PANELIST BIOS

The 2021 Latinx Comic Arts Festival

Panelist Biographies

Alex Schumacher is an author/illustrator whose list of work includes THE UNEMPLOYMENT ADVENTURES OF AQUALUNG graphic novel for Arcana Studios (2013), THE WORLD'S CRUMMIEST UMBRELLA picture book for Wandering in the Words Press (2014), articles for Comicon.com, and storyboards for DreamWorks TV. His first collection of literary magazine comics, DEFILING THE LITERATI, was released in 2017. That same year Alex was also nominated for a ‘Best of the Net’ award for my graphic narrative collaboration with underground poet John Bennett. DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE, Alex's semi-autobiographical webcomic published online by Antix Press, concluded in January of 2021 after a 5-year run. He continues to produce the monthly misadventures of MR. BUTTERCHIPS (since 2016), which had a collection released in July of 2020 by indie comics luminaries SLG Publishing. Since 2019, Alex has been represented by Stimola Literary Studio with regards to my graphic novel works. Website: alexshumacher.com Instagram: @ajschumacherart Twitter: @AJSchumacherart  Email: alexschumacherart@gmail.com

Amanda Julina Gonzalez I'm a New Mexico-born animator based in SoCal, where I obtained my BFA in Animation in 2019. I like telling stories that move and have experience in traditional and digital animation, graphic novels, and game concept art. I'm also a voice over artist and vocal performer. Beyond drawing, I focus on dance and how it informs my approach to animation & vice versa. My childhood ballet teacher liked calling my class “Amanda hunting season,” thus lighting an eternal flame that fuels me to this very day.

Barbra Dillon Fanbase Press celebrates fandoms and creates new ones! As an award-winning comic book publisher and geek culture website, Fanbase Press produces new and distinctive works, as well as daily reviews, interviews, and podcasts, that span the pop culture spectrum and give voice to the themes, ideals, and people that make geekdom so exceptional. Facebook: fanbasepress.com  Instagram: @fanbasepress  Facebook: FanbasePress1  Twitter: @Fanbase_Press  Email: barbra@fanbasepress.com

Bobby Hernandez is a writer and creator of the forthcoming Latinx superhero comics series The Millennials. He is also Operations Manager of the Latino Comics Expo and Host of Cuentos Y Comics. Facebook: @bobby.hernandez.5205 Instagram: @cuentos_y_comics  Twitter: @bobbyzednanreh  Email: rhernandez1808@yahoo.com

Breena Nunez is an Afro Guatemalan-Salvadoran cartoonist based in San Francisco. I draw, print, fold, and staple autobiographical comics and zines that center the nuances of existing as an Afrodescendiente from the Bay Area. I’m also a part-time professor at San Francisco State University and California College of the Arts. My hope as a cartoonist and educator is to help BIPOC folks give themselves permission to cry or laugh through the language of comics and to value the stories they want to share.My comics are primarily self-published as zines, but you will also find some comics in other publications such as The New Yorker: Daily Shouts and The Nib, as well as anthologies like Tales From La Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology, Drawing Power (Eisner Award Winner 2020), and Be Gay, Do Comics! (Ignatz Award Winner 2020). Instagram: @breenache 

Candy Briones is a Mexican American Cartoonist who began her career in caricatures at several theme parks in California while working on small animation projects as a freelance character designer and storyboard artist. Her love of storytelling helped her make her way into comics and game, where she has fallen in love with the craft and began her very own comic publishing brand, Taco El Gato Comics, in 2018. Website: tacoelgatocomics.com  Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, DeviantArt: @TacoElGatoComics Twitter: @tacoelgato  Email: candybrioneso.o@gmail.com

Carlo A. Flores is an Emmy award winning Designer, Animator, Director and creator of The Mighty Luchador. Born and raised in the San Francisco East Bay, he now resides in Sunny Los Angeles. For over a decade, he has fostered a career on his passion for all things art and design. Inspired by his own Chicano heritage, pop-culture and sci-fi, his work is a rich intersection of diverse topics. The colorful, bold characters of the Mighty Luchador allow him to examine themes of self-discovery, identity and personal cultural exploration. Website: themightyluchador.com Email: cflores@carlosoutpost.com

