Posts Tagged ‘Mage’

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

Comico and Elementals to be Resurrected!

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

CO2 Comics publishers, Bill Cucinotta and Gerry Giovinco, have formally announced that they have incredibly reached an exclusive agreement with Andrew Rev and will be reviving the Comico imprint for a new line of full color comics that will include the ELEMENTALS title originally created by Bill Willingham. The new line is expected to be  available for distribution in the Direct Market this coming Fall.

Cucinotta and Giovinco were among the original founding partners of Comico the Comic Company. Comico began publishing black and white comic books in 1982 with the release of Comico Primer #1, an anthology comic that featured characters created by the original publishers.

1st five Comico Covers

Comico immediately added four new black and white features, AZ by Phil LaSorda, SKROG by Bill Cucinotta, SLAUGHTERMAN by Gerry Giovinco and GRENDEL by Matt Wagner.

Comico's 1st Color Books

In an effort to grow the fledgeling company, Comico scrapped their entire black and white line to concentrate on full color, creator-owned, comic books spearheaded by   MAGE by Matt Wagner, and EVANGELINE by Chuck Dixon and Judith Hunt soon to be followed by hugely successful ELEMENTALS by Bill Willingham, all published in 1984.

Comico quickly became a contender in the independent market throughout the 1980s and  as a pioneer of licensed properties began setting new standards with tiltles like ROBOTECH, STARBLAZERS, JOHNNY QUEST, SPACE GHOST, and GUMBY.

Comico for a brief period ranked third in the industry for monthly sales with a broad line of comics and graphic novels before making the fatal decision to enter the mass market, a move that would drive the company into bankruptcy leading to an eventual sale to Andrew Rev in 1990.

Along with the acquisition of Comico, Rev also bought the exclusive rights of the ELEMENTALS from Bill Willingham and has remained the sole owner of the title and characters since.

The revival of the Comico imprint by CO2 Comics will also resurrect the Elementals in the form of a 300 page full color Elementals Omnibus that will collect the first twelve issues and primary story arc of the series, accompanied by digital release of each individual issue.

Cucinotta and Giovinco, who both left the partnership before the demise of their former company, are excited to have the opportunity to steward the Comico brand in the direction it was always intended just in time to celebrate the thirty year anniversary of the title and Comico’s publication of their first color comic books.

“This would be a dream come true,” admits Giovinco, who confesses that this is nothing more than a cruel prank that he perpetrated since April Fools Day coincided with his weekly blog post that is launched each Tuesday morning.

“It would have been a bore not to act on April Fools Day,” he states, “but  you are still welcome to enjoy all of great comics at CO2 Comics, many of which are created by former Comico collaborators like Bill Anderson, Reggie Byers, Chris Kalnick, Mike Leeke, and Bernie Mireault.”

You can also enjoy several creator owned features that were originally published by Comico such as:

GAUNTLET by Neil Vokes and Rich Rankin

RIBIT by Frank Thorne

SKROG by Bill Cucinotta

SLAUGHTERMAN, by Gerry Giovinco

THE WORLD OF GINGER FOX by Michael Baron and Mitch O’Connell

VICTOR by Andrew Murphy

Along with many other great features by talented creators.

Happy April Fools Day!

Gerry Giovinco

*Sincerest apologies to Andrew Rev, Bill Willingham, Dynamite Entertainment and any comic fan or speculator who may have experienced palpitations due to this post that was solely intended for good fun.



Happy New Year, 2014!

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Goodbye 2013! All of the triskaidekaphobics can now come out of the closet and take a breath of fresh air. It’s time to move on.

Like any year, 2013 had its ups and downs with plenty of good and bad to go around.

I had high hopes for a magical year  when writing this blog to usher in the New Year twelve months ago, the manifestation of which is evident on the CO2 Comics site and in the product we’ve produced.

Besides my 52 weekly blog posts that tackled everything from creator’s rights to trademark infringement and a month-long, scathing review of the PBS broadcast of Superheroes: the Never Ending Battle,

we were delighted to introduce exciting new comic features that are available  to view for FREE everyday along with thousands of pages of other comics that have been archived here at CO2 Comics over the last four-and-a-half years:

Cid and Francis by Mike Sgier continued our commitment to diversity with its unique style of art and whimsical fantasy set in a world of elves and elemental spirits.

