Long Beach Comic Con by returning Master of Ceremonies, actor Phil LaMarr, who voiced both heroes Static/Virgil and John Stewart/Green Lantern in the animated Warner Bros.’ series Static Shock and Justice League Unlimited, written and produced by Mr. McDuffie.

Quote from actor, Phil LaMarr:

“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.”

The deadline for completed submissions to be received at for the 2021 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics is 11:59pm PST on July 1st, 2022.

Past winners: 

2020 – They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and Harmony Becker.

2019 – Archival Quality, written by Ivy Noelle Weir & illustrated by Christian “Steenz” Stewart (Oni Press)

2018 – Leon: Protector of the Playground, written & illustrated by Jamar Nicholas (Kids Love Comics)

2017 – Upgrade Soul, written & illustrated by Ezra Claytan Daniels

2016 – Ms. Marvel, written by G. Willow Wilson & illustrated by Adrian Alphona (Marvel Entertainment)

2015 – M.F.K. written & illustrated by Nilah Magruder (

2021 Selection Committee

The 2021 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics’ selection committee, led by industry legend, Marv Wolfman, consists of ten 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.

Colleen Doran is a cartoonist, writer/artist whose works include writing/drawing  Sensational Wonder Woman, the multi-award winning adaptation Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples, and art for The SandmanThe Vampire DiariesThe ClockStar Wars: Doctor AphraThe Walking Dead, and hundreds of other comics. She also illustrated Stan Lee’s New York Times best-selling autobiography Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible Stan Lee.  Among her numerous awards and nominations are Eisner awards, the Harvey Award, The International Horror Guild Award, the Ringo and the Bram Stoker Award.

Jamal Igle is the writer/artist/creator of Molly Danger for Action Lab Entertainment, the co-creator/artist of The Wrong Earth for Ahoy Comics, co-creator of Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine for Comixology, 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.

Joseph Illidge is the Executive Editor for Heavy Metal, the leading illustrated magazine and company for science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Joseph’s first job in the comic book industry was at Milestone Media, the groundbreaking publisher responsible for the popular teen hero “Static”. The first editor of color for DC Comics’ Batman franchise, Joseph is the founder of Illuminous, LLC and is co-producing the film “Xero” with 50 Cent’s G-Unit Film and Television, writer Christopher Priest, and Color Farm Media.

Heidi MacDonald is the editor-in-chief of and has edited comics for Disney, DC Comics, Vertigo, HarperCollins and Z2. She can be heard on Publishers Weekly’s weekly podcast More To Come and found regularly on the Beat’s YouTube channel. 

Kevin Rubio is a writer/producer who has contributed to Justice League ActionAvengers AssembleThunderbirds 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, is a Promax Award winner, and is an Emmy nominee.

Geoffrey Thorne is the writer/creator of Mosaic for Marvel Comics, Prodigal for Genre 19 and writer of Green Lantern for DC Comics. He was also the head writer and showrunner of Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest as well as a writer-producer on such hit series as Leverage, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Power: Book II: Ghost, co-executive producer on Magnum P.I. and executive producer of the podcast sci-fi anthology series Geoffrey Thorne’s Dreamnasium. He is also writer of the upcoming Blood Syndicate comic book reboot for Milestone Media.

David F. Walker is an award-winning comic book writer, filmmaker, journalist, educator, and creator of the pop culture fanzine BadAzz MoFo. Perhaps best known for his work in comic books, he’s written such titles as Luke Cage and Power Man and Iron Fist for Marvel, Cyborg and Naomi (which he co-created) for DC Comics, the Eisner-winning Bitter Root (which he also co-created) for Image Comics and other titles for Dark Horse Comics, BOOM! Studios, Dynamite, and more.

Will J. Watkins (Director of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics) is a freelance TV, 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 LA, he co-owned Chicago’s first African American-owned comic book shop. He’s currently a writer on Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem.

Matt Wayne has written for many highly-regarded animation projects, including Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi ChroniclesCannon BustersNiko and the Sword of Light, the Emmy-nominated Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms, and Hello Kitty: Supercute AdventuresHis comics work includes Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Static/Black Lightningand writing and editing for the original Milestone Media comics line.

