Posts Tagged ‘Dick Giordano’

First Hand History From Those That Passed

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

With the recent release of  Volume 3 of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection www.comicsinterview.com it is hard not to acknowledge the number of great comic creators, fans and industry observers who graced the pages that are no longer with us.  It is a sad truth that, thirty-plus years since the first issue of COMICS INTERVIEW was originally published, many of the great subjects of those interviews have passed away, taking with them their unique perspective of the comics industry and their direct involvement in it.

For this reason and for the inevitable fact  the list of deceased will grow, COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection becomes an extremely valuable facet of the history of comic books because it captures the insights of those that are gone and preserves them for generations of comic enthusiasts to come.

COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection amasses comics history directly from the mouths of those that lived it.  Many of the interviewees were there from the beginning. Some, like writer Gaylord Dubois born in 1899, were alive before the first comic book was printed!  COMICS INTERVIEW relays their perspective first hand like no other history book of this industry can or ever will.

The first three volumes of this collection reveal the words of over thirty industry insiders and observers that will never be heard again. The list is inspiring and saddening because these people were all, at some point, the heartbeat of the industry and left a legacy that continues to grow and inspire the medium today and well into the future.

Jack Abel – 1927-1996 – Artist

Alfred Bester – 1913-1987 – Writer

Dave Cockrum – 1943-2006 – Artist

Joe Colquhoun – 1924-1987 – Writer

Robert Culp – 1930-2010 – Fan on Screen

Arnold Drake – 1921-1997 – Writer

Gaylord Dubois – 1899-1993 – Writer

Jules Engle – 1909-2003 – Artist

Gardner Fox – 1911-1986 – Writer

Frank Frazetta – 1928-2010 – Artist

Steve Gerber – 1947-2008 – Writer

Dick Giordano – 1932-2010 – Artist

Dick Goldwater – 1936-2007 – Archie Publisher

Archie Goodwin – 1937-1998 – Writer/Editor

Jerry Grandenetti – 1926-2010 – Artist

Jack “Jaxon” Jackson – 1941-2006 – Writer/Artist

Carol Kalish – 1955-1991 – Marvel Sales Director

Bob Kane – 1915-1998 – Artist

Jack Kirby – 1917-1994 – Artist

Roy Krenkel – 1918-1983 – Artist

Joe Kubert – 1926-2012 – Artist

Jerry Robinson – 1922-2011 – Artist

Fred Rogers – 1928-2003 – Fan on Screen

Phil LaSorda – 1960-2008 – Comico Publisher

Carl Macek – 1951-2010 – ROBOTECH Producer

T. M. Maple – 1956-1994 – Fan Incognito

Joe Rosen – 1920-2009 – Letterer

George Roussos – 1915-2000- Artist

Adrienne Roy – 1953-2010 – Colorist

Don Thompson – 1935-1994 – CBG Editor

Kim Thompson – 1956-2013 – Fantagraphics Publisher

William Woolfolk – 1917-2003 – Writer

Those that have passed are now memorialized in a photo album on facebook that can be seen here and will be updated when needed and as each new volume is released so be sure to “like” the COMICS INTERVIEW page.

It is no mistake that the promotional graphic we chose this Holiday Season was of the Three Wise Men bearing the first three volumes of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection. To us the books contain the wisdom of many, regarding the comics industry, and represent the foundation that the entire medium of comic art is built on.

If you love comics and value the rich history of the medium  then be sure to add David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection and other great CO2 Comics graphic albums to your bookshelf today.

Gerry Giovinco



David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection TWO THOUSAND Pages and Counting!

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

First Three Volumes of Eleven Volume Set
on Sale NOW!

CO2 Comics has embarked on a massive endeavor to compile the entire 150 issue run of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW magazine that is regarded as the greatest collection of interviews in the history of comics.

To date, 42 issues, comprised of over 2,000 pages, have been meticulously scanned, cleaned, formatted and printed in the handsome, first three volumes of the planned eleven volume set. Volume four is currently in production.

