First Look! Gary Gianni’s finished cover painting for the upcoming Twenty-Thousand Leagues under the Sea book!

Gary Gianni just finished the cover painting for his upcoming book adaptation Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. He sent me the following jpg. I thought it might be fun to share this piece with all of you.

It has been a few years since Gary executed a painting. Since he last worked in oils, back when he completed his pieces for the The Complete Conan of Cimmeria Volume Two, he has been busy with black and white work. He admitted he had to switch his brain gears back and forth while working on this piece, and his weekly Prince Valiant strips throughout the last month. He explained to me that the approach and manner in executing the two creative styles are very different. It certainly doesn’t look like he took any time off from color work. Enjoy!

Any Plans to Publish Books on Classic Illustrators Again?

Absolutely. I have a long list of golden age and classic illustrators I would enjoy publishing books on. The time period I favor is from 1880 to 1950. My lack of time is the major obstacle for my not being able to pursue this field as much as I want to. I have two pen and ink books I’ve been wanted to get to for quite a while, and am planning on two collections on illustrators who worked in color. The first of these should come out in about two years time, with the rest following as I find free time. For now, these titles will remain a secret until I get them to a stage where they are ready to announce. Sometimes it takes a year or two just to gather the information and artwork. The actual designing and writing goes fairly quickly once all of the elements are in place. Until then, I hope you enjoy our titles on contemporary artists coming out this year.

John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea adapted by Gary Gianni Coming This Summer!

ntitled DocumentIf you are like me and can’t get enough of Gary Gianni’s art, then you’ll be pleased to know The Prince Valiant Page is not the only book we are publishing of his this year. In addition, we will be putting out a full color hardbound edition of Jules Verne’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea adapted by Gary Gianni. Some of you might recall a self-published edition of this adaptation put out by Gianni in 2001. This was sold at comic shows in which Gianni attended, as a limited edition black and white softbound format book.

Some of you might be wondering how Gary’s original version and this 2008 version differ? Let me explain. This newly revised Flesk published edition will be fully colored and designed by Jim Keegan. This is the first time it has been colored. Also, it will be in a handsome hardbound book format. And, in the back of the book, Gary has provided ten new illustrations to accompany the short story The Sea Raiders by H.G. Wells. Keegan is coloring these delightful pen and ink drawings, too. The book is 64 pages, at 9″ X 12″. The full details and sample pages will be up on the Flesk website by April.

John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Robert Wagner writes introduction to The Prince Valiant Page!

The Prince Valiant Page by Gary Gianni has been dropped off at the printer. I don’t think either Gary or myself expected this book to take so long to put together, although both of us are extremely happy with it. The street date is set for June 15, 2008. I fully expect it to be in your local book or comic store by that time.

Besides the generosity of Mike Mignola writing a foreword to the book, we are honored to have Mr. Robert Wagner provide the introduction. Mr. Wagner only had three weeks to provide us with his written oration, and he came through like the seasoned professional that he is. Mr. Wagner, to our delight, wrote about his experiences while playing the lead role of Val in the 1954 feature film. It’s a wonderful piece, in which we are grateful to have included in the book.

And for those of you who don’t know, there will be 50 copies containing an original pencil preliminary by Gianni to one of the Prince Valiant strips. These will come in a special cloth slipcase. The art will be tipped into the book. I have not advertised this edition until now, but somehow the word got out there (which is great!). Forty copies are already reserved. If you want one, please send me an email. The books will be priced between $250.00 and $300.00.

Check out The Prince Valiant Page this June! For full details on the book, visit the Flesk website.

John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Franklin Booth and Jordi Bernet books from Auad Publishing

There’s a new book on Franklin Booth available from my good friend Manuel Auad at Auad Publishing. The title of the book is Franklin Booth: American Illustrator. This book has no overlap with my book Franklin Booth: Painter with a Pen. Together, they compliment one another.

Manuel also has a terrific book on Jordi Bernet. Jordi is just now starting to get some attention in the US. He’s an amazing artist who is popular in Spain for his Torpedo and Clara works, to name a few. I’ve always loved his mix of gritty and tongue-in-check illustrations.

Lately, Jordi Bernet has been doing work for DC Comics Jonah Hex comic series where he illustrated the first origin of Hex. He also did a nice fill-in story for a recent Spirit comic. I suspect Bernet’s popularity will continue to grow in this country.

If you are just learning about Bernet’s work, Auad’s collection of his art, much of it translated for the first time, will serve as a wonderful collection to any comic library. The book is 240 pages and contains 11 complete stories and many pin-ups.