Two short stories, The Gold Mask and Revenge as well as the serialization of The Adventures of ROMA all by the legendary  John Workman.

15 year-old Indigo Anderson captured our attention with her youthful talent exhibited in her short feature North and South.

Most recently added has been Dreamcraft, a science fiction thriller by Craig Rippon, Sam Custodio and Bill Anderson that is sure to have you hanging on every page.

We also had the good fortune of releasing four new books in print:

Volume two of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW  The Complete Collection.

Three graphic albums, Doggie Style by Steve Lafler, The Adventures of ROMA by John Workman and NON by Chris Kalnick.

All of which are available with the rest of our printed product that we conveniently  cataloged on this Wish List.

Purchase them exclusively at these two links:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/co2comics

http://www.amazon.com/shops/co2comics

Comico's 1st Color Books

Robotech/Macross #1 cover, Comico 1984

We look ahead to another exciting year with wonderful new projects and publications to be announced with a firm swell of appreciation of our accomplished past as Bill Cucinotta and I will celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of our first full-color comic books. 1984 was a significant milestone for us when, still as publishing partners at Comico, we released the historic first issues of Matt Wagner’s Mage the Hero Discovered, Chuck Dixon and Judith Hunt’s Evangeline and Bill Willingham’s Elementals. That defining year was rounded out by the publication of MACROSS which would eventually become ROBOTECH!

As staunch supporters of independent comics we also have to give a tip of the hat to another thirty-year anniversary as Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird celebrate their 1984 creation of the phenomenally successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and proved to us all that while publishing comics is hard work, anything is possible when you follow your dreams. Thanks guys!

We can only hope that 2014 will be as dynamic for comics and for us as 1984 was. We know from experience that all we can do is give it our best shot and we will!

You are all welcome  along for the ride!

Happy and Prosperous New Year from our entire CO2 Comics Family!

Gerry Giovinco



Finders Keepers

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

It’s a sad truth that the term Finders Keepers is still a law of the land in the comic book industry, especially when it comes to original art. I thought that this had changed during the 80’s when creators had fought long and hard to insure that their work was returned to them. By then we had already watched too many old timers find their work for sale in dealer rooms at conventions around the country.

Those old guys who had given us the Golden and Silver age of comics created their comics for companies that bought it as “work for hire.” The artists handed in their work and never saw it again until it would come to market selling for grand prices valued far greater than what they had originally been paid to do the work. Those creators watched the dealers make big money while they struggled to pay healthcare bills because comic companies offered no benefit packages. They never saw royalties either and cringed every time the publishers made big deals with their characters while they looked for ways to feed their families.

One of the primary goals of the independent publishers of the 80’s was to change this situation. Indy publishers proudly proclaimed the comics they published as “creator owned” and struck deals with comic creators that included royalties, copyright ownership, and returned artwork so the creators could bolster their income by selling the works in the growing, secondary, collector market. Soon even the major publishers began doing the same, even creating benefit packages that included healthcare!

As one of the publishers of Comico the Comic Company, a brief juggernaut in the industry during the mid-eighties that paved many roads for future indy publishers before its demise, I was proud to have been on the forefront of such a great movement that seemingly impacted the future of the industry forever. Now as a publisher of CO2 comics those same principals of creator’s rights remain the highest priority to myself and Bill Cucinotta who has partnered with me in both publishing ventures.

It is a matter of history that Comico had a very tragic ending from a stellar run as one of the great independents of its time. What is a dirty secret is that Comico was often a very hostile work environment where the threat of verbal, mental and physical abuses were real and frequent. It was this caustic atmosphere that destroyed the relationships in the partnership and drove first Bill and eventually myself to leave Comico. We have both taken great pains to remain focused on positive accomplishments of our experience when we blog about Comico here on the CO2 Comics site, especially since we know that we do have a lot to feel proud about.

