Kids Read Comics is proud to announce the shortlist for the second annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids’ Comics, which will be handed out at the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival (A2CAF) on June 18.
The Award honors the pioneering comics and animation writer and Humanitas Prize winner Dwayne McDuffie, who cofounded Milestone Media and created the teen superhero Static among others. Judges seek out excellent comics aimed at children through age thirteen, scoring the work on four main criteria: Quality, Timelessness, Originality and Diversity.
After reading more than 100 volumes published in 2015, the judges narrowed the field to a list of ten that showcase today’s amazing variety of comics for young readers: fiction and nonfiction; of both American and international origin; fantasy adventure and slice-of-life realism; human and animal (and skeletal) protagonists; and work intended for readers from beginners to middle school.
On this year’s shortlist are the following:
AWKWARD, by Svetlana Chmakova, introduces Penelope (Peppi) Torres, a new girl at middle school who makes an embarrassing first day worse by hurting the feelings of another social misfit — and soon compounds a rivalry between the school’s art-nerds and science-nerds. (Yen Press)
CHI’S SWEET HOME, VOL.12, by Konami Kanata, concludes the story of the lost kitten adopted by Yohei Yamada and his family — as mischievous Chi finds her mother and faces an important decision about the future. (Vertical)
COURTNEY CRUMRIN VOL. 7: TALES OF A WARLOCK, by Ted Naifeh, tells the tale of Courtney’s Uncle Aloysius as a young man — joining the Anti-Sorcery Society’s crusade against witches and warlocks, while hiding his own magical ancestry. (Oni Press)
FLOP TO THE TOP! by Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing offers a modern-day fable of fame and fandom — when the picture young Wanda posts of her floppy-eared bulldog goes viral and brings all the celebrity she’s ever dreamed of…but for the dog, not for her. (Toon Books)
THE FLYING BEAVER BROTHERS AND THE CRAZY CRITTER RACE, by Maxwell Eaton III, continues the adventures of Ace and Bub, and this time they’re tangled up in an island-hopping race with more at stake than the grand prize…as a fast-growing vine starts to entangle them all! (Random House)
HUMAN BODY THEATER, by Maris Wicks, gives readers a front-row seat for a theatrical revue of each and every biological system of the human body — courtesy of a skeletal master of ceremonies who puts on a new layer of her costume (that is, her body) with each act. (First Second)
LUMBERJANES, VOL. 1: BEWARE THE KITTEN HOLY, by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters and Brooke Allen, follows butt-kicking best friends Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley as they spend their summer at Lumberjanes scout camp…where yetis, three-eyed wolves and giant falcons await! (Boom Studios)
NATHAN HALE’S HAZARDOUS TALES: THE UNDERGROUND ABDUCTOR, by Nathan Hale, uncovers the true-life story of abolitionist Harriet Tubman — who was born into southern slavery and escaped to the north, embarking on a lifelong career to help other enslaved people find their freedom. (Abrams)
ULTRAMAN, by Tomohiro Shimoguchi and Eiichi Shimizu, is the story of Shinjiro, an ordinary teenager who inherits a family legacy that leads him to take on the role of Ultraman and defend planet Earth against a deadly alien invasion. (Viz)
THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL, VOL. 1: SQUIRREL POWER, by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, collects the first five issues of the comic series that takes a whole new look at the Marvel universe of heroes and villains, as seen through the eyes of the nuttiest and most upbeat superhero in the world! (Marvel)
The judges for this year’s McDuffie Award are Edith Donnell, a Kids Read Comics cofounder and youth and teen librarian; Andrew Woodrow-Butcher, manager of Little Island Comics, a comic shop exclusively for kids; Eva Volin, a children’s librarian and comics-in-libraries advocate; and Marv Wolfman, a comics and animation writer and editor whose storied career goes back nearly half a century.
Kids Read Comics hosts the annual Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival — a free, weekend event for kids, teens and adults that features over 50 artists and writers and a full slate of interactive programs including many hands-on workshops — in collaboration with the Ann Arbor District Library. Guests at the 2016 show include Newbery Honor winner Cece Bell (El Deafo), bestselling children’s author Tom Angleberger (Origami Yoda), and Eisner Award winner Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet).
A2CAF is immediately preceded by A2 Inkubate, a one-day conference for educators and librarians that’s aimed at helping them use comics successfully in their professional settings, and that connects them with cartoonists to work on advocacy for comics.