Flesk Publicaitons, Craig Elliott, Gary Gianni, Petar Meseldzija, Mark Schultz and William Stout to Appear at Strip Festival Breda, The Netherlands — September 10-11, 2011


Craig Elliott, Gary Gianni, Petar Meseldzija, Mark Schultz and William Stout will join Flesk Publications at the Strip Festival Breda show in The Netherlands this September 10-11, 2011. The event will be held at the Chasse Theater in the city’s historic downtown.

Flesk will have their full line of books at the show, including Flesk Prime, a compendium featuring all five artists appearing at the show. The Flesk Publications stand will be rife with additional exclusive new titles, including Mysterious Islands by Gary Gianni and the Naughty and Nice Teaser by Bruce Timm. Free catalogs, promotional fliers and posters will also be on hand.

An exclusive giclee print “An Evening with Flesk Prime” featuring art from the five participating artists will be made available. Each print, using the finest archival inks on premium stock, is signed by each individual and is strictly limited to an edition of 50, with only 25 being available for sale to the public.

Each artist will be available for autographs and discussion. They will also have original artwork and unique items for sale.

The Artists:

Craig Elliott works in the animation industry as a visual-development artist, character designer and concept artist. He has worked primarily for Disney and DreamWorks, designing animated films such as Hercules, Mulan, Treasure Planet and The Princess and the Frog and Rio. He is the subject of an upcoming collection from Flesk Publications, The Art of Craig Elliott.

Gary Gianni has adapted and illustrated a wide variety of books, including John Henry, Kidnapped, Moby Dick, The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, The Complete Conan of Cimmeria, and more recently, Michael Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road. His comics work includes Classics Illustrated, The Shadow, and The MonsterMen. Gianni currently serves as illustrator of the Prince Valiant Sunday comic strip.

Petar Meseldžija is an illustrator and fine artist. His previous works include thirty-three illustrations for King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and ten covers for books of children’s fantasy literature for Scholastic. Petar’s own book The Legend of Steel Bashaw was published by Flesk in 2010. Most recently Petar contributed to a book project about the creatures of Serbian mythology, titled Banished Demons.

Mark Schultz is an American cartoonist, illustrator and writer. His most well-known work Xenozoic Tales has been adapted to television as the animated series Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. He is currently in the process of producing illustrations for his novella Storms at Sea. Mark is the current writer for the newspaper strip Prince Valiant.

William Stout is one of America’s foremost fantasy and film artists, dinosaur muralists and illustrators. Stout has contributed to over thirty films including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Walt Disney’s Dinosaur and Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. His Flesk books include Hallucinations, Inspirations, Prehistoric Life Murals and Dinosaur Discoveries.

Making his second appearance at the Strip Festival is John Fleskes, president and publisher of Flesk Publications. His previous books include collections on James Bama, Franklin Booth, Steve Rude and a two-edition set on the works of Joseph Clement Coll. His upcoming books include Edwin Austin Abbey: Drawings and James Bama: Personal Works.

“The warmth and friendliness of the Dutch people during Mark Schultz and my visit in 2010, along with the beauty of the city, encouraged us to come back again this year—and bring a few of our friends along as well,” shares John Fleskes. “We look forward to another incredible trip.”

Generous support for the appearance of Flesk Publications and each artist has been provided by De Stripspecialist, the finest comic book store in Breda.

Full details and sample pages for all Flesk Publications titles and the most recent news can be found at fleskpublications.com. All titles mentioned here and more can be purchased on our online store. Additional information can be read on publisher John Fleskes’ blog at fleskpublications.com/blog.

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
P.O. Box 3174
Santa Cruz, CA 95063
Flesk Publications online store: fleskpublications.com/shop
(408) 206-2346
Monday through Friday
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST

An Evening with Flesk Prime — Petar Meseldzija, Mark Schultz, William Stout, Gary Gianni and Craig Elliott — Thursday, September 8, 2011 — Breda, The Netherlands

"An Evening with Flesk Prime" giclee print signed by all five artists.

I am pleased to share the following details about an exciting Flesk Publications event.

Participate with Flesk Publications and five of its brightest stars in an evening of food, drink, conversation and illumination.

Publisher John Fleskes cordially invites you to join Craig Elliott, Gary Gianni, Petar Meseldzija, Mark Schultz and William Stout in a dinner prior to Strip Festival Breda 2011 which will afford the appreciator of fine illustration a chance for relaxed one-on-one repartee  in an atmosphere of convivial wining and dining. Strictly limited to 15 guests to ensure a quality experience.

