Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar who is the editor of James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy (2014) and the Bram Stoker-nominated Horror in Space: Critical Essays of a Film Subgenre (2017), both from McFarland & Company. Additionally, she serves as the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics.
She is also a freelance journalist/photographer, having worked with Bleeding Cool (online and print), The Beat, Heathen Harvest, Comics Forum, and TrueAchievements. She has presented at Southwest Popular Culture Association, WonderCon as part of the Comics Arts Conference series, and at the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference, which she also co-chairs. In addition, she has moderated panels at Long Beach Comic Expo, Long Beach Comic Con, WonderCon, as well as at San Diego Comic-Con International.
Finding free time between writing, editing, and working a full-time day job, you can find Michele writing her first book on mummies, reading, hanging with her kitty, watching Netflix, or playing video games. (Assassins Creed: Origins is her new favorite, along with Witcher III: Wolf Hunt!) She is sure that, in a former life, she was a medieval cat herder.
Michele is a Horror Writers Association academic member.
Claire Thorne (née Clarissa) is a small-town girl who transplanted to the big city with few regrets that aren’t completely made up for by having a Starbucks within constant spitting distance. Growing up in the lawless wilds of New Mexico and Arizona, she eventually landed at The Grand Canyon but completely took for granted the view from her own backyard.
Upon landing in Los Angeles, she collected a highly valuable liberal arts degree, found herself a husband, and settled down in a suburb voted “Easiest to Escape From in the Event the World Ends.” She encourages her artist husband to draw more zombies than is healthy and frequently fights with her teen-aged son over who gets to spend the most time on their Nintendo Switch.
Claire takes an “all-inclusive” approach to her geeky fandoms. From utopia to dystopia, hard sci-fi to space opera, history to fantasy, normal to paranormal, magical to muggle, superhero to villain, pre-apocalyptic to post-apocalyptic … all are welcome. Unless there are spiders, then she’s out.
She would very much like to see Tom Waits perform live preferably on the International Space Station. At this very moment, she is reading about the end of the world and wondering what her next tattoo will be.
Claire is the proprietor of Unexpected Hobby on Etsy, where you can find a fine selection of geeky cross-stitch patterns. She is the author of A Geek’s Guide to Cross-Stitch: Journeys in Space, currently available from Fanbase Press.
Desmond Walsh is the only Director of Concept Development for the Aero Space Defense Industry with Secret Level Clearance who also writes and illustrates comic books. Although this has not been measurably proven, it is very likely a fact based on many awkward and short-lived conversations started by Des about comic books with high-ranking members of the Department of Defense.
Des attended Massasoit Community College, Syracuse University, and the Stern School of Business at New York University while achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a focus on finance. This lengthy and very expensive educational background was clearly the ideal choice for anyone wanting to work in comics.
Des is thrilled for the opportunity to provide content to Fanbase Press and is looking forward to many long conversations about comic books…. or ballistic helmets or body armor or air crew helmets or digital night vision or impact protection. He is well versed in all of these areas and can be reached at DesmondMWalsh (at) gmail (dot) com.
Erica McCrystal lives in New Jersey, where she dabbles in various activities from triathlons to collecting penguins. She earned her Ph.D. in English from St. John’s University, writing her dissertation on urban Gothic supervillains. She currently does a little teaching, a little writing, a little coaching, a little editing, and a lotta momma-ing.
If Erica were stranded in a deserted Gotham City, she would want the complete works of Charles Dickens, running shoes, and a flashlight.
Erik Cheski is an actor who works in a Diamond Certification Lab, where he comes into contact with chemicals and equipment that would make for a great origin story. Having lived in the fantasy worlds of books, video games, tabletop games, and the absurd realm of theatre for longer stretches than the normal one, it’s somewhat a surprise that only in recent years he’s begun picking up these picture books and diving into their world, too. He’s always looking for stories that resonate, and he loves finding them in the oddest of places. He mourns the passing of the Star Wars EU and is hoping to watch, play, read, and know everything ever, a work perpetually in progress.
Gabe left a successful career as a high school teacher and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his passion for writing and entertainment. He’s an avid pizza enthusiast, he’s surprisingly good at pub trivia, and he finds inspiration from the films of Kevin Smith and the novels of Neil Gaiman. He co-hosts a weekly Futurama fan podcast called Another Lousy Millennium, and part one of his first comic, For Molly, is available for free on his website. He’s originally from New Jersey.
