Posts Tagged ‘scott mccloud’

Comics on Campus

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

This past week I had the pleasure of sitting in on a free lecture “Comics and the Art of Visual Communication” by legendary comic creator and theorist, Scott McCloud who was out promoting his new graphic novel, The Sculptor.

The event  was hosted by Rutgers University at their Camden, NJ campus. This was the same campus that hosted the second annual Camden Comic Con just a month ago where CO2 Comics presented a panel on our experience as independent publishers reuniting with some of the crew from our days publishing Comico comics back in the 1980’s.

It is so exciting to see the medium of comics finally being accepted by the great halls of higher education! When I was in college back in the early 1980’s at the Philadelphia College of Art, the administration and faculty showed complete disdain for the medium describing it as derivative and kitsch while vowing to break me of my interest in this lowly form of art. It is ironic that now, renamed the University of the Arts, they boast about  graphic novel writer Neil Gaiman’s inspirational commencement speech in 2012where they also presented Gaiman and Pulitzer Prize winning, editorial cartoonist Tony Auth each with an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts!

My, how times have changed!

More and more colleges and universities are including comic art or graphic novel courses into their curriculum. Some are beginning to build robust libraries dedicated to collections of comic books. Because of the rise of the graphic novel format and the popularity of comic related adaptations into other forms of media, educators have begun to take the comic medium seriously and since the first publication of Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics in 1993, educators have had a blueprint for teaching the subject.

My experience at PCA was not unusual. Comics history is wrought with degradation by  educators who widely considered it a form of base communication with no educational merit. Comics were believed to contribute to the delinquency and corruption of the minds of young readers. This notion was exasperated further by Dr. Fredrick Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent. Discussion among educators was more focused on how to steer readers away from comic books than to encourage them. Many even resorted to public burnings of the comics!

This sentimentality was buffered slightly by the comic industry’s 1954 adoption of a self imposed censorship called the Comic Code Authority which warranted against  any corruptive material in comics in the wake of a U.S. Congressional inquiry. It stood for decades as possibly the most rigorous form of censorship of any American medium.

Somehow, comics managed to still find a way to be interesting and in the early 1960’s with the help of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Marvel Comics discovered how to appeal to young adults despite the shackles of the Code. The interest in the medium by college students in that era developed a fertile foundation for the future generations of comic creators to grow from.

Stan Lee recognized the interest of the college students and brought his show on the road as evidenced by this recording of Stan addressing students at Princeton University in 1966. Marvel comics spoke to the youth movement of the sixties. Those comics empowered some to create more comics that grew with the readers and reflected the unrest of the new culture that was rising.

Comics evolved throughout the seventies and eighties giving rise to the underground and independent movements that aborted the Comic Code, fought for creators rights and developed a new distribution system that allowed the unfettered medium to flourish. By the dawn of the new millennium comics were poised to explode as a form of powerful artistic expression.

Then came the internet, digital distribution, and print on demand.

Few mediums have benefitted so greatly by modern technology to put both the literal and visual power  into the hands of a single creator. From this has come great works of expression that need to be digested by those interested in learning and understanding the powerful form of visual literature known as comics.

Colleges and universities have figured this out and are actively reaching out to communities to share the mechanics of this exciting medium that has had such an incredible impact on popular culture.

A quick browser search revealed a few programs since the beginning of the year at schools like Vassar,  William & Mary, University of FloridaOhio State University, The University of Hartford, Drake University, and Northern Illinois University.

Those combined with the stops on Scott McCloud’s tour which have already included Mississippi State, Wittenberg University, Champlain College, and Rutgers University make it a wonderful time to be enlightened about the true cultural value of the comics medium and how it extends so far beyond what many know as just superheroes or funny animals. If you love comics, you may want to get to know them better at a college campus near you.

Take the time to check with colleges or universities in your area to see if they are promoting any public lectures on comics. Some provide courses that may be accessible to you. I promise you will be impressed by the diversity of the group that attends, it will be what you expect from any college, a broad mix of age, gender, and culture and everyone had a great time. Special thanks to Rutger’s Digital Studies Center, the Office of Campus Involvement, the Chancellor’s Office, the Department of English, and the Department of Fine Arts for pulling their resources for a great event that covered so many disciplines.

Gerry Giovinco

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection TWO THOUSAND Pages and Counting!

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

First Three Volumes of Eleven Volume Set
on Sale NOW!

CO2 Comics has embarked on a massive endeavor to compile the entire 150 issue run of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW magazine that is regarded as the greatest collection of interviews in the history of comics.

To date, 42 issues, comprised of over 2,000 pages, have been meticulously scanned, cleaned, formatted and printed in the handsome, first three volumes of the planned eleven volume set. Volume four is currently in production.

Each printed volume packed with nearly 700 black and white pages of art, photos and interviews is available in either paperback or hard cover versions of two special editions:

The Premier Edition features, on its full color cover,  a customized version of the original COMICS INTERVIEW logo which utilized stylized characters from famous comic book titles. This logo appeared only on the first 24 issues of the magazine and is loved by many for it’s homage to comic book icons.

The Standard Edition alternatively features a similarly customized version of the traditional Comics Interview logo that graced the cover of the remaining 126 issues and may be the one that is endeared to the hearts of many fans, especially those that enjoyed its Pac Man font.

The four distinct versions of the printed package give fans of the magazine an opportunity to complete their collection of the set in a consistent manner that suits their personal tastes and will ultimately be an extraordinary addition to their library.

The importance of this collection to comic fans and historians can not be overstated.

