Take a Look Back

WonderCon 2023

We couldn’t create the wonder that is WonderCon without you!

Image from Wondercon 2023 of DJ Lance Rock

The Complete Convention Experience

WonderCon 2023 featured 900+ exhibitors in a 412,000 square foot Exhibit Hall filled with comics, original art, toys, and merchandise from many popular artists, publishers, and retailers. Attendees experienced exclusive movie and television programming, panels featuring the top comics professionals in the country, anime, autographs, games, a Masquerade, and portfolio review.

WonderCon 2023 Exhibit Hall Map
  • Below, you will find a list of the Exhibitors who participated in WonderCon 2023.
  • Click on the exhibiting company name to be taken to their company profile and product listings.

The 2023 WonderCon Masquerade featured 29 entries, some as solo entries, some as groups, making for a total of 40 costumes having their turns on the stage. As usual there was a mix of clever Re-Creations and totally Original Designs, plus a few entries that somewhat fit into both categories since they were original designs for otherwise recognizable characters. In addition to the WonderCon trophies and Honorable Mentions given, there were six organizations and companies that also donated generous cash and other awards of their own.

Our excellent Mistress of Ceremonies was Ashley Eckstein. Ashley has been widely recognized and honored as an actress, entrepreneur, and author. To WonderCon fans she is likely best known as the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels, and Star Wars: Forces of Destiny. Ashley is also the founder of Her Universe, a very popular fashion and lifestyle brand for fans. Ashley is also a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and is a champion for the Nationwide Children’s “On Our Sleeves” movement.

For the Judging intermission, the audience was treated to a fun modern dance performance by the highly talented 20-member Corps Dance Crew, followed by a 20-member Star Wars light-saber story-performance by the Lucasfilm-approved Temple Prime Saber Guild group. Both of these groups perform at many conventions, charity events, and other special events throughout southern California, and while non-professional in status, always give terrific, choreographed shows with lots of great costuming.

Our very enthused audience varied in size over the course of the 2 hours and 20-minute event, and at its fullest point numbered nearly 2,000.

Really Liked By the Judges, But Just Missing a Trophy Win Were the 3 Honorable Mentions:

Honorable Mention for Cleverness:
“Snipe and Hawks from My Hero Academia”, a 2-person Re-Creation utilizing over 400 hours of crafting, including 1,000 hand-applied feathers, opening and closing wings, plus metal and leather work.  Crafted and worn by Jenn and Ed Mulvey.

Honorable Mention For Young Fan Runner-Up:
“Chamberlain and the Dark Crystal”, a Re-Creation from The Dark Crystal movie and franchise.  A Skeksis creature took several puppeteers to operate in the movie, but it only took one clever and dedicated wearer to bring it to life on our stage! Worn by Eleanor Lee, crafted by Eleanor Lee and her dad, James.

Honorable Mention for Best Newcomer:
“Doctor Strange – Can’t Get Home, a 2-person Young Fan Re-Creation based on two Marvel characters, worn by Mary Stella Zamora and Isabella Elizondo, crafted by Amy Morales and John Zamora.

In addition to the above awards decided by our judging panel, the following companies and organizations donated their own generous awards, with their representatives selecting their winners. We are thrilled that these professionals from Hollywood and elsewhere attend our show and give our contestants the unique opportunity to meet with them and share their common passions for costuming. Some are panel participants, but others travel to the convention specifically to see what our contestants bring to the stage.

Company and Organization Awards:

From The Frank & Son Collectable Show:
$500 cash award to what their representative deemed to be the audience favorite, by the amount of applause it received, was presented to: “Wonderland at WonderCon”, a 4-member Alice in Wonderland re-creation crafted and worn by Prue Dense, Whitley, Gabrielle, and Ryan. The Frank and Son Collectible Show, of the City of Industry, California, presents twice-weekly huge collectibles shows, including special signings and much more, for all your collectible needs. It has donated generous prizes to our competitions for many years now.

