Dwayne McDuffie Award Shortlist Includes Shaft, 14 Nights & More

Shaft Imitation of Life

The nominees for the 2017 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics have been announced. The Award celebrates creators who have emphasized diversity in the comic book industry, thereby keeping alive the goals and values of the late Dwayne McDuffie, creator of Marvel’s “Damage Control” and the “Static Shock” animated series.

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"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 Charlotte Fullerton McDuffie in an interview with Hollywood Reporter. "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 nominated works 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

Dwayne McDuffie co-founded Milestone Media in 1993. Under the name Milestone Comics, the company made comic books that were produced and distributed by DC Comics. Milestone was founded by African-American creators who believed that minorities were not properly represented in the American comic book industry, and therefore sought to inject new, diverse voices into the mix. The company published multiple monthly series, including “Hardware,” “Icon” and “Static Shock.”

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McDuffie also enjoyed a long career in animation. He developed “Static Shock” into an animated series for the now-defunct WB television network; the series followed the superhero exploits of Virgil Hawkins, aka Static. Hawkins, an African-American teen, developed the power to control electricity after a freak accident involving a mutagenic gas. The series ran for four seasons between 2000 and 2004 and was celebrated for addressing social issues like poverty, racial injustice and gang conflicts.

“Static Shock” provided a stepping stone for McDuffie’s career in animation. After the series ended in 2004, McDuffie went on to write and produce for the “Justice League Unlimited” animated series. “Justice League Unlimited” ran for three season between 2004 and 2006 and brought together a wide range of DC Comics superheroes from across numerous titles. McDuffie would later go on to write and produce for “Ben 10.”

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Milestone Media shut down in 1997, but certain characters were revived in 2008. Static joined the Teen Titans and eventually appeared in the “Young Justice” television series, which would later incorporate Milestone Comics characters like Icon and Rocket. As of 2015, DC Comics created Earth-M, the narrative alternate universe in which the characters created by Milestone Media would reside, pledging to release Milestone Media-inspired miniseries and one-shots once or twice annually.

The winners of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics will be announced this Saturday at the Long Beach Comic Expo in Long Beach, California.

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