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.
Jack Kirby born Jacob Kurtzberg, was an American comic book artist, writer and editor regarded by historians and fans as one of the major innovators and most influential creators in the comic book medium. Kirby grew up poor in New York City and learned to draw cartoon figures by tracing characters from comic strips and editorial cartoons. He entered the nascent comics industry in the 1930s and drew various comics features under different pen names, including Jack Curtiss, ultimately settling on Jack Kirby. In 1940, he and writer-editor Joe Simon created the highly successful superhero character Captain America for Timely Comics, predecessor of Marvel Comics. During the 1940s, Kirby, generally teamed with Simon, created numerous characters for that company and for National Comics, the company that later became DC Comics. After serving in World War II, Kirby returned to comics and worked in a variety of genres. He produced work for a number of publishers, including DC, Harvey Comics, Hillman Periodicals and Crestwood Publications, where he and Simon created the genre of romance comics. He and Simon launched their own short-lived comic company, Mainline Publications. Kirby ultimately found himself at Timely’s 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics, soon to become Marvel. There, in the 1960s, he and writer-editor Stan Lee co-created many of Marvel’s major characters, including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk. Despite the high sales and critical acclaim of the Lee-Kirby titles, Kirby felt treated unfairly, and left the company in 1970 for rival DC.
Timothy Walter “Tim” Burton is an American film director, producer, artist, writer, poet and stop motion artist. He is known for his dark, gothic, macabre and quirky horror and fantasy films such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie, and for blockbusters such as Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Batman, its first sequel Batman Returns, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. Burton has worked repeatedly with Johnny Depp, who has become a close friend of Burton since their first film together. He has also worked with musician Danny Elfman, who has composed scores for all but two of the films Burton has directed. Actress Helena Bonham Carter, Burton’s domestic partner, has appeared in many of his films. He also wrote and illustrated the poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, published in 1997, and a compilation of his drawings, sketches and other artwork, entitled The Art of Tim Burton, was released in 2009.