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Final Round Featured Guests


Jean-Marc Rochette is a French painter and illustrator. He is one half of the creative force behind the best-selling Snowpiercer, which was adapted into a film by Oscar-nominated director Boon Joon-ho (Parasite) starring Chris Evans, and a TNT/Netflix series starring Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs. His graphic autobiography Altitude was named as one of The Guardian's best graphic novels of 2020. 


Aidan Koch is an artist and graphic novelist based in the Mojave Desert on unceded Serrano land. Koch's work uses modes of ecological story-telling to explore loving and fraught relationships between humans, non-human animals, and landscapes. She is the author of several graphic novels including Xeric Award winning, The Blonde Woman (2012), After Nothing Comes (2016) and Spiral and Other Stories (2024); with short works featured in The Paris Review, The New York Times, Frieze Magazine, Best American Comics 2014, and MoMA PS1 GNY series. Her work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, South Bend Museum of Art, and Queens University Belfast, among others. Koch's ongoing projects, Institute for Interspecies Art and Relations and Environmental Comics, act as pedagogical and collaborative extensions of her ecological inquiries.


Johnnie Christmas is a # 1 New York Times Best Selling graphic novelist. His 2022 middle grade graphic novel debut SWIM TEAM earned a spot on the National Book Awards longlist, a Coretta Scott King Award Illustrator Honor and a Harvey Awards nomination. SWIM TEAM is currently a nominee for the Barnes & Noble Children's Book Award and for the Silver Birch Award. Johnnie is currently hard at work on two new middle-grade graphic novels for the HarperAlley imprint of HarperCollins. He was also the writer/co-creator of the Image Comics sci-fi series TARTARUS and CREMA, a haunted romance published by Comixology and his book FIREBUG earned a Joe Shuster Outstanding Cartoonist nomination. He also co-created the series ANGEL CATBIRD with celebrated writer Margaret Atwood and adapted William Gibson’s lost screenplay for ALIEN 3 into a critically acclaimed graphic novel of the same name. His credits also include co-creating the pre-apocalyptic thriller SHELTERED. A graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, earning a BFA in Communication Design/Illustration. Johnnie makes Vancouver, BC his home.


Nick Marinkovich is a Canadian illustrator, cartoonist and multimedia artist.


Graduating with a degree in Genetics, he shunned the world of academia and turned to the high-stakes game of illustration and comics. He broke into professional work with the 2004 adaptation of the Sony Pictures film, Underworld, and the accompanying mini-series released by IDW.


In 2010 he released the critically acclaimed graphic novel Kenk: A Graphic Portrait, a biography on Igor Kenk – dubbed the world’s most prolific bicycle thief. In 2014, he was a recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Works in Progress Grant for his series The Voyageur, a dramatic chronicle of Samuel De Champlain’s voyage to the New World.


In 2023 he co-created and released the historical fiction series Dead Romans through Image Comics Shadowline. The series was nominated for the TripWire award for Best New Series.


Outside of print, his artwork can be seen in Ubisoft’s Far Cry series and most recently in Molson’s History in the Making ad campaign.


Anna Humphrey has worked as a marketing person for a poetry organization, in communications for the Girl Guides of Canada, as an editor for a web-zine, an intern at a decorating magazine and for the government. None of those was quite right, so she started her own freelance writing and editing business on top of writing for kids and teens. She has been published by Disney Hyperion, Simon & Schuster, HarperTeen and Owlkids. She lives in a big, old brick house in Kitchener, Ontario.

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