San Diego Comic-Con 2009!

I had a blast at the San Diego Comic-Con. I always come back super-charged to work. Since returning from the show, I’ve been focused on our new batch of books (I’ll start announcing these new titles in the coming weeks). There is so much talent at the show, it is a visual rush that inspires and pushes me to do better work.

When I’m at the show, I don’t permit myself the luxury of strolling around. Part of me misses this, but at the same time I love what I do, and being at the booth is fun for me as well. Fortunately, we’re set up in a great area surrounded by some of the most amazing artists in the industry. Mike Mignola, Geof Darrow, Jim Silke, Sanjulian, Frank Cho, William Stout, Mark Schultz, Gary Gianni (a Comic-Con guest this year), Terry Dodson, Craig Elliot, Chris Sanders, Adam Hughes, Donato Giancola (who just won two Chesley Awards and a third Hugo), Brom, Art Adams, Bruce Timm, J. Scott Campbell, and Thomas Yeates area all within an aisle or two or three from us. Given the close proximately of all of these artists, I was able to stop by to see what most of them were working on, and pick up sketchbooks from those that had them.

As I mentioned earlier, Gary Gianni was a guest at the show this year. He had an artist spotlight on Saturday at 12:30. He invited Geoff Darrow and Mike Mignola along, who put on a funny show by heckling Gary throughout the hour-long panel. This is the one panel I saw. It felt good to disappear from the exhibit hall floor for a brief stint.

Back at the booth, I was lucky to have two people helping me out this year. My good friend James Walker ran the booth, covered for me, and basically handled anything and everything I threw at him for five days. We were also privileged to have Randy Dahlk help throughout the show. Randy has been amazing at taking on much of the design work for Flesk while I focus on the business end of things. The new Flash Gordon and Various Drawings books are designed by Randy.

Mark Schultz and Randy Dahlk

We had a good number of signings at the booth. Mark Schultz signed for two hours each day. Gary Gianni, William Stout, Jim and Ruth Keegan all greeted fans at various times. Also, Peter de Seve, Dave Guertin and Greg Baldwin (Creaturebox), and Eric Goldberg signed for two hours each. The later four gentlemen were in conjunction with Stuart Ng Books.

Gary Gianni signs his Major Thrill’s Adventure Book
Peter de Seve signing at the Flesk booth

A highlight for me every year is having the chance to see Charlie Kochman, Executive Editor of Abrams ComicArts. He is a true inspiration to me, and a heck of a guy. He edited the Eisner Award winning Kirby: King of Comics. To learn more about Charlie, you can read an interview with him by clicking here.

Speaking of highlights, I was pleased to have the opportunity to spend some time talking with Cathy and Arnie Fenner. Even before I knew them personally, the Fenner’s played a major role in influencing me, and pushing me harder to improve my own books. They continue to do so today. The bonus is they are both terrific people.

I’m going to wrap this up by listing out a random selection of cool books I picked up in San Diego. I won’t attempt to write a review for each one, but take into account that I wouldn’t list anything I wouldn’t recommend.

Chris Sanders sketchbook 3.

Strange Days edited by Cathy and Arnie Fenner. Big 32-page poster book featuring rare pulp art. Worth it for the J. Allen St. John pieces alone.

Daren Bader showed me a copy of his book just as we were closing up on Sunday. Very nice work.

Steve Rude Commissions 2009 sketchbook.

Arthur Adams Ocho, #8 in the sketchbook series.

J. Scott Campbell Monster Green the Wicked Tales

From the Vault 2 by Mike Mignola.

Essex County by Jeff Lemire from Top Shelf Productions.

Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell, winner of the 2009 Eisner Award for best new graphic novel. I read it last night, and it is a unique and refreshing read. Top Shelf has been producing wonderful art books and graphic novels. I think they are easily doing some of the best work out there.

Dames, Dolls & Gun Molls: The Art of Robert A. Maguire by Jim Silke. A must purchase.

You can buy just about all of these books from Bud’s Art Books.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth in San Diego!



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications