Posts Tagged ‘Flash’

Comic Book Entropy: Marvel and DC

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

When it comes to order and disorder regarding comic books one needs to look no further than the Big Two, Marvel and DC, for examples of each in regards to their corporate direction.

This past week Marvel celebrated their 75th anniversary with a televised special/infomercial titled Marvel: 75 Years, From Pulp to Pop! The show managed to  cram their long history into just 44 succinct minutes in a way that only Marvel can because they have admittedly and willfully refined their direction to the fundamental creative basics established by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.

Marvel recognizes that their success is built on the creative geniuses of these three men and the culture of the Marvel Bullpen that has managed to maintain a continuity that has reverently adhered to the principle foundations of the characters they created.

The new found harmony that exists since the settlement between Marvel and the Kirby Estate, as exhibited by the inclusion of a proud Neal Kirby speaking on his late father’s behalf in the special, reinforced Marvel’s dedication to the tradition of the source material.

Marvel does not stray far from the source material. They embrace it because they know it is based on good storytelling that has stood the test of time. The result is the global phenomenon known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is a bountiful collection of heroic adventures dictated by simple order managed by a decree to not fix what is not broke.

Flip the coin and disorder rears its head as DC Comics once again applies a bandaid to the hemorrhage that is the complicated multiverse known as the DCU. The cure of the moment is called Convergence and it is a two-month-long event focused around the concept that Brainiac will gather the bottled up realities of the infinite earths in the DCU and bring all the variants of all the characters together in one place and let them mix it up like some tormented game of “shake n’ bake.”

While these fifty comics are being published the rest of the already established line will go on a two-month hiatus while the corporate offices move west. Fans get to wait it all out and hope they are satisfied with what promises to be yet another thread of convoluted reality attempting to make sense of what has been convoluted for decades.

DC has long lost any attachment to the foundations of any of their characters let alone any respect for the values or intentions of the creators of their iconic properties. Any opportunity that DC has to exploit their characters in another medium is just a chance to twist in another reality option. TV Flash is already rumored to be from a different reality than film Flash and so the spiral continues.

Through it all fans, are expected to sit back and wait for the shoes to fall then jump back on the bandwagon like nothing ever happened. But fans don’t like to be thrown from the bus. Major League Baseball learned this the hard way when they canceled a season due to strike and it took years to regain the trust of the fans. Why should comics be different?

Nostalgia is a large part of what we all love about our comics and our heroes. Marvel has found a way to introduce new generations to characters that are tried and true while DC continually attempts to recreate their characters to appeal to what they believe are the tastes of a new generation. The end result is that today’s Superman is not your parents’ Superman but today’s Captain America still resonates with the patriotism of your grandparents.

Entropy is, of course, all about the balance of order and disorder in relationship to chaos which is the driving force behind true creativity. Chaos is a beautifully amazing thing which can be easily witnessed in comic books just by looking at a rack of independent comics that source their creativity from every direction and, in fact, continue influence the entropy of the Big Two.

In the Marvel special,  a quick pan of a 1980’s era comic book rack began with a flash of X-Men comics before culminating into a display of independent comics featuring titles like GRENDEL, ELEMENTALS, JUSTICE MACHINE, FISH POLICE and TROLL LORDS, all titles that, at one point, were published under the COMICO imprint, a company co-founded by CO2 COMICS’ own founders, Bill Cucinotta and myself.

It is nice to know that, somehow, our work has impacted the bigger picture of comic books that the world too often recognizes only as Marvel and DC. It is great to be part of the chaos. In the end, it’s all simply about making comics because we want to.

Gerry Giovinco



Read Your Favorite Flash Based CO2 Comics on an iPad or iPhone!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

One of my biggest criticisms of Apple’s iPad (and the iPhone for that matter) was its inability to read Flash. This was particularly irksome to me since the CO2 Comics site depends on a Flash viewer to display all of the great comics that we have to offer. We use Flash primarily for its stability and it makes our viewer particularly compatible with motion comics like Bernie Mireault’s  The Jam Urban Adventure.

