Lucy Knisley – 2018 Creator Keynote Speaker
Lucy Knisley is a critically acclaimed, award-winning comic creator who specializes in personal, confessional comics and travelogues. She attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Merit Scholar, BFA 2007), followed by The Center for Cartoon Studies (Diamond in the Rough Scholar, MFA 2009). To date her work has been published by several major publishers, including French Milk (2008, Touchstone/Simon & Schuster), Relish (2013, First Second [MacMillan Comics Imprint]), An Age of License (2014, Fantagraphics), Displacement (2015, Fantagraphics), and Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride (2016, First Second [MacMillan Comics Imprint]).
Diana Schutz – 2018 Scholar Keynote Speaker
Diana Schutz is an award-winning editor who has been working in comics for almost forty years. She was senior executive editor at Dark Horse Comics, where she was on staff from 1990 to 2015. She was Frank Miller’s editor on Sin City and 300, Matt Wagner’s editor on Grendel, Stan Sakai’s editor on Usagi Yojimbo, Paul Chadwick’s editor on Concrete, and Larry Marder’s editor on Beanworld. She applied her knowledge of romance languages to edit international material in translation such as Blacksad and The Manara Library. She has worked with authors Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Harvey Pekar, and Harlan Ellison, among others. She was fortunate to have been Will Eisner’s Dark Horse editor until his death in 2005.
She is also an adjunct instructor of Comics Studies at Portland State University, a published author of both comics and prose, and the first woman to be inducted into the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame. Semi-retired, she now works as a literary translator of European comics, including work by Moebius, Manara, Muñoz & Sampayo, and more.
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Adam Lopez – https://merrittroadcomics.wordpress.com
Adam Lopez is a recent graduate from Michigan State University, with a degree in Media & Information (3D Graphics and Animation) with a double minor in Comic Art & Graphic Novels and Animation & Comics Storytelling in Media. A kind of renaissance man, Adam has worked as a high school football coach, security guard, meat cutter, actor, writer, and comic artist. Adam lives in Okemos, Michigan with his wife, Kari,m and their dog, Zorro.
Andre Batts – www.urbanstylecomics.com
Andre L. Batts born May 4, 1966, grew up on the west side of Detroit. Andre had a close knit family with his Mom, Dad, Brother and his many cousins and of course aunts and uncles. They were all like brothers and sisters, but there was one difference, Andre was the only one that had a love for comic books. Growing up during the 70’s, other kids would say to him, “Man, why are you always reading comic books?” Andre had a love for comic books such as Dr. Strange, the X-men and the Avengers. He was a self-taught artist who learned to draw by looking at the images that were in the comics that he had been reading. Through time, Andre stopped drawing due to becoming a teenager and discovering girls. At this time period, Andre still occasionally picked up comics that he generally read as a child. He no longer bought his comics at the neighborhood store, but now Andre had to buy his comics at comic book specialty shops outside the urban Detroit area. It seemed to Andre that they were trying to keep African-Americans from having access to these comics, unless they had the means to go into the suburbs.
After years have past by, Andre had began studying the Medu Neter and all that was related to his African culture. He started realizing that there wasn’t enough African-American representation in comic books, yet African-Americans were spending a lot of money on comic books, including him. Andre realized a lot of comic book stories stemmed from ancient African Myths and Spirituality. The Myths were watered down to fit characters such as Superman, the Xmen and others in the Marvel, D.C. Universes. So, Andre, being heavily influences by the books he read in his 20’s and 30’s as well as the music he listened to (Reggae and conscious Hip Hop) began writing and writing and eventually developed his own likeness in an African American character he created called Dreadlocks in 1995. He released his first Dreadlocks title in 1996 and he has been rolling them out ever since.
Ben Wright-Heuman – www.BWHComics.com
Ben Wright-Heuman hails from Richmond, VA. A lifelong writer and doodler, he originally pursued screenwriting before realizing that comics were his true passion and calling.
After graduating from the Center for Cartoon Studies in 2016, he moved to Columbus, OH, where he works as a freelance cartoonist and illustrator. His comics span the genres of mystery, science-fiction, horror, humor, and nonfiction.