Carlos Meyer draws on his upbringing in Alameda, NM and hailing from a family of nine children Carlos hopes to bring a sense of family and tradition to his writing. While co-author Paul (Meyer) spent many years in Hollywood after High School, Carlos remained home in New Mexico earning a degree in Journalism while working at his grandfather’s ranch in northern New Mexico. Having raised a family and retired now he spends his time focusing on his writing.  With Under the Cottonwood Tree the authors hope to shine a light on the culture and people of New Mexico. Carlos is currently working on a children’s picture book titled Marisol’s Monsters with illustrations by his daughter Marisol. Instagram: @utctbook Email: cmmeyer@desertgate.com

Carlos "Loso" Perez is a Afro-Dominican cartoonist, educator, and owner of Prime Vice Studios. Through PVS he aims to empower underrepresented groups to own their narratives and create iconic intellectual properties. His art focuses on humor and syncretic storytelling. Website: primevice.com Instagram: @prime_vice Twitter: @primevice  Facebook: @primevice  Email: carlos@primevice.com

Catalina Rufin is 28 and lives in Boston with Cat's cherished fiancee and a lizard. Cat is represented by Cornerstone Literary Agency. cargocollective.com/catalinarufin Instagram: @fairywarriorcat Email: catalinarufin@yahoo.com

Cathy Camper is the author of the award-winning Lowriders in Space graphic novel series, Ten Ways to Hear Snow, Bugs Before Time, and the forthcoming Arab Arab All Year Round (2022). She also writes zines, including Sugar Needle, and is a founding member of the Portland Women of Color zine collective. An Arab American and a graduate of VONA/Voices writing, Cathy is a librarian and lives in Portland, Oregon. Website: cathycamper.com  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @cfastwolf

Crystal Gonzalez is a Mexican-American (Chicana) who resided in the SF Bay area for the past 11 yrs. She graduated with a BA at the University of Nevada, and earned her Masters (MFA) at The California College of the Arts. She is best known for her indie published graphic novel, “In The Dark”. The series is about a man named Fibble and his demon named Sin who embark on a wild journey through a Hell that has modernized itself to stay relevant in society. Fraught with demons who are addicted to Starbucks, use GPS systems, and love the internet; this dark comedy takes a satirical edge at religions, social mores, and modern culture. In addition to cartooning, Crystal Gonzalez is a 2D animator and the creator of the popular online cartoon series “Skitzo the 1920’s Killer Bear” which is a twisted take on old 1920s cartoon surrealism and horror. Website: inthedarkcomics.com  Instagram: @comickpro Twitter: @comickpro

Daisy Ruiz, better known online as @Draizys, is a Bronx-bred Illustrator, Founder, and Creative Director of award-winning compilation zine Deadass Tho NYC, and a one-third of WOC art Collective Spicy Mango Comics. Her illustrations take inspiration from her 5 year-long Scene phase, her East Coast Chicana upbringing, and everyday NYC living, just to name a few.  Instagram: @draizys

Daniel Parada is a Salvadoran-American artist from San Francisco, CA. He studied Illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. In 2011, he published his first comic, "Zotz", an ongoing dark fantasy-alternate history epic set in Mesoamerica during the 16th century. He also illustrates reconstructions of historical clothing and life in Mesoamerica. Through these illustrations he hopes to bring the past to life for modern audiences while using research to show more accurate representations. He is currently working on both Zotz and a new Mesoamerican sci fi. Facebook: @ReySolTonatiuh Twitter: @Zotzcomic

Daron Antonio Smith is a Mexican-American artist and writer born and raised in Washington, DC but with familial roots to San Antonio where he currently resides. Much of his work centers around a synthesis of Mexican-American and Pop culture, as well as attempting to integrate elements of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican myths and beliefs. Smith has a special interest in the revival of indigenous tradition within Mexican culture, and strive to realize this through his art and other creative forms, especially the comics medium. https://linktr.ee/arteysangre Instagram:@arte_y_sangre  Email: dsarrowheadofflint@gmail.com

Dustin “Dus T’”Garcia is a Latinx cartoonist and animator from Los Angeles, California. He's a devout follower of the Do It Yourself philosophy and an advocate for independent and community driven media. As an artist educator he seeks to empower and inspire underrepresented communities with the power of storytelling, and self-expression. He aims to achieve this through practicing and researching alternative forms of education, and believes that literacy can be achieved through the practice of arts. His comics include "Masks", "Ton Ton", "Tucker Toon" and "Melvin". Instagram: @dustooned  Email: dustooned@gmail.com

