US publisher Flesk have a new comic art-focused book on the way – Al Williamson – Strange World Adventures, a stunning first collection in a new series showcasing the career of legendary artist Al Williamson.
Al Williamson will need no introduction to many downthetubes readers. Born in New York City in 1931, hs professional credits are both legion and legendary. His much-beloved work on King Features’ Flash Gordon comic book series in the mid-1960s 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.
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 50-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 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.
This is by no means the first book to focus on the art of Al Williamson, but those that have been previously published are often hard to find, or quite expensive to buy. If you’re a comic creator looking to learn some tips from a master of the medium, this should be worth you checking it out. I’ve ordered mine!
With thanks to Allan Harvey for the information
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.