Larry Marder, President
Larry Marder’s Beanworld has delighted readers from grade school to grad school for more than a generation, earning him a spot on the New York Times’ Graphic Books Best Sellers List.
Marder is a firm believer in Marcel Duchamp’s observation that it is the viewer that makes the picture. Shortly after his difficult birth, his mother took one look at his lopsided head and exclaimed, “Why does he look like a bean!” So is it any wonder he’s devoted his creative life to exploring the relationships and adventures that make up Larry Marder’s Beanworld?
Marder was born in Chicago in 1951 and grew up in Highland Park, Illinois. He spent the first third of his life pursuing art. His interests in comic books and Native American mythology started at an early age. He was educated at Hartford Art School where he became engrossed in conceptual art and underground comix. It was in this period that his iconic Bean shaped characters were first developed. Marder earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1973.
After college, Marder went to work as an advertising executive in Chicago by day, and by night created the most peculiar comic book experience Tales of the Beanworld, first released in 1985 by Eclipse Comics. 21 issues were published until 1993. Then Marder went off to “join the comic book circus” full time, as the Executive Director of Image Comics and later President of McFarlane Toys. What he intended as a short sabbatical from Beanworld, ended up stretching into fifteen years.
To the delight of his fans all over the world, Marder returned to creating Beanworld full time in 2007. Currently in print are three hardcover volumes: Wahoolazuma!, A Gift Comes! and Remember Here When You Are There!
Marder lives in Orange County, California.
Milton Griepp, Vice-President
Milton Griepp has been in the pop culture business for over 35 years. After receiving his B.A. and attending graduate school at the University of Wisconsin (and working through college in comics retailing and distribution), he formed Capital City Distribution with John Davis in 1980. As an officer and beginning in 1984 as CEO of Capital, he grew sales for 14 consecutive years, building Capital into a profitable international company with over $150 million in annual sales of pop culture products to retailers around the world.
Since selling Capital in 1996, Griepp has continued using his expertise in the industry as a consultant in the publishing, retailing, distribution, toy, and educational fields.
Beginning in 1998 and extending to mid-2000, Griepp was chairman of Next Planet Over, then a venture-funded, San Francisco-based geek products e-commerce company. From October of 1999 to May of 2000, when the company was sold, Griepp took the additional role of CEO.
In addition to continuing his consulting, Griepp founded ICv2, the #1 information source on the business of geek culture, in 2001. ICv2 publishes a Website, ICv2.com, with daily business news; and Internal Correspondence, a magazine with in-depth market analysis, bestseller charts, and forecasts of bestselling products in the graphic novel and hobby game categories. ICv2 also conducts annual conferences for industry leaders on critical topics including digital and media trends in geek culture.
Griepp has served as a board member and advisor for Iconology, Inc., parent of comiXology, the leading digital comics platform in the U.S., since 2009.
Jeff Abraham, Treasurer
Jeff Abraham is president of Random House Publisher Services (RHPS), a division of Random House, Inc., the largest U.S. trade book publisher. RHPS is a leading provider of sales, distribution, digital and technology services to a broad portfolio of prominent independent publishers, including National Geographic Books, Rizzoli, Wizards of the Coast and many others. In the last few years RHPS has expanded its reach and established successful partnerships with Graphic Novel and Manga publishers, including DC Comics, Kodansha, Archie, and Vertical.
Mr. Abraham’s involvement in the publishing industry began in the mid 1990s as CEO & president of Optimedia, an electronic publishing solutions provider in the STM field, working with clients such as Oxford University Press, Elsevier Science and the American Medical Association. Drawing on his deep experience in IT and innovative business approaches, Abraham also served as Executive VP of Sales & Business Development for AirSphere, an aviation technology company. He continued using his experience in the publishing industry as the Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, a non-for-profit trade association dedicated to creating a more informed, empowered and efficient book industry supply chain for both physical and digital products.
Mr. Abraham is a graduate of the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.
