New officers and a new member were elected to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Board of Directors at their last meeting. Milton Griepp — pop-culture business expert and founder of ICv2.com — was elected as Vice President after a long tenure as the organization’s Treasurer. Jeff Abraham, President of Random House Publisher Services, was elected to replace Griepp as Treasurer. Larry Marder was reelected as the organization’s President, and Dale Cendali was reelected as Secretary. The CBLDF also welcomed Andrew McIntire, Senior Director of Retail Operations for TFAW.com, as a new member of the Board. Board members Joe Ferrara, Steve Geppi, Paul Levitz, and Chris Powell will continue their board service.
Milton Griepp, Vice President
Milton Griepp has been in the pop culture business for more than 35 years, and he has served the CBLDF as a board member since 2004. 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 as CEO of Capital from 1984 on, he grew sales for 14 consecutive years, building Capital into a profitable international company with more than $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, 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.
Since 2009, Griepp has served as a board member and adviser for Iconology, Inc., parent of comiXology, the leading digital comics platform in the U.S.
Of his appointment, Griepp remarks, “I’m privileged to continue to serve the industry through my participation as an officer and board member of the Fund. Jeff Abraham is a great successor to the post of treasurer, and I look forward to my new role as vice president.”
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.
Abraham’s involvement in the publishing industry began in the mid 1990s during his tenure as CEO and president of Optimedia, an electronic publishing solutions provider in the STM field, where he worked 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 and 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 not-for-profit trade association dedicated to creating a more informed, empowered, and efficient book industry supply chain for both physical and digital products.
Abraham is a graduate of the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.
About his recent appointment to the Treasurer position, Abraham said, “I look forward to continuing the great work and momentum that Milton Griepp has generated over the last few years as treasurer of the organization. Keeping CBLDF well-funded and financially disciplined is incredibly important in order to execute the organization’s mission, and that will be the focus of my work with the Board and management.”
Andrew McIntire is the Senior Director of Retail Operations for national comics retailer Things From Another World (TFAW.com). He began his career there in 2008 in the marketing department, eventually serving as Marketing Director before transitioning to overseeing the day-to-day retail operations of the organization.
Prior to joining the TFAW team, McIntire explored a variety of eclectic occupations, including stints in the aerospace and printing industries, spending the better part of a decade as a freelance graphic designer, and a number of years working in event and concert security. When asked, he will confirm that working in comics is a dream come true, and it equals working as a bouncer in terms of being the most interesting job he has ever had — with the added bonus that to date no one in comics has tried to stab, shoot, or run him over.
McIntire is actively involved in the pop-culture and geek communities of Portland, Oregon, and has most recently served as the Founding President of the Portland Geek Council of Commerce and Culture (PGC3.org) and on the Clackamas County Economic Development Commission. Additionally, McIntire is a proud member of ComicsPRO, he is a firm advocate of the idea that “a rising tide lifts all ships,” and he tirelessly extols the benefits to be gained through collaboration — often well beyond the point when everyone else has grown tired of listening.
McIntire is a graduate of Portland State University and lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Boynn, their cats, Isis and Tucker, and the nicest (and arguably dumbest) dog on the planet, Silas — along with a bevy of itinerant strays that his wife routinely welcomes into their home.
McIntire says of joining the Board, “I have had the great pleasure of working with the CBLDF since I entered the comics industry, and I am honored to have the opportunity to join the current board, and the legacy they represent, in service of the Fund’s mission to protect and advocate the First Amendment rights of the comics community. Their mission is one that, while focused on the comics community, has a positive impact on a much wider spectrum of humanity and it is a privilege to be of greater service to that vision.”
About the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics artform and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. The CBLDF provides legal referrals, representation, advice, assistance, and education in furtherance of these goals.