Come join our cast of characters as you experience Auburndale’s third annual City Con. The event will be held Jan. 20‐21, 2017 in the city’s beautiful downtown park. We will announce our celebrity guests in October.
City Con Guests
Larry Hama is known as the “father” of the 3 3/4″ Gi Joe figures (he had nothing to do with the 12″ Gi Joe of the 1960-1970s). Larry came up with the names for the figures, vehicles and wrote the filecards that came on the back of the cards. He also wrote all 155 issues of the Gi Joe comic book which spanned from June 1982 to December 1994. During the 1970s, he was seen in minor roles on the TV shows M*A*S*H and Saturday Night Live, and appeared on Broadway in two roles in the original 1976 production of Stephen Sondheim‘s Pacific Overtures.
Jeremy Palko is an American actor in film and television. He was born in LaGrange, GA to Bruce and Sabine Palkowetz. Raised in Washington State, Jeremy grew up in Puyallup, WA where he attended Rogers High School. A graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, Jeremy had his first experience in the theater after a knee injury sidelined him from collegiate sports.
Jeremy found his first speaking role in the film Never Back Down where he used his athletic background to play the running back in the film’s opening scene. Jeremy has since gone on to play numerous parts in such television shows as The Vampire Diaries, Are We There Yet?, Burn Notice, and Sleepy Hollow. Most recently, Jeremy can be found on the Emmy Nominated show Bloodline, as Nicholas Widmark and Andy on AMC’s The Walking Dead.
Mary McDonald Lewis
When she auditioned for the GI Joe series, she was originally auditioning for a smaller role, but voice director Wally Burr heard something in her voice that he liked, so he asked her to read for Lady Jaye instead. She said a big part of reading for Lady Jaye was shouting “Yo Joe!” into the microphone as loud as she could, and believes that she got the part because she wasn’t afraid to give her all in her readings. Mary has also played numerous roles in animated TV shows, such as The Mask, Batman, Where’s Waldo, and many more. Grimm is one of her only physical roles. She portrayed Frau Pech in the NBC hit series.
Cathalina Liebel, is a Cosplay Circus Entertainer. She tours annually across the United States. Cathalina is a 16th generation Circus performer and award winning Cosplayer. She performs a wide variety of circus acts all completely themed for Comic Conventions.
Roland Mann is a writer, editor, speaker, and professor. As writer, he is best known for his work on Cat & Mouse, a comic which ran for nearly two years, garnered critical acclaim, was optioned by Hollywood, and led Roland to other work. Some of his other work includes Miss Fury, Planet of the Apes: Blood of the Apes, Rocket Ranger. As editor, Roland is best known for his work as a Malibu/Marvel Comics editor where he edited The Protectors line of comics and many Ultraverse titles. Roland also served as Editor and Publisher of Silverline, a line of independent comics that included such titles as Switchblade and The Scary Book.
Roland is also a college professor and a speaker at writing workshops/conferences where many find his sessions encouraging. Roland’s recent work includes his first novel, Buying Time, graphic novel adaptations of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Roland teaches Creative Writing for Entertainment at Full Sail University. He occasionally blogs at www.rolandmann.me.
Roland earned an MFA in Writing from Spalding University, a MA in English from the University of North Alabama, and a BS in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi.
David Simpson (moderator)
David Simpson is a real-life G-I Joe. The Arizona native has traveled the world as a member of the U.S. Air Force. His primary job in the Air Force was Security Forces. With his K-9 Robson, he provided explosive detection services in Lebanon, Portugal, Italy, Germany and Iraq. They conducted over 75 combat missions, found several improvised explosive devices, and discovered a weapon cache filled with mortar rounds. In between missions, he volunteered time at a hospital transporting injured U.S. military personnel from the helicopter pad to the hospital emergency operating room. He now lives in Polk County with his wife and three children.
Meredith Pope (moderator)
Meredith Pope is a Lakeland-based artist, writer, graphic designer, marketing professional, and self-described geek. Her love of science-fiction and fantasy started in her childhood while watching Star Trek and Buck Rogers with her father, and it grew through books, TV shows, and movies. Favorites include Star Trek TOS, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Wheel of Time. Her first cosplay was probably her Wonder Woman Underoos when she was four, but she began seriously channeling her skills and creativity in 2012.
Since then, she has created original characters including a burlesque March Hare from the Tron Universe, a Snow Queen, and a Sugar Plum Fairy. This year, she is looking forward to tackling her own version of Angela from the Spawn Universe. In addition, she actively collects well-sculpted female action figures, and when asked how many she has, she says she lost count around 85.
Pope received her B.A. in studio art from the University of South Florida where she specialized in sculpture. She is an active member of the local arts community and recently co-created a temporary sculpture installation for downtown Lakeland with David Collins. She served on the EMERGE Lakeland Steering Committee for seven years, including terms as the Marketing Committee Chair and Co-Chair, and the Board of Florida Dance Theatre for six years. She is currently working on her M.B.A. from Louisiana State University, Shreveport.
Jason Geary (moderator)
The Finest - GI Joe Costuming Club
The Finest: A G.I. Joe Costume Club is the world’s premier G.I. Joe costuming organization. Founded in 2007, the club has expanded to include several hundred members in nearly 40 states and six countries. The Finest celebrates the G.I. Joe universe through the creation and wearing of high-quality costumes and props based upon canon characters from the G.I. Joe universe.
Each year, Finest members appear and exhibit at nearly 75 pop-culture conventions, parades, and other events worldwide. Since 2014, we have raised more than $30,000 for military and veteran charities, with all proceeds donated to organizations such as the USO and K9s For Warriors!
For more information about The Finest, please visit http://www.thefinestcc.com
U.S. Haven Star Trek Club
The U.S. Haven Star Trek Club is named after U.S. Naval Hospital Ship USS Haven AH-12. We are based in Orlando, FL. Our mission is to promote fandom and serve our community by sharing Star Trek & Science Fiction information, fan activities, ideas, news, and promoting a positive future for Humankind by our involvement in educational and charitable activities. Our friends include hundreds of members, fans, friends, media persons, dealers, and Star Trek/Science Fiction Clubs worldwide.
The 501st Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While it is not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., it is Lucasfilm’s preferred Imperial costuming group. The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work. The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work.
Guardians of Justice
Guardians of Justice was initiated by local residents of Central Florida to merge their passion of costuming and combine it with a deep-rooted desire to give back to the community. Each member of the Guardians embodies the mantra to “inspire, support, motivate and empower” children and adults alike by fully bringing the characters they portray to life.