Frederick Luis Aldama (Professor LatinX) is the Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at The Ohio State University. He teaches courses in the departments of English, Spanish & Portuguese, and Film Studies on Latinx & Latin American cultural phenomena, including literature, film, TV, music, sports, video games, and comic books. Aldama is the author, co-author, editor, and co-editor of over 30 scholarly books. He is also the author of the book of fiction/graphic fiction, Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands.
Aldama is the founder and director of the White House Bright Spot for Higher Education Award winning Latino High School outreach program, LASER. He is also founder of the Humanities & Cognitive Sciences High School Summer Institute. Through his teaching and publishing, Aldama seeks to advance, promote, and encourage the narrative and graphic arts, especially those by and about Latinos.
Aldama has been honored with the 2016 American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education’s Outstanding Latino/a Faculty in Higher Education Award. In 2017, he was awarded the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and inducted into the Academy of Teaching. That same year he was also inducted into the Society of Cartoon Arts.
Beating at the heart of his work is the singular drive to understand deeply how people create and actively consume all variety of planetary cultural phenomena. He has found useful insights from the cognitive sciences as well as history, cultural studies, and critical race, gender, and sexuality theory. He is particularly interested in exploring and analyzing an important slice of this bounty of culture. Much of his work focuses on excavating and examining pop cultural phenomena by and about Latinxers of the Américas.
Anderson, Jiba Molei
Jiba Molei Anderson is the CEO of Griot Enterprises, a publishing company / visual communication studio and creator of its flagship property, The Horsemen. He is also the curator of 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape, an anthology which focuses on independent works from creators of color and maintains The Afrosoul Chronicles, a blog about comics, pop culture, politics and race.
Anderson has had numerous one-man and group shows, art directed and published over 12 books and has been invited to speak about his work and the representation of race and culture at various institutions including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Ohio State University. The Horsemen: Divine Intervention and the anthology 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape have been used as textbooks for classes at OSU.
Anderson has been employed as a graphic designer, animator, art director and graphic novelist for entertainment and educational institutions such as Universal Music Group, the University of Illinois – Chicago, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and the Chicago Academy of Music including The Song of Lionogo: An Indian Ocean Mythological Remixfor the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (with Brightseed Collaborative).
Currently, Mr. Anderson is employed as a Part – Time Lecturer at Chicago State University.
Juan Argil is a comics and illustrative artist with a range in high fantasy and realism. His work is informed by his Mexican heritage and extensive media backlog. He explores immigration, mental health and his own personal experiences through surreal imagery with meticulous detail. He recently curated and published the political parody Shonen Trump and the horror anthology Black Water through his self-started Bonfire Comics. He is currently working on his first original fantasy story and the new Bonfire anthology Silk & Metal.
Darrin Bell challenges social, political and cultural assumptions. His award-winning work navigates issues such as civil rights, pop culture, family, science fiction, scriptural wisdom and nihilist philosophy while often casting subjects in roles that are traditionally denied them. According to Darrin, “There’s nothing more fundamentally all-American than a square peg that insists on filling a round hole.”
Dr. Stanford W. Carpenter is a Cultural Anthropologist and Comic Artist. He sits on the boards of the Black & Brown Comix Arts Festival, a comic convention featuring Black and Brown comic creators as well as Pocket Con, a mini comic convention focusing on girls and boys of color. He is regular contributor to BlurdDotRadio, a radio show featuring black nerds and black nerd-dom. His comic work can be found in the recently published Black Comix Returns, Cosmic Underground, and The Encyclopedia of Black Comics. He puts the sweet in sweet back and the bad in bad ass song. Nuff said.
Terreece M. Clarke has written for a variety of websites, magazines and newspapers including MyBrownBaby.com, Columbus Parent Magazine and as a YA and children’s book reviewer for CommonSenseMedia.org.
Her work has garnered the attention of the New York Times, Disney.com and Jezebel.com and her company’s digital marketing clients have landed media appearances for national outlets including Fox Business News, BET, CNN, Ebony Magazine, The Root and MSNBC.com.
