Mark DavisMark Davis studied at Morehead State University, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and the Memphis College of Art. He has lectured at Bluefield Sate College, co-founded the Fair Theater Company, and was Executive Director of the Bluefield Area Arts Center. Mr. Davis has operated three art galleries, and his work has sold around the world. It can be seen on the 30th anniversary cover of The Mid-American Review, in the Knesset, and in the White House as well as in the design of the Mysticon mascot. He was a recurring Guest Artist at Rising Star Science Fiction Convention and Mysticon and was a judge for the 2005 Ennies presented at GenCon as well as the 2017 Artist Guest of Honor for Mysticon.


Mark Cline – Artist Guest of Honor

Artist GOH: Mark ClineMark Cline is a Virginia-based actor, cartoonist, impresario, magician and master of fiberglass sculpture. Inspired by monster and science fiction films, he produces foam and fiberglass figures and fantasy characters for attractions and cities. 

Cline started his career as a showman when he was a child. His abilities were not recognized by the academic structure and so he was placed in a “special” class—not for his creative abilities, but as a “slow learner”. School was a challenge for a clearly ADHD child in the late sixties and throughout the seventies but the experience forced Cline to traverse other avenues for the sheer sake of his survival. If Cline was having a hard time being accepted for who he was, he learned to become “someone else”. Realizing that people were drawn to TV characters for entertainment, Cline emulated the antics and expressions of the characters on popular sitcoms of the day, Cline began getting attention by impersonating Gomer Pyle, Barney Fife, characters from Green Acres and the like; and he got good at them and that got noticed. He became the class clown which consequently taught him the art of misdirection. Cline had made himself into an entertainer but entertainers need props and props were expensive so he learned to make them out of whatever he could get his hands on.

Cline’s “handicap” opened doors for his many artistic endeavors over the decades and he is now recognized as one of the worlds best sculptors of fiberglass figures. Cline is the builder of many attractions including Professor Cline’s Time Machine, Professor Cline’s Haunted Monster Museum, Foamhenge, the Lexington Ghost Tour, Dinosaur Kingdom, and Dinosaur Kingdom II. Over the years he has built hundreds of dinosaur statues, including thirty for his own Dinosaur Kingdom and nineteen for Dinosaur Land in White Post, VA, the park that inspired him to sculpt. Cline’s work appears in attractions across Virginia, including a concentration of works in and around Natural Bridge, where he works out of Enchanted Castle Studios. His studio appears in the book Weird Virginia and the Roadside America books and website.

He often displays creations on April Fools’ Day. Foamhenge was unveiled on April Fools’ Day 2004.

Cline is frequently referred to as the “Blue Ridge Barnum” and premiered a record-breaking show in 2012 at the Taubman Museum of Art. An independent film about Cline, Barnum of the Blue Ridge, is currently under production.

In his own words, “I couldn’t swear that I’m not nuts, naive—yes. Looking back, I have to wonder what was going on in the head of a 19-year-old who thought he could just go and open a monster museum and make a living at it. I had no training, no business sense, no connections, and no money. But I did have enthusiasm and lots of it. The ‘talent’ was raw but the sincerity was—and still is—genuine.”

Mark Cline and Snake



Joshua Werner

Joshua WernerJoshua Werner is an author and illustrator working in multiple entertainment fields. He’s the author of books such as Rampant and Adoration for the Dead, and founder of the horror and sci-fi publisher Source Point Press, where he’s now Art Director.

Josh has done illustration work for products for several licensed characters and properties, including Doctor Who, Transformers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Deadworld, and many others. He’s also achieved international popularity for his Dracula and Sherlock Holmes illustrations.
He’s worked on many comic books and graphic novels, including Zombie Rush: Riot (licensed from the iOS videogame), Jack of Spades, The Painting, Frankenstein: Or the Modern Prometheus, Horrors and Heroes, and Holliston: Friendship is Tragic (licensed from the television series). He’s currently working on the follow-up graphic novel Holliston: Carnival of Carnage and the graphic novel The Creepshow in Necrogeddon (officially licensed from the Toronto-based psychobilly band). Josh also recently did the artwork and lettering on an exclusive Superman comic story appearing in the program for the theatrical musical It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman. His illustrations can be found in numerous books such as Sherlock Holmes: On the Air, Zelda’s Zombie Zoo, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Tomb and H.P. Lovecraft: Early Stories.

As Art Director at Source Point Press he oversees a multitude of projects, working with up-and-coming writers and artists as well as legends in the industry. Much of his time is spent collaborating with creators to make their comics a reality, from initial pitch and conception through to the finished product. Some of the titles he has such credits in include Classic Pulp, Dead Duck and Zombie Chick, Hank Steiner, Monstrous, Norah, Up the River, The Rot, and more. He is currently doing art direction and editing on an upcoming officially licensed Evil Dead 2 craft book.


Jessica Vanderpol

Jessica VanderpolJessica Vanderpol is an artist who specializes in children’s illustrations, sequential art (a fancy term for comics), and fine art in the fantasy/science fiction genres. From a young age, she’s been fixated on capturing the comical nature of cats on paper, and created dozens of stories featuring her feline friends (she still has all those stories stored in a box on her shelf). Since then, she’s added fantasy and science fiction illustration to her repertoire, including fantastical dragons, focused character studies, and stellar space girls.

Jessica employs a variety of mediums from project to project, applying the concept of “matching medium to subject”. She primarily uses watercolors and ink for children’s illustrations and fantasy art, creating a softer, earthier feel. For science fiction pieces, she prefers the diversity available through digital mediums to open windows into the future. Recently, she has added oil painting to her skillset, and is reveling in the rich, deep hues that it offers.

