Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist and designer. He is mostly known for his acclaimed films, Blade II, Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hellboy film franchise. He is a frequent collaborator with Ron Perlman, Federico Luppi and Doug Jones. His films draw heavily on sources as diverse as weird fiction, fantasy and war. Del Toro was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He was raised in a strict Catholic household. Del Toro studied at the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Cinematográficos, in Guadalajara. He first got involved in filmmaking when he was about eight years old and studied special effects and make-up with SFX artist Dick Smith. Del Toro participated in the cult series La Hora Marcada with other renowned Mexican filmmakers such as Emmanuel Lubezki and Alfonso Cuarón. He spent eight years as a special effects make-up designer and formed his own company, Necropia. He also co-founded the Guadalajara International Film Festival. Later on in his directing career, he formed his own production company, the Tequila Gang.
Robert “Rob” Liefeld is an American comic book creator. A prominent writer/artist in the 1990s, he has since become a controversial figure in the medium. In the early 1990s, the self-taught artist became prominent due to his work on Marvel Comics’ The New Mutants and later X-Force. In 1992, he and several other popular Marvel illustrators left the company to found Image Comics, which started a wave of comic books owned by their creators rather than by publishers. The first book published by Image Comics was Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood #1. Liefeld’s love of comics began as a child, which led early on to his decision to be a professional artist, a practice that began with his tracing artwork from comic books. As a high school student, he took basic fundamental art courses, and attended comic book conventions at the nearby Disneyland Hotel, where he met creators such as George Pérez, John Romita Jr., Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, Mike Zeck and Marv Wolfman. Liefeld cites Pérez, along with John Byrne and Frank Miller, as major influences.
William J. C. “Bill” Amend III is an American cartoonist, best known for his comic strip FoxTrot. Amend attended high school in Burlingame, California where he was a cartoonist on his school newspaper. Amend is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He attended Amherst College, where he drew comics for the college paper. He majored in physics and graduated in 1984. In 1982 Amend took first place among sophomores in a mathematics prize examination at Amherst. After a short time in the animation business, Amend decided to pursue a cartooning career and signed on with Universal Press Syndicate. FoxTrot first appeared on April 10, 1988. Amend made a television appearance on The Screen Savers, which aired October 20, 2003 on the former TechTV. Amend is also an avid World of Warcraft player, but refuses to reveal his character’s name, although he did mention in an interview with Allakhazam (a World of Warcraft fan site) that he played on the server ‘Bronzebeard’ (Jason is often shown or referred to playing “World of Warquest” in the strip). On December 5, 2006, Universal Press Syndicate issued a press release stating that Amend’s strip, FoxTrot, would turn into a Sunday-only strip. Amend stated that he wants to continue doing the strip, but at a less hurried pace. This news was followed by several weeks of the characters discussing a “cartoonist” semi-retiring to Sundays only, and what methods he would use to phase out the daily strips. The last daily Foxtrot cartoon was printed on December 30, 2006.
Phillip Bradley “Brad” Bird is an Academy Award-winning American director, voice actor, animator and screenwriter. He is best known for writing and directing Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007). He also adapted and directed the critically acclaimed 2D animated 1999 Warner Brothers film The Iron Giant. Reviewing the Ratatouille DVD, Eye Weekly offered this characterization of Bird’s work: “It’s very hard to think of another mainstream American director with a comparably fluid visual style or such a vise-grip on storytelling mechanics.” He also directed The Simpsons ‘ episodes “Krusty Gets Busted” and “Like Father, Like Clown”. Bird was born in Kalispell, Montana, the youngest of four siblings. His father, Phillip, worked in the propane business, and his grandfather, Frank W. Bird, was a president and chief executive of the Montana Power Company. On a tour of the Walt Disney Studios at age 11, he announced that someday he would become part of its animation team, and soon afterward began work on his own 15-minute animated short. Within two years, Bird had completed his animation, which impressed the cartoon company. By age 14, barely in high school, Bird was mentored by the animator Milt Kahl, one of Disney’s legendary Nine Old Men. Bird recalls Kahl’s criticisms as ideal: Kahl would point out shortcomings by gently delivering thoughts on where Bird could improve. After graduating from Corvallis High School in Corvallis, Oregon in 1975, Bird took a three-year break. He was then awarded a scholarship by Disney to attend California Institute of the Arts, where he met and befriended another future animator, Pixar co-founder and director John Lasseter.
Christopher McCulloch, also known by the pseudonym Jackson Publick, is an American comic book and television writer, storyboard artist, and voice actor known for his work on several Tick properties and for the animated television series The Venture Bros. He authored the comic book miniseries The Tick: Karma Tornado, a spin-off of The Tick, and was a staff writer and storyboard artist on the 1994 Tick animated series. He also worked on storyboards for PB&J Otter and Sheep in the Big City and as a writer on the 2001 Tick live-action series. He created The Venture Bros. in the early 2000s and produced its 2003 pilot episode. He and Doc Hammer are the series’ co-creators, writers, editors, and directors, producing the show through their animation company Astro-Base Go. McCulloch voices over 20 characters in the series, including Hank Venture, The Monarch, and Sergeant Hatred.
Jhonen Vasquez, also known as Chancre Scolex or simply Mr. Scolex, is an American comic book writer, cartoonist and music video director. He is famous for creating the comic book series Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and its spin-offs Squee! and I Feel Sick, all published under Slave Labor Graphics label. He also created the short-lived animated series, Invader Zim, which aired on Nickelodeon. After the success of Squee!, the children’s cable network Nickelodeon approached Vasquez about producing an animated television series. The series, Invader Zim, focused on the daily life of Zim, a naïve alien from the planet Irk who tries to conquer Earth — however, his attempts are constantly thwarted in a humorous manner by Dib, a young paranormal investigator and the only one who knows with certainty Zim is an alien (although no one believes him), or by his own naïveté. The first episode aired on March 30, 2001. The series would last for two seasons, until it was abruptly cancelled by Nickelodeon, saying that the main causes of the show’s cancellation were low ratings, over-budget production and lack of interest in continuation of the series. The last episode prior to the show’s cancellation, “The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever” (a Christmas special), aired on December 10, 2002. Episodes for a possible third season, as well as a show’s finale, then remained unproduced or unfinished. Vasquez provided the voices for Zim’s computer and Minimoose, as well as many other additional voices, being credited under the name Mr. Scolex.
Roger Dean is an English artist, designer, architect, and publisher. He is best known for his work on posters and album covers for musicians, which he began painting in the late 1960s. The covers often feature exotic, fantasy landscapes. His work has sold more than sixty million copies world-wide.
His first album cover work was in 1968 for The Gun. He also did the artwork for Atomic Rooster’s album In Hearing of… This album cover hinted at the inimitable style for which he would later become famous. In the same year Dean produced the cover for the first album by the African/Caribbean band Osibisa, which featured a hybrid insect/elephant. This was much closer to Dean’s work as we came to know it and it attracted widespread attention. Later that year, he began the partnership with the progressive rock bands Yes (and Asia) for which he is best known. His first design for the band was for their album Fragile. Dean designed the now-classic Yes “bubble” logo, which first appeared on the album Close to the Edge, and continued to create covers for the band until as recently as 2011 (Fly From Here). Yes guitarist Steve Howe said, “There is a pretty tight bond between our sound and Roger’s art.” In addition to their album covers, Dean also contributed to his brother Martyn Dean’s stage set designs for the band.