Posts Tagged ‘Holiday Season’

The Weather Outside is Frightful and Comics are so Delightful…

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Christmas is just a week away and Mother Nature is doing her part to set the mood for the Holiday Season ’cause, “baby, it’s cold outside!”

Growing up, I had a sure-fire remedy for “cabin fever” or “winter blues” when the snow was piled high and it was too bitter to spend an entire day outside sledding on the slopes, building a snowman or engaging in a raucous snowball fight. I would just hunker down with a big pile of comic books and bask in the warm glow of mind-bending, four-color adventure.

Back in the 1970’s comics offered a different sense of comfort than they seem to do today. Maybe it was the newsprint that they were printed on. It had a different texture than the glossier, bleached-white paper stock of today’s comics.

Chemical Color Chart

The ink was absorbed into the surface of the more porous paper, softening images against an écru background, delighting the eyes with a loud yet, limited palette of just 62 colors (64 if you counted black and white) laid flat in each field of the dynamically drawn images they filled.

The soft touch of newsprint, as satisfying on a cold day as a fuzzy, heavily patterned, acrylic sweater, was complemented by a distinguished odor of pulp that is still easily conjured by memory alone decades later.

Comic books were more wholesome then, bound by the editorial constraints of the Comics Code Authority.  A cold  afternoon of reading stacks of assorted comics and sipping hot cocoa  left the heart, body and imagination feeling as stoked as a flame dancing in an open hearth.

I can’t imagine that experience being the same for readers of comics today as temperatures plunge into the teens and below to kick-off another long winter. Happily though, comics are still the answer to many on a frigid day.

Contemporary comic readers sit nestled under warm blankets often reading comics in the dark, illuminated by the electrons on the screen of their tablet or computer instead of the glow a crackling fire.

Those that prefer their comics on paper, handle them gingerly and slip them into the sterile confines of a mylar sleeve before tucking them away into an indexed long box instead of lovingly tossing them back into a  pile.

Stories that were delivered complete in one 32 page issue are now rare. An afternoon reading dozens of random comics is now spent engages with just one lengthy graphic novel or several issues of a collected “event.”

“Wholesome” is no longer a word to describe comics in general, but delightfully it has been replaced with “diverse.” Comics are no longer relegated to just fans of superheroes and funny animals. Comics have come of age and finally tackle so many subjects that there is assuredly a comic out there for nearly everybody.

Comics are delivered in books, magazines, pamphlets, websites and apps. They can be accessed anywhere at anytime. Comics are everywhere for everyone.

A reader could easily spend a winter reading just the comics posted for free here at  CO2 Comics or lounging with the several graphic novels and two volumes of COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection that we have available on our Christmas Wish List.

So, if you go to your window and discover that the weather outside is frightful, remember that comics are still delightful, there’s really no place to go, “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

Gerry Giovinco

Legends Lost

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Jerry Robinson & Joe Simon

This month, as the holiday season celebrated by gift giving approaches its crescendo, the comic industry has lost two giants in the field that have played significant roles in giving the world the gift of a comics industry that we have all come to know and love. Without the creative efforts and genius of these two men the Golden Age of comics may have been nothing more than a blip on our cultural radar. They, along with all the Golden Age comic book pioneers, gave a gift that keeps on giving: their talents, energies and inspiration. We could never thank them enough.

Jerry Robinson, 89  and Joe Simon, 98 passed away one week apart, reminding us that the light of their generation of creators is nearly extinguished.

Jerry Robinson was the creator of the Joker, a nemesis that defined the Batman. Robinson also co-created the boy wonder, Robin, but was probably most notable for his valiant championing of creator’s rights. He fought for compensation to Superman creators Siegel and Shuster. He went as far as traveling to Uruguay and the Soviet Union to help free jailed political cartoonists. He was dauntlessly motivated to protect creators.

Joe Simon was an industrious creator  having been a writer, artist, editor and publisher. He teamed with Jack Kirby to co-create Captain America and many other superheroes while also pioneering the comic genres of romance, horror and satire.

I’ve written in the past about the legacy and lessons that comic creators leave behind when they die. This is true of these two legends as well.

Regarding the current tough economic times that most creators face, inspiration can be found in Joe Simon’s words from a 2009 interview with Graphic NYC:

There were a lot of times when artists were unemployed in this business, and we had to make our own jobs by creating something off the beaten track, a new type of hero or something entirely different like Young Romance. We were the guys that were up to the task.”

Ever resourceful and resilient Simon forged paths in the industry that created jobs and opportunities not just for himself and his partner but generations of comic creators to follow. That is not just an inspiration to the creators of today but a challenge to be equally resourceful and willing to overcome the obstacles of the current market.

Jerry Robinson’s legacy is one of creative diligence. Robinson’s lifelong fight for creators rights demands that we be better educated about the legal matters that protect the ownership of our own creations. More than ever we have the ability to be the stewards of our intellectual property and profit from our works fairly thanks to standard-bearers like Jerry Robinson who waved the flag of righteousness for creators past, present and future.

With the new year upon us and the comics market possibly poised for tumultuous change, move forward with a keen eye to the past so the lessons learned from great masters of the medium like Jerry Robinson, Joe Simon and so many others from that great generation of the Golden Age of Comics are not forgotten but are used as a source of empowerment for a better, more creatively exciting and profitable comics industry of tomorrow.

Making Comics Because I Want To

Gerry Giovinco

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