Posts Tagged ‘Bergen Street Comics’

There’s a Brave New World on Bergen Street

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Imagine walking into a comic shop and not seeing any comic books published by Marvel or DC. The shelves are void of Spider-Man, X-Men, Superman, Bat Man and Wonder Woman. With few exceptions, there are no superheroes, no men and women in tights and capes with bulging muscles and exploitive, break-back poses. The shelves are not overwhelmed with reboots of the same characters that we have been reading for the last seventy-five years. Seriously, how many times can you read a retelling Superman’s origin story before it gets old?

Imagine, instead, that what you find is shelf after shelf of unique and amazing comics that are created by an array of talented artists and writers that is always expanding. Comics are arranged by subject matter, social interest, artist and writer. There are comics for everybody; children, teens, adults, men and women, alike. Entire families can walk into the shop and discover comics that interest each member individually as they peruse the inviting corners of an elegantly and respectfully designed shrine of the comics medium, finding surprises at every turn.

Welcome to Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn, New York where co-owner, Tom Adams recently announced that the store will stop shelving most titles from Marvel and DC. Adams explained on Twitter that the decision, “Will enable us to better serve our customers. Strength of self contained, creator controlled comics will let us move away from double shipping, editorially driven, artist-swapping, inconsistent, tied into events/gimmicks comics. Trying to keep this a going concern/think long term.”

Bergen Street Comics will celebrate their fifth anniversary this spring. In their relatively short history they have firmly established themselves as a supporter of independent comics publishers and have hosted many creator signings and art shows including CO2 Comic’s own Steve Lafler as he toured promoting his graphic album Ménage à Bughouse.

Steve Lafler at Bergen Street Comics

Bergen Street Comics demonstrated their commitment to Independent publishers that night when they, on extremely short notice, opened their doors to Steve when his scheduled engagement at MoCCA was suddenly canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. Their graciousness and hospitality exceeded our expectations and established an impressive standard of customer service that we will never forget.

The atmosphere at Bergen Street Comics will capture the attention of anyone the moment they walk through the door. This is a place that celebrates the comic medium as an art form. Framed, original comic art hangs on the rugged brick walls, displayed like fine art in a gallery. The fixtures, furniture and shelving all presented with a classic taste that invites their customers to respect and value the comics that they are about to buy.

It is not surprising that they would make this bold decision to no longer shelve Marvel and DC titles. Bergen Street Comics is a boutique that specializes in a gourmet product. They are the Starbucks of comic shops, refusing to sell a common blend of coffee that can be bought on any corner, watered down and stale from having sat in the pot too long.

People want to experience quality, variety and atmosphere. They want a special experience that they feel entitled to and they want to share that experience with others. Great comics deserve the opportunity to be presented this way, as a rich and robust medium that will tickle the taste-buds of the imagination leaving the reader wanting for more.

A store like Bergen Street Comics can offer some hope for comics in print, especially those that are produced with a particular aesthetic that extends to the entire package. Printed books can offer a viscerally tactile experience that cannot be equally matched digitally. Independent publishers that recognize this understand the power of producing a boutique worthy product and will be energized as more stores adopt the model that Bergen Street Comics has.

This is not the end of superhero comic books. There will always be a place where bland or bitter coffee is available for those with a less discerning tastes. But, Bergen Street Comics has demonstrated that finally it is time for a little Frappuccino with our comics in this brave, new world where superheroes no longer have to dominate the local comic shop.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco



The Forecast Calls for Raine

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Rain Szramski photographed by Victoria Mock

It has been an exciting time here at CO2 Comics. With our release of the three graphic albums, Heaven and the Dead City, The Heavy Adventures of Captain Obese! and Ménage à Bughouse, Bill Cucinotta and I have just published our first comics in print together since our days as partners at Comico the Comic Company where we launched the careers of quite a number of significant talents in the comic industry.

Bill Willingham, Matt Wagner, Chuck Dixon, Adam Hughes, Sam Kieth and the Kubert Brothers, top off the list of creators that had either their first or earliest works published by Comico.  Maybe we were just in the right place at the right time then, but I like to think that we have an eye for talent and an ability as publishers to create a trusting relationship with creators that gives us an opportunity to present their work.

The search for talent and exciting comic book properties to me is one of the most appealing part of publishing.  It is the thrill of the hunt. In last week’s blog I wrote about Steve Lafler’s tour promoting his CO2 Comics graphic album Ménage à Bughouse. While at his stop in Brooklyn, NY at Bergen Street Comics I participated in a candid discussion about how the thrill of the hunt was an essential motivator to comic book collectors and how this same motivation drives comic readers to search the web for new comics to experience and share. The thrill of the hunt is rewarded by the thrill of discovery.

