Creig Flessel

Creig Valentine Flessel (February 2, 1912 – July 17, 2008)[1] was an American comic book artist and an illustrator and cartoonist for magazines ranging from Boys' Life to Playboy. One of the earliest comic book illustrators, he was a 2006 nominee for induction into the comics industry's Will Eisner Hall of Fame.

Creig Flessel
Creig Flessel
Creig Flessel
BornCreig Valentine Flessel
February 2, 1912
Huntington, New York, United States
DiedJuly 17, 2008 (aged 96)
Mill Valley, California, United States
Notable works
Shining Knight


Early life and career

The son of Frank John Flessel, a blacksmith, and his wife Ida Hawkins Bunce, Flessel was born in Huntington, Long Island, New York.[2][3] He was the youngest of two boys and two girls,[3] with siblings Frank Bunce Flessel, Laura E. Flessel, and Elizabeth Flessel.[4] Flessel graduated high school in 1930 then attended Grand Central Art School, at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, working as a door monitor in exchange for art lessons from instructors including the painter Harvey Dunn.[3] He studied there for two years, with cartoonist Charles Addams a classmate and casual acquaintance.[3][5] Afterward, he worked one summer as a gardener on William K. Vanderbilt’s estate, earning $25 a week.[3]

Flessel began drawing for the pulp magazines of the time, including Street & Smith's The Shadow. "They would give you a copy of a story and the space. Double spread would be $15; single would be seven, sometimes ten," Flessel recalled in 2001.[6] He broke into comics after answering an ad in The New York Times by Major Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson,[6] whose National Allied Publications would eventually become DC Comics, and began freelancing there. His first known work for the publisher appeared in More Fun Comics #10 (cover-dated May 1936), penciling and inking the two-page sword-and-sorcery feature "Don Drake" and the two-page humor strip "Fishy Frolics".[7] Flessel recalled,

I don’t think they were looking for any pedigree or “Would you do this?” More like, “You’re a live body. What do you want to do? Take this and do it, then.” I realized they were desperate so I had to go out and buy a drawing table. They had just one table that they were doing all of the mechanical work on. So I got a table and managed to find a chair and sat down and they said, “Here. Do this.” I think I did a couple of center spreads for More Fun. I did [the feature] "Fishy Frolics", I did an "Acorn and Andy" double-spread. Little nonsense cartoons.[6]

Detective Comics 7
Creig Flessel's cover for Detective Comics #7 (Sept.1937)

In 1936, Flessel applied for a position with the advertising agency Johnstone and Cushing, and the firm, feeling he needed more experience, recommended him as an assistant to cartoonist John H. Striebel on the newspaper comic strip Dixie Dugan. He worked for Striebel "[h]alf a day for a year, while I was doing pulps and of course keeping my contact with Johnstone and Cushing, maybe picking up a job," while also continuing to work for Wheeler-Nicholson.[6] Flessel also assisted Streibel with advertising art featuring the humorous radio program characters Vic and Sade, who appeared in Farina Wheat cereal print ads. Flessel next found work with the major advertising agency Johnstone and Cushing, illustrating ads for Nestle Toll House cookies, General Foods, Raisin Bran, Eveready batteries, the Nehi Beverage Company's R.C. Cola (with the characters R.C. and Quickie) and other brands and products.

On November 20, 1937, Flessel and Marie G. Marino were married in Brooklyn, New York City.

Golden Age of comic books

Concentrating his attention on the fledgling comics medium, Flessel drew the covers of many of the first American comic books, including the pre-Batman Detective Comics #2-19 (April 1937 - Sept. 1938). He both wrote and drew the two-page "Steve Conrad, Adventurer", premiering in New Comics #5 (June 1936); the two-page sports feature "Pep Morgan", premiering More Fun #12 (Aug. 1936); "Bret Lawton" and "Speed Saunders" (the latter with writer E. C. Stoner and later Gardner Fox), both premiering in Detective Comics #1; "Bradley Boys", premiering in More Fun #13; "Hanko the Cowhand", premiering in "More Fun" #25 (Oct. 1937); "Buzz Brown", premiering in More Fun #30 (March 1938); and at least drew and possibly wrote "Red Coat Patrol" also known as "Sgt. O'Malley", premiering in "More Fun" #39 (Jan. 1939). As writer-artist, Flessel created the DC character the Shining Knight, in Adventure Comics #66 (Sept. 1941).[7][8]

