Guest List

Keynote Speakers

Jessica Abel

Jessica Abel

Cartoonist and writer Jessica Abel is the author of Growing Gills, Out on the Wire, La Perdida, Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars, and two textbooks about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics. She is Chair of the Illustration Program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and lives with her family in Philadelphia.

Matt Madden

Matt Madden

Matt Madden (NYC 1968) is a cartoonist, teacher, and translator. His work includes 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style, his comics adaptation of Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style, as well as two comics textbooks written in collaboration with his wife, Jessica Abel. His recent work includes Drawn Onward (Retrofit) and the drawing series "20 Lines."

Ariell R. Johnson

Ariell R. Johnson - Panelist

A true child of the 80's, Ariell R. Johnson grew up on a diet of He-Man, She-Ra, Thundercats, & Transformers. This would be the gateway to a lifelong love of super-powers, super-heroes, and comics. With the love and support of her family and friends, she turned this passion into a career at the age of 32 when she opened Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse in Philadelphia, a comic book store and coffee shop hybrid. Amalgam is the only black-woman owned shop of its kind, and the only black-woman owned comic book store on the East Coast. Ariell has a strong passion and commitment to diversity, representation, and inclusivity. She uses her shop to showcase and promote works that are created by and feature people of color, different faiths, women, and the LGBTQ community. Amalgam has garnered national media attention, leading to Ariell's 2016 "Geek of the Year" nomination. Amalgam, which opened on December 14, 2015, just celebrated its 2 year anniversary!

Alex Smith

Alex Smith - Workshop and Panelist

Alex Smith is a writer, artist, activist, DJ, musician, designer and curator creating insurrectionist sci-fi for the marginalized and cyberpunk screeds in non-binary for real life replicants. After wallowing in stagnant "scenes" (punk, hip hop/dj culture, spoken word poetry) for two decades, Smith founded the Laser Life queer sci-fi reading, a gathering of new sentients that birthed Philadelphia's revolutionary speculative arts collective Metropolarity, of which he's a founding member. His work (BELIEVERS queer/POC empowering super-hero comic; script writing for the dystopian webseries RESISTANCE; ARKDUST sci-fi fanzine; his collaborations with Rosarium Publishing, Afrofuturist Affair, and the New Museum) extends the boundaries of what is possible for people who, like him (queer, black, and creating in a tightly gate-kept genre), should not even exist at all.

Pat Aulisio

Pat Aulisio - Workshop

Improvised and Sampled Comic Making

Students will learn to make quick comics using pre-drawn panels and prompts to create their own original work. Students will learn to stop worrying about the story and to create fun in comics!


Pat Aulisio is an artist and educator based out of Philadelphia. His comics work has been featured in numerous publications including Retrofit Comics, Hic and Hoc Publications, Hidden Fortress Press, and Le Dernier Cri. He has been teaching comics and art in the Philadelphia area for 7+ years at nonprofits and schools including Fleisher Art Memorial, NLArts, University City Arts League, and Lume Creative Studios.

Claire Folkman

Claire Folkman - Panelist

Claire Folkman is Co-Editor of Dirty Diamonds, an award-winning, all-girl comic anthology. She maintains her studio at Mercer St. Studios in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, where she works on her nationally-exhibited mail art, video performance, auto-bio comics, and romance collage projects. You can check her out online at or on twitter at @clairefolkman

Dre Grigoropol

Dre Grigoropol - Workshop

Children's Face Painting

Dre Grigoropol is a cartoonist, painter, writer, blogger, and teacher. Dre has studied at Moore College of Art and Design, the University of the Arts, and is currently a freelance and teaching artist. She also has a passion for attending and hosting community art events. Find out more about her work at and on

Jaz Malone

Jaz Malone - Panelist

After being attacked by a billy goat at a young age, Jaz decided that leaving her Detroit, MI home was for the best. She moved to Philadelphia, where she received her BFA in Animation from the University of the Arts. She currently works as a sequential artist and arts instructor, whose inspiration falls between "what happened" and "what could have happened." She has yet to be attacked by another goat.

Anna McGlynn

Anna McGlynn - Panelist

Anna McGlynn is a comics artist and CNA living in Philadelphia. Her work has been featured in Gigantic Sequins, Seven Days, and The Rumpus, among other publications.

Alexander Rothman

Alexander Rothman - Panelist

Alexander Rothman is a cartoonist and poet based in Philadelphia. He's the publisher and editor-in-chief of INK BRICK, a small press dedicated to comics poetry, and he spreads knowledge of the form through presentations, workshops, and critical writing. You can learn more about the press at, and see some of his work at

Meghan Turbitt

Meghan Turbitt - Workshop

Children's Cartooning Workshop

Join Teaching Artist and Cartoonist Meghan Turbitt for a one-hour cartooning workshop. Learn how to create a character mixing emotion, humor, exaggeration, and the grotesque. Utilize line and color to create a "flip the face" book with endless combinations of one of a kind characters.


Meghan Turbitt has been creating comics and teaching art to children in New York and Philadelphia for over 10 years. This experience includes her work with the Joan Mitchell Foundation, The Boys Club of New York, Birdcage Bottom Books, Small Press Expo, and more. She is currently the Assistant Director at Project P.L.A.Y. in South Philadelphia.

Bryan Way

Bryan Way - Panelist

Though Bryan grew up near Philadelphia, he never intended to grow up at all. He took up writing to stave off adulthood as long as possible, and after too much sci-fi/horror daydreaming, ended up with Life After: The Arising, where teens face a zombie apocalypse in the Delaware Valley. He swears it's not a memoir.


Wookiedelphia - Performer

Philadelphia's premiere Star Wars-inspired brass band playing the John Williams jams in ways you never heard before. Luke here, with Solos out of this world, they Leia down such a funky BB8eat that some say they R2 good. Sorry, that last one was forced.

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