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Guests & Exhibitors

Featured Guests

vivek Vivek J. Tiwary (Keynote Speaker) is an award-winning Broadway producer and author of the New York Times best-selling graphic novel The Fifth Beatle about the untold and tragic story of the Beatles’ gay manager, Brian Epstein. The Fifth Beatle won the 2014 Eisner Award for Comics. It is currently being adapted for Bravo TV as a six-part TV event series that has secured unprecedented access to Beatles music.
trevor Trevor Von Eeden was the youngest and first black artist hired by DC Comics back in the late '70s. Famous for drawing Batman and Green Arrow, and author of The Real Johnson, about the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. Trevor is also the co-creator of Black Lightning, currently a hit TV show.
heather Heather Antos was born with secret aspirations to become the next James Bond. However since her lack of British heritage has pushed that dream aside, she now spends her days as the girl who will never grow up. Having worked as an editor at Marvel, primarily on the Star Wars and Deadpool lines, as well as being one of the creators of breakout character Gwenpool, she now spends her days as a freelance comics editor and story consultant on titles like Redlands and Injection for Image. She is an advocate for diversity and representation in pop culture.
dan napolitano Dan Napolitano is the founder Drawn to Diversity at Alfred University, which trains artist teams for nationwide outreach efforts as part of Art Force 5, a superhero-inspired community service effort that promotes using art and creativity to counteract violence and incivility. Teams have created community-based art for the University of Notre Dame, the University of Oklahoma, and Indianapolis’ Madame Walker Theatre Center. The program has presented its Creativity Over Conflict workshops at numerous Rochester schools, businesses, and the Strong National Museum of Play. 

Exhibitors and Speakers

MFA in Illustration – Lead by Brendan Leach, this FIT graduate program prepares you to be an innovative visual communicator, and fosters the entrepreneurial approach that professional illustrators need. 

Nicole Lee Aiossa & Amy Overman are the Associate Director of Development and the Artistic Director of the indie theater company, Dysfunctional Theatre. They started cosplaying together as a duo when they realized their love of theater costuming and Halloween wasn't enough for them, and they needed to expand their horizons and skills. Amy, an actress and producer, and Nicole, an opera singer and director, each have over 20 years’ experience on and off the stage. Amy is also a third generation seamstress who learned to sew at the age of 4 and to knit and crochet at 24. Nicole has a lifelong love of shiny things and an artist’s eye trained by the lavish costumes and sets opera offers; her mastery of the glue gun is unsurpassed.  Although they do not participate in the competition circuit, they did win the Mary Sue Geek Girl Cosplay Contest in 2014, and the Official NYCC Marvel Cosplay Contest ( with Tea Fougner!) in 2016. 

Chris Allo of Magnus Art Agency Former Talent Manager for Marvel Entertainment. Chris helped to launch the comic careers of artist's Rafa Sandoval, Marko Djurdjevic and Mico Suayan. He currently runs Magnus Arts Agency and does conventions doing portfolio reviews and panels talking about what it takes to be a working comic book artist in the industry today. 

Cristian S. Aluas is a New York City-based professional artist, writer, and filmmaker born in Romania. His "Big Boss" character was adapted into a short live-action film and his "Big Boss Comic" just launched. 

Reilly Brown is an American comic book artist and writer. Following his graduation from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003, he has drawn various comics for Marvel Comics including The Amazing Spider-Man, New Warriors, and Incredible Hercules, as well as the digital comic AvX. He's mostly known for his work as an artist and sometime writer on Cable & Deadpool and Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet, in which Brown co-created the characters Bob, Agent of Hydra and Shiklah. He is also on the staff of the Comics Experience.

Jon Peter Buzio is a graduate of the Kubert School, pursuing a career in Comic Book and Commercial Art. He recently served as inker for the independently published “Mr. Crowley” (2018) by Dan Ball and penciled by CJ Oechsle. He is also an official Upperdeck Sketchcard artist, having done five sets with them since 2016. He has an upcoming project entitled “Danger Cat”, written by Dan Ball, which he will be penciling, inking and coloring.

