Guests of Honor
Lars Pearson is founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Mad Norwegian Press (www.madnorwegian.com) and one of the foremost experts on Doctor Who in North America. He thanks God that the new Doctor Who has finally silenced those who preferred to overlook the original show’s imagination in favor of giggling over how the spaceships looked like dish soap bottles. He’s also pleased that the new show has gotten his wife interested in Doctor Who. (Although her rabid interest in Doctor Who fanfic is slightly disturbing. It worries him when she starts randomly asking him under what conditions the TARDIS console pulsates.)
Pearson grew up on a horse farm in Story City, and is fairly certain he was a youngster at the very first DemiCon. At that event, he breathlessly watched The Curse of Fenric – then a new(ish) Doctor Who story – on grubby videotape in someone’s hotel room, but had to leave early to keep his parents from realizing that he was at one of those shows devoted to that weird Sci-Fi stuff.
As a Coe College graduate, Pearson cut his teeth as a newspaper editor (and reported on such stories as a burning brothel), then became an editor for Wizard Entertainment in New York (working on such magazines as Wizard: The Guide to Comics, ToyFare and InQuest Gamer) before a brief stint as one of two Sci-Fi/ Comics Writers at the doomed Thirsty.com in Los Angeles.
He founded Mad Norwegian Press — a publisher of SF reference guides, essay books and novels — in 2001. The company ethnically made less sense when it was based in New Orleans (he had the option of getting married by a voodoo priestess, if that tells you anything), but it now resides in Des Moines, where it is surrounded on all sides by corn and pastry-baking Scandinavians.
Along with Lance Parkin, Pearson is the co-author of Ahistory, a definitive Doctor Who text that’s 30,000 words longer than War and Peace, and incorporates 1400 Who-related stories into a single timeline. Despite the obvious impediment of having a Y chromosome, Pearson was the Editor-in-Chief on the company’s newly formed range of essay books pertaining to women and fandom. To date, these include Chicks Dig Time Lords (edited by Lynne Thomas and Tara O’Shea, 2011 Hugo Award Winner, Best Related Work), Whedonistas! (edited by Lynne Thomas and Deborah Stanish), Chicks Dig Comics (edited by Lynne Thomas and Sigrid Ellis, Hugo Award nominated, 2013), Chicks Unravel Time (edited by Deborah Stanish and L.M. Myles, Hugo Award nominated, 2013), the related Queers Dig Time Lords (edited by Sigris Ellis and Michael Thomas, Hugo Award nominated, 2014), Chicks Dig Gaming (edited by Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith? and Lars Pearson, ENnie Award nominated, 2015) and Companion Piece (edited by L.M. Myles and Liz Barr).
All told, Pearson has written or edited more than 40 Sci-Fi guidebooks and novels through Mad Norwegian, and in 2016 alone processed (gulp) more than a million words of Sci-Fi analysis. Having lived in the biggest and second biggest cities in America (and the most voodoo-flavored), he can personally attest that Des Moines is the best of all of them.
Ron Wagner has made his living as an artist for over thirty years. A graduate of The Joe Kubert School, he’s worked for major comic book companies like Marvel, D.C., Dark Horse and Image. Some of the titles he’s contributed to include Batman, Superman, G.I. Joe, Punisher, and Daredevil. Most recently, he drew the Green Lantern / Parallax and Titans issues for D.C. Comics’ Convergence event. Ron has also worked for Warner Bros. as a storyboard artist on The Legion of Superheroes, Scooby Doo, and Batman, Brave and the Bold.
Richard Harper has had a successful career as a hair and makeup artist working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, national tours and regional opera companies as well as print work, portrait work and industrial films. He has worked for the Broadway companies of Les Miserables, Grease, Blood Brothers, Kiss of the Spider Woman, My Fair Lady, Cabaret and Sugar Babies, among others, and has been lucky enough to work with great stars of the stage: Vanessa Williams, Carole King, Rosie O’Donnell, Joel Grey, Debbie Allen, Ann Miller, Kim Criswell, Maureen McGovern, Andrea McArdle, Werner Klemperer, Lea Salonga, Regina Resnik, Sharon Lawrence and Kay McClelland. He has received cosmetology licenses in several states, worked as a platform artist and colorist and specializes in wig construction, repair and design.
In addition, Richard’s life-long fascination with clothing history and construction culminated in his study of tailoring and dressmaking in the Haute Couture Certificate Program at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. He has created clothing and costumes for Renaissance Faires, historical re-enactment and stage work, as well as accepting commissions for historical and contemporary wedding and concert attire. Recently he has been doing a great deal of teaching at steampunk cons such as Teslacon, the International Steampunk Symposium and Motor City Steam Con.
