Posts Tagged ‘Slaughterman’

Independence Day 2014

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Independent Comics Day is upon us and this year, as usual, Bill Cucinotta and I celebrate our Independence as comic publishers on the anniversary of our  July 4, 2009 launch of CO2 Comics!

It is hard to believe that it has been five years since we began posting comics on the web and a lot has happened in that brief time!  We have since posted thousands of pages of comics created by dozens of creators. Those serialized comics and our weekly blog, together, have generated  22.5 million hits!

Beyond the web, we have published, in print,  two massive volumes of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection and six graphic albums that we are very proud of:

Steve Lafler’s Ménage à Bughouse, a single volume collection of the Bughouse trilogy and Doggie Style: The Complete Dog Boy.

Don Lomax’s The Heavy Adventures of Captain Obese,

Raine Szramski’s Heaven and the Dead City,

Chris Kalnick’s NON and

John Workman’s The Adventures of ROMA!

Collectively, between digital content on the web and books in print, CO2 Comics has already generated about six thousand pages of content for our readers’ enjoyment, yet we remain one of the Comics Industry’s best kept secrets!

This is fine by us because we know that true independence is earned by commitment, patience, hard work, perseverance and a belief in what we stand for. We know that there is value in flying under the radar, waiting for the moment when opportunity arrises.

Until then we continue to grow in strength and numbers, allying with creators that also appreciate the value of Independent Comics publishing to expand our content offerings!

This Independent Comics Day we are thrilled to announce six new projects that are in the works with impending release dates!

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 3 is nearing completion as we continue the fulfillment of the monumental 11 volume set!

Our relationship with DAK which has extended over thirty years and continues to grow as we now take on the formidable task of collecting two popular series formerly published under the COMICS INTERVIEW imprint.

The 36 issue run of SOUTHERN KNIGHTS is intended to be collected in a giant two volume set with well over a thousand pages of adventures of the “greatest superhero team in the South!”

The Complete  X-THIEVES, more accurately known as the Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time Traveling Thieves, will collect over 300 pages of the group’s intergalactic hijinks! Way too much fun to be packed between two covers!

Working closely with DAK and creators, Henry Vogel, David Willis and Mark Propst both of these features will finally be collected in handsomely condensed omnibus formats that will represent an an incredible library brought together by the joint efforts of the  CO2 Comics and COMICS INTERVIEW families!

Not all of our product, however,  will be massive collections that will buckle a bookshelf!

Raine Szramski’s HEAVEN AND THE DEAD CITY which continues its weekly serialization on our site is rolling into a a second volume for print! This beautifully painted work is a testament to Raines’ talent and long history in the medium.

Long time friends and free lance comic talents Bill Anderson and Rick McCollum have teamed with us to package their feature, SCREAMING MASKS! We cut our teeth in the indy comic market  with these journeymen creators and are excited to publish them, together on one of their own unique projects.

Finally,  my SLAUGHTERMAN title will  be collected in a single book after all these years. This seminal title which was significant in the launching of both Comico and CO2 Comics is due an archival packaging.

Yup! We have a lot on our plate and a lot for our readers to look forward to!

Please stay tuned for notifications of release dates and extended product descriptions as each product is rolled out in the coming weeks and months! We plan to charge into the next five years of CO2 Comics as dedicated to independent publishing and the creative rights of comic creators as we have ever been and we cannot wait to see what the future holds!

Happy Independent Comics Day!

Making Comics Because We Want to,

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.



The Comic Company: Comics Interview #5

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

In an effort to promote CO2 Comics‘ ongoing, monumental project, David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection, we have established a COMICS INTERVIEW Facebook page. Please, if you have not done so already, stop by and “LIKE” the page and share it. It is becoming quite a trip down Memory Lane.

Random posts of quotes and photos of comic creators who were interviewed in the magazine have evolved into a photo feature that we like to call the Quote of the Day. The positive buzz generated by this feature encouraged us to generate more content and so began a staggered release of cover images from the issues that have been reprinted in the first two volumes of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW The Complete Collection.

COMICS INTERVIEW #5 surfaced quickly and brought back a tidal wave of memories. That was the issue where Bill Cucinotta and I, as part of the fledgeling Comico crew that also included our former partner Phil LaSorda and SKROG inker, Bill Anderson, were interviewed by David Anthony Kraft, himself,  in a New York coffee shop.