As a successful writer, journalist, entrepreneur, mother of three and wife to one, she is often asked to lead discussions and present on women and parenting issues, business strategies for writers and entrepreneurs and diversity issues including diversity in media, pop culture and tech.
“Olivia’s Potty Adventures” a potty training storybook featuring an African American character – spent 16 weeks as a #1 Amazon New Release – is the first book in a milestone series featuring children of color. Terreece also has an adult fiction novel that she is in the final throes of finishing.
Born and raised in New York City, now living as a transplanted writer and artist in Los Angeles. A coast to coast creator whose influences span the spectrum of comics from superheroes to horror, to personal, biographical tales of lives, loves, and dreams pursued. Other influences that shaped the tone of his work include the gritty, multi-colored street canvases of the Harlem Graffiti scene of the late seventies and eighties, the works of Gustav Klimt, and the poetry of many other artists too great to list here.
When not speaking about himself in the third person, Guy can usually be found sleeping on his studio floor, a just finished script blinking from the bright light of the computer screen above and a half painted canvas acting as both bed and pillow while he rests up for the next art show or collaborative project lurking just along the horizon.
Jaime Crespo is a native Californian who has been a published cartoonist for well over 35 years and has had his comics appear in several anthologies over time (Monkey Wrench, Buzzard, Backwoods, White Buffalo Gazette to name but a few) as well as in many magazines and weekly papers and solo comic books. He is also part of the Latino Comics Expo. Crespo focuses mainly on but not limited to bio/auto bio stories (ala Harvey Pekar). Crespo has had his comic strip, Slice O’ Life (later shorted to Slices) in weekly papers around the US. Upon the downsizing and in most cases the collapse of some weekly papers, is when he then returned to self-publishing an on-going comic book title, Tortilla in which he may tell longer stories outside of the four-panel comic strip format. Currently, Jaime is in the midst of his much-anticipated first graphic novel, Turk Street Serenade, which focuses on his time spent as a janitor/maintenance man in a San Francisco Tenderloin District SRO hotel during the mid-1980’s.
An ink and pencils maestro, Corey “Roc Bottom” Davis has garnered praise from hundreds for his stylistic and innovative approach to his craft. His creative works have been featured in The Underwire Online magazine with his creator owned comic, Lion’s Den Revolution, the first comic to ever be presented in digital desktop format. Other comics credits include, Trenchcoats, Cigarettes, and Shotguns for Conquest Comics, Queen of Sin and Master’s Devils for Legion Studios, and 803 from 803 Studios. Roc is also a member Truthful Comics where his titles include, Order, Shadowclub Karma, and Jet Boy: Dawn of K.R.O.N.O.S., a comic/animated series.
Fernando “LeChuck” de Peña is one half of the dynamic duo at MAPACHESTUDIOS. With his partner in crime, Rodrigo “Oso” Vargas, the two seek world domination… or whatever is described in the below parenthesis:
“This is the story of two friends who united by rock n roll and sausages would undertake the oddisey that nobody would deign to finance… their dreams. By activating their fantastic powers they would shape up a humble comic studio which slow but surely builds stories that break asphalt. This way they would discover that to make stuff you just need to make them, plunging themselves into this marvelous adventure full of marvelous adventures.
MAPACHESTUDIOS sees itself as a comic producing house, even if it’s just two guys. We try to build comics with and for diverse people that struggle for new narrative and aesthetics in sequential art, from the south of the world working in a global perspective.”
Damian Duffy is a cartoonist, scholar, writer, curator, lecturer, teacher, a Glyph Comics and Bram Stoker Award-winner, and a #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novelist. He holds a MS and PhD in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is on faculty, teaching courses on computers & culture, and social media & global change. His many publications range from academic essays (in comics form) on new media & learning, to art books about underrepresentation in comics culture, to editorial comics, to a graphic novel adaptation of Kindred by Octavia E. Butler, with his J2D2 Arts counterpart John Jennings. The co-editor of the Black Comix Returns art book from the Magnetic Collection at Lion Forge Comics, Damian has given talks and lead workshops about comics, art, and education internationally.