Jessica currently teaches art classes at the D’Art Center in Norfolk, VA. When she is not in the classroom, you can find her with a cup of tea at her drafting table, diligently supervised by her art director (her cat). You can find Jessica’s work at


Tangent Artists

In a world… where brother fought brother, elf fought dwarf, narwhal fought robot, teacup piglet fought guy with a horse mask, one webcomic company rose above the sea of internet memes to form a single unit—a unit that called themselves… The Avengers. But as it turns out “The Avengers” was already taken, so they renamed themselves: Tangent Artists. Thus was the creation of two comic series: The macabre comedy, Skeleton Crew and the Swords & Sorcery & Sarcasm series, CRIT! They recently expanded into gaming books with their best-selling Guild Guides starting with The Handbook for Saucy Bards.


Heidi Hooper

Heidi HooperHeidi Hooper is the Dryer Lint Lady — Believe it or Not.

A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s sculpture department, she later studied for her master’s at the University of California Long Beach and the Massachusetts College of Art (where she also taught for a year). After cancer ate most of her upper arm, she has tried to find new ways of making art and has become the nation’s leading dryer lint artist.

Her work is showing in Ripley’s Believe it or Not museums around the world, and Heidi was featured in their books. Her work is also currently showing in galleries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

After Consumer Reports called her “The Andy Warhol of Dryer Lint” she made a piece called “Andy Warhol in Dryer Lint” which won her the prestigious Niche Award for recycled art. Last year, she won again, making her one of the few artists to do so.

She has been the Artist Guest of Honor at Albacon and Heliosphere.

Heidi is also one of the founders of modern live action role-playing games in North America, running Alliance LARP with her husband, writer Michael A. Ventrella.

Her web page is


Ed Beard Jr.

Ed Beard Jr.Ed Beard Jr. has created art for over 1000 published products over the past 30-plus years. He is most recognized for his dragon art in the “Dragon Calendar”—distributed worldwide over the past ten years—plus wizards, fairies, horror and other mythological creatures, and subjects gracing the covers of magazines, books, and novelty products.

You can find his works on art prints, posters, t-shirts, mugs, puzzles, and collectibles. You will also find many of his works on custom hot rods and motorcycles from his early years and current work as an airbrush muralist for the industry over the past 36 years

Ed Beard Jr. is best known in the gaming industry for creating over 100 cards in the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game. He has also created Tolkien art (Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit), Dungeons and Dragons art, t-shirts for the Mountain Corporation, Skinit laptop skins, cell phone and electronic device cover designs, jigsaw puzzles, and many other licensed products.

Ed has also been a teacher for the past twenty years and has several airbrush and painting demo videos on his websites. To learn more about Ed’s diverse career visit as well as his automotive murals at


Larry Dixon

LarryDixon1Larry Dixon is a respected, funny, friendly, and completely approachable guy with a diverse and adventurous history.

Son of a Delta Force career commando and an Oklahoman farmgirl, Larry grew up in many American and European settings, usually haunting the local art museums and hobby stores. At age nine he saved up his babysitting money and bought his first typewriter, intent upon writing and illustrating his own novels. Northern Italy is where his passions for painting, sculpting and storytelling took root, as well as his interests in state-level diplomacy, early computers and rocketry. In junior high school, Larry spent his weekends learning Chainmail and D&D from some of the original mimeographed and handwritten manuscripts of the games. He has been a roleplaying games buff since the 1970s, and has illustrated or helped design many RPGs.

Educated at the North Carolina School of the Arts during high school, and then at the Savannah College of Art and Design, his story work became as popular as his artwork. He has been an uncredited co-plotter or co-writer for many popular properties, bringing jovial and energetic approaches to collaborative work. Many cover-credited novels have followed, too, including the ever-popular Gryphon series, the Winds, Storms, SERRAted Edge, and Owl books with the mighty Mercedes (Misty) Lackey. Born to Run has been hailed as a “romp with a conscience,” and The Black Gryphon has been critically referred to as “A modern classic,” and is in its nineteenth printing.

 As a birds-of-prey rehabilitation specialist, he and his wife Misty have gotten hawks, owls, falcons, herons, and corbies back into the wild from their home-based facilities in Oklahoma. Additionally, Larry is an accomplished race car driver, world traveler, aviculturist, model maker, and internet veteran.

Larry loves standup comedy; genre movies; subcultures; aikido; storms; design; SF TV; odd cars (he owns many, and a few even run); his hawks, cockatoos and owls; history; comic books; architecture; costume; road trips; woodworking; studio scale and hobby scale modelmaking; International Rally and American LeMans Series racing; dirty jokes; club/trance/electronica, synth, experimental, and ambient music; and just plain making people feel good about themselves.

Larry is the “Most Read Writer” on the answer site Quora in the topics of Comedians, Stand-up Comedy, Birds, Fiction, Sports Cars, Villains, Concept Art, Ford Mustang, Automotive Industry, Buying Cars, Ferrari Motors, and Art.

He has been a cover artist for Baen (the Secret World Chronicle series, the SERRAted Edge series, the Doubled Edge Series, and several stand-alone works) and Tor, and was tapped to create the end papers, frontispiece, and chapter headings for Mercedes Lackey’s Hunter series for Disney Hyperion (ask him about “dial it back, Dixon”).

His ongoing, ever-changing decades-long romance with Mercedes Lackey is legendary. Larry feels equally comfortable around generals, rock stars, fans, firefighters, victims, cops, media and movie makers because, hey, he’s an Okie. Definitely chat with him or ask questions at panels about approaches to your work—nothing makes him happier than helping someone with their avocations, and bringing more beauty into the world.