Dale Cendali, Secretary
Dale Cendali is a nationally recognized leader in the field of intellectual property. She is a partner in the prestigious law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, where she heads the firm’s Copyright, Trademark and Internet Practice Group. She has successfully litigated and tried numerous high profile cases and has argued before the United States Supreme Court. Her clients include myriad prominent individuals and companies who rely on her for her expertise in copyright, trademark, patent, Internet, trade secrets, defamation, false advertising, privacy and contractual matters. She has extensive experience representing clients in the entertainment, consumer products and technology sectors. Managing Intellectual Property Magazine named her trial victory for J.K. Rowling in the well-known “lexicon” fair use case the “Copyright Trial of the Year.”
Dale has been repeatedly ranked as a “top tier” lawyer for Chambers USA, which describes her as “one of the best lawyers in the country” in her field who combines” intellectual acuity” with a “tough hard working attitude”. The National Law Journal has named Dale as one of “America’s Top 50 Women Litigators” and also as one of the “50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America.” Super Lawyers magazine named her as one of the top 100 lawyers in New York, and profiled her in the feature story titled, “Truth, Justice and the Cendali Way.”
As the title of the profile hints, when she is not trying cases, Dale is an avid comic book collector and fan and has been since she was five years old. She is a big believer in comics as an artform and is deeply committed to the arts since her days as President of the Yale Dramatic Association. Among her pro bono representations was the successful defense at trial of The Martha Graham Dance Center in a case that threatened the Graham legacy.
Dale writes prolifically on legal issues and has chaired numerous bar committees. She is also an adjunct professor at Harvard Law School, where she teaches copyright and trademark litigation.
She is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.
Jennifer L. Holm
Jennifer L. Holm is a New York Times bestselling children’s author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels Our Only May Amelia, Penny from Heaven, and Turtle in Paradise. Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series — the popular Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. She is also the author of several other highly praised books, including the Boston Jane trilogy and Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf. She lives in California with her husband and two children.
REGINALD HUDLIN has created, written, and / or directed such beloved films as House Party, Boomerang, and BeBe’s Kids, which are some of the most profitable and influential films of his generation. Hudlin received a Best Picture nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for producing Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. The film won multiple awards, including two Oscars and two Golden Globe Awards, and is one of the top grossing Westerns of all time.
Hudlin is the executive producer and writer of the Black Panther animated series, which premiered following a popular five-year comic book run. He was also executive producer of The Boondocks animated series. Hudlin is currently reviving the Milestone comic book line, including a live action series for signature character Static Shock.
From 2005-2009, Hudlin was the first President of Entertainment for B.E.T. Networks, creating some of the networks highest rated shows during his tenure. While there, he launched a profitable home entertainment division and revamped the news division, which went on to win more than a dozen awards in that period.
Recently, Hudlin directed episodes of Murder In The First, New Girl, and Marry Me. Hudlin executive produced the last three NAACP Image Awards. Hudlin was also the executive producer of Governor’s Awards, presenting four Oscars. Last summer, he partnered with the AMPAS and the Hollywood Bowl to produce a live cinematic concert experience entitled The Black Movie Soundtrack, which was a critical and commercial success.
Hudlin is a member of several organizations and currently serves on the boards of UCLA School of Theatre, Film & Television and Wasatch.
A card-wielding CBLDF member since the late 1990s, Katherine Keller started working for University Libraries, UNLV in 1994 as a student worker and took a full time staff position in 2000. Her duties for University Libraries have included public service on the reference and circulation desks, as well as behind-the-scenes positions in technical services. Currently, she works at UNLV’s Curriculum Materials Library, which works closely with UNLV’s College of Education. Her duties for the CML include outreach and instruction about graphic novels and comics.
Katherine’s rediscovery of comics back in 1992 lead to her 1997 marriage to Ralph Mathieu, owner of Las Vegas’s award-winning Alternate Reality Comics. In 1998 it led to her helping to found Sequential Tart, an independent webzine by women who love comics and pop culture.
