Pop Culture Guests
Bill Thompson is an award-winning storyboard artist, concept artist and illustrator living in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is co-owner of The Story Department with Aaron Sowd. They storyboard feature films and television shows. Their latest releases are Secret Invasion for Marvel, The Haunted Mansion for Disney, and the upcoming Blue Beetle for DC.
Since 1999, Cal and Kathy Pierce have been sharing their creations online as well as providing custom services to the practical effects industry. This has enabled them to make connections with many amazing artists and industry executives. Now with this growing array of available talents and contacts, Far Away Creations is becoming more and more available to the industry on a much larger scale.
We have the ability to design characters, props, or costumes based on your specifications or our artists can meticulously recreate your favorite iconic pieces too. Our galleries not only showcase pieces that we have scratch built for studios or licensed vendors but also for our artists’ private collections of screen accurate, full scale versions of the classics we have grown to love.
Jason Martin has been an illustrator all his life. His first professional job was with Dark Horse Comics in 1993. This led to more work in the Comic Book industry. Before long Jason was also contracted with Marvel, DC, Image, Wildstorm, IDW, Dreamwave, and many other publishers.
His work in comics quickly segued to contracts worldwide with a variety of companies: Topps Trading Cards, White Wolf, Xbox, Playstation, Disney, Hasbro, Ziff-Davis, IGN and various others. Jason’s artwork has even been featured in movies! Examples include Kevin Smith’s Mallrats and Universal Pictures Paul starring Simon Pegg.
By the early 2000s Jason was a highly sought after illustrator for many gaming magazines. His artwork has been featured in Official U.S. Playstation Magazine, PSM, Play Magazine, Polyhedron, Computer Gaming World, Undefeated, Super Street, Grassroots Motorsports, and Wizard. This caught the eye of an even broader audience, and Jason began designing toys, plushies, various merchandise, logos and character art for corporations around the globe.
Throughout his career Jason has been invited to speak to aspiring artists at prestigious events and colleges, including Savannah College of Art and Design.
Jason has been inducted into the Library of Congress for numerous publications. To this day Jason enjoys illustrating all aspects of our pop-culture world!
Jason can be reached at http://bio.site/MARTINART
He lives happily with his wife Heather (HeatherAfter Cosplay) and their son Jathen.
Jessica Khoury is the author of many books for teens and young readers. Her stories have been translated into over a dozen languages and have been finalists for awards like the South Carolina Junior Book Award, the Ignyte Award, the Maine Student Book Award, the Oklahoma Sequoyah Masterlist, the Amelia Bloomer Project, and many more. Her bestselling middle grade debut The Mystwick School of Musicraft was named one of the Best Audiobooks of 2019 by Audible and is one of the Top 20 Most Listened-To children’s books of all time.
In addition to writing, Jess is also a fantasy cartographer and illustrator. Her artwork has appeared in NYT Bestsellers, video and tabletop games, and of course her own books.
Jess currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and daughters. She spends free time hiking in the mountains, playing video games, and sketching new characters for new stories.
Rafael Maldonado Bad Hand is the artist, writer, and creator of the independent comic, “Pilla”, the story of a young girl searching for her father in a post-apocalyptic world where humans are at the bottom of the food chain. In 2021 he was the recipient of the Imagine 2020 arts award, presented at the proclamation reading of Indigenous Peoples Day for the city of Denver. Rafael has taken on a new independent endeavor with like-minded Indigenous comic creators under the name of Rezilient Press and Bad/Song Studios and will be releasing his new book with Richard Crowsong next year. He will not only have his books for sale but will also be accepting commissions and Sketch Cover requests. Rafael can be reached at:
R. Alan Brooks teaches graphic novel writing at Regis University, and is the writer/creator of “The Burning Metronome” graphic novel, a supernatural murder mystery with social commentary. He also hosts the popular “MotherF**ker In A Cape” comics podcast, which focuses on marginalized members of the geek world. He writes The Colorado Sun’s weekly comic, “What’d I Miss?”, as well as comic books for Pop Culture Classroom, Zenescope Entertainment, and more. In addition, Alan is a musician and noted stage host, regularly emceeing celebrated events, like the DINK Awards Show, Arise Music Festival and more.
Carolyn is a science writer and science documentary producer for Loch Ness Productions. She has written 7 books and is working on a new one about planets. She has traveled the world as a science lecturer for various cruise lines on behalf of Smithsonian Journeys. Pre-pandemic, she was involved in creating materials for exhibit projects in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and has worked on several other major astronomy exhibits in the United States, including the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Carolyn is a Colorado resident (a rare Boulder native), and studied at the University of Colorado for both her degrees, focusing on astronomy, astrophysics, and science communication. She’s been reading science fiction since she was old enough to pick up a book, and, of course, loves most of the movies! During the pandemic, Carolyn took a deep dive into learning about Disney approaches to entertainment and immersive experiences.
