Archival Quality from publisher Oni Press and by Ivy Noelle Weir and Christina “Steenz” Stewart has won the 5th Annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics. The book was also selected by the Junior Library Guild in 2018. Both former librarians, Weir and Steenz joined forces last year with this hauntingly amazing Oni Press debut which hit shelves early last March. The award was presented last weekend in Long Beach, CA during the Long Beach Comic Expo.
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.
After losing her job at the library, Celeste 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. 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?
Philadelphia-based writer Ivy Noelle Weir and St. Louis-based illustrator Steenz have collaborated on numerous comics projects together, including a short for the series Princeless. Steenz’s artwork has been featured in the critically acclaimed and award-winning anthology Elements: Fire, as well as Ham4Pamphlet, a collaborative illustration project inspired by the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, while Weir has written numerous articles for Women Write About Comics, American Libraries magazine, and NoveList in addition to her fiction writing.
“I’m super honored to win the Dwayne McDuffie Award this year,” said Christina “Steenz” Stewart. “It means a lot to receive recognition for the work we did to make sure Archival Quality represented the world we live in. We hope readers struggling with their own mental health can see themselves in the book and I hope that young readers of color enjoy seeing themselves as a part of an adventure that anyone can have.”
“It’s such an honor to receive this award. Being able to share our story with an even wider audience, alongside the other fantastic nominees, is really special,” said Ivy Noelle Weir. “I hope that seeing these books highlighted encourages more authors to share their diverse stories and inspires publishers to seek them out. We all win when we give readers a variety of great comics to experience.”