Posts Tagged ‘duckwork’

Self-Publishing is a Virtue

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Self-publishing is often perceived with a certain disdain that I always struggle to understand especially when it concerns publishing comics. Self-publishers are usually viewed as purveyors of “Vanity Press” or unrefined rebels, void of editorial and quality control, rather than the enlightened, creative entrepreneurs that they often are.

For the record, I have always considered myself a self-publisher though I have spent a lot of time publishing the works of others. I self-published my first comics in high school. Those comics were printed on a mimeograph machine and distributed from class-to-class and sold for a nickel apiece.

In college, where I met my long time publishing partner Bill Cucinotta, we published a student newspaper, DUCKWORK , with a bunch of like-minded friends that all had an interest in comics.  We were doing our own thing and doing it collectively so I still considered what “we” published as self-published.

Few people remember or realize that Comico began as a self-publishing venture. Our earliest projects all featured comics that we created ourselves.  AZ, Skrog, and Slaughterman were each works of the individual Comico partners, Phil LaSorda, Bill Cucinotta, and myself. Primer was intended an introductory product for our personal projects but became our first vehicle to present the works of others, most notably our former DUCKWORK pal, Matt Wagner, and his signature work Grendel.

It was only fitting that when Bill and I began publishing on the web as CO2 Comics the first features we launched were our earlier works Skrog and Slaughterman . We were self-publishers again!

Because we do enjoy publishing others, we set up CO2 Comics as a cooperative venture where we work closely with creators to present their work on our site. When we do publish works in print we consider the creators our partners and insure that they receive the lion’s share of net profits from sales of their books.

I don’t ever want to lose my perception of being a self-publisher because I consider it a virtue and a right. Cat Yronwode, esteemed comics critic, and editor once questioned our rights to publish what was admittedly amateurish material. Her comment in the Comics Buyer’s Guide sent me into a tizzy back in 1983 because I am so adamant about a creator’s right to have control over their work which is my primary  endorsement for self-publishing. I argued that as Americans we should have the right to publish whatever we want and that the market will determine our fate.

Self-publishing, in fact has integral responsibility for the birth of our nation. Forefather, Ben Franklin, was a self-publisher and champion of freedom of speech. He used his press, his writings and his publishing skills to inspire and encourage the American Revolution. He valued those rights and so should we as comic creators.

This is the sense of independence that comic creators needed when it became obvious that the big comic publishers were taking advantage of them. By the late seventies when people started demanding rights for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster followed by champions for Steve Gerber and Jack Kirby it became obvious that alternative publishing was necessary in the comics industry

For us, like many others, self-publishing was the answer.  Thanks to the nature of the Direct Market in the comics industry at the time, self-publishers could easily get their foot in the door. A lot of good and bad publishers proliferated but what became clear was that comics could be more than just superheroes and the opportunity for diversity in the medium exploded.  Self-publishing opened the door for creative opportunity that may not have existed otherwise.

The new generation of comic creators with this expanded view of the medium quickly moved to the world wide web and launched a self publishing assault  that proved anything is possible when creating comics. Stick figures capably replaced the anatomically exaggerated superheroes as dominant reading material on the web.

Now, with digital advancements in printing and distribution, the opportunity to self-publish is as accessible and affordable than ever before leaving the greatest challenge to be that of being discovered by an audience.

More than ever, self-publishing is the doorway to creative freedom. As creators, now is the time to encourage each other to embrace the opportunity to swelf-publish, to control your intellectual property and not be victimized by unscrupulous publishers who continue to exploit the antiquated work-for-hire business model.

This is our goal at CO2 Comics. We recognize that not every creator wants the burden of all the details that self-publishing requires wether it be on the web or in print. We want CO2 Comics to be a safe haven for projects to be published while creators retain ownership and control over their property.

More importantly we intend that creators are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve and would warrant as a self-publisher because we know personally what a virtue self-publishing is.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco


Goodbye CBG

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

The only newspapers that ever really mattered to comic book fans were The Daily Planet, The Daily Bugle and The Comics Buyer’s Guide. Of course, of the three only the CBG was real and now, after forty-two years and 1,699 issues, it is gone.