When it became news late last year that huge archives of old Comico production material which vaguely stated it included original art of which little was shown was for sale on ebay, Bill and I made sure to be clear that we had no involvement in the auction and to state that we felt any original art should have been returned to the creators as was always the policy when we were part of Comico. Personally and regretfully, the emotional scars of my Comico experience ran too deep for me to take a more proactive role in retrieving the material and insuring that if there was original art it would be returned to its rightful owners.

This week I was contacted by Rick Funk owner of Collector Haven Comics who purchased the archives which includes a number of original pieces of art and plans to inventory it and sell it on ebay. The auctions have already begun.

I know that Rick is only doing what dealers do, hunt and acquire treasured collectibles then capitalize on them. Maybe I’m too idealistic but I had hoped that somehow the “Ruins of Comico” would not result in a creator who trusted Comico with their creation finding their work lining the pockets of somebody else when they never had the opportunity to sell it themselves.

Rick claims to have “Saved the Comico Production Art,” possibly from rotting, lost in some storage facility outside of Norristown, PA but the
principals that Comico were founded on and recognized for are so totally disregarded in this situation that it is hard for me to consider any of that original art “saved.” Rather it is damned to resurrect demons of a bygone era that we had all hoped would never be seen again.

The following is correspondence between Rick and myself. I believe it is very civil on both sides yet clear as to what I would like to see done with the material:

Greetings Gerry,

First and foremost I want to state that Justice Machine, Elementals and Mage were the Comico titles that I followed. so yes I was a Comico fan.

I have read all your comments about the ebay auction that appeared in the last part of 2010 from Coyote storage.

I have researched the history of that ebay listing and I am aware that a couple of art dealers expressed an interest in it, and it attracted a
couple of phone calls too. However when faced with the fact that this accumulation of material that seemed to have once belonged to Phil, was not the original line art and was a large volume of production material, they all passed on it.

I did not.

To be honest we purchased it with the intention of bringing it to market.

We have had experience handling large amounts of material before. In 2000 we purchased the back stock of Passiac Books, one of the original comics dealers from the 60s and we also had a hand in bringing the Jack Adler art collection to market.

This turned out to be about 2500 lbs of material that we are just now starting to inventory and list on ebay.

More of the story will come to light with the upcoming publication of a Comics Buyers Guide article. In comic book culture Comico is a signicant contribution made by you.

I personally wanted to close the loop on the internet story for you, in regards to the original ebay auction.

Here is the arrival of the collection at our store, Collector Haven in Mesa Arizona.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.206168106069592.54106.119884131364657

Sincerely,

Rick Funk
Collector Haven Comics

PS: I read your articles about the color production process, however I have a couple of questions about that process and how some of these production pieces fit into that.

Rick,

I appreciate that you wanted to “close the loop,” for me and I know that you made a significant investment acquiring the material but I still have personal and professional issues with the fact that much of the material should not have been available for sale in the first place by anyone other than the actual owners of the individual pieces, the creators.

The images of the early inventory that you have sent me clearly show original art that in my opinion belongs to the creators of the works. I saw three pieces that were actually mine.

Phil’s or Dennis’ possession of the works, at any time, is in question to me since it should have been returned to the creators immediately after its publication which was the long standing policy of Comico.

Also, as I mentioned in my blog, I would have expected that Andrew Rev would have taken possession of the production proofs when he bought Comico. I would have expected them to have been part of the deal.

Phil’s passing does not make the situation any different besides I am sure that his brother, Dennis, would have been quick to take charge of his estate, especially if he felt it had value.

Regardless of how Coyote came into possession of the material, the right thing would be for at least the original art to be returned to the creators. I know I would like mine returned.

You and Collector Haven have a unique opportunity to do something that publishers like Marvel and other dealers who have sold art that they acquired from publishers like Dell and Gold Key have historically declined to do. Do the right thing and help place those works where they should have been a long time ago, back in the hands of the creators to which they belong.

I think that as another option, if you worked closely with The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund or the Heroes Initiative and used this material to help raise funds for these great organizations in the name of the creators you may either be able to negotiate your investment back or at least write it off.