Each printed volume packed with nearly 700 black and white pages of art, photos and interviews is available in either paperback or hard cover versions of two special editions:

The Premier Edition features, on its full color cover,  a customized version of the original COMICS INTERVIEW logo which utilized stylized characters from famous comic book titles. This logo appeared only on the first 24 issues of the magazine and is loved by many for it’s homage to comic book icons.

The Standard Edition alternatively features a similarly customized version of the traditional Comics Interview logo that graced the cover of the remaining 126 issues and may be the one that is endeared to the hearts of many fans, especially those that enjoyed its Pac Man font.

The four distinct versions of the printed package give fans of the magazine an opportunity to complete their collection of the set in a consistent manner that suits their personal tastes and will ultimately be an extraordinary addition to their library.

The importance of this collection to comic fans and historians can not be overstated.

Originally published from 1983 to 1995, COMICS INTERVIEW gave voice to the comics industry at a pivotal time in its history. The magazine was able to provide insightful interviews with writers, artists and editors that were active in the earliest days of the industry as well as the young creators whose careers since continue to shape the industry today.

Page by page, volume by volume, David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection is an accurate, candid, and authoritative  perspective of the history of comics that comes directly from the mouths of the people that lived it.

Amazingly relevant to current issues that affect the industry, every volume is a necessary source of vital information for anyone who wants a complete understanding of the comics industry as a whole.

The first three volumes alone present interviews with about 230 individuals that all made a mark on the history of comics. Without slighting the contributions of any, here is just a short list of some of the influential subjects:

Terry Austin, Howard Chaykin, Gerry Conway, Jack Davis, Dick Giordano, Joe Kubert, Stan Lee, Wendy & Richard Pini, Jim Shooter, Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, Karen Berger, John Byrne, Colleen Doran, Steve Gerber, Dave Gibbons, Bill Willingham, Scott McCloud, Stephen Bissette, Bob Burden, Frank Frazetta, Bob Kane, Jack Kirby, Jerry Robinson, Frank Miller, Walt & Louise Simonson, and many, many more!

An accurate list of the interviews contained in each volume can be found in the book previews on the CO2 Comics Storefront on LULU and AMAZON where you can easily purchase your copy of each volume today! Buy one or buy all three and you will be anxious to complete the whole set as each new volume is released.

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection is a massive and beautiful centerpiece intended for any comics library. Accumulated one volume at a time or in convenient bundles, it continues the tradition of anticipation and fulfillment that is experienced by every comic collector. If you love comics, now is the time to begin your own collection of the greatest interviews in the history of comics. Order your copies today!

Gerry Giovinco



CO2 Comics Features Short Stories by John Workman

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

John Workman could not have a more suitable surname when it comes to making comics. He has done it all and for almost everybody. One healthy read of John’s Wikipedia bio and it is clear that his influence on comics is vast. Clearly he is an unsung hero of the comics industry, in part, because much of what he has done has been behind the scenes as an Art Director or in the production room.

Make no mistake about it, Workman is a Jack of all Trades when it comes to making comics. He has worn so many hats in his long career that it is hard to tag him with any single title. Writer, Penciler, Inker, Letterer, Colorist, Designer, Art Director, and Publisher are all roles that he has claimed professionally since he began in comics, working on fanzines as early as 1967.

Since then, John has left his indelible imprint throughout the industry, having worked for Archie Comics, Star*Reach, DC Comics, Heavy Metal, First Comics, Marvel Comics, Topps Comics, Image Comics, National Lampoon, Playboy Hamilton Publishing, Two Morrows, and Dark Horse. Unbelievably the list does not stop there and happily continues as CO2 Comics announces the presentation of two short stories by John Workman, “The Gold Mask” and “Revenge.”

The Gold Mask is a concept that had been percolating in Workman’s mind for years before realizing itself as an overview of much of his career’s work serving as an introduction to readers unfamiliar with his creative impact on Star*Reach and Heavy Metal.

