Archive for March, 2013

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

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.

Thursday Weekly Update | Bughouse

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

New page of BUGHOUSE by Steve Lafler now available.

BUGHOUSE 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 | Tales Of ISHMAR: THE MIDAS CURSE

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

New page of
THE MIDAS CURSE
by Don Lomax is now available.

THE MIDAS CURSE Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

DRM: Digital Rights Management or Manipulation

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Creative people, beware! What is worse, having your worked ripped off by pirates or being forced to channel your creative efforts through a labyrinth of laws and high tech security defenses that are supposedly intended to protect you and your creations but in reality herd you to a desolate pasture guarded by dogs whose only interest is to control and profit from your work?

Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are all jokes. They only protect those that can afford to enforce them.

“Hi! I’m a comic artist. I created a work and I have a copyright and a trademark on it but now it is viral on the web in torrent sites and a big company is publishing a comic just like it. They have plans to make a film. I can’t afford to go after all or any of the pirates so my trademark is naked leaving me unprotected. I’d love to go after the big company but I can’t afford representation. Any lawyer who will take my case will bleed me after settlement if I win.”

Sound familiar? It’s tough being a starving artist.

Oppose DRM-Click here and visit Defective By Design

Now there is DRM. Digital Rights Management programs are intended to protect creative works from being copied in this digital age.  Sounds good but for creative folks that consider themselves “the little guy” DRM becomes another hurdle that ends up costing money. You self-publish a comic and make an e-book out of it but now need to buy a different ISBN for every platform that it is on or become locked into a platform because of exclusivity contracts. Pick the wrong platform and your project is dead in the water.

We all got an eye-full when Marvel crashed Comixology. Headlines should have read, “Industry Giant Floods Market. Blacks Out All Competition.” What does the crash have to do with DRM? Apps like Comixology are intended to facilitate monetization of digital comics that formerly relied on the internet for “distribution” They are also intended to deter piracy by making legally paid-for,  digital content easily accessible the way iTunes did for music in the hope that inherently honest people would avoid torrent sites.

But DRM prevents you from owning what you have bought. It is more like a library card that lets you borrow a comic to view whenever you want to with certain limitations. Whatever you do don’t share it!

Marvel’s blackout of Comixology was more than a big reminder that we don’t really own what we plunk our cash down for. It also showed that Marvel had the power to prevent accessibility  to smaller works just like they do when they flood the Direct Market with a million popular titles.

According to a recent  article HTML5’s overseer says DRM’s true purpose is to prevent legal forms of innovation.

Seriously?

We really are being herded.

Controversy over creative ownership and sharing has to be as old as the earliest cave drawings. Imagine them arguing over copying each other’s stick figure, animal drawings. But those drawings  preserved stories that needed to be shared. Their value became measured by a culture that grew from their sharing. We are their ultimate beneficiaries. Copying was not stealing. it was sharing.

Before records, cassette tapes and mp3 players music was copied and shared by anyone with an instrument or a singing voice. Somebody whistling a tune they just heard could be considered a pirate in the strictest terms today. The person who wrote the tune could feel jeopardized that the whistler is entertaining others with the tune while returning no royalty. The whistler in reality is free advertisement for the song writer and the professional that originally performed the song.

There is value in sharing and a fine line to ownership when it comes to culture. We all want to be recognized and rewarded for our creations but do we have to protect them so dearly that only those that can afford to can have access to them. This stinginess ultimately hurts everyone including the artist.


Imagine where South Korean musician PSY would be today if his K-Pop single, Gangnam Style didn’t make him a world sensation by going viral on the internet. All that shared free publicity resulted in over $8 million in revenue from paid iTunes downloads and commercials.

People may settle for a copy if they have to but they will always value ownership of the original. As much as we hate the idea of knock-offs, the truth is they drive up the value of the original by increasing demand and simulating popularity.

Artists, don’t be manipulated by fear! Big companies and content providers will be the first cry foul and instigate unfettered fear among artists to justify radical defensive measures regarding laws and security plans like DRM. Behind the frenzy is a calculated plot to control the artists whose free thinking poses the greatest threat of all to the big wigs at the top.

The internet has provided us with the greatest, most fertile environment for creativity ever. The digital age has given power to the artist. Do not be fooled to hand over the keys to big business and their strangling tactics. Do not be manipulated.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco


Monday Weekly Update | Eaten By Planet 29

Monday, March 25th, 2013

New page of Eaten By Planet 29
by Kevin Atkinson, now available.

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

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.

Thursday Weekly Update | Bughouse

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

New page of BUGHOUSE by Steve Lafler now available.

BUGHOUSE 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

Tuesday Weekly Update | Tales Of ISHMAR: SOFT STUFF

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

New page of
SOFT STUFF
by Don Lomax is now available.

SOFT STUFF Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Burt Wonderstone and the Wonderment of Comics

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

After finally putting to bed a huge project that we’ve been working on here at CO2 Comics (expect a big announcement next week) I snuck out with my wife for a guilty pleasure.

We went to the movies!

