What I’m Up To

I thought some people might find it interesting to know what I’m up to right now.

I sent Gary Gianni’s The Prince Valiant Page book to the printer last month. I’ve gone over all of the proofs, approving everything except for the dust jacket. I’m still not satisfied with how the colors are coming out. They’re a little too dark and flat. As soon as we wrap up this final proof, the book will go to press. The book is definitely on track for its June 15, 2008 release date.

I recently had to have all of our book covers and book descriptions for our 2008 titles delivered to SCB Distributors, who handles our book trade sales. It’s always a challenge to prepare this material so far in advance. But ultimately, I am happy to have this information prepared and available for advance solicitation. I’ll have the Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon, Gary Gianni’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues under the Sea adaptation, and William Stout’s Prehistoric Life Murals book covers and details up on our Flesk website soon.

Randy Dahlk is designing Stout’s Murals book right now. He also designed the three Mark Schultz: Various Drawings books, and will also design the Williamson Flash Gordon book. I really love the work he does and I’m grateful he has the interest to work on these projects.

Jim Keegan has spent over a month, so far, coloring the pages to Gianni’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues under the Sea adaptation. Along with his wife Ruth, they are doing a phenomenal job. Jim showed me his newly finished colors to page three; pointing out the top panel crowd scene took him eleven hours to color! Jim went in and colored all of the people individually. I’m looking far back into the art, and these miniature people have their hats and faces colored. Most colorists would just run a flat color in the background and be done with it. Jim’s a true artist. He’s never satisfied until the art looks as best as it can.

I received the first draft of Mark Schultz’s text for the Al Williamson Flash Gordon book recently. One thing I appreciate about Mark is his ability to be objective. His goal was to produce a piece that did not come across as written by a fan. It points out Williamson’s accomplishments as well as weaker moments. The history of Al’s association on the character is fascinating as well. Mark completely leaves his own opinion out of it, providing succinct and interesting facts, allowing the reader to form their own opinion. Mark is touching up the text for the book, and should be finished in the next week or two. Looks like we’ll have everything in place for Randy to start the designs as soon as he finishes Stout’s Murals book.

That’s what’s going on right now. Be sure to check out the website in a few weeks to see more news and future book updates.

John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

WonderCon 2008 — Flesk Report

It was bound to happen. After more than 15 years of attending various book and comic shows I was sick for the first time. I was fairly “out-of-it” during the whole show. My voice went out Thursday night, and I could barely talk for much of the show. I was disappointed for a number of reasons. I could only talk for short spurts until my voice went out. I couldn’t talk to anyone who approached the booth, meaning, no promoting, no selling, no answering questions, no talking about all of our exciting new books we are working on, no sharing of our new Steve Rude: Artist in Motion book with friends. For the most part, I sat in a chair in the booth, doing my best not to look as bad as I felt. I hear this bug is going around. With me, it went around and around and around again.

Fortunately, our books managed to sell themselves at the Flesk booth. We had a good number of people picking up the exclusive Mark Schultz Storms at Sea and Gary Gianni The Prince Valiant Page exclusive show posters. Randy Dahlk sold out of his show exclusive Mark Schultz Various Cutie’s magnets.

Schultz was present at our booth during the entire show. He brought along five finished art samples of his upcoming Storms at Sea book. They received much praise and attention. These pieces are unbelievable.

With WonderCon being my local show, I always enjoy the mellow atmosphere and seeing many of those “once-a-year” acquaintances. To me, this was the first year that the show lost its intimacy. On Saturday, the crowds moving through the aisles looked more like the San Diego Comic-Con show. This doesn’t’t bother me; it’s just growth and change, which is inevitable if the show organizers are doing a good job at promoting, which they are.

I noticed a large TV and movie star guest list for this year. I rarely watch TV, so the stars and shows were completely unknown to me. This, I would imagine, was the reason for the large attendance on Saturday.

We were set up next to Stuart Ng Books. Stuart carries a wide assortment of new art books and graphic novels that are hard to find in the States. I picked up Melange and Mandy’s Shorts, two collections on Dean Yeagle. Also, Droles de Pin-Up by Erroc & Herval, Belladone with art by Pierre Alary, and Songes Coraline by D.P. Filippi and Terry Dodson. I absolutely love what Dodson is doing in this French album. This is the first of three albums planned, and there is a Songs sketchbook, too. As far as I know, Stuart is the only US source for purchasing this book right now.