John hopes the that the story would  be a sort of “visual encouragement” to those comic creators who are walking the same road that he had travelled in creating comics material and presenting it to the public.

Revenge,” also a brief study in the power the comics medium, has an interesting back story:

According to John, “the work began as one of the “June 2050″ stories in Heavy Metal. Dick Giordano had missed his deadline on the story that he and Jack Harris were doing, so… knowing that we needed to fill that page… I went home and wrote, pencilled, lettered, and inked this story and brought it in to the HM offices the next day. John Lennon had just been killed, and I used this as an opportunity to say something about his death. It was also a way of telling a somewhat complicated story by way of the comics form, a story that would be different if done in any other medium.”

comics_interview_vol_2Bill Cucinotta and Gerry Giovinco, publishers at CO2 Comics could not be happier than to have the opportunity to present these two short pieces by John Workman. John’s early work at Star*Reach and Heavy Metal were significant influences,  inspiring them to maintain a broader vision regarding quality, variety of subject matter and creators rights when they began publishing as Comico in the early 1980’s. That  vision that continues today with their new venture CO2 Comics that features serialized web comics, publishes, in book form, graphic novels and an eleven volume set of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW the Complete Collection.

An interview with John Workman appears in the first volume of the COMICS INTERVIEW collection and highlights John’s pet peeve regarding the number of people involved in creating a page of comics. Workman prefers to do it all himself but he is ready to jump in a moments notice to take on any creative responsibility with the utmost ability.

It is that sensibility that proves, though may take many to create great comics, there is only one John Workman and now you can read his great short stories at CO2 Comics.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco


Old School Comics

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Popular, classic and brilliant comic book artist, Jerry Ordway, whose work throughout the 80’s and 90’s defined the DC Universe recently wrote a heart wrenching essay, Life Over Fifty, describing his current professional situation which is unfortunately comparable to that of many of his peers.

If you are in the comics industry or aspiring to work in the field, this is an honest and fair observation of the  current state of the industry that you must be aware of and willing to change if you ever hope for  a secure career as a comic artist.

Jerry asks a simple question toward the end of the essay that is at the heart of his discontentment.

“Getting back to the beginning of this essay, and to the artists I loved as a kid, all I ask is for some of the same consideration my generation of creators and editors gave to the older guard in the 1980’s. My work is still sharp, my mind is still full of stories to tell, and I’m still willing to work all hours of my day to meet my deadlines. Why am I out of work from the publishers? Why are my friends, people who turned in great work, worthy of hardcover and trade paperback reprints, not able to get work? “

The answer is simple and unfortunate. It can be summed up in a single word. Disrespect.

Disrespect in the comic book industry is a cancer that threatens to destroy the fabric of the industry that has now survived an average person’s lifespan. It is a cancer that has always been there and just as it seemed curable it mutated into a uglier threat.

The comic book industry itself struggled with disrespect from its inception. As a product, comic books were the bottom feeders on any magazine rack; cheaply made, poorly printed, sold to children. Comic books originated as a disposable, impulse purchase. Nobody expected the cultural impact they would have or the durability and value of the character trademarks in the market.

Early comic book creators and publishers had little respect for the industry, themselves. Work in the comic book industry was considered an underpaid stepping stone to a future in some other graphics or communication field. Few admitted to working in the field and fewer stayed to make a career of it.

Those were the few that had respect for comics as a medium and as an industry. Those few became legends and solidified respect for comic books and comic book art. In the 1960’s Julie Schwartz at DC and Stan Lee at Marvel created environments that, for the first time, made the idea of a career in comics attractive and secure.

The creative legends of comics came together and made DC and Marvel commercial powerhouses that propelled their trademarks into the forefront of popular culture. Writers, artists, editors and even production people gained respect and credit for their work. And they worked, well into retirement.

All was not perfect. Creator’s rights became an issue. Work for hire contracts were viewed as a necessary evil but the legends didn’t seem to care so long as there was work doing what they loved. It was just part of the industry they knew and had built. It supported them and their families.