Robyn Chapman is an editor, a publisher, and (sometimes) a cartoonist. She runs a comics micropress called Paper Rocket Minicomics and each year she produces a zine about small press comics called The Tiny Report. She is the author of Drawing Comics Lab (Quarry Books) and has had many different jobs in comics. Currently, she is an associate editor at First Second.

Janice Chiang is an Asian American comic book letterer with over 30 years of experience. Chiang has been associated with Transformers, Visionaries, Rom, Conan the Barbarian (1982–1990), Alpha Flight (1987–1994), Iron Man (1987–1990), Ghost Rider vol. 2 (1990–1996), What If? (1990–1995), and Impulse (1999–2002). Comics Alliance honored Chiang as Outstanding Letterer of 2016 and ComicBook.com gave her the 2017 Golden Issue Award for Lettering. In May 2017, Chiang was featured as one of 13 women who have been making comics since before the internet on the blog Women Write About Comics.

Stan Chou is a Taiwanese American writer/artist who has been working in comics since 2013. He is currently publishing his comic Mind Transfer on Webtoon.

Andrea Colvin is VP, Editor in Chief at Lion Forge Comics where she works to fulfill the company’s mission of publishing “comics for everyone.” She was previously VP of Content, Book Division, for Andrews McMeel, where she co-founded the AMP! line of middle-grade graphic novels; Director of Publishing Operations for Open Road Integrated Media; and Executive Managing Editor for Abrams Books. She was an adjunct professor in NYU’s Graduate Publishing Program in 2011 and completed the Yale University Publishing Course in 2013.

ComicMix.com is the new site for readers who enjoy all types of fantastic media, from comic books television and movies to video games and more. Every day, visitors find news, facts, reviews, commentary, columns and a community environment that reaches across the globe, across decades and into the future. ComicMix was founded in 2006 by Mike Gold, Glenn Hauman and Brian Alvey, longtime comic professionals, fans, early adopters and computer nerds. 

Joe Corallo has been alive for over three decades, reading comics for over two decades, and making comics almost a decade. His writing has appeared in multiple anthologies including Our Hearts Still Beat: Volume Two and This Nightmare Kills Fascists. He co-edited the Eisner nominated and Ringo Award winning anthology Mine!, and currently edits Oh S#!t It's Kim & Kim. You can find more of Joe's writing in upcoming releases including Everything Is Going Wrong and Dates: Volume 3.

N. C. Christopher Couch holds a PhD in art history from Columbia University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on graphic novels and comic art, including The Will Eisner Companion: The Pioneering Spirit of the Father of the Graphic Novel (with Stephen Weiner), Will Eisner: A Retrospective (with Peter Myer)

Dennis Crisostomo is an artist who has worked on titles at Marvel, Dynamite, Del Rey and others, including Xtreme Xmen, Superior Carnage, Terry Brooks SHANARRA, RA Salvatore's DRIZZT, and Vampirella.  He also illustrated the book REPUBLIKA and is currently the group head of Filipino publisher and multi-media hub, EPIK Studios.

Forward Comix is owned by FIT instructor Jerome Walford and publishes Gwan, an award-winning anthology of immigrant stories.

Tea Fougner is a digital project manager at King Features Syndicate and a professional cosplayer.

Kristen Gudsnuk is the creator of the Hench Girl webcomic that was picked up first by Scout Comics and then Dark Horse. She is now busy on a new graphic novel from Scholastic.

Larry Hama is best known to American comic book readers as a writer and editor for Marvel Comics, where he wrote the licensed comic book series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, based on the Hasbro toy line. He has also written for the series Wolverine, Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja, and Elektra. He created the character Bucky O'Hare, which was developed into a comic book, a toy line, and television cartoon.

Dean Haspiel is an Emmy- and Ringo-award winner who created Billy Dogma and The Red Hook. He illustrated for HBO's "Bored To Death" and is a Yaddo fellow, a playwright, and helped pioneer personal webcomics. Dean has written, drawn and collaborated on many superheroes and literary graphic novels for Marvel, DC/Vertigo, Archie, IDW, Dark Horse, Heavy Metal, and LINE Webtoons. 

