WonderCon 2007 and Mark Schultz

This year was my second time exhibiting at WonderCon as Flesk Publications. I have attended the show each year since 1994. During that time, I spent roughly a decade helping my good friend Jim Vadeboncoeur set up his Bud Plant Illustrated Books booth. With Jim’s retirement, I found myself longing to work a booth again, hence the fruition of the Flesk booth at WonderCon.

Not only do I enjoy attending the show, but also promoting and selling art books. I consider myself lucky to be in a position to share artist’s works that I admire. I also relish visiting with the creators in artist’s alley. The WonderCon guest list was impressive, with Gene Colan, Nick Cardy, Al Feldstein, Sergio Aragones, and Thomas Yeates all present. These are all some of my personal favorite comic artists.

Mark Schultz shared the booth with us again. He brought a stunning array of new artwork, with many pieces for sale. Schultz had a handful of finished graphite and carbon drawings that show a serious growth using these mediums. I can honestly say they are among his best works. Schultz really has grown comfortable with graphite over the last three years. This is a medium in which he usually reserved for loose prelims prior, but now explores as full finished graphite drawings. A handful of them were created just for Various Drawings Volume Three, which is slated for July 2007. We plan on debuting this latest collection at the San Diego Comic-Con.

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.