Top 10 Flesk Books Sold in 2023!

Top 10 Flesk Books Sold in 2023!

2023 was one of the best years ever for us. As you will see when looking at this top ten list there are a variety of titles that span multiple genres. The common denominator is that these are all exceptional people who make lovely works of art.  

Ever since I started this publishing company in 2002 my goal has been to focus on the artist and the relationship. To serve others is what drives me, and I have maintained my passion for making books for all these years. Thanks to you, these artists and I can continue to live this dream.

For this top 10 list I have calculated the total sales by combining our direct Flesk website orders, event sales, Kickstarter pledges, and the sales made through our distributor.

1. The Art of Arthur Adams

The success of this book proved how eager people were for a proper overview of Arthur’s career. Arthur and I were surprised by the massive support during our Kickstarter campaign for this book. We’re still humbled by its popularity. I’ve been a fan of Arthur’s work ever since Longshot #1 came out. This has been a dream project, and Arthur is a joy to work with.  

2. Carbon 5 by Mark Schultz

Considering this is the tenth collection we have published on Mark, it’s exciting to see the enthusiasm for his latest book. The prior collections were Various Drawings Volumes 1-5, followed by Carbon 1-4. We have published more books on Schultz than on any other artist. Mark uses these collections to showcase his latest drawings. Much of the art he produces these days is done for himself. He feels lucky to be able to draw what he likes, while having a forum to share these pieces with others.

3. Gilt by J.A.W. Cooper

Gilt and Carbon 5 are very close in sales. Carbon 5 had the benefit of coming out six months prior to Gilt. This is the latest collection that pulls together the most recent works by J.A.W. Cooper. We worked closely together to make an art object with this book. I feel this is one of the most unique and beautiful books we have published to date. It’s a thrill to work with Cooper and I marvel at their creativity and spirit. They are one of the most unique voices I have ever seen.  

4. Barren Lands by Brynn Metheney

I’ve been wanting to work with Brynn for years. I’m thrilled that we had this opportunity to publish Barren Lands. Brynn wrote and illustrated this collection of stories that borders between reality and the bizarre. The whole process of working with Brynn was fun and enjoyable. The chance to work with an artist early in her career is very satisfying.

5. Franklin Booth: Silent Symphony

Released in 2022, this large collection that highlights Booth’s life and art is still going strong. This is the artist who originally inspired me to start publishing. What a thrill to be able to pull out the initial 2002 book, Franklin Booth: Painter with a Pen, and then completely remake it from scratch with the help of Alice Carter. This served as our 20th anniversary book where we could celebrate Booth further.

6. Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm

The first edition of this collection on Bruce Timm came out in 2012. It was a best seller then and continues to be on our top 10 list over a decade later. People can’t seem to get enough of B.T. and I don’t blame them! Bruce is an absolute legend and wonderful to work with.  

7. Al Williamson: Strange World Adventures

Thanks to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel highlight, this book got a big boost. The initial sales when the book first came out were strong, then when this book review dropped it was seen by a new audience. This makes me happy, especially since this is one of the books that I am most proud of. Al remains one of my all-time favorite artists and I hope this collection does his career justice.

8. The Art of Brom

We released this book back in 2013 and it is still going strong! I feel like I am repeating myself, but when it gets down to it, all the artists who I work with are great people who are extraordinary. Brom’s accomplishments are remarkable. The sales for this book received a boost thanks to some deluxe edition copies that I found in our warehouse. We are officially sold out of all editions at this point.

9. Xenozoic by Mark Schultz

This book, collecting all of the Xenozoic stories written and illustrated by Mark Schultz, has had a variety of editions in print since 2010. This may be our most consistent and steady seller over our entire publishing history. Mark is also the only artist who has two books on our top ten list for this year. I recently re-read this collection and enjoyed it just as much as the first time I read the comics in the early nineties. The most common question we receive is when new Xenozoic stories will be coming? Whenever this happens, I’ll be the most excited fanboy out there.

10. Alkeme: The Art of Brad Kunkle

I’m pleased to see Brad’s book on the top 10 list again this year. This was published in 2023 and we love how it turned out. I first met Brad back in 2006 and can’t express how exciting it has been to see his career blossom and to cheer along as his success has grown.

This wraps up our top ten list. Thanks for reading and for our support over the years. As we step into 2024, we are entering our 22nd year of publishing! I’m eager to make a series of announcements all throughout the year to reveal what’s coming next.