The event is so much like a dream that we often have to remind ourselves just how it came to be. We were all young guys full of hopes and ambition living the best times of our lives. Those were the days that, as comic creators, Bill and I  look upon with the greatest fondness. We were taking chances, creating our own material and attempting to do what others said we couldn’t; build a comic company from scratch.

Primer #1

We had published our first black and white comic, Primer #1 in October of 1982 and a few months later, in February 1983,  David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW #1 hit the stands.  We knew right away that this was a magazine that we wanted to be associated with and Bill, who was always focused on ways to promote our comics in the Direct Market, was quick to contact David Anthony Kraft to set up advertising arrangements.

It was very easy for all of us to be star-struck. Dave was one of our heroes, having written and edited for Marvel for years. We had all cut our teeth reading his work and suddenly we were dealing with him on a regular basis. It was not long before we were referring to him as DAK.

Dave was much more than a business associate. To us, he was a mentor, filling our heads with knowledge about the comics industry including inside stories and tons of “of the record” anecdotes. More than that, he was a friend. Dave understood that we were possibly biting off more than we could chew but he was always willing to nurture our enthusiasm and offer respected criticism.

This support started with that first conversation he had with Bill regarding advertising which resulted in a trade deal where we ran Interview ads in our comic books and Dave ran Comico ads in his magazine. This allowed us to build a respected presence in the market with no cash expense and to have more reasons to call Dave on a regular basis.

The first Comico ad ran in Comics Interview #3 and our ads became a staple in the magazine for years to come. Lucky for us, we really hit it off with Dave and suddenly we were on a train to New York to be interviewed in issue #5.

Dave must have really been amused by us.  We were a bunch of goofy kids with big dreams that only seemed possible because we didn’t  know better. Our naiveté was our biggest strength; that and an unbridled enthusiasm to create comics.

Gerry Giovinco, Bill_Cucinotta & Phil_LaSorda

We dove into our interview with such a flurry that a half hour into it Dave realized his recorder had not recorded a word we said and we would have to start over. It was typical of  our hit-and-miss approach to making comics. If we didn’t get it right the first time, learn from the mistake and make it better next time.

It is embarrassing, now, to read our ramblings, recognizing in hindsight how amazing it was that we would be able to steer Comico to become a powerhouse in the industry and  establish standards and milestones that would influence the creation and success of future companies like Dark Horse and Image.

Dave, in all his wisdom, was able to see in our comics  what he referred to as “a contagious enthusiasm that transcended their shortcomings.”

Of the entire interview the most significant words were written by Dave in the introduction where he recognized Comico for the pioneers that we were as publishers.

“Comico, the comic company, is among the newest and most ambitious of the independent publishers springing up in the field. Comico’s five titles – AZ, SKROG, SLAUGHTERMAN, GRENDEL and PRIMER – are distributed through the direct-sales system and are available exclusively in comics shops or by subscription.

What is, perhaps, most surprising about such an enterprising endeavor is that all of the comics creators are ( at least, for now) essentially unproven and unknown. Starting from scratch, on such a scale, is virtually unprecedented under the circumstances.”

Our presence in COMICS INTERVIEW #5  marked a coming of age for us.  We shared the issue with industry legends, Stan Lee, Dick Giordano, Wendy and Richard Pini! To be included with this iconic group, for us, was a dream come true. It was time that we were taken seriously by the industry, fans and, most importantly, ourselves.

Future issues of COMICS INTERVIEW would chronicle our achievements as our line grew. Features about The Elementals in issue #17 and ROBOTECH in issue #23 were evidence that we were a company on the move, adapting to survive and prosper. More would follow and Comico, as a company,  managed to maintain a lifespan as long as COMICS INTERVIEW itself.

Comico, unfortunately has gone the way of every other independent publisher of that era. Bill an I however are still plugging away, as enthusiastic as ever but with quite a few battle scars to show for it.  We still look to Dave as a mentor and friend and knew that when we started publishing as CO2 Comics we had to re-establish our relationship with COMICS INTERVIEW.

We are now on a long journey to package the entire 150 issue run of that memorable magazine in an eleven volume set. Two volumes are complete and the third is in production.