Regardless of how you might proceed in righting this situation the benefit would be a huge Good Will return to you and your company for setting a remarkable example that I believe would be applauded tremendously throughout the industry.

I will be happy to help you do this I any way I can and I will be your biggest supporter for championing the rights of the creators without whom we would not have a comics industry to feed off of.

I will not, however, be able to help you in any way to sell and profit from these works and I will remain a vocal supporter that they should be returned to their rightful owners.

I hope you understand that as a publisher of Comico and now CO2 Comics, I and my partner Bill Cucinotta have always placed the rights of the creators as our highest priority. It is against everything we have stood for our entire careers in the industry not to take a stand on this issue.

I hope you appreciate our position and will work with us to make an important and valiant statement.

Very Sincerely,

Gerry Giovinco
CO2 Comics

COMICO Original Painted Art And Black Line Overlay

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U.D.I.C. 1 page 6

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U.D.I.C. Ad

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COMICO ORIGINAL PAINTED ARTWORK Grendel Page

http://cgi.ebay.com/COMICO-ORIGINAL-PAINTED-ARTWORK-Grendel-Page-/280665180077?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4158f2c7ad

U.D.I.C.Page 23

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STAR BLAZERS 4 Original Black Line Artwork

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Trouble With Girls Ad

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ELEMENTALS Blue Demon Original Pencil Art

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280668528410#ht_1506wt_907

COMICO CHARACTER ORIGINAL ART Frog Prince Dr Danger

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COMICO CHARACTER ORIGINAL ART Vesuvious Red Dragon

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COMICO COMMANDER CHAOS Original Pencil Art

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Elementals Cmdr Cord

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ELEMENTALS Demon Original Art Character Design Page

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ELEMENTALS Kid Chaos Original Art Character Design

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ELEMENTALS Leviathan Original Art Character Design Page

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ELEMENTALS Monolith Original Art Character Design Page

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ELEMENTALS Morningstar Original Art Character Design

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ELEMENTALS Morningstar Original Art Design and Notes

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ELEMENTALS Oblivion Original Art Character Design Page

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ELEMENTALS Vortex Original Art Character Design

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RATMAN Comico Original Art Character Design Page

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Monolith Pencil Art

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Vortex Pencils

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JUMPSTART SKY SCRAPER Comico Original Character Art

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JUMPSTART Comico Original Character Art Design Page

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GHOST GIRL Comico Original Art Character Design Page

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MICROMAN Comico Original Art Character Design Page

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The Gutter: He’s No Harry Potter!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Long before Harry Potter and the rest of the sorcerers of Hogwarts had cast their spell upon the muggles of the world another magnificently talented wizard reigned supreme.

This unparalleled mage conjured forth comic art that had the ability to transcend the fantasies of the reader’s imagination and their physical desires.

From his pen flowed more than ink for as the glistening fluid drawn from the black marrow of of his inner demons dried upon the bristol parchment, words and pictures formed that brought life to fantastic, sword-wielding, warrior women that were unmatched by none.

The wizard? Frank Thorne, of course!

Frank began his fabled comics career in 1948 creating comics for nearly every genre imaginable including romance, horror, war stories, adventure, fantasy and erotica.

Some of his early work was on such notable titles as Perry Mason, Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim and The Green Hornet.

Jungle Jim

In 1976 Frank met his muse in the form of the scarlet tressed she-devil with a sword, Red Sonja and his career would forever be redefined.

Click to see more of Frank Thornes Red Sonja covers

Frank’s vision of Red Sonja for Marvel was so tangible that it leapt from the pages of the comics onto the stages of comic book conventions where Frank, as Thenef the Wizard, choreographed a small army of Sonja avatars personified by the likes of Wendy Pini, Wendi Snow, Angelique Trouvere, Linda Behrle, and Dianne Dekelb.

Frank’s inspirations of the flesh lead to his creation of of other fantasy female characters such as Moonshine McJuggs for Playboy, Ghita of Alizarr for Fantagraphics Books, Lann for Heavy Metal and Danger Rangerette for National Lampoon and High Times.

