Posts Tagged ‘Gerry Giovinco’

Kirby4Heroes History Update

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015


There are just ten days left before the comic book world celebrates the 98th birthday of the legendary Jack Kirby, arguably the most influential creator in the history of comic books. In honor of his birthday on August 28, his youngest grandchild, Jillian Kirby, founded the Kirby4Heroes Campaign in 2012. For the last three years she has spearheaded an admirable effort to celebrate his accomplishments and to raise funds and awareness for the Hero Initiative, a noble organization that helps comic creators who are in desperate financial or healthcare situations.

kirby4heroesWe at CO2 Comics, urge all comic fans and professionals to make the most of the opportunity to celebrate what would have been Jack Kirby’s 98th birthday on Friday, August 28, 2015 by participating in the events, shopping at a comic shop that is supporting the Kirby4Heroes Campaign or simply by making a donation to the Heroes Initiative through links provided on the Kirby4Heroes website, Facebook page or twitter account.

If you would like a first-hand, up-to-date history of Jillian Kirby’s Kirby4Heroes Campaign, she has taken the time to thoroughly recount it in a detailed letter that she has recently sent to the many fine folks that have supported her in previous years.

We share it here in hope that it will inspire more to help this good cause in the great name of Jack Kirby!

jillian_kirby_4_heroes_2015“Hi everyone,            

I am so excited to be once again collaborating with both the Hero Complex and Nerdist to promote my 2015 Kirby4Heroes charity campaign! In previous years, the gracious support of the LA Times Hero Complex, which included Geoff Boucher, Gina McIntyre, and Noelene Clark, and former Head of Production at Nerdist, Seth Laderman, has been instrumental in spreading awareness of Kirby4Heroes! 

As you may recall, I founded the Kirby4Heroes campaign when I was 16 years old in June 2012, as a way of honoring the legacy of my grandfather, comic book artist and creator Jack Kirby, who unfortunately died the year before I was born.   My campaign supports the Hero  Initiative, the only federally registered non-profit organization that helps those in the comic book industry who have fallen upon times that require the addition of medical and financial assistance.  Hero Initiative is spearheaded by James McLauchlin.

My grandfather Jack’s generosity was legendary in the comic book industry.  He always gave encouragement to budding comic book artists asking for advice.  He never turned away a fan! His Thousand Oaks home was famous as a haven for comic book lovers, fans, and those just seeking one of my grandma Roz’s famous bologna sandwiches! Growing up impoverished on the Lower East Side of New York, my grandfather went on to create or co-create such iconic superheroes as Captain America, Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, the Avengers and Ant-Man, just to name a few.  Many of his personal life experiences served as inspiration for his creations. From gang fights on the Lower East Side, to combat in WWII, and even his mother’s mysterious tales of Eastern Europe, all can be seen in my grandfather’s art and stories. A young Jacob Kurtzberg, so passionate about his craft, almost got his family kicked out of their tenement by using the walls of the building as his canvas.  He would eventually find a new space to work, a 10′ x 10′ basement room, referred to as “The Dungeon,” of his Long Island home.  A lover of movies, he envisioned his comic book panels akin to storyboards, and now, 50 years after their creation, grandpa Jack’s characters are leaping off the silver screen.

Since my campaign’s inception in June 2012, the  support given to me by the Hero Complex and the Nerdist Channel has been instrumental in relaying my message to the comic book reading public, major comic book websites, and mainstream media outlets.  This has greatly increased my fundraising outreach.


