Conference Speakers

For the ICv2 Comics and Media Conference

Published: 07/07/09, Last Updated: 07/19/09 12:00am
The ICv2 Comics and Media Conference, held in conjunction with San Diego Comic-Con, will take place on the Wednesday afternoon just before Comic-Con Preview Night.  This is a ticketed half-day event with programming and networking opportunities that will help expand the growing flow of ideas and commerce between comics and film, TV, and videogames.  These are the speakers currently booked for the event.  More are being added regularly, and this page will be updated when they are.  For more information on the Conference, see "ICv2 Comics and Media Conference."

Keynote Address: Jeph Loeb

You'll Believe A Man Can Fly -- The Blending of Comics, Movies, Television and Beyond
Jeph Loeb is an Emmy and WGA nominated American film and television writer/producer as well as an award-winning comic book writer.  He was a producer/writer on the TV series Smallville and Lost, writer of the films Commando and Teen Wolf and Co-Executive Producer/writer on the NBC TV show Heroes from its premiere in 2006.  He is currently a writer and Co-Executive Producer on the new NBC series Day One.

A four-time Eisner Award winner and five-time Wizard Fan Awards winner, Jeph's writing, which has appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List, includes Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, The Hulk, Iron Man and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Among his many accolades, Jeph was given the prestigious Jules Verne Award in France for his contributions on Smallville and Heroes.  He was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Edward's University for his work in literature and its positive effect on children.


The Surrogates:  A Writer's Debut that Went Hollywood
The Surrogates writer Robert Venditti and Top Shelf Publisher Chris Staros talk about how a debut Top Shelf miniseries turned into a major film starring Bruce Willis (out in September).

Chris Staros -- Publisher, Top Shelf Productions

Chris Staros is the publisher of Top Shelf Productions, one of the more critically acclaimed independent press publishers of literary graphic novels and comics.  Since 1997, Top Shelf has published over two-hundred graphic novels and comics that have helped to revitalize interest in comics as a literary art form, including Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls, Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell's From Hell, Andy Runton's Owly, Craig Thompson’s Blankets, and Robert Venditti's The Surrogates.

Robert Venditti -- Writer, The Surrogates
Robert Venditti’s comic book writing debut, The Surrogates, was a breakout success, garnering favorable reviews from such high-profile publications as Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, and The Washington Post.  Starring Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames, the motion picture adaptation will be in theatres September 25, 2009.  Venditti currently lives in Atlanta, where he works for graphic novel publisher Top Shelf Productions by day and writes comics by night.  Future projects include the political/medical thriller The Homeland Directive, due from Top Shelf in 2010, and a graphic novel adaptation of the best-selling novel The Lightning Thief for Hyperion.

Moderator: Heidi MacDonald -- The Beat
Heidi MacDonald has edited award-winning comics for Disney, Warner Bros., and Fox.  She is currently the editor and main writer for The Beat, a blog covering comics as they relate to pop culture.  It was named one of the "100 Greatest Websites" by Entertainment Weekly.


When to Say No:  The True Adventures of Bone in Hollywood
Over three million Bone graphic novels have been sold, but there’s no movie (yet).  Bone creator Jeff Smith talks about “When to Say No,” as he relates his character’s path through Hollywood.

Jeff Smith -- Creator of Bone and RASL
Multiple Eisner and Harvey Award winner Jeff Smith broke out on the comics scene in 1991 with the celebrated and well-loved fantasy, Bone.   U.S. publisher Scholastic brought this indie comic to a whole new audience with a full-color version in 2005, now with over 3 million color graphic novels sold.  In 2008, Cartoon Books debuted Jeff’s newest adventure series, RASL, a sci-fi, noir thriller to critical acclaim.

Moderator: Heidi MacDonald -- The Beat
Heidi MacDonald has edited award-winning comics for Disney, Warner Bros., and Fox.  She is currently the editor and main writer for The Beat, a blog covering comics as they relate to pop culture.  It was named one of the "100 Greatest Websites" by Entertainment Weekly.


Comics and Transmedia Storytelling

Movies, TV shows, or videogames can spike interest in the associated comics and graphic novels.  But licensed comics and graphic novels can also be valuable in helping launch, revive or sustain interest in properties from other media.  With our panel of experts, we look at how comics can be part of an over-all strategy to develop a richer narrative and a longer time horizon for intellectual property

Nick Barrucci -- CEO, Dynamite Entertainment
Nick Barrucci is President of Dynamic Forces, Inc., producer of limited edition pop-culture collectibles.  Through its publishing division, Dynamite Entertainment, Barrucci serves as Publisher and President to a diverse line of properties covering such licensed titles as Red Sonja, Battlestar Galactica and the Lone Ranger, Zorro and Army of Darkness, in addition to such company and creator owned titles as Project Superpowers, Dead Irons, The Boys and other Dynamite releases.

Robin Brenner -- Teen Librarian, Brookline Public Library
Robin is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts.  She is the Chair of the ALA/YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee in 2008, was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, and has covered graphic novels and manga for Library Journal, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates, and GraphicNovelReporter.com.  She gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime all across the country.  Her guide Understanding Manga and Anime was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.  She is the editor-in-chief of No Flying No Tights, a graphic novel review site, as well as Sidekicks (for kids up to age 12) and the Lair (for older teens and adults).

Greg Goldstein -- Chief Operating Officer, IDW Publishing
As COO, Goldstein manages the day-to-day operations of IDW’s business, and plays a leading role in developing and launching new brands and imprints for the company.  Career highlights include profitable and creative product strategies for most major entertainment brands, including Star Wars, James Bond, Tony Hawk, Batman, and Star Trek.  Prior to joining IDW, Greg served as VP of Entertainment and Gaming for Upper Deck, VP of Licensing for Acclaim, VP of Brand Development for Activision, and had successful stints at Inkworks, Topps, and IBM.