Situated in a private room at the highly regarded Merlijn restaurant in the lovely and historic city of Breda, The Netherlands, with all the amenities of fine dining and spirits included.

Guests will receive a special signed giclee print honoring the evening and a copy of the new Flesk Prime compendium, personalized by all five artists. Original artwork will be available for discussion and viewing pleasure.

Additional support has been given by De Stripspecialist, Breda’s premier comic store.

Those interested in participating can contact evening organizer Mark Thelosen for pricing and availability at hoffmansmark@yahoo.com

The idea for “An Evening with Flesk Prime” came to me while thinking of the private dinners I feel fortunate to have with these artists. I always consider them to be special occasions that leave me with wonderful memories. I wanted to make this intimate experience available to a small group of people in the hope that they can share in this same rich experience. Ten of the fifteen tickets are already reserved. There will be many surprises and it will truly be a fun and relaxing evening.



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
Text © 2011 John Fleskes

Flesk Publications at Comic-Con – Part 3. Behind the Scenes, Bestsellers, Our Neighborhood and More.

Randall Dahlk and Mark Schultz at Comic-Con 2011

For me, Comic-Con goes into full-swing two weeks before the show starts. To begin, I wanted a new Flesk catalog for the show. I designed it over a weekend, had it printed, and it arrived with us five days before the show started. Then late in the week prior to the event our new titles, Flesk Prime, Mysterious Islands and Bruce Timm’s Naughty and Nice Teaser were all delivered. At that point I had everything I needed and could concentrate on packing for the show. Fortunately I can drive to San Diego. I load up the truck early Tuesday morning and get there by the afternoon.

The Comic-Con staff makes it about as easy as can be for pickup trucks and vans to drop off material. By 2:00PM our books were headed inside. After my assistant James Walker and I grabbed our badges and were walking back to the parking garage we noticed a line of a few dozen people waiting to get into the show a full 27 hours before the doors opened. People had tents and coolers, and looked quite excited about the upcoming show. One of them jumped up to check out the Comic-Con bag that James was holding. I still remember those days when I was that enthused about attending. I still think it is fun event. But my goals have changed. When I arrive I am focused on setting up our booth and the work that follows, rather than what I will buy and who I will get autographs from. It’s not a vacation anymore.

Just as we were retrieving my truck, Mark Schultz called. He had just arrived at the San Diego airport. Since we were close by, James and I drove over to pick him up. Con mode started in the Midwest for Mark as a fan recognized him at his connecting flight and asked to flip through his originals. Mark said he politely asked for the individual to come by the booth during convention hours to give everyone a fair chance. The price of fame…

I’ve been arriving on Tuesday for the last few years to take advantage of the city of San Diego the day before we are fully engaged in work. Getting the chance to relax and spend quiet time with some friends beforehand really helps to be prepared for five days of talking non-stop. The Balboa Park gardens, museums and a nice local restaurant have turned into a yearly pre-con respite.

By Wednesday afternoon I was ready and anxious to get started. I altered the configuration of our booth this year by opening it up and creating a more obvious artist signing area. It worked out well in providing more of a walk in space for people, plus gave us extra table space and still allowed us ample room behind the counter. I took some video that will be posted on the new Flesk website once it is ready in a few months.

We stayed busy throughout the show. Every year I tell my helpers at the booth that I am going to go out and walk around, and then every year I don’t, except for 15-20 minutes at a time and never stray far. When I return it is inevitable that someone was there looking for me. I’ve accepted that the show is so big now that it’s impossible to see everything I would like to and talk to everyone I want to. In a conversation Craig Elliott he reminded me how fortunate we are to be able to do what we are passionate about for a living. As tough as the days get, we get to play for a living. Craig is one of the most positive and balanced people that I know. He helps remind me that we have to be grateful for everything we do get to do and not focus negatively on what we can’t.

I did get to spend some time talking to my favorite locals in my Comic-Con neighborhood (about a five aisle radius). Gary Gianni, Jim Keegan, Frank Cho, Steve Morger at Big Wow, Jim Silke and Mike and Christine Mignola, William Stout, Craig Elliott, Cathy and Arnie Fenner, Bill Carman, Geof Darrow, Richard and Wendy Pini, Brent Anderson (Who unfortunately had his car broken into and had over 100 pages of original art stolen!), Dan Brereton, Arthur Adams, Terry Dodson, Aaron Lopresti, and more. The one artist I was anxious to meet who I wasn’t able to find was Alan Davis. I still like getting autographs and art once in a while. I’m a fan, too.

