Archival Quality, a ghostly graphic novel from Oni Press that incorporates a compassionate and evocative portrayal of mental health issues in its tale of spectral mystery, has been named winner of the 5th Annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics. The award is shared by the book’s creative team, writer Ivy Noelle Weir and illustrator Christina “Steenz” Stewart.
The finalists this year represented an impressively eclectic field of nominees with an array of styles, story sensibilities, cultural roots and life experiences. The other nominees were Papa Cherry, written by Saxton Moore and illustrated by Phillip Johnson; The Snagglepuss Chronicles, written by Mark Russell and penciled by Mike Feehan; Victor Lavalle’s Destroyer, written by Victor LaValle and illustrated by Dietrich Smith; and The Carpet Merchant, by Reimena Yee.
The Oni Press synopsis for Archival Quality: “After losing her job at the library, Cel Walden starts working at the haunting Logan Museum as an archivist. But the job may not be the second chance she was hoping for, and she finds herself confronting her mental health, her relationships, and before long, her grasp on reality as she begins to dream of a young woman she’s never met, but feels strangely drawn to. Especially after she asks Cel for help.
As Cel attempts to learn more about the woman, she begins losing time, misplacing things, passing out—the job is becoming dangerous, but she can’t let go of this mysterious woman. Who is she? Why is she so fixated on Cel? And does Cel have the power to save her when she’s still trying to save herself?”
Since its inception in 2014, the McDuffie Award has spotlighted the outstanding comics from traditionally underrepresented voices in comic book publishing that also strive to widen the diversity of the craft on the page. The award was presented tonight in Long Beach, CA., during the Long Beach Comic Expo weekend and at MAD Event Management’s tie-in Comic Creator Conference.
McDuffie was a respected writer in comics and successful producer in animation who died in Burbank in 2011 one day after his 49th birthday due to complications from heart surgery. He was the creator of the animated TV series Static Shock and his producer credits included BEN 10 and Justice League Unlimited. The Detroit native and three-time winner of the Eisner Award was also cofounder of Milestone Media, a shingle known for championing diversity in comics.