Archive for May, 2013

Thursday Weekly Update | Bughouse

Thursday, May 30th, 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

At LULU Here.


Wednesday Weekly Update | Heaven And The Dead City

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

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!


Tuesday Weekly Update | Tales Of ISHMAR: THE MIDAS CURSE

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

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

THE MIDAS CURSE Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

The New Villain is Superhero Play

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Let’s play The Blame Game! This is the favorite pass-time of people that don’t want to take responsibility for anything. Well, it is time to blame superheroes again for some kind of corruption of the youth of America.

It is a scary fact that there is an actual “Superhero Play” label that can turn up pages of content intent on its suppression. Apparently this discussion among educators has been going on for years!  Amazingly, it has been met with with little reaction or concern from the comic book industry whose bread and butter is superheroes and who should be afraid of history repeating itself.

How can this happen? Aren’t superheroes supposed to be the good guys?

Superheroes have never been more popular.  It is impossible not to be exposed to them now that they have saturated  our culture through every form of media and and merchandizing. Though superheroes were derived from comic books which for many decades were targeted primarily at children, today they appeal to audiences of all ages because they are able to deal with more mature and sophisticated themes than they were previously permitted to.

The complexities of the modern superhero are not always digested well by the youngest fans of the genre who are attracted to the characters’ brightly colored costumes, incredible physicality, heightened abilities and heroic deeds. Children remain focused on the simple themes of good triumphing over evil through the use of power which is usually exercised by fighting.

Superhero Play is commonplace in schoolyards everywhere and has been a concern to educators and parents who worry about the consequences of what is viewed as “rough-housing.” There is  agreement among most child psychologists  that it is healthy and natural for children to engage in this type of activity, provided there are supervised limitations, as displayed in this wonderful video.

Unfortunately schools today are driven to have a knee-jerk reaction to anything that resembles violence and though there are many positive moral and ethical virtues that can be learned from the mythological characters that superheroes have become, there is a real movement to ban Superhero Play as demonstrated by  a preschool in the Philadelphia area.

A memo from the pre-K school in question claims that their children are exhibiting dangerously overactive imaginations which are causing injuries. The school claims to encourage creative thinking and imaginary play but found it necessary to ban Superhero Play, monster games and wrestling. The memo also requests that parents monitor what their children may view at home suggesting that  it is the re-enactment of violent television shows and movies during play time that is causing the problem, not their inability to manage, educate and nurture these three to four year-olds.

This type of reaction to media being responsible for the corruption of our youth is frighteningly similar to the witch-hunt inspired by Dr. Fredrick Wertham whose 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, claimed that the content in comic books was dangerous to children. His accusations inspired a Congressional inquiry that ultimately led to the comics industry’s creation of the Comics Code Authority which is possibly the most strict, self-imposed, industry-wide form of censorship imposed on any American media to date.

The Comics Code states:

  • Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
  • If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.
  • Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.
  • Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates a desire for emulation.
  • In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
  • Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gunplay, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.
  • No comic magazine shall use the words “horror” or “terror” in its title.
  • All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.
  • All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.
  • Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.
  • Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.
  • Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.
  • Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.
  • Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.
  • Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.
  • Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed. Rape scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.
  • Seduction and rape shall never be shown or suggested.
  • Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.

Nudity with meretricious purpose and salacious postures shall not be permitted in the advertising of any product; clothed figures shall never be presented in such a way as to be offensive or contrary to good taste or morals.

The implementation of the Comics Code did prevent the complete abolishment of comic books but it prevented the young medium of comics in America from maturing at a natural pace as an art form. It also established a covenant that released parents from doing their job of being involved with their child’s comic reading consumption.

Though the Comics Code has not been heavily enforced since the 1980’s and was abandoned completely in 2010, it’s conservative directives established a standard that affected generations of comic book readers, most of which are still parenting, under the assumption that superheroes are meant for children only and require no supervision.

Our society has routinely given parents the opportunity to place the blame on media, schools, and government for the failure to provide  safety and education to our children by imposing rules and regulations designed to prevent liability. Consequently our youth are stifled as they grow, suffocating in bubble wrap that impedes their natural sense of adventure, competition, imagination, social interaction and individuality.