Flessel, who drew many early adventures of the Golden Age Sandman and is closely associated with that character, has sometimes been credited as the character's co-creator. While Flessel drew the Sandman cover of Adventure Comics #40, generally considered the character's first appearance,[9] the character was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Bert Christman.[10]

When DC Comics editor Vin Sullivan left the company in 1940 to work for Columbia Comics, Flessel, Fox and others freelanced for his Big Shot Comics. In 1943, when Sullivan formed his own comic book publishing company, Magazine Enterprises, Flessel signed on as associate editor. Among its other publications, the firm produced at least three issues of the highly violent, wartime propaganda comic The United States Marines, which presented "Authentic U.S. Marine Corps Picture Stories" as well as graphic government photographs of such subjects as burned and bayoneted Japanese soldiers.

Alter Ego #45 (Feb. 2005): New Sandman cover art by then 93-year-old Flessel

Flessel drew illustrations for several issues of the pulp magazine Clues Detective Stories in 1939 and 1940. During the late 1950s he also provided uncredited artwork for Al Capp's Li'l Abner comic strip.[11]

Later life and career

Flessel continued to draw comics, often uncredited, through the 1950s, including Superboy stories in both that character's namesake title and in Adventure Comics; and anthological mystery and suspense tales in American Comics Group (AGC's) Adventures into the Unknown. Flessel's final regular comic-book work was penciling and inking the 6​23-page story "The Flying Girl of Smallville" in Superboy #72 (April 1959). He returned in the 1970s to do occasional inking for writer-penciler Joe Simon, as on Prez #4 (March 1973).[7]

Creig Flessel's David Crane (June 10, 1961). The titular minister is not depicted in this particular slice of small-town life.

Beginning in 1960, Flessel drew a Hall Syndicate comic strip about a young minister, David Crane, created by Ed Dodd in 1956 and originally produced by artist Win Mortimer and writer Hart Spence.[12] In 1993, Flessel donated the original art for 2,677 strips to the Ohio State University Cartoon, Graphic and Photographic Arts Research Library. After David Crane ceased publication in 1971, Flessel unsuccessfully attempted several other strips, including Cy Poppins, about the owner of a country store; Willie Wildwood, an environmentally aware strip; and The Other Foot.[11]

Like his friend Jack Cole, creator of Plastic Man, Flessel also regularly contributed cartoons to Playboy magazine, including a series titled "The Adventures of Baron Furstinbed". Many of these cartoons were reprinted in the one-shot Sex and Other Late Night Laughs (1990), collecting the work of 26 Playboy cartoonists.[13]

In 2000, Flessel and his wife Marie moved from the East Coast to Mill Valley, California, where he continued to create art for local events and talent shows.[14] Their son, Peter Flessel, is an environmental engineer, and their daughter, Eugenie Fernandes, is a book illustrator and author in Ontario.[5][14][15]

In his final years, Flessel was rediscovered by comic fandom and was the recipient of many honors. He was a guest of honor at the fan convention Wondercon in San Francisco, California, in February 2005, speaking on the Golden/Silver Age Panel. Flessel is also mentioned in Michael Chabon's 2000 novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (though his name is misspelled "Craig" in early editions).[16]

Flessel suffered a stroke[14] and shortly afterward died at his home in Mill Valley, California, on July 17, 2008.[1][11]

Awards and nominations


  • Along the Shore by Elizabeth F. Weidner, illustrated by Creig Flessel (Behrman House, 1985) ISBN 0-682-40239-7
  • Draw 50 People by Lee J. Ames with Creig Flessel (Doubleday, 1993; Sagebrush reissue, 1994) ISBN 0-613-51071-2 (reissue)