The next show we will be exhibiting at is Book Expo America at the Los Angeles convention center starting May 29. William Stout will be present for a signing to promote our upcoming William Stout: Prehistoric Life Murals book. We will also have exclusive posters promoting Gary Gianni’s The Prince Valiant Page and Mark Schultz’s Storms at Sea available to attendees. See you there!

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

William Stout Completes Murals for the San Diego Natural History Museum!

William Stout Completes Murals for the San Diego Natural History Museum!William Stout has completed all 12 of his murals for the San Diego Natural History Museum. The final works have been hung and are available for viewing in the SDNHM Fossil Mysteries exhibition.

Stout comments on his monumental achievement, “This has been the most pleasurable of projects for me. I am so happy that I had the time and the opportunity to do my best work for the museum. I am optimistic in my hope that these paintings will stand the test of time and serve to inspire many, many future young artists and scientists that way that other muralists, like Charles R. Knight and Rudolph Zallinger, have inspired both myself and my friends in the world of paleontology.”

With the murals complete, William Stout and Flesk Publications are working together to bring these works into book form. Those unable to visit the SDNHM and people interesting in taking home the experience will be able to cherish his works time and time again in this volume. In addition, Stout’s previous mural assignments for Houston Museum of Natural Science and Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be included as well.

Check back at the Flesk Publications website in the coming months for full details and sample art. The book is slated for summer 2008.

For more information on the SDNHM, visit their website here. And, follow William Stout’s exploits and view his gallery of art at his website here.

Super Deluxe Edition of Steve Rude Book Limited to Only 13 Copies!

Here’s a real treat for the most hardcore Steve Rude collector. Our upcoming book Steve Rude: Artist in Motion will have an extremely limited super deluxe edition. Only 13 are being made, with 12 of them for sale to the public. Each will contain a finished original watercolor bound into the book. These pieces are phenomenal!

These limited books will also have a special slipcase unique to these 13 copies. This will be a truly unique and special item. The prices will range from $300.00 to $500.00 depending on the artwork contained within. Certain pieces will have a higher value than others, depending on the subject matter. I provided Steve with no guidelines and he drew whatever he pleased. They came out exceptional.

If you want to have the opportunity to purchase one of these books, here’s what you need to do. Send me an email at info@fleskpublications.com. I will add you to the reservation list. So far, there are five people signed up. I will be posting the artwork contained in the books on our website in the coming weeks, along with the prices. I will then let the people select which artwork they would like based on when they signed up. The first person gets first choice, the second gets second choice, etc. I don’t expect these to last.

All proceeds for these books will go directly to the Rude family.

Looking For Al Williamson Flash Gordon Originals

Mark Schultz, Randy Dahlk, and myself are working on a Flash Gordon book that will collect all of Al Williamson’s work on the character. The Williamson family is providing their support on the project, too.

We have been fortunate to find almost all of the original art, but are still missing a few items. We have some good leads on a few pages, but could use some help obtaining more. The artwork we require are original pages from the King Comics Flash Gordon #1, and pages from the King Comics Flash Gordon #5 for the story “Gods of the Beastmen.”

If you have any of these originals, or can help obtain scans from a friends or acquaintances collection, we would appreciate hearing from you. I will be certain to include you in the acknowledgments section and provide you with a free copy of the book once it is complete.

Please contact John Fleskes at 408-206-2346 or at info@fleskpublications.com. Thanks!

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.

How we approach reproducing Mark Schultz’s artwork

Have you ever wondered how Mark Schultz and I approach the artwork reproduction for the Various Drawings series? It’s fairly simple. He has a specific way he would like his work showcased. This makes my job easy. I know the exact look he wants, and it follows my tastes as well.

You’ll notice the brush and ink pieces are printed without the paper showing and are very clean. The stock Mark uses for these finished works has little or no texture. The pencil pieces, drawn on a stock with character to them, are shown with the paper. This is a conscience decision on our part. We both like to see the grit of the paper. This technique, we feel, allows an individual to view the artwork as if they are holding the original.

Both Schultz and myself are excited to be wrapping up Various Drawings Volume Three at the moment. New to this volume are a handful of color works. Many incredible preliminaries are included as well. It will offer a whole new perspective to Schultz’s work, not seen in the previous two volumes. You can view sample images and the full book description on the Flesk Publications website. It will be available August 1, 2007.