Learn more about our Special Guests

Claudia Chinyere Akole is an exhibiting artist, illustrator, cartoonist, designer, animator, and educator based in Sydney, Australia. Claudia has taught design, comics, and animation workshops at various levels including high school, university, and professional settings. Claudia has established the “Tracing Paper Comix” style, which involves creating final comic art traditionally using paint markers on multiple layers of tracing paper. Her visual signature consists of bold block color and abstract line work rendered by hand predominantly in paint and marker mediums. https://claudinsky.com/ 

Lale Westvind is a cartoonist and animator with a passion for movement, machines, flesh, flowers, and color. Her works include the HOT DOG BEACH series, HYPERSPEED TO NOWHERE and GRIP. She is currently working on a long form multimedia video project, an animated short, a new comic collection and finishing a new book titled HAX MEMORA for Breakdown Press. https://www.instagram.com/lalewestvind 

Anna Haifisch is a working artist, cartoonist, and illustrator in Leipzig, Germany. She studied printmaking and illustration at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. She is a co-founder of the German comics and graphics festival, The Millionaires Club. In 2020, she was awarded the prestigious Max and Moritz Prize as best German comic artist. Her most recent graphic novel is Chez Schnabel published by Spector Books. https://www.hai-life.com/

Gareth Brookes is a graphic novelist, print maker, textile artist, small press publisher, teacher, event organizer and researcher. He makes experimental graphic novels and handmade comics utilizing unusual materials such as embroidery, pressed flowers and fire. In 2012 he won the Myriad First Graphic Novel Prize. His graphic novel’s The Black Project and A Thousand Coloured Castles are published by Myriad Editions, The Dancing Plague is published by SelfMadeHero. He also organized the South London Comics and Zine Fair in 2017-18. He is currently a AHRC Techne funded PhD candidate at UAL researching materiality and metaphor in comics. https://www.gbrookes.com/

In 1992, Megan Kelso was the first woman to receive funding from the Xeric Foundation for self publishing a comic, which she used to make Girlhero, which ran for six issues. In 2002, Kelso received two Ignatz awards for her graphic novel Artichoke Tales. In 2007, she was invited by The New York Times Magazine to serialize her Watergate Sue comic as part of a weekly Funny Pages feature. In 2019, she was selected for a public art commission, as part of the Climate Pledge Arena renovation in Seattle Center, an 85 foot long etched steel comics mural called Crow Commute. In October, 2022 Fantagraphics published Kelso’s fourth book, a collection of graphic short stories called, Who Will Make the Pancakes. https://www.fantagraphics.com/collections/megan-kelso

Shary Flenniken is an editor-writer-illustrator and underground cartoonist. After joining the burgeoning underground comics movement in the early 1970s, she became a prominent contributor to National Lampoon and was one of the editors of the magazine for two years. Flenniken is widely recognized as an influential figure in the integration of feminist concerns into underground comics. In the 1970s and 1980s, National Lampoon was home not only to some of the funniest humor writing in America but also to many of its best cartoons. One of the greatest was Trots and Bonnie by Flenniken, a comic strip that followed the adventures and mishaps of the guileless teenager Bonnie and her wisecracking dog, Trots. http://www.sharyflenniken.com/

Casanova Frankenstein was a Gen-X latchkey-kid, raised on the incongruous influences of ‘70s-era Chicago UHF TV-programming and American hypocrisy. He earned degrees in Fine Art and Metaphysics and produced art, poetry, and comics (In The Wilderness, which he wrote and drew, was published by Fantagraphics in 2019). He worked a 25-year string of Kafkaesque day jobs while maintaining a strict personal code. Retiring early in 2016 due to health issues, he remains a combination of James Baldwin, Charles Bukowski, and Mad Max — but 20-years ahead of his time. https://www.fantagraphics.com/collections/casanova-frankenstein

Natalia Novia is a comic and zine artist, animation producer, and creature of strange habits living in Buenos Aires, where she was born. Her work appears in the translation of The Confessions by Fabián Iriarte, published by Entre Ríos Books (who are hosting her visit to Seattle). Her first graphic novel, L’ORGANISME, was published in France by Éditions Insula in 2018 and it was presented at the Festival de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême that same year. She is currently working on a new graphic novel called Extraña (she’s strange), a new story of gender diversity. In March 2023, she published an experimental comic in NOW #11 published by Fantagraphics Books with the comic artist Ariel Lòpez V. https://natalianoviaart.wordpress.com/

We’re hosting Natalia Novia (and her partner Ariel Lopez V.) via a partnership with Entre Ríos Books, Anna Haifisch is our guest thanks to Villa Aurora. Casanova Frankenstein will be our guest with support from Fantagraphics Books, Inc.