Blind Alley Comics – blindalleycomics.com
Hailing from Lansing, MI, Blind Alley Comics’ mission to rock the world of comics with its mind-boggling original stories and art. Co-conspirators Rick Schlaack (The Human Cannonball) and Joe Haines (The Strange Adventures of Bone Boy) want to bring amazement, thrills, and happiness to their audience with every issue.
Bob Corby – Back Porch Comics / SPACE – www.backporchcomics.com
Bob Corby is the guy who runs SPACE (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo) in Columbus. He is gainfully employed as a structural engineer. In between working, eating, and sleeping he draws comics to keep his sanity. He also publishes Oh,Comics! an annual anthology comic which has been published since 1988. Other publications include Leaves, Amazing Tales of Entropy, Test! and numerous minicomics. All are available at www.backporchcomics.com
Brandon L. Hankins – crownoffirecomic.tumblr.com
Brandon Hankins is a cartoonist and ink painter based in Michigan. He focuses on telling action-packed yet meaningful stories, with the intent to affect people positively and profoundly. A student of the Japanese art of ink painting, or sumi-e, Brandon strives to infuse every stroke of his brush with life, energy, and honesty.
Britt Monday – http://deadgravity.tumblr.com/
Britt Monday is a Lansing-based comics creator with both comics in print and online. She favors the nib and brush pen, and enjoys blending a friendly, cute style with supernatural horror and existential dread.
Bruce Worden – sketchsketchsketch.com
Raised by disgruntled employees of a comic book bindery in the Canadian wilderness, Bruce was trained to one day infiltrate the corrupt world of the ink mafia and bring it down from the inside. He can saddle-stitch his way out of any problem.
Chris & Gin – chrisandgin.com
Chris Ludden and Ginger Dee are a husband/wife team from Indianapolis. They’ve collaborated as both writers and artists on several comics including “Pitched,” “Dexter’s Digs,” and “The Brothers Grant.”
Christy Hans – christyhans.com
Christy Hans is working towards her BFA at Michigan State University with a minor in comic book illustration. She has a long history in independent comics, having been published in anthologies like Comics Obscura. Christy is also the writer for the web comic Orc Quest. She was recently awarded the Capital City Comic Con Original Art Scholarship in Comic Studies. Her other artistic endeavors include ceramics, pottery, and water color painting. When she is not drawing or covered in clay, she enjoys playing video games, weaving, or knitting.
Corinne Roberts – www.corinneroberts.net
Corinne Roberts has written and illustrated Trip to Trekka, Imaginary Sea 1,2,3!, and Something Random. Her webcomic/comicbook Out and About will be released in 2018. Along with her books, she illustrated the webcomic, Kitty Game and the card game, Unreal Estate.
As a watercolorist, Corinne currently teaches at Kendall College of Art and Design in the Continuing Studies program and continues to teach numerous workshops and classes throughout West Michigan.
Courtney Hahn – courtneyartstuffs.com
Courtney Hahn is a freelance cartoonist living and working in Fort Wayne, IN. She’s worked on several smaller projects as well as more exciting projects like game rebranding and short film storyboards. These days Courtney still has a day job but keeps herself busy with freelance projects and maybe going outside once in a while.
Daniel J. Hogan – http://clattertron.com
Daniel J. Hogan is an award-winning cartoonist from Lansing, Michigan (2015 SPACE Prize – Best Webcomic). In 2012, Daniel decided to put the voices in his head to good use and started making his own comic strip, Clattertron (found at clattertron.com). In late 2016, Daniel started a new fantasy comic on clattertron.com, called Foxes & Boxes. Combining cartoony characters and off-beat humor, Daniel publishes a new all-ages comic each Monday. A life-long fan of cartoons, comics, and funny drawings, Daniel studied animation and film at Grand Valley State University before becoming a self-taught cartoonist.
Prior to making comics, Daniel self-published a young adult fantasy novel in 2007, The Magic of Eyri, which he adapted to an audiobook podcast with character voices and sound effects.
Follow Daniel on Twitter, @danieljhogan and Instagram, @clattertron.
Dean Stahl – Http://www.headlocksandheadaches.com
A life-long fan of comics, I’ve aggressively pursued a career in comics and have realeased 3 issues of my own comic, Headlocks and Headaches and am currently working on a graphic novel.
