Posts Tagged ‘PEANUTS’

I Just Saw My First Snowflake!

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

I’ve lived in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area my entire life. I’ve experienced plenty of snow storms, built many a snowman, heaved a ton of snowballs, shoveled driveways,  skied and sledded down many a slope and never actually SAW a snowflake until today.

I’m amazed!

I was gathering wood to light a fire in my fireplace, preparing to hunker down for the latest impending storm which was expected to be a doozy. I had already overexerted myself transporting many more logs than I should have when the snow began to fall, yet I quickened my pace to prevent the remaining logs from getting wet by the accumulating, frosty, precipitation.

Then I saw it!

Caught in a spiderweb that was cast to the side of the doorway I was passing through, a tiny, perfectly formed, six-pointed, crystalline snowflake clung, suspended in majestic solitude right before my eyes.

It was magnificent!

My first reaction was that it was a manufactured piece of mylar, party confetti that had somehow fallen there. It was too perfect to be real.  It looked just like the graphic representation of a snowflake that we all agree upon but never truly witness.

I examined the tiny miracle of nature closer and was astounded to be able to determine its authenticity. Then something else magical occurred.

As I looked around I was able to distinguish individual snowflakes, everywhere,  each as unique as the next , falling, tumbling, and piling upon each other as they formed a thin layer on every exposed surface. Surprisingly, I had experienced a moment of incredible clarity that was exciting, frightening and sad all at the same time.

Why did I suddenly have the acute ability to perceive snowflakes?! Had I overtaxed my heart and was a lack of oxygen stimulating a strange case of euphoria? Was I about to die of a sudden heart attack and experiencing some kind of life altering exhilaration before I met my maker?  Or was I, for the first time in my life, just finally able to see something that was always there, observed by others but taken for granted by myself? Had I lived my whole life so consumed by a generalization of snow that I was somehow blind to the incredible individual flakes?

Since my initial experience, I’ve noticed that distinguishing snowflakes is not always so simple. I have spent the rest of the storm observing handfuls of snow and realizing that, more often than not, the little snow flakes are either too clumped together, too tiny or too damaged to be recognizable as the perfect flakes I had witnessed. I was given the gift of being aware of the little jewels at just the right time, under perfect conditions regarding temperature, and humidity.

So what does any of this snowflake stuff have to do with comics? I think it s a fine example of how, as Oscar Wilde wrote in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying that, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” What I have realized by talking to others about my experience is that most people don’t see the snowflakes as I did, either, (In fact most people thought I was a little crazy or  chemically induced.) I was not alone in my previous snow blindness!

You see, though we are all taught that no two snowflakes are alike and that snowflakes all have six points all which can be verified by science and acute observation, that is not how we are conditioned to witness them, presumably because that is not how they are most often depicted in art.

Yes, they are used as symbols that represent snow and as decorations at Christmas time. They are used by children who cut them out of paper and draw them in school. We all use the iconic images of snowflakes usually, as something static that represents snow but not how we experience it.

How we perceive snow in most art is different. It would be too complicated to render each snowflake in a painting, or a film or in a comic. A field of snow is usually portrayed as a blanket of whiteness and snow falling from the sky is generally shown as little blobs of white. As life imitates art, this is how we also have grown to experience snow, as blanketed fields of white and little white blobs as snowflakes.

Depicting snow this way is a universally accepted idiom and has defined our ability to experience snow just as art defined our ability to experience fog according to Wilde, “poets and painters have taught the loveliness of such effects…They did not exist till Art had invented them.”.

My previous experience of snow is defined by Charles Schulz’s PEANUTS comic strip.  Whenever I see snow, I immediately flash to scenes of Charlie Brown and the gang playing in the snow, building snow forts, throwing snowballs and building snowmen. This reality of winter was later backed up for me by Bill Watterson’s CALVIN AND HOBBS comic strip.