As Dave says, “It is a labor of love.” And what’s not to love? For us, everyday is a trip back to the “good old days” and a reminder of the enthusiasm that keeps Bill and I making comics just because we want to.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco


Self-Publishing is a Virtue

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Self-publishing is often perceived with a certain disdain that I always struggle to understand especially when it concerns publishing comics. Self-publishers are usually viewed as purveyors of “Vanity Press” or unrefined rebels, void of editorial and quality control, rather than the enlightened, creative entrepreneurs that they often are.

For the record, I have always considered myself a self-publisher though I have spent a lot of time publishing the works of others. I self-published my first comics in high school. Those comics were printed on a mimeograph machine and distributed from class-to-class and sold for a nickel apiece.

In college, where I met my long time publishing partner Bill Cucinotta, we published a student newspaper, DUCKWORK , with a bunch of like-minded friends that all had an interest in comics.  We were doing our own thing and doing it collectively so I still considered what “we” published as self-published.

Few people remember or realize that Comico began as a self-publishing venture. Our earliest projects all featured comics that we created ourselves.  AZ, Skrog, and Slaughterman were each works of the individual Comico partners, Phil LaSorda, Bill Cucinotta, and myself. Primer was intended an introductory product for our personal projects but became our first vehicle to present the works of others, most notably our former DUCKWORK pal, Matt Wagner, and his signature work Grendel.

It was only fitting that when Bill and I began publishing on the web as CO2 Comics the first features we launched were our earlier works Skrog and Slaughterman . We were self-publishers again!

Because we do enjoy publishing others, we set up CO2 Comics as a cooperative venture where we work closely with creators to present their work on our site. When we do publish works in print we consider the creators our partners and insure that they receive the lion’s share of net profits from sales of their books.

I don’t ever want to lose my perception of being a self-publisher because I consider it a virtue and a right. Cat Yronwode, esteemed comics critic, and editor once questioned our rights to publish what was admittedly amateurish material. Her comment in the Comics Buyer’s Guide sent me into a tizzy back in 1983 because I am so adamant about a creator’s right to have control over their work which is my primary  endorsement for self-publishing. I argued that as Americans we should have the right to publish whatever we want and that the market will determine our fate.

Self-publishing, in fact has integral responsibility for the birth of our nation. Forefather, Ben Franklin, was a self-publisher and champion of freedom of speech. He used his press, his writings and his publishing skills to inspire and encourage the American Revolution. He valued those rights and so should we as comic creators.

This is the sense of independence that comic creators needed when it became obvious that the big comic publishers were taking advantage of them. By the late seventies when people started demanding rights for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster followed by champions for Steve Gerber and Jack Kirby it became obvious that alternative publishing was necessary in the comics industry

For us, like many others, self-publishing was the answer.  Thanks to the nature of the Direct Market in the comics industry at the time, self-publishers could easily get their foot in the door. A lot of good and bad publishers proliferated but what became clear was that comics could be more than just superheroes and the opportunity for diversity in the medium exploded.  Self-publishing opened the door for creative opportunity that may not have existed otherwise.

The new generation of comic creators with this expanded view of the medium quickly moved to the world wide web and launched a self publishing assault  that proved anything is possible when creating comics. Stick figures capably replaced the anatomically exaggerated superheroes as dominant reading material on the web.

Now, with digital advancements in printing and distribution, the opportunity to self-publish is as accessible and affordable than ever before leaving the greatest challenge to be that of being discovered by an audience.

More than ever, self-publishing is the doorway to creative freedom. As creators, now is the time to encourage each other to embrace the opportunity to swelf-publish, to control your intellectual property and not be victimized by unscrupulous publishers who continue to exploit the antiquated work-for-hire business model.

This is our goal at CO2 Comics. We recognize that not every creator wants the burden of all the details that self-publishing requires wether it be on the web or in print. We want CO2 Comics to be a safe haven for projects to be published while creators retain ownership and control over their property.

More importantly we intend that creators are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve and would warrant as a self-publisher because we know personally what a virtue self-publishing is.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco


Making Comics is Risky Business: Part 3

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Comico Primer #1-6

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st five Comico Covers

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

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

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

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

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

We gambled and lost.

