Archive for August, 2010

The Comic Company:
Marketing Comics on Mobile Devices Since 1984

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

“Location, location, location!” This is the mantra of of real estate investors worldwide and was a dilemma we faced as we planned a promotion strategy for our first full-color comic book publications, Matt Wagner’s Mage and Judith Hunt and Charles Dixon’s Evangeline.

 

Our first 2 color publications

 

Comico had proven itself as an aggressive marketer of its black-and-white line by advertising in all of the major fan magazines at the time. Bill Cucinotta made sure that full-page ads were regularly seen in the Comics Buyers Guide, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Journal, and David Anthony Kraft’s Comics Interview.

 

 

Our decision to begin publishing in color raised the bar significantly. We could no longer survive if our titles sold just a few thousand copies each. We knew that publishing in color would automatically cause our sales figures to rise dramatically but we had to sell around 30,000 of each title to see black ink on our ledger sheets.

30,000 seems like a good number when looking at the monthly sales figures of comics today but in 1984 when Marvel and DC were still selling comics for 75¢ we could not compete with a $3-4 cover price. At $1.50, our profit margin was a lot slimmer than it is for books in the current market.

We had great faith in the product and rightfully so. Creators of each comic have gone on to become industry giants but at the time they were all virtual unknowns.

We felt that in order to succeed we needed to promote our product at the point of purchase; in the comic shops themselves.

Bill, who had worked many years in retail at Fat Jack’s Comic Crypt in Philadelphia, knew first-hand how valuable the real estate was in comic shops which were usually quite small.

When he, Phil LaSorda, and I discussed the possibility of posters in the stores to promote our comics the question was, “Where would the retailers hang them if they hung them at all?”

Retail walls were usually covered, floor-to-ceiling, by shelves displaying hundreds of new comics. Valuable older comics in mylar bags were displayed on walls also.

If a poster were to go up on any of the limited wall space that might be left, you could bet that it would be reserved for a Marvel or DC product.

We talked about post cards and rack cards but agreed that counter space and rack space was as much a premium as wall space in the tiny comic shops.

Hell, the only space left was the ceiling and how would we convince retailers to staple our poster on their ceiling?

Inspiration from above

Maybe it was from years of kite flying, model rocketry, and hanging plastic airplanes in my room. Maybe it was from marveling at Alexander Calder’s masterpieces in art school. The idea of creating a mobile that the retailers could hang from a single tack or hook soon gave rise.

We would command a virgin, uncharted territory smack in the center of the ceiling in virtually every comic shop. We would boldly go where no man had gone before!

 

Mobile Ad

 

The Comico Mobile, which was promoted as “The First in a series of Promotional Mobiles,” was a simple elegant design though it would be the first and only one of the intended series. It was a cardboard disc that was 18 inches in diameter printed in full color on both sides, Mage on one side, Evangeline on the other. At the top was drilled a tiny hole from which it could be hung.

There was a limited number of 100 that were signed and numbered by the creators and the rest were sent to distributors where retailers would place an order to get theirs for free with their shipment of Comico comics. Just in case they missed the offer we ran ads in the trades to make sure no one was left out.

The Comico line of color comics was off the ground. The proof was on the ceiling!

 

A Comico Mobile still hangs in my studio today right next to my inspiration for the Comico Blimp, a toy airship hanging from a string.

 

CO2 Mobile Command Centre

 

On the wall behind my desk, however, is a new banner proclaiming CO2 Comics, our exciting new foray into the digital world of comics.

Today’s digital environment adds a completely different meaning when speaking the term “mobile.” Computers and mobile devices like smart phones, iPads, and e-readers are quickly changing the landscape of all publishing including comics.

CO2 Comics will give Bill and I the chance to pioneer again but we will still look back to the term “Location, location, location,” only this time we will be looking for a good Wi-Fi connection.

Making comics because I want to

Gerry Giovinco

 

 

Monday Weekly Update | El Vocho

Monday, August 30th, 2010

New page of EL VOCHO by Steve Lafler now available.

EL VOCHO Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

 

 

NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the

EL VOCHO graphic novel,

Now On Sale

At LULU Here.

Sunday Weekly Update | YI SOON SHIN

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

New page of YI SOON SHIN by Onrie Kompan
& Giovani Paolo Timpano is now available.

YI SOON SHIN Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

To purchase issue #1 and #2, now on sale,
please contact Onrie Kompan.

YI SOON SHIN issues 1 & 2

Visit the official YI SOON SHIN Warrior and Defender website Here .

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

New page of DOG BOY by Steve Lafler now available.

DOGBOY Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

 


NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the EL VOCHO
graphic novel, now on sale
At LULU Here.

Friday Weekly Update | Monkey & Bird

Friday, August 27th, 2010

New page of
Monkey & Bird by Joe Williams and Tina Garceau
is now available.

MONKEY & BIRD Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Thursday Weekly Update | The World Of Ginger Fox

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

New page of The World Of Ginger Fox by Mike Baron
& Mitch O’Connell is now available.

GINGER FOX Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Wednesday Weekly Update | Heaven And The Dead City

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

New page of  Heaven and the Dead City by Raine Szramski
now available.

