According to Diamond Comic Distributors, two of the most successful comics of 2014 were female led solo titles: Ms. Marvel #1 and Thor #1. Let that sink in. Has it sunk in? Oh, excellent. Let us continue.
If you’re wondering what the Diamond Gem Awards are, Diamond describes them as awards that are “…recognized within the comic book industry as the pinnacle of sales achievement for publishers, vendors industry executives, and creators.” Every year since 2006, winners of the Gem Awards have been selected by “comic book speciality retailers” to recognize the achievements of those who create comics (and pop-culture products) that contribute to the growth and success of the comic book industry in the previous year.
Ms. Marvel #1, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, was awarded the Best Comic of the Year Under $3.00, while Thor #1 by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman, was awarded the Best Comic of the Year Over $3.00. So that’s two female led solo titles, one of which is written by a Muslim woman, G. Willow Wilson. Though the Gem Awards recognize financial success in term of sales, sales are not the only quantifier for a Gem Award. Ms. Marvel #1 and Thor #1 were not necessarily the most financially successful comics of 2014; in fact, the Top Dollar Comic award for the year was bestowed upon Amazing Spider-Man #1. The Gem awards are not just about dollars, they’re about quality and impact.
Ms. Marvel #1 introduced to the world to Kamala Khan, a young Muslim woman of color donning the mantle of Ms. Marvel. In the vast (white) male dominated landscape of comics, Ms. Marvel is a refreshing approach to cape comics that brings sorely needed diversity not only to the genre, but to the comics sphere as a whole. More comics about not white dudes, please! Thor #1 sets the stage for the debut of the new female Thor following Thor Odinson’s loss of Mjolnir and the mysterious circumstances of his fall from grace. 2014 was the beginning of a promising shift in the representation of female superheroes with titles like Ms. Marvel, Thor, Storm, and the new Batgirl paving the way for some serious potential female superhero goodness in 2015. Seriously–the Spider-Gwen solo title is launching in February, and I cannot wait to read it.
It’s refreshing that books met with such enthusiasm by fans are being officially recognized by the industry for their contributions to comics as a whole. Not gonna lie; it’s my hope that the success of Ms. Marvel and Thor heralds not only the continuation of the titles, but support for more titles like these in comics; comics that reflect everyone that read comics; comics that invite new people to read comics, comics about women written by women; comics that change the way we think about comics and what they can be.
Other 2014 Diamond Gem Award winner honorable mentions include Image Comics winning Best Comic Book Publisher (Over 4% Market Share) for the second year in a row, and BOOM! Comics winning the Best Comic Book Publisher (Under 4% Market Share). Check out the full list of award winners below. Did any of your favorites receive a Diamond Gem Award this round?
2014 Diamond Gem Award Suppliers of the Year
2014 Comic Book Publisher of the Year Over 4%: Image Comics
2014 Comic Book Publisher of the year Under 4%: BOOM! Studios
2014 Backlist Publisher of the year: DC Entertainment
2014 Top Dollar Comic Book Publisher of the Year: Marvel Comics
2014 Manga Publisher of the Year: Viz Media
2014 Game Manufacturer of the Year: Wizards of the Coast
2014 Toy Manufacturer of the Year: Funko
2014 Diamond Gem Award Products of the Year
2014 Comic Book of the Year Under $3.00: Ms. Marvel #1, Marvel Comics
2014 Comic Book of the Year Over $3.00: Thor #1, Marvel Comics
2014 Best New Comic Book Series: Outcast by Kirkman and Azaceta, Image Comics
2014 Top Dollar Comic of the Year: Amazing Spider-Man #1, Marvel Comics
2014 Best All-Ages Comics: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, IDW Publishing
2014 Licensed Comic Book of the Year: Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1, Dark Horse Comics
2014 Licensed TP/HC of the Year: Avatar: The Last Airbender-The Search Library Ed. HC, Dark Horse Comics
2014 Original GN of the Year: Batman: Earth One TP, DC Comics from DC Entertainment
2014 Reprint TP/HC of the Year: Batman: Death of the Family Book & Joker Mask Set, DC Comics
2014 Indie GN of the Year: Andre the Giant: Life & Legend GN :01 First Second Books
2014 Manga TP of the Year: Attack on Titan: Before the Fall GN Vol. 01, Kodansha Comics
2014 Anthology of the Year: Dark Horse Presents 2014 #1, Dark Horse Comics
2014 Magazine of the Year: MAD Magazine from DC Entertainment
2014 Trade Book of the Year: The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide Vol. 44, Gemstone Publishing
2014 Best Free Comic Book Day Book: FCBD 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Comics
2014 Game Product of the Year: Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men Starter Set , WizKids/NECA
2014 Toy Product of the Year: DC Comics Super Villains Harley Quinn AF, DC Collectibles from DC Entertainment
2014 Toy Line of the Year: Batman Animated, DC Collectibles from DC Entertainment
2014 Collectable Statue of the Year: Batman Black & White: Harley Quinn 2nd Ed. Statue, DC Collectibles from DC Entertainment