Archive for the ‘CO2 Comics’ Category

Happy Independent Comics Day!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Six years ago Bill Cucinotta and I launched the CO2 Comics website, targeting July 4th as our official Founders Day and a reason to celebrate independent comics everywhere. Clearly we were riding on the coattails of Independence Day, the celebration of the birth of the United States of America, to make a point.

Independence is important, especially in an industry like comics where creators that did not always enjoy the opportunity to have freedom to create, the power to control their property and the opportunity to benefit financially from the success of their work. It has always been our goal to positively influence this issue.

This holiday is also a reminder that independence comes with a price. Being independent requires a lot of effort, sacrifice, responsibility, expense, focus and support. Success is never guaranteed and rarely comes easy. The skills necessary to navigate obstacles are acquired in the trenches and rarely learned without casualty.

Six years later we have learned a lot.  Publishing comics today is not like when we published Comico comics in the 1980’s. Style, production, printing, communicating, distributing, marketing and consumers are all dramatically different. We have had to learn to move ahead careful to let our previous knowledge of how to do things be an advantage rather than a hindrance.

We learned that we had support from the relationships that we have established from our previous history as comics publishers, a reminder that treating others fairly and with respect has its virtue.

We learned that it is still necessary to fight for creators rights. That people are still not being treated fairly and that we have a responsibility to inform and educate so that the vicious cycle of creators being taken advantage of, especially by big publishers, will someday come to an end.

We learned that, as much as we love comics and enjoy making them, it is hard work that requires immense dedication.

We have accomplished a lot in our first six years. The evidence is at your fingertips. Browse  the CO2 Comics site and see for yourself all of the great comics, blog posts and product we have produced. Take note of all the great creators that have worked with us to share great comics with you and most importantly enjoy what you find.

Thank you for sharing our independence with us. We know our work is not complete until it is read and enjoyed by an audience. We have a lot of work to do to accomplish our ever growing list of goals and we still have a lot of obstacles left to hurdle but your support and the support of the great creators we work with make it all worth while.

Happy Independent Comics Day and enjoy your 4th of July!

Gerry Giovinco

Monday Weekly Update | CAPTAIN OBESE

Monday, June 29th, 2015

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

CAPTAIN OBESE Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Monday, June 29th, 2015

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, June 25th, 2015

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.


Seduction of the Innocent – The Reboot

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

We are living in dangerous times. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, religious fundamentalism, police brutality and just plain old ignorance is running rampant in the world and here in America. We, as a country, are on the verge of succumbing to the same McCarthyism sensibilities that gripped the nation in the 1950′s.

Just like then, the comics medium is caught in the middle because of its ability to so easily and eloquently communicate to the masses and the tired misconception that comics are intended solely for young readers.

In 1954 Dr. Fredric Wertham published a book titled Seduction of the Innocent https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seduction_of_the_Innocent that accused comics of causing juvenile delinquency. The appeal of the book’s message was so strong that it lead to a Senate Subcommittee hearing that threatened to eradicate comic books. The industry was saved only by its voluntary establishment of a strict code of self-censorship monitored by the Comics Code Authority https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comics_Code_Authority which stood in effect for nearly forty years before its potency began to fade in the 1990′s, eventually becoming defunct completely in 201.

Underground and independent comics led the charge for creative freedom as far back as the 1970′s and now that mainstream comics also have  grown free of the censorship, comics in America have matured as a medium, catching up with comics throughout the world. Comics, as they exist today, have a huge cultural impact globally to readers of all ages and interests. Graphic novels are now commonly taught in schools and Universities and have gained a well earned respect among educators.

Once again, however, comics are under attack. This time by a young college student and her parents who are campaigning to have four graphic novelseradicated from the system citing that the award winning books required in her literature class contained nudity, sex, violence and torture. She said, “It was shocking, I didn’t expect to open the book and see that graphic material within. I expected Batman and Robin, not pornography.”

What is scary is that her school, Crafton Hills College, in light of their complaints has chosen to place a disclaimer on the course in an attempt to avoid a similar situation in the future. Give them credit for not eradicating the graphic novels but thank them for opening the floodgates for pandering to the ludicrous whining of  cloistered individuals everywhere.  Now every college in the country will be scrambling to edit any syllabus that will potentially offend someone with an equally narrow-minded agenda.

How about this? When a student agrees to attend a college they need to sign a form to acknowledging they are adults and are aware that by attending said university they may occasionally read, view or experience something that may challenge them. This material may be considered mature and might include adult language graphic images of sexuality, violence, and other potentially offensive things intended for them to be exposed to an objective education of the  vastly diverse world we live in.

The problem is not that this young woman was offended by what she read. It is that her and her helicopter parents intention is to prevent anyone else from having the opportunity to make their own decision about the works in question. That is censorship and that cannot be tolerated, especially by an institution of higher education, public or private.

We are becoming a nation of big babies taught to run and hide from things that are different. This is just a single chapter of the reboot now titled Seduction of the Infantile.

Maybe it is time also  for a reboot of the Comic Code Authority but this one needs to be established to protect comics from the censorship inflicted by the first code. As a group of comic professionals and fans of the medium our new code should be one that encourages and supports our freedom of expression.

The seal of the Comics Code is now the intellectual property of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an organization intended to do just that, protect our First Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech. It is time to use that seal or a variation of it as a symbol of a  galvanizing force that advances the medium in repentance for its past suppression. Let it now stand as a code for creative freedom that will inspire not just comic creators but creators in all mediums.

Why that seal? Because most people in the general public recognize it just as an idiom of comics but have no idea of why it was always in the corner of their favorite comic book. To many it is just a nostalgic symbol of comics that makes them feel good. It still pops up regularly on reproductions of old cover graphics that now adorn merchandise, posters and t-shirts everywhere. Using it would embrace an opportunity to educate and continue to emancipate comics from the threat of censorship.

The origins of the Code can never be forgotten but the seal can be transformed into a symbol of a revolution that proved creative oppression can be overturned and prevented if we choose it to be.

Gerry Giovinco

Monday Weekly Update | CAPTAIN OBESE

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

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

CAPTAIN OBESE Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

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, June 18th, 2015

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.


Not Your Father’s Comic Books

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Another Father’s Day is looming and as we plan to celebrate dads everywhere I’m getting a little introspective. I am a father of two college students who are excitedly anticipating their future armed with a contemporary education, all the conveniences of modern technology and the promise of continued innovation.

Their world is so much different than the world I experienced when I was their age. Like most fathers I have romanticized about the era I grew up in especially when it concerns pontificating about my own accomplishments. That kind of nostalgia sometimes can make it hard not to resent some of the changes that have been brought by younger generations more relatable to my kids. I then have to recognize that my children and their peers want exactly what I wanted when I was young, an opportunity to be daring, make a difference, and stake a claim.

My focus coming out of college was on the comic book industry, and though I was well versed in the history of comic books and had a deep respect for long established characters and their creators, I was sure it was time for a change.

When I started publishing Comico comics in 1982 with my current CO2 Comics partner, Bill Cucinotta and the LaSorda brothers, we were among a pioneering group of independent publishers that tampered with everything in an effort to make comics better. We effected creator ownership, genre content,  production techniques, paper stock, color, distribution,  marketing and new package formats. One of the major accomplishments of that era was the eventual eradication of the Comic Code Authority.

The independent comic book publishers of the 1980′s made a difference and I will always be proud to have been a part of it!

The comic book industry had changed forever and continues to. It is no longer an industry that is locked into the regimented formula that it maintained for much of its first forty years of history. Yet, sometimes I find myself resentful of new changes and how they may fly in the face of my nostalgia. I have to remind myself of my involvement in why comics today are not my father’s comic books and why the comic books of the future will not be mine.

Now, when I look at modern comics, I consider myself “old-school” even though CO2 Comics continues to wade through the future by publishing on the web as a creator collective while implementing POD printing, customer direct marketing, and sharing an unheard of 70% of net profits with creators on print projects. These are all things that were not plausible thirty years ago. I still have to consciously embrace new directions for comics for the sake of the future of both the medium and the industry.

That is not to say there is no value in “old-school,” which can too often be more accurately defined as fundamentals.

When we were publishing ROBOTECH back in the 1980′s, Harmony Gold and Revell brought in an old marketing guru named, Irv Handelsman to kick off the licensing bonanza that was ROBOTECH. Irv claimed to have been responsible for the creation of the Mickey Mouse Club and, among other properties,  represented Jay Ward Production’s popular characters including Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Bullwinkle the Moose, Boris and Natasha, Dudley Do-Right, and several others.

Irv  was as “old-school” as they came! He was the stereotypical old Jewish salesman with a frumpy polyester blazer, mismatched neck tie and dusty briefcase. We would watch in amazement as he would schmooze potential licensees in a private suite at Toy Fair and ring up accounts left-and-right while we secretly mocked his primitive techniques that today would appear lifted from episodes of Mad Men.

More importantly, Irv was a legend in his own mind and got the job done because, I’m sure, at one time he was an aggressive innovator that discovered what worked for him and stuck with it. He also had established himself within a network of toy manufacturers and his reputation for success preceded his techniques.

I think of Irv whenever I feel discriminatory about being “old school” just as I think of the excitement and challenge of tackling the future with new ideas and I realize that there is room for both.

Being an innovator of anything, especially a medium like comics is like being a parent. We have to enjoy our children while we have them, do our job as best we can as parents, then let them go so they can blossom into the best they can be so they can continue to pave the way for the future.

Today’s comic books are not your father’s and, most likely, tomorrow’s will not be yours. Change is good. It is the hope of the future.

Happy Father’s Day!

Gerry Giovinco

Monday Weekly Update | CAPTAIN OBESE

Monday, June 15th, 2015

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

CAPTAIN OBESE Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!


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