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Highburn Studios

We are Highburn Studios, an independent comic book studio based out of Southwest Virginia. Formed by artist Michael Watkins, Highburn Studios is now a haven and workhorse for artists to work together and produce some of the best art and books in the industry as well as freelance out to various companies.

We have worked with companies such as Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, Archie Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, First Comics, Digital Webbing, Ape Entertainment, and many more.


D. Michael Watkins

D. Michael Watkins is the founder and CEO of Highburn Studios. He's also the guy underneath that shiny cowboy hat you see at most cons. Michael received his first lucky break on FEMME-NOIR with Joe Staton and has since risen up among his peers in the comic community with work for Marvel,DC, Image, Dynamite, Dark Horse , Upper Deck, as well as his creator owned project GUARDIANS. You've seen his work on titles such as SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, TRANSFORMERS, IRON MAN, AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, PANTHA, VILLAINS SUPREME, and you can see him on film in the blockbuster movie THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Michael can also usually be found at a drawing board, a wacom tablet, or in a gym.

Outside of comics, Michael is an avid Martial Artist, studying Hak Dari Shon Hap Ki Do. After over 20 years he still hasn't learned important techniques such as "Wax on, and Wax off", but he knows with time he will get there. Michael also loves to collect vintage Transformers, he says "collect"..others say it's an addiction.


Lyle Pollard

   Lyle Pollard is the number two guy at Highburn Studios as well as a talented penciller who has been drawing for longer than he is willing to admit, and would have probably had a much wealthier existence if he had played basketball or baseball or something. Fortunately for the comics community, he sucked at all sports, and he is now working on his creation TRIBULATIONS.

    Lyle lives in Benson, NC (end of the world, and take a left) with his beautiful and supporting wife, Dana, their daughter Gwen, son Gavin, and Race Dog, who is cute, but can be a pain in the ass.

Lyle is also proud of his former futon on which the late, great Michael Watkins once slept.
Wait a minute, Michael's not dead....yet.

Todd A. Davis

Todd is a writer/comedian from Greenville, South Carolina where he studied writing at Spartanburg Methodist College. Todd has performed stand-up comedy at colleges, clubs, and cafes along the east coast. He befriended the Highburn Studios gang back in 2006 at HeroesCon in Charlotte, North Carolina. Todd was named Head Writer of the studio in late 2014.

He is currently writing Blue Balls for Michael Watkins and is one half of the creative team behind the web comic, The First Adventures on Earth with Adam & Steve, illustrated by Caitlyn Guettler.

Todd lives with his wife, Kathryn, in West Melbourne, Florida.

  John Anderson

   John Anderson is a senior partner and the Head Illustrator at Highburn Studio and . John is a capable artists and all around triple threat with pencils, inks, and colors.  After graduating from SCAD with a Masters in Art, which John considered his best day ever. He later joined Highburn Studios after meeting the gang and Heroes Con, John calls that his worst day ever.

Johns work has been seen on the likes of the INFINITES, MANKIND, E-MAN, and various other properties for publishers such as Zenescope, Heroic, and several properties created in house.



Kenny Keen

    Kenny Keen is the creator of SLAYER, EXPULSE, RUTHLESS and 100's of other unfinished ideas. He has contributed short stories, pin-ups, and covers to numerous small press publications over the years. Kenny is also the creator and owner of  Midnight Horizon Comics, a partner company along side Highburn. He is also the letterer for

     When Kenny is not working on a project he can be found studying the Korean Martial Art Hap Ki Do. If a lazy streak hits him you will find him playing the PlayStation, watching movies, or fighting with his kids over the last doughnut.  


Brynn Oliver-Watkins

    Brynn Oliver was the PR Manager and contact rep for the studio. Outside of dealing with all the boys and girls in the group she also modeled the Sprite character from GUARDIANS and various other comic characters that suited her fancy. Brynn had also worked flatting books such as EXPULSE, E-MAN, BLACK ICE, and appeared in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Brynn spend most of her work time consulting on nifty merchandise to bring us one step closer to YOU!

       Outside of comics Brynn was the long time love and wife of studio founder Michael Watkins and enjoyed dancing, classic movies, and looking for any type of adventure for her and Michael to share.

" What Michael and Brynn had was art, and the beautiful thing about art is that it lives forever, long after the artists have gone." - Nic Carceri


I am so blessed that my life-long career has afforded me to come to know so many wonderful, smart and loving people that share my love of pop culture and comics. None burned brighter than Brynn Oliver who I have just been told has passed away. My love and thoughts are with D. Michael Watkins and all who loved her. I will forever treasure having known her, that incredible smile and big heart. So lucky we were all together just a little while ago at the Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find Comic Con in Charlotte, NC. Love you, Brynn… May you Rest In Peace. I am devastated…



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