Dr. Dukes (a.k.a. Elvira Carrizal-Dukes) is an Assistant Professor of Practice and Undergraduate Academic Adviser for Chicana/o Studies at The University of Texas at El Paso, where she earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Rhetoric and Composition. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film from Columbia University in the City of New York and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in Journalism and Chicano Studies and a minor in Theatre Arts. Her academic and creative writing and digital projects center the lives of women and racially and economically disadvantaged communities. Dr. Dukes is writing a digital project based on her research on Cholx consciousness. She is also a comic book author, playwright, and filmmaker. Together with her husband Ronnie Dukes, they started DUKEScomics.com, an independent comic book publisher whose mission is to create a positive vision for the future of Black and Brown people. To learn more about their comics, visit: www.dukescomics.com Dr. Dukes proudly serves as a Board Member for Equal Footing, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower women to tell their stories. To support this initiative, visit:  https://www.equalfootingcharity.org/

Eva Carrillo was born in the Bronx but raised in Queens to a first-generation Nuyorican mother. Eva is interested in how an individual’s environment and circumstances shape their identities. Her work often explores themes of mental health, cultural heritage, and race. She is currently working on a comic about her grandmother growing up in Puerto Rico during the 1940s/50s. Instagram: @evacarrilloart  Email: evaacarrillo@gmail.com

Dr. Fernanda Díaz-Basteris is currently a visiting Assistant Professor in the Modern Languages Department at Cornell College. Fernanda is an interdisciplinary scholar, her work analyzes visual representations of self-identified Latinx and female Caribbean artists in the US. Her current research is looking at the undocumented American life experience, the social-political crisis of disasters’ aftermath, and the communal digital storytelling of forced displacement. Instagram: @decolonizing_lxcomic  Email: mdiazbasteris@cornellcollege.edu

Fernando de Peña is a comic, animation and film writer. Instagram: @todofueunmalentendido  Email: erratachorrocientosmiluno@gmail.com

Henry Barajas is a Latinx author from Tucson, AZ. He is best known for his graphic memoir about his great-grandfather Ramon Jaurigue titled La Voz De M.A.Y.O. Tata Rambo. He has contributed to anthologies that benefit mass shooting Route 91 victims and The Southern Poverty Law Center such as Where We Live and The Good Fight. Currently, Barajas is the Director of Operations at Top Cow Productions—and he lives with his roommate’s cats Ophelia & Morticia in Los Angeles, CA

Jaime Crespo is a Native-American/Chicano who has been a published cartoonist for 40 years and has had his comics appear in several comic books, magazines, weekly papers and anthologies over the decades. Crespo primarily focuses on bio/autobiographical stories (ala Harvey Pekar) but is not limited to this format. Crespo’s comic strip, Slice O’ Life (later shortened to Slices) has been published in weeklies around the US. He has returned to self-publishing an on-going title, Tortilla in which he may tell longer stories outside of the four-panel comic strip format. Crespo is in the midst of his much-anticipated first graphic novel, Turk Street Serenade as well as a second, shorter graphic novel, Passing. Website: corntortillapress.com  Instagram: the_real_comixvato  Facebook: Jaime.crespo.73  email: crespocomix@yahoo.com

Javier Hernandez has been creating comics since 1998 from his own imprint Los Comex. In 2007 a film adaptation of his comic book El Muerto was released, for which Javier served as Associate Producer. In 2011 he co-founded the nation's first comics convention devoted exclusively to spotlighting Latino talent. He's been a comics educator for the last 15 years and in 2020 he launched his Youtube channel LOS COMEX TV. Instagram: @javierloscomex  Twitter: javierhernandez  Website: javzilla.com  Email: misterjav@gmail.com

Jennifer Lopez is a Comparative Literature major from South Central Los Angeles with a life-long love for comic books and manga. She has worked in comic book retail for four years, both at Hi De Ho Comics and Geoffrey's Comics and prides herself in being the “salty” side of the Comadres y Comics podcast. Jennifer is a Queer Latina whose love for comics originated from a High School teacher who provided them for students. Her journey has led her to strive to provide access to comics for others in similar ways. She is currently obsessed with Overwatch, Dungeons & Dragons, space, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Comics and dragons. She can be found confronting anyone who says, “Girls don't read comics” with “Fight Me!!.”  Email: jennlopez94@gmail.com Instagram: @krnerd