J.C. Ciesielski is a writer/actor/snark junkie living in Pittsburgh, PA. He enjoys anime, movies, manga, video games, and the like. You can usually find him doing one of those things, probably while enjoying a frosty beverage. He really enjoys making fun of stuff, but it doesn’t come from a mean place, just finding the humor in everything. For example, that shirt you’re wearing. Be sure to add him on Twitter and say, “Yo!”
The die was cast at around age 7. I had seen Star Wars, too many times to count at that point, and my parents bought me a copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars despite the somewhat risqué cover by Michael Whelan. They changed everything. I decided that I was going to write a book: Murder in Manhattan by Justin Peniston. Note that I didn’t think I was going to be a writer when I grew up. I was still circling around astro-physicist, marine biologist, or Captain America. (Seriously.) I couldn’t conceive of being a writer as a job, because it was clearly something that people did for fun.
It wasn’t until college, shortly after finishing my first real short story, that it occurred to me that I was on my actual career path. Even then, when my buddies asked me if I wanted to move to LA with them, I was tempted to say no. I was going to write prose. I was going to write comics. Who needed LA? But DC had grown… dull. I knew that I needed longer paths, farther away from the convenience of my parents and my oldest friends.
Since then, it’s been Blue Beetle and JSA and Eternal Descent and Avengers Assemble! and Ben 10 and Mega Man: Fully Charged! and Hunter Black and Fanbase Press… and my beloved Squirrel. (And as for Murder in Manhattan? The main character was named Jim White, which was a name used by an amnesiac Superman in an old comic, after Jimmy Olsen and Perry White. It never got much farther than that.)
From alternating Batman and Green Lantern as childhood Halloween costumes, to getting punched in his adolescent heart by Love & Rockets, to playing convention sidekick to the legendary Len Wein, comics have been a part of Kevin’s entire life and are his favorite artform.
A TV, feature film, and comic book writer, Madeleine is the winner of the Sloan Fellowship for screenwriting and the Gold Aurora and Bronze Telly for a PSA she wrote and co-produced with Women In Film. She also won numerous awards while completing the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting.
BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY webcomic is the recipient of an Honorable Mention at the 2013 Geekie Awards and was nominated for Best Comic/Graphic Novel for the 2014 Geekie Awards. The comic has also been nominated for a 2012 Airship Award, as well as a 2013 and a 2014 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award. Her novella, Steampunk Rat, was also nominated for a 2013 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award.
She currently has novelettes and novellas available in all eBook formats based on the BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY universe. Her goal is to eventually develop a series of novels based in this world.
Formerly a nationally ranked epee fencer, she has competed nationally and internationally. She is an avid reader of Steampunk, science fiction, fantasy, and historical military fiction. In addition to her M.F.A. from UCLA, Madeleine also holds a B.A. in Politics from U.C. Santa Cruz and an M.A. in Arabic and the Cultural History of the Arabs from Columbia University in New York.
Madeleine lives with her rocket scientist husband David and two rescue dogs, Ripley and Bishop.
She is represented by Melissa Rogal at Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, and Adler.
Paul’s Website: www.paulpakler.com
Paul Pakler was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he first started acting professionally at the age of ten. He graduated from Point Park University, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Acting. Paul was also presented with the Raymond Laine Outstanding Senior Award by Point Park’s Theatre Department.
Paul currently lives in New York City, but he has acted all over the country (and once in The Bahamas). His skills as a character actor have led him to portray an array of roles and genres from broad physical comedy to intense drama. For his performance as Ray in Joe Penhall’s Some Voices, Paul was awarded the OC Weekly Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, 2005.
In college Paul was a founding member of the sketch comedy group The Animal Club where he functioned as a writer as well as an actor. Since that time Paul has written spec scripts, one-act plays, sketches and songs. Last year he produced a workshop of A Night at the Agora, a comedic one-act that he co-wrote with Christopher Warren Gilbert. Paul is currently developing a pilot script for a sitcom about homeless people in New York City titled Welcome to Paradise.
Recently, Paul has begun performing as a guitar comic around New York City. He has performed at The Gotham Comedy Club and The Underground Lounge.