Devon Camel – http://facebook.com/DevonCamel
I am a self-published illustrator born and raised in Saginaw, MI. Currently living in Mason, MI writing and illustrating creator-owned comics and freelance graphic design.
Emily Zelasko – http://www.emilyzelaskoart.com/
Emily Zelasko is an illustrator and comic artist from the Metro Detroit area. She has done illustrative and comic work for a variety of writers and publishers as well as writen and created her own comics. Many of her comics are stand-alone slightly fantastical /sci-fi stories that deal with peculiar adventure, a bit of reflection, and hopefully growth. Apart from comics, Emily also creates illustrations using water color, paint, digital, and, of course, ink.
Jason Strutz – Strutzart.com
Jason Strutz is a Grand Rapids resident and the illustrator behind the The House of Montresor, a continuation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, from Action Lab Entertainment published in 2016. He has also been published in Princeless, Frankenstein’s Giant, and more.
Jay P. Fosgitt – www.jayfosgitt.com
Jay P. Fosgitt has worked in comics since 2006, drawing for many recognized properties, such as SESAME STREET and DREAMWORKS ANIMATION MAGAZINE (Ape Entertainment), MY LITTLE PONY, G.I. JOE/MICRONAUTS and POPEYE (IDW), ADVENTURE TIME, THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL, and JIM HENSON’S LABYRINTH (Boom), BETTY AND VERONICA and LITTLE SABRINA (Archie), and ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT, AVENGERS, GWENPOOL, WEB WARRIORS, CHAMPIONS, DEADPOOL and JESSICA JONES (Marvel). Jay has also written and drawn his creator-owned titles DEAD DUCK AND ZOMBIE CHICK (Source Point Press), NECRONOMICOMICS (Rue Morgue Magazine) and his all-ages comic BODIE TROLL. Jay is also a member of The National Cartoonists Society. He resides in Plymouth, Michigan with his cat, Goonie.
Jonathan Griffith – https://3031comic.tumblr.com
Jonathan Griffith is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator based out of Ann Arbor, MI. His art can be seen on merchandise, in publications, in video games, and on the internet in his webcomic 3031: An Ongoing Exploration of the Familiarly Unknown. When he’s not working, he generally can be found subsisting on coffee, watching old movies, and distracting himself with hours of Overwatch.
Joshua Buchanan – joshuadraws.com
Joshua Buchanan is a graphic designer by day, storyteller and comic artist by night. Josh’s current work includes his own comic book, The Rocket, and Scratch9 Cat of Nine Worlds. More all-ages books are being planned for future release. Josh lives in Howell, Michigan with his wife and two daughters.
Kenny Porter – http://kennyporterwrites.com/
Kenny Porter is a professional writer living in West Michigan. He’s written comics for Top Cow/Image Comics, Heavy Metal, and SEGA, and recently launched his creator-owned series Barnstormers! through Kickstarter.
Ladies’ Night Anthology – http://www.ladiesnightanthology.com/
Ladies’ Night Anthology was founded in 2012 in Chicago, IL. We bring together first time creators and those that have never collaborated before, giving them tools, guidance, and mentorship to move to the next level of their career in comics. Our fifth anthology, SISTERS features original comics from talented women and non-binary creators from all over the world.
Legends of Aukera: Amanda and Rory Webb – www.legendsofaukera.com
Rory and Amanda Webb are the husband and wife team behind Legends of Aukera and the weekly fantasy webcomic, The Ascendants. Married since 2006, they both graduated from Grand Valley State University, Rory with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Video Production, and Amanda with a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design. They reside in Grand Rapids with their three children, cranky old dog, and basement full of old action figures, eccentric movie props, and vintage video games.
Legends of Aukera was inspired by the many Dungeon and Dragons campaigns Rory and Amanda played. Instead of using well-known and copyrighted settings, they decided to create their own world, and Aukera was born. The Ascendants, the first of multiple planned comics, is illustrated entirely by Amanda, and is co-written by both Rory and Amanda. It tells the story of Felosial, an elven mage from the port city of Dagruum, who finds herself caught up in an adventure she hadn’t intended on having. With the help of her dwarven friend Bakar and the flamboyant thief Dilavo, she discovers secrets about the city and its inhabitants that may change the course of her life forever.