Elvira Carrizal‐Dukes is the writer for DUKEScomics. She was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She is currently a doctoral student in the Rhetoric and Composition program at The University of Texas at El Paso where she teaches Chicana/o Cinema and Chicana/o Theatre. Elvira earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Film from Columbia University in the City of New York. She earned her bachelors degree in Journalism and Chicano Studies with a minor in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.
Through comic books Elvira reaches visual readers. She wrote her first graphic novel called “A.W.O.L.” featuring a Latina soldier on unauthorized leave from the military. She is searching for her kidnapped brother in the El Paso, Texas, Mexico/US border region. El Paso is home to Fort Bliss, one of the largest military installations in the U.S. Much of Elvira’s work is centered around her hometown and the socio/cultural/historical contexts of the El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, borderland.
Elvira is also the author of “Dukes of Chuco” (DUKEScomics, 2018), as well as a play “Father’s Shadow / Sombra del Padre” (Dramatic Publishing, 2001). Elvira is a filmmaker and the writer, director, and producer of Mariposa (2006) and The Weeping Pimp (2015).
Ronnie Dukes is the artist for DUKEScomics. He was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Ronnie created this independent publishing company in order to create original work and to begin building its collection. His first major comic book project is called “A.W.O.L.,” an over 100‐page full color graphic novel. Ronnie did the penciling, inking, coloring, lettering, and layout for “A.W.O.L.” The book premiered in 2017 at El Paso Comic Con. Ronnie’s first Artist Alley participation at a comic convention was at Wizard World Chicago in 2012 where he sold original art using quill and ink on handmade paper. Ronnie’s background in animation, painting, and mixed media greatly influences his work in comic books.
Born and raised in Columbus, Mason Easley has been doing illustration work professionally for 9 years, and has gotten to work on many projects ranging from comics, to trading cards, and gaming. He has done work for Marvel Comics, Upper Deck, Rittenhouse, Cryptozoic, Bad Axe Entertainment, Legacy Rising Publications, Alphetar games, and many smaller companies on such projects as Marvel 75th anniversary, Marvel’s Dangerous Divas, Archer, Aegis, The Legend of Azure, Psychic Soldier Kai, and Dungeon Dolls.
Kat Fajardo is an award-winning comic artist and illustrator based in NYC. A graduate of The School of Visual Arts, she’s editor of La Raza Anthology and creator of Bandida Comics series. She’s made work for Penguin Random House on The First Rule of Punk (written by Celia C. Pérez), CollegeHumor, and several anthologies. You can find her working at her Brooklyn studio creating playful and colorful work about self-acceptance and Latinx culture. Or drooling over puppies at a cafe.
Tim Fielder is a Glyph Award winning Illustrator, concept designer, cartoonist, and animator born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and raised in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He has a lifelong love of Visual Afrofuturism, Pulp entertainment, and action films. He holds other Afrofuturists such as Samuel Delany, Steven Barnes, Octavia Butler, John Jennings, and Stacey Robinson as major influences. He has worked over the years in the storyboarding, film visual development, gaming, comics, and animation industries for clients as varied as Marvel Comics, The Village Voice, Tri-Star Pictures, to Ubisoft Entertainment. He also is an educator for institutions such as the New York Film Academy and Howard University. He is also known for his TEDx Talk, on the subject of Afrofuturism, and for founding ‘AFROFUTUREFEST’, the first branded collective booth of creators of color in New York Comicon history. Tim makes his home with his wife and children in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Harlem.
Known for mixing history and culture with contemporary themes, Eric J. Garcia always tries to create art that is much more than just aesthetics. Garcia has exhibited nationally to include such institutions like San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Latin American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. After he received his BFA with a minor in Chicano studies from the University of New Mexico, Garcia went on to complete his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A versatile artist working in an assortment of media, from hand-printed posters, to the larger than life murals, they all have a common goal of educating and challenging.
Dustin N. Garcia is a Los Angeles, CA based cartoonist now residing in Oakland, CA. His skills include Animation, Illustration, Storyboarding, and Comics/Sequential Art. In addition to his work as a cartoonist, he is also an art educator and the owner of Dustooned Inc. Dustin draws his artistic inspiration from the early period of animation and underground comics. In addition, his art-style also embraces the early era of the mecha-genre.