Banning Superhero Play deprives parents and educators the opportunity to take advantage of all the positive messages that superheroes can present. Superheroes help define the struggles between good and evil. They are advocates for the positive responsibilities of strength and power. They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome adversity.

Superheroes are also the champions of individuality and diversity. Each superhero has a unique power or ability that defines them and makes them special. They make a decision to use that power to help others in need instead of their own personal gain. They choose not to take the easy road and retreat into hiding, to avoid being judged, challenged  and labeled by others. They are noble.

It is time that we ban the Blame Game and hold parents and teachers accountable for raising children by allowing them to express their imaginations, intelligence and energies in a natural way in a responsibly supervised environment.

A mother lion in the wild can supervise her cubs as they tangle and wrestle. She intervenes when it is appropriate and the cubs grow to lead normal healthy lives. Are we so intelligent as humans that we can’t figure out how to do that?

Superhero Play is not the villain. Children have emulated the actions of their heroes since David slew Goliath. The villain is anyone that can stand by and let the imaginations and physical interactions of our children be suppressed. We are raising a nation of mindless, lifeless zombies and it is guaranteed that Zombie Play will be the next thing banned in our schools.

Why don’t they just ban it for what it is: Child’s Play.

Comic book companies can be the hero in this if they will stop ignoring the threat. Marvel and DC can protect their valued, shared Superhero trademark by taking a proactive position and promote positive ways to encourage Superhero Play rather than see it abolished. They, unfortunately would rather spend their money to shut down people posing as superheroes at birthday parties.

If you like superheroes it is time to support them. If you love your children it is time to let them be children. Don’t ignore this threat to our culture. It is more dangerous than any bump or bruise. It is more malicious than any terrorist threat or violent action. It is pervasive. It is eroding the foundation of who we are as a nation and as individuals. It is a threat to our freedom to be who we are and who we can be and we are allowing it to happen.

Soon there will be no heroes. We will not know how to become one. We will be a nation of victims and our greatest villain will have been ourselves for having ignored the inevitable.

The answer is simple. We can all be super by supervising our children. Let them show us how great it is to have an unadulterated imagination. Teach them how to be a good superhero and not a villain. If they get hurt, pick them up and help them. tell them everything will be OK. That’s what heroes do. The child will learn a lesson about limitations. They will feel loved and cared for and, most of all, they will feel super.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco


Sunday Weekly Update | Cid & Francis

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

New page of Cid & Francis
by Mike Sgier, now available.

CID & FRANCIS Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Saturday, May 25th, 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, May 23rd, 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.


Wednesday Weekly Update | Heaven And The Dead City

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

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!


Tuesday Weekly Update | Tales Of ISHMAR: THE MIDAS CURSE

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

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

THE MIDAS CURSE Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

The Comic Company: Comics Interview #5

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

In an effort to promote CO2 Comics‘ ongoing, monumental project, David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection, we have established a COMICS INTERVIEW Facebook page. Please, if you have not done so already, stop by and “LIKE” the page and share it. It is becoming quite a trip down Memory Lane.

Random posts of quotes and photos of comic creators who were interviewed in the magazine have evolved into a photo feature that we like to call the Quote of the Day. The positive buzz generated by this feature encouraged us to generate more content and so began a staggered release of cover images from the issues that have been reprinted in the first two volumes of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection.

COMICS INTERVIEW #5 surfaced quickly and brought back a tidal wave of memories. That was the issue where Bill Cucinotta and I, as part of the fledgeling Comico crew that also included our former partner Phil LaSorda and SKROG inker, Bill Anderson, were interviewed by David Anthony Kraft, himself,  in a New York coffee shop.

The event is so much like a dream that we often have to remind ourselves just how it came to be. We were all young guys full of hopes and ambition living the best times of our lives. Those were the days that, as comic creators, Bill and I  look upon with the greatest fondness. We were taking chances, creating our own material and attempting to do what others said we couldn’t; build a comic company from scratch.