I was not in a hurry to get a tablet, especially one that could not read Flash. I knew that when I eventually bought one it most likely would be the iPad since I swear by my iMac, tote around an iPhone, and would want all to interact seemlessly on the old iCloud. But to me an iPad was just a big iPhone and I am completely happy sitting in front of my computer in my studio, surfing the net and reading webcomics on my 17″ monitor.

I’m not excited about the idea of buying a comic app to read on a device. I’d rather have the comic book whenever possible and there is so much free comic content on the web, I could read comics forever without spending a dime.

So tablets did not impress me. They are just another tekkie device attempting to flip over the consumer and shake every last shekel out of our already thinly worn pockets.

But hey, I’m an old fart. What do I know?

When an iPad mini migrated into our home to be used primarily by my wife and daughter (my son’s Macbook Pro is tattooed to him as is his iPhone) I squeamishly explored its browser capabilities, sadly confirming its inability to read Flash. This became an even bigger issue, however,  when my wife discovered she could not play Farmville, her favorite Flash based Facebook game.

Oh! The horrors!!

So I sat in front of my trusty iMac and explored. I quicky discovered a number of apps claiming to enable the iPad to be able to view Flash, all with varied reviews. iSwifter caught my attention. It was a cloud based server designed for games, that quicky translated your interaction back to your device. It was FREE! It could play Farmville! Surely it could handle the CO2 Comics viewer.

Well, the app was free…for fifteen minutes each day for a week after which it was $9.99 for unlimited usage.  After I got knocked off when my first fifteen minutes expired it was worth the ten bucks to me not to have to wait twenty-four hours to take another stab at experimenting with it. (Sucker!)

Sure enough, it worked as promised. It was fast. The images were clear. Farmville worked great. I could read all the comics on CO2 Comics with some minor snafus. It needs Wi-Fi and does not work at all on the iPhone. The CO2 Comics Flash viewer worked fine and it jumped nicely from page to page but the browser was locked into a horizontal view and I could not significantly change the size of the image. This forced me to have to center the comic viewer on the screen and scroll up and down. I could not control the scrolling action at all by touching the comic page in the viewer. I could only use the tiny available border visible on each side of the image. If I happened to accidentally touch a link, I was off to a different site. With a little practice I was navigating CO2 Comics like a pro and I was satisfied despite the quirks.

Screw Farmville! I can read CO2 Comics on an iPad!

I was happy until I sat down to write this post. I did some more research on the subject and came across this list of Alternative Browsers for the iPad compiled by Craig Nansen that appeared on a 2011 post on Wired Educator:

Diigo Browser (free) – Chrome-like, with annotation and offline reading (formerly iChromy)

iSWiFTER (Free)

Atomic Web Browser ($0.99) – Browse FullScreen w/ Download Manager & Dropbox

Cloud Browse ($2.99)

iCab Mobile (Web Browser) ($1.99)

Grazing Web Browser ($1.99)

Skyfire Web Browser ($4.99) and $2.99 for the iPhone.

Puffin Web Browser ($0.99)

Opera Mini Web browser (free)

After reading the reviews and the comments, the Puffin Web Browser, which was actually FREE, stood out as a viable option. I couldn’t argue with free so I downloaded the app to check it out.

Boy am I glad I did!

The comic reading experience in the Puffin Web Browser was great! So much better than iSwifter. I can’t believe I almost settled for something so mediocre. The thing I like most about Puffin is the ability to zoom in and out with no discretion. The images slide across the screen with a sweep of the finger. There are some artifacts in the images. They are more noticeable on black and white images and become more apparent, naturally, when the image is larger but they are not that big of a distraction from the reading experience, at least no more than the funky printing on the old newsprint comics.

One other plus about Puffin is that it does work without Wi-Fi enabled. It is slower on Verizon’s 3G network but it gets the job done if you have the patience to wait 5-10 seconds to turn a page.

