Tuesday, April 14, 2020

History of Comics | Now Comics

NOW Comics was a comic book publisher founded in late 1985 by Tony C. Caputo as a sole-proprietorship. During the four years after its founding, NOW grew from a one-man operation to operating in 12 countries, and published almost 1,000 comic books.

The company was headquartered in the Chicago Loop in Chicago, Illinois. Most NOW titles were the results of licensing arrangements with such companies as Columbia (Sony) Pictures, Broadway Video, ELP Communications, CBS Entertainment, Inc., Speed Racer Enterprises, and Leisure Concepts, resulting in titles like Vector, Mr. T & The T-Force, Speed Racer, The Original Astro Boy, Alias, Terminator: The Burning Earth, The Real Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, Fright Night, Married... with Children, and The Green Hornet.

The History:
NOW Library, NOW Video, and NOW Comics, started in late 1985 as a sole-proprietorship, with the first publications shipping in May 1986. The separate companies then became part of the Caputo Publishing, Inc. umbrella in 1987.

In a four-year period, CPI grew from a one-man operation with annual sales of $110,000, to an international multimillion-dollar corporation, with close to 100 full-time employees and freelancers, and the #3 position in comic book market share.

During this period, CPI created such cross-promotional ventures as The Real Ghostbusters cereal (with Ralston Purina) and Slimer's Ecto-Cooler Hi-C drink (with Coca-Cola Foods).

In 1988, CPI purchased to rights to release the original Speed Racer anime on home video. Under the banner NOW Video, Caputo released 22 volumes of Speed Racer videos and three special gift sets. In 1989, NOW co-produced The What NOW Caper, a sixty-minute comedy-documentary on comic book production.

That same year, however, the comics division began to lose steam, suffering from lack of focus and internal dissension. In 1990, NOW was forced to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy by Quebecor Printing and General Learning Corporation.

In 1991, NOW Comics relaunched as NOW Entertainment Corporation after being bought by General Learning. This new infusion of over $2 million in capital catapulted the company to number five in market share within its first quarter of business, and NOW Entertainment was nominated as best new publisher of 1991.

In 1994, the company ceased publishing after its "January 1995" releases, six months after founder Caputo left.

In 2003, Caputo returned, reviving the publisher as NOW Media Group, Inc. The new company, dubbed by Caputo as "NOW Comics 3.0," was re-launched as a graphic novel "self-publisher," giving creators a partnership role in the business. The business plan didn't pan out and NOW Media Group, Inc. folded in 2005, with the corporation fully dissolved in February 2006.

The Titles:
Eb'nn (June 1986 – January 1987)
Freejack (1992)
Fright Night
Ghostbusters II
The Green Hornet (1989)
Married... with Children (1990)
MirrorWalker (1990)
Mr. T & The T-Force (1993–1994)
The Original Astro Boy (September 1987 – June 1989)
Racer X
Ralph Snart Adventures (1986–1993)
The Real Ghostbusters (1988–1990, 1991–1992)
Rust (1989)
Slimer! (1989-1990, 1993)
Speed Racer (1985)
The Terminator (1988–1990)
Terminator: The Burning Earth (1990)
The Twilight Zone
Universal Soldier (1992)