Former Comics Retailer, Marvel Director of Publicity, Friend of Geppi Family Enterprises
Posted by ICv2 on January 12, 2023 @ 2:38 pm CT
Gary Guzzo, an enthusiastic and innovative comics industry veteran, passed away on Tuesday, January 2, 2023, after a battle with lung cancer. He was 69. With his outgoing passion for both the business and creative aspects of comics, a classic rock FM radio DJ voice, and a "can-do" problem-solving mentality, he was known by many in the industry for his stint as Marvel Comics’ Director of Publicity.
He also had turns running a comic shop (Amazing Tales), a trade show staging company (International Video), teaching web design (Westchester Art Workshop), and since 1989, running Atomic Studios, which evolved into a full-service advertising and design business.
He opened his comic shop, Amazing Tales in Dobbs Ferry, New York, in 1984. That brought him into contact with the sales departments at publishers such as Marvel, DC, and Archie Comics, and soon that led to Guzzo hosting almost weekly creator appearances.
He sold Amazing Tales in 1989 and launched his event staging company. When he sold that business later, he was looking for what he’d do next when one of his comics industry contacts, Marvel’s Lou Bank, reached out.
Guzzo was drafted to see if he could help to organize a relief program for those affected by Hurricane Andrew. Working with retailers, radio and TV stations, the National Guard, and the Red Cross, Guzzo helped establish a relief package for affected retailers, and produced a multi-day entertainment program for kids affected by the storm. This created the opportunity for him to join Marvel as Director of Publicity.
In that role he was tasked with connecting the company with the press and their readers. He met with The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide’s Robert and Carol Overstreet, and Comics Buyer’s Guide’s Don and Maggie Thompson, and they developed a new open-door policy for releasing material to the press and to fans. Among other duties, he escorted Stan Lee to various appearances.
During his time at Marvel, he met Dawn Geiger, a designer who served as Production Manager, head of the fabled Marvel Bullpen. Not long after, they were married in a traditional Navajo ceremony in the Arizona desert. While virtually all of his friends would attest that Guzzo loved to talk about an incredibly varied number of interests, his conversations always returned to his love for Dawn.
In the 1990s, when Marvel downsized, he left to become a publicity and marketing consultant for new start-up companies such as Broadway Comics, Acclaim/Valiant, Byron Preiss, Central Park Media, and a number of small publishers.
Eventually, the Guzzos moved their Atomic Studios business to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where they helped many local businesses with their advertising, websites, and marketing plans, while maintaining their extensive relationships in the comic book industry.
After doing that for 20 years, in recent times Guzzo had worked as a consultant for Geppi Family Enterprises, including Hake’s Auctions and Gemstone Publishing, where he developed a number of initiatives with Steve Geppi, Melissa Bowersox, Dawn, fellow consultant Mort Todd, and J.C. Vaughn.
"Gary wore his passion for comics on his sleeve. He thoroughly enjoyed the challenges involved in making things better, and the only thing he loved more was his wife, Dawn. My condolences go out to her, his extended family, and his many friends," said Steve Geppi, founder of Geppi Family Enterprises. "As devastating as this loss is, it would have been far, far worse if we’d never known him."
The opinions expressed in this Talk Back are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.