LJ-Baptiste is an art educator and cartoonist from Boston. He has collaborated with media giants such as Google, Hasbro, and PBS to produce essential works of art. He is best known for his ongoing comic book series, COMIXSCAPE, which features the adventures of a bright-eyed, perpetually preteen boy and his raccoon sidekick. Whether it’s work in animation, graphic apparel designs, or COMIXSCAPE, LJ’s art can be described as distinctive, masterful, and captivating. When it comes to visual communication, LJ prioritizes authenticity, details, and positive messages.
Milena Braga was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her family moved to Massachusetts when she was three years old, and she has been living here ever since. She attended Florida Atlantic University, where she received a BS in psychology, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling at William James College. Her pursuit of the American Dream has taught her to never quit, and to make something meaningful of her life. The most impactful way she has found to do this has been to write, and she hopes to publish a variety of novels throughout her lifetime. She can be found on Instagram at @xoxomimiwrites!
Barrington Edwards has lived and worked in the city of Boston as an artist and community activist for over four decades. He earned a degree in Fine Arts and Master’s in Art Education from Mass College of Art. He has worked in the worlds of art, design, education, and community development, including with organizations in Dorchester and Roxbury. He is currently a member of the Visual Arts faculty at the Boston Arts Academy where he teaches visual art and supervises the internship program. Barrington is a member of the Boston Comics Roundtable, a co-founder of Comics in Color (an affinity group for nerds of color), active with the Design Studio for Social Intervention, and the Black Speculative Arts Movement. Current projects include: a graphic novel for the Historic New Orleans Collection, fiction and performance art with a giant Rastafarian cosmos travelling puppet, and writing graphic fiction centered on media sanctioned cannibal culture.
Carlos Henriquez & Karriem Marius
Springfield, Massachusetts locals, Carlos Henriquez is a self-taught comic artist and Karriem Marius is an aspiring graphic designer. Having graduated from a local community college, Karriem’s talents lay in his color work, bringing images to life with superior coloring skills. Carlos is the creator and artist behind Rocko Taco, an in-progress comic about a crime fighting taco and his band of foodie friends as they take on evil. Together, they make amazing imagery with realistic tacos like you’ve never seen before… at least we hope you’ve never seen a talking taco.
Kazu Kibuishi is the writer and artist of the New York Times Bestselling AMULET graphic novel series, published by Scholastic Graphix. He is also the editor/art director/cover artist of the EXPLORER and FLIGHT Comic Anthologies, and the creator of the webcomic Copper. His debut graphic novel, Daisy Kutter: The Last Train, won a YALSA Best Books for Young Adults Award in 2005. In 2012, he illustrated the covers for the Harry Potter 15th Anniversary Edition paperbacks. Kazu is 4th-generation Japanese-American. He grew up drawing comics, but decided not to attend art school, and earned a degree in Film and Media Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara instead. After working in graphic design, architecture, and animation, he found his way back to making comics. He currently works as a full-time graphic novelist and lives in the Pacific Northwest with his family.
Brittany Lauda is a TX/NY voice actress and ADR director who is best known for voicing Ichigo in DARLING in the FRANXX, Yuzuriha in Dr. Stone, Riko in Made in Abyss, Mai in Nichijou, Cow Girl in Goblin Slayer, Lessar in A Certain Magical Index, Kenya in That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, Audrey Belrose in Huniepop/Huniecam, Osana Najimi in Yandere Simulator, Miza Kusakari in Tokyo Ghoul:re, Kaoru Daichi in Ladies versus Butlers, and Mirim in Queen’s Blade (to name a few!). You can also catch her voice in Hasbro apps and games like My Little Pony and Transformers, and various video games like Yokai Kitchen, Heroes Arena and Minotaur. As an ADR Director, some of the series she has directed include: Hensuki: Would you fall in love with a pervert, as long as she’s cute?, Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These, That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, and Morose Mononokean. She also co-owns Kocha Sound with her husband, Matt Shipman, where she has directed anime titles like She and Her Cat -Everything Flows- and Ai no Kusabi as well as games like Minotaur and Legend of Rune. They stream on twitch together at twitch.tv/mattandbrinny. Check out BrittanyLauda.com for more info, or follow her on twitter @BrittanyLaudaVO.
18 years ago Briana Lawrence (Brichibi Cosplays) and Jessica Walsh (SnowCosplays) were two fanfiction writing ladies who geeked out over Gundam Wing boys and Resident Evil. Now? They’re still geeks and still have their fandoms, but they’re also a cosplaying married couple who write books, discuss the importance of representation, and do their best to keep their three butt-head cats in line (they’re failing, send help). Jessica is the seamstress of the couple, her work being featured in local fashion shows and cosplay magazines such as “Cosplay Culture.” Together, the two also talk about issues in the cosplay community and how the most important thing about cosplay is to love yourself, respect others, and have fun.
