Posts Tagged ‘independent publishing’

Ten Reasons We’re Excited About Camden Comic Con 2015

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

The gang here at CO2 Comics is really looking forward to the Camden Comic Con which will be held on March 7,  2015 at Rutgers Camden Athetics and Fitness Center!

We have ten big reasons to be excited!

1. For us it is a local event! Located at the Rutgers University Campus in Camden, NJ just across the bridge from Philly, the con is minutes away from our studios in Northeast  Philadelphia and Mays Landing, NJ! It is also a stone’s throw from a number of the creators that have collaborated with us over the years.

2. It’s a fun show! This is just the second go-round for the Camden Comic Con, but we had such a blast at the first one we could not wait to be part of it again!

3. We will have a booth! Come visit us and see all the great graphic novels, t-shirts and huge volumes of David Anthony Kraft’s Comics Interview: The Complete Collection we have produced and are available for sale!

4. We are doing a panel! From 11:00 am – 12:30 pm we will present a very visual slide presentation – A Legacy of Independence: From Comico to CO2 Comics.

Bill Cucinotta and I will discuss the virtues of independent publishing. We will take a retrospective look at our days as publishers of Comico during the 1980’s and talk about the first 5 years of our current exciting venture, CO2 Comics.

5. We will be reuniting with long time friends and collaborators! Joining us on the panel is a group of creators that have worked with us at Comico and CO2 Comics including Andrew C. Murphy, and former ROBOTECH crew:  Mike Leeke, Chris Kalnick, Neil Vokes and Rich Rankin. Don’t be surprised to also find John Workman and a few other folks that are tentatively planning to be there.

Andrew C. Murphy, Mike Leeke, Chris Kalnick, Neil Vokes, Rich Rankin, John Workman

6. We get to meet you! Camden Comic Con is FREE and open to the general public! Family friendly and on a university campus with lots of young people this con offers the opportunity for everyone to be comfortable and explore the wonderful world of comics. If you have never been to a comic convention before, this one’s for you!

7. Great Hosts! Bill Haas, Miranda Powell and their staff go out of the way to be accommodating to make sure everyone has a great time. It is a wonderful experience to attend a con where attendees, guests and vendors are all appreciated!

8. It’s a quickie! 10:00 am – 4:00 pm is short and sweet but leaves you begging for more. Don’t expect to find yourself bored! Lots of panels, vendors, guests and activities in a wonderful environment will have you scrambling to take it all in before the doors close so get there bright-and-early and be sure to stop by our booth and drop in on our panel.

9. Like the good ol’ days! You may hear a lot of comic veterans and long-time-fans pining over the pleasant simplicity of how cons “used to be.” Too many are too commercial, too crowded and too much about everything but comics. Not this little convention that gets most of it just right

10. You won’t be disappointed! I am so willing to guarantee a good time that if you don’t, you can read  FREE comics every day right here at CO2 Comics!

(Hey, that’s way more value than Stan Lee’s coveted No Prize!)

Gerry Giovinco

See you at the convention!

Superheroes™: The Never Ending Bullshit

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

“Superheroes: The Never Ending Battle” is a three part documentary that recently has been airing on PBS. If you hurry you can also watch it streaming on the PBS website right here.

On the surface this series seems to be a beautifully produced and thoughtful presentation about the history of superheroes and comic books in America and their influence throughout the world.

Most comic fans that grew up reading comics or enjoying superheroes in any era will wax nostalgic as they see the devotion that is poured into the process of documenting how the creators of superhero adventures were influenced by the world around them.

The highlight of the series for me were video interjections by legendary comic creators, many of whom have already passed away. Watching Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Jerry Robinson, and Carmine Infantino speak about comics couldn’t help but choke me up.

The series also did a wonderful job of representing women in the industry with video commentary by Ramona Fradon, Jennette Kahn, Trina Robbins, Louise Simonson, and Christina Strain.

I would love to say that this was a benchmark documentary about the history of comics but I can’t because what I witnessed was more like propaganda mechanism for Marvel and DC. This series in all of its splendor effectively trivialized any accomplishments in the battle for creators rights. It completely ignored the influence of the Direct Market. It  erased the impact of decades of Independent comics with the notable exception of Image. No mentions off the tremendous impact that European or Japanese comics had.

I realize that it is unrealistic to expect every last detail of a 75 year history into a three hour documentary. I also recognize now, more clearly than ever, why the word superhero and the derivatives of it should not be allowed to be used as a trademark jointly by Marvel and DC exclusively.

What this series did effectively accomplish was to blur the distinction between the history of Supeheroes™ and the history of Comic Books as a whole by defining the impression for the general public that Superheroes™ = Comic Books and that Comic Books = Marvel and DC with the tip of a hat to Image, apparently the only independent to successfully publish another unique superhero.

