Posts Tagged ‘City of Brotherly Love’

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


The Comic Company:
Duckwork

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

 

Enter at your own risk

 
An ominous, orange glow cast its pall across South Philadelphia in the spring of 1981. It was a sign plastered with fluorescent tempera paint on a thirteenth floor window of the ARCO Building on Broad and Spruce streets, home of most of the classes taught at PCA, Philadelphia College of Art which is now known as the University of the Arts, one of the most respected art colleges in the country.
 

Room with a view

 
The letters that read “DUCKWORK” could be seen as far south as Veterans Stadium where the Phillies had won the World Series just months before and marched past PCA in their triumphant parade that rocked the City of Brotherly Love.

Behind the window was the office of a motley group of art students banded together to publish a “student” newspaper by the same name.
 

John "Bondo" Rondeau settles in front of a huge print that we had "aquired" from a show at PCA that featured a famous cartoonist alumnus, Anrnold Roth, who ironically had been expelled from the school when he was a student.

 
DUCKWORK, though tacitly supported by the school, was never a school newspaper. It was a publication commandeered by an assembly of comic art enthusiasts led by myself that defiantly produced comics in an educational environment that, at the time, considered the medium to be kitsch and derivative.
 

DUCKWORK Covers 1 & 2, Cover #1 illustrated by Bill "Fostex" Foster, #2 by Gerry Giovinco with inks by Bill Anderson

 
Our pseudo-fraternity proclaimed each of us as DUCKS and, as a proud rogue clan, we wreaked havoc on the school with our publication and our mischievous pranks some of which might have us arrested if done today.
 

Bill Bryan who is now at CBR Woodworking where thay make incredible furniture for offices and corporate spaces among other things. http://www.cbrwoodworking.com/index.html


 

Evan Nurse was a Jr. Duck who attended a cartooning class on weekends at PCA for young students. Evan's senior prank at Sharon hill H.S. was to join the girls Lacross team. They let him play but they made him wear the kilt. He is now an AV instructor at an area High School.

 
PCA had very little sense of community at the time. Because of this, our little group managed to control Student Council and Arts Council giving us the opportunity to allocate funds and office space for our ventures. The DUCKS ruled!
 

DUCKWORK Covers 3 & 4, both illustrated by Gerry Giovinco

 
DUCKWORK quickly became a magnet for cartoonists especially after it became known that I was attempting to start a comic book company named Comico with two friends of mine from high school, Phil LaSorda and Vince Argondezzi.
 

DUCKWORK Covers 5 & 6, #5 illustrated by Bill "Cooch" Cucinotta, #6 by Matt wagner

 
Bill Cucinotta, my partner here at CO2 Comics, knew of me and Comico from Creation Conventions and was enthusiastically involved with DUCKWORK from the start.

Nick-named Cooch, his loyalty and ability to get the job done whenever needed along with his knowledge of the direct market derived from his experience working retail at Fat Jack’s Comic Crypt, Philly’s premier comic shop made him invaluable. It would later make him the most logical choice to fill the void left by Vince Argondezzi’s abrupt departure from Comico’s initial partnership well before our first book Comico Primer would be published.
 

Edwin Arocho is now a fine artist and musician living in San Juan, Puerto Rico

 
The list of colorful guys and gals that frequented DUCKWORK’s office is peppered with talented artists that went on to creative careers. I’ve included photos of several DUCKS. It is easy to see that besides comics, we were seemingly, also influenced by the movie Animal House!
 

Danny "Hank" Lange followed his dream and actually learned to play that guitar. He recently did a sound track for an award winning film. Check Dan out here: http://www.myspace.com/buskersblues


 

The fall of 1981 brought a new landscape to PCA. Two older buildings across the street had been purchased by the school and turned into dorms. One of these dorms would quickly become a DUCKWORK annex and be dubbed the SWAMP. The SWAMP was home to new DUCKS, Matt Wagner, Mike Leeke, and Dave Johnson, three guys that each would later play a role in the accomplishments of Comico.

 

Joe Cursio was another Jr. Duck who hung out at DUCKWORK and is now living

 
DUCKWORK was populated by students that lived on campus and commuters who often crashed at the office or the SWAMP. SEPTA strikes were usually great bonding experiences for the commuters of which I was one.
 

Joe "Zig" Zigler rarely showed up with clothes on... Joe is a fun pal that we've managed to lose touch with. Joe, if you are out there, drop us a line!

 
One commuting DUCK who recently has emerged on the web-pages of CO2 Comics with his wife and former PCA alumnus, Tina Garceau, is Joe Williams who has recently posted several great flashbacks about DUCKWORK on his blog at www.willceau.com.
You can read Joe’s 5 part DUCKWORK retrospective here.
 
By the time the spring semester had ended in 1982, a total of six issues of DUCKWORK had been published.

It was the end of my junior year at PCA. Phil Lasorda’s older brother Dennis had just purchased a duplex in Norristown for his Physical Therapy practice. He had offered us the opportunity to run Comico out of the half he was not using.

It was time for this DUCK to sink or swim. I left PCA to pursue a dream. Cooch came along as well. Without its leaders DUCKWORK quicky faded away but Comico was about to become official.

When it came time to take the big leap of faith, Vince chose not to commit and Bill took his seat at the drums. Phil, Cooch and I were now the standing partners of Comico as we began to solicit our first publication.
 
Matt Wagner was a prolific contributer to DUCKWORK and continued to contribute as Comico took off. Matt’s feature Grendel first appeared in Comico Primer #2 and went on to become an iconic character in comics. Comico also published Matt’s Mage the Hero Discovered.
 

Matt Wagner, The Comic Artist Discovered.

 
Mike Leeke was significant as an artist on ROBOTECH and later went on to pencil Bill Willingham’s popular ELEMENTALS.
Mike’s contributation to CO2 Comics. The Amazing Liberteens, can be seen Here.
 

Mike Leeke, who would later become the penciler extraordinare of ROBOTECH and ELEMENTALS is just thrilled that he can hide all of his mechanical pencils and rapidograph pens in his tremendous fro!

 
Dave Johnson was also a penciler on the ROBOTECH series.
 

Dave Johnson, former denizen of the SWAMP and penciler on ROBOTECH The Next Generation for Comico.

 
Joe Williams along with his wife Tina Garceau creates Monkey and Bird which is featured here on CO2 Comics.
 

Joe Williams is now a featured artist here on CO2 Comics with his wife Tina

 
Bill and I have ironically redeveloped our webs. We’ve gone from DUCKWORK to Web Comics with a long history in between.
 

Bill "Cooch" Cucinotta reclines on a cardboard 3-D project that was retired to the hall in front of the DUCKWORK office

Ouch! Gerry Giovinco, is another Duck trapped in a world he never made!

 
NOTE: In 1984, two years after the DUCKWORK crew had disbanded at PCA, Jim Carrey makes his Hollywood debut in an NBC television series titled “The Duck Factory” about a quirky group of animators trying to keep their studio alive. Kinda makes you wonder…


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