Posts Tagged ‘Harmony Gold’

The Comic Company: Licensed to Thrill

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

A number of comic book companies today fill their product line-ups with licensed properties. IDW, Boom, Darkhorse and Ape are among the most significant publishers outside of Marvel and DC who have found value in acquiring licensed properties from other media outlets.

The idea is simple and is a marketing tool used by scores of merchandising companies in nearly every industry. Find an intellectual property with high visibility. Purchase the rights to make an exclusive product featuring the property. Benefit from the sales generated by the customer recognition of the popular property.

Badda Boom, Badda Bing!

Licensing and merchandising is nothing new. Saint Paul built Christianity on its basic premises by marketing the popular teachings of Jesus as a new religious product.

Merry Christmas,” two thousand and ten years later!

Comic books have used it since the beginnings of the industry. The first comic books featured licensed syndicated newspapers comics that were reprinted in color.

It shouldn’t have been a big deal in 1983 when Comico licensed the rights from Harmony Gold to publish the English adaption of the popular Japanese animated series MACROSS. But it was and it became an even bigger deal that put Comico on the map as a major player in the comic industry.

Robotech/Macross #1 cover, Comico 1984

At the time, and please correct me if I’m wrong, Comico was the first independent comic company to enter into a licensing deal other than one that was of a creator owned property. Only Marvel and DC had a lock on that side of the market and, to the best of my knowledge, no one else was even considering it.

Comico’s deal was innocent enough. It was built on the enthusiasm of Carl Macek for his project that he was working on with Harmony Gold and the Comico crew’s collective interest in Anime. Comico enthusiastically became the first American licensee of MACROSS.

At the same time DC acquired the rights from Revell to publish ROBOTECH, based on a line of toys designed around assorted transforming robot molds that Revell had purchased from a toy company in Japan. When the first issue was published by DC it was clear that a number of the robots in ROBOTECH were from the MACROSS series and many of the other robots were from other series that Harmony Gold also held the rights to.

Needless to say there was lot of wrangling going on but Carl Macek and Harmony Gold held the trump card. They had an entire animated series that could be adapted to TV in the American market. As Stan Lee would say, “‘Nuff said!”

Revell and Harmony Gold worked together to build the ROBOTECH franchise that took America by storm. Harmony Gold proved their honor by awarding Comico the rights to the comic book resting it from DC since we had the original deal for the actual story.

Comico's 1st Color Books

Comico had already established its ability to produce quality product with its first color offerings, MAGE, EVANGELINE, ELEMENTALS and MACROSS. Our production and success of the ROBOTECH comics helped the marketing team behind ROBOTECH to attract more licensees and before long the ROBOTECH logo was everywhere.

Others took notice and soon we were being contacted others, most notably Hannah Barbera who was looking for a publisher for Thundarr the Barbarian. Our interest, however, was in one of their long dormant properties, Jonny Quest.

Jonny had been off their radar for so long that the people we were dealing with thought that it was a Filmation property and were surprised to discover it in their own archives.

Jonny Quest was a huge success for Comico and other properties were soon to follow. Space Ghost, Gumby, and Starblazers were all big hits. We also set our sights on Max Headroom and though we did initially acquire the property and began marketing it, creative differences arose between the editorial staff, creative team and the owners of the property, Chrysalis Records. Max Headroom never became a Comico comic book.

Other comic companies picked up where Comico left off, finding success in licensed properties. Others found even greater success in licensing their own properties following in the insanely successful footsteps of Eastman and Laird’s nearly immortal Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Now, more than ever before, with the advent of digital content and the internet, we have to closely examine what is the true value of the comics that we make. Is it the comics themselves or is it the intellectual property they are derived from?

We all would love to make money selling our comics and I can tell you from experience that you certainly can but folks, the real money is in the properties themselves.

Disney and Warner Brothers both know this and are in the process of redefining the IP of Marvel and DC for success in the long haul while producers throughout Hollywood are rummaging through comic properties regularly looking for the next Mutant Turtle.

The Internet is the comic creator’s opportunity to develop and establish rights to a property while reaching an audience that is global. Protect your assets, invest your skills and let the best properties sell themselves. This is the greatest time ever to be a comic creator. Take advantage of it!

Hey, I know the economy sucks and the market is in tremendous flux but guess what? That is exactly how it was when Mickey and Superman showed up both borne on the backs of failure and surrounded by the Great Depression. Their strength was the brilliance of their property which still shines today.