Enrique García is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Visual Culture at Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. He holds a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (2007). His research focuses on international Hispanic cinema and comic books. He has published a number of articles on Mexican and Caribbean comic books. He is also the author of The Hernandez Brothers and Love, Rockets, and Alternative Comics.
In addition to a wide variety of language and culture classes, Enrique has been teaching a seminar on Latin American Comic Books at Middlebury, possibly the only course of its kind in the U.S. He is planning to offer an intermediate-level course in Peninsular comics in the near future.
Enrique is currently working on several projects. He is preparing his book on Cuban Cinema for publication. He is also writing a monograph on the works of U.S. Latino comic book writers/artists Jaime and Gilbert Hernández. His future projects include a book on the representation of race in the works of Mexican comic book author Yolanda Vargas Dulché, as well as a monograph on Hispanic musicals.
Born in Reno, NV, Crystal Gonzalez graduated from the University of Nevada with her BA in 2006 and her MFA from The California College of the Arts in 2010. She currently resides in San Francisco and has been professionally painting for more than 10 yrs. She also self-publishes a graphic novel entitled “In The Dark,” which is a humorous and satirical story that looks at religions and customs through the eyes of the demons in Hell. Her current projects in production include paintings that explore and comment on modern society and its cultural mores, part three of her graphic novel, and animation-based installations including a series of animated shorts based on “In The Dark.”
Jason “Gonzo” Gonzalez is a freelance Illustrator, Designer, Art and Creative Director with nearly 20 years of agency, design studio, and in-house design and art direction experience. He has done design and illustration for national ad campaigns, publications, trade shows, packaging, and comic books.
During his time as an art director for Lavidge and Baumayr (now the Lavidge Company), Gonzo worked on accounts for professional sports teams such as the Phoenix Suns (NBA), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), and the Phoenix Mercury (WNBA). As a senior art director with TMP International/McFarlane Toys, Gonzo continued working on accounts for professional sports teams,while also working on accounts for horror master Clive Barker, the Spawn franchise, The Simpsons, and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.
In addition to the above, Gonzo writes, pencils, inks, colors, and letters his creator-owned comic book, Le Mano del Destino. He owns and operates his own comic book publishing company, Castle & Key Publications, to publish his own titles and those of a few others.
Roberta Gregory was born in Los Angeles in 1953 and has been writing stories and drawing pictures pretty much all of her life. Roberta’s father, Robert Gregory (who died in December 2003) used to write Donald Duck and other Disney comics while she was a small child at home. The house was always full of comic books and she learned to read before she got to kindergarten.
When Roberta got into college (CSU Long Beach) in 1971, the feminist movement was in full swing, and she experimented with many different styles in the college humor paper, Uncle Jam (Published by Phil Yeh) until she created the “Feminist Funnies” strip in 1974. This was the year she sold her first story to the underground comic book, Wimmen’s Comix, Issue #4 (published by Last Gasp of San Francisco).
When Gay Comix appeared in 1980, her stories were in several of the issues throughout the 1980s. All these comic books have been long out of print, but she is planning on someday (soon, we hope!) reprinting these decades-old stories for the benefit of her readers, the newer ones and those who have fond memories of Roberta’s older stories.
In 1989 she moved from California to Seattle and started working at Fantagraphics Books (“publishers of the world’s greatest cartoonists”) and the first issue of Naughty Bits, her long-running comic book series, appeared in 1991. Roberta also began the short series, Artistic Licentiousness, three issues of which appeared in the 1990s. The first issue (now out of print) was published by Starhead Comix, and she self-published the last two issues. The second volume of Winging It was finally published in 1999.
Bitchy Bitch was born with the series, Naughty Bits, and has become her most well-known creation, and the character of hers that the most readers seem able to identify with!
J.M. Hunter, aka The Indy Hunter, is one-half of Angry Artist’s Studios and is the publisher of BAM TOO! (Big Ass Mini-Comic) and brings along with him a background of fine art, comics publishing and currently design. J.M.’s work can best be described as energetic, visceral and risk taking. He currently resides with his family in Washington, IL by way of Southern California (SoCal), and has debuted the first primer for a larger format of comics and culture known as The Indy Gazelle featuring his creation, “Pirate Santa Claus: Agent of Constantinople.”
