AnimeIowa’s Longest running Guest of Honor – Greg Ayres
Greg has spent the last 14 years working in an industry he had first admired as a fan. With over 200 credits to his name, this fan-boy has managed to get to play a variety of characters that are almost as colorful as Greg’s ever changing locks. He was thrilled to be a part of the Toonami re-launch, in the roles of Ganta Igarashi in Deadman Wonderland, and Heihachi Hayashida in Samurai 7, and even more thrilled to follow that up in the thriller Another as Kouichi Sakakibara. His most recent roles include Satoru Asahina in From the New World, Kenji Nakanishi in Say I Love You, Sion in No. 6, Heisuke Toudou in Hakuoki, Tommyrod in Toriko, Arikawa in This Boy Can Fight Aliens, Tomoki Sakurai, in Heaven’s Lost Property, and Volken, in the Book of Bantorra.
Some of his all-time favorite roles include Son Goku in Saiyuki, Chrono in Chrono Crusade, Kaoru Hitachiin in Ouran High School Host Club, Youhei Sunohara in Clannad, Yuki in The Wallflower, Leo in Ghost Stories, Satoshi Hiwatari in DNAngel, Kaworu Nagisa in the Director’s Cut of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Negi Springfield in Negima. He can also be heard as Uesugi Kenshin in Sengoku Basara, Seikechi Tayama in Oh Edo Rocket, Hiro Hirono in ef: A Tale of Memories, Abe in Big Windup, Jr. in Xenosaga: The Animation, Tsujido in Speed Grapher, Roan in Ragnorok The Animation, Yamazaki in Welcome to the NHK, Gau Ban in Shadow Skill, Pope Alessandro XVIII in Trinity Blood, and many other titles he’ll probably forget to mention.
When he’s not in a booth with headphones on, you can usually find him sporting headphones of another variety behind “the decks”. A veteran nightclub DJ, he jumped at the opportunity to play music and organize late night dances at many of the conventions he attends. From packed rooms at anime conventions, to the legendary stage of The Knitting Factory (NYC), he never misses an opportunity to share his love of music with anyone who will listen.
Lisle Wilkerson grew up in Tokyo, Japan. She speaks fluent Japanese, and does voice work in both English & Japanese.
She is the powerhouse behind some of the gaming industry’s most popular female fighting characters, such as Nina Williams and Christie Monteiro, Sarah Bryant from Virtual Fighter, as well as Joy and Xiuying in Shenmue II.
She not only does video game voices, she has also done the voice of Badtz Maru (from Hello Kitty) and commercials for many internationally renown companies as Nissan, Panasonic, Sony, United etc
Lisle did dubbing for two live action ULTRAMAN films, which were just recently in theaters here in the US. And she will be doing more work this year with the Ultraman franchise.
Lisle acted alongside Bill Murray in the Academy Award winning Sofia Coppola film “Lost In Translation”, and had a lead role in the award winning indie film “Kamataki”.
She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she continues to do voice work, and also works as an interpreter. Lisle has interpreted for everyone from Keanu Reeves to best-selling author Marie Kondo to anime director Makoto Shinkai and Love Live Sunshine. She is also a local media correspondent for Japan, covering high-profile events like The Grammys, Academy Awards, Emmys and Golden Globes. And she does a monthly entertainment news show for Japanese television Lisle is also the assistant producer of the upcoming film, “Black Hat”.
Most of Lisle’s panels are focused on Japanese culture, as well as about the VA world and working in Japan. (and yes, OF COURSE that includes many Engrish stories!!) Lisle is also excited about the 2020 Olympics being hosted in her home city, Tokyo, and has recently started doing quite a bit of work related to that. And when Lisle isn’t busy working or running around the country doing cons, you might find her in her pink boxing gloves trying to save the world Nina Williams-style.
One of Animeiowa’s First Guest of Honor Steve Bennett
Steve has been prowling around conventions since 1994, but he started in the industry long before that. When he was just a kid living in Japan, he landed a part time job working with Noburu Furusei (New Dominion Tank Police, Lupin III, etc.) at Studio Aoehyma in Tokyo. He worked on series like Urusei Yatsura and Yamamoto, before moving back to the States.
