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The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity, a new award celebrating diversity in comics, was given last week to Ms. Marvel, the Marvel Comics series centering on Kamala Khan. The comic is written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona. This was only the second time that the annual award had been given. Last year’s winner was M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder. Ms. Marvel was one of the finalists for the award last year as well.
Ms. Marvel debuted in 2014. With Carol Danvers changing her name from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel some time ago, Marvel thought it was time to crown a new Ms. Marvel. They chose Kamala Khan, a teenage Pakistani American girl from Jersey City, New Jersey. Besides her age and home, the other different thing about Khan was that she is a Muslim girl. She is the first Muslim character to headline a comic released by Marvel Comics. The comic was an instant success and developed a devoted fanbase, to the extent that Ms. Marvel was a member of the recently reformed All-New, All-Different Avengers.
The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity was presented at the Long Beach Comic Expo in Long Beach, California last weekend. Wilson gave an acceptance speech in which she said, “This award is very special to me, not just because of its connection to Dwayne, but because of what it represents…” She went on to thank the fans of the series. “You are the beating heart to this series. I would like to dedicate this award to them – to the readers – to the fans. They are the ones changing the face of this industry.”
The other nominees for the second Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity were Andre The Giant: Closer to Heaven by Brandon Easton and Denis Medri (IDW Publishing), Fresh Romance, edited by Janelle Asselin (Rosy Press), Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur by Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder and Natacha Bustos (Marvel Comics), and Zana by Jean Barker and Joey Granger (Emet Comics).
It’s great that the award exists and celebrates McDuffie. He was a talented comic book writer as well as television writer and producer who died in 2011 at the age of 49. He may be best known for creating the animated series Static Shock. He also wrote and produced many episodes of the animated Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and Ben 10 series. His comic book credits include Damage Control, Justice League of America, Fantastic Four, and Firestorm. He also founded Milestone Comics, which focused on minority characters. These characters later appeared in a number of DC Comics.