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

Gerry Giovinco

Holy Crap

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

AZ #2

I recently had an opportunity to reread and old blog post by Tom Spurgeon on his site The Comics Reporter. In the blog post Tom takes a look at one of our old Comico publications, AZ by our late partner Phil LaSorda.  Tom questions the cultural impact that such an obviously crude attempt at making comics may or should have on the market and the medium.

Now I along with my current publishing partner Bill Cucinotta who was also a partner back in those early Comico days may be biased but we also have a unique perspective just by having been there. We know, retrospectively, that the work we did in those days was seminal at best and was often criticized as being crap. It is easy to look back and be embarrassed by our rudimentary attempts to both create and publish comics. The irony, I suppose, is that as rudimentary as that material was, we are both still very proud of it for many reasons, so much so that we published it all again, right here on CO2 Comics.

Slaughterman #1

Skrog #1

SLAUGHTERMAN and SKROG may not have had many more redeeming qualities than AZ but they were all cornerstone publications that established a foundation that Comico, one of the most influential independent publishers of the eighties, was built on. For this reason alone, despite their critical ineptness, yes, they had, and continue to have cultural impact.

I remember a scathing review by Cat Yronwode in the Comics Buyers Guide that questioned, “who gave us the right to publish such crap?” My fiery response was that we all have the right to publish what we want to in America and that, crap or not, it will be the market that decides the success of the product. I wish I had those CBG articles today.

One thing we did well at Comico, in those early days, was to learn from our mistakes. It did not take long or us to realize our success would come from publishing others. It was, however, our relationships that we had developed hanging in artist alleys at comic conventions, and our ability to relate to young and maturing talent that allowed us the opportunity to work with the likes of Matt Wagner, Bill Willingham, Sam Kieth, Chuck Dixon, Judith Hunt, Neil Vokes, Rich Rankin, Reggie Byers and many many others.

We also published a new talent showcase called Primer where we published the earliest work of many other budding artists who were not quite ready for the Big Two.

Comico Primer #1-6

To me the biggest impact that Comico had on the comics industry, was that it gave evidence that if a handful of guys with apparently limited talent and experience could build a company that at one time was ranked #3 behind Marvel and DC in monthly sales, then maybe, just maybe, anybody can.

I believe we created an opportunity for creators to get bold enough to publish their own work or feel more confident when presenting it to others. We all did it as artists, looked at other work that we considered weak and say, “hey, I’m at least as good as this, if this can be published than so can mine.”

Gerry Giovinco, Bill Cucinotta & Phil LaSorda

We may have been naive or overconfident when we launched Comico but we had one mantra that we held to that was first spoken by Phil,  “We don’t want to look back years from now and regret that we didn’t try when we had the chance.” To us, the fear of failure was never as great as the fear of never having the opportunity to make comics professionally.  To do what we loved.

Today the internet is the greatest thing for young comic artists and for the entire medium. Anyone can publish on the web and, yes, there is a ton of incredible crap out there but more people than ever are taking a shot making comics and we fans of the medium are the winners because tremendous comic talent that may have never tried before is now offering our eyes a feast of variety that has never existed in comics.

So to answer Tom Spurgeon’s quote: The question that many of us near comics ask — if only to each other — is if the art form can survive without the occasional cycling back to cruder efforts like this one, unpretentious material devoid of any hope for life or riches beyond its publication schedule that helped revitalize the art form four or five times during a low ebb.”

No! The art form, or more accurately the medium of comics or any medium for that matter, cannot survive without a cycle that includes cruder efforts. No crude efforts would imply no young talent and with no young talent to revitalize a medium, that medium will die a death of eventual mediocrity.

To paraphrase McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, “When you’re green you grow. When you’re ripe you rot.”

So, be brave and create! Express yourself as well as you know how and be willing to show the world.  Make mistakes. Learn from them. Never stop growing. But when you do someone new will begin making their own mistakes and we will all have the pleasure of witnessing their adventure.

Holy crap, it’s the circle of life, comics style.

Making Comics Because I Want To

Gerry Giovinco


CO2 Years Old!

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Can you believe it? Two years have gone by since we launched CO2 Comics hoping it would become a unique cooperative of comic talent featuring a collective of great comic features. Naturally we initially turned to our long time friends and allies that have had ties with us since our days as founding publishers of Comico the Comic Company.

