Archive for April, 2012

Ode to Oswald

Monday, April 30th, 2012

One would think that of all the major conglomerates in the world, The Walt Disney Company would have the greatest empathy and respect for creators who have made bad deals that resulted in their characters being torn from them. Disney, in fact owes its own success to it’s founder’s resolution resulting from having his creation hijacked by corporate greed.

Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks

In 1927, Walt Disney and his chief animator Ub Iwerks signed a deal with producer Charles Mintz to create a character so they could sell animated shorts to Universal Studios. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit became Disney’s first major success. Walt Disney, always striving for quality, saw his budgets becoming more costly and approached Mintz for more money. To Disney’s surprise Mintz outlined a plan where Walt would receive 20% less and was informed that Mintz contractually controlled the rights to the character and could produce cartoons without Disney. In fact, Mintz had already secured the services of all of Disney’s animators with the exception of Ub Iwerks. Disney refused to take the cut and walked away from his association with Mintz leaving his successful character behind.



Vowing to never let anyone else own his work again Disney started his own studio with his brother, Roy and Ub Iwerks, introducing the world to Mickey Mouse. Mickey’s initial start was slow going but Disney’s willingness to embrace the new technology of sound in film propelled the mouse to international stardom when he released Steamboat Willie in 1928.


The Walt Disney Company’s success since has been unparalleled and though Walt himself is often quoted as saying, “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing–that it was all started by a mouse,” he must have been justifiably  haunted by the loss of  Oswald the Rabbit. It must have also been a thorn in the corporate culture of the entire company that Oswald had been orphaned because when Bob Iger was named CEO of the company he told Walt’s daughter, Diane, that he intended to bring Oswald back to Disney. Nearly eighty years after the character was estranged from Disney, Bob Iger did just that.

In 2006, Iger traded away sportscaster Al Michaels from Disney’s ABC and ESPN to NBC Universal for the rights to Oswald and a few other minor assets! Oswald the Rabbit came home to much pomp and circumstance and immediately became a co-star in Disney’s popular video game Epic Mickey where Oswald rules Wasteland, a world inhabited by, what else, forgotten characters. The Disney merchandising machine is slowly including Oswald in all things Disneyana but more importantly there is great satisfaction that Oswald is home where he belongs with his step-brother Mickey.

It is exactly this corporate culture righteousness that needs to be implored now that Disney owns Marvel Entertainment. A long trail of Marvel Comic creators have seen their characters harvested to the tune of literally billions of dollars with no compensation paid to the originators or their heirs beyond a meager initial page rate. Adding insult to injury these same creators are not even being acknowledged for their roles as creators in film credits for what can only be legal posturing. This is more than an injustice, this is a cultural travesty! Films like The Avengers have an opportunity, nay, a responsibility to properly credit the creative minds that laid the foundation for generations of entertainment by these characters. The audience has a cultural right to know the accurate history of these characters and the medium that they are derived from.

I can’t believe that a company as wealthy Disney cannot find a way to see the value of the good will that would be generated by establishing some sort of compensation or, at the very least, acknowledgement to the efforts put forth by these creators. I imagine that Walt Disney is rolling in his grave (or cryogenic chamber if you buy into that legend) at the thought of his own World of Tomorrow being such an unscrupulous, greedy, and callous place.

Maybe someday, just as The Walt Disney Company experienced the joy of the triumphant return of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit back into the fold of the Magic Kingdom, the legacy of the true original creators of the Marvel Universe will be fully embraced and that same joy can be experienced by those creative pioneers and their heirs.

As Stan Lee, the only Marvel co-creator unabashedly and perpetually credited would say, “With great power comes great responsibility.” It’s time that Disney, Marvel, and Stan, himself, live up to that motto and do the right thing.

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco


Monday Weekly Update | RIBIT!

Monday, April 30th, 2012

New page of RIBIT!
by Frank Thorne, now available.

RIBIT Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

New page of DOG BOY by Steve Lafler now available.

DOG BOY Update

Click Here to read this comic NOW!

Read the 3 Part STEVE LAFLER INTERVIEW
posted on The Comics Journal


NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the EL VOCHO

graphic novel, now on sale

At LULU Here.

Tuesday Weekly Update |
CAPTAIN OBESE

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

New page of
The Heavy Adventures of CAPTAIN OBESE
by Don Lomax is now available.

CAPTAIN OBESE Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!


Point of Reference

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

There is an on going discussion in the comics industry about the ethical use of reference material. Too often (once is too often) it is possible to find blatant examples of art that is boldly swiped directly from the pages of another creator’s work. I have seen entire pages lifted with only the costumes and word balloons changed!  Other artists lean heavily on reference photos and trace directly from them.

Maybe the practice of swiping is more rampant in comics than in other mediums simply because the volume of work on stringent deadlines encourages the need for shortcuts. You would think that this was more true back in the days when guys like Jack Kirby were cranking out six issues a month but it seems like those artists from previous generations drew so much and so fast they didn’t have time to copy, it was easier for them to have the work just spill from their mind right onto the page.

The argument that time is money has always been the biggest motivator for comic artists to “borrow” images. The legendary Wally Wood is reported to have had a motto framed on his studio wall that read, “Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut and paste up.”


22 Panels That Always Work is the registered, copyrighted property of Wallace Wood Properties LLC -- All Rights Reserved. You can order the print from http://www.vanguardproductions.net/Woodprint2

In bygone days illustrators kept a file referred to as a morgue where they collected every image they could find of every subject they could imagine possibly ever needing. Clippings from magazines were categorized and systematically stored for future reference.