The most desired prey in any hunt is that which has proven to be the most elusive. It is that which is the most difficult to obtain that  we search for with the greatest earnest. Big Foot, The Loch Ness Monster, The Holy Grail all captivate our collective imaginations for just this reason. Sometimes the object of our  hunt, deceptively lies right before our eyes, camouflaged by its obviousness.

see Raine Szramski on DeviantArt

We at CO2 Comics like to think that we have uncovered one of those gems with our publication of Raine Szramski’s Heaven and the Dead City. Ms. Szramski has lurked around the comics industry for some time now as an award winning fantasy illustrator and comic book artist but remains just a blip on the radar of most fans. Her fantastic illustrations that she paints in gouache and other mixed media are a wonder to behold. They can be viewed at her DeviantArt Gallery which is a must stop for any fan of faeries, wood nymphs, dragons and mystical heroes.

Raine also posts and incredibly fun and insightful blog titled Pre-Raphernalia, about the major players in the Pre-Raphaelite movement. It is adorned with photos, images and her own comics focusing on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the cast of true characters that surround them.  A cruse through the illustrations in this blog will delight you as you get to see the energy that exists in the pencil sketches of Raine’s drawings and comics.

Heaven And The Dead City NOW AVAILABLE!

When it Raines it pours and Ms. Szramski proves to be no exception. When it comes to blogging about her favorite topics she has a second blog titled The Watcher Tree where among other things she recounts how she came to be a part of our CO2 Comics collective.

Get your Copy Here!

Of course we are most fond of her work on Heaven and the Dead City which Raine writes, draws and hand paints in grey tones for your enjoyment right here at CO2 Comics.  We are sure that as each new reader experiences the thrill of discovery when they encounter Raine Szramski’s work online, they will undoubtedly want to cherish it by owning it in print, so we were quick to publish the first beautiful volume in both paperback and hardback editions!

Order you copy of HEAVEN ANd The DEAD CITY Here!

It is possible that Raine Szramski’s talents have been overlooked in what has been a comics industry dominated by men for far too long. Fortunately times are changing and the industry is suddenly blossoming with an audience of female readers and women creators that can provide a diversity to comics that had been missing. Raine Szramski is now in the right place at the right time. Our  official CO2 Comics forecast is that comic fans will be experiencing a lot of Raine in the future.

Speaking of the future, next week I plan to over indulge in a huge helping of Don Lomax’s fatty treat, The Heavy Adventures of Captain Obese!

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco


Fear and Loathing on the Road: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Comic Artist’s Dream

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Steve Laflers sketch is the first to christen Locust Moons walls

If you have read any of Steve Lafler’s works over the last thirty plus years that he has been “feverishly making comics” you can easily imagine that in his mind the idyllic road trip would reflect the wild escapades captured in Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.

Last week Steve embarked on his modest world tour to promote his new CO2 Comics graphic album, Ménage à Bughouse, a 408 page compilation of his Bughouse trilogy. The following is a stark itinerary of his destinations as he travels east to west on his journey back to his home in the beautiful city of  Oaxaca, Mexico.

July 11, Ada Books, Providence, RI

July 13, Bergen Street Comics, Brooklyn, NY

July 14, Locust Moon Comics, Philadelphia, PA

July 17, Boxcar Books, Bloomington IN

July 18, Daydream Comics, Iowa City, IA

July 20, Time Warp Comics, Boulder, CO

July 25, Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco, CA

July 28, Cosmic Monkey Comics, Portland, OR

Steve Lafler at Ada Books

Steve opened his tour at Ada Books in Providence, RI where he connected with Scott Krane who interviewed Steve and wrote an insightful blog for JazzTimes discussing the jazz themes that Steve uses as inspiration throughout Ménage à Bughouse focusing on the inspiration derived from the biography of jazz legend, Miles Davis who is the subject of a  current United States postage stamp.

Bill Cucinotta and I caught up with Steve, meeting him at Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn, NY. The folks at Bergen Street Comics were gracious  enough to to accommodate Steve at short notice when a scheduled appearance at MoCCA was suddenly canceled. The hospitality of store manager Tom Adams and his staff were greatly appreciated and the quaint, gallery-like atmosphere of the store which is decidedly friendly to independent publishers and authors is a must stop for anyone who loves comics.

Steve Lafler at Bergen Street Comics

Steve be-bopped his way down to Philly where he once again connected with CO2 Comics co-publisher Bill Cucinotta for the grand re-opening of Locust Moon Comics located in the University City section of the City of Brotherly Love that is the home of CO2 Comics.

Locust Moon officially opened for business at 7 pm, after having been closed for about a year. Steve was thrilled to be there there for opening day as the featured act, creating a great atmosphere while talking comics and entertaining the welcoming crowd with several songs on his accoustic guitar in the gallery room.

Steve Lafler playing at Locust Moon

So, OK, there is not a lot of fear and loathing going on as Steve continues west, just a lot of love for great comics and great music, but Steve is living an American comic artist’s dream having had the opportunity to create his own personal brand of comics throughout his career.

We too are living our dream to by being able to publish great comic works like Steve Lafler’s Ménage à Bughouse, Raine Szramski’s Heaven and the Dead City, and Don Lomax’s The Heavy Adventures of Captain Obese. These books together with our collection of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW are establishing a line of product that will represent the foundation of CO2 Comics as we build toward the future.  Let the escapades begin!

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco



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