As the legends grew old new generations of creators came in to fill their shoes and carry the mantle, insuring that the quality and integrity of the trademarks remained intact. The Big Two had distinctive “styles” that set them apart from each other.

When Jack Kirby defected to DC after establishing himself as “King” at Marvel, editors at DC would paste house style faces of Superman over his stylized work to maintain their preferred look of the character. Kirby understood.

There was respect for creators, the characters and the companies.

Jerry Ordway is from the last generation of creators that held that respect and he had hoped to retain it himself, but times have changed. Disrespect has gained a foothold again but different than before. Creators now are cut-throat and disposable. Editors have no loyalty. The companies have no respect for the trademarks other than the bottom line.

The style sheets that one time served as bibles have been tossed aside. Entire universes are rebooted from scratch establishing new versions of old characters that are barely recognizable. The comic books and to some extent the films, thumb their noses at classic, established trademarks that are cultural icons. Why wouldn’t the industry “flip off” the creators that for decades diligently maintained the integrity of those characters?

Those iconic trademarks are now derogatorily deemed “Old School” by the new elite powers of the industry and grown, snot-nosed fans, long weened from the classics, who prefer their superhero comics gritty, racy and violent.

Ironically, the old classic trademarks hold their value with licensees who plaster the images of them on every conceivable piece of merchandise. Images by Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Herbe Trimpe, Sal Buscema, Dick Giordano, Jonny Romita, and Jerry Ordway skim the surface of the list of classic comic book creators whose work continues to generate huge revenue in forms of royalties, royalties that neither they nor their heirs see a lick of.

In the meantime the trendy, “new look” reboots of the comics struggle to sell the most modest of numbers in a perpetually shrinking Direct Comic Book Market.

If DC and Marvel respected their product and their trademarks, there would always be work for creators like Ordway. They would be necessary as mentors to insure that the integrity of the trademarks is passed along to the next generation of creators.

Kevin Tsujihara

There is hope at Marvel, now under the wing of Disney which is rigorous about preserving the iconic looks of their trademarks.

Maybe DC, under the guidance of Warner Bros new, traditionalist CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, will see the light and re-embrace that which has stood the test of time. Maybe the Old School will get the respect it deserves.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco


Viva La Comics Revolution!

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Damn it!

It breaks my heart every time I read about a comic artist finding it difficult to make ends meet, especially when they are extremely talented and were at one time among the elite creators in the field.

Welcome to the Arts!

I guess this means that comics have finally arrived as an art form. There was a time when a job in comics was just a bottom feeder stepping stone to a more lucrative career in advertising or other creative fields. Now artists are begging for a career in comics. Who would have guessed?

It was not long ago when Dick Giordano feared that the talent pool in comics was about to be extinct prompting him to create an apprentice program at DC in the late 1970’s. Around the same time Joe Kubert’s school became a fertile environment, producing numerous great talents. Other teachers like Will Eisner and Burne Hogarth also brandished brilliant torches, shining a bright light on education of the medium.

Comics now have joined the respected ranks of music, dance, literature, painting and sculpture where legions of practitioners strive for success yet only a rare few ever achieve stardom and tremendous financial reward.

Joe Kubert, Will Eisner, Burne Hogarth

Does this mean that if you are not one of the supremely talented or lucky you should just pack up the pencils paper and ink and give up? Hell no!

Artists in general have a strange sense of entitlement. Growing up, most are made well aware of their talents by doting family and friends that hail their giftedness. Stars in their own small circles, many are not prepared to face the challenge of competition in the larger arena of the real world. They expect the commendations and glories that they always knew and become disenchanted when it requires significantly greater effort to achieve success.

Success in any medium requires hard work well beyond talent and this is especially true in comics because of limited opportunity. Other than publishing yourself, there are so few publishers willing to pay reasonable fees for the work. There are also fewer projects by major publishing houses which will become an epidemic as the digital market grows.

