More Comic-Con 2024 Guests Announced

In addition to the 30 names already announced, Comic-Con is delighted to welcome Barbara Brandon-Croft, Mike Friedrich, Dave Johnson, Lee Kohse, Katsuji Mori, and Masaki Sato as Special Guests for 2024.

Comic-Con Toucan blog image.

Barbara Brandon-Croft became the nation’s first Black woman cartoonist to cross the color line into the mainstream press in 1989 with her cartoon feature Where I’m Coming From, which first appeared in the Detroit Free Press. In 1991 Universal Press Syndicate began distributing her strip in more than 60 mainstream newspapers internationally. Her syndication ended in 2005. Last year, Drawn & Quarterly published a compilation of selected strips along with the backstory of her career. It won a National Association of Black Journalist Award for Outstanding Book of 2023 and is nominated for a 2024 Eisner Award. Barbara is the daughter of the late pioneering cartoonist Brumsic Brandon, Jr., creator of Luther. A traveling exhibition of their work, “STILL . . . Racism in America: A Retrospective in Cartoons,” was most recently installed at UC Davis Design Museum.

Mike Friedrich started writing comics professionally at the age of 18, working for DC (Justice League, Green Lantern) and Marvel (Iron Man, Ka-Zar). After 8 years of writing, Mike shifted to the business side of comics. He was one of the first alternative publishers (Star*Reach, 1974–1979), created the Marvel Comics direct sales department (1980–1982), then founded the first business management company for comics artists and writers (Star*Reach, 1982–2002). The Star*Reach publishing company featured work by Jim Starlin, Howard Chaykin, Frank Brunner, Lee Marrs, Steve Leialoha, Michael T. Gilbert, and many others. The Star*Reach management company represented Paul Chadwick, P. Craig Russell, Tim Sale, Brent Anderson, and dozens of others. Along the way Mike also co-founded WonderCon, ran retailer trade shows, and even did one television deal (Roberta Gregory’s Bitchy Bitch, 1998–2000).

Artist Dave Johnson is a 30-year animation and comics veteran. He’s worked for Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, BOOM!, AWA, DSTLRY, and many more. He’s been nominated for multiple Eisner Awards and won once. In comics he is mainly known for Superman: Red Son and as the cover artist for 100 Bullets and many more. In animation he’s been a designer for such shows as Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Venture Bros. and is the co-creator of the original Ben 10.

Lee Kohse co-founded BloodFire Studios in 2003 and created the hit indie comic Kindergoth, which led to one of the oddest collaborations in comics with legendary writer Len Wein. After spending years helping other creators get published, Lee stepped away from comics and began contributing art to properties such as Aliens, Lord of the Rings, Robotech, Star Wars, H.P. Lovecraft, and more. As a freelance illustrator, he has worked for Lucasfilm, Dreamworks, Hasbro, H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, and Columbia Pictures, to name a few. With his background in the U.S. Marine Corps, Lee has created dozens of murals for the U.S. Armed Forces, including several at Camp Pendleton and MCRD San Diego.  His original art is held in several major private collections and has been sold in galleries around the world. Recently, Lee returned to his comic roots painting covers for several publishers, working on new Kindergoth stories, and collaborating on new comics such as Nocturnity.

Katsuji Mori, has had a long career as a Japanese voice actor, spanning over 50 years with hundreds of voice credits to his name. His most notable role was the lead character Ken Washio in Gatchaman. Mori has used his talents to voice some of the memorable characters in anime, including Nephrite in Sailor Moon, Nail in Dragon Ball Z, and Go Mifune in Speed Racer. Other credits include Professor Oak in the Pokémon video game, Shu in Fist of the North Star, and Garma Zabi in the Gundam movie.

Courtesy of Mad Cave Studios

Masaki Sato’s career in animation spans more than 40 years. He’s worked on many notable anime, including such Dragon Ball Z projects as Dragon Ball the TV show and Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure the movie. In 1989 he was the key animator, creating one of the most iconic scenes in Dragon Ball Z: the transformation of Son Goku into a Super Sayan. He went to work on such projects as Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Slam Dunk, Initial D, Fist of the North Star, and Batman: The Animated Series.

Courtesy of Ronin Club Collectibles