Micheline Hess was born and raised in New York City. She started her professional comic book career in the early 90s with Milestone Comics as a colorist. She has several creator owned works such as the award-winning  fantasy-adventure comic, book series ‘Malice in Ovenland’, ‘The Anansi Kids and the All Saints’ Day Adventure’, and the children’s book ‘The Island Cats of Cunga Ree.’ Micheline is most adept at creating characters and stories that provide a safe and fun way to inspire young children, especially girls. Through colorful flights of fun and fancy, she hopes to encourage a stronger sense of self-love, friendship, and a hunger to embrace all things new and different in the world around them. 

Joan Hilty is a former editor at DC Comics. She is the co-founder of Pageturner, a boutique book agency and production company, and a comics editor at Nickelodeon. Joan specializes in graphic novels and illustrated content, working with authors, literary agents, publishers, and media companies. 

Mel Hioki For the past 25 years, Mel Hioki has been an award-winning art director working with Charles Schulz for MetLife, Warner Bros., and Will Vinton Studios for KFC. He has created original characters for KFC International and Luppy Natural Foods. Mel’s first children’s book on hunger awareness, The Other Side of The Pond is based on an outreach event Mel organized with his church. Many of Mel's personal experiences led him to create his second children’s book, The Day Planet Rainbow Lost Its Color. A diversity and inclusion story.

Mindy Indy is a professional cartoonist working in New York City. She regularly exhibits in comic conventions, selling her independent comics and creating commissioned art. Her coloring work has appeared in Marvel comics.  She is currently working on a sci-fi/comedy comic series called "AER HEAD" on Patreon!   She also has taught comics at Harlem Children’s Zone and is currently teaching “Business Basics for Freelancers” classes to all kinds of freelancers.

Indira Jainanan is a self-taught artist and writer from the Bronx and currently works on two comics: Sacrimony: A Tale of Love, Life and Death—In No Particular Order and The Misadventures of Buddy and Friend.

Jim Jimenez is an artist and animator who has worked on Disney and Hanna Barbera projects such as Hercules, Xmen, Biker Mice, and more. He is currently the artist for the book OSYANA and senior illustrator of Filipino publisher and multi-media hub EPIK Studios. 

Jena Kane is the art director in charge of all Betty and Veronica marketing and products from Archie Comics. She is an accomplished graphic designer and illustrator and a graduate of FIT. 

Dionisios Kavvadias is a New York City born and based artist. After graduating from the High School of Art and Design, he attended the School of Visual Arts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1997. He has featured in group exhibitions at the Queens Council on the Arts, Tempo Rubato, Future Studio Gallery, Kentler International Drawing Space, the SVA Gramercy Gallery, Greenpoint Gallery, and One Art Space. Comic Cons include Big Apple Comic Con, WinterCon, and Kids Comic Con. Mr. Kavvadias has also exhibited his artwork in support of such nonprofit organizations as Freedom Ladder via shows by event planners The Set NYC, and Visual AIDS via their annual Postcards from the Edge, a benefit featuring original works by emerging and established artists.

Matt Kelly is a writer, editor, and colorist from Long Island. His work has appeared in books like Highlander 3030, The Leaf, Emerald Star Comics Presents, Unmasked: Signal, and Kayfabe: A Wrestling Anthology. His creator-owned titles include 24 Across with artist Stan Chou (publisher to be announced soon!) and The Alternate Adventures of Annabelle Avery with artist Mike Gallagher. Matt also hosts video segments, interviewing $1 Million sweepstakes winners from across the country.

Karina Kirsanova is NYC-based artist. She has been working on bettering her art skills with different types of mediums and inspirations from her favorite cartoons. Her major body of works are recreations of her favorite shows into her own art style. She is constantly selling fan art and traditional works online and at attended art cons. 

Brian Kong has worked in the comics, trading cards and advertising industries for the past 24 years. He has been commissioned by Topps for the past 10 years to provide artwork for their sports and entertainment brands, such as Star Wars and The Walking Dead. 

Kathleen Kralowec has been creating zines and comics for the last five years in the Bay Area and now in New York City. She recently produced an oracle deck. You can see her work at kathleenkralowec.com. 

