Kurt Amacker is a comic book writer and publisher living in New Orleans. Born and raised there (intermittently), he moved periodically as a military brat and, later, as a United States Marine. He emerged from DJ'ing in the French Quarter's raucous Goth scene with his first comic book in 2008. Published by Seraphemera Books, Dead Souls was publicly praised by Alan Moore (Watchmen) and Cradle of Filth singer Dani Filth.
Amacker has continued writing comics since then. And in 2011, he began co-producing the yearly Fangtasia Vampire Ball with Jyrki 69 of the Finnish "goth n' rollers" the 69 Eyes. Their association led to a three-issue comic miniseries co-written by Amacker, entitled Helsinki Vampires. In early 2013, Amacker began working on a graphic novel for Cradle of Filth entitled The Curse of Venus Aversa. By the end of the 2013, Amacker had created his own publishing company, Dark Notes Press, to handle the project and others than would follow. Released in the Spring of this year, Venus Aversa was an immediate critical and financial success. Amacker is currently working on his first novel, tentatively titled Blood in the Streets, for release next year. This is his fourth CONtraflow.
Jessie is a native of Ponchatoula, Louisiana. After exploring various career paths ranging from state licensed private investigator to classically trained Cordon Bleu chef, he decided to concentrate on his life-long love of art and comics. In 2011, he started Charisma Kills Studios toserve as the brand for his various artistic endeavors. His first project was the webcomic, Sweet Dreams are Made of Worms. It was followed by the webcomics Apocalypse Pizza and C.O.G.Comics, a webcomic based on New Orleans’ own musical mad scientists, the Consortium of Genius.
After taking an interest in transmedia story telling, he enrolled in the new media and animation program at Southeastern Louisiana University to learn the skills needed to incorporate multimedia projects into his works. In 2015, he published his first printed comic, Kenshin 1281 which tells the story of a fictitious Samurai’s fight for honor during the historic Mongolian invasions of Japan. The second, Parasomnia, is an experimental comic using digital collage to create an abstracted visual narrative with no words. It was accompanied by a brief animation adaptation which featured music by the C.O.G.
His other notable works are the October 20th audio drama “Who is Shields McKloskey?” written by Marius Hjelseth, and various collaborative works with indy and web comic creators such as Velvet Rasputin and Abby Comics. He’s art and comics have been exhibited at the Olde New Orleans Rum Distillery and The Southeastern Contemporary Art Gallery, as well as An Evening of Animation at St. MaryMayJaks and the TXT & IMG exhibit at the Antenna Gallery. He’s attended numerous local conventions and done program covers and t-shirt art at these events, as well.
He is currently a freelance inker for the STEM based Podpi comic, and a technical editor for Abby Comics. As for his own work with Charisma Kills Studios, print adaptions of both Apocalypse Pizza and Sweet Dreams are Made of worms are in early stages of preproduction.
Melissa Gay is a Nashville-based illustrator of books and tabletop roleplaying games whose diverse list of clients includes Baen Books, Llewellyn Worldwide, Hay House, Apex Press, and many, many game companies. Among the ENnie award winning and fan favorite games she has illustrated are the Dresden Files RPG, Fate Core, Part-Time Gods, Mermaid Adventures, Trail of Cthulhu, 13th Age, The Dracula Dossier, and Camp Myth, and her work for the Sagaborn RPG system won her the Chesley award for Best Gaming-Related Illustration in 2018.
Her Imaginative Realist work has been featured in ImagineFX Magazine, io9, tor.com, and several of the Infected By Art anthologies. She is co-founder of the Birdwhisperer Project, a member of the Changeling Artist Collective, and is on the moderating team of the art business group One Fantastic Week. Her other passion projects include sci-fi sumi-e and her acrylic space paintings, which have met with international success. A former scientific illustrator, she is constantly seeking the perfect balance between precise detail and hazy obscurity to better engage the imagination of the viewer.
"I am greatly inspired by the natural world and by folk tales. I see my creative journey as an invocation of that state of wide-eyed wonder we all viewed the universe with as children, and my quest is to communicate that to the viewer. To a child, reality itself is magic, and magic is everywhere! Recurring themes in my work are flying things that should not fly (whales, sheep, etc.), faraway visions into deep space as if seen in a dream, and moments of surreal otherworldliness in a terrestrial setting. I have come to recognize it as a part of my struggle with my own mental health issues, this desire to break the shackles of depression and to soar, regardless of circumstances! Even my post-apocalyptic paintings have hope woven into them. Apart from drawing and painting, I am never happier than when in the woods hunting for secret waterfalls and climbing on rocks!"
Look for her work on and in these recent and upcoming publications: Year's Best Military and Adventure Sci-fi vol. 4 from Baen Books, the Yellow King RPG: the Wars (based on the iconic King In Yellow character by Robert W. Chambers) from Pelgrane Press, the new edition of Over the Edge from Atlas Games, Encounters with the Imaginary vol. 3 from Boneshaker Press, and the Olde Fae card game from the Changeling Artist Collective.