Phil Hester #WakeUpAndDraw

My 2012 Kirby4Heroes campaign included comic book retailers throughout the state of California, as well as the first Wake Up And Draw event (WUAD), sponsored by Hero Initiative.  This event recruited comic book artists from across the country to create works of art on my grandfather¹s birthday. These pieces were later auctioned off, with the proceeds going to Hero Initiative. In that first year, the Kirby4Heroes campaign raised $5000 for the Hero Initiative.  In 2013, my Kirby4Heroes campaign grew with the addition of a Kirby4Heroes public Facebook page. Because of the generous donation of time, effort and support from Bill Cucinotta and Gerry Giovinco of CO2 Comics, a Kirby4Heroes website was created. Comic book retailers across the country were recruited, and WUAD, with Jim McLauchlin’s persistence, was expanded through the voluntary participation of many more talented artists.  This increased my fundraising efforts, raising $10,000 for the Hero Initiative! Last year in 2014, in addition to all of the events mentioned, artist Phil Hester came up with his own idea!  On August 28th, 2014, what would have been my grandfather’s 97th birthday, Phil created 97 different pieces of Kirby-themed art to auction off, raising over $3000! He pulled a marathon of an all-nighter working on these creations, live tweeting with lighthearted humor throughout the night, which truly increased individual participation and enthusiasm for the event!  And there’s more! Yet another event spearheaded by the upstate New York team of Ron Marz, comic book writer, and Paul Harding, comic book artist, with participation of comic book retailers, threw a party in commemoration of my grandfather’s birthday at a local venue and raised over $2000 for the Hero Initiative.  The event, celebrating the legacy of my grandfather Jack, was featured on National Public Radio!  NPR characterized August 28th as a movement that is spreading throughout the country to become “National Jack Kirby Day”!  My grandfather would have been astounded!  In addition, across the country, a group of major comic book artists made appearances at comic book stores to participate in Wake Up and Draw. A sentimental favorite, the beloved inker of many of my grandfather’s works, Joe Sinnott, created a work of art as a heartfelt tribute to my grandfather to be auctioned off for the Hero Initiative. Also, global outreach for the campaign increased, with events at the Moebius Liceo Gallery in Buenos Aires, an appearance by comic book artist Joe Prado at a comic book retailer in San Paolo, Brazil, a major fan Facebook page in France dedicated solely to the works of my grandfather, and comic book artists in France and Italy that created Kirby-inspired works for auction. An artist in Italy even created a birthday cake in the image of The Thing!  It was amazing! In total, the Kirby4Heroes campaign raised almost $15,000 in 2014!

Currently, as a 19 year-old entering my junior year of college as a biomedical engineering major, my 2015 campaign is off and running!  I am again working with major comic book retailers, not only in California, but also across the country.  Many will be donating a percentage of their sales or profits on my grandfather Jack Kirby¹s 98th birthday, August 28th, to the Hero Initiative, publicizing my campaign on their websites and Facebook pages, and using in-store posters and collection jar labels that I have provided.  Some will be hosting “birthday parties,” enlisting known comic book artists to draw in their stores with the work to be auctioned off either in their stores or as part of WUAD on eBay.  Others will be holding raffles with the proceeds donated to the Hero Initiative.  Phil Hester will once again participate with his crazy nonstop drawing, this time creating 98 pieces for my grandfather’s 98th birthday!  Midtown Comics in New York City will host a podcast featuring comic book artist Guy Dorian discussing my grandfather, his legacy, and the good deeds of the Hero Initiative.  I am so excited that my 2015 Kirby4Heroes campaign will also have the official endorsement of ComicsPRO, the only professional trade organization for comic book retailers in the United States.  Marco Davanzo, the Executive Director of ComicsPRO (and owner of Alakazam Comics in Irvine, CA), was instrumental in facilitating this arrangement. With over 130 members representing over 200 stores nationwide, I expect ComicsPRO to be a great resource and support. Within hours of Marco publicizing the campaign to ComicsPRO members, I began receiving requests by comic book retailers to be involved in my Kirby4Heroes campaign. It’s thrilling that my Kirby4Heroes campaign is receiving such enthusiastic support by members of the comic book community.  Wouldn’t it be great to also get the support of those involved in the Hollywood movies inspired by my grandfather’s creations!

One of the most satisfying surprises from my 2014 campaign was the amount of personal donations in the name of Kirby4Heroes sent in to the Hero Initiative either by mail or on the Hero Initiative website. The addition of my public Kirby4Heroes Facebook page in 2013 and its growth in 2014 greatly helped my fundraising efforts.  This Facebook page is meant to serve as a type of personal Jack Kirby art museum. I try to keep my grandfather Jack¹s legacy thriving through daily postings of his artwork. Comments made by the page¹s followers are often both entertaining and educational.  They keep my grandfather¹s spirit alive.  The Facebook page allows followers to personally message me, which has become another avenue for outreach.

Innovative fundraising ideas contributed by many Jack Kirby fans continually assist the Kirby4Heroes campaign to expand and blossom! Watching this event spread from state to state, with the possibility of becoming a national or international event is my greatest dream  leading up to my grandfather’s 100th birthday in 2017.  I look forward to the culmination of a fantastic show of support on August 28th! Over the past three years the Kirby4Heroes campaign has been fortunate enough to raiseover $30,000 for the Hero Initiative. This year, I’ve upped the ante to a fundraising goal of $20,000        

Looking ahead to the future, I’m zeroing in on August 28th, 2017, my grandfather¹s 100th birthday.  Upon reaching my 2015 goal of $20,000 for the Hero Initiative, I will have brought in a total of $50,000 since my campaign’s inception in 2012.  My target is to raise an additional $50,000 over the next two years.  Upon my grandpa Jack’s 100th birthday celebration in 2017, I will hopefully have been able to provide the Hero Initiative with $100,000 for their charitable works.  It would also be wonderful to have fundraising events for Kirby4Heroes occurring in all fifty states to benefit the Hero Initiative by 2017.  To spread awareness of my grandfather’s influence as one of the most preeminent American pop culture artists of the 20th century, seeing his artwork displayed in several major art museums would be another amazing goal, enabling my grandfather and his legacy to be celebrated in the mainstream.  Axel Alonso, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, declared “if there was a Mount Rushmore of comic book artists, Jack Kirby would sit front and center.”  I wholeheartedly agree with this, and truly believe that my grandfather deserves a place in the pantheon of great American masters.