  1. ^ a b Creig Valentine Flessel at the United States Social Security Death Index via Retrieved on November 5, 2015. Also Creig Valentine Flessel at the United States Social Security Death Index via Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  2. ^ "Family: Creig Valentine Flessel/Marie G Marino (F1759)". Long Island Surnames. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Creig Flessel Interview". The Comics Journal. August 22, 2001. Archived from the original on September 7, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2013. My older brother was very mechanical. ... I have two older sisters.
  4. ^ "Frank John Flessel". Long Island Surnames. Archived from the original on January 8, 2016. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Creig Flessel 1912-". National Cartoonists Society. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  6. ^ a b c d "The Creig Flessel Interview" (2001), p. 2. Archived from the original on February 6, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Creig Flessel at the Grand Comics Database
  8. ^ The Shining Knight at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on October 25, 2011.
  9. ^ The Sandman appeared in both Adventure Comics #40 (July 1939) and in DC Comics' 1939 New York World's Fair Comics, Omnibus, which historians believe may have appeared on newsstands one to two weeks earlier, though the Adventure Comics story is believed to have been written and drawn first. Both appearances are by writer Gardner Fox and artist Bert Christman.
  10. ^ Sandman at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on October 25, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c Spurgeon, Tom (July 21, 2008). "Creig Flessel, 1912–2008". The Comics Reporter. Archived from the original on September 24, 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2008..
  12. ^ "Religion: Comic Cleric". Time. March 12, 1956. Archived from the original on April 18, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  13. ^ Shaw, Scott (August 3, 2008). "Refreshment Through the Ages". Oddball Comics. Archived from the original on March 21, 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Evanier, Mark (July 19, 2008). "Creig Flessel, R.I.P." P.O.V. Online. Archived from the original on August 25, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
  15. ^ "Eugenie Fernandes". Annick Press. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  16. ^ On page 144 of the first printing, the quote reads "These guys aren't trying to draw bad, Joe. Some of what they do is okay. There's a guy, Craig Flessel, he's really pretty good. Try to keep an open mind."
  17. ^ "2006 Eisner Award Nominations". San Diego Comic-Con International. Archived from the original on May 15, 2012.

External links

Further reading

  • Comic-Book Superstars, by Don & Maggie Thompson (Krause Publications, Iola, Wis., 1993) Entry, pp. 70–71
  • The Great Comic Book Artists, Vol. 2, by Ron Goulart (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1989) Entry pp. 36–37
1941 in comics

Notable events of 1941 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

1942 in comics

Notable events of 1942 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

1992 in comics

Notable events of 1992 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

1st Issue Special

1st Issue Special was a comics anthology series from DC Comics, done in a similar style to their Showcase series. It was published from April 1975 to April 1976. The goal was to showcase a new possible first issue of an ongoing series each month, with some issues debuting new characters and others reviving dormant series from DC's past. No series were actually launched from 1st Issue Special but the Warlord made his first appearance in the title and the character's ongoing series was already slated to debut a few months later.

2008 in comics

Notable events of 2008 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

Allen Bert Christman

Allen Bert Christman (May 31, 1915 – January 23, 1942), known professionally as Bert Christman, was an American cartoonist and naval aviator. He is best known as artist of the newspaper comic strip Scorchy Smith, about a pilot-adventurer in the inter-war years. He was also credited with co-creating the original, Wesley Dodds version of the DC Comics character the Sandman.

Cartoon Art Museum

The Cartoon Art Museum (CAM) is a California art museum that specializes in the art of comics and cartoons. It is the only museum in the Western United States dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of all forms of cartoon art. The permanent collection features some 7,000 pieces as of 2015, including original animation cels, comic book pages and sculptures.Until September 2015, the museum was located in the Yerba Buena Gardens cultural district of San Francisco, in the South of Market neighborhood. It reopened October 2017, in a new location in the Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco.

Fred Guardineer

Frederick B. Guardineer (October 3, 1913 – September 13, 2002) was an American illustrator and comic book writer-artist best known for his work in the 1930s and 1940s during what historians and fans call the Golden Age of Comic Books, and for his 1950s art on the Western comic-book series The Durango Kid.

A pioneer of the medium itself, Guardineer contributed two features to the seminal Action Comics #1, the comic book that introduced Superman.

Grand Central School of Art

The Grand Central School of Art was an American art school in New York City, founded in 1923 by the painters Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark and John Singer Sargent. The school was established and run by the Grand Central Art Galleries, an artists' cooperative founded by Sargent, Greacen, Clark, and others in 1922. The school was directed by Greacen, Sargent and Daniel Chester French and occupied 7,000 square feet (650 m2) on the seventh floor of the east wing of the Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Press accounts of the school's opening reception mentioned the following instructors: Greacen, George Pearse Ennis, sculptor Chester Beach, muralists Ezra Winter and Dean Cornwell, the illustrator and costume designer Helen Dryden, Nicolai Fechin, Julian Bowes and George Elmer Browne.The school had more than 400 students its first year and soon grew to 900, making it one of the largest art schools in the city. Greacen engaged Arshile Gorky as an instructor, probably the school's most prominent teacher. Another instructor was Harvey Dunn, whose comments were captured by a student during one five-hour class session and were published in 1934 in a slim volume titled An Evening in the Classroom. For some years the school held a summer session in Eastport, Maine. After nearly 20 years of operation, the school closed in 1944.