Puffin is also available for the iPhone! So, being the curious goat that I am, I quickly downloaded the app to my iPhone. Sure enough, I can now read CO2 Comics on my cell as well, though my suspicions were confirmed. I just can’t seem to enjoy reading comics on a little cell phone screen. If I wanted to read comics that small I’d go buy some penny gum and read the comic adventures of Bazooka Joe. Unfortunately they no longer include those tiny printed gems with those crusty little pink and chewy bricks of gum. What’s next? Hostess cupcakes? ( I know. I know. Sad isn’t it?)

Reading CO2 Comics on the iPhone using Puffin Web Browser was pretty much just like reading them on the iPad except everything was smaller and it did move a bit slower. Buttons and links were harder to navigate because of their shrunken size and though I could zoom in and out just as easily, I needed to do it so much more often that it became a bore. I at least know now that if I ever need a comic fix all I have to do is pull out my iPhone but I’d much rather read comics on a tablet, laptop, or desktop if no printed comic book is available.

So there you have it. A resounding, YES! You can read and enjoy Flash based comics on the iPad and the iPhone! Next time you have the urge to drop 99¢ on a comics app in Comixology to read one comic on your tablet remember that there are over a thousand pages of great comics right here on CO2 Comics that are just one FREE app away.

And don’t worry, if you would really much rather have a printed book, we have them too! Just click on that cool ad blinking at the bottom of this page!

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco

Appless Comics

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Apps, apps, apps! That is all we hear about anymore, especially when the discussion is about digital comics. Maybe I’m dense, too old fashioned or just plain stupid but I have to admit that I just don’t get it.

I know that there are apps for just about everything. Apple boasts over 300,000 apps available just for the iPhone. There are thousands of apps for Droids, Smartphones and Blackberries too but, face it, apps are a brilliant marketing tool for “App”le more than anyone..

Now that the iPad is on the scene everyone and their sister can see the potential of comics flourishing on that brilliant 9.7 inch screen and of course the imitators are already popping out everywhere.

In the midst of all this commotion we have all been sold the idea that an app is needed to be able to read comics on these portable devices. An app! Quick run out and get one so you can read comics! Hurry, hurry, hurry!

If you are a creator or a publisher you especially better get a jump on it before you are left in the dust. Times-a-wasting! Lock into a deal, NOW! Tie up your rights and spread that wealth with Apple, the app developer, and the publisher leaving little for the creator before it’s too late!
Hurry, hurry, hurry!

What a bunch of sheep we are. Happy to be herded to a promised land by the carrot of new source of possible revenue.

WAKE UP!!

SMELL THE COFFEE!!

STOP BEING A PANSIE!!

Let me bring you back to Earth with a simple truth. You do not need an app to read tons of great digital comics on a computer, a net book, an e-reader or a cell phone.

You don’t need an app!

All you need is a browser.

If your device can read Flash files your options are even greater.

New devices are coming soon from Samsung and Blackberry that read Flash. Soon Apple will have to include it as well. Even if they don’t Flash created with HTML 5 is readable so eventually all web comics will be an easy read on any tablet or phone, app-free!

If you are a creator or a publisher, post your comics on the web, market a PDF download, or make your own app if you feel that you really have to and guess what?

You are in command!

You have control over your content, no censorship, no digital rights management that ties up your property indefinitely and, if you wish to sell your works, get paid directly from your readers without sharing any of the profits except your PayPal fees.

I know this all sounds like blasphemy!

The digital comic download is supposed to be the savior of comics and finally provide a source of revenue to creators while opening up the huge untapped market of the masses.

The magic bullet!

But it is not.

If we allow ourselves to be led down the narrow road of the app it is business as usual. In the comics industry we know who wins. Everyone else loses. Even the readers.

Look, as a publisher, I have gone toe-to-toe with Marvel and DC in the Direct market. I’ve waded into the dark and murky waters of the mass market. I was there championing the rise of creators’ rights and the proliferation of independent publishers from the beginning. I know what I’m talking about.

As a comic creator and publisher I sought the Holy Grail and it wasn’t profit. I’d be lying if I told you money wasn’t part of the motivation but the real prize was freedom.

CREATIVE FREEDOM!