Originally published from 1983 to 1995, COMICS INTERVIEW gave voice to the comics industry at a pivotal time in its history. The magazine was able to provide insightful interviews with writers, artists and editors that were active in the earliest days of the industry as well as the young creators whose careers since continue to shape the industry today.

Page by page, volume by volume, David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection is an accurate, candid, and authoritative  perspective of the history of comics that comes directly from the mouths of the people that lived it.

Amazingly relevant to current issues that affect the industry, every volume is a necessary source of vital information for anyone who wants a complete understanding of the comics industry as a whole.

The first three volumes alone present interviews with about 230 individuals that all made a mark on the history of comics. Without slighting the contributions of any, here is just a short list of some of the influential subjects:

Terry Austin, Howard Chaykin, Gerry Conway, Jack Davis, Dick Giordano, Joe Kubert, Stan Lee, Wendy & Richard Pini, Jim Shooter, Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, Karen Berger, John Byrne, Colleen Doran, Steve Gerber, Dave Gibbons, Bill Willingham, Scott McCloud, Stephen Bissette, Bob Burden, Frank Frazetta, Bob Kane, Jack Kirby, Jerry Robinson, Frank Miller, Walt & Louise Simonson, and many, many more!

An accurate list of the interviews contained in each volume can be found in the book previews on the CO2 Comics Storefront on LULU and AMAZON where you can easily purchase your copy of each volume today! Buy one or buy all three and you will be anxious to complete the whole set as each new volume is released.

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection is a massive and beautiful centerpiece intended for any comics library. Accumulated one volume at a time or in convenient bundles, it continues the tradition of anticipation and fulfillment that is experienced by every comic collector. If you love comics, now is the time to begin your own collection of the greatest interviews in the history of comics. Order your copies today!

Gerry Giovinco

The Gutter

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

gerry_giovinco_171x2452One of the greatest revelations about comics that I ever read came from Scott McCloud’s incredible Understanding Comics which in my mind is one of the finest and most important comic works ever created. Scott describes “the gutter,” the space between panels, as the host to much of the magic and mystery that are the very heart of comics. This is the intimate space where the reader connects the panels, lead by the comic artist, to experience a unique and personal concept of space and time. Scott refers to this space as a form of Limbo.
This is where I feel that I’ve been since the late 80’s regarding my experience in comics both as a publisher and a creator. I stepped out of a panel where I had a brief whirlwind career as a founder / publisher / art director / writer / artist / letterer etc. of Comico the Comic Company. Now I prepare to step into this next panel with Bill “Cooch” Cucinotta, my longtime friend and former partner at Comico, to develop CO2 Comics, an on-line cooperative for select comic artists that is intended to explore the options that the future holds for the comics medium.
I have often looked at the gap in my comics career as time lost, but as I reference Scott McCloud’s  ideas regarding the gutter I appreciate now that I’ve been in a very magical place that gives me a new, intimate and unique perspective of comics as a medium and an industry.
My time away from comics has been spent, mostly, performing as Captain Visual, the World’s One and Only Super Clown! If you don’t believe me visit I left Comics to become a living cartoon character and have spent an exciting career staring into the wondering eyes of audiences both young and old who are fascinated by a clown wearing a cape and a space helmet. I have lived the magic of comics.
Inspired by Paul Smith of X-men fame I became an influential balloon artist and teacher, authoring a number of  books on the subject that have been published both in the mass market and as Print On Demand (POD) via Using Scott McCloud’s definition of comics I discovered that my balloon books qualify as sequential art and confirmed that comics continue to run in my veins.
Through the years I have stayed in touch with Bill Cucinotta, often commiserating over our place in comics history. Bill’s experience working in comics retail, publishing, advertising and creating has always made him a tremendous asset as a partner and friend regarding comics. His design instinct makes him a natural front man as a logo designer and comics packager. He was with me in college as we developed Duckwork at the Philadelphia College of Art, a partner in the dawning days of Comico, a vital part of Matt Wagner’s Bain Sidhe Studios and instrumental in the look and success of Comic Zone comics. A more comprehensive look at his accomplishments can be found at .Today he is the main driver in the creative development of the CO2 Comics web site.
With the passing of our former partner Phil LaSorda last year and my own very recent “cardiac event” it has become more urgent for us to act if we intend to stride into the next panel of our comic careers.
We have jointly created CO2 Comics as an experiment with a name right out of a high school science lab class. Our Welcome Page does a great job of briefly describing our intent and why we chose the name.
Nothing here is locked in stone. We intend to explore format, both in print and on the web. We want to inspire creative diversity, and promote the medium to different audiences. We want to explore new areas of revenue for creators and much more.
This Blog, “The Gutter” will be a place for us all to play, roll up our sleeves and get dirty. Lively discussion here will lead to a new “House of Ideas” and it can be a glass one where folks throw stones because a little fresh air from a broken window can be a good thing.
For now, “The Gutter” will be updated weekly as we focus on recruiting and posting comic content for the overall CO2 Comics site. Some will be retrospective material from the good ol’ days while other material will be new, experimental, and, hopefully, trendsetting. Please return regularly to enjoy and participate.

We urge you be open with your feed back, it is valuable to us as artists. Bill and I agree that the interaction with creators and the audience has always been our personal favorite experience in the comics industry. I don’t expect that to change.

Don’t be shy. Leave comments, reminisce, make requests, offer suggestions, be critical, offer praise and support. Most of all, have fun. If CO2 Comics becomes, at least, a community of comic enthusiasts and artists that can revel in hearty discussion then this will be a successful experiment.

Now get your mind out of “The Gutter.”

Go enjoy the rest of the site and stay in touch.

Gerry Giovinco

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