From our guest professional costume designers:
Three of our judges (Jennifer May Nickel, Frank Ippolito, and Claire Mildred) generously assembled a prize pack of their own in support of fan cosplay, presented to the entry they deemed to be the Most Visionary Designer. The award included a Huion Inspiroy Giano, a state-of-the-art pen tablet with a 16-inch diagonal screen for digital painting and retouching in 4k and 8K resolutions. Their award was given to “Locked Tomb NCIS”, four original designs inspired by the science fiction novel Gideon The Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir. They were crafted and worn by OfficialGhosty, The Fashionable Cupcake, Lorelei Echo, and Mason.

From The Costumer’s Guild West
Their award was presented to the entry “Paint It Empire”, which had original historical designs inspired by Star Wars characters, crafted and worn by Diana Tolin and Ali Weber. The Costumer’s Guild West, a southern California non-profit costuming fandom group, awarded a one-year membership to their CGW group and a full weekend scholarship and one night’s complimentary hotel stay to their annual weekend conference, Costume College®, held the last weekend in July each year in Los Angeles (winner may choose 2023 or 2024). Costume College promotes the art of costuming by providing educational lectures and workshops.

The San Diego Comic-Con Alan Campbell Award:
Judge Pamela Ford chose and presented this $500 cash award on Comic-Con/s behalf to “Shenron”, an Original Design/Re-Creation based on the popular Dragonball comics/manga/movies/animated series, and video games, crafted and worn by Sparkle Stache. The San Diego Comic Convention Board of Directors gives this award in memory of a long-time committee member and Board member Alan Campbell, who passed away and is sorely missed. Alan was a great fan of the Masquerade, often generously donating his own prize. This award was for the entry deemed the best re-creation from comics or related media.

From the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation:
The Foundation presented an award to coincide with their “Make Cancer Less Scary” public awareness campaign. Their award for Most Imaginative was presented to “Locked Tomb NCIS”, four original designs inspired by the science fiction novel Gideon The Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir. They were crafted and worn by OfficialGhosty, The Fashionable Cupcake, Lorelei Echo, and Mason. The award was a special trophy, a $100 Amazon gift card, and articles in their newsletter and social media posts during their fall 2023 campaign.

From 3DHQ:
3DHQ, a popular vendor in the WonderCon Exhibit Hall this year and at last year’s WonderCon and San Diego Comic-Con, provided gift certificates to each trophy winner in the Masquerade, valid (for those able to visit their Exhibit Hall booth) for a free 3D body scan, free 3D Self Avatar, and 3D statuette of themself.

The 2023 WonderCon Guest Judges Bios:

Frank Ippolito has worked in the film industry for over 20 years and owns Thingergy, one of the premiere union prop and specialty costume shops in Los Angeles, contributing to Film and TV shows like The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Umbrella Academy, Bullet Train, Black Adam, Dungeons and Dragons, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and many more! He also built and played everyone’s favorite sweater-wearing Mon Calamari on the second season of The Mandalorian.

Jennifer May Nickel is classically trained in theatre and holds an MFA in Costume Design from Carnegie Mellon University. Jennifer also studied in England at Oxford University (St. Edmund’s College: Myth and Ritual in Theatre) and at East Stroudsburg University (BFA Theatre). For television, Jennifer’s costume design credits include the CW Network’s new show Gotham Knights, Legacies (season 4), as well as Containment, Netflix’s Cabin with Bert Kreischer, Taylor Tomlinson: Look at You and Quarter-Life Crisis, Fox’s series What Just Happened?!, as well as shows for Syfy, Hulu, Nickelodeon, TLC, E!, The History Channel and more.

Claire Mildred got her start in Competitive Cosplay which grew into a passion for Costume Design. Claire received her BFA in Costume Design from Carnegie Mellon University and interned with the Television Academy Foundation in 2020.  Her feature credits include Et Tu starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Malcolm McDowell; and Hard Miles starring Matthew Modine, My Life Stopped at Fifteen has rocketed across the festival circuit winning best film at Official Latino, and shown at Dances With Films, Bronze-lens, Women X, and Martha’s Vineyard. Mal de Amores premiered at Hola Mexico and will be making its international premiere at Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival in Toronto.

