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.


Willie Ito

Willie Ito at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Comic Convention

Cartoonist, animator, Disney, WB, and Hanna-Barbera cartoons

Willie Ito hails from San Francisco, California. At the age of five, he realized that cartooning and animation were in his future.

In 1954, he received a scholarship from Chouinards Art Institute in Los Angeles and moved down south. While a student, Willie decided to visit the Disney Studio. He had his student's portfolio with him and was asked to present it. Two weeks later he found himself hired and started his career on Lady and the Tramp. His very first assignment was the iconic spaghetti kissing scene. He went on to the infamous Termite Terrace at Warner Bros. and worked with Chuck Jones on the classic short cartoons One Froggy Evening and What's Opera Doc? He also did layouts for Friz Freleng and received his first screen credits on Prince Violent.

Over the years, Willie has worked on The Beany and Cecil Show, numerous Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and at various other animation studios as a freelance artist. He returned to Disney in 1976 and joined their comic strip department and eventually the Disney Consumer Products division, where he became director of character art international.

After 50 years in the business, Will retired and now illustrates and publishes children's picture books.

Arvell Jones

Arvell Jones at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Artist, Deathlok, All-Star Squadron

Arvell Jones, a pioneer comic artist, is best known for his work for Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the 1970s through the ‘90s.

He worked on original concept art for the teaser posters for the Black Panther movie that was released in 2018. He is co-creator of the character Misty Knight, the first African American female superhero for Marvel Comics. Misty Knight has been featured in the Marvel/Netflix TV series Luke Cage, The Defenders, and Iron Fist. He's drawn for Marvel

on titles such as Deathlok, Thor, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Avengers, Daredevil, Captain America, and many more. For DC, he worked on Super-Team Family, Secret Society of Super-Villains, and, of course, All-Star Squadron.

Maya Kern

Maya Kern at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Artist, Hearts Thorns and Scales, Monster Pop!

Maya Kern is a comic artist, illustrator, and product designer based out of upstate New York. She has been self-publishing comics since 2012, starting with a compilation of short retellings of fairytale comics, Hearts Thorns and Scales. She gained online acclaim and features in io9, Daily Dot, Autostraddle, and Ladies Making Comics for her retellings Redden and How to Be a Mermaid. Now she and her wife own a small business together where they create unique apparel and merchandise with a colorful flair. Maya has been making her webcomic Monster Pop! since 2012, which was nominated for the 2017 PRISM Awards.

Denis Kitchen

Denis Kitchen at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Portrait by Pete Poplaski


Cartoonist, author, publisher, Kitchen Sink Press, The Art of Harvey Kurtzman

Denis Kitchen, cartoonist, publisher, author, curator, and agent, began his career as one of the pioneer “underground” cartoonists in the late 1960s. His Kitchen Sink Press, founded in 1969, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Kitchen published legendary creators Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Robert Crumb, Milton Caniff, Charles Burns, Howard Cruse, Trina Robbins, Mark Schultz, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, and many others. In 1988 he founded the non-profit Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and chaired it for its first eighteen years.

Kitchen co-authored The Art of Harvey Kurtzman and Underground Classics (Abrams, 2009), a monograph on Harrison Cady (Beehive, 2019), a biography of Al Capp (Bloomsbury, 2013), and created a graphic mini-biography of Dr. Seuss for Masterful Marks (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

Dark Horse Books’ published a monograph, The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen in 2010. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and was a first ballot selection for the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2015.

Ann Leckie

Ann Leckie at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Photo: MissionPhoto.org





Author, Ancillary Justice, Imperial Radch trilogy

Ann Leckie is the author of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel Ancillary Justice and the rest of the acclaimed Imperial Radch trilogy. Her most recent novel is The Raven Tower, published by Orbit in February.

She has also published short stories in Subterranean Magazine, Strange Horizons, and Realms of Fantasy. Her story "Hesperia and Glory" was reprinted in Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2007 edition, edited by Rich Horton.

Ann has worked as a waitress, a receptionist, a rodman on a land-surveying crew, and a recording engineer. She lives in St. Louis, MO.