Zorikh Lequidre is a video producer, director, editor, actor, swordfighter, performance personality and comic con organizer. He has been instrumental in coordinating Eternal Con, Winter Con, Big Apple Con and more. 

Hon Bun Leung is a New York-based freelance artist who makes Chibi art and stickers.

Doug Lovelace is graphic artist and cinematography geek. He has worked as a story artist and/or director on The Venture Bros, CGI series Dreamworks Dragons, The Adventures of Puss in Boots, and Star Wars Rebels. Lovelace has worked as a VR story artist for Baobab Studios and worked for Illumination Entertainment on The Grinch, Minions 2, and Secret Life of Pets 2.  

Heidi MacDonald is a writer, editor, journalist, and publisher of The Comic Beat. She is a former editor for DC Comics' Vertigo imprint and Disney Adventures, and she edited the graphic novel The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning from Fox Atomic Comics that served as a prequel to the 2006 film.  

Anthony Marques is an editor at Dynamite Entertainment and an artist for Dynamite, IDW, and Dark Horse on titles such as Doc Savage, Red Sonja, Green Hornet, Back to the Future, Army of Darkness, and Vampirella. 

Sasha Matthews is a cartoonist, activist, and 9th grader living in New York City. Her "Everyday Superheroes" fundraiser collected over $10,000 for the ACLU. She fought to make sure teens who enter Scholastic's Art and Writing Awards retain ownership of their copyrights. Sasha's activism has been recognized by Malala Yousafzai’s foundation. Her editorial cartoons have appeared in Hyperallergic, Boing Boing, and The Mary Sue. She has been a guest on NBC's “Little Big Shots," and helped inspire a Microsoft holiday campaign. Four of her self-published comics are available from local bookstores and online. Visit RumbleComics.com or follow @RumbleComics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

Adriana Melo is a Brazilian comic book artist and penciller who has worked on various Star Wars titles, mostly in the Star Wars: Empire series. She has also worked on DC Comics' Rose & Thorn and Birds of Prey as well as Top Cow's Witchblade and Marvel Comics's Ms. Marvel. In 2018 she collaborated with writer Gail Simone on a six-issue DC miniseries featuring Plastic Man.

Dan Napolitano is the founder of Drawn to Diversity at Alfred University, which trains artist teams for nationwide outreach efforts as part of Art Force 5, a superhero-inspired community service effort that promotes using art and creativity to counteract violence and incivility. Teams have created community-based art for the University of Notre Dame, the University of Oklahoma, and Indianapolis’ Madame Walker Theatre Center. The program has presented its Creativity Over Conflict workshops at numerous Rochester schools, businesses, and the Strong National Museum of Play.

Lora Nicolas is an actor and singer living in the concrete jungle where dreams are made of...New York City. She has played Kim in Miss Saigon, Anita in West Side Story, Joanne in Rent, Lucy  in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Janet Van de Graaff in The Drowsy Chaperone, Christmas Eve in Avenue Q, and Meg in Little Women. She also originated the role of Hannah in Vital Theater's StinkyKids the Musical—which won an Off Broadway Alliance Award Winner for Best Family Musical. She toured all over the U.S., and recently performed in two sold out concerts in Tochigi and Tokyo. Lora is also a huge geek for the sci-fi and fantasy genres, and "casually cosplays" for fun. Follow her cosplaying on Instagram @ dailycasualcosplays.

PaperCutz is an American publisher of family-friendly comic books and graphic novels, mostly based on licensed properties such as Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Lego Ninjago. Papercutz has also published new volumes of the Golden Age-era comics series Classics Illustrated and Tales from the Crypt. In recent years they have begun publishing English translations of European (mostly French) all-ages comics, including The Smurfs.

Pronto Comics is a non-profit comic book publisher whose goal is to bring together aspiring comic creators to help them bring their work to fruition and move into professional work in the comics industry.

Emily Ree is a comic artist, writer and illustrator from New York. She is the creator of Anarchy Dreamers, an urban fantasy about undead kids fighting society's worst nightmares, the inclusive romance anthology Marshmallow Horns, and the Museum Association of New York award winning Votes for Women: Celebrating New York's Suffrage Centennial comic series. She is a 2013 graduate of FIT.