Beside my professional credentials as a comics creator and publisher, I am proud to admit that I am also a variety arts entertainer with a fair range of diverse skills that include balloon sculpting, juggling, stilt walking, puppetry and magic. There has been a buzz of excitement among my friends in the magician community about the new movie, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.” Sporting a great cast that includes Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin and the stunning Olivia Wilde with a cameo by David Copperfield, himself, this magic parody film was hard to resist, especially for anyone that has ever dabbled as a magician.

I don’t intend that this blog post be a review of “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.” For me, movie was entertaining, though it did not live up to my hopeful expectations. I did find myself, however, identifying with the central theme which paralleled  closely to last week’s essay about Jerry Ordway and his experience as a formerly successful comic book artist now struggling to find work. The film had a lesson to be learned by all artists and entertainers which can be summed up simply as “never lose the wonderment that attracted you to your creative medium of choice.”

In the film, Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and his partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) rise from childhood friends with a voracious interest in magic to a world-class act that headlines in Vegas with their own dedicated theater.  Their performance, dominated by Wonderstone’s ego, becomes routine and, eventually, stale as audience numbers accordingly shrink. The new, hot attraction in town is Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) whose brand of street magic is more “Shock and Awe” a la Criss Angel than a Vegas style production like Copperfield . What classic technique Gray’s magic lacks is overshadowed by vile displays of self mutilation that engage his audiences through what he calls “Mind Rape.”

Wonderstone and Marvelton’s act is no longer deemed viable. The two are out of a job and can’t find work anywhere, now considered washed-up hacks. They must rediscover that wonderment that initially drove them to greatness before they can force their classic act “out of the box” to overcome the superficial  sensations of their competition.

This theme is a common challenge that faces all of the arts. Many artists are not prepared to accept the transitional point where the act of doing what they love becomes a job. Many artists discover an inner resentment that their creative freedom is lost because of a  necessary need to pander to a market compounded by deadlines, schedules, editors and critics. Their work becomes routine and eventually mundane. They lose the creative joy they once had as artists. They lose the wonder.

When doing what you love becomes work it can sometimes be like losing your best friend. It is either time to move on with your life, find a way to rekindle that relationship or be miserable in it. At CO2 Comics we know first-hand what a slippery slope working in the comics field can be regarding this issue and we remind ourselves every day with our tag line, “Making comics because we  want to!” For us it’s true. We love making comics and making them available to an ever changing audience. Bill Cucinotta and I have had a friendship that has endured all these years through good and bad times. It is our mutual affection for the medium and respect for each other as artists that has kept us together on this mission as comic publishers.

My clown friends in the entertainment field have a mantra that paraphrases McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc.  They say, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot!” It is a challenge to stay fresh and to continue expanding the horizons of your craft for your own self esteem and for the sake of the audience while always being grounded in the classic fundamentals.

Fundamentals are the key to longevity in any field. Those that embrace them structure their work with a classic frame that will support any inventiveness used to establish the artist’s creative signature. Art with no regard to fundamentals will usually not stand the test of time and will fade into obscurity as a dated novelty.

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is an observation of how any medium can be distracted by the extreme. This is not lost on the cast of the film. In a Newsday article Steve Carell is quoted as saying,”It’s the idea that something that is classic and perhaps a bit well worn can casually be replaced by something that might not be considered art, but is new and shocking,” he said. “I think that not only happens in magic but in the comedy world as well. I think there are lots of parallels, especially in television, in terms of what people are watching at this point. People are getting so much info on a daily basis, you need to do something ridiculous just to garner any attention.”

Olivia Wilde follows up with, “”It’s an observation about what people want to watch, and what audiences seem to be demanding,” Wilde said. “People want to be pushed to the brink, to see what they’ve never seen, It’s interesting because it’s happening in sports and in film as well — horror, comedy. People want to be pushed to the edge. I wonder if that’s a reaction to technology and what’s available at our fingertips, or the demands made on entertainment that you pay for, because free content is so plentiful.

“If our film is a love letter to anything, it’s to a classic style of entertainment.”

So comics are not alone in their struggle to attract an audience and to maintain a classic integrity.  It’s too bad that this film is ultimately a piece of fluff that will not be taken seriously enough for people to fully digest the message. There is hope for me, however,  that classic values in comics will win-out over what I see as a current knee-jerk marketing frenzy that is destabilizing classic and iconic characters and fracturing the fundamentals of good writing, visual storytelling and dynamics. All is good in the world!

Thanks Burt Wonderstone for reminding me of the wonderment that attracted me to comics!

With all that in mind now, grab a pen and jot down these dates and events that Bill Cucinotta and I will be at in the next few weeks. Stop and see us at our booth at The Asbury Park Comic Convention in Asbury Park , NJ on Saturday March 30, 2013   and at the Comic Geek Speak Super Show in Reading, PA. April 6-7, 2013 . Both shows are chock full of classic comic book artists. Show them some love! We want to meet you too and are excited about looking at portfolios of aspiring comic creators. See you there!

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco


Monday Weekly Update | Eaten By Planet 29

Monday, March 18th, 2013

New page of Eaten By Planet 29
by Kevin Atkinson, now available.

EATEN BY PLANET 29 Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!


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