Comico The Comic Company owners, Top: Dennis LaSorta, Phil Lasorda, Bottom: Gerry Giovinco, Bill Cucinotta

Chris Kalnick, Joe Williams, Andrew C. Murphy, Reggie Byers, Bernie Mirealut, Bill Anderson, Rich Rankin and Neil Vokes all contributed to the early success of the realization of our goals for CO2 Comics. The faith that they all had in our ability to  present their work while respecting their rights as creators, supporting their complete ownership and actively promoting their features and services as artists was a complete and humbling honor.

It became our duty to surround their works with with other great features and talent. CO2 Comics was always intended to be a place where readers could come to enjoy one feature and discover other comic treasures that they may not have found if those works had stood by themselves.

In just two years the list of contributers has grown to include twenty-two talented creators and two dozen exciting comic features. The impressive list of talent yields a number of nominated and award winning creators along with brilliant new talent that will deserve recognition for their mastery of the medium.

Take a look at the roster of creators here at CO2 Comics and you are bound to be amazed at the comic book pedigree and variety that exists on our site:

Bill Anderson – Skrog


Kevin Atkinson – Eaten by Planet 29

Mike Baron – The World of Ginger Fox

Reggie Byers – Crescent


Bill Cucinotta – Death for a Dollar


- Skrog


Tina Garceau – Hot Topics


Monkey and Bird

- There’s No Escape From A Deadline


Gerry Giovinco – Slaughterman


Robert Jackson, Jr. – The Amazing Liberteens


Chris Kalnick – Depth Charge

- Non


Onrie Kompan – Yi Soon Shin


Steve Lafler – Dog Boy


- El Vocho


Mike Leeke – The Amazing Liberteens

Liberteens Update

Don Lomax – Captain Obese


Bernie Mireault – Cable

- Death for a Dollar


- Isaac vs. Eli


- Of the Spheres


- To Get Her

- The Jam Lives (a motion comic)


Andrew C. Murphy – Pressed for Time


- Reflections

- Victor


Mitch O’Connell – The World of Ginger Fox


Rich Rankin – Gauntlet


Raine Szramski – Heaven and the Dead City


Frank Thorne – Ribit


Giovanni Paolo Timpano – Yi Soon Shin

Neil Vokes – Gauntlet


Joe Williams – Hot Topics


- Monkey and Bird


- There’s No Escape From A Deadline


Besides having published over 800 pages of comic art in the last two years we have also taken on the monumental task of publishing David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection. The first of the eleven volume set had 680 pages that were painstakingly cleaned and reproduced in both paperback and hardback editions. Volume two is currently in the works. This project is the testimony to our love of the comics medium and its rich history.

COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection

Our commitment to the history  of comics and the current state of the industry is also highlighted weekly on our CO2 Comics Blog where we feature a  weekly article covering everything from our Comico history, production techniques, creator’s rights and frequent editorializing on the state of the market have drawn a lot of attention industry wide.

As if publishing a ton of great comic related material on the web and in print is not enough for two guys,  we needed to create a new imprint, CO2 Publications so we could publish a 372 page literary book, FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT A Memoir of Veteran discharged from the Navy for being Gay  written by  George Richard Phillip Zimmerman, Jr. which was just released over Memorial Day Weekend.

For The Convenience Of The Government

Over our first two years we have published nearly 2,000 pages of material and maintained a rigorous schedule on an exciting site that has attracted over 4.6 million hits to date.

The best part is, WE ARE JUST GETTING STARTED! Last year, as we celebrated our first anniversary, we compared our accomplishments to our early publishing days with Comico and noted that we were far out front and we still are, thanks to the support of all the great talent that joins us and allows us to present new work daily.

We also need to thank our readers who continue to grow in numbers. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing with your friends. We became comic publishers nearly thirty years ago because we believed our comics were not finished works until they were experienced by the readers. We recognized early on that as publishers we played a significant role in the realization of a comic as a completed work and we intend to continue to be that conduit. CO2 Comic’s mission is to get great comics in front of as many eyes as possible. Please help us with your enthusiasm by continuing to share the comics you enjoy here with your friends and by returning often.

Finally, it is no mistake that we celebrate our anniversary  over the Fourth of July weekend. As publishers we have always been motivated by the spirit of the Independent movement with our emphasis being on creator’s rights.  Comics, for us, are a medium of freedom. Free thought, free speech, free enterprise.