In 2007, when the CBLDF needed help to pay for the defense of Gordon Lee, she organized a fundraising membership drive that raised $5,000. She followed this in 2008 with another appeal that raised over $2,000 to help in the defense of Christopher Handley.
In addition to the CBLDF’s board, Katherine is currently on the steering committee for the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival, an event put on through the Clark County Library District as part of their effort to promote reading and literacy in Southern Nevada. She is also interested in transmedia and transformative works, and in addition to being invited by Henry Jenkins to appear UCLA as part of a panel of transmedia and comics, she is also a supporter of the Organization for Transformative Works.
Paul Levitz was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1956, and entered the comics industry in 1971 as editor/publisher of The Comic Reader, the first mass-circulation fanzine devoted to comics news. He continued to publish TCR for three years, winning two consecutive annual Comic Art Fan Awards for Best Fanzine. His other fan activities included editing the program books for several of Phil Seuling’s legendary New York Comic Art Conventions,. He received Comic-con International’s Inkpot Award in 2002 and the prestigious Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award in 2008. Levitz also serves on the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Levitz is primarily known for his work for DC Comics, where he has written most of their classic characters including the Justice Society, Superman in both comics and the newspaper strip, and an acclaimed run on The Legion of Super-Heroes, a series he’s recently returned to write. Readers of The Buyers’ Guide voted his Legion: The Great Darkness Saga one of the 20 best comic stories of the last century, and visitors to the site comicbookresources.com selected the same story as #11 of the Top 100 Comic Book Stories of All Time. Cumulatively, Levitz has written over 300 stories with sales of over 25 million copies, and translations into over 20 languages. As a DC staffer from 1973, Levitz was an assistant editor, the company’s youngest editor ever, and in a series of business capacities, became Executive Vice President & Publisher in 1989 and then served as President & Publisher from 2002-2009. He continues as a Contributing Editor, but is now concentrating on his writing.
Levitz also teaches Writing For Media at Manhattanville College, Comics & Graphic Novels in Pace University’s MS in Publishing program, and the American Graphic Novel at Columbia University.
Working in the comics industry for more than 20 years, Chris Powell is now the Executive Director of Business Development for Diamond Comic Distributors. He was previously employed as the General Manager & CRO of Lone Star Comics / mycomicshop.com. Chris has served as the President of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and was a member of the Founding Board for ComicsPRO, the Direct Market comic retailers’ organization. He served on the Board of Moderators for the Game Pro Symposium, the Advisory Board for the Game Store Resource Forum, and helped launch the ComicsPRO Mentoring Forum for new and potential comics retailers. Chris wrote the column “Comic Sense” for Krause Publications’ Comic & Game Retailer magazine and presents regularly at industry panels geared toward retailers and fans.
Jeff Smith (born February 27, 1960) is an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of the self-published comic book series BONE. Smith solidified the ‘90s’ Self-Publishing Movement when he joined other self-publishers and launched a new era of independent comics publishing, a movement that captured nearly 20% of the growing comics book market. In 1993, Smith breathed new life into the Graphic Novel format with The Complete BONE Adventures Volume One: Out From Boneville, which sold an unprecedented 50,000 copies in its first year. BONE won numerous American awards including 10 Eisner Awards and 11 Harveys, as well as European awards from Italy, Germany, and the French Alph Art.
In 2005, BONE was chosen to launch the first graphic novel series for children from a major publishing house, Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic Books. There have been exhibitions of his work, and in 2009 Smith was the subject of an Emmy Award winning documentary called The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, BONE, and the Changing Face of Comics. Later works include critically acclaimed SHAZAM: The Monster Society of Evil, and Little Mouse Gets Ready, a comic for emerging readers that received a Geisel Honor in 2009. In 2013, Smith guest edited The Best American Comics anthology, and released his second major work, RASL, a dark, hard-boiled sci-fi story that focuses on an art thief who hops through dimensional barriers, hiding out on various parallel worlds.