John Jackson Miller provides a broad perspective of the fanzine, turned, newspaper, turned magazine in this wonderfully documented blog piece, End of an era: Comics Buyer’s Guide, 1971-2013.

I was first introduced to the newspaper by my Comico and CO2 Comics publishing partner, Bill Cucinotta, in 1980. Bill worked at Fat Jack’s Comic Crypt in those days while he went to school at Philadelphia College of Art and teamed with me and the rest of the gang that published our own underground-ish, student newspaper DUCKWORK.

Then titled The Buyers Guide for Comic Fandom and generally referred to as TBG the weekly publication was a tabloid size newspaper like any weekly local paper you would find in your mailbox. The format and frequency established TBG for what it was, the voice of a community, and the periodical singlehandedly galvanized fandom into a comics community with a strong sense of identity.

Maggie & Don Thompson

Under the nurturing guidance of Don and Maggie Thompson, the newspaper was a welcoming vehicle for all to participate whether you were a fan, professional, retailer or distributor there was always a sense that all had an equal voice. To be included was to be accepted into the community.

When we began publishing as Comico, shortly before TBG changed its name to The Comics Buyers Guide or CBG it was always an exciting moment for us to see our full page ads appear in the large tabloid sized pages and to read reviews of our product even though our earliest comics received harsh criticism. We were where we wanted to be; included in the comics community!

This inclusion spread to our appearances at comic conventions across the country where we always felt welcomed due to this sense of community that was fostered by the congeniality of the Thompsons who could be found at most conventions and were happy to encourage and enlighten young, wide-eyed publishers like ourselves.

It was a sad day when Don Thompson passed away in 1994 because the comics community lost a pioneer, a friend and a mentor. A similar feeling of loss is being experienced now as CBG fades into history, a victim of modern technology and an ever changing market. The comic community communicates differently now, through social networks, blogs, podcasts and video but we cannot change our heritage that defined itself in the pages of a once glorious yet simple newspaper.

Bill and I want to express a heartfelt thank you and extend our most sincere well wishes to the staff and contributors of CBG especially Maggie Thompson as she continues to blog on her website and takes on a new role blogging for Comic Con International’s new Toucan blog.

R.I.P. CBG and thanks for the memories.

Gerry Giovinco

2013 Could be a Magical Year

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

It’s New Year’s Day 2013 and a lot of people are out there working on their New Year’s resolutions. Personally, when I hear the word resolution all I think of is dpi. (dots per inch for those of you who don’t dabble in pixels) I do, however, look at the New Year as a fresh slate and I make every effort to jump in, feet first, with a positive attitude and lots of ambition which uses up enough energy to have me exhausted by the end of week one.

This year, of course, has everyone staring down that infamous number “13″ as their triskaidekaphobia sets in, but after surviving the end of the world as predicted by the Mayan calendar, what do we have to worry about?

In truth the number 13, though widely considered unlucky, has a long history of mystical powers supported by astrological and geometric significance.

If you would enjoy having your eyes burned out of your head by green type on a black page you can read an otherwise fascinating and informative web page about the sacred powers of the number 13 as it refers to the Holy Grail on the site The Vessel of God. www.thevesselofgod.com/thirteen

The number 13 has worked for me over the years. My mother and daughter were both born on the 13th, my daughter actually on Friday the 13th!

The number 13 has also had a significant impact on CO2 Comics. I’ve written often about DUCKWORK the newspaper that Bill Cucinotta and I published while in college at the Philadelphia College of Art in 1980-1982. This is where we first became involved with Matt Wagner, Mike Leeke, Joe Williams, Tina Garcaeu, Joe Matt, and Dave Johnson, all Comico and/or CO2 Comics collaborators.

DUCKWORK had an office, a lowly, tiny room that we had, literally, abducted from the security guards who had previously used it as a locker room. The DUCKWORK office sat on the south side of the ARCO Building on the corner of Broad and Spruce and was on the 13th floor! Those of you that have been in high-rise buildings know that, for superstitious reasons, most buildings do not have a 13th floor. This made our scrawny, little DUCKWORK office all the more magical and exciting place to be every day.  To compound the mystique, the entire floor had been abandoned, relegated merely for storage, only two rooms saw human involvement, our office and the new security locker room. We were in No Man’s Land and we loved it!

