Posts Tagged ‘Jonny Quest’

Comico/Robotech Crew to Reunite at Camden Comic Con This Weekend

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

The second annual Camden Comic Con will be held this Saturday, March 7, 2015 at the Rutgers Camden Athetics and Fitness Center! If you need directions you can find them here.

This is a FREE convention that you can’t miss especially if you live in the Greater Philadelphia, Tri-State, Delaware Valley area.

In a previous post I listed ten reasons we’re excited about Camden Comic Con 2015. We think they are all great reasons for everyone that enjoys comics to want to come to this show but our favorite reason is number 5.

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

“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.”

Comico Mage, Grendel, Elemental, Justice Machine, Ribit, Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, Gumby, Star Blazers, Robotech

Those of you that remember the glory days of Norristown, PA based, independent  publisher, Comico The Comic Company, best known for great creator-owned titles like Mage, Grendel, Elementals, Justice Machine and Ribit also surely remember our  work producing comics based on licensed properties like Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, Gumby, Starblazers and a little fan favorite, ROBOTECH.

Besides making great comics we also had the opportunity to make great friendships and experiences that we will always look back on as some of our best times in life, professionally and personally.

After Comico our lives took us all in many different directions until years later when we would once again pull our talents together digitally on the site of CO2 Comics.

The wonders of the internet allow us to all share our talents but rarely do we have an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company face-to-face. Our Panel at Camden Comic Con will be an opportunity for some of us to come together for the first time in over twenty-five years.

We have  great panel planned with a nice visual trip down memory lane for all the Comico /Robotech fans and a look at what CO2 Comics has been up to in the last six years with a look into what we plan for the unpredictable future.

We hope to see as many of you as possible at the show. Please stop at our panel A Legacy of Independence: From Comico to CO2 Comics http://camdencomiccon.tumblr.com/programming from 11AM – 12:30 PM in Multipurpose Room 2 and visit us at our CO2 Comics booth for an opportunity to meet and support the the creators.

Gerry Giovinco

Making Comics is Risky Business: Part 3

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Comico Primer #1-6

The financial risk of making comics is a cold hard issue that affects every business.   It is a gamble that is made, based on educated guesses, that an investment will return a profit worthy of the effort and expenses involved. Like with gambling, there is an excitement to the nature of this process that drives entrepreneurs to engage in these risks. It is not for the weak of heart.

I remember having a conversation with my younger brother, Tom, on this subject. He and I were both prone to start up businesses. I had participated in the launching of Comico the Comic Company and he was involved in some real estate ventures. My brother compared our activities to that of our grandfathers, both of which had been active gamblers that bet heavily on ponies, cards, craps, and sports. According to Tom, we had a genetic gambling disorder that was manifested by our affinity for business risk.

Launching Comico, however was not as risky a proposition as publishing comics had been in the past as I discussed in Making Comics is Risky Business: Part 2.

For the first four decades of the industry, publishers bore the burden of most of the risk involved, making all the investments in production and marketing in anticipation of sales made on consignment. Comico had the benefit of distribution in the Direct Market where most of the risk fell on the retailers.

During the late sixties and early seventies, thanks in part to the success of underground comics that were being sold in head shops, a market of comic book specialty shops began to spring up operating out of flea markets, garages and small stores. Phil Seuling, the organizer of the original New York Comic Art Convention ventured into distribution with his East Coast Seagate Distribution company. He had developed a plan to buy direct from comic book publishers with the promise of no returns. For the publishers this meant guaranteed sales.

Though Seuling originally held a monopoly on this market, it eventually sprang into a network of distributers spread across the country. Retailers would anticipate how many copies of each title they would need. Generally they derived these figures from knowing the interest and buying habits of their customers. They would place their order with their distributer of choice, sometimes paying in advance. The distributor would then place their order with the publishers, generally with a deal to pay thirty days after the books were delivered.

1st five Comico Covers

When we began publishing Comico back in 1982 we took full advantage of this system. We solicited our original comics, Primer, Az, Grendel, Skrog, and Slaughterman, with Xerox copies of art three months before the books would ship. A month before printing we would know exactly how many books we would need to print and could anticipate if we would profit from the product or not. We knew in advance what risk, if any, we were taking.