The Big Two’s bean counters will surely realize that the seventy years of content that they already posses will be enough to saturate the digital market. Their money would be better spent digitalizing the classic material than spending it on new work that might require royalties and other forms of compensation not to mention costly editorial and production expenses.

So what’s a comic artist to do? What else? Get creative! Pave your own road to success by marketing, networking, publishing, teaching and creating comics, just like every other person that calls themselves a professional artist of the medium of their choice.

Superstars in every creative field are rare but plenty of creative folks support themselves and their families while  doing what they love by digging hard into the trenches and working it. Just ask any wedding singer, music teacher, production artist, variety entertainer. How many musicians are there in a garage band performing locally that have dreams of being a big star? Plenty.

The environment for creating comics and profiting from them has never been more full of opportunity thanks to the Direct Market, digital printing,  the internet, and digital distribution. Any one can make comics and have them distributed around the world in no time. Not everyone will get rich making comics but, like every art field, the cream will rise to the top and others will find levels of success to meet their personal efforts and some will simply give up their dream.

How To Be A Supervillain by Rachael Yu

One thing is for sure, like the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play. Last week a graphic novel written by a fourteen year old girl, Rachel Yu, was number one on Amazon’s Kindle Fire, outselling any graphic novel by Marvel or DC! The playing field is as even as it is ever going to be regarding distribution and the comic creators have the upper hand when it comes to being able to create and control exciting, fresh, new concepts.

Check Out Occupy Comics

2012 has already been tagged as the year of the artist-entrepreneur. It most definitely is! If you have been following the Occupy movement you may be in anticipation of a revolution. If you are a comic creator you are in the middle of one! Now is the time for comic creators to unite and take control of the digital market and ultimately the Direct Market, simply by producing the best new comics available. Let the big guys bury themselves with reboots of tired old characters.

CO2 Comics is just one collective community of comic artists with an eye on the prize. We have a track record thirty years in the making, of jumping into the ring with the heavyweights and backing them into the ropes with speed and agility. We are lacing up the gloves again as proud supporters of creators right’s and the talents of the little guy. If you want to be in our corner, contact us, show us what you got and get prepared to deliver an uppercut. The big guys are going down!

It may not seem right making comparisons of art and war but this is a matter of survival. Comic creators have an opportunity to set an example. We have a chance to prove that as a community we can make a difference. We can pull ourselves out from under the thumb of corporate giants that have dictated this industry for decades and establish new standards for the creation of comics that will make them better for everyone.

Oh, and if you don’t think this is war you better educate yourself about SOPA and realize that there is a covert attack on our creative rights happening right now. Implementation of SOPA may as well be the implementation of martial law on the internet and we are in danger of losing all the benefits and freedoms of the systems of distribution that we are counting on for a bright future for comics. We must do what we can, now, to stop SOPA.

Carpe Diem!

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco


Paradigm Shift in Comics

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Deadlines, AAARGH!!!

Sometimes the stress of meeting a deadline can really get to you yet without the deadline some work will just never get done. The deadline is a necessary evil, especially in comics with monthly circulation schedules.

There's No Escape From A DEADLINE

Joe Williams and Tina Garceau do a nice job describing the perils in There’s No Escape From DEADLINE which can be read right here at CO2 Comics.

Back in the earlier days of comics one artist may have to hack out several comics in a month. Sometimes pools of artists would gather in a hotel room and jam to get an entire story done overnight. Guys like Joe Kubert can tell you stories like these all day long.

Joe Kubert, Photo Credit: Jim Salicrup for COMICS INTERVIEW

The worst part was that the pay was not so great considering all the work and talent that was necessary. This is why comics had long been considered the ghetto of the creative world.

Fans of CO2 Comics that have bought our first book David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 1 get a great inside look at what the industry looked like prior to the early 1980’s through interviews with many artists that had been there from the beginning of the comic book industry.

COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection

At times pivotal moments will pop up that retrospectively changed the course of comics and continue to effect the industry today.

One of those moments is described by Joe Rosen who had been a letterer in the industry since 1940 and during the eighties was still a go-to guy in the Marvel Bullpen.