José Alaniz is a professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Department of Comparative Literature (adjunct) at the University of Washington, Seattle and has published two monographs, Komiks: Comic Art in Russia (University Press of Mississippi, 2010) and Death, Disability and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond (UPM, 2014); and two co-edited collections, Comics of the New Europe: Reflections and Intersections (with Martha Kuhlman, Leuven University Press, 2020) and Uncanny Bodies: Disability and Superhero Comics (with Scott T. Smith, Penn State University Press, 2019. In 2020 he published his first comics collection, The Phantom Zone and Other Stories (Amatl Comix). His comics have also appeared in The Daily Texan, Seattle Weekly, Tales From La Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology and BorderX: A Crisis in Graphic Detail. Facebook: Jose Alaniz  Email: josealaniz23@gmail.com

Justin Rueff is an artist, designer and comic creator operating out of the high desert of central Oregon. He teaches art, mural and comic classes in and around Portland, Oregon. His work focuses on symbology and spirituality. Website: justinrueff.com  Email: justinrueff@gmail.com

Kayden Phoenix is the founder of Phoenix Studios and Creator/Writer of A La Brava, Latina superhero series. Starting off as writer and director from Boyle Heights, California; upon entering the film industry, the first thing she noticed was the industry dominated standard- complete with character generalizations. In response, she became a huge advocate for diversity both in front and behind the camera, giving a voice to stories untold. She plans on evening the playing field for the under-represented through her unique and diverse storytelling. Website: latinasuperheroes.com  Instagram: latinasuperheroes  Email: jaliscosuperhero@gmail.com

Kristen Parraz co-owns and manages Hi De Ho Comics, the longest still running comic book shop in Los Angeles County, located in Santa Monica. Before managing Hi De Ho Comics, Kristen worked with gang-involved girls within the juvenile justice system. She has 20 plus years of experience working in the non-profit sector with a variety of diverse communities, her passion being gender specific work. Presently, she works to integrate the experience and passion she's built over the years into comic retailing by making diversity a priority at Hi De Ho and working to provide access to the comic book industry to marginalized groups and communities. Kristen has a love for horror comics with some of her favorites being Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Walking Dead and Harrow County. IG: kvamp99  Twitter: kvamp99  Email: Kristen@hidehocomics.com

Louise Fogerty is a 2D animator, illustrator, and comic artist based in the UK, who graduated from Middlesex University, London, in 2017 with a degree in animation. Her work centres mainly on the mythology of Mesoamerica, with projects that include an ongoing urban-fantasy graphic novel set in modern day Mexico, and a short animation on the Aztec creation story; Legend of the Fifth Sun. Email: louise.fogerty@btinternet.com

Luke Martinez is a teacher and cartoonist specializing in Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Muy Macho: Machismo and Latinidad in Comics and Visual Media. Twitter: @lukelovescomics  Website: pressironclad.com, Email: lukeaaronmartinez@gmail.com

Maxi Rodriguez  is a freelance graphic designer/artist (illustrator) and does caricatures for parties and events. I have my BA in Graphic Design from Cal State Dominguez Hills (2014) and am currently a student at California College of the Arts in the MFA Comics program. I’ve always been a huge fan of both Western comics as well as Japanese Anime/Manga. Website: www.kasutoproductions.com

Nelly Castillo is a Latinx creative and co-founder of Vendetta Entertainment, a full-service creative production company based in Los Angeles, California with global reachVendetta boasts an extensive portfolio of work including commercials, narrative, digital content, music videos, celebrity and fashion photography. Website: www.vendettaexperience.com/

Paul Meyer was born the youngest of nine children and raised in the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Though growing up poor, he never felt poor because he was too busy building treehouses in the bosque and playing and swimming in the Rio Grande to pay attention to any economic inequalities. He hopes to capture a sense of childlike innocence and rural ambience in his storytelling. Paul left Albuquerque after high school and has been working in Hollywood ever since. In addition to stints as an actor, writer and director, he recently penned the cult hit comic book SOD, a comedy horror about a small town being overrun by carnivorous grass. His latest project, a graphic novel entitled Under the Cottonwood Tree has been gaining notoriety with six national book awards, adopted as part of college curricula, and as an anchor-text for numerous elementary schools. As a proud Chicano he strongly desires to shine a light on his people and culture. To quote the Poet Laureate of New Mexico Levi Romero, “We are the orphaned ones whom Spain abandoned Mexico did not adopt and the U.S. never wanted.” In spite of this or perhaps because of this, New Mexico is truly a land of enchantment and with these cuentos, Paul hopes to show an audience just how enchanting it can be. Website: northfourthpublications.com  Twitter: @utctbook  Email: paul@pbmeyer.com