Danger Rangerette, Lann And Ghita

In 1989 Comico published Frank Thorne’s Ribit! a comic that Frank confesses, “was born from the tailings of Moonshine McJugs, my Playboy comic, and the film treatment for the Ghita of Alizarr movie.”

The Ribit character is unique among all of Frank’s creations. She is smaller, leaner, meaner, and greener than any of his bikini-clad, hell-raising women and she is sure to slice her way into your heart.

Ribit! 1

But what makes her more special than any of Frank’s offerings is that you can find Ribit! updated weekly, right here at CO2 Comics the new internet home of the great wizard, himself, Frank Thorne!

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

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 Comic Company:
True Colors – Part 2

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

The Gray-Line System that I described in last week’s blog helped us to achieve a look that we had always hoped for our comics when we first considered evolving to color.

The fact that most of the alternative independent publishers were taking advantage of the ability to print processed full-color images on the better, whiter paper was not our inspiration or motivation at Comico.

Captain Canuck by Comely Comix

Long before we had even printed our first book we had already fallen in love with how the color appeared in Captain Canuck comics published by Comely Comix and illustrated by George Freeman. The soft processed color printed on newsprint had a quality that was unique compared to the limited 65-color palette of traditional flat-color comic books.

We were not interested in the slick color of the glossy new comics and we definitely did not care for the glare that shown off the pages of the glossy paper stock.

Mage By Matt Wagner

 

Our preference for the more muted color production was evidenced in the fist two issues of Matt Wagner’s Mage.

Matt, who had attended college with Bill and me at the Philadelphia College of Art, had been involved in many discussions concerning how we all thought color in comics should look. We were all on the same page when we made the decision to print Mage on a high-grade newsprint. Mage was a more urban setting and was supported by the grittier look of the newsprint. Besides, we wanted it to look like Captain Canuck.

Evangeline by Chuck Dixon & Judith Hunt

 

Chuck Dixon and Judith Hunt’s Evangeline was a different story. We could see how the finer line quality and more delicate colors would be better served on a whiter stock and though we were reluctant to go to a fully bleached stock we upgraded to a Mando stock which had a creamy quality to it and did not suffer from the glare issue that the more machined paper stocks offered.

Our early color books were printed in Florida at the same press that was printing Bill Black’s Americomics line but we quickly switched over to Sleepeck in Dixon, IL so that we would have more centralized shipping and warehousing of our runs. Once at Sleepeck we decided that our standard comic line, including Mage, would all be printed on the Mando stock.

Wheatly & Hemple's Mars

Around this time we were also introduced to a new coloring system. Mark Wheatly from Insight Studios was producing Mars with Marc Hemple for First Comics. He had told me about a guideline system he was using that employed the use of chemicals from a Fluorographics Services kit. A brief description of how the system works can be seen here.

This system was very similar to the gray-line system in that you had to produce a positive transparency of the line art. The grey line required a negative to produce the grey guide-line on the layer to be painted. The Fluorographics system let you use the film positive to create the non-repo blue guide which eliminated an extra step and expense. You could coat any paper stock you wanted with the chemicals allowing you to paint much more naturally than on the polymer based photo paper of the gray-line.

Blue-Line instruction from The Illustrator's Bible By Rob Howard

Note that though the color was considered non-repo blue this was only effective when shooting in black-and-white. The blue line did appear in the color separations for full-color.

Initially we would coat a paper stock with the sensitizer, place the film positive on top then cover it with a plate of glass to keep it flat then take it outside to expose it to the sun then run in and develop the image. It didn’t take too many rainy days to convince us to purchase a UV sun lamp so that we could do all of this inside and avoid blowing deadlines.

The only problem with this system was that the paper stock was less stable than the photo paper and would shrink when the paint dried, often distorting the registration.

Matt solved the problem by using pre-stretched watercolor blocks of paper that were sealed on all four sides keeping the top layer “stretched” until it was dried and removed. Matt would buy large enough paper so that four pages could be exposed at once. He usually had two blocks set up so that while one block dried, he could be working on the other.

This new blue-line system was a home run but it was not going to help us with our next two projects.