Retailers and distributors, however, were taking the chances on an unknown product based on photocopies and promised enthusiasm from young publishers. They knew that comic collectors were excited about acquiring first issues of comics that may one day be a successful feature making that first issue valuable. Collectors were speculators, gambling that their investment would one day pay big dividends.

Retailers ran the risk of not having a comic and seeing their customers run to another retailer. Distributors could not afford to not have the comics available for fear that their retailers would run to another distributor. So when our first comics, which were rudimentary at best, had been rejected by every distributor we were given a golden opportunity when Bud Plant placed the first order of a mere 100 books. We knew that if Bud Plant had books then every other distributer would have to have them. We got on the phones and before we knew it we had enough orders to justify a print run!

Comico enjoyed great success in the Direct Market. Our orders which began at modest numbers of less than 3,000 an issue escalated to over 300,000 a month in the matter of a few years.

Ironically, Comico’s downfall came when we took on the risk of the traditional Mass Market where we took a chance against the returns of the old consignment market. We bet that the recognition value of the licensed properties we produced like ROBOTECH, Starblazers, Jonny Quest, Space Ghost and Gumby would insulate us from returns.

We gambled and lost.

Next week in Making Comics is Risky Business: Part 4 we will take a closer look at the risky business of speculation and why crowd funding is the future for comics publishing.
Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco

Remembering Joe Kubert

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Joe Kubert 1926-2012, photo copyright The Kubert School

The news that Joe Kubert had passed away caught me at just after I finished last week’s blog. I was tempted to dive in and rush a last minute tribute in an effort to be timely but I have too much respect for the man and all that he did for comics. I chose to digest the incredible loss to his family, his school and the entire the comics community so that I could write a memorial deserved of a man of his stature.

Whenever I think of Joe Kubert the first thing that comes to my mind is a cover image of Tarzan, knife in hand, battling a savagely maned lion that struck fear in my heart as a young comic reader. The ferocity of the glare in the lion’s eyes, the sinewy muscles of Tarzan, and the dynamic gesture of every appendage on the page (right down to Tarzan’s toes!) captivated my attention in a way that few comics did or could. Joe was capable of creating something primal on a page with lines so kinetic that the images leapt from the page into the deepest, darkest part of the imagination.

Click image to see more Kubert School Advertisements

The name Joe Kubert captured my imagination again with a simple ad  for The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art that ran in the back of every comic book in the late seventies. Though I couldn’t convince my parents to let me go to a school that promoted itself in a comic book, the idea of studying art for the purpose of  creating comics became my goal. A few years later, as a publisher at Comico, I was offering small scholarships to students at Joe’s school in Dover, NJ hoping to encourage the incredible young talent that was being cultivated there to want to work for Comico. The gesture paid off when we had the opportunity to work with Joe’s sons, Adam and Andy on our JONNY QUEST series.

Joe Kubert visited our modest offices at Comico once when we were first developing our relationship. Our Studio, as we called it, was half a duplex in the middle of blue-collared Norristown, PA. It was a humble creative space littered with art supplies, drawing boards, decrepit furniture and dated, orange shag wall-to-wall carpet. Joe loved it! There was a gleam in his eye as he looked around that space and at us young guys, full of enthusiasm about making comics. He told us stories of how he was reminded him of his early days, holed up in a small room with a bunch of other young writers and artists cramming out entire issues over night in a frantic effort to meet a deadline.

Joe was an infectiously dynamic person with a passion for comics that he was always excited to share and teach. He was the ultimate father figure that commanded respect and returned it when you earned it. That day he visited Comico, without intending to and unknowingly, he ordained us as professional comic creators with his glowing approval.

Similarly, Joe’s impact on the comic industry can never be measured. He has influenced and educated so many comic professionals that it would be impossible to imagine what the industry would have been like without him, his family, or his school.

Bill Cucinotta, the extended CO2 Comics family of creators, and I extend our very heartfelt condolences to the entire Kubert family and to everyone that loved and respected Joe Kubert, one of the very great men to have ever professed to making comics.