I wish you all a fruitful, happy, and healthy 2024.

Enjoy,

John

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Text copyright © 2024 John Fleskes. Photos by Vicky Lien and John Fleskes and © 2024 . Videos © 2024 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2024 its respective artists. All rights reserved.

Flesk October 2023 Update! Brynn Metheney, J.A.W. Cooper, and Arthur Adams Books

Hi, everyone,

The Art of Arthur Adams, GILT by J.A.W. Cooper, and Barren Lands by Brynn Metheney are all shipping between now and December!

GILT by J.A.W. Cooper arrived at our Flesk warehouse a week ago. For those who placed a pre-order we are almost done packing and shipping all of your books and prints. You will receive an email notification along with a tracking number once your copy is in the mail.

As a reminder, we have made a detailed promotional page on our Flesk website that shows a video, along with interior book spread samples, and details about the editions available. Please visit here to learn more and to place your order. Thanks to everyone who supported this title. We look forward to your packages arriving safely in your hands.

Our Barren Lands by Brynn Metheney Kickstarter Campaign is Now Live!

Brynn Metheney’s illustrated book, Barren Lands, is a collection of personal stories and artworks that strives to document the natural phenomena of the American southwest. This title has over 80 drawings and paintings, and is 9 x 12″ with 112 pages. Metheney’s words and pictures will spark the imagination with secret revelations that blur the lines between fantasy and reality and are sure to entertain anyone with a curious mind.

This book is completely done and will ship in December 2023.

Brynn is an artist inspired by tall tales and the natural world. Her work focuses on the nuances of evolution and story-telling and where nature and humans fall in-between. Please visit our Kickstarter campaign page to learn more.

The Art of Arthur Adams is in transit from the printer to our Flesk warehouse. The shipper notified us that the books will arrive with us on or around October 25th. We will keep you updated and begin mailing immediately once we receive the pallets. We can’t wait to get these books into your hands!

Once we have shipped all of the orders for these three titles, we will announce the pre-order date for The Art of Rachel and Terry Dodson! This will be our first book coming out in 2024. We look forward to sharing more details about this exciting new collection later this year.

Enjoy,

John

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Flesk at Baltimore Comic-Con 2023

Hi, everyone,

Baltimore Comic Con is a wrap!

Vicky and I enjoyed chatting with everyone who visited our Flesk booth and those we bumped into in and around the convention center. We have a ton of lasting memories from the show.

Seeing Arthur Adams is always a pleasure. A lot of people shared with us that they are looking forward to his new art collection in October.

Being set up next to Richard and Wendy Pini for three days made for one of the most enjoyable shows we have ever had. We started to tease about the upcoming Elfquest book that we will be publishing next spring.

I was thrilled to reunite with Steve Rude and to have a few extended conversations with him. Steve is awesome and I truly enjoyed the chance to catch up with him.

Hang time with my buddy Frank Cho is also always a pleasure. Frank is a generous and helpful guy who I appreciate greatly.

Again, it was wonderful to see you all! We look forward to Baltimore 2024.

Photo, top, left to right: Arthur Adams, Wendy Pini, Richard Pini, John Fleskes.

bottom, left to right: John Fleskes, Richard Pini, Vicky Lien, Wendy Pini, David Mizejewski.

Enjoy,

John

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Flesk August 2023 Update. Upcoming Books and Lessons Learned

A good friend of mine, Jim Reid, often provides me with sage life and business advice. One such Jim-ism–that I am paraphrasing here—is as follows: “Most people try to force things to happen when they would be better served to let things happen.”

I was spinning my wheels trying to force certain things to happen in 2021. I normally thrive when issues arise since I enjoy the creative process in overcoming them. But I was struggling with the reality of the supply chain issues that had driven up the costs of printing and shipping to unprecedented levels. As we entered 2022, I realized that I was not following one of Jim’s golden rules. I needed to ease back and abandon what I wanted to happen, and then to accept what was happening.

I aimed to reduce my anxiety and stress by focusing on what I enjoy doing most—making books. I was working from 10:00AM to past midnight each day all through that January and into early February 2022. We sent the Franklin Booth, Brad Kunkle, and Lupente books to the printer in February. Then Vicky and I focused on the Arthur Adams, and the Rachel & Terry Dodson titles. We were having fun again.

Between that February and the end of the year I did not send any books to the printer. I stopped making announcements for new books. I stopped putting pressure on myself to make 2022 a big and exciting year because it was our 20th anniversary. I realized that if I continued to send books to the printer–that if I tried to force things to happen–that it would hurt the business.

With the Booth, Kunkle, and Lupente books at the printer, and knowing we may not receive them for 8-10 months, I accepted that these would be the only books that I could release that year. This long wait affected my cash flow. I could only tie up a certain amount of money for a specific time frame. I knew what I had to do. And I was not looking forward to it.

I had a talk with Kathy Chu in early 2022. (Kathy, if you are not aware, worked here at Flesk starting in August 2015.) I showed her what money we had. I reviewed the current pricing for getting books made and that it was taking over 8 months for delivery (instead of the usual 3 months). I told her that I was unsure how long I could continue to pay her and highly recommended that she seek out a new job. We had plenty of projects going on. We had, and continue to have, so much goodwill from the community and our customers. We had everything going for us, except the ability to get our books printed and delivered.

Fortunately, I had savings, and the business carries no debt. I was able to pay Kathy until late-June 2022. After nearly 7 years of amazing work to help us succeed and grow, she was off looking for a new job. Kathy asked that I not say anything publicly at that time. She did not want anyone to feel sorry for her and Kathy is a private person. I wanted to respect her wishes. You’ll be glad to know that Kathy found a new job working for another publisher. She loves working in the industry and is doing well. I’m so happy for her.

As a brief segue regarding savings, I follow the advice from Jim Reid to always have $20,000 in a savings account to have available in case of an emergency. I treat this number as zero. Let’s say I have $23,000 in savings. I view my savings as being $3,000, not $23,000. Another Jim, James Bama, taught me the importance of not carrying debt. I believe in working and savings toward something, rather than borrowing and becoming weighed down by debt. Now, back to our main topic.

For the remainder of 2022, and the early part of 2023, Vicky and I kept the business running by selling our existing Flesk books. Plus, through warehouse finds, dinged book sales, and selling some personal stock. It worked. It worked because you all took care of us by buying books on our website. There was never a time when we were in trouble. Month after month we were OK. It felt rewarding to have the support of so many people.

Also, throughout 2022 and up until now, Vicky and I have focused on designing more books. We would finish a new title, set it aside, then start another one. We have completed over ten books that are ready for the printer. We have an additional 15 books in various stages of production. Four of these are almost done.

In the spring of 2023, we launched the Carbon 5 by Mark Schultz Kickstarter campaign. The success of this book served as a fresh starting point for us. Then, we launched the Arthur Adams Kickstarter campaign in May that exploded in popularity. (We still remain in shock at how many people pledged.) I still wake up in gratitude each day, especially when considering just how unpredictable the last few years were.

Currently, the printing and shipping costs have subsided back to realistic levels. Between the popularity of Arthur’s campaign and the production costs dropping, we are in an excellent position to start feeding the press again. It feels incredible to be able to start sharing what books we have ready, and to begin making announcements again. Letting things happen—thanks for the wisdom, Jim.

Here is the list that reveals the next six Flesk books that will be coming out between this fall and the spring of 2024.

The Art of Arthur Adams
Release date: October 2023
This has been well publicized. This book was in development for approximately 4 years. It shows examples of Arthur’s work from 1982-2023. Each piece is accompanied with commentary by Arthur. I’ve been following Arthur’s work ever since picking-up Longshot #1 when I was a kid. This is one of those dream projects that I thoroughly enjoyed working on.

We have another book by Arthur that is completely done, except for the new cover that he will work on when the time allows. Also, the Monekyman and O’Brien big collection is well mapped out. We are hunting down some missing elements and bugging Arthur to draw a few new pieces for the book. We will announce release dates and more details once we have these two totally wrapped up.

Gilt by J.A.W. Cooper
Release date: October 2023

Can you believe it has been since 2018 that we had a new book with Cooper (Pastoral)? And since 2020 since we released the Genesis collection? Cooper took 2 full years off from drawing any personal art. Now, Cooper is back! I’m very excited to share the details for this book. It’s unlike anything we have published before. The two tiger drawings are example of the edition that comes with an original drawings. We will begin to take orders and reveal all the details in late September.