Derwin Roberson is a New York-based freelance manga-style Illustrator who regularly does commissions at various cons. He is also an art instructor at Gateway to the Future Academy. His credits include Black, Devastating Roulette, and Scifies Greatest Hits.

James Rodriguez was born and raised in New York and attended the School of Visual Arts, where his instructors included the comic book legends Walter Simonson, Klaus Janson, and Joe Orlando. He also later hung out at Bill (Shi) Tucci’s Crusade Entertainment’s studio, learning the finer points of putting a comic book together. Most recently, James drew the series Sarah Rising from Tres Calaveras Studios.

Jim Salicrup is editor-in-chief of Papercutz, the company devoted to publishing great graphic novels for all ages: Ariol, DreamWorks Trolls, Geronimo Stilton, Gumby, Hotel Transylvania, Manosaurs, The Loud House, The Only Living Boy, Smurfs, Melowy, and more. Plus two imprints: Super Genius (High Moon, Neil Gaiman titles, Trish Trash, The Wendy Project, The Joe Shuster Story, and more) and Charmz (Chloe, The Scarlet Rose, Monica Adventures, and more). Jim worked at Marvel Comics for twenty years, editing  Spider-Man (including Amazing Spider-Man #300 by Michelinie and McFarlane, which introduced Venom),  X-Men (including X-Men #137, which featured the death of dark Phoenix with Claremont & Byrne), Fantastic Four (with John Byrne), Iron Man, and more, including Marvel Age. Jim wrote Spidey Super Stories, Transformers, Visionaries, the Spider-Man Child Abuse Prevention comic, The A-Team, Kool-Aid Man, the Marvel toilet paper, and more. Jim was also Editor-in-Chief at Topps Comics, Senior Writer/Editor for Stan Lee Media, and a Trustee for MoCCA, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.

Robert J. (“Bob”) Sodaro is a storyteller and graphic production artist who not only writes articles and stories but does prepress production work for several indie publishers including, Red Anvil, Main Enterprises, Pronto, Atlas Unleashed, and others. Some of his characters include Agent Unknown, Wülf Girlz, Girl Skout Wars, and Hot Girl & Totally Hot Girl. His blog can be found at http://freelanceink.blogspot. com/.

Ali Solomon is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Guttenberg, NJ. Ali’s style is a combination of fan art, cartoons, and pop culture, using crisp sharp lines and bold vivid colors.    

Christopher Sotomayor is professional comic book colorist and head of Soto Color. Chris has worked for every major comic book publisher, including Marvel, DC and Image. His work includes titles such as Captain Marvel (vol 4), Avengers (vol. 3), Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Deadpool, Supreme Power, and Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four.

Story Ark is an experimental new comic book company that helps aspiring creators hone their skills and get published. Founder Ramon Gil organizes an anthology workshop, panels at various comic cons, and holds monthly meetings featuring guests speakers from the comic book industry. Story Ark is currently publishing the Scifies Anthology. For more info visit storyark.com

Kiara Valdez is an assistant editor at First Second. She spends her free time reading manga, writing, and enjoying a long list of other hobbies she can't keep up with. 

Ivan Velez Jr. is an openly gay Latino American creator of comic books, known for his work with Milestone Media and for creating Tales of the Closet, one of the first comics to depict the everyday lives of LGBT youth.  In 1994, he was the first Latino to get a monthly title at Marvel Comics.

Women in Comics Collective International hosts events across the country such as Panel Discussions, Art Shows, Workshops and the Annual Convention, Women in Comics Con.

Lynne Yoshii is a comic book artist and illustrator, and an alumna of the 2016 DC Comics Artist Development Workshop. She has done work for DC Comics, Boom! Studios, and Time for Kids magazine. 

Shea Zubair has been drawing since he was old enough to figure out what a pencil is and hasn't stopped since. Being able to create people, objects, worlds, even history, thrills him. When not working on his personal comic projects, he is working on storyboards, designing characters, illustrating children's books, creating sketchcards, and other work for clients.