Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Comico was founded in 1982 by a group of artists and publishers in the Norristown area who had previously printed a local school paper called Duckwork. Their first book, Primer #1 attempted to establish a large black and white line, featuring the premiere stories of Victor, Slaughterman , Az, Mr. Justice and Skrog . Only Slaughterman and Az made it out of the pages of Primer #1.
Primer #2 would premiere what would be Comico's flagship title for most of its existence: Grendel. Matt Wagner's Grendel quickly lept from Primer into three issues of its own black and white series before the production of all Comico's black and white comics ceased in 1984 with Primer #6.
March began Comico's color line of comics, with Mage: The Hero Discovered, Evangeline (both painted) and Bill Willingham's Elementals (in flat color). This was followed in 1985 with the three Robotech series (with a schedule that released a Robotech comic book once every two weeks), Next Men and Justice Machine in 1986.
Along with getting a major license in Robotech, it picked up and produced an excellently done Jonny Quest series (and Jezebel Jade spin-off), Star Blazers series and Max Headroom graphic novel. Ken Steacy illustrated a Harlan Ellison graphic novel. Dave Stephens 's The Rocketeer and Space Ghost also made the line up.
While Comico had proven to be a serious contender as a third major comic company, a decision in mid-1986 spelled the end of the comic company: it began to publish to the newsstand market. This significantly raised the number of prints for each issue, but also increased the number of issues being sent back that didn't sell. Refunds for those returned issues ate into the publisher's budget very quickly. In response to this, Comico began to push out a number of new titles, aimed at spreading out the number of returned comics between various titles. They also partnered with DC Comics to distribute their comics into a wider market.
With the end of the Mage, Grendel and Robotech series, much of the reliable revenue for the company dried up. Many of the older artists and publishers jumped ship and, by 1989, Comico was deep into bankruptcy. The company stopped printing in 1990, with E-Man #3.
In 1991 the owners of the company sold Comico to Andrew Rev , who released the rest of the original staff, and began working on relaunching the company. With the planned relaunch, Rev held onto any of the original Comico's series he could.
Most significantly hit were Mage and Grendel creations. Mage II: The Hero Defined, expected out in 1989, wasn't published until the late 90s. Mage and Grendel had been copyrighted by both Comico and Wagner jointly, and with Comico in bankruptcy, that half of the copyright was claimed as a company assett. Matt Wagner regained sole copyright of Grendel in 1993 and, much later, Mage, publishing the series through Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics respectively.
While losing Wagner's characters, Rev did manage to buy Elementals for his restart. Comico began printing again in 1992 with various Elementals related comics, and in 1993 flooded the market with various one-shot Elementals specials. The comic's presses went silent again until 1995, with yet another Elementals title (running three issues), and various Elementals spin-offs that never made it past their first issues. Comico's line ended in 1997 with Elementals Sex Special #1, illustrated by Frank Quitely.
Original Comico Titles
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