Tag: Heidi MacDonald

With Further Ado #280: Banning the Book Bans

With Further Ado #280: Banning the Book Bans

I was encouraged to read in AXIOS how Illinois is fighting book bans:

No Book Bans

Illinois became to the first state to pass a law penalizing libraries that ban books last year, as conservative efforts have mounted to restrict access to text often address LGBTQ+ issues.

• Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a bill now in effect that makes public libraries ineligible for state funding if they ban materials because of “partisan or doctrinal” disapproval

Of the more thank 1,400 book ban cases last year, 74% were connected to organized efforts of advocacy groups, elected officials, or enacted legislation, per PEN America.

• The organization recommended that policymakers, school boards and district administrators consider the many reasons for including and celebrating books rather than restricting them.

Continue reading “With Further Ado #280: Banning the Book Bans”

Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics Is Now Accepting Submissions

Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics Is Now Accepting Submissions

The annual submission process for The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics in now in full effect. The below press release give all the details about the award and the judges for the submissions.  This is an important award that celebrates diversity in comics in the name of a pioneer in realizing representation in comic books in print and in the creator sphere.

Press Release:

Submissions open for the 8th Annual DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD FOR DIVERSITY IN COMICS

August 8, 2023 –  The DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS is now receiving submissions at dwaynemcduffie.com for this 8th annual prestigious prize. All comics produced in the United States during calendar year 2022—whether professional or personal, in print or on the web—are invited to compete. The deadline for entries is September 30, 2023.

The slogan of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics comes from Mr. McDuffie’s own profound, succinct words:

“From invisible to inevitable.”
Dwayne McDuffie

The 2022 Selection Committee—led by comics’ industry legend, Marv Wolfman— includes two new judges: Nilah Magruder, winner of the 1st Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics, and Eric Wallace, writer of the award-winning Mr. Terrific for DC Comics, among his numerous other creative works.

Quote from Nilah Magruder:

“I’m thrilled to join the judging committee for this year’s Dwayne McDuffie Awards and be a part of elevating underrepresented voices in comics. Being recognized and meeting so many of Dwayne’s friends and colleagues was a huge moment in my career. I’m happy to be a part of bestowing that honor on more creators.”

Quote from Eric Wallace:

“A storytelling pioneer in everything he did, Dwayne understood the importance of recognizing and supporting inclusive excellence in the arts. He was also a mentor and friend to me whose guidance and advice was invaluable when I first started writing comic books. Today the DMADs continue (Dwayne’s mission) by spotlighting brilliant contemporary talents, and I’m honored to be a small part of this incredible tradition.”

Quote from DMAD Director, Will J. Watkins:

“One of the many things I loved about Dwayne was that he understood having diversity without inclusivity is meaningless. Whether it was through his writing or his relationships with people, he was determined to create spaces where every human being could feel equal and valued, not just represented. At a time when many are attempting to quiet the voices of the excluded and denied, this award is 2 shouting from the rooftops that everyone deserves a seat at the table… and while at that table, their voices must be welcomed.”

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

“I couldn’t be more pleased that by now, year 8, this award in my late husband’s name has already long-since earned a stellar reputation for highlighting excellence and inclusiveness on the page and behind the scenes; for bringing yet-to-be-discovered writers and artists to industry-wide attention; and attracted such impressive talents as our past nominees and winners, all of whom have gone on to continue creating outstanding work that would make Dwayne proud.”

The 2022 winner will be announced December 1, 2023 in a virtual awards’ ceremony presided over by returning MC, actor Phil LaMarr, who voiced both the 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.

Past Winners:

  • 2021: Adora and the Distance, written by Marc Bernadin & illustrated by Ariela Kristantina (Dark Horse Comics)
  • 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 Christina “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 (www.mfkcomic.com)