Comic properties can have tremendous economic power and there is plenty of proof. Don’t be discouraged if you are a creator or a fan. The future for comics is bright.

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

CO2 Comics is going into 2011 as optimistic as anybody! The content of our site is growing steadily and our readership is expanding rapidly. We have published our first book, David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 1 and have new products on the horizon.

But our biggest achievement is the honor That Bill and I have of posting the great comics that have been trusted to our site by creators that we love and respect so that all of our valued readers can enjoy them.

Thank you everyone for this opportunity to do what we enjoy most.

Making comics because I want to.

Gerry Giovinco

The Comic Company: Origins of a Graphic Novel

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010


Will Eisner’s CONTRACT WITH GOD
, published in 1978 is most often noted as the first graphic novel mostly because it was the first to declare the name.

The term graphic novel has come to be associated with any collection of comic works that is perfect bound though many would be more aptly distinguished simply as trade paperbacks.

Eisner’s graphic novel itself was actually a collection of four stories rather than one long story generally associated with the word novel.

The first “graphic novel” that I remember reading was Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson’s adaption of the movie ALIEN published by Heavy Metal in 1979. Titled ALIEN: The Illustrated Story this 64 page, full-color, perfect bound package was a riveting masterpiece of comic art that sold for only $3.95!

I am always surprised that this book is overlooked when the topic of graphic novels is discussed. For me personally, it was a benchmark. I had read trade paperback collections of comics from pocket sized collections of Charles Schultz’s PEANUTS, to Burne Hogarth’s TARZAN of the APES and all of Stan Lee’s Origin books but the ALIEN book, more than any other, spoke to me about format.

It was my first look at what the future of comics could be.

When we began publishing comics as Comico in 1982 we started from the ground up with black-and-white comic books that looked more like fanzines and quickly grew to publish a line of full-color comics that rivaled anything in the market at the time.

Along the way we published a number of graphic novels, two featuring Matt Wagner’s GRENDEL, Harmony Gold’s ROBOTECH, Doug Wildey’s RIO, Mike Baron and Mitch O’Connell’s The World of GINGER FOX, and Harlan Ellison and Ken Steacy’s NIGHT and the ENEMY.

Comico Graphic Novels

Before them all was an unusual graphic novel collection called MAGEBOOK. What made this book unique was that it was NOT a reprint of the first four issues of Matt Wagner’s critically acclaimed comic MAGE.

In 1984 it was apparent that there was a new trend in comics. The miniseries was becoming popular with titles like CAMELOT 3000 and WATCHMEN. It was inevitable that these would be collected and re-published as graphic novels after the initial run.

Matt had informed us early on that MAGE, likewise, would be a limited series. The idea of collecting it in graphic novel format as well became a goal.

Then we were presented with a production issue. In an effort to minimize unit costs, our comics were being gang-printed and though MAGE was a critical success it sold in smaller numbers than most of our other books, resulting in an overstock of the title to be stored.

There, warehoused on a skid, was the opening chapter of what would become our first published graphic novel.

After the first issue we began not binding the interiors of the books, storing the excess signatures for future use. After four issues of MAGE had been published we collected the signatures and the overstock of the first issue and had them neatly bound in a graphic novel format producing MAGEBOOK for merely the cost of the cover and the binding.

Magebook 1

MAGEBOOK was a collection of the original print-run of the first for issues; ads, letter pages and all. Due to its success, we repeated the process for the second volume which has notably larger size dimensions than the first volume because of the availability of trim area that was lost on the first volume due to the first issue of MAGE having been previously trimmed and bound as a comic book.

Magebook 2

These two volumes of MAGEBOOK were probably the only graphic novels ever produced this way! If anyone has any knowledge of others I would love to know about them.

MAGE was later licensed to Starblaze Graphics who repackaged it into a beautiful glossy three volume set that was released in paperback and deluxe, sleeved, Hard Cover editions.

Bill Cucinotta and I still like the idea of repackaging material that we enjoy.

co2comics.com

While we are determined to seek out exciting new features by talented comic creators to post here on CO2 Comics, there are a number of features found here that are digital repackages of previously published material which we are proud to introduce to a new audience on the internet.

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

We have also made it our mission to repackage a very important part of comics history. David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection will be a eleven volume set and is, without doubt, “The Greatest Collection of Interviews in the History of Comic Books.”

The first volume available in Hard Cover and Paperback is ON SALE NOW and can be found at www.comicsinterview.com.

