A plethora of comic book writers and artists, plus musicians, authors, filmmakers, publishers and editors from across the country have been invited to the 2016 Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival to meet and greet fans. Here are those confirmed to appear thus far!*
Cristian S. Aluas
Cristian S. Aluas is a Romanian-born Canadian fine artist, illustrator, graphic designer, art teacher, producer,and speaker. He self-published his first graphic novel in 1996, while still in high school. He studied Animation at Algonquin College (Ottawa) and worked in TV and animation, on such shows as “Franklin the Turtle” and with such creators as John Kricfaluci (“Ren and Stimpy”). He also studied creative writing and studio art at Concordia University (Montreal), where he refined his story-telling skills and painting techniques. During the span of his professional artistic career, Aluas has created large-scale murals and paintings, and has his fine art in The National Gallery of Canada and The Museum of Modern Art. He also successfully owned an art school in Canada for many years, before moving to Las Vegas to be an instructor at the Art Institute. Aluas recently completed Big Boss: Night Out, a short live-action film based on his Big Boss graphic novel.
Deb Aoki was the Manga editor for About.com from 2007 – 2013. Nowadays, she’s the editor of MangaComicsManga.com, a website dedicated to both manga and comics that Deb loves.
Deb can also be found on Tumblr, where she posts about comics, manga, things that make her giggle, and cats. Yes, cats.
Spencer Brinkerhoff III
Spencer Brinkerhoff III decided late in 2007 that drawing some sketch cards might be a good way to sharpen his illustration skills, but little did he know that he would be launching a new career entirely.
An invitation to Celebration Japan in 2008 gave him his first opportunity to create a limited edition print as well as his first shot at being an exhibitor. That same year, he debuted at the San Diego Comic-Con, where his animated short was a finalist in the Star Wars Fan Movie challenge. In 2009, Spencer launched the Star Wars Artist series on Zazzle, along with another print utilizing a cinematic depth of field and his signature animated style. Brinkerhoff is also the creator of the Drawing-is-Simple drawing system.
Jason Copland is a freelance artist living in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. His work has been published by Image, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Villard/Random House, as well as in many small press publications. Copland has contributed work to two Eisner-nominated anthologies: Trickster: Native American Tales and Postcards: True Stories That Never Happened. He is the co-creator of Kill All Monsters (with Michael May) and Pop (with Curt Pires), and is currently working with Fabian Rangel, Jr. on the STELA series Santos.
A comics writer whose work includes the Girls Night Out anthologies, The VIP Room and the sci-fi all ages adventure Saving Abby, Amy Chu is also a contributor to Vertigo’s CMYK and Strange Sports Stories, the CBLDF Liberty Annual, and is writing Poison Ivy’s first solo series for DC Comics.
Scott Koblish is a musician and cartoonist, best known for his work on Deadpool, as well as a number of other Marvel Comics titles, including FF, Uncanny X-Men: First Class, and X-Men ’92.
Ashleigh Popplewell is an artist/illustrator living and working in Las Vegas. Her published work can be found in various non-sport trading card sets, including (but not limited to): Marvel Comics, Star Wars, The Walking Dead, The Hobbit Trilogy, Ghostbusters, Mars Attacks, and many more.
James Robinson is a British writer of comic books and screenplays, best known for his work on DC Comics’ Starman, which earned the writer an Eisner Award in 1997 for Best Serialized Story, and on the 2003 movie version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Among Robinson’s other comic book work are such titles as The Golden Age, Legends of the Dark Knight, JSA, Hawkman, and his own creation Leave it to Chance, for which Robinson won two more Eisner Awards in 1997, for Best New Series and Best Title for Younger Readers. He is currently writing the series Scarlet Witch for Marvel Comics.
JH Williams III
JH Williams III is a multiple award-winning illustrator, designer and writer. Starting his professional comic career in 1991, Williams has worked on numerous DC Comics books, including Deathwish (for the Milestone imprint), Batman, Starman, The Son of Superman, and Batwoman.
Williams worked with legendary writer Alan Moore on the series Promethea, which earned numerous nominations and awards for all involved, including an Eisner Award for Best Single Issue in 2001 and a Best Artist win at the 2006 Harveys. His other notable works include Desolation Jones with Warren Ellis, Batman: Snow (which Williams co-wrote with his writing partner on Chase, D. Curtis Johnson), as well as Seven Soldiers Of Victory and Batman: The Black Glove with Grant Morrison.
Outside of the comics industry, Williams has worked on projects as varied as designing a limited edition suit lining for San Francisco’s Artful Gentlemen and designing album covers for such bands as The Sword and Blondie.
The Velveteen Band
The Velveteen Band is an eclectic musical side show which delivers a wonderland dreamscape, set to capture the imagination and rock you to the core. The theatrical rock ensemble features puppets on vocals, a deranged mad scientist, and is led by a 6-foot, trumpet-playing rabbit named the Baron Von Velveteen.
Fans of Gogol Bordello, Aquabats, Danny Elfman, Weird Al Yankovic, They Might be Giants, and the Muppets should enjoy The Velveteen Band. We know we do.
Additional 2016 Guests
Jay Edidin & Miles Stokes / Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men
Jay Edidin and Miles Stokes are the hosts of Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, a weekly podcast exploring the convoluted continuity of comics’ greatest superhero soap opera; and one of Entertainment Weekly’s “20 Podcasts You Need to Hear in 2015.” They live in Portland, Ore., with a nice lady named Anna, a lumpy cat, and too many comics to count.
Betsy Gomez is editorial director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. She came to comics later than most people, but Gomez made up for lost time. When most of her fellow college kids were hiding their drinking habits from their parents, she was hiding a stash of comics in her closet. After giving her mother a copy of Preacher Vol. 1 and showing her father some Sin City pinups, her parents decided that Gomez probably didn’t need an intervention. Not long after discovering comics, she discovered the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. She has been volunteering at conventions and events since 1998, which makes her a pretty familiar face in these parts.
When she isn’t busy defending comics from the forces of evil, Gomez can be found herding poets as the organizer of one of the longest-running spoken word events on the West Coast, the Berkeley Poetry Slam in Berkeley, Calif. She spends her time alternately embracing, denying, or decrying her sordid past as a science textbook editor, freelance writer, and a marketing and PR coordinator. If you meet her at the booth and find yourself tired of talking about funny books, ask her about science. She probably knows something interesting.
Patrick Meaney / Respect Films
Patrick Meaney is a writer and director behind documentaries like Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods and Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts, as well as comics like Last Born from Black Mask. With Jordan Rennert, he is a founder of Respect Films, a production company committed to developing groundbreaking film projects for theatrical, television and the web. Meaney will screen his latest work, Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously.
A professor at the University of Oregon (where he founded the first ever undergraduate minor in Comics and Cartoon Studies), Ben Saunders is the author of Do The Gods Wear Capes?: Spirituality, Fantasy, and Superheroes and several other projects, including an essay on Peanuts, a critical anthology on the achievements of Jack Kirby, and a major exhibition devoted to EC comics.