NEWS FLASH! There are many independent publishers that have made comic books that featured superheroes! Superheroes also exist in other media and in other countries. All characters represented in the superhero genre are NOT owned by only Marvel and DC as much as they would like you to think that. This was not represented at all in this documentary and I believe it is unfair to dismiss the accomplishments and struggles of so many who also had great superhero stories to tell.

“Superheroes: The Never Ending Battle” is typical of the type of bullshit that big corporations do to gloss over the undesired truth.  “Smear lipstick on that pig and everyone will be happy and buy into what we have to sell.” ” Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

Truth be told, there could have been a three part series just on the battles that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster fought over their rights to Superman or the battles that Jack Kirby had with Marvel for compensation and to have his art returned.

There could be a three part series on the rise of the Direct Market and how the barrage of  quality Independent publishing in the 1980’s had  Marvel and DC on the ropes.

There could be a three part series on how the internet and digital delivery has changed how comics are created published and viewed.

They would all represent true and vital information for anyone interested in an accurate history of the never ending battle of creating superheroes and comics in a market dominated by corporate interests intent on squelching any potential competition to their mythic intellectual property that they gained from the exploitation of the imaginations of mostly young, impoverished children of immigrants searching for and expressing their own American Dream.

If you have watched the series and got that great warm and fuzzy superhero nostalgic rush, I want you to know that I had it too.  I also have a tremendously deep appreciation for the medium of comics and a tremendous respect for the genre of superheroes and though it is wonderful to see the genre presented in such a positive light I think it would be great if audiences understood and valued the true history of superheroes and not the mythology of the mythology influenced only by two enormous corporations.

Next week I will begin a series of my own on this blog that will take a closer look at how “Superheroes: The Never Ending Battle” diluted the real history of superheroes.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco



The Comic Company: In The Black

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Anyone who has been reading this blog over the last couple of months knows that it is intended to be a trip down memory lane focusing on the accomplishments of Comico the Comic Company and its relevance to the comics industry both then and now.

Bill Cucinotta and I were both founding partners of Comico, giving us both a unique authority on the subject. Though I get the credit line at the bottom of the page, these words wouldn’t get to you without Bill’s diligence and tireless effort to design and post the blog along with all of the other chores as he maintains the entire CO2 Comics site on a daily basis.

We are both dedicated to bringing our audience great quality comics and remembering the history that brought us here. Not just the history of our experience publishing Comico comics, but the history of the industry that inspires us to be part of it.

We know that our readers appreciate the notes on history too. It is reflected the traffic to the site and the comments made on the threads. Thanks for your enthusiastic support!

In 1987 Comico took a trip down memory lane with the publication of Comico BLACK BOOK our fifth-anniversary special.

Comico Black Book cover

Creative Black Book 1986

When I conceived BLACK BOOK I readily admit that I was a candidate for the Swipe File. A year earlier I had the opportunity to provide comic book lettering to go along with parody images of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for the 1986 edition THE CREATIVE BLACK BOOK (www.blackbook.com) which is a huge creative directory for people in the creative industry.

My good friend Angela Corbo, who had grown up in my neighborhood and attended PCA briefly with Bill and myself, was working in the production department of the THE CREATIVE BLACK BOOK. When it was decided that their theme required comic lettering, I was her first call.

My lettering on the Creative Black Book 1986, Click for larger image

Gerry Giovinco Black Book photo

I had lettered all of Comico’s early black-and-white books; Primer, Az, Grendel, Skrog and Slaughterman. This was a great opportunity to work on such a prestigious project and I jumped at the chance.

With the publication of that work behind me, the name BLACK BOOK stuck in my head. I couldn’t help but attach it to another directory, that of a historical chronology of the first five years of Comico.

The Comico BLACK BOOK was published in comic book format and featured our trademark, wrap-around cover design. It read more like a catalog of our entire inventory with a historical time-line that ran the bottom of each page highlighting moments of achievement and publication dates.

My favorite page was the centerfold that listed the names of the impressive 155 creators that had worked with us those first five years.

Comico Black Book Spread, Click for larger image

The Comico BLACK BOOK became the chronicle of my own history at Comico. Shortly after its publication it became impossible for me to continue working at Comico for personal and professional reasons. My name remained in the publishing credits but it was clearly time for me to move on.

The book also signaled a turning point. Comico began its downward spiral. It was a company that had risen from nothing to an independent powerhouse, challenging Marvel and DC all the way into the mass market only to become a bankrupt shell of itself that would be sold into obscurity.

This is a story that has been repeated over and over by other great comic companies of the era and continues today. In its wake is a trail of incredible comics and incredible comics history. There are lessons to be learned. Observations that need to be noted. Mistakes that should not be repeated.

Comics Interview Premier Edition

This is why we are so excited to be publishing David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection. We know that it is the most transparent window into the mind-set of the comics industry at a time when creators discovered that they had some control in the future of comics.

