If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been posting lately on this, my Journal page, it’s for three reasons:
1) As announced in my last entry, I’ve been in Europe…and…
2) I am such a computer illiterate, I don’t know how to make postings to my site when I am away from my home computer. Plus, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on the computer at an internet cafe (increasingly difficult to find in these days of laptops and Wi-Fi) when I could instead be out galavanting around Europe.
3) My wife also thought it might not be wise to broadcast to the burglars of the world that we were away.
Now that I’m back, please allow me to catch you up on my European adventures.
My wife Kent and I flew direct from Los Angeles to Amsterdam on KLM (I never fly on any US airlines if I can help it, except for maybe JetBlue, as the treatment I get on European and Asian airlines is so superior to the begrudging “service” and surly attitudes I get over and over again from domestic companies).
The service and food on KLM was as special as I had hoped for; a free bottle of wine (or beer) came with each of our two delicious (and also free) meals because in Europe no meal would be considered complete or proper without some good wine — they wouldn’t think of charging for it. My wife and I watched four movies each (the flight was over ten hours) on our back-of-the-seat-in-front-of-us video monitor screens.
Bridesmaids was consistently hilarious. We liked the sci-fi pic Limitless, too. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris was OK; Battle for Los Angeles was mind-numbingly bad (I wasn’t expecting it to be good but had hoped for at least a fun popcorn movie a la the recent mass destruction flick 2012.
We were greeted at the Amsterdam airport by one of the Breda comic book convention’s organizers, Mark Thelosen. Mark proved to be a highly likeable, bright, knowledgeable and gregarious fellow, a wonderful ambassador for the Netherlands, Breda and their comic convention.
Mark got us quickly checked into the high quality, efficiently run and well-located Apollo Hotel. My wife and I took a long, well-earned nap after our plane journey.
A few hours later we gathered at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby along with my publisher John Fleskes and the rest of his stable of high caliber talent: Mark Schultz, Gary Gianni, Craig Elliott and Petar Meseldzija.
It was the first time I had met Petar. This gentle Serbian is one of the most talented artists I have ever encountered. He is also incredibly sweet and kind and we immediately became fast friends, bonding over art and Leffe beer from Belgium (although he drank the lighter version while I preferred the Leffe brun or dark brew).
The group of us were loaded into Mark Thelosen’s van and taken to an incredible restaurant for “An Evening with Flesk Prime”. This low key event offered the chance for fans of our work to spend an entire (I think we left around 1:00 AM; I can’t recall, as I had several glasses of Leffe) intimate evening of fine food, good drink and excellent conversation — as well as art — with us at the enchanting Merlijn (Merlin) restaurant, a place covered in Arthurian sculptures and murals inspired by Alan Lee and Arthur Rackham.
In addition to the dinner and drinks, each participating fan (the ten art collectors primarily came from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and France) who attended received a copy of the latest Flesk book, Flesk Prime, autographed by all five artists. Each participant also received an original penciled comic page (from his comic book adaptations of Monster Men, The Shadow and Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) by the unbelievably generous Gary Gianni, as well as a special print with unpublished art by all five of us. Craig Elliott did an incredible job of printing the poster-sized giclee prints on beautiful hand made paper. All five of the artists signed this very limited deluxe edition.
All five of us rotated around the various dinner tables during our four course meal and we created a special display of our original art after dinner, giving those select fans the first opportunity to purchase some of our originals, a day prior to the convention.
Wandering Star publisher Marcelo Anciano was also in attendance. I passed on seeing a lot of Breda to spend some quality time with this bright, gregarious raconteur and gentleman.
Supported by the loveable Guido (pronounced “GHEE-doe”), owner and operator of the fine Breda comic book shop De Stripspecialist, the event was so successful that most of the participants offered to pay for and reserve their spot in next year’s Flesk Prime event that very evening.
After it was over, in true John Fleskes style, John immediately pow-wowed with Mark Thelosen (and Guido, perhaps — I wasn’t at the pow-wow) on how to make next year’s event even better. I love thinking like that and it’s one of the reasons I so love my publisher!
If you’d like see photos of the event, go to: http://fleskpublications.com/blog/2011/09/18/an-evening-with-flesk-prime-september-8-2011-the-experience-with-photos/
So, my Europe trip already had a great start and the Breda Strip Festival (comic convention) hadn’t even begun!
More Tomorrow, My Friends…