Lisa Naffziger – http://lisanaffziger.crevado.com
Lisa Naffziger is a comic artist and children’s book illustrator. In March of 2014, she graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Sequential Art. Known for illustrating the graphic novel, Life’s Questions Answered and the children’s book, Ozzie the Courageous Otter, she’s always ready to tackle another project. In addition to collaborative work, she also maintains a sad romance webcomic called, Petrichor.
Matt Feazell – www.cynicalman.com
Matt Feazell comics and spot illustrations have appeared in Disney Adventures and Nickleodeon Magazine. His regular weekly series, “The Amazing Cynicalman” appears in two Michigan newspapers (the Hamtramck Review and Flint Comix & Entertainment) as well as at www.cynicalman.com. He is the winner of the 2010 Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo SPACE Prize for best minicomic, Board of Superheros™, and 2005 SPACE prize for Lifetime Achievement.
Michael L Peters – mlpeters.com
Michael L. Peters is the author, illustrator and publisher of the graphic novel, CRESCENT CITY MAGICK: Welcome to New Orleans, and is working on a sequel.
He’s had previous comics work in Heavy Metal Magazine, Negative Burn (Desperado Publishing), Unbound (Image Comics), Legends of Camelot (Caliber Comics) and others. Peters regularly creates covers and illustrations for REH (Robert E. Howard):Two-gun Raconteur, self-publishes fantasy art prints and is portrait artist for Ferris State University, of Big Rapids, Michigan.
Michael L. Peters lives in the woods of Michigan and can be found online at — mlpeters.com
MSU Graphic Novels Club – https://www.facebook.com/groups/MSUGraphicNovels/
Students at the MSU Graphic Novels Club gather once a week to create their own stories and comics.The club is a diverse mix of artists, writers, and comic enthusiasts, allowing for collaboration and creative feedback. At the end of the year, we compile all our stories into one anthology that we sell for club funds.
Pära Low – http://studio-linaer.tumblr.com/
Pära Low makes clothes, costumes, comics, sculptures, and more. She is interested in avant-garde design. Pära’s work is currently focused on horror and mythology, and ways to make the foreign or frightening accessible to her audience.
Sean Dempsey – www.smdempseycomics.com
Sean Dempsey graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Sequential Art. His independent comics focus on curiosity and adventure through traveling or misfit characters. Whether in a comic, illustration, or cartoon, Sean’s stories embrace a balance of innocent and cynical protagonists. He hopes to create diverse, relatable characters that the audience can witness their inner growth, discovery, and individuality.
Suzanne Baumann – www.fridge-mag.com
Suzanne Baumann makes comics from her attic in Hamtramck, MI. She draws and is drawn to all sorts of little everyday things that are typically overlooked and taken for granted, or outright rejected and discarded. Such items continually turn up as both subject matter and physical material for her creative work. She has produced dozens of minicomics, printing them at home and selling them via mail and at comic conventions. Subject matter includes overheard conversations, boys in turtlenecks, pigeons, broccoli, highway medians, old houses, dismemberment for art’s sake, and love. She’s currently working on Sucker Street, an online graphic novel. Follow it at suckerstreet.com.
Tony Miello – www.rocketinkstudios.com
Tony is a freelance cartoonist and illustrator. He is the creator of the comic strip GAPO the Clown which has appeared on the web since 2004 and is currently published by Caliber Comics. He has worked on comic’s based on the popular cable television shows Who Wants To Be A Superhero and Wolfman Mac’s Chiller Drive-In and has provided art for trading card companies Upper Deck, Breygent Marketing, Cryptozoic Entertainment and Topps on licensed proprieties from Marvel Entertainment, DC Comics and LucasFilm. Tony is one of the co-founders of Rocket Ink Studios where he has worked on Portraits Of Poe and trading cards for the licenced property Matt Busch’s Hollywood Is Dead. Rocket Ink Studios will soon be publishing Odd Tales From The Curio Shop which will star Brian O’Halloran.
Travis McIntire – www.SourcePointPress.com
Travis is the editor-in-chief of Source Point Press, one of the largest publishers of horror and sci-fi comics in the midwest and a well regarded indy publisher nationwide.