Schulz and Watterson’s characters knew how to enjoy the snow and their antics in the white stuff played a major role in defining how I have grown to expect winter play to be like. As cartoonists, both men had a simple and distinctive style. It did not require a lot of lines, detail or anatomic accuracy for them to create a vivid reality. This was the brilliance of their work and a quality that sometimes is lost to aspiring comic artists who get caught up in details at the expense fluidity.

Both men certainly did not depict snow with any detail and I defy anyone to find a sample of comic art that does.  I’m sure it exists somewhere and I am sure it is as rare as those snowflakes that captured my attention today.

The lesson learned is that wether snow is observed or depicted in all of its infinite detail or in the usual gross generalization, snow is snow and it can be as fun and as treacherous either way.

This analogy could come in handy when comic artists are challenged by wether their work is too “cartoony” or too “realistic.” Does it really matter if the message is clear? I can guarantee that no matter how realistic an artist’s style might be, if they draw snow it will be just as cartoony as Charles Schulz and Bill Watterson’s snow.

I saw my first snowflake today and, in fact, many more. It was amazing and I will always keep my eye out for more but that will never stop me from enjoying and experiencing snow in all its simplicity thanks to the world of artists out there that chose not to imitate life.

I will also think twice before judging a comic based on it’s cartoony or realistic style and give the creator the opportunity to create a reality that will affect how I may observe the world.

Who would have thought that one little snowflake would have inspired me so much?

Now there is a foot of the stuff to shovel off my drive. C’est la vie!

Gerry Giovinco



How to Get Rich Making Comics

Monday, February 6th, 2012

First and foremost, if your reason for making comics is to get rich quick, get prepared for a big disappointment! Making comics is an art and, like most art forms, there is a long line of practitioners aspiring to emulate the success of a limited few. Those that have attained riches from making comics are a rare breed and thanks to unscrupulous publishing practices that have been the norm of the industry for decades many deserving comic artist have been deprived of fame and fortune.

I remember reading a list of the top ten grossing entertainers in the world sometime during the 1980’s. Two on the list were comic artists, PEANUTS creator Charles Schulz and GARLIELD creator, Jim Davis. They were right up there with entertainment titans, Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby! That was when I first realized the full fiscal potential of making comics. Schulz and Davis were both syndicated comic strip artists proving that there was commercial power to mixing words and pictures on the page.

This type of economic success was not available to comic book creators at the time for one key reason, Work for Hire. Most comic strip artists maintained ownership of their characters but in the comic book industry the publishers owned the characters and creators only received a page rate for their services with no ability to share in the success of the work through royalties.

This all began to change in the 80’s as the industry pushed for creator’s rights and independent publishers sprang up, willing to publish creator owned work. The newly devised Direct Market made it possible for these new publishers to explore the potential of sharing profits with creators. It also made it possible for creators to self publish their work.

1st five Comico Covers

Comico's 1st Color Books

This was our motivation when we created Comico. We knew that the best option for profiting from comics was to work for ourselves rather than be just another cog in the works of industry giants. As this same notion began to proliferate throughout the industry, comic artists did begin to realize the wealth that was possible. Two major examples of the earning potential of comics can be attributed TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird and SPAWN creator Todd McFarlane who all made millions from their creations.

So, if you want to get rich making comics there are a few things to know.

Creating a successful comic or character is like winning the lottery. The odds are so great. It gets even more depressing when you see the long list of incredible talent that are the competition but no one can guess what will strike the nerve of the market. Like the lottery, you cannot win if you do not play, so jump in and create!

Do what you love and love what you do! Many will tell you this is the key to success. Bullshit!

But this will make the struggles a hell of a lot more bearable. Creating comics needs to be your passion. Make them because you want to and love doing it. Create characters that you know and love and need to share with the reader. Your ability to bring those characters to life is what will make them desirable to readers. Passion is infectious when it is executed with skill.

NEVER GIVE  UP THE RIGHTS TO YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY!!! Own your characters, never sell them unless the price is so unimaginably mind-boggling that you can’t say, ” no”. If you do sell your characters, don’t look back, it is time to reap what you have sown.