Pamela Ford Robles attended the Fashion and Art Institute of Dallas. She is a retired couples’ dance competitor, judge, and award-winning costume designer for ballroom and swing dancing.  She at one time had the honor of being the interior designer and muralist for Baseball Hall of Fame member Rollie Fingers.  She is the former graphic artist for Coronado Island Stamping, editor for The San Diego Swing Dance Club News, and event logo designer for the dance organization UCWDC.  Currently, Pam is the designer and owner of a miniature costuming and pattern company specializing in fantasy, comic book, and movie recreations. 

(Note that Jennifer, Frank, and Claire are all members of the Costume Designers Guild, IATSE Local 892, which represents costume designers, assistant costume designers, and costume illustrators working at the highest levels of expertise in motion pictures, TV, commercials, music videos, and new media.)

The WonderCon Masquerade team gives our sincere thanks to all contestants, plus the judges, Mistress of Ceremonies, intermission performers, industry professionals, and organizations that participated in this year’s show that celebrates the talents, cleverness, originality, and dedication of the many attendees that create and share their great costumes at the convention!  See you for next year’s show!

Complete Schedule


WonderCon Trophy Winners

Trophy winners receive complimentary 3-day badges for next year’s WonderCon!

Best in Show

“Paint It Empire”, a two-person Original Design, using beautiful Tudor and Elizabethan historically inspired and highly detailed designs to re-imagine the Star Wars scene of Anakin Skywalker being turned into Darth Vader by the evil Emperor. It was crafted and worn by Diana Tolin and Ali Weber.

Judges’ Choice

“Wonderland at WonderCon”, a 4-person Re-Creation from Disney’s animated Alice in Wonderland. To bring animated designs more fully to life, 8 months of time was spent crafting and using specially altered fittings to approximate the body proportions of the animated characters, and with a clever stage presentation! Crafted and worn by Prue Dense, Whitley, Gabrielle, and Ryan.

Best Re-creation

“Sophie Hatter”, an impressive re-creation of the heroine from the Japanese animated fantasy film Howl’s Moving Castle. Crafted and worn by Becca Gibson. Taking an animated character design and interpreting it into the real world can be challenging, and this design succeeded with style and heart.

Best Original Design

“Princess Zelda”, an Original Design inspired by the popular Legend of Zelda video game series, another example of bringing animated art to life and far surpassing the original inspiration. It was crafted and worn by Starlit Memory Cosplay.

Best Workmanship

“Art Nouveau Sally”, a re-created character but with a fully Original Design inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas, featured outstanding hand embroidery and beading, and made entirely from recycled materials. Crafted and worn by Lauren Mathias (who almost wasn’t in the show, but when a drop-out happened two days before the convention, we were able to bring her in from the Waiting List).

Most Beautiful

“Belle: A Tale as Old as Time”, a Re-Created character / Original Design inspired by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, with stunning handcrafted beading, embroidery, and more, creating an over 60-pound elegant historical dress taking over 100 hours to complete. Crafted and worn by Katie Strube of Kstroobz Cosplay.

Most Humorous

“The Chosen One(s)?”, a 2-person Star Wars inspired Original / Re-Creation, with familiar characters portrayed in an original way, crafted and worn by Lisa Truong and Cindy Purchase.

Best Young Fan

“Doc Octopus”, a terrific Re-Creation from Spider-Man 2, complete with extended tentacles, working lighting, and an uncanny facial resemblance to the actor in the film.  Crafted by the Pineda Family, worn by Madison Pineda.