We want to turn  Independence Day into Independents Day for comic fans and make it a time to celebrate the diversity that all of the Independent comics publishers have brought to the world. There are a lot of great comics out there that are not brought to you by the usual pair of suspects and we hope hat you will continue to find some of the best of them right here at CO2 Comics.

Making Comics Because We Want To

Bill Cucinotta and Gerry Giovinco


The Comic Company: In The Black

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Anyone who has been reading this blog over the last couple of months knows that it is intended to be a trip down memory lane focusing on the accomplishments of Comico the Comic Company and its relevance to the comics industry both then and now.

Bill Cucinotta and I were both founding partners of Comico, giving us both a unique authority on the subject. Though I get the credit line at the bottom of the page, these words wouldn’t get to you without Bill’s diligence and tireless effort to design and post the blog along with all of the other chores as he maintains the entire CO2 Comics site on a daily basis.

We are both dedicated to bringing our audience great quality comics and remembering the history that brought us here. Not just the history of our experience publishing Comico comics, but the history of the industry that inspires us to be part of it.

We know that our readers appreciate the notes on history too. It is reflected the traffic to the site and the comments made on the threads. Thanks for your enthusiastic support!

In 1987 Comico took a trip down memory lane with the publication of Comico BLACK BOOK our fifth-anniversary special.

Comico Black Book cover

Creative Black Book 1986

When I conceived BLACK BOOK I readily admit that I was a candidate for the Swipe File. A year earlier I had the opportunity to provide comic book lettering to go along with parody images of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for the 1986 edition THE CREATIVE BLACK BOOK (www.blackbook.com) which is a huge creative directory for people in the creative industry.

My good friend Angela Corbo, who had grown up in my neighborhood and attended PCA briefly with Bill and myself, was working in the production department of the THE CREATIVE BLACK BOOK. When it was decided that their theme required comic lettering, I was her first call.

My lettering on the Creative Black Book 1986, Click for larger image

Gerry Giovinco Black Book photo

I had lettered all of Comico’s early black-and-white books; Primer, Az, Grendel, Skrog and Slaughterman. This was a great opportunity to work on such a prestigious project and I jumped at the chance.

With the publication of that work behind me, the name BLACK BOOK stuck in my head. I couldn’t help but attach it to another directory, that of a historical chronology of the first five years of Comico.

The Comico BLACK BOOK was published in comic book format and featured our trademark, wrap-around cover design. It read more like a catalog of our entire inventory with a historical time-line that ran the bottom of each page highlighting moments of achievement and publication dates.

My favorite page was the centerfold that listed the names of the impressive 155 creators that had worked with us those first five years.

Comico Black Book Spread, Click for larger image

The Comico BLACK BOOK became the chronicle of my own history at Comico. Shortly after its publication it became impossible for me to continue working at Comico for personal and professional reasons. My name remained in the publishing credits but it was clearly time for me to move on.

The book also signaled a turning point. Comico began its downward spiral. It was a company that had risen from nothing to an independent powerhouse, challenging Marvel and DC all the way into the mass market only to become a bankrupt shell of itself that would be sold into obscurity.

This is a story that has been repeated over and over by other great comic companies of the era and continues today. In its wake is a trail of incredible comics and incredible comics history. There are lessons to be learned. Observations that need to be noted. Mistakes that should not be repeated.

Comics Interview Premier Edition

This is why we are so excited to be publishing David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection. We know that it is the most transparent window into the mind-set of the comics industry at a time when creators discovered that they had some control in the future of comics.

Comics Interview Standard Edition

It is shocking how issues that shaped the industry then are relevant to issues that are shaping the industry today.

A whole new generation of comic creators needs to be aware of the insights of those who pioneered creator rights, independent publishing, the graphic novel, and the marketing and merchandising of comic franchises that are household names today.

I recently read an obituary for the Sony Walkman and it sited how Apple tapped into the elements of personal entertainment that were provided by the Walkman when it made music personal. Apple embellished upon those elements to create the success of the iPod. Apple looked back to move forward.

With the introduction of e-readers and the iPad comics will become more personal and interactive than ever just as music did. It is time for the comics industry to move forward and we all know it. Just remember to look back. Note the successes and failures. Don’t become a statistic.