Verzell James is an artist and publisher. As a publisher, he cultivates marketing strategies for the development of his company’s product line of art books, comic books, limited edition prints and posters.
“In pictures and words I view the world. In pictures and in words I translate what I see.
From early on my world has been shaped- by sights, sounds, words, both spoken and written, and the resulting experience. My job has been to take these experiences and show you the view through my eyes. If I have done my job correctly, you will be moved to respond.”
John Jennings is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies and a Cooperating Faculty Member in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. His work centers around intersectional narratives regarding identity politics and popular media. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award-winning essay collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem.
He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal’s Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also SOL-CON: The Brown and Black Comix Expo at the Ohio State University. Jennings sits on the editorial advisory boards for The Black Scholar and the new Ohio State Press imprint New Suns: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Speculative. He is currently the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center, Harvard University.
Imani Lateef is an award-winning graphic designer with nearly two decades of experience in editorial design. He is the founder of the Glass City Black Comix Arts Fest, which takes place in Toledo, OH. His website, PeepGameComix.com, sells the work of African-American comic book creators from around the country.
Breena Nuñez is a petite chapinaca (Guatemalan/Salvi mix) from the Bay Area of Califas, trying to hustle by creating and selling comic book-y illustrations. So you’ll find lots of sketches and personal art among a myriad of other things that inspire her, such as: comics, music, people of color, social justice movements, and some other funny chit. If you have any inquiries about art commissions, graphic design, or collaborating on a project, feel free to reach out and contact her!
Dave Ortega is a cartoonist based in Somerville, MA. He has taught comics at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and was previously a visiting artist there and at the Montserrat College of Art. In 2016, he was invited to create an interactive educational comics project in collaboration with the Art Lab at the Institute of Contemporary Art/ Boston. His comics have been featured at the Small Press Expo, Comic Arts Brooklyn, New York Art Book Fair, Latino Comics Expo, Grand Comics Expo, Brooklyn Zine Fest and more. His alter ego is as Programming Coordinator/ Production Assistant at Somerville Community Access Television.
Amber is a cartoonist and illustrator, just starting out. Her previous professional history was in interactive and user experience design.
She is currently enrolled in the MFA in Comics program at the esteemed art and design school, California College of the Arts. She received her undergraduate degree at Otis College of Art and Design.
When she moved from LA to the Bay Area, she worked for a few short months for Slide Inc, which was later acquired by Google. For one year, in an autonomous unit within Google, she helped to design mobile social apps. She then continued to work at Google as a UX Designer for YouTube. She lent her design skills to products for the YouTube TV app, mobile app, YouTube ads and various desktop app projects. She is currently working on personal projects and a masters thesis in her studio space at the Firehouse Art Collective in the Gilman District of Berkeley.
She resides in Oakland with her husband and two cats.
Ricardo Padilla, along with the equally-talented Javier Hernandez, is the co-founder of the Latino Comics Expo. Latino Comics Expo was founded as “a means to gather a variety of cartoonists, writers, illustrators and other creative individuals of Latino descent, or works exploring various aspects of Latino culture.” It was the first-of-its-kind event, reflecting on the influence of Latino culture and celebrating the endeavors of Latino creators in popular culture and entertainment.
The expo, which has been going strong since its founding in 2011, will hold it’s 2019 event on March 15-16 at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, CA. Don’t miss it!
Zeke Peña is a cartoonist and illustrator working on the US/MX frontera in El Paso, Tejas. He uses comics to remix history and reclaim stories using satire and humor; resistencia one cartoon at a time. He recently received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for a graphic biography he illustrated titled Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide (Getty Publications 2017). He has published work with VICE.com, Latino USA, The Believer Magazine, The Nib, Penguin Random House, Holt/Macmillan and Cinco Puntos Press. Zeke is currently working on a children’s book written by Isabel Quintero to be published in 2019 by Kokila, a Penguin Books imprint.
