Recent Art Books I’ve Enjoyed

I picked up some terrific art books over the last year. Here are just a few of the ones that I truly enjoyed.

Spectrum 15

Spectrum 15. The book I most look forward to each year. It is always a treat to receive. There’s the usual masters as well as many wonderful artists I was previously unaware of.

Scorchy Smith

Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles. This book received most of the positive buzz from my circle of friend’s this year. And we’re a picky bunch of guy’s. I was delighted when I received mine. It looks like a true labor of love with interesting and easy to read text. There’s plenty about Sickles as well as his lifelong friend Milt Caniff. It features great reproduction with clean design. All of the Scorchy Smith strips are included! A very handsome volume.

Complete Pirelli Calendars

The Complete Pirelli Calenders. Gorgeous design and photographs. I love the simplicity of design in this collection. A very classy book. By the way, if you enjoy portrait and model photography like I do, Howard Schatz latest book H2O is worth checking out.

Leyendecker Abrams Book

J.C. Leyendecker, published by Abrams. Finally, a serious look at this artist, as the authors made available his first true biography. Lots and lots of artwork to look at. Many are from originals, and the reproduction is top notch. It is obvious that this book was twenty or more years in the making. A much needed book for one of my favorite illustrators.

Complete Don Martin Collection

The Completely Mad Don Martin collection. I’ve been laughing at Don Martin’s Mad magazine cartoons since I was a kid. Having them all in one massive two-volume set is a treat. Nice oversized packaging with the art one per page.


Kiskaloo by Chris Sanders. Wow, this guys art is amazing! Sanders was the designer for Disney’s Lilo & Stitch. You can visit his website here and get Kiskaloo and his sketchbooks from  Bud’s Art Books or Stuart Ng Books.

MÉLANGE by Dean Yeagle. This is the best collection on Yeagle’s work so far. Full of art and nice reproduction. He has worked for Disney and has been a longtime contributor to Playboy Magazine through his one-page cartoons.

Fables Covers by James Jean. Stunning design and beautiful art.

Most of these books can be purchased through Bud’s Art Books or Stuart Ng Books.

John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

William Stout Appearances! Prehistoric Life Murals Book Tour Coming!

William Stout

Be on the look out for a William Stout signing tour for his upcoming book, Prehistoric Life Murals, coming soon from Flesk. We will debut the book at the San Diego Natural History Museum in March, and follow with signings throughout the Los Angeles area and San Francisco Bay Area. Besides the SDNHM, Stuart Ng Books in Torrance, CA, and Lee’s Comics in Mountain View, CA will hold events. The complete list and dates will be posted in a few weeks!

For now, William Stout is scheduled to appear at the following events. He will have original artwork, publications, and also be available for signing items, or just to chat.

MegaCon 2009 February 27 – March 1, 2009

Sac-Con March 8, 2009

Stellarcon March 13 – 15, 2009

WonderFest May 16 – 17, 2009

Comic-Con International July 22 – 26, 2009

Dragon*Con September 4 – 7, 2009

More updates soon!

John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

New Dave Stevens Book! Edited by Arnie and Cathy Fenner!

Dave Stevens: A Brush with Passion

Anticipation, excitement, and anxiousness–I don’t think I was alone in feeling this way as I awaited my copy of The Life and Art of Dave Stevens: A Brush with Passion. The book is edited by Arnie and Cathy Fenner and published by Underwood Books. I had high expectations for this book, all of which were delivered.

As a passionate Stevens fan I collected any and all of his art that I could find beginning with his Pacific Comics work. So how much new art could there be for a hardcore fan that thinks he’s seen it all, like me? Plenty. And the art contained that I have seen is reproduced beautifully from the original art. This book is over 300 pages and stuffed with art. It also has clean and elegant design work by the Fenner’s. Simply put, it is stunning.

Here’s what really set this collection apart as one of my favorite books in the last few years. Dave Stevens is notorious for his guarded privacy. Due to this, I was not aware of the circumstances and history behind much of his art and lifestyle. Besides all of the great art, this book has meaty text. Dave opens up about his life, meeting and befriending Bettie Page, his self-doubts and depression, the circumstances towards the creation of The Rocketeer, his focus on oil painting later in life, his not wanting to be typecast as a pin-up artist–all told in a open and inviting manner. In areas where Dave did not get a chance to finish his writing, the editors of the book, Arnie and Cathy Fenner, would fill in the blanks. Based on the tributes sprinkled throughout the book, it is obvious how much Dave meant to his friends and how sorely he is missed.