Barren Lands by Brynn Metheney

Kickstarter launch date: October 10, 2023

It is always an honor for me to have an opportunity to publish a new artist for the first time. I have talked with Brynn at various events over the years. She’s such a great person and I love her art. As soon as I stepped down from Spectrum so that I could focus more on working with individual artists, Brynn was one of the first artists who I approached. Luckily for us, she had a few book ideas. Brynn was fun to work with and I’m so very excited to release this book soon. We are launching a Barren Lands Kickstarter event on October, 10, 2023!

The Art of Rachel and Terry Dodson

Kickstarter date: Early 2024—TBA

I’ve been very lucky to have had a friendship with Terry and Rachel for years. We’ve made trips together and visit each other when we can escape our work schedules. We share a passion for nature and the outdoors. They are lovely humans. Vicky and I had a blast making this book and spending time with them. I love being able to highlight friends. This book is done, and we’ll launch a Dodson Kickstarter campaign in early 2024.

The Complete Genesis Collection by J.A.W. Cooper

Release date: March 2024

This book was released in 2020 and sold out quickly. I suggested to Cooper that I wanted to keep it in print. We revisited the book and made some updates for the re-release next spring.

Pastoral by J.A.W. Cooper

Release date: March 2024

The original large format printing of this book was back in 2018. We reformatted the book to the handy 7.5 x 10” size, made some changes, and added some new pieces. This will be released at the same time as The Compete Genesis Collection next March.

We have more books that are done, but I am not ready to announce the release dates or details. I’ll give you a tease though. We have a two-volume set that relates to Elfquest by Wendy and Richard Pini. The new Jeffrey Alan Love graphic novel is almost ready. It’s in the final design stages. We have a new edition of Ambedo by Tran Nguyen and a new book of her studies. The big Comics three volume set by William Stout continues to be in development. Also, future books with Daniel Warren Johnson, Mark Schultz, Gary Gianni, Bruce Timm, Frank Cho, and more!

I’ll share more details about the future once we are ready. Once again, it’s you that makes these books happen. Thank you so much for allowing us to publish the works of these extraordinary artists.

Enjoy,

John

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Text copyright © 2023 John Fleskes. Photos by Vicky Lien and John Fleskes and © 2023 . Videos © 2023 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2023 its respective artists. All rights reserved.

Arthur Adams Kickstarter Campaign!

Hi, everyone,

There is just 1 day left to join our Arthur Adams Kickstarter campaign. This forty-year retrospective on the comic-art career of Arthur Adams comes with a gatefold of the cover art, plus nearly 200 drawings and sketches. Each book pledge comes with a bonus portfolio that includes a signed envelope containing five prints–one of which is signed. You also get two bookmarks.

A huge thanks to everyone who has made this upcoming book a big success! We already have the book at the printer and have approved the proofs. We can’t wait to get Arthur’s retrospective into your hands.

Enjoy,

John

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Text copyright © 2023 John Fleskes. Photos by Vicky Lien and John Fleskes and © 2023 . Videos © 2023 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2023 its respective artists. All rights reserved.

The Art of Arthur Adams Kickstarter Campaign Launches on Tuesday, May 2nd.

The countdown begins!

The Art of Arthur Adams Kickstarter campaign from Flesk will launch on Tuesday, May 2nd.

We will reveal all of the details and the live link about this long-awaited book on that day.

We can’t wait to share the all-new cover to the book that Arthur has drawn. We spent years putting this book together with Arthur and are eager to get it out to the world. Thanks!

Enjoy,

John

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The Art of Arthur Adams is Coming From Flesk!

The Telegraph Wire #19 cover by Arthur Adams and Mike Mignola. February-March 1985. This was a promotional giveaway from the Comics & Comix stores in the Bay Area. This Longshot and Rocket Racoon piece is a very early collaboration by these two legends!

We’ve been working hard here at Flesk on the upcoming The Art of Arthur Adams: A Forty-Year Retrospective book. This collection will show examples from each year of his career that spans from 1982 to 2022. I had a call with Arthur that lasted almost five hours last Friday to gather stories to use as captions. I have the captions for the first 100 pages typed up so far. The book has been fully mapped out and all of the art has been selected. Just as soon as I am done writing up the remaining captions, we will pour our energy into the book design. I can see it very clearly in my head, so the design work will flow nicely.