He imagines them waiting in anticipation for an answer, wondering: Who is Phillip Kelly? I was once told by a friend that what we do defines who we are. I like to tell stories. A lot. I’ve been accused of this, as if it was something to be held against me. Especially by my mother who always “caught” me in what she would call a “lie” . . . to each their own. Today, other than a few people, the entirety of nature and the pizza place just down the street, without hesitation, I can safely say – yes, I love stories more than anything else. Here are the ways in which I tell stories: acting; standup comedy; the silent half of the vaudeville duo, Mr. Snapper and Mr. Buddy (www.snapperbuddy.com); the very vocal Jeremy Gayhorse and other comedy characters; filmmaking as a screenwriter, director, editor, producer; I have dipped my toes into the world of writing indie, self-published comics (which I will return to soon); writing/directing for live theatre/sketch comedy, which I have produced more than my fair share of; and tap dancing. I love movies of all kinds, classic lit, video games, opera, jazz, music, etc., and I spend way too much money on comic books every week. Oh, and peanut butter. I love peanut butter. So, to answer the question fairly and without bias: Who is Phillip Kelly? I like to think of myself as peanut butter.
Russ Pirozek is a Michigan transplant now living in Southern California. From an early age, he embraced being a nerd and intended to work in video games as a concept artist. It was while in art school that he discovered that art is super hard, and he wanted to be a writer anyways.
Now, a few years into that dream, Russ is a published freelance comic book writer and avid loud-talker about television, movies, gaming, and comics.
His Twitter is @RSPirozek, just in case you wanted to see him not tweet.
Scott Larson has worked in the comic book industry for over a decade. In addition to drawing comics for Capstone Press (Marie Curie and Radioactivity), Markosia (Kong: King of Skull Island, Heretic), AC Comics (Femforce), Moonstone Books (The Saint), Zenescope Entertainment (1000 Ways to Die, Hook), and Bluewater Productions (Victoria’s Secret Service), Scott is the creator of the independent comic book series, Visitations, which depicts the history of Chicago as seen through the eyes of the residents of the city’s oldest cemetery. He also interviews cosplayers and comic and entertainment professionals on his YouTube channel.
Steven W. Alloway
Steven W. Alloway is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Professionally, he writes articles about Internet Marketing and occasional blog posts about air conditioning, as well as a variety of other topics that are not as boring as they sound. In his spare time, he writes sci-fi and fantasy stories, which are also sometimes about air conditioning. He’s the author of the short story “The Man in the Mirror,” which was recently published in the fantasy/crime anthology “Mortis Operandi,” as well as the children’s sci-fi story “Riley and the Paranormal Phenomenon.” Both are available on Amazon, if you care to look.
A lifelong theater geek, Steven also runs the community theater troupe Spirit OnStage, as well as its film offshoot, Spirit OnScreen, which between them produce plays, short videos, webseries, and other forms of entertainment, on a virtually nonexistent budget. Having grown up with Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who, his dream is one day to create something that inspires a fandom.
In his spare time, Steven enjoys reading, baking, and watching movies. If this writing thing doesn’t work out, he hopes to pursue a second career as a time traveling secret agent.
Tony Caballero discovered comic books after his father left a box of them behind in the divorce. He got the better end of the deal, and a lifelong love of storytelling was born. Condemned by prophecy (and teachers and his own wicked soul) to be a writer, he received his B.A. in Film/TV from Chapman University and his M.F.A. in screenwriting from UCLA. In addition to his day job, Tony was the Literary Director at the Attic Theatre in Los Angeles, directing the Southern California premiere of Starcrossed (www.starcrossed.biz) and is currently the Director of Publicity for Whedonopolis.com and a writer/executive producer on The Katniss Chronicles. His most recent movie, Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story, was produced by Lifetime.
Likes: Springsteen, good books, intelligent movies, clean modern architecture, smart, cute girls with glasses, and rain.
Dislikes: Bad drivers, trendy food, heat waves, and writer’s block.
Tony is haunted by the ocean, the smell of old books, and the sound of train whistles, all of which appear in his best writing.
Xian Tan is an esoteric mess. He’s wanted to be an elephant conservationist, a paleontologist, a marine biologist, a writer, and a goatherd. He earned a B.S. in Molecular Biology (with minors in English Lit and Math) and a Ph.D. in Marine Biology. (Well, that’s a life goal accomplished.) Naturally, he’s an Assistant Professor of Biology at a Historically Black College/University where he frequently references Disney and pop-culture in class. Other than his contributions on Fanbase Press, his assorted musings can often be found on SlayAlive, a Joss Whedon-centric fan forum.
His interests – in no particular order – are Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, dinosaurs, Firefly/Serenity, cetaceans, Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, post-colonial Asian literature, queer-centric literature, female-centric sci-fi, ’90s teen comedies (so much fodder for dissection), cooking opulent meals with his husband, puppies, and dad jokes.
He has an intense phobia of snakes.