The combination of Dave Stevens’ gorgeous art, and the story of the man himself, makes this book a significant addition to anyone’s library. More information can be found at the Spectrum website. To purchase this book, visit Bud’s Art Books or Stuart Ng Books. They have the limited signed edition available.

Designer Randy Dahlk Unveils ‘Retro Randy’ Blog!

Retro Randy

For those of you who don’t know who Randy Dahlk is, he’s the guy who designed our Mark Schultz: Various Drawings books, and the new William Stout: Prehistoric Life Murals book, and our upcoming Flash Gordon: A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic book. He is an integral part of Flesk. Randy constantly blows me away with his designs and creative energy.

Randy has started a new blog, Retro Randy, showcasing his work, thoughts, and influences. Check it out here! His latest entries talk about Osamu Tezuka, Al Williamson, and more.

John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Mark Schultz Various Drawings Coming Summer 2009!

Mark Schultz Various Drawings Volume Four

After a one-year hiatus, I am very excited to announce that Mark Schultz’s Various Drawings series will return this summer 2009. Randy Dahlk has just finished designing the cover to Mark Schultz: Various Drawings Volume Four. I absolutely love what Mark and Randy produced and wanted to share it right away.

Highlighting this compilation is Schultz’s new Pulpette personal works. These four plates combine Mark’s love for pulp magazine imagery combined with classic pin-up style art. Development sketches showcase his stages of production.

Also included are preliminary pieces and a self-rejected sample for his upcoming illustrated novella, Storms at Sea as well as new Xenozoic Tales specialty drawings. Additional illustrations include recent commissions, spotlighted by an evocative Helen of Troy nude. Completing this volume is a Martian fantasy gatefold, sketchbook experimentations, and Schultz’s contribution to Prince Valiant.

We plan on releasing the book at Comic-Con International in San Diego at the end of July.


John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Mark Schultz “The Stuff of Life” Interview!

Stuff of Life

I would like to share with you news about Mark Schultz’s new book, The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA published by Hill and Wang. The 150-page book is written by Schultz, and illustrated in a graphic novel format by Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon. It is available at $14.95 in mid-January.

I was pleased to receive a preview copy from the editor, Howard Zimmerman. The first thing that impressed me about this book was the depth of Mark’s writing in covering the topic of genetics and DNA, followed by the superb illustrations by Zandar and Kevin. The two unrelated Cannon’s combined make up Big Time Attic. Their previous work includes Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards (G.T. Labs 2005).

Mark Schultz is known for his dynamic drawings of adventure and fantastic art, his award winning Xenozoic Tales, for writing Superman: Man of Steel, Aliens, and Star Wars comics, and a host of other comic related works. But, a non-fiction book on genetics? It seems out of the ordinary. Needless to say, after reading The Stuff of Life, I had a lot of questions for Mark.

Flesk Publications: Can you tell me a little bit about The Stuff of Life?

Mark Schultz: The Stuff of Life is a science primer—a high school level introduction to the science of genetics—told in a comics format. To get across the sometimes incredibly complex information needed to understand the subject, it employs a fictional problem-solving framework, with a narrator who comes from another planet, tasked with learning how genetics works on Earth. The book was written by me and illustrated by master cartoonists Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon. We look at the mechanics of genetics—from the molecular workings of DNA up through the rules of heredity, and then at how mankind is applying his growing knowledge of the subjects in a practical—and sometimes impractical—manner. I know it sounds dry, and it is admittedly dense material, but it is fascinating and incredibly relevant subject that will have a growing and unavoidable impact on all our lives.

FP: What prompted you to write a graphic novel on genetics?

MS: I was approached by Howard Zimmerman, the man who envisioned the project and oversaw its creation for the publisher, Hill and Wang. I’m not known for writing non-fiction, but Howard liked my slant on introducing science into my fiction work, and believed I could pull off an academically acceptable text. Beyond that, I think it’s very important to try to find practical ways of introducing people to science. Much of the world—much of our own country—is ignorant of science-oriented issues and policies that affect them very personally. Sequential art is becoming an increasingly accepted—and therefore effective—method of reaching out.