HEAVEN And The DEAD CITY Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

The Comic Company:
Prime Time

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
 
Comico was always intended to be launched in an anthology format. The first planned publication was Comico Presents which was to feature Phil LaSorda’s AZ, Vince Argondezzi’s Mr. Justice and my own Slaughterman.

Unpublished Cover

By the spring of 1982, however, the dynamics of the original group had changed.
Vince Argondezzi was moving on and Bill Cucinotta had joined our ranks bringing with him his creation, Skrog. Other talented comic artists, Matt Wagner and the very young Andrew Murphy, lurked in the wings.

It occurred to me that the anthology format had greater potential for us than we had originally planned. Rather than be merely a vehicle to introduce our own feature characters into the Direct Market, the format gave us a venue to feature the works of the many undiscovered talents that we were becoming acquainted with on the convention circuit.
 
I saw this publication as the foundation for which all future projects would emerge. It was the first coat of paint on which we could embellish illustrious careers as comic creators. This anthology would be our Primer.
 

PRIMER #1, Cover pencils by Andrew Murphy. inks Gerry Giovinco

 
Surprisingly, I do not remember it being difficult to sell the concept and especially the name, Primer, to Phil and Bill. We all knew that, in a market with titles full of Action, Adventure, and other Epic names, Primer was as dynamic sounding as white bread but to us it perfectly described the product and what we expected to accomplish with it.
 

PRIMER #2, Cover by Matt Wagner, 1st appearance of GRENDEL

 
We had hoped that by naming our comic book Primer, readers would expect something different, that the product would lay a foundation for what was to come and, most importantly, it would ignite an interest in our budding comic company. Primer would survive six issues and be our longest running black-and-white title. It did launch Comico and prime the industry for a unique independent company that blazed trails in creative and production quality, pioneered licensing for alternative publishers, championed creator’s rights and gave Marvel and DC a serious run for their money.
 

PRIMER #3, Cover by Jim Dever, featuring an early William Messner-Loebs story

 

The impact of Primer is still felt in the comics industry today.

 

PRIMER #4, Cover by Barb Ramata, first of three to be edited by Matt Wagner

The ACT-I-VATE PRIMER

I can tell you that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Bill and I were both caught blushing when IDW announced that it would be publishing The ACT-I-VATE Primer.

ACT-I-VATE has been among our greatest inspirations while developing CO2 Comics. The presumption that our Primer may have had any influence on Dean Haspiel and friends was quite humbling to us (Guys, don’t tell us if it didn’t, it might ruin the moment!). Marvel’s Marvelman Classic Primer and Alan Moore’s Americas Best Comics Primer also find use of the Primer name which I like to believe would have never been used when associated with comics before the advent of the Comico Primer.

PRIMER #5, Cover by Will Brown, featuring Sam Kieth’s Max the Hare

How-to Comic Primers pepper the internet and we at CO2 Comics have tapped the old Comico Primer for our own World Wide Web purposes.

PRIMER #6, Cover by Judith Hunt, the introduction of Chuck Dixon and Judith Hunt's Evangeline. Assistant editor CO2 Comics contributor Reggie Byers.

My Slaughterman, Bill Cucinotta’s Skrog, Andrew Murphy’s Victor, and Rich Rankin and Neil Vokes’ Gauntlet, features that all ran in Primer, are now featured right here on CO2 Comics.

They have all helped us launch this new and exciting web comics collective. CO2 Comics contributor Bill Anderson also graced the pages of Primer. Primer alumni, Matt Wagner, Sam Kieth, William Messner-Loebs, and Chuck Dixon have had stellar careers as comic creators. Their earliest published works can be found in those seemingly innocuous six issues of Primer making a few of them quite valuable as collectibles.

Other talents that were featured in Primer: Phil LaSorda, Vince Argondezzi, Jim Alderman, Rick McCollum, Bill Bryan, Jim Dever, Larry Nadolsky, Francis Mao, Barb and Bernie Armata, Ron Kasman, Will Brown, Chris Windle, Ajay Mclaughlin, Mark Lantz, Michael Lail, Grass Green, Judith Hunt and Al Wiesner. Primer was, unfortunately, discontinued along with the rest of the black-and-white line when Comico made its transition to color in 1984.

Pain

Works that were planned to be published in Primer that I am sorry we missed out on were Pain by Bill Cucinotta, Panda Khan by Dave Garcia and a little pre-turtle story by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

I have quite a few interesting stories that I can share about experiences publishing Primer that will have to wait for another time.

Next week I will pick things up a bit with a look at one of my favorite “Pie in the Sky” ideas from the early days of The Comic Company.

Making comics because I want to!

Gerry Giovinco

 

 

 

Monday Weekly Update | El Vocho

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

New page of EL VOCHO by Steve Lafler now available.

EL VOCHO Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

 

NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the

EL VOCHO graphic novel,

now on sale

At LULU Here.

Sunday Weekly Update | YI SOON SHIN

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

New page of YI SOON SHIN by Onrie Kompan
& Giovani Paolo Timpano is now available.

YI SOON SHIN Update

To purchase issue #1 and #2, now on sale,
please contact Onrie Kompan.

YI SOON SHIN issues 1 & 2

Visit the official YI SOON SHIN Warrior and Defender website Here .


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