As an adult, Steve worked with Studio Ironcat, a manga-publication company, from 1997 to 2004. He has also worked on several web comics, including The Angel of St. Thomas and Life with Steve. One of his passions at the many, many conventions he has attended is teaching animation cel painting classes. Steve has also spoken at institutions such as the Iowa Museum of Art, the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and Loyola University.
In 2008, Steve moved back to Japan with his wife Nikki and did a stint as a Production Artist for the Marine Corps Air Station at Iwakuni. After seven awesome years exploring Japan and Asia, Steve and Nikki moved back to the States to the Seattle area where they are now busy exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Besides returning to the convention circuit, Steve has illustrated covers for Nikki’s books, as well as other covers for her publication company, Firedrake Books, and is working on other commissioned projects. He is looking forward to seeing everyone at Katsucon this year!
Chris “Kilika” Malone is a surf bum from the East Coast with a love for guinea pigs, comics, and animations. He started his art career in 2005 with his first webcomic, Blue and Blond. He’s now working on two new comics, Legend of Stache and the Steele Society.
Not only does he draw rad comics, he does animatics/storyboards for the hilarious, yet inappropriate Cyanide and Happiness animated shorts. He’s also currently drawing animatics and character design for Lowbrow Studios on some of their awesome shows being released later in 2017. He’s contributed to other cool animations, such as Archer (on which he won an Emmy for his work in season 7), as well as Army of Frogs, Battleborn, the Get Down, and more.
He and his fiancé recently opened a small cartooning studio in Atlanta, named Studio Space Shark. They currently live in the city along with their dogs and two extremely-needy guinea pigs. When Kilika’s not drawing in his studio, you can find him at the beach, probably still drawing.
He’s also the dude responsible for illustrating the entire guest list for Anime Iowa this year!
You can check out his work at www.surfdogart.com
For over 25 years, Fredd Gorham has worked as a freelance illustrator for many comic book and game companies. As a part of Shocktrauma Studios, he has worked on such titles as SwampThing, X-Men, Superman, The Crow, and many others. In the game industry, he’s worked on modules for Steve Jackson Games, GURPS, Palladium, Fantasy Flight Games and more. Recently, Fredd started Steel Angel Studios with his wife Linda to promote and sell his artwork in prints, books and other items of interest.
In the past 10 years, Fredd has hosted The Artist Jam at Krypton Comics in order to gather artists and like-minded individuals together into a creative community. The Artist Jam has been featured in the Omaha World-Herald, The Comics Journal and The Comics Beat, and it continues to grow. The Artist Jam occurs every third Saturday of the month from 12noon till 8pm. It is free to all ages.
Fredd also teaches workshops on creating comics at the Joslyn Art Museum (https://www.joslyn.org/). Go to the website to find what workshops are available.
In his spare time, he enjoys mentoring young artists in hopes of directing their talent towards the future.
You can contact Fredd via these links:
Fredd Gorham’s Sketchbook – https://www.facebook.com/freddgorhamstudio
Steel Angel Studios – https://www.facebook.com/steelangelstudios
Twitter: @freddgorham @steelangelstudi
By day, RUSSELL LISSAU is a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in suburban Chicago.
By night he battles evil writing comic books including THE BATMAN STRIKES and the critically acclaimed OLD WOUNDS. His newest projects include his first manga-style story, STRANGER, and the devil-comes-to-dine drama DINNER AT DANTE’S.
For more: www.facebook.com/russell.lissau
Briana Lawrence and Jessica Walsh
15 years ago Briana Lawrence (Brichibi Cosplays) and Jessica Walsh (SnowCosplays) were two fanfiction writing ladies who geeked out over Gundam Wing boys and Resident Evil. Now? They’re still geeks and still have their fandoms, but they’re also a cosplaying couple who write books, make crafts, and are generally nerdy women. Snow is the seamstress of the couple, meanwhile, Brichibi talks about issues in the cosplay community and how the most important thing about cosplay is to love yourself and have fun. The two ladies also speak on the importance of diversity when it comes to writing and pop culture, and they’ve both written about it via personal blogs and various websites. Speaking of writing, the ladies have work published through Dreamspinner Press, both write freelance for WatchMojo.com, and they also self-publish their own series of books. Brichibi is currently working on a black, queer, magical girl series called “magnifiqueNOIR,” and the two will soon be working on the third book in their “Hunters” series.