When it comes to writing, both ladies have written freelance for WatchMojo.com, so chances are that anime or video game top ten vid you listened to was penned by one of them. Briana has also written for a number of websites where she analyzes pop culture, be it mental health in My Hero Academia, the importance of fanfiction, or how we deserve more than table scraps when it comes to representation. Briana started the new decade with the launch of the second illustrated novel in her Black, queer, magical girl series “magnifiqueNOIR.” Meanwhile, Jessica is hard at work on the third book in their “Hunters” urban fantasy series now that she’s launched her horror anthology “Little Creepers.”
Always promoting positivity and always supporting one another, Jessica and Briana want you to remember one thing: you are magical.
Cagen Luse is a Boston-based visual artist and entrepreneur. He received his BFA in Studio Art from UMass Boston. He is the artist and author of LunchTime ComiX, (@lunchtimecomix) a comic series about life, love, family, and the issues people of color face in today’s world. The series has been published in the local Alt-weekly DIG Boston and various social media platforms. He also runs his own business, 950design (950design.com), which produces hand-made items such as t-shirts, art prints, buttons, and note cards featuring his original artwork. Cagen is also the co-founder of Comics in Color (comicsincolor.org), a monthly meet-up of enthusiasts, artists, and writers of comics by and about people of color.
Known online under the gamer tag Pookie, Chris Marsh started competing in video games such as Call of Duty, Madden, and Mortal Kombat back in 2013. He’s been competing for 7 years and believes it to be one of the best decisions he’s ever made! Over the years, gaming has kept him motivated, focused, and given him purpose. He’s always willing to speak to up and coming gamers about the gaming lifestyle and developing a career in gaming.
Danielle McRae is a voice-over actress residing in Los Angeles, California. Being a huge fan of video games and anime, her passion has led her to pursue a voice acting career in the industry. Some of her most notable credits have been in League of Legends as Karma the Enlightened One, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm as Hagara the Stormbinder, Final Fantasy VII Remake as Gwen, and Painwheel in the Popular 2D fighting game Skullgirls Encore.
She’s also been in anime and original animated shows such as Sword Art Online, Gargantia: On the Verderous Planet as Onderia, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic as Orba, Kuroba Adventures as Reina, Beery Cool Fridge in Kindikids, Death Battle as Lucy/Nyu, Ascendance of a Bookworm as Ralph, and Kemono Friends as African Wild Dog.
Carlos Nieto III is Colombian roots born and raised in Los Angeles. Growing up in the Hispanic area of Silverlake /Echo Park, he was influenced by the mishmash of Central American and South American cultures. He is a mostly self-taught artist, only having taken some basic classes of art in high school, and several night classes at various colleges.
His artistic talent led him to a job on the Emmy-winning show, The Simpsons and King of the Hill as a Layout Artist. Carlos also worked as a Visual Consultant for Disney and Universal, creating sketches and final art for set designs as well as conducting Comic Book making, Anime and Animation drawing workshops at libraries across the country.
Myranda Victoria Peterson is an author/illustrator with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She wrote her first play, Jack and the Fox, and her second, Michael and the Magical Hat, before she’d entered the third grade. With the assistance of her parents and friends, she had the plays performed at her house for an audience of friends and family members. A self-taught artist, Myranda’s art is heavily inspired by anime and Japanese pop culture. Passionate about storytelling in both its visual and literary forms, Myranda currently writes, illustrates, and independently publishes her own books for children and young adults. As both an author and illustrator, she aspires to create original content that will inspire the youth of today with themes of generosity, courage, justice, companionship and hope.
Maria Photinakis is an illustrator and comic book artist exploring science fiction and autobiographical narratives about resilience, alienation, and self-discovery. “Liminal State,” her comic on grief and postpartum anxiety, won a MICE 2019 grant. She is documenting life with a young child while social distancing in a visual journal called “Extraordinary Times” on Webtoons. She lives in Waltham, MA and has a B.A. in Journalism from UMass Amherst.
To learn more, vist her website: https://photinakis.com or follow her on Instagram: @mphotinakis
Before joining the English Department at UMass in 2008, TreaAndrea M. Russworm earned her B.A. from Brown University and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Her areas of research and teaching specialization include: video games and new media, digital cultural studies, African American popular culture, digital humanities, comic books and visual representation, and postmodern and psychoanalytic theories.
Will Wiggins III, otherwise known as Black Oni, is an action RPG focused Twitch Partner, content creator, and artist, heavily influenced by Black and Japanese culture. “Born, and protector of sacred land,” reflects his views of art and gaming as sacred forms of exploration & expression. As an Illustrator, designer, and content creator, he leans into his passion for telling stories through visuals, and sharing his love of gaming through podcasts, game coverage, and Twitch livestreams. He has led panels on branding, (including the most viewed and attended Twitch creator camp panel at Twitchcon 2018) had his designs presented to Congress, and has been highlighted in several large gaming publications. Above all, he aims to entertain, entice, and educate.