Special Guests

Jason Aaron

Jason Aaron is an award-winning comic book writer best known for his work with Marvel Comics, including a landmark seven-year run on Thor. He’s also had celebrated stints writing Wolverine, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Conan the Barbarian, and the 2015 relaunch of Star Wars. He is currently writing Marvel’s flagship Avengers series, along with a character-defining run on Punisher. His other works include the Eisner and Harvey Award–winning Southern Bastards (Image}, Scalped (DC/Vertigo), and the recently launched Once Upon a Time at the End of the World (BOOM! Studios).

Click here to see this guest’s schedule!

Alane Adams – NEW!

Alane Adams is a Webby-award winning creator of media content designed to get kids excited about reading and is the author of the Legends of Orkney and the Legends of Olympus series for middle-grade readers, as well as four historical picture books set in the 1920s. Alane founded the Rise Up Foundation in 2009, which has supported thousands of teachers with classroom needs and books.

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Mingjue Helen Chen

Mingjue Helen Chen is an LA-based illustrator who works in animation as well as publishing. She’s worked for Disney Publishing, BOOM!, DC Comics, and Marvel and contributed to such titles as Jungle Book, Gotham Academy, and Silk, along with doing various comic book cover work. Her movie projects include Frankenweenie, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, and Wish Dragon. Most recently, she was a production designer on Raya and the Last Dragon.

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Tom Cook – NEW!

Tom Cook began his career as an animator and director in 1978 at Hanna-Barbera Studios, where he worked as an assistant animator on such series as Super Friends, Godzilla, Scooby Doo, Smurfs, and The Flintstones. Moving to Filmation Studios in 1980, he worked on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra Princess of Power, Ghostbusters, and The Kids Super Power Hour, among others. He then directed many episodes of these favorite TV cartoons: Road Rovers, Disney’s Mighty Ducks, Duckman, King of the Hill, Savage Dragon, Extreme Ghostbusters, The Simpsons, and many more. He also animated or was the key clean-up artist on such animated films as Walt Disney’s Prince and the Pauper, Roger Rabbit in Tummy Trouble, The Jetson’s Movie, Rover Dangerfield, Stay Tuned, Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, Steven Spielberg’s We’re Back: A Dinosaur Story, and Don Bluth’s Thumbelina.

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Mark Evanier

Mark Evanier attended his first San Diego Comic-Con in 1970 and has been to every one of these annual events ever since. He was then an assistant to the great Jack Kirby, whom he wrote about in his book Kirby, King of Comics. Mark has also written for live-action TV shows, animated TV shows (including various Garfield cartoons) and tons of comic books. The comics include working with Sergio Aragonés for 40 years on Groo the Wanderer, and many more.  He is also a historian of comic books and animation.

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Jenny Frison

Jenny Frison is an illustrator and comic book cover artist known for her evocative and painterly illustrations. Focusing on moody portraits, her body of work is emotionally motivated and character driven. While Jenny made a name for herself in comics creating covers for titles like Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and more, her portfolio has grown to include art for television, movies, gaming, galleries, and museums. She resides just outside of Chicago with her husband, two terrible cats, and the world’s very best dog. 

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Mitch Gerads

Mitch Gerads is a comics artist who has made a career out of bringing humanity and realism to the superhuman and unreal. Best known for his much-lauded work at DC Comics with writer Tom King on Mister Miracle, Batman, Strange Adventures, and The Sheriff of Babylon, he lives and draws in Phoenix, with his Catwoman, Lauren—and his Robin, West.

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Adam Hughes

While best known for his eye-catching covers on Black Widow, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Fairest, Adam Hughes has done much more to become a fan-favorite artist. His recent interior projects include the Eisner Award–winning Hellboy: Krampusnacht and Hellboy: Seven Wives Club, and stories in The Rocketeer Anthology, Batman: Black and White, and Harley Quinn: Black, White and Red, to name just a few. Now a designer for Disney, Adam still makes time for the occasional comics project.