When going to conventions they always bring their best so that they can promote their work. You can enjoy their crafts, get lost in their book series, or heck, you can come by for a hug and fun conversations about cosplay, anime, or video games. Always promoting positivity and always supporting one another, Brichibi and Snow are smiling their way through the geek scene.
Samurai Dan and Jillian
Dan Coglan, a.k.a. “Samurai Dan” and his wife, Jillian are the acknowledged masters of marital… er, MARTIAL mayhem. This dynamic duo travels the civilized portions of the U.S., bringing their unique show to curious and horrified audiences alike.
In addition to their high-energy, mostly safe stage shows (where razor sharp blades and barbs fly) the couple teaches historical and hysterical panels on the way of the warrior. Offering a wide range of lectures and interactive workshops, Dan and his lethal love Jillian are guaranteed to provide con attendees fun and fulfillment.
Due to a supreme lack of filter, Dan also performs standup comedy, and lives to embarrass his wife onstage, in censored and uncensored settings.
A storyteller at heart, Dan is finishing his third horror novel, and offers insights into the creative process with panels for the aspiring writer as well.
Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/SamuraiDanandJillian/
Show Us Your Pokeballs Troupe
Show Us Your Pokeballs (SUYP) is a traveling comedy troupe wishing to spread their love of joke-telling and geek-culture to the masses. Billing themselves as “Comedy FOR Nerds, BY Nerds”, SUYP offers a fan-favorite R-rated stand up show, as well as all-ages and R-rated improv shows and comedy workshops. SUYP hosts a variety show called “Cheat Code” at the Circa 21 Speakeasy in Rock Island, IL, which consists of sketch, improv, and standup comedy. The comedians also have written and produced an R-rated web series called “Above”, which tells the story of two demons who escape from Hell to play around on Earth without the Devil’s consent.
SUYP held its first show at Anime Milwaukee in February 2015 and returned for a second performance in 2016. Since its debut the performers have made convention attendees laugh at Anime Central, Cedar Rapids Comic Con, QC Planet Con, Gen Con, and Samuraicon.
Special Appearance by Psychostick!
What happens when two best friends who grew up listening to Weird Al and Pantera decide to start a band combining crunching riffs and laugh-out-loud lyrics? Psychostick happens, happened, and continues to happen. Vocalist Rob Kersey and guitarist Josh Key teamed up with drummer Alex Dontre and Matty J “Moose” to create some of the most off-the-wall records to ever reach store shelves. Backed up by a fleet of viral-sensation online videos and an insane live show that few can forget, Psychostick has proven year after year that they refuse to be ignored. And the fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now residing in Chicago, IL with four hard-hitting comedic albums behind them – “We Couldn’t Think of a Title” (2006), their holiday album “The Flesh Eating Rollerskate Holiday Joyride” (2007), “Sandwich” (2009), and “Space Vampires vs. Zombie Dinosaurs in 3D” (2011) – the nearly 100 percent do-it-yourself band Psychostick returns with their latest offering: The crowd-funded album “Revenge of The Vengeance” out on November 4, 2014. (fan thank you video – http://youtu.be/iSeQHqMCfJI)
Featuring an eye-brow raising track list that includes previously released singles such as the manly beard anthem ‘Obey The Beard’ (http://youtu.be/q0kSuZFOwFE?t=4s) and over-night internet hit ‘Dogs Like Socks’, (http://youtu.be/swmuqGWgZCc) plus new tracks ‘Quack Kills’, ‘So. Heavy.’, ‘Blue Screen’, and a tribute to the 21st century’s most beloved action super hero ‘Bruce Campbell,” Psychostick aims to please their cult-like following while maintaining steady growth as new fans discover this one-of-a-kind project.
More information for the Psychostick concert is available on our Mainstage Special Events page.