I was thrilled to meet Jordi Bernet. He was the one individual who the other artists were anxiously seeking out and enthused to meet.  Gary Gianni told me how excited he was to meet him, as did others. Bernet is greatly admired by his peers. He’s a true master of the form. I don’t buy many comics, but Jonah Hex is a beautifully drawn comic-book and something I always pick up when Bernet is doing the art chores.

Thursday night I had the welcome opportunity to be invited to the Spectrum dinner hosted by Arnie and Cathy Fenner. Bill Carman, Arlo Burnett and William Stout rounded out the party for a pleasant evening of storytelling. Bill is probably one of the best tale weavers I know. His stories are fascinating and what makes them especially impressive is that they are real.

Our bestsellers for the show, in terms of units sold, were led by the Bruce Timm: Naughty and Nice Teaser, followed by Flesk Prime, Mysterious Islands, and Mark Schultz Various Drawings Volume Five. One surprise was my bringing five to ten more copies of each Gianni book that sold last year, the individual titles selling out by Friday and Saturday. You never know what will or will not be popular.

Every year I get a regular flow of book proposals at the show. In most cases these tend to be unsolicited. I think San Diego is both an extremely tough place to try and get the attention of publishers and also a good place. It is a good option since you can physically pin down a publisher and make a positive personal impression instead of sending an email into a black hole, but also a bad place since a publisher may not want to be approached without prior notice. As I write this I realize this is a long topic best suited to a dedicated blog. I’ll write more in the future. Send me your questions. What would you like me to cover?

James Walker at the Flesk Publications Booth

What made this year a smooth one was the help of a few new helpers at my booth this year. Besides my good friend James being my right hand man, my pal Randy Dahlk chipped in, as did Laura West, Jocelyn Liang and Jackie Huang (all three being exceptional artists). Thanks to you all.

See you next year!



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
Text and photos © 2011 John Fleskes

Flesk Prime
Flesk Store

Flesk Publications at Comic-Con 2011 — Part 2. Artists and Signings.

Pierre Alary signing at the Flesk Publications booth. Photo © 2011 John Fleskes

At the 2010 Comic-Con we only had a handful of artist signings at the Flesk Publications booth. I wanted to stimulate more activity at my booth and made an effort to increase the number of artist appearances for 2011.

First of all, Mark Schultz gave up his previous spot which he shared with Gary Gianni and Jim Keegan for the last 10 years or so and moved to the Flesk booth. Mark was with us each day with guaranteed signing times in the morning. Then he would pop in and out throughout the rest of the day. This gave Mark the freedom to come and go as he pleased and not have the responsibility that comes with being committed full time to a booth for five days. He did end up staying with us much of the time, but I know the mental freedom of not being chained to a booth was rewarding for him. I’ll always have a welcome spot for Mark should he choose to continue staying with us.

Bruce Timm signing his Naughty and Nice Teaser at the Flesk booth. Photo © 2011 Amy Wagner.

Bruce Timm stopped by for an hour on Thursday which brought in a steady stream of fans. Even with our keeping the new BT Naughty and Nice Teaser chapbook behind the counter and limiting it to two per person we still blew through many copies. Bruce noticed copies of his Teaser were up on Ebay a full week before we premiered them at the show. I checked and sure enough they were up there. I held back copies just for our Flesk store for those who didn’t make the show. There are still some signed copies left if you want one. They will only run you $15.00 instead of the $35.00 and up prices you will find on Ebay.

Pierre Alary, in conjunction with Stuart Ng Books, did two signings at our table. They ran on Thursday and Friday for two hours each session. Pierre was doing beautiful drawings in his Sinbad and Belladone books purchased from Stuart Ng Books. Even though we do not publish Pierre’s work, I am a huge fan of his and was more than willing to open up a spot for him at our booth. I filmed him drawing three full sketches during his second session. I’ll have video clips up of Pierre drawing on our future revamped Flesk website which will be available in a couple of months.

To get off track for a second, Mark Schultz and I took a little break on Saturday at a quiet spot behind the convention center. During this time away, I filmed him drawing a Hannah portrait and a dinosaur sketch. I will post these clips on the new Flesk website once it is ready.

Also, I filmed Bill Carmen working on one of his gallery paintings. I saw Bill painting at his booth and happened to have my camera with me. I got a good clip with some commentary while he was working. This will also be available online in the near future.