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Phil Jimenez

Phil Jimenez is an Eisner, Inkpot, Diamond, and Wizard award–winning writer and artist who has worked for DC, Marvel, and a host of other comic book companies for nearly 30 years. He is best known for his work on Tempest, The Invisibles, JLA/Titans, New-X-Men, Wonder Woman, Infinite Crisis, Amazing Spider-Man, Otherworld, Superwoman, and the Eisner Award–winning  WonderWoman: Historia. Jimenez has also worked in film, television, animation, traditional print media, and packaging design; has lectured at universities, museums, and the Library of Congress on identity and diversity in entertainment; and is considered one of the most prominent out gay creators in mainstream comics. 

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Daniel Warren Johnson

Daniel Warren Johnson is a Chicago-based comic book writer, artist, and illustrator with clients including Image, DC, Marvel, Wizards of the Coast, and many others. His creator-owned title Extremity was met with popular and critical acclaim, netting him an Eisner Award nomination for Best Limited Series. His other works includes Do a Powerbomb, Beta Ray Bill, Murder Falcon, and Wonder Woman: Dead Earth.

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Tom King

Eisner Award–winning writer Tom King had an extensive run on Batman, giving us a story to truly remember. His other credits include Batman/Catwoman, Grayson, Heroes in Crisis, Mister Miracle, The Omega Men, Rorschach, Strange Adventures, and The Sheriff of Babylon for DC and The Vision for Marvel. His most recent projects have included Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, and Human Target. Filmmaker James Gunn has announced that King is one the architects of the new DC Universe media franchise of feature films and other media.

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Jae Lee

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. Most recently, he returned to Image Comics on the creator-owned series Seven Sons.

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Steve Leialoha – NEW!

Steve Leialoha has been working in comics since the 1970s drawing and/or inking primarily for Marvel and DC Comics. Among his favorites he’s worked on are Fables (the original run and the new current edition), Petrefax, Warlock, Howard the Duck, Spider-Woman, The New Mutants, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the original Star Wars comics in 1977. Other credits include issues of Dr Strange, Justice League, Iron Man, X-Men, Hulk, She-Hulk, Spider-Man with or without Shang Chi (in Marvel Team-up), Star Trek, Steeltown Rockers, ROM, Vampirella, Mike Danger, and Trypto the Acid Dog.

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Gene Luen Yang – NEW!

Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. As the Library of Congress’s fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he advocates for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second Books, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. Its television adaptation will debut on Disney+ this spring. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints won the L.A. Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award Finalist. He recently completed a run on Marvel’s Shang-Chi.

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Annalee Newitz
Photo by Sarah Deragon

Annalee Newitz  is an American journalist, editor, and author of fiction and nonfiction. They are the recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship from MIT and have written for Popular ScienceThe New Yorker, and the Washington Post. They founded the science fiction website io9 and served as editor-in-chief from 2008 to 2015, then became editor-in-chief at Gizmodo and tech culture editor at Ars Technica. Their book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction was nominated for the LA Times Book Prize in science. Their first novel, Autonomous, won a Lambda award. 

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Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips has published several novels and short stories and written comics for the likes of DC, BOOM! Dark Horse, and Moonstone, where he penned new adventures of Kolchak, the Night Stalker and pulp favorite The Spider. He’s been a staff writer on Snowfall, a show streaming on Hulu about crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central, and he has edited several anthologies, including the Anthony-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir.  The Washington Post and Booklist named his novel One-Shot Harry as one of the best mysteries of 2022. He’s currently at work on a crime story for Comixology.

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Joe Quinones

Joe Quinones is an American comic book artist and illustrator. Known for his expressive faces and fluid linework, Joe has worked on several high-profile books over the last 15 years, including Dial H for Hero, Howard the Duck, America, Spider-Man and more. Most recently, Joe helped usher in the return of Tim Burton’s Batman, realizing a comic book sequel to his two films, titled Batman ’89. Joe illustrated and helped conceive of the book alongside the film’s original screenwriter, Sam Hamm.