Hurry and get your copy in time for Christmas!

Making comics because I want to

Gerry Giovinco

Carl Macek 1952-2010

Monday, April 19th, 2010

It has come to our attention that
Carl Macek passed away from a heart attack this weekend.

Carl Macek and wife Svea

Carl of course was the man behind the huge success of Robotech
in the 1980′s and a big supporter of us at Comico.

Here are a couple of links that has some brief info
regarding his passing:

http://www.robotech.com/news/viewarticle.php?id=418

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-04-19/american-anime-producer-carl-macek-passes-away

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/anime/carl-macek-1951-2010.html

This is sad news for all Robotech fans and fans of Anime.


UPDATE:

First, let me apologize for the brevity of the above post. I had just heard the news and wanted to forward it as soon as possible and was not available to follow up on it until now.

Carl Macek had a profound impact on Comico. It was the relationship that we had with Carl and Harmony Gold that solidified the notion that Comico was a viable force in the comic industry. ROBOTECH, more than any other property, made people notice us and trust that we would do a great job publishing anything. Carl trusted us early on and never wavered. The rest is history.

When Bill Cucinotta and Phil LaSorda first met Carl at a Las Vegas comic convention in 1984 they returned home infected by his enthusiasm for Macross. Carl was not just a producer that had landed the rights of an interesting anime series. Carl genuinely loved the medium, and the source material.

We were all fans of anime back then but it was clear that Macross was special. Carl was the preacher and we were the choir. I like to think that Carl saw that we loved making comics as much as he loved producing the English adaption of Macross and knew that we would treat it with the same admiration and dignity that he put into his work. Maybe it was just fate.

At the time we were all little fish in a big sea. Then ROBOTECH happened. Without boring anyone with the history of how the series boomed onto the scene, one thing was clear, ROBOTECH was bigger than all of us. Carl of course rose to the occasion and orchestrated a masterpiece. He had all the opportunity in the world to put the comic adaptation of ROBOTECH into the hands of DC comics but he stood his ground and insured that Comico would continue to be the publisher of his baby.

Carl had not only proven his own integrity but he boldly displayed his trust in us. Before ROBOTECH, I can assure you that Carl micro managed the developement of Macross #1 actually scripting it himself and having his wife Svea render the pencils. The enormity of the ROBOTECH project forced him to step back and hand us the creative reigns of the comic books, which he did unflinchingly. We returned Carl’s good faith by producing comics that he could be proud of.

Carl Macek was a man with a dream as are we all. But Carl separated himself from most by ferociously acting on his dreams. Transforming them into a string of success stories. I am happy to have been part of one of them.

It would be nice if there were more guys like him in the world but it is a tragedy that we have just lost the one-and-only Carl Macek.

My sincerest sympathies to Svea, the rest of Carl’s family and the extended ROBOTECH family.

Gerry Giovinco

CO2 COMICS and HARMONY GOLD Celebrate ROBOTECH Anniversary at ZENKAIKON 2009

Monday, November 9th, 2009
zenkaikon_1

Chris Kalnick, Mike Leeke, Gerry Giovinco, Neil Vokes and Tommy Yune

This past weekend at Zenkaikon 2009 held in King of Prussia,
Pennsylvania, CO2 Comics and Harmony Gold USA collaborated
to reunite members of the Comico crew that first published
the ROBOTECH comic series.

25 years after the 1984 publication of Macross #1 which would
become ROBOTECH The Macross Saga with issue #2,
Comico and current CO2 publisher Gerry Giovinco along with artists,
Mike Leeke, Neil Vokes and Chris Kalnick, who all also feature work
on the CO2 Comics web site, gathered together as guests for a
ROBOTECH panel discussion hosted by Harmony Gold Creative Director, Tommy Yune.

zenkaikon_2

Chris Kalnick, Mike Leeke, Gerry Giovinco and Neil Vokes

The panel focused on the past, present, and exciting future of the
ROBOTECH franchise with emphasis placed on the upcoming
ROBOTECH film to be produced by Warner Brothers.

zenkaikon_3

Chris Kalnick, Neil Vokes, Lisa Hayes character, Gerry Giovinco, Mike Leeke and Tommy Yune

An estimated 9,000 attendees arrived to attend the Zenkaikon,
overwhelming the convention with with their huge array of
cosplay costuming.

Thanks to Harmony Gold and Zenkaikon.


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