The internet gives comic creators the opportunity to enjoy creative freedom like never before. Creators can reach a global audience with little expense and retain complete ownership of their works.

Creators don’t need to be confined to an app. They need to be creative and they need to discover creative ways to generate revenue.

When Bill Cucinotta and I conceived of CO2 Comics this was and continues to be our mission, to create a cooperative community of comic creators that support each other to reach a wider audience with diverse material and to maximize the profitability of our individual intellectual property by exploring product options of digital, print, merchandise, other media and licensing.

In a year and a half we have amassed nearly a thousand pages of comics from over twenty distinguished creators that attract about ten thousand hits a day. We have published a 680 page book that is the greatest collection of comic interviews in the history of comic books. Most importantly we have created a venue that supports the creators that share in our mission by helping them sell their print products, services and merchandise while maintaining complete ownership of their creations.

We are just getting started.

I know that I am coming down pretty hard on apps, but I am just trying to make an important point that I believe has to be made.

Apps can be part of a successful comic marketing strategy but I don’t think that they can be viewed as a panacea for the entire industry or surely the little guy will get crushed, unnoticed in the shadow of the usual giants and trampled by the rush of new readers herded by powerful marketing machines toward product they are already familiar with.

Comic creators need to take advantage of the internet while it is still inexpensively accessible. Maximize it as a resource while you still have a chance. Don’t be distracted by the temptations of a huge corporation whose sole motivation is profiting from the work of every creator possible.

That “app”le looked good to Eve, too and look where it got her.

Making comics because I want to.

Gerry Giovinco


The Gutter | The World Of Ginger Fox

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Flashback to the Eighties!

Ginger Fox Cover

Ginger Fox Cover

The World of Ginger Fox
by Mike Baron and Mitch O’Connell, originally published by Comico in 1986 as a 64-page graphic novel, is nothing short of stylish eye candy derived from the exciting nineteen eighties’ era of high hair, shoulder pads, and excesses of wealth.

gfstrip72b

Ginger Fox is presented anew beginning this week on the web pages of CO2 Comics.

The tale of romance, adventure and intrigue, set in the Hollywood of the mid-eighties featuring the smart, sexy and savvy Ginger Fox and a cast of strippers, martial artists, hit men, drug addicts, gat-toting bodyguards and celebrity cameos will be released in weekly installments and is available without fee or subscription as are all comics currently available at http://www.co2comics.com/pages/co2_comics.html.

One quick look at the credits of Mike Baron and Mitch O’Connell will give a good idea of what a treat to expect.

Writer Mike Baron has been one of the most innovative and honored creators in comics since he broke into the field with NEXUS in 1982 with artist Steve Rude.

He has written numerous mainstream comics, including Marvel’s The Punisher and DC’s The Flash. He is also the co-creator of BADGER, FEUD, SPYKE and a number of other renowned titles. He also penned the ROBOTECH graphic novel published by Comico.

ike-baron-comics

Mike Baron Comics

Mike has been nominated for Best Writer in the Kirby, Harvey and Eisner Awards numerous times, and has won several Eisners for his work on NEXUS.

Illustrator Mitch O’Connell’s first graphic novel was Ginger Fox at the age of 25.

Mitch O'Connell Newsweek

Mitch O'Connell Newsweek

His stunning illustration work since has been featured in magazines from Newsweek to Playboy, on the covers of million selling CD’s and advertising campaigns from McDonalds to Coca-Cola!
Mitch’s fine art masterpieces have been exhibited from New York to Berlin to Tokyo and his tantalizing tattoo designs are a fixture on the walls of tattoo shops around the word! Mike and Mitch join the ranks of former Comico creators, Bill Anderson, Reggie Byers, Chris Kalnick, Mike Leeke, Bernie Mireault, Andrew Murphy, Rich Rankin, Neil Vokes as well as publisher creators Bill Cucinotta and Gerry Giovinco on the CO2 Comics site that also features work by Tina Garceau, Robert Jackson Jr., Onrie Kompan, Giovanni Paolao Timpano, and Joe Williams.

There are over 400 pages of free comic art available to read at CO2 COMICS.


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