Journalist, lecturer and artist Michael Carroll has over thirty books in print. His forth science fiction novel, Plato’s Labyrinth: Dinosaurs, Ancient Greeks and Time Travelers, takes place partly in Fort Collins, and features ancient Minoan Priestesses, Iguanodons and buried dinosaur sculptures, and a Fort Collins Reptile rescue center. His most recent nonfiction book is Envisioning Exoplanets (Smithsonian). Carroll is a Fellow and founding member of the International Association for the Astronomical Arts. Among other adventures, Mike explored Antarctica’s active volcano, Mt Erebus, to study analogs of ice moons there. One of his original paintings is on the surface of Mars—in digital form—aboard the Phoenix spacecraft. He is the recipient of the Lucien Rudaux award for lifetime achievement in the astronomical arts, and he likes orange marshmallow circus peanuts (but not to excess).
Dr. Michael L. Wong is a Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Scienceʼs Earth & Planets Laboratory studying planetary atmospheres, habitability, biosignatures, and the emergence of life. In his spare time, he hosts a podcast called Strange New Worlds, which examines science, technology, and culture through the lens of Star Trek.
Shi En Kim, PhD – Ask A Scientist Booth – P7
Shi En Kim is an award-winning science journalist whose work has appeared in Scientific American, National Geographic, Slate, and more. She holds a PhD in molecular engineering from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Caltech.
STEMpunk is STEMpunkED’s focus on developing innovative and unusual Living-History STEM+Arts Programs that provide hands-on experiences using vintage technologies to engage STEM topics while also exploring History, Culture, Society, and the analog roots of our digital age. Put another way, we focus on learning adventures in STEM+Arts as they were for the 500 years that came before the last 50 years.
In addition to building STEM proficiency, our programming demonstrates how the past’s technological and social structures underpin our modern world. Our offerings are for audiences ages 9 to 109, have designs that map to State Common Core, and are delivered at local and distant schools, libraries, and other institutions. Our programming is inspired by the Steampunk literary genre.
You can find most of our Cosplay Guests in the CosPlayground upstairs – their panels are also marked with stars on the schedule.
Heather (aka. HeatherAfter Cosplay) is an artist, model, and longtime cosplayer. A part of the convention scene since 1996, her passion for cosplay and all things pop culture led Heather to quickly become a Master cosplayer. By 2000 she had achieved Professional status, and enjoyed working as a costume designer and spokesmodel. Sony Entertainment’s video game department, Marvel, Image Comics, Amazon, and Google are just a few of the companies Heather has worked with, and her cosplay and artwork have appeared in publications worldwide! She has been honored to be a cosplay judge and/or guest at conventions throughout the country and represent various businesses and charity organizations.
Having traveled the globe, Heather lives her ‘Happily Ever After’ in the Rocky Mountains with her husband Jason (MartinArt Studio) and their son Jathen.
Look for her daily updates online: https://heatheraftercosplay.carrd.co/
Simple, fun-loving, and smarter than the average bear (maybe), J’adore Cosplay/Notgrima (She/Her) is a Denver-based cosplayer and crafter of 11 years. She has attended several conventions throughout the United States, winning craftsmanship or Best in Show awards from their cosplay contests. She specializes in sewing, wig styling, and latex work. Her ultimate goal for cosplay is proudly to showcase her work, but also to make everyone feel accepted and safe in the cosplay community. Catch her panels and visit her table in the CosPlayground throughout the weekend!
Photo Credits: Monroe’s Art Studio
Nova Sparks Cosplay’s adventure kicked off in 2016 when they attended FC3. Amazed with the talent that other cosplayers brought to the contest, they were inspired to grow in the hobby and expand their skills. Since attending back in 2016, Nova has expanded their cosplay repertoire to include over 50 cosplays varying from different sources including Marvel, cartoons, anime, DC, and video games. Cosplaying for charity has become a big part of what they love cosplaying. They have won some awards for their cosplays including 2nd place intermediate in Colorado Anime Fest’s online contest in 2020. Their biggest cosplay accomplishment is getting their work displayed at Earth Illuminated. Nova is excited to attend their sixth FC3. Catch their panels and visit their table in the CosPlayground throughout the weekend!
Photo Credits: Lost Stars Imaging & Yuki Cat Captures
Personify Cosplay is an award-winning Colorado cosplayer who has been cosplaying since 2015. When they first began, the word “cosplay” had not come across their vocabulary but they knew that they loved this method of self-expression as soon as they donned their first costume. Once they started attending more conventions, they quickly developed a love and passion for the artform. They have done over 100 cosplays in their cosplay career and have shown no signs of stopping anytime soon. Their strengths include sewing and 3D printing but are a jack of many trades within cosplay creation. Catch their panels, visit their table in the CosPlayground throughout the weekend and see them emcee the Cosplay Catwalks!
Photo Credits: Capture Kitch & Lost Stars Imaging
Stitched in Starlight started cosplaying with her partner in 2015. She learned to crochet in 2016, and in 2017 she decided to meld the two passions together. Since then, crochet cosplay has become their signature, and every cosplay has at least one crocheted piece incorporated within it. They are now a Masters-level cosplayer and competes with yarn as a primary medium. Stitched in Starlight is a plus-size, neurodivergent, queer cosplayer who advocates strongly for cosplay as a form of self-expression. She treasures the friends she has made and the skills she has learned throughout her cosplay journey. Catch their panels and visit her table throughout the weekend!
Photo Credits: Cubster Cosplay Photography & Lost Stars Imaging