By Joshua Stone
It is my pleasure to be covering the Flesk panel for Bleeding Cool for the third year San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) in a row, and just like the last two years, this one was also a blast. The panel included publisher John Fleskes, William Stout, Frank Cho, Daren Bader, and Terry Dodson.
Stout started the panel discussing his upcoming work. The first item he discussed was continuing to write his autobiography in art book format over multiple books. The first of these books was William Stout Prehistoric Life Murals, and the next book will be based around his comic book work, with him writing about what he was doing in his life at the time of the work's creation. Stout talked about this book at last year's SDCC, but due to the volume of comic book work he has done in his career and the amount of writing required, they are hoping to release the book next year.
Stout recently completed the wraparound cover for Yusuf Islam's, the former Cat Stevens, new album. Islam discovered Stout when his Islam's son gave his dad a copy of Stout's book, Legends of the Blues.
Stout is looking to do a book that will contain all of his Wizard of Oz related artwork – including work he had done on a proposed amusement park, designs he had done for The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, for which he was involved with the conceptual design, and more. He is talking to Fleskes about doing the book.
Cho was up next to talk about his new book that Flesk will release, Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method. The book was the fourth Kickstarter that Flesk had done, and was set to fund at $30,000, but it ended up funding at over $150,000. The book went to the printer last week, and will be ready to go to the Kickstarter backers on time in October and to the general public in November. Pre-orders can be made at the Flesk site with different options for the book available. Cho was 60-70% done with the book before the Kickstarter began, but he was blown away by how hard it was to finish the rest of the book and get everything put together on schedule. Fleskes said that he had spent a week with Cho last month to make sure he finished on time.
Cho announced that the next book he is working on for Flesk is World of Pain, a horror graphic novel. Cho is co-writing the book with Tom Sniegoski (author of the Bone: Quest For The Spark books within Jeff Smith's Bone world) and it will be part prose and part graphic novel. Cho originally wanted it to be a novel with illustrations. The story is based around a modern day sorcerer. The book will be 9×12, 112-120 pages, with about 30-50 comic book pages.
Cho has plans for six new creator owned projects, and is working on three for next year, with World of Pain being one and two more to be announced later this year. Cho has also been working on his long planned Guns and Dinos books. Originally planned to be three issues, but since completing the first issue, his plans have caused the story to balloon to seven issues. He hopes to get it down to four issues and is meeting with his French publisher this weekend at the convention.
Dodson discussed his upcoming release of Red One. It is scheduled for release in Europe in the Fall, and is looking to be released in the US in early 2015. Image Comics is scheduled to release it in the US in three different versions – regular floppy comics, softcover TPB, and a hardcover that will be the European standard size for art books.
Dodson is working on two issues of the Marvel Comics event book Axis, and he is working with his wife Rachel Dodson on these and they should be out in November. Here at SDCC, Dodson has his new sketchbook, published by Flesk and available on their site if you missed it at the Con. In honor of the annual masquerade at SDCC, the theme is Masquerade with a twist, that being that everything looks to be from 1914 instead of 2014. I picked up his print release for SDCC, which was Harley Quinn in a look straight out of 1914.
Bader, who works as an Art Director for Rockstar Games and served as judge on Spectrum 15, is working on completing a graphic novel called Tribes of Kai, which will feature 60 pages of fully painted art. He is at SDCC meeting with potential publishers and he said if he is unable to find one he will probably look to fund it through a Kickstarter.
Fleskes talked about future plans for the company. He has been working with Steve Rude on The Nexus Chronicles, which should be about 300 pages and they have been tracking down original art for the book. They have plans for a new book with Bruce Timm, but cannot announce the name yet. Fleskes is also working with Wendy and Richard Pini on two new books, one will be The Art of Elfquest and the second will be Wendy Pini: The Line of Beauty, which will feature non-Elfquest artwork. Fleskes is hoping that the next Kickstarter the company puts out will be from The Book of Giants by Serbian artist Petar Meseldzija, which will feature over 100 plus pages of penciled only art. The company is looking to do a new book with Gary Gianni, as well as a new book of Harvey Dunn artwork.
Fleskes also said that he has spoken to Mark Schultz recently and was told that Schultz is done with Storms at Sea. They hope the book will be released next spring or summer. Fleskes said that after that Schultz wants to complete Xenozoic Tales, and has about 100 pages to go on that.
Further musings of Joshua Stone can be read on Twitter @1NerdyOne.