The Fourth of July. Independence Day. The birthday of America. A time to appreciate the rich history of our country. A history that makes us uniquely American. History is what makes us who we are, biologically, emotionally, intellectually, and creatively. The choices we make about our future are tempered by lessons learned from accomplishments, mistakes, tragedies, losses, and victories. We can never truly control our destiny but history is our only guide for navigating the unknown future.
The Fourth of July. Independents Day. The birthday of CO2 Comics. We are one year old and we appreciate every minute of it. For us, it is a celebration of the moment in time when we first, publicly revealed our web site http://www.co2comics.com/. It is the celebration of the culmination of years of dreaming, experimenting, hypothesizing, observing and anguishing over history. The history of comics. Our place in the history of comics. How we will use that history to navigate and pioneer the future of comics at this, the Dawn of the Digital Age.
Mike Sterling reminded us a few weeks ago on his blog Progressive Ruin , that Bill Cucinotta and I had stood at the brink of a new age in comics before as publishers of Comico. We are proud that we had charged in with the likes of Pacific, Eclipse, Warp, Aardvark-Vaneheim, Capital, First and others laying the foundation for what would become The Independent Age.
Like our forefathers who fought valiantly to establish the ideals and conventions of freedom that make America what it is today, the early Independents left a trail of casualties while they set standards for creator rights, compensation, quality, format and innovative marketing in the fledgeling Direct Market. Comico, a briefly shining star in the industry, unfortunately, is among those ruins but its legacy should be remembered as should the lessons learned from all the pioneers in comics, wether they be the innovators of cave drawings, nineteenth century French publications, Gold, Silver or Bronze Age Comics, Undergrounds, Independents, and now, Digital.
Understand the past before challenging the future.
This is a lesson I learned from David Anthony Kraft one evening overlooking Georgia from his home perched high on Screamer Mountain during the mid 1980’s. The long time Marvel editor and writer and publisher of Comics Interview had a unique perspective of the history of comics because he had the opportunity to work and speak with legends that had created comics from the dawn of the industry. He appreciated my enthusiasm for change but emphasized understanding the reasoning for why comics had been made the same way for forty years.
Don’t fix what’s not broke? No. Understand the past before challenging the future.
This has been a historic year for comics. The Digital Age is blossoming. What it will be like in full bloom can only be imagined. We know that CO2 Comics will be part of it. We have seen the power of the internet. We know the potential of the downloadable content. We do not underestimate the value of the printed product. We know and respect the power of the medium of comics.
Our first year as CO2 Comics started humbly last Fourth of July weekend with just a few pages of comic art by Bill and me, an introduction and the basic structure and design elements that remain intact today. During our maiden year we have had the pleasure of being able to post the work of over twenty creators, many of which were friends with strong ties to our Comico days. We have accumulated nearly 600 pages of comic art about ten times the amount of work that had been published by Comico in its first year.
The audience has been bountiful. CO2 Comics has received nearly two million hits in its first year! In 1982, when Comico began publishing, it was inconceivable to reach an audience like that. Our sales figures of the two Primers that we published in our first year were just a few thousand copies, combined.
Why? Because history repeats itself.
We also know that we as publishers are older and wiser. We have a proven history of learning from our mistakes, exploring unique options, and pressing the envelope. We also know from failure. We know that Comico, for all of its successes, became a casualty, but it laid a foundation for a future. We are living in that future now and looking into the next horizon.
CO2 Comics considers our first year a beta year. In many ways it was a campaign that developed a life of its own. This next year will be even more exciting. New product will appear on the site, new comics by new creators. Digital, downloads will be developed for e-reading devices, and we will release our first products in print.
A key theme that will prevail throughout will be history. We are excited about comic history and our first print product will have tremendous historic value for the entire comic community. I would love to tell you about it right now, but it’s a surprise! Actually, it has been a tremendous amount of work, a true labor of love, and so important to Bill and I that we will announce it only when it is 100% ready to fly.
Until then we will keep the subject of history alive in our blog with a new weekly feature, The Comic Company, that explores some of the innovations we tackled in our early years of Comico. Inspired by the Progressive Ruin blog, and the interest that was generated by it, we will look at the highlights of the Dawn of the Independents and our involvement in an exciting time in comics history.
Making comics because we want to!
Making history because we just can’t help it.
Tags: Aardvark-Vaneheim, Bill Cucinotta, Capital Comics, CO2 Comics, comico, Comico Comics, comico the comic company, comics history, Comics Interview, Creator Rights, David Anthony Kraft, Dawn of the Digital Age, Direct Market, Eclipse Comics, First Comics, Gerry Giovinco, Marvel, Mike Sterling, Pacific Comics, Progressive Ruin, The Comic Company, The Independent Age, Warp Graphics