YOU WILL NEVER GET RICH JUST BY MAKING COMICS! This could change if the digital market takes off but there is just not a big enough comic reading market today to make you filthy, stinking rich. You may get pretty comfortable but not uber-loaded. Creators make the big bucks through licensing and merchandising. The comics are the launch pad for your property, where the character comes to life and proves it has legs but from there it is time to go to market and make movies, toys, pop tarts, you name it. That is where the money is.

What’s that? Your a comic artist not a salesperson? Then get a publisher that will do the work for you or get yourself an agent or a marketing agency. Go find Jerry Maguire and start yelling, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!” Video game developer, David Perry, does a great job explaining the need to merchandise here in one of his lectures.

It’s an awesome read and though it’s about licensing video games, you can easily see how it relates to comics because his point is that characters drive licensing and merchandising more than anything else.

Now you know that, yes, it is possible to get rich making comics but it requires a lot of love, a lot of work, a lot of luck and a lot of wheeling dealing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

See you at the bank!

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco


Bang for the Buck

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Lately I’ve been sifting through the concept of the value of comics. What is a comic worth? What am I willing to pay to read a comic book, either in print or digitally and more importantly, what should I expect readers of comics that I publish to want to pay?

The question is a hotbed for discussion but for now I’m just going to float some thoughts.

Peanuts

The comics that originally hooked me on the medium I did not pay for. I read comics in the newspaper and though that paper which my parents bought was probably fifteen cents an issue back then, to me the comics were free. I read Peanuts comics that had been reprinted in pocket sized paperback books that were given to me by my uncle who got them second hand as returns, more free stuff. I read comic books as part of my experience going to the barber, sure someone coughed up the twelve cents that each comic cost somewhere along the line, but I read them for free then left them there for the next kid that would come in to get a buzz cut.

By the time I was actually carrying real change in my pocket, I already knew that I liked comics and when a quarter was burning a hole in my pocket It was a good bet that I would spend it on baseball cards, candy, or a comic book. All three items had a social value that could not be measured in terms of coinage. These were things that were shared with friends.

“You give me some Skittles and I’ll give you some Good & Plenty.”

“I’ll trade you my double of Mike Schmidt for your double of Johnny Bench.”

“You can read my copy of Captain America while I read your copy of Bat Man.”

While the candy was eaten, leaving little evidence other than tooth decay and an obesity epidemic, baseball cards and comic books had a way of accumulating and representing some type of feel-good value, either as fond memories of friendships or quiet escapes to fantastic worlds of celebrated heroes.

For some of us, the tattered piles of well read comics and hand flipped cards became collections and a desire to preserve the treasured artifacts generated something new – inflated value driven by speculation and scarcity.

Ironically, as the collector market grew, the cover prices rose and the traditional newsstand market shrunk into oblivion, alienating the casual reader that had long been the bread and butter of the comics industry.

Thirty-two page comics that were once a dime and offered, often, more than one complete story now sell for upwards to four bucks for a fraction of a story that will take a dozen issues to complete. Buying comic books is no longer a casual, impulsive, social practice. It is a commitment, a speculative purchase that requires the added investment of archival storage products such as mylar sleeves, acid free boards, long boxes and an accounting system. It takes a special person to be this motivated. Comic books are no longer for everyone.

Enter the graphic novel. Comics in a real book with a perfect bound cover that is card stock or even hard back! The complete run of a story arc fits between the covers that may contain a dozen issues or more of previously published material for a reasonable book price. A story that may have cost thirty-six to forty-eight dollars in pamphlet format can now be had for less than twenty bucks and looks fine on a bookshelf with no need to box or preserve in plastic. Better yet, I can find it in the library and read it for free. Boy, suddenly as a casual reader I’m reading comics again!

What’s that? Comics are all over the internet? For Free? Web comics…WOW!  More comics than I know what to do with featuring every type of genre imaginable. Some OK, some lousy, some great! I can build a library just by bookmarking the sites I like and return to my favorites every day, every week, once a month. Occasionally I’ll find a new gem and share the link with my friends on Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, you name it. “Hey I’m really digging that CO2 Comics site-www.co2comics.com!”