WUAD_2013_RiveraIf there is any additional information you would like to know about my campaign or any questions you have, please let me know!  Here are the links to the Hero Complex articles/videos about my campaign in previous years, so you have them as a reference:




         I’ve also included 3 Wake Up and Draw pieces from 2013 that I especially enjoyed:  Joe Sinnott’s drawing of my grandfather with the Thing, the character he personally identified with at the top of this blog, Walt Simonson’s drawing of Thor, and Paolo Rivera’s take on Captain America.  Thank you so much again for your time, effort and support and I am so grateful to be collaborating with the Hero Complex and Nerdist again this year!  I’m looking forward to working with you all this summer!




Happy Independent Comics Day!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Six years ago Bill Cucinotta and I launched the CO2 Comics website, targeting July 4th as our official Founders Day and a reason to celebrate independent comics everywhere. Clearly we were riding on the coattails of Independence Day, the celebration of the birth of the United States of America, to make a point.

Independence is important, especially in an industry like comics where creators that did not always enjoy the opportunity to have freedom to create, the power to control their property and the opportunity to benefit financially from the success of their work. It has always been our goal to positively influence this issue.

This holiday is also a reminder that independence comes with a price. Being independent requires a lot of effort, sacrifice, responsibility, expense, focus and support. Success is never guaranteed and rarely comes easy. The skills necessary to navigate obstacles are acquired in the trenches and rarely learned without casualty.

Six years later we have learned a lot.  Publishing comics today is not like when we published Comico comics in the 1980’s. Style, production, printing, communicating, distributing, marketing and consumers are all dramatically different. We have had to learn to move ahead careful to let our previous knowledge of how to do things be an advantage rather than a hindrance.

We learned that we had support from the relationships that we have established from our previous history as comics publishers, a reminder that treating others fairly and with respect has its virtue.

We learned that it is still necessary to fight for creators rights. That people are still not being treated fairly and that we have a responsibility to inform and educate so that the vicious cycle of creators being taken advantage of, especially by big publishers, will someday come to an end.

We learned that, as much as we love comics and enjoy making them, it is hard work that requires immense dedication.

We have accomplished a lot in our first six years. The evidence is at your fingertips. Browse  the CO2 Comics site and see for yourself all of the great comics, blog posts and product we have produced. Take note of all the great creators that have worked with us to share great comics with you and most importantly enjoy what you find.

Thank you for sharing our independence with us. We know our work is not complete until it is read and enjoyed by an audience. We have a lot of work to do to accomplish our ever growing list of goals and we still have a lot of obstacles left to hurdle but your support and the support of the great creators we work with make it all worth while.

Happy Independent Comics Day and enjoy your 4th of July!

Gerry Giovinco

In the Shadow of Comico’s Sins

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool raised a few eyebrows recently with the post The Return Of Comico? But What Of The Elementals?

In the post he very briefly describes the demise of Comico before unveiling his discovery of a recent trademark application filed by Steven Rev. Rich happily divulges address information and even describes the location as having convenient parking, thus instigating the ires of the many folk that have beefs with Comico owner Andrew Rev who has become both notorious and mysterious since Comico last published.

Curiously, Johnston questions the future of one of Comico’s most legendary titles, The Elementals, which had been purchased by Rev from Bill Willingham back in the 1990’s. If Johnston would have dug just a little deeper he would have found that the same trademark search engine that revealed a potential revival of Comico also discloses that the trademark for The Elementals is currently held by DYNAMITE.

That revelation would have surely stirred up some excitement!

Of course all of that is here or there speculation.  One line in the post, however personally struck a nerve for two glaring inaccuracies.

“…there has been an attempt by the original founders to publish comcics[sic] as CO2 Comics…”

The Original Founders:

Top: Dennis LaSorta, Phil Lasorda, Bottom: Gerry Giovinco, Bill Cucinotta

Bill Cucinotta and I are only two of “the original founders” of Comico.  Though we both feel very responsible for the initial direction of that company and many of the positive and innovative approaches that defined it in its heyday, we were both often at odds with the other partners and ensuing management team. The working environment at Comico was often emotionally, verbally and physically hostile. Our disputes within the partnership resulted in both of our departures as active members of the partnership at separate times years prior to the bankruptcy and sale to Rev.