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Trina Robbins
Photo by Jessica Christian

Retired underground cartoonist and current comics herstorian Trina Robbins has been writing graphic novels, comics, and books for about half a century.  Her subjects have ranged from Wonder Woman and the Powerpuff Girls and her own teenage superheroine, GoGirl!, to women cartoonists and women who kill. She’s won several Eisner Awards and was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Industry Hall of Fame in 2013. She lives in a house that survived the 1906 quake in San Francisco, with her cats, shoes, and dust bunnies.

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James Rollins
Photo by David Sylvian

James Rollins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sigma Force series: Sandstorm, Map of Bones, Black Order, The Judas Strain, The Last Oracle, The Doomsday Key, The Devil Colony, Bloodline, The Eye of God, The 6th Extinction, The Seventh Plague, The Demon Crown, Cruciblek, The Last Odyssey; six individual adventure thrillers; the blockbuster movie novelization Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; the Tucker Wayne series; the Order of the Sanguines series; the Jake Ransom middle-grade series; and a new series, Moonfall Saga. The 16th Sigma Force adventure, Kingdom of Bones, debuts April 19.

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Tom Ruegger

Tom Ruegger is the 14-time Emmy winning creator/producer/writer/showrunner of many beloved animated TV series, including Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Tiny Toon Adventures, Road Rover, and Histeria! As the creator of Animaniacs, Tom served as senior producer, showrunner, story editor, writer and lyricist on the series. He developed, produced, showran and wrote Freakazoid as well, and served as executive producer and writer on Batman: The Animated Series. Tom also created and produced A Pup Named Scooby Doo for Hanna-Barbera Productions. For Disney Television Animation, he developed, produced, wrote and showran Disney’s The 7D.

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Paul Rugg

Paul Rugg co-developed and was the voice of Freakazoid in Steven Spielberg Presents: Freakazoid. Paul was one of the original writers of Animaniacs and helped develop the characters of Yakko, Wakko and Dot, writing over 40 episodes. Paul also provided the voice of Mr. Director, a Jerry Lewis–esque character and frequent victim of the Warner’s antics. He’s also the voice of Ned, the 7-foot tall, blue-skinned alien who hosts the Jim Henson Company’s Earth to Ned, currently on Disney+.

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Mark Russell

Mark Russell is an award-winning author and comic book writer best known for his work on The Flintstones, the GLAAD Award winning Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, Second Coming, Superman: Space Age, and the Eisner and Ringo Award winning Not All Robots. He is also the author of two books, God Is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now. He also draws cartoons sometimes.

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Evan “Doc” Shaner

Evan “Doc” Shaner is a DC Comics exclusive cartoonist. His past works include Future Quest, The Terrifics, Man of Steel, Supergirl, Doom Patrol, and Strange Adventures among others. His most recent project is The New Champion of SHAZAM! He lives in Michigan with his wife, two children, and a dog.

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Greg van Eekhout

Greg van Eekhout is the author of four fantasy novels for adults and six fantasy and science fiction novels for middle-grade readers, as well as dozens of short stories. His novel Weird Kid won the California Independent Booksellers Alliance’s Golden Poppy Award. Others of his works have been finalists for the Nebula Award, Andre Norton Award, and Locus Award and were listed by the New York Public Library among the best 100 books for children.

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Marv Wolfman

Marv Wolfman is a multi-award-winning writer of comic books, animation, videogames, theme park shows and rides, children’s books, novels, television, internet animation, and much more. He has also created more characters that have gone on to TV, toys, games and film than anyone since Stan Lee. Among Marv’s creations are Blade, Black Cat, Bullseye, Nova, Nightwing, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, Deathstroke, and dozens of others. The New Teen Titans, written by Marv and drawn by George Pérez, was DC’s bestselling comic for more than a decade, and the miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths revamped the entire DC Comics line and created the concept of company-wide crossovers. Marv was also editor-in-chief of Marvel, senior editor at DC Comics, and founding editor of Disney Adventures magazine.

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