I can read comics on my phone? On a tablet? I need what? An App? Then I can download the comics I want for how much? $1.99?  $.99? Free?  OK, I’ll try a free one. That’s pretty cool let me share it with my friends. Hmmm. What kind of device do they use? Is this app compatible with their platform? I can’t share my download?

Wait a minute. I can read a lot of web comics on my phone and tablet and I can share from those devices. I’m cool. Web comics rule.

I know I’m getting a lot of comic creators steamed right now talking about all this free stuff but I’ve realized something. None of us pay for the comics we read. Nope. We pay for the distribution of the comic! We pay for how the art is put in front of our eyes. We pay for the books, the paper,the shipping,  the app provider, you name it. The retailer, the distributor, the publisher all get a cut. Yeah I know that the creator made some money off the comic but let’s be honest, they got paid as little as negotiably possible for the right to distribute the comic in a particular format, then the publisher gave them their art back. We don’t pay more for a comic because a better artist drew it.  We pay more for it because it is on better paper. If more books sell then the creator, if they get royalties, gets more money. The great creators may get paid more in advance because publishers know in advance that the book will reach more readers because that creator’s name is on the cover.

The value of the comic is determined by how many eyes look at it. Search the internet. The value of the content of any website is determined by how many people see it. That’s how television and radio work too. What do you think those Nielson Ratings are for?  So let’s be real. What would you look at first, something you had to pay for or something that was free? Be honest!

The goal of the comics industry should be to get comics in front of as many people as possible. The more people that read the product the more the value of the intellectual property increases. How? More circulation equals more advertising dollars, more merchandising, more licensing, more demand for more.

Marvel and DC accomplished this a long time ago. Their characters reached the tipping point decades ago when they became icons of our culture. Their comic books could disappear off the face of the Earth and people would still recognize their logos, know their mythology and by more stuff that relate to them because even without the comic books, the planet is plastered with film, television, and merchandise featuring the characters.

Disney understood this when they paid four billion dollars for Marvel. Disney is not in the business of publishing comics, they do not even publish their own iconic characters.  Disney is in the business of putting characters in front of as many eyes as possible and keeping them there. They have done this successfully since 1928 recreating value with each new generation by introducing them to the same product that their great grandparents enjoyed as children. Snow White, Cinderella, Bambi, Pinocchio, you name it. Disney took a concept, made it great, made it once, and built an empire.

Marvel and DC can sell their comics for four bucks, if they only reach thirty thousand readers, who cares? They’ve already won the war. The small publisher trying to compete with them cannot succeed at a comparable price point. Small publishers trying to keep their price “respectable,” with a few rare exceptions, will never reach the wider audience especially without the merchandising machine behind them and the big competition knows this. They also know that as creators and small businesses, we have to eat and busting our butts making comics for peanuts will not put food on our families tables. Bye-Bye small competition.

Call it an obsession, a passion, maybe even a disease but some of us just have an inexplicable need to make comics. It’s what we love. It’s how we express ourselves creatively. It would be great if we could all actually make money doing it. We at CO2 Comics have put our faith in the web comic format, for us it is the best and most cost effective way to reach our growing audience.  It is a slow arduous task, building an audience from scratch but it takes faith, perseverance and commitment. Most of the creators that feature work here on CO2 Comics support themselves by other means, you know, real jobs, including Bill and myself. We create time to make our comics available to our readers often sacrificing time with family or a good nights sleep.

Our comics are delivered to you free of charge. Enjoy them, share them and please come back and do it again. We will continue to provide great comics here and the larger our audience gets the greater the value will be of each comic on this site. Your patronage by simply reading and sharing will generate advertising revenue, spawn the development of printed product so you have the opportunity to adorn your book shelves with your favorite stories if you wish.  Your interest in characters found here will generate merchandise featuring them and promote interest in potential licensees. You, our readers, have the power to make this venture a success without spending a dime to read the comics published here.