Joe Rosen

He explains how his perspective was that creators generally used comics as a stepping stone to hone their skills, make a couple of bucks then move into a more rewarding career in advertising.

Joe credits Marvel with creating an environment with enough successful product, reasonable pay and benefits associated with contracts that creators could finally want to make a career out of making comics.

When you consider the great talents of the Silver Age, however, you still see a significant turnover with only a handful of guys and gals that are staples.

During the eighties, when the Direct Market begins to dominate distribution of comics, another shift occurs.

Dick Giordano, in his interview, describes an industry that was in danger of running out of talent as the older creators were getting set to retire and so few were being prepared to rise up the ranks.

Dick Giordano

Joe Kubert who tells about his comic arts school in COMICS INTERVIEW, along with some classes by Burne Hogarth at the School of Visual Arts in New York were about the only places that even taught comics at the time.

Dick, while he was running the show at DC, instituted a workshop for young talent that he hoped would help fill the impending void.

The educational efforts of these gentlemen and others that followed, the implementation of the Creators Bill of Rights and the success of the Direct Market and the diversity of product inspired by Independent publishers created a fertile environment that began to make comics an attractive career choice.

Today the numbers of talented people that describe themselves as comic professionals is astounding compared to the expectations of Dick Giordano in 1983.

Though the Comics Industry can still be a difficult place to forge a career full of financial gain it provides an opportunity for success that was unheard of just thirty years ago.

Comics have gained a respect in the artistic community and can no longer be described as a creative ghetto.

Most importantly creators now make comics because they want to, not because it is a humbling stepping stone to a greater career.

I enjoy finding these paradigm shifts as I read through COMICS INTERVIEW. The eighties was such a period of transformation for the industry as a whole and COMICS INTERVIEW was able to look at the whole era from inside out while giving us a clear view of the past through the eyes of the creators that had been there since the forties.

One thing that will never go away, however, is the dreaded DEADLINE and I think I just barely met this one. (Sorry, Bill)

Making Comics Because I Want to!

Gerry Giovinco


The Comic Company:
The Studio

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Gerry Giovinco and Bill Cucinotta

 

Superman has the Fortress of Solitude. Batman has the Bat Cave. Hugh Hefner has Playboy Mansion. (That lucky bastard…)

The great heroes always had a secret lair, a home base, a castle of sorts. These mythic headquarters become a trademarked extension of the person themselves and ad to the legacy of grandeur attributed to their deeds and accomplishments.

 

Gerry's space at the Studio

 

I always had a fascination for a “clubhouse” mentality. I remember being about four years old and having secret meetings with my younger brother, Tom, in a dark closet illuminated only by our dim nightlight which we had drug in before we closed the door. This was our secret place, and though I’m sure my parents knew where we were, it gave us toddlers a sense of independence and awareness of self that we didn’t have when we were supervised by adults.

Two years later, Batmania would grip the world. All my brother and I could dream of was our very own Bat Cave buried beneath our house. We would spend hours scheming secret entrances to our gloriously imagined hangout.

As the years passed, there was always some kind of toy cabin, clubhouse, or tree house that anchored my activities with my three brothers and friends.

 

Room with a view

 

This continued into college where I would hole up with Bill Cucinotta and the other so-called Ducks in our commandeered DUCKWORK office on the thirteenth floor of the Philadelphia College of Art.

Given my own propensity for a hangout it is no surprise to me that the defining catalyst for Comico becoming tangible was the availability of office space at 1547 Dekalb Street in Norristown, PA.

Phil LaSorda’s older brother Dennis had just purchased a duplex in which he planned to operate his physical therapy practice. He offered Phil, Vince Argondezzi and me the opportunity to operate Comico from the space in the adjacent half of the building that he had no immediate plans for.

The iron was hot.

Comico, which until this point was as much a dream for Phil, Vince and me as that Bat Cave under my house, was about to become real. This was the moment of truth. It was time to “shit or get off the pot.”

