Special Guests

Comic-Con 2019 will be held July 18-21 (with Preview Night on July 17) at the San Diego Convention Center. The following special guests are confirmed for this year's event.


Bill Cole

Bill Cole at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Longtime Comic-Con Exhibitor

Bill Cole, professional engineer, and retired Major, United States Army, since 1988 has been one of the longest San Diego Comic-Con exhibitors. He started his company in June of 1973 after winning tickets to a local comic book show. After going to small cons in the area, he started to produce and sell plastic sleeves to protect comic books. Sometime later, he began to manufacture heat-sealed Mylar sleeves to prevent comic books from turning yellow. All this led to his doing this on a full-time basis, making a career change and calling the company Bill Cole Enterprises, Inc. Today, BCE is one of the largest archival supply companies in the world. Bill has been married for 47 years to his lovely wife Nancy and has four grown children.

Jon B. Cooke

Jon B. Cooke at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center
Jon B.

Writer, editor, Comic Book Creator, Comic Book Artist

Jon B. Cooke is the five-time consecutive Eisner Award winner (and one-time Harvey Award recipient) for his former magazine, Comic Book Artist, as well as writer and producer of the full-length feature film documentary, Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist [2007]. Currently editor of Comic Book Creator magazine (published by TwoMorrows), Cooke is author of The Book of Weirdo, a massive retrospective of R. Crumb’s humor comics anthology, published this year by Last Gasp. For that San Francisco-based publisher, Cooke is working with them on a 50th anniversary celebratory book to be published in 2020. He is also co-editor of Kirby100, The Warren Companion, Swampmen: Muck Monsters of the Comics, and the forthcoming World of TwoMorrows. He is currently developing a four-act play with his brother, Andrew D. Cooke, about the early years of comics entitled The Golden Age. Cooke lives in southern Rhode Island with his wife, Beth, and two of his three sons as they get their act together, along with rescue dogs Dilly and Roxy, and a cat named Noodle.

Mark Evanier

Mark Evanier at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Writer, producer, comics historian, Kirby King of Comics

Mark Evanier has been writing comic books since he was 17, having started reading them when he was about that many minutes old. He apprenticed with the great Jack Kirby and has written much about Jack and comic book history. He's written countless comics including many with the superstars of Disney, Warner Brothers, and Hanna-Barbera, as well as Blackhawk and others for DC, his own co-creations including The DNAgents, Crossfire, and Magnor, plus he does something (God knows what) on Groo the Wanderer with Sergio Aragonés. He's also written hundreds of hours for TV including sitcoms, variety shows, and cartoons, including writing/producing 20 years of Garfield the Cat.

Mary Fleener

Mary Fleener at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Comic Convention

Writer, artist, Billie the Bee, Life of the Party

Born in Los Angeles, Mary Fleener started self-publishing her own mini comics in the mid- ‘80s and began appearing in anthologies such as Weirdo, Wimmen’s, and Rip Off Comix. Her first solo title was Hoodoo (1988), and she illustrated the stories of Zora Neale Hurston. This inspired her to do her own autobiographical stories that were collected in book form under the title Life of the Party (1994). Fleener has just completed her first YA graphic novel called Billie the Bee, which is available now from Fantagraphics Books.

Ebony Flowers

Ebony Flowers at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Writer, artist, Hot Comb

Ebony Flowers was born and raised in Maryland. She holds a BA in Biological Anthropology from the University of Maryland College Park and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she wrote her dissertation as a comic (mostly). Ebony is a 2017 Rona Jaffe Award recipient. She lives in Denver, CO. Her first book Hot Comb will be published by Drawn & Quarterly in May 2019.

Roger Freedman

Roger Freedman at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Comic-Con founding committee member

Dr. Roger Freedman teaches physics and astronomy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He’s the co-author of four widely-used physics and astronomy textbooks that include lots of comic book and SF references. He worked on Comic-Con in its formative years in the 1970s and was the leader of Comic-Con’s first “house band,” Dr. Raoul Duke and his All-Human Orchestra. Today he’s on the board of directors of San Diego Comic Fest. His cartoon likeness has appeared as a supervillain in DC Comics (Jimmy Olsen #144) and as a mad scientist in Marvel Comics (What If? #8).