Though we are prone to celebrate the accomplishments of Comico, and there is a lot that we are very proud of, there is a pall of resentment toward what we endured within that extended partnership that continues to haunt us.

We made a conscious effort to define our current partnership by naming our publishing venture CO2 Comics to specify that the vision of this approach belongs to the two of us working in cooperation with the creators that support our vision. We cannot deny our roles as former Comico publishers but, as we have repeatedly stated, CO2 Comics is NOT Comico and never intends to be.

CO2 Comics current catalog

An Attempt to  Publish:

We feel that we have accomplished a lot in the last five years since we launched CO2 Comics originally as a web comic collective on the internet in 2009 We have published both on the web and in print several thousand pages of comics and comic related content.  A brief rundown of those accomplishments as well as upcoming projects was highlighted on our blog to commemorate our fifth anniversary.

I think we have well exceeded what could be considered an “attempt” at publishing comics!

A few weeks ago Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche, in an effort to promote their new book, a graphic adaptation of Amity Shlaes’ THE FORGOTTEN MAN, suggested that they were the subjects of a black list crafted by liberals in the industry against conservative creators.

The idea of a black list might seem ludicrous to some but when our efforts to publish great comics by  a laundry list of incredible creators can be so easily dismissed by observers of the industry we have to ask ourselves if we are not being subjugated by attitudes shaped by what Comico had become toward the end; a Comico that was far from our control and well beyond what we had ever intended it to be.

We couldn’t even get a link in this post that mentions us.

There may or may not be a defined black list in comics, but Bill and I often feel like two black sheep when our current efforts and accomplishments are overlooked. We can only wonder if we are maligned by the dark shadow cast by the sins of what Comico became after we left.

Fortunately we have surrounded ourselves by great talent, many of whom witnessed first-hand what we accomplished and experienced back-in-the-day. They appreciate our integrity and commitment to them personally and to the medium of comics. We can not thank them enough for their continued faith in us!

CO2 Comics is already much more than Comico became. It is a labor of love from which great comics will continue to flow, not a trial of deception, hostility, resentment and fiscal irresponsibility that crushed the dreams of many.

Bill and I have the same vision we ever had: to publish creator owned comics and to establish wonderful, trustworthy, and mutually profitable relationships with creators  in that process.

We wish any new Comico all the luck in the world. They are gonna need it. We just ask, please,  don’t let the sins of Comico past damn the future of CO2 Comics.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco

Independence Day 2014

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Independent Comics Day is upon us and this year, as usual, Bill Cucinotta and I celebrate our Independence as comic publishers on the anniversary of our  July 4, 2009 launch of CO2 Comics!

It is hard to believe that it has been five years since we began posting comics on the web and a lot has happened in that brief time!  We have since posted thousands of pages of comics created by dozens of creators. Those serialized comics and our weekly blog, together, have generated  22.5 million hits!

Beyond the web, we have published, in print,  two massive volumes of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection and six graphic albums that we are very proud of:

Steve Lafler’s Ménage à Bughouse, a single volume collection of the Bughouse trilogy and Doggie Style: The Complete Dog Boy.

Don Lomax’s The Heavy Adventures of Captain Obese,

Raine Szramski’s Heaven and the Dead City,

Chris Kalnick’s NON and

John Workman’s The Adventures of ROMA!

Collectively, between digital content on the web and books in print, CO2 Comics has already generated about six thousand pages of content for our readers’ enjoyment, yet we remain one of the Comics Industry’s best kept secrets!

This is fine by us because we know that true independence is earned by commitment, patience, hard work, perseverance and a belief in what we stand for. We know that there is value in flying under the radar, waiting for the moment when opportunity arrises.

Until then we continue to grow in strength and numbers, allying with creators that also appreciate the value of Independent Comics publishing to expand our content offerings!

This Independent Comics Day we are thrilled to announce six new projects that are in the works with impending release dates!

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 3 is nearing completion as we continue the fulfillment of the monumental 11 volume set!

Our relationship with DAK which has extended over thirty years and continues to grow as we now take on the formidable task of collecting two popular series formerly published under the COMICS INTERVIEW imprint.

The 36 issue run of SOUTHERN KNIGHTS is intended to be collected in a giant two volume set with well over a thousand pages of adventures of the “greatest superhero team in the South!”

The Complete  X-THIEVES, more accurately known as the Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time Traveling Thieves, will collect over 300 pages of the group’s intergalactic hijinks! Way too much fun to be packed between two covers!

Working closely with DAK and creators, Henry Vogel, David Willis and Mark Propst both of these features will finally be collected in handsomely condensed omnibus formats that will represent an an incredible library brought together by the joint efforts of the  CO2 Comics and COMICS INTERVIEW families!