Duckwork Covers 1-6

The elevator ride to the office was usually a hectic and congested adventure which I personally avoided each morning by using the stairs. My trek up each of those thirteen flights was compounded by the thirteen city blocks I would walk after being dropped off by my neighbor’s father, who worked near the Franklin Institute. I counted each flight with labored breath, diligently anticipating the last step leading to door that opened to the 13th floor! Needless to say, going down was a lot easier!

Life on the 13th floor with the DUCKWORK crowd was the highlight of my college career that led to many comics publishing experiences and a lifelong friendship with Bill Cucinotta, my partner here at CO2 Comics.

Yup! The number 13 works for me and I am looking forward to a great 2013. I hope you are too!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Gerry Giovinco

Ready to Launch!

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Paul Zdepski makes a big point to regularly mention that he was born during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Can you imagine coming into a world during a fleeting moment of international distress instigated by impending Armageddon?! Paul’s first experience with raw emotion was the collective anxiety of the entire world! Thankfully for us Paul has channeled that empathy through his comics and illustrations where he is able to focus on the distinct reactions that his characters have when faced with the challenges of life whether they be unusual or mundane.

Emulating that threat to our national defense Paul Zdepski has managed to fly under the radar of Bill Cucinotta and myself, hovering on the edge of our social and professional careers for over thirty years, waiting for the opportune moment to strike with his unique brand of creative genius.

Paul toured the periphery of our college escapades as we published DUCKWORK at the then Philadelphia College of Art. Classmates with Matt Wagner, Mike Leeke, Dave Johnson and Joe Matt, he held a pass to our social network that also included me, Bill, Joe Williams and Tina Garceau all would eventually have an impact on either  Comico and CO2 Comics or both.

During the heyday of Comico one of the most vibrant studios that produced work for us was Philadelphia based Bain Sidhe Studios, the creative realm where Matt Wagner, Bill Willingham, Rich Rankin, Joe Matt and Bill Cucinotta along with others, generated works for Comico, DC and Marvel. Paul was a welcomed guest in that circle as evidenced by the Comico swag he posts on his own blog.

When Bill and I began resurrecting our comic careers with CO2 Comics, Paul was one of our earliest followers, commenting on posts and chiming in on facebook pages. Now down in the Washington DC area Paul is a member of a productive group of indy comic creators called DC Conspiracy. A quick visit to his website will show what a busy and accomplished illustrator and educator Paul is.

The missile finally hit home when Paul announced that his mini comic SING-SING was awarded best Mini Comic/Short Story category of the year by S.P.A.C.E. Now in it’s 13th year, S.P.A.C.E. is the midwest’s largest exhibition of small press and creator owned comics. Sponsored by Back Porch Comics, the show’s held in Columbus,Ohio. This years presentation of S.P.A.C.E. will be held April 21 and 22.

Bill and I have always taken pride in our ability to spot and cultivate talented comic creators but somehow Paul managed to stealthily remain undetected while being in our own back yard the whole time. Now, much more than a blip on our screen, we are hoping the Paul Zdepksi will become a popular regular contributor to CO2 Comics, starting today with our proud presentation of his award winning mini comic SING SING!

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco


Halloween Treat

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Since this is my last blog before Halloween I thought it would be fun to take a jaunt down the old, haunted Memory Lane starting with an illustration I did of a baby Bela Lugosi for a project as a student at the Philadelphia College of Art.

Thirty years ago, when Bill Cucinotta and I were still hacking away with friends at our student newspaper, DUCKWORK, Matt Wagner had joined our little band of ducks. The DUCKWORK staff had that year, by proxy, become the Arts Council of the college and it became our job to coordinate the 1981 Annual PCA Halloween Ball.

Matt accepted the responsibility of designing the poster for the event which we screen printed with black ink on white paper and added a touch of red by hand. The original prints were roughly 14×18 inches and were posted around campus for all to see.

I came across the preliminary sketches that Matt had made in one of my sketchbooks, and since I am lucky enough to have the poster as well I thought it would be a nice Halloween treat to share.

The following October, DUCKWORK would be gone, but as Comico, Bill and I, along with partners Phil and Dennis LaSorda would publish our first comic book, Comico Primer #1. Matt Wagner would introduce his popular Grendel character in issue #2 and the rest is history.