We welcome back for a second time Susan Leabhart as our Toastmaster for DemiCon 28. This lovely lady hails from DAGOBAH, Davenport Area Gathering of Books and Humanoids. This Science Fiction and Fantasy book discussion group has been meeting at the Davenport Public Library for more than 25 years. Susan leads this group and is known as Empress of DAGOBAH.
Susan is no stranger to DemiCon. At DemiCon 25 she made history as the first woman to be a DemiCon toastmaster. She has attended all of the DemiCons except the first one, when the need to look after very small children took priority (and those children grew up enjoying DemiCon). Susan is known for her costuming, steampunk, bellydancing, hand-made journals, as well as hosting, with all her DAGOBAH “minions,” the famous “Win Lose or Draw” panel on Sunday at DemiCon. (That panel has been around since DemiCon 3.) Just remember, “The Box is Cruel!”
The people have spoken! Prior to DemiCon 27 we accepted nominations for super heroes to be our Super Hero of Honor. During DemiCon 27, convention attendees cast ballots outside the Hub. After all of the ballots were carefully counted the winner was… Super Hero of Science, Bill Nye the Science Guy!
Because Bill Nye is a living, breathing super hero and not a fictional character we thought it important to point out that we do not expect him in the flesh. That being said, if anyone reading this should suddenly come into money and wants to generously take it upon themselves to book the real Bill Nye for DemiCon weekend we certainly would have no objections!
For DemiCon 15 DemiCon decided we wanted to acknowledge those who help make DemiCon what is today and the DemiCon Hall of Fame was created.
At DemiCon 15, Rusty Hevelin was our first inductee to DemiCon Hall of Fame. Rusty had started as our Fan Guest of Honor at DC 1, but somewhere before our first convention came around, he was named Toastmaster. From that day forth, he was our Toastmaster. When Rusty became a member of the DemiCon Hall of Fame, he was given the title of Toastmaster Emeritus, but he did not rest on his laurels and has been at every DemiCon until DC22 when health problems kept him away. Rusty passed away in 2011.
In celebration of Rusty’s amazing life (ask Gay and Joe … they have stories), we will host the 4th Annual Rusty Ice Cream Social on Saturday afternoon in the ConSuite. Enjoy a root beer float or just a good bowl of vanilla ice cream, which were two of Rusty’s favorites.
To learn more about Rusty, follow this link to the Hevelin Collection.
Gay and Joe had an intricate part in growing the love of science fiction in those who created DemiCon when they were members of Science Fiction League of Iowa Students (which Joe created) and running ICON. Gay and Joe have been dubbed by those that were under their tutelage as the “Grandparents” of DemiCon.
Joe Haldeman is a multiple Hugo and Nebula award winning author. For his spectacular career in writing science fiction and fantasy, he was given the honor of SFWA Grand Master. Joe has been our Author GOH for DC 2 and DC 20 where the Haldemans were inducted into the DemiCon Hall of Fame.
Gay Haldeman was our Fan Guest of Honor at DC 2 and was a regular guest, besides Rusty Hevelins’ travel buddy through the many years. Mary Gay Potter Haldeman (a name familiar to those who read The Forever War) has a Master’s Degree in Spanish Literature and another in Linguistics. Every fall, Joe and Gay head of to MIT to teach, and then return to Florida the rest of the year. But, Joe is not the only one with an award or two. Gay shared a Skylark Award with Joe in 1996, and in 2011 was given the Big Heart Award at the World SF Convention in Reno, Nevada. Both Gay and Joe have thespian talents and have graced our stage as TICC performers, as well.
Glen was made a member at DemiCon 25. Glen Cook Author guest of honor for DemiCon 5, known for his stellar The Black Company military fantasy series and so much more, told DemiCon this: I was born and am still under foot. Hit the ground in NYC in 1944, lived there, Indiana, and California growing up. Served in the Navy, attended U of Missouri, worked for General Motors and retired therefrom. Began writing with intent to commit publication late 1960s and have since produced 51 published books (#51, Working God’s Mischief, will come out between now and the convention), some short fiction, some articles and some essays. I have three sons, an Army officer, an architect, and a symphony musician, plus numerous grandchildren, all but one of whom seem determined to be female. And I have an amazing wife who has been with me for almost 45 years. These days I am, extremely slowly, working on expanding theBlack Company chronicles by two novels and a story collection. I have become a victim of Ambition Deficit Disorder, which is what has put the slow in slowly.
Glen has been at almost every DemiCon selling books to all who love the joy of reading. Signing his and making DemiCon even more special. Thanks Glen.