Not all of our product, however,  will be massive collections that will buckle a bookshelf!

Raine Szramski’s HEAVEN AND THE DEAD CITY which continues its weekly serialization on our site is rolling into a a second volume for print! This beautifully painted work is a testament to Raines’ talent and long history in the medium.

Long time friends and free lance comic talents Bill Anderson and Rick McCollum have teamed with us to package their feature, SCREAMING MASKS! We cut our teeth in the indy comic market  with these journeymen creators and are excited to publish them, together on one of their own unique projects.

Finally,  my SLAUGHTERMAN title will  be collected in a single book after all these years. This seminal title which was significant in the launching of both Comico and CO2 Comics is due an archival packaging.

Yup! We have a lot on our plate and a lot for our readers to look forward to!

Please stay tuned for notifications of release dates and extended product descriptions as each product is rolled out in the coming weeks and months! We plan to charge into the next five years of CO2 Comics as dedicated to independent publishing and the creative rights of comic creators as we have ever been and we cannot wait to see what the future holds!

Happy Independent Comics Day!

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco

Song of the Sketchbook

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Bill Anderson has been delighting us all with his Facebook posts of sketchbook drawings that he acquired on a convention run with the Comico gang back in 1983. You can see his wonderful collection of sketches here.

What a flashback it was not just to see work by all the great artists that are included but to see images drawn by the Comico crew that included Matt Wagner, Reggie Byers, Will Brown, Vince Argondezzi, Phil LaSorda, Bill Cucinotta, and myself, all done over thirty years ago!

I have to say that seeing those drawings and reveling in the raw energy that exists in spontaneous sketches was quite an inspiration for me to crack out my old sketchbooks, for a personal shot of nostalgia, and to crack down and start a new one.

Anyone who has ever kept a sketchbook knows that they are visual diaries that preserve not just ideas but unfettered strokes of genius that may escape from the mind of an artist through the tip of some rendering implement be it a pencil, marker, pen or brush.

Rarely is there much sense of order in a sketchbook and that is what makes them exciting. Images jump from doodles to notes to fully rendered illustrations, randomly, revealing inner secrets of the artist’s talents that can easily be lost when applied to a more finished work.

A sketchbook reveals an artists soul. The images are the lyrics to a melody that flows from a creative hand in a staccato of strokes.

I received my first sketchbook when I was just ten years-old and I still have it. In it are drawings that are far from spectacular, most lifted from old Preston Blair cartooning books. There are, however, crude drawings of my first comic strip character, Little Sailor Boy, and my first attempts at drawing superheroes that signify a starting point in the timeline of my life in comics.

I have a modest collection of sketchbooks that I have accumulated over the years. Some are from my  days at the Philadelphia College of Art, others from my years at Comico and still more from various periods in my life.

An occasional trip through them is a reminder of projects left unfinished, ideas left unrealized, and  a nostalgic look at the gestation projects that came to fuition. Exposed are moments of creative brilliance, signs of potential untapped and a beacon begging for more.  Sketchbooks can be our own biggest cheerleaders.

I wish that I had kept more sketchbooks. To my regret, however, I was a doodler and jotted ideas and drawings on everything I could find: napkins, notebooks, bond paper and post-its. I have folders stuffed with sketches and portfolios with more but sadly, many sketches ended in the abyss of the dreaded the circular file; the trash!

Somewhere there is a garbage man curating a gallery of my work because I was not as diligent about keeping a sketchbook as I should have.

So in front of me is a brand new sketchbook with a hundred blank pages of creative possibility waiting to be addressed. It’s like a garden waiting for seeds to be planted so that new projects can grow. New comics that need to be made.

I plan to share a few of them here at CO2 Comics, but not before I encourage all you creative types out there to dive into your own sketchbook, if you haven’t already, and plant a few seeds of your own. Let  your sketchbook sing your praises and encourage you to make some great art and even greater comics. When you’re done  don’t forget to share your talents with the rest of us.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco

Comico and Elementals to be Resurrected!

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

CO2 Comics publishers, Bill Cucinotta and Gerry Giovinco, have formally announced that they have incredibly reached an exclusive agreement with Andrew Rev and will be reviving the Comico imprint for a new line of full color comics that will include the ELEMENTALS title originally created by Bill Willingham. The new line is expected to be  available for distribution in the Direct Market this coming Fall.

Cucinotta and Giovinco were among the original founding partners of Comico the Comic Company. Comico began publishing black and white comic books in 1982 with the release of Comico Primer #1, an anthology comic that featured characters created by the original publishers.

1st five Comico Covers

Comico immediately added four new black and white features, AZ by Phil LaSorda, SKROG by Bill Cucinotta, SLAUGHTERMAN by Gerry Giovinco and GRENDEL by Matt Wagner.