Rick Geary

Rick Geary at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Writer, artist, Black Dahlia, The Lindbergh Child

Rick Geary has been a freelance cartoonist and illustrator for over 45 years. His illustrations and graphic stories have appeared in National Lampoon, MAD, The New York Times, Heavy Metal, Disney Adventures, and many other publications. His graphic novels include the biographies J. Edgar Hoover and Trotsky, as well as nine volumes in the series titled A Treasury of Victorian Murder, and six volumes in A Treasury of 20th Century Murder, the latest of which is Black Dahlia.

For Comic-Con, he created the Toucan mascot, and designed the new Inkpot Award. He received the Eisner Award in 2007 for his work on Gumby Comics.

Rick and his wife Deborah live in Carrizozo, New Mexico.

Lawrence Geeck

Lawrence Geeck at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Former Comic-Con board member, executive VP and president

Lawrence (Lance) Geeck became involved with the San Diego Comic-Con starting around 1977 as a volunteer helping out at the convention. In the following years, he became more active and was voted to be a member of the board of directors. During this time he helped setup agreements with the hotel and convention center in San Diego. Eventually he was voted into the executive vice-president position and then became president the following year. These positions were some of the most fun he’s ever had. He and his wife Ines are happily looking forward to seeing old friends at Comic-Con 50.

Gene Ha

Gene Ha at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Writer, artist, Mae; artist, Top 10

New York Times bestselling comic book artist Gene Ha writes and draws Mae from Lion Forge Comics. It’s the story of Mae Fortell, a girl who follows her long missing sister Abbie to a world of mad science and mystery. He’s famed for his work with writer Alan Moore, Top 10 and its prequel The Forty-Niners. Gene has won 4 Eisners, the highest award in American comics. Gene Ha lives outside Chicago in Berwyn, IL, with his lovely wife Lisa. More info: www.geneha.com

Gene Henderson

Gene Henderson at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Gene and Mary Henderson


Former Comic-Con VP and board member

Gene Henderson, a SoCal native, got his first comic at the age of six . . . and he has been collecting them ever since. He was at the first Comic-Con in 1970, and is very proud to be attending the 50th! Gene has been a board member, vice president, director of security, and archivist for Comic-Con. For over three decades he coordinated the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, and co-created the annual Will Eisner Hall of Fame display that’s a yearly part of the Art Show. He wishes his wonderful wife Mary, who worked for many years as Comic-Con's hotel liaison and banquet coordinator, could be with him to celebrate.

Jonathan Hickman

Jonathan Hickman at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Writer, East of West, Manhattan Projects, X-Men

Jonathan Hickman is the visionary talent behind the award-winning East of West, Black Monday Murders, and Manhattan Projects. He also occasionally plies his trade at places like Marvel working on books such as Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and most recently, the relaunch of X-Men.

Jonathan lives in South Carolina, along with his twin brother, Marc, who recently won an Academy Award for the animated short, Pixeleffed.

More info: www.pronea.com

Beth Holley

Beth Holley at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Former Comic-Con VP, publicity and publications; VP, Exhibits

Beth Holley became involved with the San Diego Comic Convention (now Comic-Con International) in 1989 shortly after moving to California from Norfolk VA. She served as information coordinator 1989-1991, VP of publicity & publications 1991-1993, and the VP of exhibits from 1994-2008.

As a comics collector and enthusiast for comic book history, she was copy editor of the Gold and Silver Age comics publication Comic Book Marketplace magazine published by Gemstone Publishing Inc., from 1994-1999. She was a member of the American Association of Comicbook Collectors from 1999-2005. Beth was awarded Comic-Con’s Inkpot Award for Fandom Services in 2000.