Adam Warren did a signing on Saturday. This was another case of my admiring an artist’s work and my willing to give up a spot for a few hours for him to sign.

Gary Gianni stopped by and we put him to work signing his new Mysterious Islands books. He also was kind enough to sign all of our copies of Flesk Prime that I brought along for the show. Schultz, William Stout and Craig Elliott followed suit by providing their signatures. This made for four out of the five artists’ autographs that are featured in the book. I have a small amount left signed by these four and will add them to the Flesk store in a few days.

Then, Emily McGuiness unveiled her self-published book, Ties at our booth on Saturday.

I would like to thank all of the artists for their willingness to sign at our booth!

For 2012 I would like to increase the number of signings and artists. I enjoy having the positive energy at the booth. I’ve already been in touch with some great individuals. I look forward to surprising everyone with some fresh faces and our always exciting familiar faces for 2012.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by!



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
Text © 2011 John Fleskes

Flesk Online Store
Stuart Ng Books

Flesk Publications at Comic-Con 2011 — Part 1

Exhibiting at Comic-Con International continues to raise questions regarding whether or not it is worth the time and expense to exhibit at the show. The crowds continue to swell, the working hours are long, and the booth landscape continues to shift as does the audience. The events outside of the show continue to permeate the landscape in greater numbers. With the long waiting list for exhibitor space and show tickets selling out fast I see this sprawl as a growing trend. If you can’t get inside, then build events around the event to cater to those coming or going or who couldn’t get a ticket.

From a dealer perspective I see a few less of my old time neighbors with each new year. They are replaced by the latest TV cast from the latest TV show or some other pop culture phenomenon. I see less of the familiar attendees faces that I normally would expect to see each year. I see a smaller number of people who are there for the art books and comics. This is nothing new. A major shift began years ago, but it is growing more and more apparent and there are artists and dealers who have tired of the hassle and logistics of setting up at the show. Each year I wonder who will be next to drop out and call it quits. Some cling on knowing once they give up their booth they may never get it back.

The requirement for all exhibitors to wear a unique bracelet that was not removable for five days was a hot topic. Imagine showering, sleeping and sweating with this thing on for five days. I’m hoping that will be a one-time thing.

In terms of my setting up next year–I will be there. As exhausting and busy as the show is, I still think there is promotional value to setting up. I can come home feeling like we connected with many new people and that we were successful in spreading the word about our books and the artists I publish. I like to break even, but usually don’t. Exhibiting proves to be a good advertising and promotional tool so the costs and time away from the office is worth it for me. But, to many other dealers the number one reason is to make money. A comic or art dealer is not going to be happy coming home in the negative and will be rethinking why they are still there.

Something I would like to see, which I am writing the convention organizers about, is for the layout of the show to be adjusted to place all of the artists and comic dealers in one concentrated area where we can form a closer community and not be displaced throughout the show making people play hide and seek to find us as individuals for five days. I walked an aisle close to where I was set up to find an artist, game company, clothes seller, and a few booths I wasn’t sure what was going on. I felt the artist was stuck in the wrong aisle. When an artist drops out, the spot is filled with “dice guy,” for example. I actually don’t mind what people sell and like the diversity, but hope everyone can be grouped better to benefit each other in a community of like-minded items and people.

On another topic, the typical trends that I have grown used to over the last six years were thrown out the window this year. Wednesday and Thursday–typically our busiest days–were our slowest. The remainder of the show picked up steam as we ended up having a good year in terms of books sales. Better than the last. And we went through over 1000 catalogs and another few thousand postcard fliers which I like to see. But, the crowds seemed lighter in our area compared to last year.

One thing I will say is the people who run San Diego do an impressive job. Sure, I have my complaints, and there are things I would like to see changed, but if you look at the sheer amount of attendees, dealers and all their personalities and different things they are trying to sell, then come up with a way to make it all work, it’s a heck of a job. In addition, the organizers are privy to information I am unaware of. I can’t fully criticize their actions without being armed with more details. This doesn’t stop me from passing on suggestions and asking questions. Then I have to trust them to make it all work for everyone.

The show will continue. Whether it will continue to have people like me set up in the near future, I’m not sure. I sense dealers being tired and some changes coming. Whether they throw in the towel, or rally together to hold fast (What I’m rooting for), or something else, the future will tell.

Part two of my Comic-Con blog coming in a few days. I’ll write about our artists signings, books we premiered and some side stories.



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
Text © 2011 John Fleskes