Comico's 1st Color Books

In an effort to grow the fledgeling company, Comico scrapped their entire black and white line to concentrate on full color, creator-owned, comic books spearheaded by   MAGE by Matt Wagner, and EVANGELINE by Chuck Dixon and Judith Hunt soon to be followed by hugely successful ELEMENTALS by Bill Willingham, all published in 1984.

Comico quickly became a contender in the independent market throughout the 1980s and  as a pioneer of licensed properties began setting new standards with tiltles like ROBOTECH, STARBLAZERS, JOHNNY QUEST, SPACE GHOST, and GUMBY.

Comico for a brief period ranked third in the industry for monthly sales with a broad line of comics and graphic novels before making the fatal decision to enter the mass market, a move that would drive the company into bankruptcy leading to an eventual sale to Andrew Rev in 1990.

Along with the acquisition of Comico, Rev also bought the exclusive rights of the ELEMENTALS from Bill Willingham and has remained the sole owner of the title and characters since.

The revival of the Comico imprint by CO2 Comics will also resurrect the Elementals in the form of a 300 page full color Elementals Omnibus that will collect the first twelve issues and primary story arc of the series, accompanied by digital release of each individual issue.

Cucinotta and Giovinco, who both left the partnership before the demise of their former company, are excited to have the opportunity to steward the Comico brand in the direction it was always intended just in time to celebrate the thirty year anniversary of the title and Comico’s publication of their first color comic books.

“This would be a dream come true,” admits Giovinco, who confesses that this is nothing more than a cruel prank that he perpetrated since April Fools Day coincided with his weekly blog post that is launched each Tuesday morning.

“It would have been a bore not to act on April Fools Day,” he states, “but  you are still welcome to enjoy all of great comics at CO2 Comics, many of which are created by former Comico collaborators like Bill Anderson, Reggie Byers, Chris Kalnick, Mike Leeke, and Bernie Mireault.”

You can also enjoy several creator owned features that were originally published by Comico such as:

GAUNTLET by Neil Vokes and Rich Rankin

RIBIT by Frank Thorne

SKROG by Bill Cucinotta

SLAUGHTERMAN, by Gerry Giovinco

THE WORLD OF GINGER FOX by Michael Baron and Mitch O’Connell

VICTOR by Andrew Murphy

Along with many other great features by talented creators.

Happy April Fools Day!

Gerry Giovinco

*Sincerest apologies to Andrew Rev, Bill Willingham, Dynamite Entertainment and any comic fan or speculator who may have experienced palpitations due to this post that was solely intended for good fun.

Independents Day

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Hoist the flag! Fire up the grill! Shoot off the fireworks! Americans love the Fourth of July and go to great measures to celebrate because it represents the one thing we all hold dear. Freedom!

We take freedom for granted too often. It takes harsh reminders, like spotting a limbless veteran saluting the flag as tears of pride well in their eyes at a small town parade, to remind us that the freedoms we enjoy continue to require great sacrifice and diligence.

Everyone wants to be free to be able to live their life as they choose, to express themselves and not be oppressed. It does not matter who you are. Freedom is an inalienable right.

Comics have been at the forefront of the battle for freedom since Benjamin Franklin published the first known editorial cartoon in America.  “Join, or Die” appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754. The simple language of comics that combines words and pictures to communicate reaches broad audiences and has been used extensively as a tool of propaganda and information promoting freedom since its inception.

It is ironic, however,  that the comic book industry has been the source of some of the most oppressive employment policies, corporate greed and censorship. One symbol stands out as an identifier of all that is bad about the industry. The stamp of approval from the Comics Code Authority. This stamp seems innocent enough and is a nostalgic reminder of the exciting comics of the Silver and Bronze Age, but if a comic bore it on its cover you know that creators had no ownership in their work, unscrupulous work for hire commitments were in place,  every panel was scrutinized by a censorship board and distribution was controlled.

Rebels of the traditional comics publishing system were easily spotted. Their comics had no stamp or, in some cases, one that mocked the Authority itself. They were the Underground Comics of the 1970’s and they lit a fire that showed future comic publishers that it was time to stand up and be liberated.

Fueled further by the struggles of writers and artists over creators rights and the development of the Direct Market a new wave of alternative comic publishers emerged, most with new and liberal views regarding creator ownership and all enjoying the freedom from the constraints of the Comic Code Authority.

These publishers became known as Independents and they redirected the course of the entire comics medium, opening the door for more mature content and variety of genre that had been missing in the industry for decades. Readers saw comics grow up. What they didn’t see was the stamp of the Comics Code Authority in the upper right-hand corner of the comic books.

