Artist Guest of Honor: John Picacio
John Picacio is one of the most acclaimed American artists in science fiction and fantasy over the last decade, creating best-selling art for George R. R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series, as well as the STAR TREK and X-MEN franchises. Major clients include Penguin Random House, Tor Books, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Subterranean Press, Pyr, Baen Books, Dark Horse Comics, and many more. His body of work features major cover illustrations for authors such as Michael Moorcock, Harlan Ellison, Brenda Cooper, James Dashner, Frederik Pohl, Dan Simmons, Mark Chadbourn, Sheri S. Tepper, James Tiptree, Jr., Lauren Beukes, Jeffrey Ford, Joe R. Lansdale, and many, many more. Winner of the 2012 and 2013 Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist, his accolades include eight Chesley Awards, two Locus Awards, two International Horror Guild Awards, the World Fantasy Award, and the Inkpot Award.
In 2012, he founded his own creative imprint, Lone Boy, which became the launchpad for his Loteria Grande cards, a bold contemporary re-imagineering of the classic Mexican game of chance. He is currently writing and illustrating a Loteria book, and his literary works will be represented by Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary (NYC). In 2018, he will be the Artist Guest of Honor at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, CA.
Words that make him happy include comics, hardcover, Palomino Blackwing, Faber-Castell, Kenobi, Batman, Tarkovsky, habanero, Dia de los Muertos, Ginobili, and single malt scotch.
Media Guest of Honor: Christopher R. Mihm
Christopher R. Mihm is the writer, director, and producer of the films of the "Mihmiverse," a series of award-winning, loosely interlinked feature-length films which pay homage to 1950s-era "drive-in cinema."
Mr. Mihm's filmmaking career began in 2006 with the release of his first retro-styled film, "The Monster of Phantom Lake." Made on a nearly non-existent budget, the film went on to garner much critical acclaim, appear in numerous film festivals, win multiple awards and, to this day, continues to screen across the world.
Since his first film, Mr. Mihm has released one new as-authentic-as-possible 1950s-style feature a year, many of which have received numerous accolades, nominations, and awards. "Attack of the Moon Zombies" raked in the most 2011 Dead Letter Awards at mailorderzombie.com. "House of Ghosts" beat out several big budget films to win the coveted Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for Best Independent Feature in 2012. Mr. Mihm's ode to the "big bug" films of the 1950s, "The Giant Spider," won the Forrest J. Ackerman Film Award at the Famous Monsters of Filmland Film Festival and the Best Action/Horror Feature award at the Highway 61 Film Festival.
Christopher R. Mihm has been featured in many publications, both online and off, including SCI-FI Magazine, Screem, Famous Monsters of Filmland and Scary Monsters Magazine. Mr. Mihm was the recipient of the first-ever Roger & Julie Corman Intrepid Filmmaker award at the ninth annual Fargo Fantastic Film Festival, won the Best Director award from mailorderzombie.com and received the key to the city of Forest Lake, MN, where July 30th was officially declared "Christopher R. Mihm Day."
Science Guest of Honor: Barbara Hayford
Barbara Hayford is a scientist, a science nerd, and above all a science fiction fanatic. She has over 20 years of experience in aquatic ecology and has had the good fortune of traveling the world in search of her wee beasties, otherwise known as midges. Most notable, she has participated in midge expeditions in Mongolia, Tasmania, and Panama. Science fiction attracted her to the field of scientific research and she has been an active presenter at WillyCon, known for linking science fiction to science fact in her panel discussions. Her topics have covered the future faces of man, focusing on how evolutions is used or misused in science fiction; climate catastrophe scenarios, because someone has to talk about this; robotic insects, yes, robotic insects; and bioluminescence, focusing on the beauty and wonder of this natural phenomenon in science fiction. She has taught Biology for 16 years including a class called the Biology of Science Fiction.
Dr. Hayford has published over 40 research articles and presented over 50 papers at conferences and symposia. She has also published scientific illustrations, published poetry, and has shown her art in regional art shows. Despite her busy schedule, she finds time to read and watch science fiction. Her current favorite sci fi topic is environmental science fiction and space operas.
Toastmaster Guest of Honor: Richard Graham
Richard Graham is an associate professor at UN-L's libraries and the managing editor for the peer-reviewed journal, SANE (Sequential Art Narratives in Education). In 2012, his book Government Issue: Comics for the People (Abrams) was nominated for both Eisner and Harvey awards for best collection. In 2014 he served as a judge for the Eisner awards. In 2017, he co-authored A Brief History of Comic Book Movies (Palgrave/Pivot).