Time sure flies when your making comics. Three decades later we’re still at it, bringing our readers great comics right here on the internet with CO2 Comics. We do sure miss the smell of paper though so stay tuned for another treat that will be announced sooooooooooooooooooon!

OH, and have a Happy Halloween!

Making Comics Because I Want To

Gerry Giovinco


Get Down America!

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Howard The Duck button

Waaaaagh!!! What can I say? Ever since I first laid eyes on a Howard the Duck comic book I was smitten with ducks. I’m not sure why, but I think that what Steve Gerber did with the character opened my eyes to what could be done with comics beyond superheroes. It helped a lot that some of my favorite artists had drawn the character. Val Mayerick, Frank Brunner, Gene Colan, Sal Buscema and Michael Golden always left me wanting more and the iconic image by Bernie Wrightson on that campaign pin just sealed the deal!

howard wearing pants

Later when Gerber launched his creator’s rights battle with Marvel and when Disney challenged Marvel over trademark infringement, causing Howard to be forced to wear pants so as not to look like Donald Duck, Howard the Duck and ducks in general became a symbol to me of some sort of rebellious, creative attitude.

When I was in high school at Bishop Kenrick where I first met Phil Lasorda and Vince Argondezzi, my original partners in Comico the Comic Company, it was tradition to use acronyms to represent our party when we ran for office. When I ran for school president, the name of my party was, of course, D.U.C.K., Demonstrating Unity in the Community of Kenrick. I copied that Wrightson pin and made it school colors of green and gold. I even had a  mascot that crashed a student assembly in a duck costume! I lost… but the power of the duck stuck with me.

My fancy for ducks followed me to the Philadelphia College of Art now called University of the Arts where it did not take me long to establish a group of rogue comic artists called Ducks that strove to publish a small newspaper called DUCKWORK.  The thinly veiled connection to the school was a central courtyard that had two Peking Ducks inhabiting it and a bag lady that “quacked” as she walked in the area by our school earning her the name Duck Lady.

I wrote about  DUCKWORK In a previous blog and in an effort not to be redundant I invite you to check it out for the full scoop here.

Duck SuspenseStories

It dawns on me now that those six issues of DUCKWORK probably have some redeeming collectible value for their role as a precursor to the founding and publishing of Comico comics , CO2 Comics and for representing some of the earliest published works of the widely acclaimed Matt Wagner which can be seen here shown for historical purposes, of course.

Duck Throat

Duck Wish

Raiders Of The Lost Duck

Rollerduck

This peek at the credits and a dedication to Wally Wood who had passed away just prior to that particular issues publication in 1981 shows our devotion comics and  to the comic legend.

Duckwork dedication to Wally Wood

It also offers evidence of our lousy typewriter and some Ducks that went pro, Myself, Bill Cucinotta former Comico Partner and partner here at CO2 Comics, Dave Johnson of ROBOTECH  fame, Matt Wagner, Joe Williams CO2 Comics contributor and missing, somehow, is another ROBOTECH  vet and ELEMENTALS penciller, Mike Leeke.

Punk Duck 1

Ducks were infectious too. Not only did the DUCKWORK crew quickly assimilate to drawing the feathered fowl, I  recently discovered this incredible project by Martha Erlebacher, an anatomy teacher at PCA when we were students there.

Could it be remotely possible that our parodies of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus

Hatch of Venus

and Marcell Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase published in DUCKWORK somehow influenced one of our world class teachers? We may never know the answer to that but I think CO2 Comics contributer and another former ROBOTECH  vet, Reggie Buyers was tipping his hand when he sent me this fax of Jam Quacky in 1991.

Jam Quacky

Jam Quacky #1

Outside of DUCKWORK I had a propensity to parody superheroes as ducks and could often be found at comic conventions drawing Bat Duck, Spider-Duck, Silver Surf Duck, X-Ducks, Red Sonduck, you name it. The ducks were my gimmick, I guess, and littered my sketchbooks. They certainly helped me attract attention in those early days and develop lasting relationships with talented comic artists that helped to build Comico and CO2 Comics.

Bat Duck

Silver Surf Duck

Sonja Duck

I still love drawing those ducks so don’t be surprised if you start seeing them pop up here at CO2 Comics or on ebay. Hey, commissions aren’t out of the question either! If you have a passion to see your favorite character parodied as a duck just drop me a line at gerry@co2comics.com.