The Independents fought and continue to fight the good fight, but not without casualty. Nearly all of those early Independent publishing houses are gone including Comico, the comic company that I co-founded along with Bill Cucinotta and other partners in 1982.

New Independents now carry the mantle and the fight goes on.

Bill and I have retrenched and formed CO2 Comics four years ago. It is a new type of comic company that continues to explore the boundaries of independence as a comic publisher. We publish comics on the internet, free to a massive, global audience. We work in cooperation with comic creators to create a mutual positive experience for all involved.

Most importantly we produce comic books in print with more freedom than we ever would have thought possible thirty years ago when we first began publishing.  Last year we celebrated as Independents by declaring The Power of Three. by releasing our first three graphic novels under the CO2 Comics imprint, Heaven and the Dead City, The Heavy Adventures of Captain Obese! and Ménage à Bughouse.

This year we have more in store. More great product with our own Independent stamp of approval. We are excited, but our version of Independents Day is still over a week away so we plan to build to a great finale like any good Fourth of July display of fireworks.

Join the excitement! Follow the blog, follow us on Facebook, and on Twitter. We’ll be hinting at our next three publications and expecting your stamp of approval when we finally release their availability live for all to enjoy!

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco

The Comic Company: Comics Interview #5

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

In an effort to promote CO2 Comics‘ ongoing, monumental project, David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection, we have established a COMICS INTERVIEW Facebook page. Please, if you have not done so already, stop by and “LIKE” the page and share it. It is becoming quite a trip down Memory Lane.

Random posts of quotes and photos of comic creators who were interviewed in the magazine have evolved into a photo feature that we like to call the Quote of the Day. The positive buzz generated by this feature encouraged us to generate more content and so began a staggered release of cover images from the issues that have been reprinted in the first two volumes of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection.

COMICS INTERVIEW #5 surfaced quickly and brought back a tidal wave of memories. That was the issue where Bill Cucinotta and I, as part of the fledgeling Comico crew that also included our former partner Phil LaSorda and SKROG inker, Bill Anderson, were interviewed by David Anthony Kraft, himself,  in a New York coffee shop.

The event is so much like a dream that we often have to remind ourselves just how it came to be. We were all young guys full of hopes and ambition living the best times of our lives. Those were the days that, as comic creators, Bill and I  look upon with the greatest fondness. We were taking chances, creating our own material and attempting to do what others said we couldn’t; build a comic company from scratch.

Primer #1

We had published our first black and white comic, Primer #1 in October of 1982 and a few months later, in February 1983,  David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW #1 hit the stands.  We knew right away that this was a magazine that we wanted to be associated with and Bill, who was always focused on ways to promote our comics in the Direct Market, was quick to contact David Anthony Kraft to set up advertising arrangements.

It was very easy for all of us to be star-struck. Dave was one of our heroes, having written and edited for Marvel for years. We had all cut our teeth reading his work and suddenly we were dealing with him on a regular basis. It was not long before we were referring to him as DAK.

Dave was much more than a business associate. To us, he was a mentor, filling our heads with knowledge about the comics industry including inside stories and tons of “of the record” anecdotes. More than that, he was a friend. Dave understood that we were possibly biting off more than we could chew but he was always willing to nurture our enthusiasm and offer respected criticism.

This support started with that first conversation he had with Bill regarding advertising which resulted in a trade deal where we ran Interview ads in our comic books and Dave ran Comico ads in his magazine. This allowed us to build a respected presence in the market with no cash expense and to have more reasons to call Dave on a regular basis.

The first Comico ad ran in Comics Interview #3 and our ads became a staple in the magazine for years to come. Lucky for us, we really hit it off with Dave and suddenly we were on a train to New York to be interviewed in issue #5.

Dave must have really been amused by us.  We were a bunch of goofy kids with big dreams that only seemed possible because we didn’t  know better. Our naiveté was our biggest strength; that and an unbridled enthusiasm to create comics.

Gerry Giovinco, Bill_Cucinotta & Phil_LaSorda

We dove into our interview with such a flurry that a half hour into it Dave realized his recorder had not recorded a word we said and we would have to start over. It was typical of  our hit-and-miss approach to making comics. If we didn’t get it right the first time, learn from the mistake and make it better next time.

It is embarrassing, now, to read our ramblings, recognizing in hindsight how amazing it was that we would be able to steer Comico to become a powerhouse in the industry and  establish standards and milestones that would influence the creation and success of future companies like Dark Horse and Image.

Dave, in all his wisdom, was able to see in our comics  what he referred to as “a contagious enthusiasm that transcended their shortcomings.”

Of the entire interview the most significant words were written by Dave in the introduction where he recognized Comico for the pioneers that we were as publishers.