This is a really fun book to work on. We’re shooting for a mid-June delivery date to the printer, followed by a Kickstarter launch once it is on the press. I always feel much more comfortable when a book is done before launching a campaign.

Besides this book, our Rachel and Terry Dodson book is coming along very well. I mapped out their book and have one-third of their captions typed up. And, two other books that I have not even announced yet are almost done!

Enjoy,

–John

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Flesk 2021 Book Updates!

This is a brief overview of our year and what you can expect to see from us.

I’ll start with the photo. It was taken during a visit to the Al Williamson studio a few years back. Being able to see the “Savage World!” original art was a special moment. Especially while the pages were resting on Al’s drawing table.

Here’s a shipping update on the Williamson and Mark Schultz books.

If all goes well, we will have Al Williamson: Strange World Adventures, Carbon 4 by Mark Schultz, Xenozoic by Mark Schultz and the Al Williamson and Mark Schultz Astounding Sketchbook next week. The books are still at the port waiting to be offloaded from the shipping vessel. We will begin shipping our Kickstarter pledges and Flesk online pre-orders just as soon as they arrive.

As for our next wave of Flesk books, we have five other books at the printer. These include The Drawings of Edwin Austin Abbey, Covenant: The Art of Allen Williams, new books with Frank Cho and Gary Gianni, and a new printing of the Bruce Timm Naughty and Nice collection. Once the books have been printed and are being shipped to us I’ll reveal more and open them all up for pre-orders. We would like to see how the shipping transit times are looking before we announce the release dates.

In the meantime, we are working on the new Franklin Booth book, two new Arthur Adams books, three new William Stout books, plus we are wrapping up two books by a pair of new artists. Then we have the J.A.W. Cooper book to start in June, plus two other new artists who we will start working with in the summer. Then we will have more books featuring Mark Schultz and Al Williamson to work on for 2022. There’s more, but this is what we can share to date.

For the rest of 2021 we do not have any plans to exhibit at any shows. This includes the San Diego November show that we will skip. We will start fresh with events in 2022. Until that time we will continue to make the best books that we can.

You have our thanks for supporting us.

All my best!

–John

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The Marvel Art of Arthur Adams Signed Copies Now Available!

Hi everyone,

The Marvel Art of Arthur Adams is freshly signed and being sent to everyone who places an order from us. This is published by Flesk Publications. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to make it available to you all!

You can learn more about the book and order it here.

Enjoy,

John

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New Books by Arthur Adams and Wendy Pini. Plus, New Jacket for Frank Cho’s Drawing Beautiful Women!

We have three new titles are arriving this week!

The Marvel Art of Arthur Adams highlights fifty finished comic-book covers completed over the last decade for Avengers Classic, Guardians of the Galaxy and Secret Avengers, plus an assortment of X-Men and other standout titles. Many of the covers are accompanied by preliminary compositions or the penciled underdrawings made prior to inking. Every work has been scanned directly from the original and appears in its native form prior to coloring to showcase Arthur’s exquisite ink lines. Each also is accompanied by the artist’s commentary, as he takes the unique approach of walking the reader through the creative process for every image.

Line of Beauty: The Art of Wendy Pini edited by Richard Pini

Line of Beauty: The Art of Wendy Pini provides a comprehensive look at rare material from Wendy’s two Beauty and the Beast graphic novels, her Galaxy and If magazine covers and interior art, and preproduction art from the animated The Lord of the Rings film. It highlights ambitious projects such as Masque of the Red Death and Law and Chaos, includes exquisite art from the Land of Myth series of prints, and much more. The highest quality of reproduction is made possible through direct access to the original art or the best original source material, which has been made available from the Pini archives.

Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method

Frank Cho, the acclaimed creator of Liberty Meadows, shares his secrets to drawing the lovely women he is renowned for with his Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method. His exquisite line and masterful brushstrokes are explored to give the beginning artist, along with the most advanced professional, all the tools and knowledge needed to draw beautiful women.

This publisher’s edition hardcover includes a new revised jacket and an extra 16 pages, and is only available from Flesk and Cho. You get the extra content which includes bonus artwork and an exclusive Frank Cho interview, plus an alternate designed jacket and book boards for only $5 more than the hardcover trade! This edition will not be available through the book trade.

All pre-orders begin to ship by the end of this week.

Enjoy,

John

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