When David Anthony Kraft was publishing COMICS INTERVIEW he had a keen sense for how the industry worked. He listened to the people he talked to. He saw the writing on the wall and was able to make a controlled decision to end COMICS INTERVIEW at a nice round number and at the top of its game. DAK controlled the destiny of his creation at a time when the market was in free-fall.

Because of his foresight, we now have the opportunity to enjoy COMICS INTERVIEW as a completed work, not something that was extinguished in its prime like Comico and a long list of other comics publishers.

We believe that David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection is an important work that belongs in the library of every comic creator, educator and library for all of the reasons I mentioned. Take the opportunity to see for yourself.

We think you’ll agree.

Making comics because I want to.

Gerry Giovinco

The Comic Company:
Prime Time

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
 
Comico was always intended to be launched in an anthology format. The first planned publication was Comico Presents which was to feature Phil LaSorda’s AZ, Vince Argondezzi’s Mr. Justice and my own Slaughterman.

Unpublished Cover

By the spring of 1982, however, the dynamics of the original group had changed.
Vince Argondezzi was moving on and Bill Cucinotta had joined our ranks bringing with him his creation, Skrog. Other talented comic artists, Matt Wagner and the very young Andrew Murphy, lurked in the wings.

It occurred to me that the anthology format had greater potential for us than we had originally planned. Rather than be merely a vehicle to introduce our own feature characters into the Direct Market, the format gave us a venue to feature the works of the many undiscovered talents that we were becoming acquainted with on the convention circuit.
 
I saw this publication as the foundation for which all future projects would emerge. It was the first coat of paint on which we could embellish illustrious careers as comic creators. This anthology would be our Primer.
 

PRIMER #1, Cover pencils by Andrew Murphy. inks Gerry Giovinco

 
Surprisingly, I do not remember it being difficult to sell the concept and especially the name, Primer, to Phil and Bill. We all knew that, in a market with titles full of Action, Adventure, and other Epic names, Primer was as dynamic sounding as white bread but to us it perfectly described the product and what we expected to accomplish with it.
 

PRIMER #2, Cover by Matt Wagner, 1st appearance of GRENDEL

 
We had hoped that by naming our comic book Primer, readers would expect something different, that the product would lay a foundation for what was to come and, most importantly, it would ignite an interest in our budding comic company. Primer would survive six issues and be our longest running black-and-white title. It did launch Comico and prime the industry for a unique independent company that blazed trails in creative and production quality, pioneered licensing for alternative publishers, championed creator’s rights and gave Marvel and DC a serious run for their money.
 

PRIMER #3, Cover by Jim Dever, featuring an early William Messner-Loebs story

 

The impact of Primer is still felt in the comics industry today.

 

PRIMER #4, Cover by Barb Ramata, first of three to be edited by Matt Wagner

The ACT-I-VATE PRIMER

I can tell you that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Bill and I were both caught blushing when IDW announced that it would be publishing The ACT-I-VATE Primer.

ACT-I-VATE has been among our greatest inspirations while developing CO2 Comics. The presumption that our Primer may have had any influence on Dean Haspiel and friends was quite humbling to us (Guys, don’t tell us if it didn’t, it might ruin the moment!). Marvel’s Marvelman Classic Primer and Alan Moore’s Americas Best Comics Primer also find use of the Primer name which I like to believe would have never been used when associated with comics before the advent of the Comico Primer.

PRIMER #5, Cover by Will Brown, featuring Sam Kieth’s Max the Hare

How-to Comic Primers pepper the internet and we at CO2 Comics have tapped the old Comico Primer for our own World Wide Web purposes.

PRIMER #6, Cover by Judith Hunt, the introduction of Chuck Dixon and Judith Hunt's Evangeline. Assistant editor CO2 Comics contributor Reggie Byers.

My Slaughterman, Bill Cucinotta’s Skrog, Andrew Murphy’s Victor, and Rich Rankin and Neil Vokes’ Gauntlet, features that all ran in Primer, are now featured right here on CO2 Comics.

They have all helped us launch this new and exciting web comics collective. CO2 Comics contributor Bill Anderson also graced the pages of Primer. Primer alumni, Matt Wagner, Sam Kieth, William Messner-Loebs, and Chuck Dixon have had stellar careers as comic creators. Their earliest published works can be found in those seemingly innocuous six issues of Primer making a few of them quite valuable as collectibles.