“Comico, the comic company, is among the newest and most ambitious of the independent publishers springing up in the field. Comico’s five titles – AZ, SKROG, SLAUGHTERMAN, GRENDEL and PRIMER – are distributed through the direct-sales system and are available exclusively in comics shops or by subscription.

What is, perhaps, most surprising about such an enterprising endeavor is that all of the comics creators are ( at least, for now) essentially unproven and unknown. Starting from scratch, on such a scale, is virtually unprecedented under the circumstances.”

Our presence in COMICS INTERVIEW #5  marked a coming of age for us.  We shared the issue with industry legends, Stan Lee, Dick Giordano, Wendy and Richard Pini! To be included with this iconic group, for us, was a dream come true. It was time that we were taken seriously by the industry, fans and, most importantly, ourselves.

Future issues of COMICS INTERVIEW would chronicle our achievements as our line grew. Features about The Elementals in issue #17 and ROBOTECH in issue #23 were evidence that we were a company on the move, adapting to survive and prosper. More would follow and Comico, as a company,  managed to maintain a lifespan as long as COMICS INTERVIEW itself.

Comico, unfortunately has gone the way of every other independent publisher of that era. Bill an I however are still plugging away, as enthusiastic as ever but with quite a few battle scars to show for it.  We still look to Dave as a mentor and friend and knew that when we started publishing as CO2 Comics we had to re-establish our relationship with COMICS INTERVIEW.

We are now on a long journey to package the entire 150 issue run of that memorable magazine in an eleven volume set. Two volumes are complete and the third is in production.

As Dave says, “It is a labor of love.” And what’s not to love? For us, everyday is a trip back to the “good old days” and a reminder of the enthusiasm that keeps Bill and I making comics just because we want to.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco

Film Adaptations – What Do Fans Know?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

The 2011 film adaptations of Conan the Barbarian starring Jason Momoa as the vengeful Cimmerian was far from being a classic and quickly vanished from theaters. It struggled on many levels as a film. Acting, storytelling, cinematography, sound, and special effects all missed their mark yet for fans of the original Robert E. Howard pulps this movie succeeded at tapping the nerve that has attracted so many to the character. It was bloody, fierce, and full of gratuitous sex and violence, summing the character up in a simple bio, “I live, I love, I slay… I am content.”

Unlike the earlier, more polished, film versions of Conan that starred the muscle-bound Arnold Schwarzenegger who gave the character as much barbaric swagger as a He-Man cartoon, this movie, through all its crudeness, somehow just “got it.” The makers understood the true nature of the character and consequently made a film that, as bad as it was, was still enjoyable to fans who have longed to see Conan finally unleashed.

Reviews of the film reveal two types of Conan fans: Those who are fans of the original source material and those whose only familiarity with the character came from the Swarzeneggar flicks. The latter seem offended by the ferocity of the newer film, objecting that it betrays the watered-down Conan that they grew up with.

Imagine that!

This is nothing new. Audiences that only knew Batman through their experience growing up during the 1966 Batmania had a hard time adjusting to the darker yet more accurate versions of the character that came later.

Hollywood has a way of redefining comic book characters to enhance what they perceive as their marketability often sacrificing the virtues that made the character special in the first place.

This summer’s retooling of Superman may be the boldest attempt to reshape the most iconic superhero of all times. If Man of Steel is successful will it blot out or demean the Superman that has stood for truth, justice and the American way for the last seventy-four years? I am anxious to see if Kal-El is ever actually called or referred to as Superman in the film.

Will it be up to the fans of the original source material to preserve the legacy of Superman?


And that’s a good thing because fans get it right. Fans know what makes characters special and even with limited resources they are able to capitalize on those attributes to create memorable films that capture the true essence of the subject.

The following is a list of great examples of fan films that succeed:

Wonder Woman


Judge Minty

Y: The Last Man Rising

ElfQuest: A Fan Imagining

Lobo ParaMilitary Christmas Special

Superman Classic

The Rocketeer Animation

At CO2 Comics we have our own favorite fan film. A blast from the past, completed in 1982 by Bob Karwoski, Larry Ruggiero and the infamous Bob Schreck:

The Incredible HULK Meets the Ever  Lovin’ Blue Eyed THING

The THING costume created by Yours Truly conjures a truer version of a Jack Kirby/Joe Sinnott THING than any of the recent Hollywood films.

You decide

Thanks to advances in CGI, film adaptions of comic characters have gotten a lot better but directors are always in danger of putting the cart before the horse and becoming dependent on effects to carry a film rather than the character. Green Lantern proved that CGI does not a superhero film make.

So Hollywood, pay attention to the fans. If you want a beloved superhero film, stay true to the character. But if all else fails, call it a parody and make a porno!

Who cares? The original character is already screwed.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco

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

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