Meet the Team
Staff & Advisory Boards
Staff & Advisory Boards
The President and Primary Grader at CBCS (Comic Book Certification Service), Steve was a key figure in introducing third-party certification to the comic book hobby. His expertise and spotless reputation in the community got him hired by CGC as its first Primary Grader and Restoration Detection Expert. Steve’s reputation was a key component in certification gaining acceptance among the collecting community. Steve helped establish the grading standards used by most of the hobby today. Steve opened CBCS (CBCScomics.com) in 2014, as he saw a need for a new “collector friendly” grading service. Now CBCS is used by all the top auction houses and many top sellers and collectors.
Mike Malve was the founder and president of the retailer Atomic Comics. Mike opened his first store at the age of 20 and over the next 26 years proceeded to grow the company into one of the world’s largest and most acclaimed comic book chains. In 2011, Mike opened Captured Planet Studios, a digital animation company working primarily with world-renowned comic book studios. In 2015, while still running Captured Planet, Mike became very interested in the craft beer industry and became off premises sales manager for San Tan Brewery, one of the fastest-growing breweries in the United States.
Brian Pulido created the Chaos! Comics universe including Lady Death, Evil Ernie, Purgatori, Chastity, and dozens of other characters. He has published or written Lady Death, Evil Ernie, A Nightmare on Elm St., Chucky, Friday The 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Megadeth, Insane Clown Posse, and many more. He has received the CBLDF Defender of Liberty Award, and wrote and directed the feature film The Graves starring Tony Todd.
Joe Quesada wears many creative hats, as both an acclaimed writer-artist and the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment. In this role, Joe is steward of such iconic characters as The Avengers, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. With his transition into the position of Chief Creative Officer, Joe’s tenure as Editor-in-Chief drew to a close after 10 successful years, the longest term since Stan Lee himself. Under Quesada’s guidance, Marvel underwent a creative boom and became home to the comic industry’s greatest talents. As CCO, he now brings this same vision to the whole of Marvel Entertainment, creatively overseeing the worlds of television, animation, publishing, and theme parks.
Mark Waid is a New York Times bestselling author whose many works include Kingdom Come, Superman: Birthright, and years-long runs on such popular titles as Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Flash and Justice League. As a publisher, he runs Thrillbent.com, a cutting-edge website showcasing a wide variety of comics produced specifically for tablets and digital devices. Waid also co-owns a comics shop in Indiana and is a tireless advocate for creator rights. If you catch him trying to catch a quick nap, forgive him.
Beth Widera was the owner and director of the Orlando MegaCon, the largest comic book, sci-fi convention in the Southeast United States. She started directing the convention in 1999, and in 2004, she purchased it, and has been running it as a family-operated business until 2015. Deeply committed to its principles, Beth supplied the Hero Initiative with free booth space and numerous amenities every year at MegaCon. She is a firm believer in giving back to people and to the industry that has given so much to her. Beth has an Associate’s degree in Marketing and a Masters degree in Education.
Howard Chaykin pioneered the graphic novel form in the United States with Empire, The Stars My Destination, and Swords of Heaven, Flowers of Hell. He created the award-winning and ridiculously influential American Flagg! and Time(Squared), as well as deconstructing a number of mainstream characters, most notably The Shadow and Blackhawk. He has served on staff as a writer/producer on several television series, rising to the level of show runner, as well as freelancing in feature films, pilots, and episodic television. These days he spends his time writing and drawing comics, living at the beach, filled with gratitude that he’s no longer afflicted with a youthful attitude problem.
Charlie Novinskie, a lifelong comics fan, served as the sales and promotions manager for Topps Comics from 1993-1998 and was the publisher of Comics Spotlight magazine. Novinskie currently serves as an advisor to the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide and continues to freelance on various writing projects. He is also the managing editor of Lake Havasu LIVING magazine and resides with his wife, Kristine, in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
One of comics’ most acclaimed writers, Denny O’Neil , worked briefly in journalism, then moved to New York and comics. Denny brought social consciousness to the medium with the groundbreaking Green Lantern/Green Arrow series. His work on Batman— as writer and editor—returned that character to its dark, gothic roots. Dennis has taught writing at the School of Visual Arts and New York University in Manhattan, and at Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY.
George started his comics career over 42 years ago, and he’s still going strong, He has been involved in many landmark publications including The New Teen Titans, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and History of the DC Universe. An acknowledged master at drawing team books George Pérez has had two enormously successful runs on Avengers, and also had great personal success with the solo feature Wonder Woman, which he also scripted, re-establishing the Amazing Amazon as one of DC Comics’ upper-tier characters. George is currently writing and drawing his creator-co-owned series George Pérez’s Sirens for BOOM! Entertainment, and using his talents to raise money for various charities, including The Hero Initiative, for which he has served as Chairman of the Disbursement Committee since its founding.