Other talents that were featured in Primer: Phil LaSorda, Vince Argondezzi, Jim Alderman, Rick McCollum, Bill Bryan, Jim Dever, Larry Nadolsky, Francis Mao, Barb and Bernie Armata, Ron Kasman, Will Brown, Chris Windle, Ajay Mclaughlin, Mark Lantz, Michael Lail, Grass Green, Judith Hunt and Al Wiesner. Primer was, unfortunately, discontinued along with the rest of the black-and-white line when Comico made its transition to color in 1984.

Pain

Works that were planned to be published in Primer that I am sorry we missed out on were Pain by Bill Cucinotta, Panda Khan by Dave Garcia and a little pre-turtle story by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

I have quite a few interesting stories that I can share about experiences publishing Primer that will have to wait for another time.

Next week I will pick things up a bit with a look at one of my favorite “Pie in the Sky” ideas from the early days of The Comic Company.

Making comics because I want to!

Gerry Giovinco

 

 

 

The Comic Company:
Presenting…

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Looking back, I guess it took a lot of guts for three kids from Norristown to decide that we wanted to start a comic book company especially considering that we were all still attending college and had no money except for what little we made working part-time jobs.

I struggled to meet class deadlines at the Philadelphia College of Art (PCA now UArts) and labored on weekends at places like 7-11, K-Mart, and Pizza Hut just to have spending money. The dream of making comics preoccupied my mind at every job I held. The evidence is a comic that I made while working as a cook at Pizza Hut in the winter of 1980.

Read Pizza man And Pizza Woman

The Norristown Pizza Hut Presents…Pizza Man & Pizza Woman was the first comic that I had published by anyone other than myself. It appeared on the last page of the company’s nationally distributed, monthly, twelve-page, 8.5 x 11″ newsletter Pizza Hut News Brief. This was a format that I would adapt later when publishing DUCKWORK at PCA with CO2 Comic’s own, Bill Cucinotta and the rest of the self-proclaimed DUCKS.

Phil LaSorda, Vince Argondezzi and I were all dreamers, but at the time we never believed that we could not do what we had set out to do once we had read Don Rico’s How to Start a Comic Book Empire in Free Enterprise magazine.

We considered our biggest asset to be ourselves since we knew that we would create the art for our own publications, saving us a lot of money.

Our biggest asset, however, turned out to be our own naiveté. To every person who scoffed and told us we could not do it, we had only one answer. Why not? Honestly, because we didn’t know any better.

Phil Lasorda & Vince Argondezzi at Creation Conventions

The summer of 1980 was spent developing product for the new company that we would call Comico the Comic Company. My recollection is that Vince first dubbed it The Comic Company. Phil suggested that we shorten it to ComiCo to which I responded that we should pronounce it Comeeco to sound like Mego and Coleco which were popular toy companies at the time.

Gerry Giovinco At Creation Conventions

We each had our own characters to work on. Phil had Az, Vince had Mr. Justice and I had Slaughterman. We planned to feature them in one magazine titled Comico Presents.

That summer Vince illustrated the cover of Comico Presents that would never be published other than as a flyer to promote our new company.

The Comico cover that never was © TM Respective Owners

The Comico Portfolio cover


We each made color illustrations of our character that we would have produced as 8×10″ color glossies and inserted in a hand-made card stock envelope that we simply called the Comico Portfolio. This is officially Comico’s first publication.

AZ from the Comico Portfolio © TM Phil Lasorda

MR JUSTICE from the Comico Portfolio © TM Vince Argondezzi

SLAUGHTERMAN from the Comico Portfolio © TM Gerry Giovinco

Finally, we printed up Comico t-shirts and prepared to exhibit at the Philadelphia Creation Convention were I had made inroads with my Thing costume at previous shows.

Gary Berman and Adam Malin, the producers of the Creation Conventions, were very gracious in giving us an opportunity to display our work. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for being the first to believe in us.

We had gone public with Comico. There was no turning back…

Gerry Giovinco

Next week: DUCKWORK!
Meanwhile you can check out another DUCKWORK retrospective by Joe Williams HERE!


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