William Stout Interview at Comic Book Resources!

William Stout: Hallucinations Coming July 2010 from Flesk.

William Stout: Hallucinations Coming July 2010 from Flesk.

Alex Dueben has written an article on “The Many Careers of William Stout,” followed by an interview with Stout, available on the Comic Book Resources website.

This informative article and interview covers Stout’s work in film, comics, and as a paleoartist and muralist. Furthermore, Stout discusses the story behind his books, Dinosaur Discoveries and New Dinosaur Discoveries A-Z, and shares news on his upcoming fantasy art collections Hallucinations and Inspirations. There is also a good discussion focusing on his work ethic and diversity in selecting projects.

You can read the interview at Comic Book Resources by clicking here.



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Interview with Petar Meseldžija as he discusses his upcoming book, The Legend of Steel Bashaw (coming fall 2010 from Flesk), his painting techniques and about himself!

Petar Meseldžija in His Studio

Petar Meseldžija in His Studio

I have just posted an interview with Petar Meseldžija on the Flesk website. You can jump ahead and read the entire interview, along with many sample paintings and details by clicking here.

I am pleased to announce I will be publishing Petar’s book, The Legend of Steel Bashaw (click to see the details on this book), this fall 2010. This interview covers what The Legend of Steel Bashaw is about, and about his painting techniques and about himself.

I first became aware of Petar Meseldžija in November 2009 when I received a copy of Spectrum 16. Petar was awarded a Gold award in the Book category for one of his paintings from The Legend of Steel Bashaw, published as Baš Čelik by the Serbian publisher Zmaj.

A visit to Petar’s website educated me on the fact that he lived in the Netherlands. With my planned trip to the Stripbeurs comic show in Breda, Netherlands coming up in early March 2010, I wrote an email to Mark Thelosen, my contact and host for our upcoming adventure, if he was aware of Petar. With Mark’s help, Petar and I were communicating through email two days later. Within a few weeks of my first noticing Petar’s work, I developed a relationship with him, received a copy of the Serbian edition of The Legend of Steel Bashaw, and we came to an agreement for my publishing his book in the U.S. (Please visit the book details on our website here.) Furthermore, it was a pleasure to meet Petar and his wife, Anita, and have the opportunity to visit their home and see his original paintings a few days after the Stripbeurs Breda show.

Petar’s work is a successful blend of fine art and illustration. I was in awe at how impressionistic his paintings were up close. At a short distance away and in reproduction the pieces appear tight, but then walk up for a detailed viewing and they again become abstract with thick paint raised from the surface, with deliberate powerful strokes. It also turns out that Petar is a wonderful, kind person, who can be witty and humorous, as well as deep and compelling. One thing is for certain; we are all the better for his desire to paint, in that we have more beauty in the world.

I asked Petar if he was willing to write a little about himself, his painting technique and about The Legend of Steel Bashaw. He came back with intriguing and sophisticated responses to each question, proving behind his funny exterior and joy for life, the inner artist is contemplative and tireless in his efforts to improve his work and in producing the stories he wants to share. I have included pictures throughout from my enjoyable visit to his home and our time spent together in Breda.

You can read the full interview with Petar by clicking here.



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Mark Schultz Interview at Comic Book Resources!

Alex Dueben has conducted an in-depth interview with Mark Schultz. It can be found on the Comic Book Resources website by clicking here. They talk about Mark’s involvement on Prince Valiant, and our upcoming book, Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon, as well as Schultz’s books in development, Various Drawings Volume Four and Storms at Sea. A great interview and website!


John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Mark Schultz on NPR!

Mark Schultz talks about his involvement writing The Stuff of Life on NPR. You can listen to the 12 ½ minute interview here.

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!