Gerry Giovinco

We at CO2 Comics have a long relationship with a former Kubert School student, Chris Kalnick, who worked as an inker on ROBOTECH when we published it as Comico. His comics NON the Transcendental Extraterrestrial and Depth Charge are regular features on the CO2 Comics site. At our request he has offered his own remarks regarding Joe Kubert:

Baker Mansion-Kubert School circa 1977.

It’s funny how sometimes you don’t realize how much someone has impacted your life until you hear of their passing.  This was definitely the case with me regarding Joe Kubert.

35 years ago, fresh on the heels of its groundbreaking first year class, I was one of the second year students who attended The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art.  The school was small compared to today’s incarnation.  There were something like 25-30 students returning from the first year, and Joe only accepted around 50 of us for its incoming second year class.  The students ran the spectrum from the intensely-focused-and disciplined-artist/storyteller to the recent goofy-high-school-graduate-not-really-knowing-what-the-hell-they-wanted. A lot of us fell in between.

I don’t need to expound on how amazing the school was, its atmosphere, its creative energy, etc… suffice to say, there was nothing like it at the time. Plenty has been written about the school over the years. Even if it wasn’t your intention, you were bound to learn some amount of craft there… not only from Joe and the teachers, but from the other students as well.  Everyone ate, drank, and breathed comic art.  The place swam in it. Those who were there know what I’m talking about.  Their life experience and their art is a little richer for it.

There are many more XQBs than I who have had longer, deeper, more extended relationships with Joe, and they have their stories to tell and their feelings to share.  My relationship with him was somewhat brief, but what I can tell you about Joe is that he was no-nonsense. He shot from the hip.  You knew if he liked something or felt it worked… and you knew if he didn’t.  He commanded respect, personal and professional.  My personal talks with him were few, but they definitely left an impression.  As I’m sure his conversations did with the majority of his students.  My last conversation with Joe is forever etched in my mind, for it was sad in nature. It was about my leaving the school, and Joe expressed his disappointment.  For a cartoonist… not an easy moment to shake.

Joe opened his unique school and by doing so, opened the doors for a tremendous amount of artists who may not have otherwise had the opportunity, support, and camaraderie to develop their craft.  If it wasn’t for Joe, I wouldn’t have developed my craft or the sense of identity that I have today.  I wouldn’t have made the professional friends I have now.  And my youngest daughter wouldn’t have grown up in my studio to become an accomplished young artist herself.  Joe passed away the day after my daughter left home to attend Ringling College of Art and Design as an illustration major.  The coincidence of it is not lost on me… and his legacy seems so much more poignant, his influence so much more obvious.

You are respected, Joe.  I know for a fact that you will be missed.  Thank you.

Chris Kalnick

BUGHOUSE Graphic Album NOW AVAILABLE

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 Greatest Collection of Interviews in the History of Comic Books

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

  

CO2 Comics announces that David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 1 is ON SALE NOW!  

CO2 Comics has entered into an agreement with David Anthony Kraft and Fictioneer Books Ltd. to publish the complete collection of all 150 issues of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW. The collection will consist of eleven huge volumes each over 600 pages in length released one at a time on a regular schedule.  

  

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 1 has been spontaneously released with this press announcement and is available exclusively at comicsinterview.com a website built and powered by CO2 Comics.  

Comics Interview Standard Edition

Four editions of the volume are available; The Standard Edition featuring an updated platinum version of the traditional COMICS INTERVIEW logo is available in paperback and hardcover. A Premier Edition that is available only for a limited time features a platinum version of the original classic COMICS INTERVIEW logo that was constructed of type from various popular comic logos is also published in both paperback and hardcover. The Premier Edition will be pulled from the market at midnight on New Years Eve 2010. Each of the eleven volumes of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection will be released with a Premier Edition that will have limited availability. Paperback editions are now available and will list for $34.99 and Hardcovers will list for $54.99. Paperback editions are available now. The release of Hardcover editions will be announced soon.  

