Dept. of lost comics companies: Recently Don MacPherson caught notice of a huge eBay auction of material from the ’80s publisher Comico — for $12,000, you get stacks of mostly color acetates and printing proofs — not the materials of today’s publishing industry, but salvageable with a lot of man hours — IF you could sort out the rights.
Comico flourished in the ’80s and published seminal work by Matt Wagner, Bill Willingham, Sam Kieth and many more. In 1990, it was purchased by financier Andrew Rev, a rather colorful character whose recent appearance at the ICv2 digital comics conference was noted by many.
Former Comico co-publisher Gerry Giovinco and Bill Cucinotta have re-emerged as the publishing company CO2 (an advertiser here on The Beat) and a new blog posting by Giovinco explains they have nothing to do with the auction or its contents. Giovinco points out that they were co-founders of Comico, along with the late Phil Lasorda, whose brother Dennis later took on many of the business duties of the publisher. According to Giovinco, there is little art in the auction because Comico always returned art — however, what art there is might have ownership issues:
The photos show only a very limited number of pieces of original art. One notable piece was created by me and was given as a gift to Dennis. It is possible that the art in question could have all been acquired in this manner. Some of the images could also be photostats that appear to be originals in the photos.
It always was Comico policy to return all art to the creators. If there is art that was not returned, we are in total agreement that it should be returned to the rightful owners of the work. If you are a creator that believes your work could be among this lot, we would suggest you fight to get it back.
He goes on to mention the feeling of sadness that most of us feel upon reading of this auction:
It is sad for us to see evidence of years of hard work, talent and aspiration heaped so randomly on a pile in some storage facility. Even sadder to consider that some of it may have been misappropriated.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.