2022 DMAD SELECTION COMMITTEE

The 2022 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics’ selection committee, led by industry legend, Marv Wolfman, consists of 11 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 the multi-award winning adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples, as well as Gaiman’s Chivalry, Norse Mythology, and American Gods, and art for The Sandman, The Vampire Diaries, multiple Wonder Woman titles, and hundreds of other comics. She also illustrated Stan Lee’s New York Times best-selling autobiography autobiography Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible Stan Lee. She writes and draws the space opera series A Distant Soil. Among her numerous awards and nominations are Eisner awards, the Harvey Award, The International Horror Guild Award, the Ringo and the Bram Stoker Award.
  • Heidi MacDonald is the editor-in-chief of Comicsbeat.com 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.
  • 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 a writer, editorial director, thought leader, and public speaker who started his career at Milestone Media, the influential comic book publisher profiled in the HBO Max documentary “Milestone Generations”. In addition to his groundbreaking editorial runs for the Batman line of books for DC Comics and Heavy Metal magazine, Joseph has written MPLS Sound for Humanoids and the Judge Kim and the Kids’ Court series for Simon & Schuster. His new monthly column, Adventures in the Champagne Room, is a surgical examination of the comic book industry’s business relationship with its creators.
  • Nilah Magruder is a writer/artist and the inaugural winner of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics for the graphic novel M.F.K. She wrote and illustrated the picture book How to Find a Fox, and has also written for Marvel Comics, illustrated children’s books for Disney-Hyperion, Scholastic, and Penguin, and worked as a writer and storyboard artist in television animation. She is currently illustrating Creaky Acres, a middle-grade graphic novel about horseback riding.
  • Kevin Rubio is a writer/producer who has contributed to Justice League Action, Avengers Assemble, Thunderbirds Are Go!, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Ben 10: Omniverse, 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 and the writer behind the transformation of DC Comics’ John Stewart from Green Lantern to the Emerald Knight. He was also the head writer and showrunner of Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest as well as a writer, producer and co-executive producer on such hit series as Leverage, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Power: Book II: Ghost. He is the executive producer of the hit sci-fi/fantasy audio drama series Dreamnasium and of Redjack: the Animated Shorts on YouTube.
  • Eric Wallace is the writer of multiple titles for DC Comics, including the award-winning Mr. Terrific. He also wrote on Ben 10: Omniverse and Duel Masters for Cartoon Network, plus Syfy’s Eureka and Z Nation, Co-Producing the latter; was Co-Executive Producer/Writer/Director on MTV’s Teen Wolf; wrote Dark Shadows audio books, the video game Scribblenauts Unmasked, and was Show Runner & Executive Producer on The CW’s, The Flash. Fun fact: “Eric Wallace” was a character in the movie Free Enterprise, portrayed by DMAD Master of Ceremonies, Phil LaMarr!
  • 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 was a writer on Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem and most recently worked on a soon-to-be released, top-secret TV show adapted from a comic book.
  • Matt Wayne has written and story-edited many popular animated shows, including Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, Cannon Busters, the Emmy-nominated Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms, Justice League Unlimited, Ben 10: Omniverse, Teen Titans Go! and such younger fare as Niko and the Sword of Light, Stillwater, and Hello Kitty: Supercute Adventures. His comics work includes writing Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Static/Black Lightning, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, 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.

Follow The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics on Facebook and on Twitter.

Brainiac On Banjo: The ComiXology Kamikaze

Brainiac On Banjo: The ComiXology Kamikaze

When I look over my shoulder, what do you think I see? Some other cat looking over his shoulder at me. And he’s strange, sure is strange. – Donovan Leitch, “Season of the Witch.”

When it comes to the digital world, sometimes all those zeroes and ones just don’t add up. Let’s look at ComiXology, what I once considered to be a genuine revolutionary force in the medium.

In the history of paper publishing going all the way back to papyrus, it’s often been a crappy way to make a living. Oh, sure, some folks have been enormously successful, but on the same hand some folks win the lottery. Expenses are high and nobody knows what the market wants. Paper is getting hard to find (soon we will have to make a choice between having paper and having oxygen and trees), and places to buy the finished product have run thin. “Book browsing” and impulse purchases have become 21st Century rotary dial telephones.

We needed an alternative way to get comics. In 1981, Marvel Comics published Dazzler #1 and made it available only to the then-growing number of dedicated comic book stores, and that showed us there just might be life after the newsstands and candy shops. To make a long story short, around that same time I turned to theatrical producer Rick Obadiah and said “hey, you know, we could do this.” And that’s the shortest origin story for First Comics ever told.

Things went pretty well until the overwhelming number of distributors bellied up after exclusive distribution deals kicked in. As those distributors were coughing up blood, the “smaller publishers” (meaning just about everybody except Marvel and DC) started getting paid late, if at all. Again, I’m making a very long story short. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: The ComiXology Kamikaze”

With Further Ado #105: Sharing SDCC’s Secret Traditions

With Further Ado #105: Sharing SDCC’s Secret Traditions

The San Diego Comic-Con is many things to many people.  For the business community, it’s an incredible commerce success story.  For fans and collectors, it’s both a celebration and a validation.   For entrepreneurs, it can be an enjoyable way to drive revenue quickly. For the entertainment community, it’s a fantastic marketing venue. For the entertainment community in Los Angeles and Hollywood, it’s also a great excuse to get outta town.

And for so many folks, professionals and fans alike, it’s an opportunity to spend time with 200,000+ of your closest friends.  It’s an annual journey to a real-life Disney World, mixed with a hefty dose of your best days on a college campus and the most incredible state fair ever, where the main dish on the menu is “all the stuff you love.”

This year, as the nation and the world struggles with Covid-19, the folks behind the convention shifted gears quickly to morph the show into a virtual convention. We’ll all be analyzing that for a while, but one refrain I heard time and time again was not so much how folks missed the big events, but how they missed the little things.

I reached out to a group of fascinating folks and asked them to share some of their more personal stories and traditions from their annual pilgrimage to San Diego Comic-Con and the little things they miss this year.

* * *

Rob Salkowitz is the author of Comic-Con and the Business of Geek Culture  (I use this as a textbook for one of my college classes)  a consultant  and a sayer of things. He wistfully remembers one tradition he and his wife Eunice especially hold dear:

Our oldest and longest running SDCC tradition is the Tuesday night dinner we instituted with Batton Lash and Jackie Estrada back in 2000, maybe earlier. We were fans with no industry connections whatsoever. They befriended us, introduced us to pros, made us formally part of the Eisner Award staff and brought us into the circle of Comic-Con. After we lost Batton a couple of years ago we continued with Jackie. We really miss seeing her in person this year.

Continue reading “With Further Ado #105: Sharing SDCC’s Secret Traditions”