Osamu Tezuka was a Japanese cartoonist, manga artist, animator, producer, activist and medical doctor, although he never practiced medicine. Born in Osaka Prefecture, he is best known as the creator of Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion and Black Jack. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Anime”, and is often considered the Japanese equivalent to Walt Disney, who served as a major inspiration during his formative years. His prolific output, pioneering techniques, and innovative redefinitions of genres earned him such titles as “the father of manga”, “the god of comics” and “kamisama of manga”. His grave is located in Tokyo’s Souzen-ji Temple Cemetery. He started to draw comics around his second year of elementary school. Around his fifth year he found a bug named “Osamushi”. It so resembled his name that he adopted osamushi as his pen name. He came to the realization that he could use manga as a means of helping to convince people to care for the world. After World War II, he created his first piece of work (at age 17), Diary of Ma-chan and then Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island), which began the golden age of manga, a craze comparable to American comic books at the time. Japanese manga artists call him “Manga-no-kami sama” [the god of manga].
Ralph Bakshi is an American director of animated and live-action films. In the 1970s, he established an alternative to mainstream animation through independent and adult-oriented productions. Between 1972 and 1992, he directed nine theatrically released feature films, five of which he wrote. He has been involved in numerous television projects as director, writer, producer and animator. Beginning his career at the Terrytoons television cartoon studio as a cel polisher, Bakshi was eventually promoted to director. He moved to the animation division of Paramount Pictures in 1967 and started his own studio, Bakshi Productions, in 1968. Through producer Steve Krantz, Bakshi made his debut feature film, Fritz the Cat, released in 1972. It was the first animated film to receive an X rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, and the most successful independent animated feature of all time. Over the next eleven years, Bakshi directed seven additional animated features. He is well known for such films as Wizards (1977), The Lord of the Rings (1978), American Pop (1981) and Fire and Ice (1983).
Seth Woodbury MacFarlane is an American actor, voice actor, animator, screenwriter, comedian, producer, director, and singer. He is the creator of the show Family Guy (1999–2002, 2005–present) and co-creator of American Dad! (2005–present) and The Cleveland Show (2009–2013), for which he also voices many of the shows’ various characters. A native of Kent, Connecticut, MacFarlane is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design where he studied animation, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Recruited to Hollywood during the senior film festival by development executive Ellen Cockrill and President Fred Seibert, he was an animator and writer for Hanna-Barbera for several television shows, including Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, Dexter’s Laboratory and I Am Weasel and his own Family Guy sort-of ‘prequel’, Larry and Steve. MacFarlane created his own series for 20th Century Fox called Family Guy in 1999. MacFarlane went on to co-create American Dad! in 2005 along with Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman for the “Animation Domination” lineup on Fox. Also for the same network lineup, he co-created The Cleveland Show in 2009. He later served as executive producer on the Fox sitcom The Winner.
Fred Marcellino was an American illustrator and later an author of children’s books who was very influential in the book industry. Publisher Nan Talese said that Marcellino could “in one image, translate the whole feeling and style of a book.” Such was the case with his evocative painting for Judith Rossner’s August, published and edited by Talese. Among many other commissions, he was responsible for the covers of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities and the 1987 Dell Laurel Leaf edition of Allen Appel’s Time After Time. Born in Brooklyn, Marcellino began as an abstract expressionist painter and spent 1963 studying in Venice on a Fulbright Scholarship. Returning to the United States, he went in a new direction as a designer and illustrator with the main focus on LP cover art illustrating the albums of such singers and groups as Loretta Lynn, Manhattan Transfer and Fleetwood Mac. By 1969, he was creating record album covers for Capitol, Decca and PolyGram. He entered the book publishing field by 1974, producing 40 jackets a year for 15 years. He is sometimes credited with having revolutionized the style of book cover design in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s with notable work on such books as Anne Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and William Wharton’s Birdy.
Randall Patrick Munroe is an American webcomic author and former NASA roboticist as well as a programmer, best known as the creator of the webcomic xkcd. He and the webcomic have developed a cult following, and he is one of a small but growing group of professional webcomic artists. Munroe was a fan of the funny pages from an early age, starting off with Calvin and Hobbes. After graduating from the Chesterfield County Mathematics and Science High School at Clover Hill: A Renaissance Program, he graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2006 with a degree in physics. Munroe worked as an independent contractor for NASA at the Langley Research Center before and after his graduation. In October 2006 NASA did not renew his contract and he began to write xkcd full-time. He now supports himself by the sale of xkcd related merchandise. The webcomic quickly became very popular, garnering up to 70 million hits a month by October 2007.
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.