Franklin Booth: Painter with a Pen Reprint

I have reprinted my inaugural title, Franklin Booth: Painter with a Pen. It has been out of print for about half a year. I am pleased to have continued interest in the book. Besides being moved by Booth’s art, I am emotionally attached to this title as it is my first book, and it kick-started my publishing business.

So, why the new cover, and is there anything new inside the book?

I wanted the reprint to appeal to an audience that is not familiar with Franklin Booth. The original cover had Booth’s signature, which is not instantly recognizable or easy to read for the casual browser. Since I recently signed with SCB distributors, who are now placing our titles in the book trade, I felt it was a good idea to make the cover more readable.

I asked Randy Dahlk to update the design of my original cover, while keeping the basic look intact. The result is a more appealing cover, with warm rich colors. Randy found the color swatches from some books from the early twenties, which is during Booth’s prime.

The interior of the reprint is identical to the previous printings. I did not want those who supported me in the beginning to feel like they had to buy a revised edition, or feel cheated after buying the first one. Rest assured, if you have the first or second edition, you have the same guts.

William Stout Murals at the San Diego Natural History Museum

Last November I took a trip with my family to San Diego. Besides the obvious reason of spending some relaxing time with my wife, son, and mother-in-law, I wanted to see William Stout’s murals at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Stout is nearing completion of twelve murals for the museum. To date, eight are finished, with the remaining four scheduled for completion in the coming months.

The Natural History Museum is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park. I have been attending the San Diego Comic-Con every year since 1994, and I never realized just 15 minutes away was this incredible park filled with 15 museums, concert halls, gardens, and the SD Zoo. The park was originally built to hold an exposition in celebration of the completion of the Panama Canal in 1915.

The Natural History museum is worth a visit, especially if you are a dinosaur enthusiast. Stout’s murals hang as backdrops to the skeletal displays, allowing you to visualize how these giants might have looked.

If you find yourself in the San Diego area, or attend the San Diego Comic-Con, I highly recommend a trip to Balboa Park, and the Natural History Museum.

Now for the rally exciting news. I will be publishing a book on all of William’s mural work. He will be writing the book to include his process and stages of each piece will be showcased! Visit the Flesk Publications website for details in the coming months!

Jim Vadeboncoeur’s Images Magazine!

Images Magazine is back! After a sojourn away, while working on his Everett Raymond Kinstler book, Jim has just released his latest issue of Images Magazine. This eighth issue harkens back to the artist who initiated the first issue of Images, by featuring Heinrich Kley.

The Vadeboncoeur Collection of Images started from Jim’s desire to reprint a rare issue of Jugend from 1910. This magazine featured Kley exclusively. Jim found this issue of Jugend at an ABAA rare book show we were attending in San Francisco in early February 2001. At the time, we would never have suspected that this magazine would serve as a catalyst for Images, which then inspired me to do my Franklin Booth book and kick start Flesk Publications.

Coming back to the current issue of Images, we see a different side of Kley’s work. Before the satirical and whimsical style prevalent in most of our minds as the definitive Kley, there was an artist of industry, landscapes and architecture. These works are of great beauty and fine craftsmanship. They prove Kley’s adeptness at a wide range of subject matters and mediums. If you are expecting alligators dancing with scantily clad women, you still will not be disappointed by this rare artwork uncovered from the Vadeboncoeur collection.

To order Images visit Jim’s site at www.bpib.com.

Gary Gianni on Prince Valiant

For just over four years now, Gary Gianni has been illustrating the Prince Valiant Sunday strip. At this point, it is really becoming his own. Initially, he remained faithful and respectful to both Prince Valiant’s creator, Hal Foster, and his successor John Cullen Murphy. I’m not saying he is not doing so now, but what is happening is a leaning towards Foster’s early fantasy themes, through his own storytelling and interpretation. The current strip displays a respectful revamping of sorts for today’s readers. With Mark Schultz at the writing helm, and Gary’s brush and pen breathing life to the valiant prince, a refreshing and exciting transformation is occurring. I feel Gary’s draughtsmanship and skill has grown considerably in the last few years. My only disappointment is it is so hard to find in a newspaper. After four years on assignment, Gary is still asked by inquisitive fans about what he is up to these days? For those willing to hunt down the Sunday newspapers, it’s worth checking out. The last few episodes can be seen online at www.kingfeatures.com. A full year can be viewed at www.dailyink.com.

I’m working with Gary to bring forth better exposure to his work on Prince Valiant. Stay tuned in the coming months for an announcement for “The Prince Valiant Page” written by Gary Gianni. It will serve as much as an art collection, a historical look at the artists associated with the strip, and a how-to book as Gary explains his apprenticeship under John Cullen Murphy to his working relationship with Mark Schultz, and how he creates the strip from scratch.