Jeff Gomez -- CEO, Starlight Runner Entertainment
Jeff Gomez is a leading expert at developing entertainment properties into highly successful transmedia franchises.  Jeff conceived, co-wrote and produced one of the most successful cross-platform storylines of the decade with Mattel’s Hot Wheels comic books, videogames, Web content and animated series.  He has gone on to work with such franchises as Pirates of the Caribbean and Tron for Disney, James Cameron’s Avatar for 20th Century Fox, Halo for Microsoft, and Transformers for Hasbro.

Jim Killen -- Barnes & Noble
James joined Barnes and Noble in 1979 while still a freshman at the School of Visual Arts.  After managing several stores in New York City he was offered a position as a Buyer in 1987.  A life long comic-book fan he became the buyer for Science Fiction/Fantasy and Graphic Novels at B&N in 1998, just in time to see the graphic-narrative begin its explosion as an important story-telling medium to the mainstream audience.

Moderator:  Milton Griepp -- President, ICv2
Milton Griepp is the founder and President of ICv2, since 2001 the Web, publishing, Web, and consulting company that takes its readers and customers "inside pop culture."  He is a 30-year veteran of the pop culture business, and managed companies that sold over $1 billion in pop culture products as CEO of Capital City Distribution and Next Planet Over.  Griepp is Treasurer and serves on the board of directors of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and on the Free Comic Book Day Committee.


Comics after Hollywood
Over the last ten years, comics have been used as source material for movies, TV shows, and videogames more than at any other time in history, and the trend shows no signs of abating.  Everything has changed, from how comic companies are founded to the kinds of comic stories that are getting made into movies.  Where are the exciting new comic properties coming from?  How are deals getting done now?  Our panel of experts talks about the changing world for comic creators, comic publishers, and producers of movies, TV programming, and videogames.

Matt Hawkins -- President/Chief Operating Officer, Top Cow Productions
Shifting from banking to publishing and licensing in 1992, Hawkins has managed the sales and production of over $500M worth of published product, toys and other affiliated licensed merchandise to date.  Specializing in international trade, Hawkins has successfully executed distribution and licensing contracts in over 55 countries.  Also the writer/creator of several successful comic book franchises through his own company, Hawkins joined TCP in 1998 and now manages the day-to-day operations of the company.  Hawkins received a BA in Business Economics and a BS in Physics from UCLA.

Rick Jacobs -- Producer and Manager, Circle of Confusion
Jacobs is currently in production on the animated Shaolin Cowboy with Madhouse Entertainment; and is developing a live action adaptation of 10, the Japanese remake Shinobi, and The Untitled Heist Story with JJ Abrams.  Jacobs represents IDW Publishing, Brian Haberlin, Joshua Davis, and others.  Prior to aligning with Circle, Jacobs co-produced the Spy Kids: Challenger Game Boy game; and oversaw development of film adaptations of Max Payne, American McGee’s Alice, and The Six Million Dollar Man as VP-Production at Dimension Films-based Collision Entertainment.

Jeff Katz -- Chairman/CEO, American Original
Chairman/CEO of American Original.  Former VP of Production at 20th Century Fox and New Line Cinema.  Credits include Snakes On A Plane, Shoot 'Em Up, Freddy vs. Jason, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Former writer on DC Comics Booster Gold and Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash and its sequel for Wildstorm/Dynamite.

Mike Mignola -- Writer, Artist, Creator of Hellboy
Mike Mignola is an American comic book artist and writer, famous for creating the comic book series Hellboy for Dark Horse Comics.  He has also worked for animation projects such as Atlantis: The Lost Empire and the adaptation of his one shot comic book, The Amazing Screw-On Head.


Joe Nozemack -- Publisher/President, Oni Press
Joe Nozemack is the Publisher and President of Oni Press, Inc. which he founded in 1997 with the mandate to publish compelling comics and graphic novels with genres, formats, and creators that were being underutilized by the industry's existing institutions.  Having worked at almost every level of the comic business, in 2003 Nozemack, with producer Eric Gitter, co-founded production company Closed On Mondays Entertainment.  He's serving as a producer on such Oni adaptations as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Last Call, and many others while still leading Oni Press' publishing plans with dozens of new comics and graphic novels in development.

Moderator:  Tom McLean -- writer for Variety, Animation Magazine
Thomas J. McLean is a freelance writer and editor who has written extensively about comics, movies and TV shows for such publications as Variety, Animation Magazine, Metromix, Los Angeles Times and Below the Line.  He writes a weblog on the comics business called Bags and Boards, which began on Variety.com, and has been a judge for the Eisner Awards and the Comic-Con Film Festival.


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The Beat and PW Comics Week, two publications of Publishers Weekly, and Comic Book Resources are sponsors of the event.

The Beat
The Beat, by Heidi MacDonald, is a news blog of comics culture in which MacDonald delivers her own brand of coverage on the world of comics.  Sign up today!

PW Comics Week
Every week, PW Comics Week reports on comics & graphic novel publishing, bringing our readers business trends, artist, publisher profiles, & retail information.  It also delves into top stores & a release schedule of not-to-be-missed titles.  Sign up today!

Comic Book Resources
Comic Book Resources is the premier lifestyle and entertainment resource for comic entertainment news, appealing to collectors, publishers, retailers and film makers, covering comics, film, television, video games and more.  CBR was recently nominated for an Eisner Award in the category of Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism.

ICv2
ICv2 covers the business world of comics and graphic novels, specialty DVDs, tabletop games, and movie and TV licensed products on its Website, ICv2.com, and in its magazine, the ICv2 Insider’s Guide.