This web comic business model is a simple yet dynamic one that has been around now for about a decade. CO2 Comics is just one of hundreds of sites that have already changed the face of comics forever. There is more diversity, more options, more creative opportunity to make comics than ever before. It is an exciting time to be a comic artist and a comic fan and who wouldn’t want to see it continue? As a reader this is your opportunity to make a difference in the success of the comics medium. Simply by sharing your favorite sites with friends you become a distributor of sorts, rewarded with a continued stream of amazing comic content.

So, if you want more BANG for the buck, now is your chance. Support the little guys that are braving the turbulent tides of technology to reinvent the comic market and support free content simply by reading and sharing what you enjoy. You have the power and you know what Stan says comes with that…

Making Comics Because I Want To

Gerry Giovinco


Baseball Cards, Slurpee Cups and Comic Books

Monday, June 20th, 2011

It has been popular lately to reminisce about personal early comic book reading experiences. We all remember the moment that our imagination was permanently captured by the medium and, of course, the experience is unique for everyone. Don Lomax who’s CAPTAIN OBESE comic is a feature here at CO2 Comics recently talked about his early comic reading experiences and how they influenced his comic creating in this interview.


As for my own experience, comic strips were my first introduction to sequential art. I remember, when I was a very young child, anxiously looking forward to the Sunday paper each week so I could sprawl out on the floor and be mesmerized by the colorful pictures that seemingly came to life on the expansive sheets of paper. I couldn’t read but I had a good sense for what was going on especially in the action comics I was drawn to like Buck Rogers, Prince Valiant, Popeye, Alley Oop and Dick Tracy.

Buck Rogers, Prince Valient, Popeye, Alley Oop, Dick Tracy.

Silly Putty made reading the comics more tactile as I was fond of capturing the images on the rubbery clay and distorting them with seemingly limitless possibilities.  This was probably how I conjured the first notion that I could exercise my creative urges with comics.  A long weekend afternoon of rolling gleefully on sheets of newspaper  would leave me fully smudged with cheap ink, my toddler’s clothes permeated with the musty odor of newsprint and my imagination broadened with the endless creative potential that was  exhibited in those color drenched comics.

My local newspaper, the Norristown TIMES HERALD had a weekly supplement for children, it was a four-page, black-and-white,  pull-out called TINY TURTLE that was mostly a cartoony activity sheet that encouraged children to color, draw, do puzzles, read and learn. It featured a monthly calender and was always specific to the season. This came in the Saturday edition of the paper ensuring that my childhood weekends were fairly occupied by my local press.

Gerry Giovinco after open heart surgery

Collections of Charles Schulz’ PEANUTS were my first recollection of enjoying comics bound by covers. My uncle would bring the pocket book size collections over to amuse me while I recovered from open heart surgery. I was nine years old and I would read them front to back before ever putting them down. They were the best distraction from my physical ailments and proof that laughter was, in fact, the best medicine. Nothing was funnier to me than the exploits of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang and I would torture my family by reading the gags aloud and describing the pictures. Somehow the jokes were never as funny when I retold them but my own sides still split with laughter upon each retelling.

I was an avid reader in grade school and gravitated toward adventure and mystery stories. I remember enjoying series books like The BOBBSEY TWINS, The HARDY BOYS and TOM SWIFT. During this time I remember Big Little Books capturing my attention as well.  Big Little Books were chock full of illustrations on every other page and I found myself just as drawn to the images as I was toward the words.

Trips to the barber shop were where I first encountered comic books. I remember there being two magazine racks in the back of the shop, one for the men and the other for the boys. The men’s rack was chock full of PLAYBOY magazines and the best way to get a glimpse of their voluptuous subject matter was to spend as much time as possible by the other precariously close rack that contained comic books.

Though the comics were at that point a precocious end to a means, I would spend a lot of time thumbing through them and I soon discovered that there was a difference between the Marvel and DC comics. The DC comics at the time had a lot of short stories in them and I found that I could enjoy them more because I could get a full story while I waited. The Marvel comics always left me hanging and though I found the images and story more dynamic, I would always be left disappointed, not knowing how the story ended.