Comics Interview Standard Edition

It is shocking how issues that shaped the industry then are relevant to issues that are shaping the industry today.

A whole new generation of comic creators needs to be aware of the insights of those who pioneered creator rights, independent publishing, the graphic novel, and the marketing and merchandising of comic franchises that are household names today.

I recently read an obituary for the Sony Walkman and it sited how Apple tapped into the elements of personal entertainment that were provided by the Walkman when it made music personal. Apple embellished upon those elements to create the success of the iPod. Apple looked back to move forward.

With the introduction of e-readers and the iPad comics will become more personal and interactive than ever just as music did. It is time for the comics industry to move forward and we all know it. Just remember to look back. Note the successes and failures. Don’t become a statistic.

When David Anthony Kraft was publishing COMICS INTERVIEW he had a keen sense for how the industry worked. He listened to the people he talked to. He saw the writing on the wall and was able to make a controlled decision to end COMICS INTERVIEW at a nice round number and at the top of its game. DAK controlled the destiny of his creation at a time when the market was in free-fall.

Because of his foresight, we now have the opportunity to enjoy COMICS INTERVIEW as a completed work, not something that was extinguished in its prime like Comico and a long list of other comics publishers.

We believe that David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection is an important work that belongs in the library of every comic creator, educator and library for all of the reasons I mentioned. Take the opportunity to see for yourself.

We think you’ll agree.

Making comics because I want to.

Gerry Giovinco

The Gutter | CO2 Comics & Steve Lafler
Together at Last

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Bill and I first met Steve Lafler back in the early eighties at one of the many comic conventions that we frequented as we promoted our then upstart comics publishing company, Comico.
Steve was a regular at most of them, so it could have been in Chicago, Houston, San Diego or any of the many along the road. 
Comic conventions have two parts to them.
The first part is the convention itself, were you are tied to the booth greeting fans, occasionally sneaking away to network when things are slow.
The second part happens after the hall is closed, at dinners and hospitality parties with new and old friends. These are usually fun gatherings that run into the wee hours of the night and are where networking, bonding, and most of the real business of comics gets done. 

Dogboy

 Being rookies at the game, my young partners and I did our best to fit in at those get-togethers and find acceptance among the comics professionals, many of which were our own personal heroes. Among them all, Steve stood out as a mentor and a role model for reasons that were personal to all of us at Comico
 Steve’s style was unique and clearly not mainstream, his subject matter was psychedelic with a twist of the occult and, most importantly, he too was a self- publisher standing alone at the helm of the imprint Cat-Head Comics pushing his own black-and-white comic, Dog Boy.

Steve’s acceptance, enthusiasm, and infectious attitudes about individuality, creator’s rights, and independent publishing were refreshing, supportive and motivating to us, especially since they paralleled our own commitments towards publishing comics.
Flash forward nearly three decades and little has changed.

Comico has long escaped Bill and I but our latest creation,
CO2 Comics, has given us a new vehicle by which to present our own work and the work of other great comic talents that share our vision of a cooperative environment where comic creators can support each other creatively and economically through cross promotion on the internet and using the accessibility of self publishing resources. 

BUGHOUSE Graphic Novel

Steve Lafler is still doing his own thing having published over fifty comics himself.
Steve also has had the luxury of seeing his work also published by Fantagraphics and Top Shelf Productions.
He has had the opportunity to brag that his Bughouse graphic novel has been declared one of the top 100 best comics of the last decade and he continues to self publish and explore the boundaries of the medium by posting his comics in blog format and publishing via Print on Demand.
Steve’s enthusiasm remains unbridled as evidenced by this recent facebook quote “I can’t believe how much goddamn fun it is to slap ink on bristol board, holding a brush sideways to draw tire treads. Livin’ the dream, baby.”

So it is no wonder that the time has finally come for CO2 Comics and Steve Lafler to work together doing what we do best, have fun making the best comics we know how. 

El_Vocho

   

CO2 Comics is more than proud to be presenting Steve’ earliest professional work, Dog Boy and his most current work El Vocho which will soon be available as a graphic novel published by Steve himself under his Manx Media Label.  

Manx Media Publications

El Vocho T-shirts

To view more of Steve Lafler’s other available titles visit this link: http://www.stevelafler.net/ 

While you are there, buy some comics and get one of those coolEl Vocho” t-shirts! 

Don’t forget to support all the other creators on CO2 Comics who have provided over 400 pages of comics. 

Do so by reading their work, visiting the provided links and purchasing related products. 

CO2 Comics is committed to delivering great comics direct to the consumer.
We have recently reached our one millionth hit on the site and would like to thank you for your appreciation, enthusiasm, and support. Please share your experience with your friends.

Making comics because I want to, 

Gerry Giovinco


© 2009-2018 CO2 COMICS All Rights Reserved. All other material © their respective creators & companies