Making Comics Because I Want To  “QUACK!

Gerry Giovinco


Encouraging Comics – A Sketch in Time

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

PCA now UARTS

My freshman year at the Philadelphia College of Art in 1979 was a bit of a surprise. It was the first time that I had experienced the artistic predjudice towards comics. The common notion expressed by my teachers was that I would be broken from my barbaric attraction to this bastard of a medium.

It became clear to me that I would have to develop my own curriculum to assist me in my goal of becoming a comics artist. Though my major was Illustration, I filled my electives with courses that would aid me in my quest. Animation, calligraphy, creative writing, graphics and photography rounded out my schedule.

My extracurricular activities proved to be an even greater asset as I explored publishing through the devlopment of a freshman yearbook and a student newspaper, both of which I had orchestrated to help the Arts Council strengthen the sense of community in the school. My commitment to the yearbook only survived one publication but the evolution of the newspaper into DUCKWORK, a publication that was very focused on comics, further whet my appetite for publishing comic books.

Duckwork #2 Cover by Gerry Giovinco inked by Bill Anderson

This would all transpire after my initial indoctrination to the world of art college a place that, given the quality of my work compared to my peers, I had no place being.

At PCA all freshman had to endure classes that were appropriately described as Foundation. The three classes were Drawing, 2-D Design, and 3-D Design each intended to establish a quality and understanding of fundamental skills necessary for successful mastery of the static arts. Knowing that my skills were inferior at the time became an asset. I was never one to second guess the teacher or to argue a scathing critique. I took it on the chin and learned the hard way.

Drawing was the class that I struggled with the most, especially when it came to figures. Everything I drew looked like bad comic book art. My teacher was a printmaking professor named Jerome Kaplan who did his best to teach me the finer skills of rendering. Maybe it was the extra attention I needed or the effort that he saw me put in to my work but somehow he began to relate to me on a more personal level and he learned about my desire to make comics.

Jerry Kaplan by Gerry Giovinco

Mr. Kaplan was well aware that an interest in comics was frowned upon in a prestigious school like PCA yet he had great sympathy for my desires because his brother-in-law was none other than Arnold Roth who had been a student at PCA in the late 1940’s then called the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. Mr. Kaplan would tell me stories of how Arnold had his own issues with the institution over his preoccupation with cartoons and jazz.

Arnold Roth

Arnold Roth of course is a prolific illustrator cartoonist that has a list of awards a mile long including a National Cartoonist Society run as the Best Illustrator Cartoonist that he won each year from 1978 till he withdrew from competition in 1990 so somebody else could have a chance!

One day Mr. Kaplan came to class with a new Arnold Roth story. At a family gathering he had a discussion with Arnold about an impressionable kid in his class that wanted to draw comics and the esteemed Mr. Roth pulled out a felt tip and sketched a gag on a piece of bond paper for the lucky fool who was, of course, me.

The cartoon of Michelangelo picking his own nose is a priceless piece of spontaneity drawn by a true master of comic art that I will always treasure. It will perpetually be a reminder of the support and encouragement I received from Jerry Kaplan who, unfortunately is no longer with us but understood the magic that could be found in incredible comics.

The next year after I had been given that wonderful drawing, Arnold Roth had a one man show at PCA and for me it was a moral victory to see a cartoonist’s work displayed so reverently at my school. His show validated the aesthetic acceptance of comics that would continue to grow to this day. I am eternally grateful for Arnold Roth’s role in that acceptance and for that felt tip sketch that still hangs by my desk.

I will never forget, however, the twinkle in the eye of my drawing teacher the day he gave me that sketch. He knew that the precious gift he delivered was not made of paper and ink or even the raw talents of Arnold Roth. It was made of 100% inspiration that came entirely from the encouragement that he had personally given to me.

Thank you, Jerome Kaplan, for being the encouraging soul toward young talent that we should all be as artists.

Making Comics Because I Want to.

Gerry Giovinco

The Gutter – Turkey Day

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

OMG it is already Thanksgiving!

Where does the year go? 2011 is right around the corner and soon we will all be looking back examining this past year that has seen a lot of dramatic shifts in the comics industry.