Primer #1

We had published our first black and white comic, Primer #1 in October of 1982 and a few months later, in February 1983,  David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW #1 hit the stands.  We knew right away that this was a magazine that we wanted to be associated with and Bill, who was always focused on ways to promote our comics in the Direct Market, was quick to contact David Anthony Kraft to set up advertising arrangements.

It was very easy for all of us to be star-struck. Dave was one of our heroes, having written and edited for Marvel for years. We had all cut our teeth reading his work and suddenly we were dealing with him on a regular basis. It was not long before we were referring to him as DAK.

Dave was much more than a business associate. To us, he was a mentor, filling our heads with knowledge about the comics industry including inside stories and tons of “of the record” anecdotes. More than that, he was a friend. Dave understood that we were possibly biting off more than we could chew but he was always willing to nurture our enthusiasm and offer respected criticism.

This support started with that first conversation he had with Bill regarding advertising which resulted in a trade deal where we ran Interview ads in our comic books and Dave ran Comico ads in his magazine. This allowed us to build a respected presence in the market with no cash expense and to have more reasons to call Dave on a regular basis.

The first Comico ad ran in Comics Interview #3 and our ads became a staple in the magazine for years to come. Lucky for us, we really hit it off with Dave and suddenly we were on a train to New York to be interviewed in issue #5.

Dave must have really been amused by us.  We were a bunch of goofy kids with big dreams that only seemed possible because we didn’t  know better. Our naiveté was our biggest strength; that and an unbridled enthusiasm to create comics.

Gerry Giovinco, Bill_Cucinotta & Phil_LaSorda

We dove into our interview with such a flurry that a half hour into it Dave realized his recorder had not recorded a word we said and we would have to start over. It was typical of  our hit-and-miss approach to making comics. If we didn’t get it right the first time, learn from the mistake and make it better next time.

It is embarrassing, now, to read our ramblings, recognizing in hindsight how amazing it was that we would be able to steer Comico to become a powerhouse in the industry and  establish standards and milestones that would influence the creation and success of future companies like Dark Horse and Image.

Dave, in all his wisdom, was able to see in our comics  what he referred to as “a contagious enthusiasm that transcended their shortcomings.”

Of the entire interview the most significant words were written by Dave in the introduction where he recognized Comico for the pioneers that we were as publishers.

“Comico, the comic company, is among the newest and most ambitious of the independent publishers springing up in the field. Comico’s five titles – AZ, SKROG, SLAUGHTERMAN, GRENDEL and PRIMER – are distributed through the direct-sales system and are available exclusively in comics shops or by subscription.

What is, perhaps, most surprising about such an enterprising endeavor is that all of the comics creators are ( at least, for now) essentially unproven and unknown. Starting from scratch, on such a scale, is virtually unprecedented under the circumstances.”

Our presence in COMICS INTERVIEW #5  marked a coming of age for us.  We shared the issue with industry legends, Stan Lee, Dick Giordano, Wendy and Richard Pini! To be included with this iconic group, for us, was a dream come true. It was time that we were taken seriously by the industry, fans and, most importantly, ourselves.

Future issues of COMICS INTERVIEW would chronicle our achievements as our line grew. Features about The Elementals in issue #17 and ROBOTECH in issue #23 were evidence that we were a company on the move, adapting to survive and prosper. More would follow and Comico, as a company,  managed to maintain a lifespan as long as COMICS INTERVIEW itself.

Comico, unfortunately has gone the way of every other independent publisher of that era. Bill an I however are still plugging away, as enthusiastic as ever but with quite a few battle scars to show for it.  We still look to Dave as a mentor and friend and knew that when we started publishing as CO2 Comics we had to re-establish our relationship with COMICS INTERVIEW.

We are now on a long journey to package the entire 150 issue run of that memorable magazine in an eleven volume set. Two volumes are complete and the third is in production.

As Dave says, “It is a labor of love.” And what’s not to love? For us, everyday is a trip back to the “good old days” and a reminder of the enthusiasm that keeps Bill and I making comics just because we want to.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco



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