The school has no relationship to the current Grand Central Academy of Art, despite the similarities in name and a shared humanist perspective. The academy, also in New York City, was established by the Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America (ICA&CA), founded as two separate nonprofit organizations in 1991 and 1968.

Harry "A" Chesler

Harry Chesler (January 12, 1897, or January 12, 1898 (sources differ) – December 1981), often credited as Harry "A" Chesler, with the "A" an affectation rather than a true initial, was the entrepreneur behind the first comic book "packager" of the late-1930s to 1940s Golden Age of comic books, supplying comics features and complete comic books to publishers testing the waters of the emerging medium.

Chesler's studio, which began in either 1935 or 1936, provided early work to artists and writers including Jack Cole, Jack Binder, Otto Binder, Charles Biro, Mort Meskin, and many others.

Inkpot Award

The Inkpot Award is an honor bestowed annually since 1974 by Comic-Con International. It is given to professionals in the fields of comic books, comic strips, animation, science fiction, and related areas of popular culture, at CCI's annual convention, commonly known as "San Diego Comic-Con". Also eligible are members of Comic-Con's Board of Directors and convention committee.

The recipients, listed below, are known primarily as comics creators, including writers; artists; letterers; colorists; editors; or publishers; unless otherwise noted.

Lee J. Ames

Lee Judah Ames (January 8, 1921 – June 3, 2011) was an American artist noted for his Draw 50... learn-to-draw books.

He was born in Manhattan, New York. His first job at age eighteen was at Walt Disney Studios. He has since led a career as an advertising artist, fine artist, cartoonist, designer, animation in-betweener, illustrator, and as an artist-in residence at Doubleday. His series of 26 Draw 50... books take a friendly and minimalist approach to teaching drawing while the books often contain no instructional text.

He enlisted in the military and served as a second lieutenant during World War II.

He and his wife Jocelyn resided in Mission Viejo, California.

List of Alfred University people

This is a list of notable alumni and faculty of Alfred University, located in Alfred, New York, USA.

List of Comics Journal interview subjects

The Comics Journal is an American magazine of news and criticism published by Fantagraphics Books and pertaining to comic books and strips. Of note are its long and in-depth interviews with artists and writers.

Louis Cazeneuve

Luis "Louis" Cazeneuve (August 18, 1908 – August 1977) was an Argentine-born American comic-book artist best known for co-creating the Marvel Comics character Red Raven and for his prolific work on the DC Comics characters Aquaman, Shining Knight, the Boy Commandos and others during the 1940s period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books.

His brother, Arturo "Arthur" Cazeneuve (1919–1992), was also a Golden Age comic-book artist, and became an illustrator and assistant art director for the overseas edition of Time magazine in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Publishers-Hall Syndicate

Publishers-Hall Syndicate was a newspaper syndicate founded by Robert M. Hall in 1944. Hall served as the company's president and general manager. Over the course of its operations, the company was known as, sequentially, the Hall Syndicate (1944–1946), the New York Post Syndicate (1946–1949), the Post-Hall Syndicate (1949–1955), the Hall Syndicate (1955–1967), and Publishers-Hall Syndicate (1967–1975). The syndicate was acquired by Field Enterprises in 1967, and merged into Field Newspaper Syndicate in 1975. Some of the more notable strips syndicated by the company include Pogo, Dennis the Menace, Funky Winkerbean, Mark Trail, The Strange World of Mr. Mum, and Momma, as well as the cartoons of Jules Feiffer.

Shining Knight

Shining Knight is the name of three fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The original Shining Knight, Sir Justin, was created by Creig Flessel and first appeared in Adventure Comics #66 (September 1941).

Vin Sullivan

Vincent Sullivan (June 5, 1911 – February 3, 1999) was a pioneering American comic book editor, artist and publisher.

Walter Berndt

Walter Berndt (November 22, 1899, – August 15, 1979, ) was a cartoonist known for his comic strip, Smitty, which he drew for 50 years.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.