Comics Interview Premier Edition

Gerry Giovinco of CO2 Comics exclaims. “Bill Cucinotta and I are extremely excited and honored to be able to publish this collection of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW. We believe that Dave’s work is the most significant gathering of interviews of the greatest comic minds of the 20th century.” This work will be the greatest collection of interviews in the history of comic books”.  

Dick Giordano Interview

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW, which was published from 1983 to 1995 featured interviews with creators, publishers, distributors, marketeers, fans and more. The timing of the original publications is significant because it allowed for interviews with comic legends from the dawn of comic books as well as interviews with young creators who are legends today. COMICS INTERVIEW effectively examined the mindset of the greatest talents responsible for the comics that we have come to revere over the last seventy years.”  

Alan Moore Interview

“Because David Anthony Kraft is a writer editor himself he had the unique ability to interview creators from the position of a respected peer. This perspective is relevant throughout COMICS INTERVIEW where the subjects share their thoughts openly and frankly. ”  

Dave was an editor at Marvel and writer on such features as The Defenders, She-Hulk, Captain America, and Creatures on the Loose. He has the distinction of scripting the very first story drawn by John Byrne for Marvel Comics: “Dark Asylum,” published in Giant-Size Dracula #5 and of being the editor of FOOM, Marvel’s popular, self-produced fan Magazine.  

Bill Griffith Interview

CO2 Comics is a web based comics publisher developed by former Comico publishers Gerry Giovinco and Bill Cucinotta. CO2 Comics has been growing in popularity since it first appeared on the web in the summer of 2009. About 700 pages of comics from twenty creators populates the site which is designed and maintained by Bill Cucinotta and features a popular blog by Gerry Giovinco that has been examining the history of Comico and comic book production.  

Comico was the 1980’s Independent juggernaught that published such memorable titles as Grendel, Mage, The Jam, Elementals, Rocketeer, Robotech, Starblazers, Gumby, Space Ghost and Jonny Quest along with many other significant comics and graphic novels.  

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 1 will be our first work in print as CO2 Comics,” says Bill Cucinotta. “It’s publication as a POD (Print On Demand) product provided by Lulu.com will define our commitment to marketing direct to the customer through our web site with high quality productions that have always been our legacy. We plan to redefine how print comics are delivered to readers. We couldn’t have picked a better project than this one, that through its content outlines the history of the comics industry as we know it, to usher in what we expect to be the beginning of a new and successful model for the future.”  

Comics Interview #5

Giovinco reminisces, “Dave was there for us as a mentor when we began publishing as Comico, offering moral support, insight and inspiration. His willingness to trade ad space with us as fledgeling publishers allowed us to grow and establish a significant presence in the dawning days of the direct market.  

His interview with us as Comico in issue #5 of COMICS INTERVIEW was a moment that signified to us that we had arrived as publishers of comics. It is only fitting that we come together again at the forefront of a new era for the comics market and the continual development of the foundation for CO2 Comics, the hottest new place to read comics on the web and, now, in print.  

The Gutter | Welcome Chris Kalnick

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Bill Cucinotta and I have always planned for CO2 Comics to be a gathering place for creators to explore the medium of comics using the good old web, tapping first our friends that collaborated with us back in the early days of Comico the Comic Company. The first to jump on board is that true adventurous surfer dude, Courageous Chris Kalnick!

© TM Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc.

© TM Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc.

Chris was one of the many fine artists that worked on the Robotech comics that were so popular in the mid 1980’s. His inking style was so clean and crisp it even made my pencils look good as you can see in this unpublished Jonny Quest  pin-up that he and I had worked on.

Chris learned his craft well at the prestigious Joe Kubert School of Comic Art  and has produced many fine works including Depth Charge which he shares with us on the CO2 Comics site. Chris is also the creator of Non a new age comic that we hope will grace us as well. Some of Chris’s works are available as mini-comics and you can purchase them by contacting him via e-mail at depthcharge@erols.com

depth_charge_digestWe hope that you will continue to return to this site regularly as the CO2 Comics community and content grows. Along with the addition of Depth Charge there will be regular updates as Skrog and Slaughterman stories continue. Stay in touch, share your work with us, let us know what you’d like to see, but most of all enjoy!

Gerry Giovinco


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