Legendary artist John Romita started in the comics field in 1949. After stints at Marvel and DC Comics, he returned to Marvel in 1966, where he became the second regular artist on Amazing Spider-Man. Romita’s conception of the character became the most widely known version when he provided the artwork for the syndicated Spider-Man newspaper strip from 1977-1980. Romita is now retired, grudgingly coaxed back to the drawing board for occasional special projects such as the U.S. Post Office’s 2007 Spider-Man stamp.
Walter Simonson has written and/or drawn a bevy of comics since the early 1970s including the New York Times bestselling Alien graphic novel, Manhunter, Batman, Thor, X-Factor, Fantastic Four, and many more. Walter is currently writing and drawing Ragnarok, a new creator-owned title from IDW Publishing.
Roy Thomas is one of the founders of comics fandom and among the first of its ranks to “turn pro.” He has now worked as a writer and editor in the field for 50 years. In 1965, he left his native Missouri for New York City, where he served for eight days as assistant to Mort Weisinger at DC Comics, before making the move across town to Marvel, which became Roy’s creative berth for the next sixteen years. In 1972, he became Stan Lee’s first successor as Marvel’s editor-in-chief. Roy is perhaps best known for single-handedly bringing the sword-and-sorcery genre to comics with Conan the Barbarian; for his long stints as writer of Marvel’s Avengers and X-Men titles; and as DC Comics’ “Earth-2 editor” during the 1980s. Roy is currently involved in a number of new comics projects, and also edits Alter Ego, the famed superhero fanzine he helped to found more than five decades ago.
Jim Valentino is the creator of such diverse series as normalman, A Touch of Silver, Vignettes and ShadowHawk, as well the creative force behind the Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel. A co-founder of Image Comics, he served as the company’s publisher from 1999-2004, changing the face of the company to one of the most stylistically diverse in the industry. Currently he heads his own division of Image, Shadowline, Inc., which publishes Rat Queens, Faster Than Light, and works from Jimmie Robinson, Ted McKeever and more. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
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Fred Chamberlain is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor with a Masters Degree in Counseling from Johnson State College. Fred has spent the past 30 years working with individuals, groups and families with a focus on personal growth topics and issues. Fred’s areas of specialty include adjustment issues, anger management, relationship issues, assertiveness training, depression, anxiety, stress and grief work with individuals and couples, as well as experience with substance abuse and addictions work. Fred assists Hero with client consultation, treatment and referrals.
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Joe Davidson is an Enrolled Agent with over 10 years of Tax Preparation experience. After graduating from Concordia University Irvine in 1998 with two Bachelor’s degrees, one in Business Management and the other in Business Accounting, Joe began his career in the Tax and Financial industries. In 2009, Joe founded Tax Advice Guys, offering clients the highest quality of customer service, and assistance in all of their tax needs, including representation, correspondence and of course, preparation and planning.
Joe can be reached at 714-675-4342 or,…
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Dr. Durudogan completed his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Biology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He then attended Boston University where he received his Master’s Degree in Science. Dr. Durudogan received his medical degree at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois in 1992. After completing his internship and orthopedic residency, he began practicing in 1997. In May 2003, Dr. Durudogan went into solo practice where he would quickly flourish. Wanting to provide his patients with more orthopedic focused treatments, he purchased and renovated a 10,000 sq. ft. building and created Southwest Center for Healthy Joints in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Dr. Durudogan’s dream became a reality when the doors to this new state-of-the-art facility opened in January 2007. He can now provide various rehabilitative therapies and digital imaging that allow his patients the convenience of comprehensive musculoskeletal care in one location. Dr. Durudogan will assist Hero Initiative with Orthopedic patient consultations, diagnoses, treatments, and referrals for musculoskeletal issues within his areas of expertise.
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Dr. Mauricio Heilbron is a fully boarded general, trauma, and vascular surgeon in Long Beach, California where he performs complicated vascular surgeries involving aneurysms, dialysis and extremity bypasses. Dr. Heilbron opened his own practice in 1998, where patients are all treated like family. He has written numerous articles for Los Angeles area newspapers, and has won a Los Angeles Press Club Journalism Award. Dr. Heilbron assists Hero with patient consultations, diagnoses, treatment, and referrals for both government programs and physicians outside his geographic area or area of expertise.
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Harlan Wenig is an independent financial advisor who works directly with clients towards their financial goals. He works with Summit Brokerage Services, and specializes in retirement planning, asset preservation, and estate planning through the use of various investment vehicles including: annuities (variable, fixed, and indexed), non-traded REITs, mutual funds, individual equities, life insurance, disability insurance and other types of investments for both retirement plans (IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.) and non-qualified accounts. Harlan holds Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 7 and Series 66 licenses, in addition to multiple state insurance licenses. Since 2003, he has been as an active volunteer for the Hero Initiative and a member of the regional advisory board.
To contact Harlan Wenig, call toll-free at: 800-226-2660 or visit Summit Brokerage Service’s Website
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