As I became a little more independent I would make frequent trips to the local 7-11 convenience store that could be reached through a network of shortcuts through neighbors’ yards. The mission was always the same, milk and bread for Mom, baseball cards and Slurpees for me and my brothers.

The Slurpee cups at the time had images of baseball players on them and my brothers and I were avid collectors, especially hunting for cups of our beloved Phillies.  We were always on the prowl for cups featuring our heroes Steve Carlton, Greg Luzinski, Larry Bowa and Mike Schmidt. Inevitably we had stacks of those baseball cups featuring stars from every team in MLB. This went on for a couple of seasons then one day everything changed. The Slurpee cups featured something different… Marvel characters!

Captain America 167

I had already been picking at comics and had, despite my earlier convictions about Marvel comics, recently been enamored with issue #167 of CAPTAIN AMERICA and the FALCON by Steve Englehart and Sal Buscema. I remember rushing home and reading it beneath a peach tree in my back yard on a particularly balmy fall day, I then spent  the afternoon recreating the cover while sitting at the dining room table.

Captain America Slurpee Cup

The Slurpee cup completist in me along with the Marvel story arcs  fueled my need to collect the comics and soon I was a master at knowing the delivery dates of the magazines of every convenience and drug store in my immediate area. I started collecting only CAPTAIN AMERICA then titles that featured CAPTAIN AMERICA soon I found Cap crossing over into title after title and before I knew it I was hooked on the whole Marvel Universe.

In the process I was collecting those Slurpee cups too and found that I loved to copy the classic images off the cups. I probably learned more about drawing the human figure from those images on the cups than any single other resource at the time.

By the time I got to high school my fate was sealed. I knew I wanted to make comics when I grew up and that became the focus of my education until I left college to co-found COMICO the Comic Company.

Making Comics Becuse I Want To

Gerry Giovinco


The Language of Comics

Monday, March 28th, 2011

I’ve looked over a lot of portfolios of young comic artists in my day and the most difficult thing to do is to explain why a budding creator is not ready yet. My insecurities about my own work have always made that task that much more daunting but also gave me an opportunity to understand the frustration of a developing talent.

Complicating the issue further is the subject of style. Some artists aspire to exquisitely detailed imagery while others depend on a minimalist abstract style that to some may imply that artist has little if any drawing skills.

My explanation to a creator that still needed to grow, especially one that on the surface understands the technicalities of the medium, was to equate creating comics with learning a second language. A student can understand all the vocabulary in that language that is possible to know. They can learn to conjugate sentences and even attempt to grasp an understanding of the culture of the language. Even with all this foundation that student may go to the country that speaks that language, open their mouth to speak and still be an obvious foreigner.

Full mastery of the language can only be attained when the student finally has the opportunity to live and breathe the language while communicating to others that fluently express the nuances of the language. Eventually even a dialect can be mastered that pinpoints the speaker of a language to a specific region or subculture of the language.

In short, expertise is acquired by exercising the knowledge. You improve by developing a fluidity that can only be achieved by repetition of action until your skill set is second nature to you. This is true when creating comics, mastery is achieved by a constant commitment and act making comics.

Many comics artists, especially the ones with the most simplistic styles, actually create their own language of communication. The comic artist develops unique and specific visual idioms and trains the reader to understand them through consistency of use.

I always marveled at how well Charles Schulz’s Peanuts characters emoted with just the use of simple lines. The furrowed brow defined by a single squiggly line denoted anger. Double parenthesis around the eyes indicated despair. These along with many other idioms were indigenous to his work and every reader learned to understand and relate to them in a way that made the Peanuts a national treasure.

Comics require a certain visual literacy to be understood. Creators need to understand this and take an active role in conditioning their readers to allow them access to the message the comics artist is trying to communicate.

The new wave of comics that is targeted at young readers has a responsibility to develop this understanding of visual literacy. As comics become more accepted by educators and are used to support education in literature at any level it will be as important as ever to stress that each comic has its own unique language that establishes a communicative relationship between the comics artist and the reader.

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


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