Los Angeles-based screenwriter and comics artist Tony Puryear became the first African-American screenwriter to write a $100 million summer blockbuster with his 1996 script for the Arnold Schwarzenegger hit, Eraser. He has written films for Oliver Stone, Mel Gibson, Jerry Bruckheimer and Will Smith. He is currently the Staff Writer on the hit USA series, Queen of the South.
Tony co-created, co-writes and draws the critically-acclaimed graphic novel series Concrete Park from Dark Horse Comics with Erika Alexander. An action-filled sci-fi story, Concrete Park features people of color in a disturbing future. This landmark multicultural series was named one of The Best American Comics, 2013 and won the 2016 Glyph Award for Best Collection.
Tony’s new political art series, gankstas!™, chronicles the schemes and personalities of the Trump Crime Family® and their hostile takeover of the government of the United States.
Tony Puryear lives in and works in downtown Los Angeles.
Stacey Robinson is an Assistant Professor teaching graphic design and illustration at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and is an Arthur Schomburg fellow who completed his Masters of Fine Art at the University at Buffalo. His work discusses ideas of “Black Utopias” as spaces of conflict resolution away from colonial influence by considering Black affluent self-sustaining communities, Black protest movements and the art movements that document(ed) them.
As part of the collaborative team Black Kirby with artist John Jennings, he creates graphic novels, gallery exhibitions, and lectures that deconstruct the work of artist Jack Kirby to re-imagine Black resistance spaces inspired by Hip Hop, religion, the arts, and sciences. With MotherBoxx Studios, (a design team facilitated by Black Kirby), the duo collaborates with an amalgam of artists and writers to facilitate graphic novels, comic conventions, and curated exhibitions.
His recent exhibition ‘Binary ConScience’ explores ideas of W.E. B. Du Bois’s “double consciousness” as a Black cultural adaptation and a means of colonial survival. Recent works appear in books: ‘Kid Code: Channel Zero’ from Rosarium Publishing, ‘Prison Industrial Complex For Beginners,’ from For Beginners Books, and ‘I Am Alfonso Jones,’ from Tu Books.
“Born in Puerto Rico and based in Columbus, Ohio, Rafael Rosado is a seasoned writer, director and storyboard artist for the animation industry. He began his career at Character Builders in Columbus, Ohio as an assistant animator. He quickly worked his way up to become a character designer, storyboard artist and commercial director. During his tenure there he worked on such shows as Fox’s Emmy Award-winning Life With Louie, HBO’s Happily Ever After and Fox’s Where in The World Is Carmen San Diego.
After leaving Character Builders in 1994, Rafael went to work for Warner Brothers Animation, storyboarding on Pinky and The Brain and Emmy nominated Animaniacs, for which he also wrote two episodes. He was the recruited by the newly-founded Sony Television Animation division, where he worked on eleven shows including directing episodes of CBS’s Project GeeKeR and NBC’s Sammy. He was promoted to Supervising Director on Extreme Ghostbusters and Producer on Men In Black: The Animated Series.
After 5 years honing his skills in Los Angeles, Rafael moved back to Ohio to raise his family. He is now one of the most highly sought-after storyboard artists, working for major studios such as Warner Brothers, The Walt Disney Company, Sony, Universal and the Cartoon Network. Highly diverse, he has storyboarded on action, comedy and pre-school shows, shows as diverse as Boondocks, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Batman, The Venture Brothers and Curious George.
Rafael’s first graphic novel, Giants Beware!, was published by First Second Books in early 2012. His short film The Tortured Clown was acquired by and featured on the Sundance Channel.”
A Columbus, Ohio native, Lisa Shepherd is an artist, creator and writer who’s been writing and drawing since second grade. As a young adult, she channeled her creative energy into theatre and worked as a TV News Graphic Artist.
Lisa is film actress and a director at the helm of narrative projects that inspire people of color. In 2017, she wrote, produced and directed a documentary called “Black and Brown, Heroes That Look Like Me.” It’s about the dreams and struggles of black and Latino comic book artists. Her production was featured during Sol-Con 2017.