Elementals & Macross Covers

We knew that when we signed on to publish Bill Willingham’s Elementals that we were going to want it to be more like traditional flat-color superhero comics. Down the line would also be a little project called Macross that would press all of our expectations for color in comics. We still had a lot to learn.

To be continued…

Gerry Giovinco

Making comics because I want to!

The Comic Company:
Marketing Comics on Mobile Devices Since 1984

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

“Location, location, location!” This is the mantra of of real estate investors worldwide and was a dilemma we faced as we planned a promotion strategy for our first full-color comic book publications, Matt Wagner’s Mage and Judith Hunt and Charles Dixon’s Evangeline.

 

Our first 2 color publications

 

Comico had proven itself as an aggressive marketer of its black-and-white line by advertising in all of the major fan magazines at the time. Bill Cucinotta made sure that full-page ads were regularly seen in the Comics Buyers Guide, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Journal, and David Anthony Kraft’s Comics Interview.

 

 

Our decision to begin publishing in color raised the bar significantly. We could no longer survive if our titles sold just a few thousand copies each. We knew that publishing in color would automatically cause our sales figures to rise dramatically but we had to sell around 30,000 of each title to see black ink on our ledger sheets.

30,000 seems like a good number when looking at the monthly sales figures of comics today but in 1984 when Marvel and DC were still selling comics for 75¢ we could not compete with a $3-4 cover price. At $1.50, our profit margin was a lot slimmer than it is for books in the current market.

We had great faith in the product and rightfully so. Creators of each comic have gone on to become industry giants but at the time they were all virtual unknowns.

We felt that in order to succeed we needed to promote our product at the point of purchase; in the comic shops themselves.

Bill, who had worked many years in retail at Fat Jack’s Comic Crypt in Philadelphia, knew first-hand how valuable the real estate was in comic shops which were usually quite small.

When he, Phil LaSorda, and I discussed the possibility of posters in the stores to promote our comics the question was, “Where would the retailers hang them if they hung them at all?”

Retail walls were usually covered, floor-to-ceiling, by shelves displaying hundreds of new comics. Valuable older comics in mylar bags were displayed on walls also.

If a poster were to go up on any of the limited wall space that might be left, you could bet that it would be reserved for a Marvel or DC product.

We talked about post cards and rack cards but agreed that counter space and rack space was as much a premium as wall space in the tiny comic shops.

Hell, the only space left was the ceiling and how would we convince retailers to staple our poster on their ceiling?

Inspiration from above

Maybe it was from years of kite flying, model rocketry, and hanging plastic airplanes in my room. Maybe it was from marveling at Alexander Calder’s masterpieces in art school. The idea of creating a mobile that the retailers could hang from a single tack or hook soon gave rise.

We would command a virgin, uncharted territory smack in the center of the ceiling in virtually every comic shop. We would boldly go where no man had gone before!

 

Mobile Ad

 

The Comico Mobile, which was promoted as “The First in a series of Promotional Mobiles,” was a simple elegant design though it would be the first and only one of the intended series. It was a cardboard disc that was 18 inches in diameter printed in full color on both sides, Mage on one side, Evangeline on the other. At the top was drilled a tiny hole from which it could be hung.

There was a limited number of 100 that were signed and numbered by the creators and the rest were sent to distributors where retailers would place an order to get theirs for free with their shipment of Comico comics. Just in case they missed the offer we ran ads in the trades to make sure no one was left out.

The Comico line of color comics was off the ground. The proof was on the ceiling!

 

A Comico Mobile still hangs in my studio today right next to my inspiration for the Comico Blimp, a toy airship hanging from a string.

 

CO2 Mobile Command Centre

 

On the wall behind my desk, however, is a new banner proclaiming CO2 Comics, our exciting new foray into the digital world of comics.

Today’s digital environment adds a completely different meaning when speaking the term “mobile.” Computers and mobile devices like smart phones, iPads, and e-readers are quickly changing the landscape of all publishing including comics.

CO2 Comics will give Bill and I the chance to pioneer again but we will still look back to the term “Location, location, location,” only this time we will be looking for a good Wi-Fi connection.

Making comics because I want to

Gerry Giovinco

 

 


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