The Astounding Worlds of Al Williamson and Mark Schultz

Two artists! Three Books! Four Prints! The Schultz and Williamson variety fun pack presented by Flesk!

Mark Schulz and Al Williamson are my favorite adventure comic book artists. Flesk Publications houses some of the top artists in the industry. This triple bill of books is a perfect addition for the avid collector and the curious. This is true comic art at its highest pinnacle.

Forced into hiding by a global ecological cataclysm, humans emerge from their underground warrens half a millennium later to discover that the Earth has been totally transformed. All of the familiar flora and fauna are gone, replaced by a radically altered natural order populated by rampaging dinosaurs and strange new creatures. It takes guts, grim determination, ingenuity and a whole lot of old-fashioned luck just to survive, much less thrives, in this alien wilderness—all qualities that ace mechanic Jack Tenrec, lovely scientist Hannah Dundee and their friends possess in abundance.

But even the worthiest of these hardy souls are hard-pressed to surmount the obstacles presented by their new homeland. And when those trials are further compounded by the underhanded and selfish actions of the cutthroat human scavengers they encounter, even the best-equipped and bravest among them might not endure.

Xenozoic combines lush and richly realized ink-and-brush artwork with a pulp-fueled narrative to create an action-packed fantasy—an unrelenting adventure that also serves as a subtle cautionary fable concerning the unforeseen consequences that shortsighted present-day decisions might have upon future generations.

In 1948 a young Al Williamson accepted his first commercial assignment—for an issue of Famous Funnies comics, which launched his career as a professional in the field. Developing an elegant and illustrative style, he soon gained prominence in the highly influential EC Comics line of the 1950s. Over the next few decades, his exquisite art also illuminated many Atlas comics, various incarnations of Flash Gordon and the comic strips Secret Agent Corrigan and Star Wars, as well as a host of other titles and properties. This extraordinary body of superior work cemented Williamson’s longstanding popularity. By the end of his career in the early 2000s, he had become one of the most highly regarded comic and strip artists in the industry, especially noted for the graceful ink line that he spent a lifetime pursuing.

This first compendium in a new series is the perfect introduction to Al Williamson’s work. You will find samples that span his fifty-year career along with anecdotes and historical details salted throughout. Cover art, interior pages, drawings and sketches—plus photographs of Al and his friends posing  as reference for his sequential art—are included. This volume contains a mixture of both his most-obscure and best-known works, all meticulously reproduced from the original art.

Until now, this captivating original artwork has only been seen by those fortunate enough to visit the Williamson studio in person. For the first time, readers will be able to view the artist’s most cherished works. Williamson’s love of the 1920s and 1930s adventure, fantasy and science-fiction pop culture—and his admiration of artists such as Flash Gordon creator Alex Raymond—grounded his drawing technique and storytelling, which evolved throughout his life. He was able to take these inspirations and carry on the legacy of the past masters while becoming a unique icon in the industry. In this collection, readers will be able to witness Williamson’s development as an artist.

Al Williamson was born in New York City in 1931. His professional credits are both legion and legendary. His much-beloved work on King Features’ Flash Gordon comic-book series in the mid-’60s garnered him a “Best Comic Book Cartoonist” award from the prestigious National Cartoonists Society. He drew the daily comic strip Secret Agent Corrigan from 1967 until 1980 and then jumped to the Star Wars strip for the following three years.

From the barbaric past to the nightmarish future—from the ocean’s depths to the farthest planets—Carbon 4 features Mark Schultz’s most-ambitious works to date!

Mark Schultz unleashed! Inspired by the otherworldly pulp stories of his childhood in the 1950s and ‘60s, Schultz continues to draw inspiration from the adventure, fantasy and science-fiction genres of that imaginative period. With its visions of romanticized space exploration, this time continues to be a primary influence on his artwork and in this new collection, where the focus is on life on other worlds. While many of these new visions were created purely for his own satisfaction, Carbon 4 also features Schultz’s most recent commissions and commercial illustrations. As always, Xenozoic’s Jack and Hannah are featured prominently. A number of the works include preliminary sketches as well as the finished pencils, residing alongside their completed brush-and-ink companions. Two gatefolds highlight a pair of the artist’s most ambitious commissions to date—illustrations of contrasting literary interpretations of Martian life.

Carbon 4 also opens the Schultz archives to highlight obscure pieces not included in his previous volumes from Flesk. Rarely seen imagery from the first decade of his career is finally revealed after years of requests from fans. The drawings include covers done for the SubHuman series as well as for Superman, Aliens and Predator. Also presented are sketchbook page samples that offer insight into the artist’s thought process. As a bonus, fans will find “Time Troubling,” a little-known three-page teaching aid made for a long out-of-print book about the comics process. The breadth and scope of Schultz’s evolution as an illustrator are fully represented by these dynamic images spanning his thirty-year career.

Mark Schultz loves a good story, always has. His lifelong interest in the sciences and natural history led him to create the award-winning Xenozoic Tales and co-create the undersea adventure SubHuman, as well as to write such non-fiction projects as The Stuff of Life, a Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA. He has illustrated a collection of Robert E. Howard’s Conan of Cimmeria and the autobiography of Charles R. Knight, as well as his illustrated novella Storms at Sea. Currently, he is working on a new Xenozoic adventure.