Tracing required transferring the image from tracing paper onto the bristol board using a light box or an even more archaic technique of rubbing lead on the back of the tracing paper and transferring the lead onto the board by redrawing over the traced image. Some artists used opaque projectors to project an image to trace directly onto the board and others would grid the image and the board to insure that their proportions were correct. It’s no wonder that artists found it easier to learn to draw well, so they could simply look at an image for reference and render a form as they wanted to.

Artwork by Daniel Scott Gabriel Murray rendered in POSER, Click for More

Today if you are looking for a reference image all you have to do is search for it on the internet. You can build files of poses from images that you like and keep them just a click away. These images can be pulled into a photo editing program like Photoshop and scaled to size, modified and drug right into a comic page that is being digitally created or printed out and lightboxed onto bristol board easily since there is no image on the reverse side like on those old magazine clippings.  Even magazine clippings can be scanned and copied in this simple manner. Reference programs like Poser exist to let artists create their own specific three dimensional reference pose.

Tracing or copying is easier than ever before but now the world is watching. As easy as it is to copy it is just as simple for the audience to search for images to compare and they will. These swiper Sherlocks are more than happy to share their findings all over the internet.

Many artists take their own photos for reference which is also much easier to do in this digital age when a photo can be instantly uploaded rather than waiting to be developed at the Fotomat. Still, direct tracing fro a photo has its limitations.  Though a photo is a wonderful source for accuracy, an illustration usually requires some sort of subtle exaggeration to bring the image to life, a tweak that only a talented illustrator can provide. These embellishments usually become trademarks of the illustrator’s style and become distinctive in their work.

Famed Marvel Comics creator Bob McLeod often posts wonderful works of great classic illustrators on Facebook. He recently posted comparisons of Norman Rockwell’s reference photos to a final piece and pointed out how this master illustrator made select adjustments to make the work come alive. The post was a wonderful example of how to use reference material but immediately broke into a discussion about reference ethics.


I am a big fan of maximizing the use of your resources but as an illustrator you have an ethical responsibility not to plagiarize the work of others wether it be a photograph, painting or drawing. It is fine to be influenced and inspired. Refer to the work of others for education and use of technique. Look closely at details so you can accurately depict the form of the subject you are rendering. Regardless of what you are creating, be original and you will gain the respect of your peers and the admiration of your fans.

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco


Monday Weekly Update | RIBIT!

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

New page of RIBIT!
by Frank Thorne, now available.

RIBIT Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

New page of DOG BOY by Steve Lafler now available.

DOG BOY Update

Click Here to read this comic NOW!

Read the 3 Part STEVE LAFLER INTERVIEW
posted on The Comics Journal


NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the EL VOCHO

graphic novel, now on sale

At LULU Here.

Ready to Launch!

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Paul Zdepski makes a big point to regularly mention that he was born during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Can you imagine coming into a world during a fleeting moment of international distress instigated by impending Armageddon?! Paul’s first experience with raw emotion was the collective anxiety of the entire world! Thankfully for us Paul has channeled that empathy through his comics and illustrations where he is able to focus on the distinct reactions that his characters have when faced with the challenges of life whether they be unusual or mundane.

Emulating that threat to our national defense Paul Zdepski has managed to fly under the radar of Bill Cucinotta and myself, hovering on the edge of our social and professional careers for over thirty years, waiting for the opportune moment to strike with his unique brand of creative genius.

Paul toured the periphery of our college escapades as we published DUCKWORK at the then Philadelphia College of Art. Classmates with Matt Wagner, Mike Leeke, Dave Johnson and Joe Matt, he held a pass to our social network that also included me, Bill, Joe Williams and Tina Garceau all would eventually have an impact on either  Comico and CO2 Comics or both.

During the heyday of Comico one of the most vibrant studios that produced work for us was Philadelphia based Bain Sidhe Studios, the creative realm where Matt Wagner, Bill Willingham, Rich Rankin, Joe Matt and Bill Cucinotta along with others, generated works for Comico, DC and Marvel. Paul was a welcomed guest in that circle as evidenced by the Comico swag he posts on his own blog.

When Bill and I began resurrecting our comic careers with CO2 Comics, Paul was one of our earliest followers, commenting on posts and chiming in on facebook pages. Now down in the Washington DC area Paul is a member of a productive group of indy comic creators called DC Conspiracy. A quick visit to his website will show what a busy and accomplished illustrator and educator Paul is.

The missile finally hit home when Paul announced that his mini comic SING-SING was awarded best Mini Comic/Short Story category of the year by S.P.A.C.E. Now in it’s 13th year, S.P.A.C.E. is the midwest’s largest exhibition of small press and creator owned comics. Sponsored by Back Porch Comics, the show’s held in Columbus,Ohio. This years presentation of S.P.A.C.E. will be held April 21 and 22.

Bill and I have always taken pride in our ability to spot and cultivate talented comic creators but somehow Paul managed to stealthily remain undetected while being in our own back yard the whole time. Now, much more than a blip on our screen, we are hoping the Paul Zdepksi will become a popular regular contributor to CO2 Comics, starting today with our proud presentation of his award winning mini comic SING SING!

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco


Monday Weekly Update | RIBIT!

Monday, April 16th, 2012

New page of RIBIT!
by Frank Thorne, now available.

RIBIT Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

New page of DOG BOY by Steve Lafler now available.

DOG BOY Update

Click Here to read this comic NOW!

Read the 3 Part STEVE LAFLER INTERVIEW
posted on The Comics Journal


NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the EL VOCHO

graphic novel, now on sale

At LULU Here.


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