Marv Wolfman is the multi-award-winning writer who created Blade for Marvel Comics, The New Teen Titans for DC Comics, and legions of other iconic characters and stories. In addition to comic books, he’s written for animation, videogames, novels and more. It’s been said that he’s created more characters who’ve made the jump to movies, TV shows, toys, games and animation than any other writer save Stan Lee.

About Dwayne McDuffie:

Dwayne Glenn McDuffie was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. The middle son of Leroy McDuffie and Edna (Hawkins) McDuffie (now Gardner), Dwayne attended the prestigious Roeper School for gifted children before going on to earn undergraduate degrees in both English & Physics as well as a graduate degree in Physics, all at the University of Michigan. (Go, Blue!) He later also studied filmmaking at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Dwayne first entered the comic book industry as an Editor at Marvel Comics, thanks to his NYU friend, Greg Wright, with whom he recreated the Deathlok character into the one in use today. With artist, Ernie Colón, Dwayne also co-created the comedic Marvel team book, Damage Control.

Frustrated by the lack of diversity of both characters and creators in comics, Dwayne—together with Derek Dingle, Denys Cowan, and Michael Davis—co-founded Milestone Comics (later Milestone Media), the most successful African American owned comic book company in history, with a mission to provide a wide array of characters, content, and creators that more accurately represent the racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and physical diversity of real life. Now rebranded as Milestone 2.0 and helmed by Reggie Hudlin along with original founders Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle, Milestone continues to thrive.

Static, Icon, Rocket, Hardware—to name just a few. Throughout his career in the comic book industry, Dwayne created or co-created these and more than a dozen other series, in addition to writing stories for too many other titles to list but here are some highlights: Justice League of America, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Captain Marvel, Avengers Spotlight, Hellraiser, Ultraman, even The Tick, and Back to The Future. Dwayne also co-created The Road To Hell with fellow writer and Milestone editor, Matt Wayne, the inaugural Director of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics, established posthumously by Dwayne’s widow, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie, with the invaluable assistance of writer, Neo Edmund.

Dwayne transitioned into the animation industry as a Story Editor and Writer on the Emmy-winning Kids WB series, Static Shock, which he co-created and for which he won a 2003 Humanitas prize. Dwayne was also a Producer, Story Editor, and Writer on Cartoon Network’s Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series, for which he received a 2004 Writers Guild of America nomination.

With artist/producer Glen Murakami, Dwayne redeveloped Man of Action’s Ben 10 animated series into Ben 10: Alien Force then Ben 10: Ultimate Alien—98 episodes of what became the global blockbuster franchise for Cartoon Network (now more than 350 episodes and counting!) Dwayne also wrote the animated features Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, All Star Superman, and Justice League: Doom, as well as episodes of What’s New, Scooby Doo? and Teen Titans, all for Warner Bros. For his indelible work in animation, Dwayne was posthumously presented with the Writers Guild of America’s 2011 Animation Writing Award, the first and only African American in history to be so honored.

Winner of 3 Eisner Awards for his work in comic books; 11 Parents’ Choice Awards; 6 “Best Editor” awards; the 2009 Inkpot Award presented by Comic-Con International; a posthumous Harvey Award in 2020; and a “Golden Apple Award” from his alma mater for his “use of popular art to promote and enhance human dignity”–Dwayne McDuffie’s life’s work exemplified both diversity and excellence.

Personal artifacts of Mr. McDuffie’s are currently housed by (but not yet on display at) the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

He led by example, presciently stating, “From invisible to inevitable”–which has become the motto of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics.

About Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie:

Dwayne’s widow, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie, is a twice Emmy-nominated animation writer, best known by fans for her work on Hasbro’s My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic; Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 franchise (its multiple TV series incarnations and accompanying videogames, chapter books, and comics); and the Star Wars’ parody short film, Troops, aka the internet’s very first viral video before there even was such a term for it. She is committed to continuing her late husband’s legacy through this award and other endeavors made possible in part by The Dwayne McDuffie Fund

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Disclaimer: The Beat’s own Founder and EiC Heidi MacDonald is a judge for the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics.


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