New York Comic Con is one of the biggest comic conventions in the world, with fans, creators, stars, artists, writers, and cosplayers converging on the Javits Center every October. With all the announcements and incredible reveals at the show, it can be easy to get swept up and forget what that first C in NYCC stands for: Comics. To make sure you make the most of the con floor this year, we’ve selected 10 artists who will make venturing into the impressive (and sometimes intimidating) Artist Alley a highlight of your 2019 convention schedule!
Dave Baker and Nicole Goux
This powerhouse pair of cartoonists have been making brilliant comics together for a few years and are probably best known for their teen coming-of-age comic F*ck Off Squad. Dynamic, stylish illustrations from Goux and razor-sharp writing from Baker make their books some of the best of the last few years. Baker is also a talented artist whose surreal sci-fi series Action Hospital is one of the most unique books on shelves, and Goux was recently announced as the artist on DC’s new Cass Cain Batgirl Original Graphic Novel, Shadow of the Batgirl.
Check, Please! is nothing less than a cultural phenomenon and the Ignatz-nominated cartoonist behind it will be at NYCC again this year. Ukazu’s gorgeous webcomic about hockey, baking, and falling in love took the internet by storm, becoming “the most funded webcomics Kickstarter ever” before it was picked up by rad comics publisher First Second. Ukazu is a unique talent in the industry who tells heartfelt, gorgeous stories that offer a respite from the horrors of everyday life alongside vital lessons about growing up.
Looking for a bit of magic in your life? Then make sure you head to Rian Gonzalez’s table. Her technicolor visions of your favorite heroes have made her one of the internet’s favorite artists. Rian’s lovely and utterly singular art has been featured on the covers of comics from massive publishers like Marvel, Archie, and IDW. If you want art that will make you happy every single time you look at it, then put visiting Rian at the top of your NYCC to-do list.
Ashley A. Woods
Breaking into comics via self-publishing can be tough, but that’s exactly what Ashley A. Woods did with her series Millennia War. Since then, her art has been making waves as she showcased her talents in the acclaimed Black Comix: African American Independent Comics, Art and Culture, covers for Black Mask’s acclaimed Black series, and on titles like Tomb Raider, Lady Castle, and Niobe, the last of which was recently picked up by HBO. That’s not Woods’ only TV claim to fame, though, as her art will soon be seen in J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele’s upcoming chiller, Lovecraft Country.
Royal A. Dunlap
With his newly announced queer climate change comic, b.b. free, coming from Boom! Studios (alongside America‘s Gabby Rivera), Royal Dunlap is one of comics’ most exciting new prospects. But if you’ve been keeping an eye on the industry, then you’ll already recognize his distinctive style; his art has graced the covers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and will feature in the upcoming Elements: Earth anthology in a story written by James F. Wright.
Daniel Warren Johnson
You’ve probably seen Daniel Warren Johnson’s extremely intricate and impressive commissions pop up on your Twitter timeline. The comics creator’s favorite comics creator is also the mind behind Image Comics’ radical Extremity (alongside colorist Mike Spicer). Dense illustration, surprising layouts, and explosive action define much of Johnson’s work, but he’s also funny (check out the searingly silly Murder Falcon)and heartfelt (his self-published Star Wars comics are heartbreakingly great). Basically, he’s got something for everyone!
Good horror comics are hard to find, but Tess Stone’s Not Drunk Enough has been entertaining genre fans since it began in 2015. The monster melee ensues after a lab accident and, four years later, is still going strong. A talented cartoonist, Stone is known for his stylized illustrations, spot colors, and love of the weird and strange. If you want to pick up something creepy-cute at NYCC this year, then make sure you visit Tess when you venture into the Javits.
If you read Marvel’s Eisner-winning Black Panther: World of Wakanda series, then you’ll already be familiar with the wonderful art of Afua Richardson. Her vibrant artwork has been seen on the covers of comics, including All-Star Batman, X-Men ’92, and Captain Marvel. Not only is she a massive comics art talent, her illustrations influenced the team who worked on the Black Panther movie. She also drew the critically-acclaimed Genius, co-creating a brilliant and unexpected heroine in Destiny (alongside writers Marc Bernadin and Adam Freeman).
You might recognize Zu Orzu’s stunning work from the covers of comics like Valiant’s XO Manowar and Punk Mambo, or you might recognize her digital colors from Jinxworld’s Cover. If you’ve yet to discover Zu’s work, then NYCC is the perfect time. And if you already like her instantly-recognizable mixed media, then make sure you visit Zu this year before she becomes a household name!