Most folks think of Thanksgiving as Turkey Day, a chance for the whole family to gather and give thanks while feasting on the juicy bird packed with stuffing and served with a harvest banquet reminiscent a of a meal shared between the Pilgrims and Native Americans.

Believe it or not, turkeys and comics have a close connection for me. I actually think about it often when I peer out my window here in a very rural area of the the South Jersey Pinelands where I live. Besides being on the constant lookout for the Jersey Devil, and dodging deer that prance in my headlights, I experience wild turkey by the dozens as they flock through my yard on a daily basis.

The site of them always conjures back the memory of a giant print of an Arnold Roth illustration that was on display promoting a show of his work at the Philadelphia College of Art. He was an alumnus there, and it as were my Comico and CO2 Comics partner Bill Cucinotta and I attended college during the early 1980’s.

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.

Bill and I were also instrumental in publishing a student newspaper, DUCKWORK, at PCA and managed to appropriate the photostat print that was mounted on foamcore after the show was over. We displayed it in proudly in the DUCKWORK office until it later migrated to the Comico Studio in Norristown where, unfortunately, it has since been lost.

Duckwork Covers 1 & 2

The image depicted two contrasting iconographies of America in passing. On one side was a valiant looking Madame Liberty with a stoic Bald Eagle by her heal. The other side depicted a more humble and much less arrogant interpretation of Americana, a haggard, pipe smoking, frump of a woman content in her baseness, accompanied by a lowly turkey.

Ben Franklin actually preferred the turkey over the bald eagle as the national symbol.

“For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage…”

(http://www.greatseal.com/symbols/turkey.html)

That turkey, as presented by Mr. Roth and described by Mr. Franklin, came to symbolize comics for me.

Colorful and defiant, native and common, comics find their strength of power in their ability to access the masses and deliver the purest presentation of the message of a sole creator simply using words and pictures.

Underestimated by other media, artists and literati, comics open a unique dialog between to the common folk and the creator who respectfully wishes to communicate directly to them.

As the year quickly comes to a close I am thankful to be reminded by the humble turkey why comics are so important to me. The gobbler primes me for all the comic related resolutions I have in mind for the New Year.

I still, however, have a lot of expectations left for 2010. With the Christmas season upon us, we at CO2 Comics are anticipating that many of you will deem our first print publication, David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 1, a top pick on your list to Santa.

David Anthony Kraft's COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Vol 1

We were surprised to discover that the beautiful Hard Cover edition of CI ranked #3 in Lulu’s Comics and Graphic Novel category this week!

David Anthony Kraft is still drooling over the book himself, exclaiming on facebook, “Knocked out by COMICS INTERVIEW HARDCOVER! Getting up from ground — it’s that good! Lays open flat, like a bible. Can’t BELIEVE how great it is!”

Of course, DAK is biased as are we but we have been thrilled and thankful for the generous response and collective appreciation of the book from people who have had the opportunity to hold one in their hands.

A quick reminder that the Premier editions of both the Hard Cover and the Paperback featuring the Platinum version of the classic, original COMICS INTERVIEW logo will be available only until midnight of New Year’s Eve 2010. So, if you are a collector and want to guarantee that you have this limited edition in your library, act soon!

Comics Interview Premier Edition

One last note regarding COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection. Lulu has been offering generous discounts of up to 20% off for books available on their site. These limited time offers are well worth benefitting from and we will do our best to keep you informed here on the blog and on the CO2 Comics facebook page.

Become a fan of the page and you will be sure to receive these promo updates and be the first to know what is going on here at CO2 Comics.

While we are on the subject of Christmas lists make sure you stop by and check out our newly released DEATH FATIGUE t-shirt line. If you are tired of watching your favorite heroes die the temporary super-death get your very own DEATH FATIGUE swag now!

Captain Obese

I hope that you all have had a chance to check out our latest addition to CO2 Comics, Don Lomax’s The Heavy Adventures of CAPTAIN OBESE. Don’s comic feature is sure to make a large impression on you and make you hungry for more.

Don’t worry! CO2 Comics won’t disappoint you! There will be at least one more big content announcement before 2010 becomes just another space odyssey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Making comics because I like turkey,

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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