FP: Do the topics of genetics fall within your interest? When the opportunity came to take on this project, were you eager, based on your possible interest?

MS: I’m interested in all aspects of biological science. For me it started with a love of dinosaurs and prehistoric life in general, which developed into an interest in evolution. Genetics—and the DNA molecule that links together all life on Earth—is the biological process that allows for evolution to transpire. You can’t understand one without the other.

But, taking on the project, I was nervous that my lack of a solid academic background in the sciences would be real roadblock to my being able to clearly and succinctly communicate the complexities of the subject.

FP: How much work was involved in learning about the subject to accurately write about it?

MS: An awful lot of research time went into Stuff. Since I don’t have the academic training—I don’t have an extensive foundation—I was compiling multiple sources to confirm technical points. If I wasn’t sure about something, I’d ideally want three sources in agreement before I felt secure. So, a lot of prep time went into the book. Thank goodness that Howard, Zander and Kevin all took it upon themselves to become knowledgeable about genetics as well. And then the text was vetted by a geneticist, to catch errors that slipped through.

FP: Did you find this to be a creative type of writing, or more academic? How different was the experience than the comics and novels you have done previously?

MS: The information obviously had to be rigorously academic to be acceptable, but making that information work in an engaging manner in a comics format was serious exercise in creativity. Some of the most creative work I do—fiction or non-fiction—involves editing down ideas to fit page counts and project parameters—there was a lot of creative problem solving going on between all of us involved with the book.

Trying to make something as inherently abstract as the molecular workings of DNA and RNA visually appealing as well as understandable was a huge problem that needed some very creative solutions.

FP: What do you hope people will get out of this book?

MS: A basic understanding of how genetics and heredity work, how these sciences concern all of us personally, and how technological development based on these sciences are altering our lives.

And, maybe most importantly, a desire to delve deeper into the subject.

FP: What type of reader do you recommend this book to?

MS: Any readers with an interest in gaining more control of their—or their children’s—lives, and in gaining a greater understanding of the world around them. If we are going to make intelligent decisions concerning who we elect to positions of power and, so, what policies are cast regarding the sciences, we need to be educated. Stuff isn’t a book that covers every aspect of genetics in depth, but it is a good place to start.

FP: Can a genetics layman find this book to be a good introduction to the subject?

MS: Well, if it isn’t, we’ve failed! I’m betting that it is.

FP: Thanks for your time, Mark!

Announcing the new Gary Gianni adaptation of Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea! Now Available!

Twenty-Thousand Leagues under the Sea

Flesk Publications is proud to present a graphic novelization of Jules Vernes Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by the celebrated illustrator and writer of books, comics, and comic strips, Gary Gianni. Featuring an introduction by Ray Bradbury. The Verne novel receives an exciting fresh visual approach allowing the reader to experience the story anew. This oversized, hardbound volume also includes the full text of The Sea Raiders, a short story by H.G. Wells, accompanied by ten original illustrations created for this edition by Gianni. Jim & Ruth Keegan supply the colors.

Hardcover edition available for $24.95. Hardbound limited signed edition available for $34.95. Super Deluxe edition, limited to only 40 copies, containing an original Twenty- Thousand Leagues pencil drawing by Gary Gianni is also available. 64 pages, 9 x 12 in.

More details on Gianni’s adaptation, sample art, and more information on the super deluxe edition can be found on our website, here.

All US orders made on or before January 15 receive free media mail shipping! For your convenience Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is easy to order direct from Flesk. For phone orders please call 408-206-2346. Paypal orders can be accepted using our email address: Please visit our website for additional payment methods. While you are visiting our site, feel free to read about the latest Flesk news.

Retailer Ordering Information:

Book trade orders: Our titles are distributed to the book trade by SCB Distributors. You can order this book direct from your local bookstore. Or, give SCB Distributors a call to order the books for your store at 1-800-729-6423.

Comic book store retailers can order this book through Diamond Comic Distributors. DCD order code numbers are: NOV08 4069 – Jules Vernes Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea GN $24.95, and NOV08 4070 – Jules Vernes Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea DLX SGN HC $34.95.

As always, feel free to call us with any questions. Thanks for your support!


John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
P.O. Box 3174
Santa Cruz, CA 95063
(408) 206-2346
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