Ray Ramos works on Borderland cryptids and legends such as La Llorona, chupacabra, la lechuza, etc. and their effect on our cultural relevance in the United States. The team: Ray Ramos (writer Heavy Metal, the Cryptidnals. Cryptozoologist) Francisco Arce (writer Undead Border, creator 656 Comics) Oliver Lee Arce ( artist Undead Border, creator 656 Comics) Xavier Gutierrez (artist Undead Border, Tres Castlos, creator 656 Comics)

Ronnie Dukes is a comic book creator from the south side of Chicago. Raised in South Shore, Ronnie had his first professional artist position at Gallery 37 while in high school. He went on to earn his degree in computer animation in Minneapolis before relocating to Harlem, Manhattan where he began to paint and exhibit work throughout the city, including multiple solo exhibitions at Columbia University as well as group shows at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, the Harlem Arts Alliance “Community Artists Ahead of Their Time” exhibit at Columbia, the Abrons Art Center, and at Keyspan Energy Headquarters in downtown Brooklyn. In El Paso, Texas, Ronnie Dukes had two separate solo exhibits, which included over two-dozen paintings for his exhibits called “Quills” and “Blaxican Soul.” Ronnie created his publishing company DUKEScomics with his wife, Elvira Carrizal-Dukes, featuring A.W.O.L., a full-color graphic novel available in English, Japanese, and Spanish. Ronnie recently partnered with the Department of Tribal Empowerment Ysleta del Sur Pueblo to publish Let's Talk Covid-19 2020 Pueblo Youth Guide. Visit DUKEScomics.com

Sara Bazan resides in Compton and was enamored with Neil Gaiman's Sandman and the Sandman Universe from its inception. She loves Indie comics and attending small, local conventions that highlight lesser-known creators from marginalized communities. She also has a place in her heart for superhero comics featuring Batman and the X-Men. Before Comadres y Comics, Sara co- hosted three comic related podcasts but never quite got them off the ground. She is blessed to be a part of the Comadres y Comics Podcast that fits so perfectly with her personal experience with comics and that is comprised of what she declares to be her "dream team" of co-hosts. Facebook link @1sara.bazan.cyc.podcast1 Instagram:  @superficiallaceration  Email is sara.bazan@periodpodcastnetwork.com

Sharon Lee De La Cruz is a multi-disciplinary artist and activist from New York City. Her thought-provoking pieces address a range of issues related to tech, social justice, sexuality, and race. De La Cruz’s work ranges from comics, graffiti, and public-art murals to more recent explorations in interactive sculptures, animation, and coding. She graduated with a BFA from Cooper Union and a MPS from NYU-ITP. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, Processing Foundation Fellowship, and a Tin House Summer Workshop participant.  Website: unoseistres.com  Instagram: @sharonleedelacruz  Email: unoseistres@gmail.com

Stephen J. C. Andes received his doctorate in history from Oxford University and is currently a Latin American history professor at Louisiana State University. He’s published three books of nonfiction. Andes’s work, fiction included, operates at the intersection of history and pop culture. His most recent narrative nonfiction, Zorro’s Shadow (2020), was named among the Best Non-Western and POC Fantasy Books of 2020 (Den of Geek). It was also promoted in the Chicago Tribune's select Fall Preview for 2020. Andes’s debut novel, Jade, Daughter of the Wasteland, mixes Latin American and Caribbean history with a dystopian landscape in order to create a thrilling portrait of survival in the near-future Gulf South. Website: zorroghost.com  Twitter: @steveandes  Email: sandes@lsu.edu

Steven Prince used to make toys, now he makes comics. He's the creator and writer of the cult indie comic MONSTER MATADOR. He lives in Los Angeles. Website: mosntermatador.com, Instagram: @monstermatador Twitter: @monstermatador Facebook: Monster Matador  Email: stevep697@yahoo.com

Terry Blas is the illustrator and writer behind the viral web comic You Say Latino. He has written comics for Ariana Grande and the series Steven Universe, and Rick and Morty. His original graphic novels are Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom, Hotel Dare, and Lifetime Passes. He is currently the writer for the Marvel series Reptil.Twitter and Instagram: @terryblas email: terryblas@gmail.com 

 

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