Vince chose to leave the porcelain vacant and, though he would contribute his comic Mr. Justice to Primer #1, his partnership with Phil and me had ended.

 

Fred the Duck. Gerry Giovinco, Bill Cucinotta and Phil LaSorda

 

Phil and I had grown used to the idea of a third person in the partnership. It especially came in handy breaking stalemates on important decisions. We turned to Bill Cucinotta who had been my right hand man while publishing DUCKWORK at PCA.

Bill knew the Direct Market of the comics industry very well because of his experience working retail at Fat Jack’s Comic Crypt in Philadelphia. As a partner, his knowledge gave us an edge that we did not have before.

 

Partners

 

Comico’s partnership was once more a triumvirate and we had our own headquarters dubbed simply “Comico Studios”. We generally would refer to it just as The Studio never intending to confuse or compare it to The Studio in Manhattan where Bernie Wrightson, Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Barry Windsor-Smith hung their hats.

 

Recently I have heard stories from various Comico fans that had found their way to Norristown and decided to look up the Comico headquarters which, in their mind, was a shining tower of architectural wonder. They were surprised to find that it was simply an old three-story, stone-fronted, duplex building that was once a family home with a wooden porch located on the corner of a busy street in a tired industrial town whose glory days had long passed.

Our main activities took place in what would have been the living room and dining room of the original house, complete with very dated orange, shag, wall-to-wall carpet that covered beautiful hardwood floors. Eventually the bedrooms would become offices as our staff expanded.

At the time all of the guys that hung out at the studio were college age and we had a very fraternal sensibility that had carried over from our DUCKWORK experience.

We tended to play as hard as we worked and seemed to never leave the building, often crashing on the couch or cots that we had brought in for the many all-nighters that were pulled to meet deadlines or to just hang out. The pizza shop on the opposite corner made it easy for us to always have food and drink.

Our families forgot who we were.

Posters and art covered the walls. There was a riddled dart board that was used to shake out those punchy moments in the wee morning hours. It was not unusual to find the mantel of the fire place lined with empty beer bottles.

 

Bill Cucinotta and Bill Anderson, Trashed and too close for comfort

 

This would all change eventually as Comico became more of a business and less of an adventure but those early days harbor all of the most romantic memories of young guys setting out to conquer the world of comics as they knew it with little more than hope, a dream and some talent.

 

Reggie Byers and a new shipment

 

We would get visitors. Many with portfolios or scripts in hand. Some just curious. The visitors that thrilled me the most though were heros that provided inspiration so great that I get misty thinking about their visits even today.

Murphy Anderson whose Visual Concepts Inc. was our flat color separator and would visit often.

Joe Kubert, whose school we offered a small scholarship to, and whose sons eventually worked on our books, stopped in to say hi.

Dick Giordano along with Pat Bastienne would stop by for holiday parties.

All of them are comic book legends.

They would marvel at our humble space and it would take them back to stories of the good old days when they, themselves were kids in the industry holed up in hotel rooms knocking out an issue by committee overnight.

The twinkle in each of their eyes as they reminisced is something I’ll never forget.

When I write these articles, I get that twinkle and I remember why I love making comics.

It is more than the art of it. More than the love of the medium. More than the camaraderie of other comic artists.

It is being part of it all.

Being part of the history of all the folks that made the comics that put a smile on the face of a reader young or old.

 

Gerry Giovinco, Reggie Byers, Phil LaSorda, Bill Cucinotta. Neil Vokes (in back), Matt Wagner, Rich Rankin

 

Being part of a unique tradition of a wonderful medium and passing it forward to the next generation.

 

Snowmageddon trashed the front porch

The clubhouse is a lot different today. It exists in a technological wonder called the internet. It is not bricks and mortar like the old duplex in Norrisown. It is digital and the visitors stop in from all over the world.

Our new headquarters has a name. It is CO2 Comics.

It has an address: www.co2comics.com

Stop and visit.

Visit often.

Making comics because I want to.

Gerry Giovinco


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