Jae Lee

Jae Lee at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Artist, Batman/Superman, The Inhumans, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower

Jae Lee is a Korean-American comic book artist, known for his dark style. In 1990, he became one of the youngest artists ever to work for a major publisher. He is an Eisner Award-winner for his work on Marvel's The Inhumans. His art can also be seen in Stephen King's Dark Tower, Before Watchmen: Ozymandias, and Batman/Superman. Official website: jaeleeart.com

Jim Lee

Jim Lee at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Photo: Mike Jara Photography


Artist, Justice League: Origin, Suicide Squad; DC Comics publisher/chief creative officer

Jim Lee is a renowned comic book artist and the chief creative officer–publisher of DC Entertainment. In addition to his duties at DC, he is the artist for many of DC Comics’ bestselling comic books and graphic novels, including All Star Batman and Robin, Superman: For Tomorrow, Justice League: Origin, Superman Unchained, and Suicide Squad. He also served as the executive creative director for the DC Universe Online (DCUO) massively multiplayer action game from Daybreak Games.

Paul Levitz

Paul Levitz at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Comic Convention

Writer, editor, publisher, 75 Years of DC Comics, Legion of Super-Heroes

Paul Levitz is a comic fan (The Comic Reader), editor (Batman), writer (Legion of Super-Heroes, executive (30 years at DC, ending as president and publisher), historian (75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Myth-Making (Taschen, 2010)), and educator (including the American Graphic Novel at Columbia). He won two consecutive annual Comic Art Fan Awards for Best Fanzine and received Comic-Con International’s Inkpot Award, the prestigious Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, the Comics Industry Appreciation Award from ComicsPro, and the Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award from the Hero Initiative. His Taschen book won the Eisner Award, the Eagle Award, and Munich’s Peng Pris. His recent books include Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel (Abrams ComicArts, 2014), and he curated the celebratory book, Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman (DC, 2018). Levitz also serves on the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and BOOM! Studios.

Joseph Michael Linsner

Joseph Michael Linsner at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center
Joseph Michael

Writer, illustrator, Dawn, Cry for Dawn

Joseph Michael Linsner is most well-known for writing and painting the adventures of his creation Dawn, his personal Pin-Up Goddess. Since her debut appearance on the cover of Cry for Dawn #1 in 1989, Dawn has struck a chord with thousands of fans on an international level. She is currently published in six languages and has come to life in the form of statues, action figures, and lithographs. An award-winning illustrator, Linsner has worked for all of the major comics publishers, painting covers for Conan, Wolverine, Red Sonja, Vampirella, Harley Quinn, Batman, and countless others. 2019 marks Dawn’s 30th anniversary in print, and Linsner plans on celebrating it with a new Dawn mini-series to be published by Image Comics.

William R. Lund

William R. Lund at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center
William R.

Comic-Con founding committee member

William R. Lund was born in Spokane, WA, joined the Navy and eventually became a founding member of Comic-Con. He has written for Comicscene and Fangoria and primarily acted on stage. He was also a recipient of the Inkpot Award.

Ulli Lust

Ulli Lust at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center

Writer, artist, Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, How I Tried to Be a Good Person

Ulli Lust was born in Vienna in 1967. In 1995 she moved to Berlin to study graphic design. Her work ranges from comics journalism, to erotic-mythological poetry, to graphic autobiography. She runs the online publishing company Electrocomics, which publishes e-books and online comics by a growing group of international cartoonists. Her books include Airpussy (L’employé du Moi, 2009), Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (Fantagraphics Books, 2013), Voices in the Dark (New York Review of Comics, 2017), and most recently How I Tried to Be a Good Person, (Fantagraphics Books, 2019). She lives in Berlin.

Alitha Evelyn Martinez

Alitha Evelyn Martinez at Comic-Con 2019, July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center
Alitha Evelyn

Artist, Black Panther: World of Wakanda, Riverdale

Alitha Evelyn Martinez never wanted to do anything other than draw comic books. In her teenage years, she was held back from a Marvel tryout by a teacher who was trying to spare her the feeling of being rejected by a major publisher because she was a girl, which prompted Alitha to head to New York and challenge the notion that girls did not draw superheroes. Since she began her professional career in 1999 pencilling Iron Man for Marvel, Alitha has also worked on X-Men, Black Sun, Black Panther and Black Panther: World of Wakanda, Moon Girl, NBC’s Heroes, DC’s Batgirl, Archie Comic’s New Crusaders and Riverdale, and Barbie for Paper Cutz. Her other large-scale projects include Vampire: My Boyfriend Bites, Kung Fu Masters, Quest for Dragon Mountain for Lerner Publications, and political cartoons for the New York Post.

Alitha visits schools at least once a year, to tell the next crop of storytellers that no one and nothing should stop them from telling their stories. She advises that drawing or writing every day, however small, helps to build stamina and strengthens dedication. The love of art never dies.