It has been an exciting time here at CO2 Comics. With our release of the three graphic albums, Heaven and the Dead City, The Heavy Adventures of Captain Obese! and Ménage à Bughouse, Bill Cucinotta and I have just published our first comics in print together since our days as partners at Comico the Comic Company where we launched the careers of quite a number of significant talents in the comic industry.
Bill Willingham, Matt Wagner, Chuck Dixon, Adam Hughes, Sam Kieth and the Kubert Brothers, top off the list of creators that had either their first or earliest works published by Comico. Maybe we were just in the right place at the right time then, but I like to think that we have an eye for talent and an ability as publishers to create a trusting relationship with creators that gives us an opportunity to present their work.
The search for talent and exciting comic book properties to me is one of the most appealing part of publishing. It is the thrill of the hunt. In last week’s blog I wrote about Steve Lafler’s tour promoting his CO2 Comics graphic album Ménage à Bughouse. While at his stop in Brooklyn, NY at Bergen Street Comics I participated in a candid discussion about how the thrill of the hunt was an essential motivator to comic book collectors and how this same motivation drives comic readers to search the web for new comics to experience and share. The thrill of the hunt is rewarded by the thrill of discovery.
The most desired prey in any hunt is that which has proven to be the most elusive. It is that which is the most difficult to obtain that we search for with the greatest earnest. Big Foot, The Loch Ness Monster, The Holy Grail all captivate our collective imaginations for just this reason. Sometimes the object of our hunt, deceptively lies right before our eyes, camouflaged by its obviousness.
We at CO2 Comics like to think that we have uncovered one of those gems with our publication of Raine Szramski’s Heaven and the Dead City. Ms. Szramski has lurked around the comics industry for some time now as an award winning fantasy illustrator and comic book artist but remains just a blip on the radar of most fans. Her fantastic illustrations that she paints in gouache and other mixed media are a wonder to behold. They can be viewed at her DeviantArt Gallery which is a must stop for any fan of faeries, wood nymphs, dragons and mystical heroes.
Raine also posts and incredibly fun and insightful blog titled Pre-Raphernalia, about the major players in the Pre-Raphaelite movement. It is adorned with photos, images and her own comics focusing on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the cast of true characters that surround them. A cruse through the illustrations in this blog will delight you as you get to see the energy that exists in the pencil sketches of Raine’s drawings and comics.
When it Raines it pours and Ms. Szramski proves to be no exception. When it comes to blogging about her favorite topics she has a second blog titled The Watcher Tree where among other things she recounts how she came to be a part of our CO2 Comics collective.
Of course we are most fond of her work on Heaven and the Dead City which Raine writes, draws and hand paints in grey tones for your enjoyment right here at CO2 Comics. We are sure that as each new reader experiences the thrill of discovery when they encounter Raine Szramski’s work online, they will undoubtedly want to cherish it by owning it in print, so we were quick to publish the first beautiful volume in both paperback and hardback editions!
It is possible that Raine Szramski’s talents have been overlooked in what has been a comics industry dominated by men for far too long. Fortunately times are changing and the industry is suddenly blossoming with an audience of female readers and women creators that can provide a diversity to comics that had been missing. Raine Szramski is now in the right place at the right time. Our official CO2 Comics forecast is that comic fans will be experiencing a lot of Raine in the future.
Speaking of the future, next week I plan to over indulge in a huge helping of Don Lomax’s fatty treat, The Heavy Adventures of Captain Obese!