In 2018 she was awarded the “Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Grant,” by The Greater Columbus Arts Council for professional development and research. In May of this year, her creation, “Stealth Agent 7,” was a contender for a character creation award at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Con, in Philadelphia. Ms. Shepherd’s creations always have strong and daring female protagonists that fight to overcome life changing obstacles and events. She will debut a preview of one such character, “Ari’el-The Lioness of God,” at CXC/Sol-Con 2018, in Columbus, Ohio.
Lisa continues to work as an artist in the community, recently displaying some of her paintings in Columbus, Ohio galleries, with invitations to more.
Uko Smith, a Washington, D.C. native now living in Columbus, OH graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design with a degree in illustration/design and a minor in fashion. Uko is becoming known for his unique style for the erotic pinup and his sensual style of work. Collectors and admirers of his work have come to notice his distinctive use of linework and stylized realization. Always looking to make his work distinguished from others in the field, he blends his style of design and illustration into a very unique package that definitely separates it from others.
As always admiring the female form, Uko gives great attention to the emotion and alluring look of his females whether it be the eyes, hair or clothing designs he decides to adorn them with. Inspirational artists that Uko has admired throughout the years include Frank Frazetta, Michelangelo, Robert McGinnis, John Byrne, Kevin Nowlan, Serpieri, Bridgman, Vargas, Petty, and Larry Stroman are just a few on the list.
Buyers of his work have included Julie Strain, Veronika of Echo Gallery and other noted models in the industry and followers of pinup art. Uko has published four portfolios titled “Visions of Erotica”, illustrating themes of fetish, fashion and nude modeling. There is one common theme throughout his work and that is the women that he portrays always have a strong femininity to them.
Not only is he a successful artist in the erotic art market, Uko has also been published in the field of comic books and the RPG industry. After being featured in the Nov.2005 issue of Heavy Metal, Uko’s popularity is steadily growing into one of consistency in the field. Uko has recently finished a comic featuring Bodybuilding Professional Colette Nelson. Along with the success of his work, an online comic featuring one of his creations will be available on his site titled Salem Erotica.
Uko’s publication credits include work for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Heavy Metal, Marquis Magazine, Resaurus Toys, Guardians of Order, White Wolf Publishing, Circuit City, Wendys International, MidCoast Marketing, National City Bank, CPM Manga, Julie Strains Nightmare on Pinup Street, Strictly Underground, Aristata Publishing, and Digital Webbing Presents.
Rodrigo “Oso” Vargas is a comic book artist living in Chile. Most of his work is related to Mapache Studios, his tiny little collective of three people (together with Fernando and Constanza) where, in addition to making pretty art, he helps organize two yearly tiny micro grants for Chilean comics and a mentoring project focusing on developing a comic in the process of an entire year.
His comic book work is usually inspired by hardcore punk, adventures, monsters and building a better world. He is currently working on 2041, a mixture between epistolary literature and art in a Latinx sci-fi context together with Frederick Luis Aldama and Fernando de Peña.
Anna Vo is a radical educator for 8 years in over 20 countries in Inclusion, Refugee Support, Trauma-Informed Care, and Racial Justice. Editor of an internationally renowned publication for People of Color that has been going for 6 years, and a speaker, artist and musician who has exhibited and toured in Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, Croatia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the States. Anarchist and local festival organizer.
David F. Walker is an award-winning comic book writer, author, filmmaker, journalist, and educator. His work in comic books includes Shaft (Dynamite Entertainment), winner of the 2015 Glyph Award for Story of the Year, Power Man and Iron Fist, Nighthawk, Luke Cage, Occupy Avengers, and Deadpool (Marvel Comics), Cyborg (DC Comics), Planet of the Apes (BOOM), Superb (Lion Forge), and Number 13 (Dark Horse Comics). He is also the creator of the critically acclaimed YA series The Adventures of Darius Logan. He teaches part time at Portland State University.
Coni Yovaniniz is an Astronomy MSc student and independent comic artist, currently working on her thesis on variable stars. She recently finished a weekly webcomic called Postcards in Braille. She loves scientific communication and making to-do lists. She currently resides in Santiago, Chile.