Creig Valentine Flessel was born on February 2, 1912 in Huntington, Long Island, New York. His father, Frank John Flessel, was born in 1883 in New York of German ancestry. His mother, Ida Hawkins Bunce, was born in 1885 in New York. His parents married in 1908. They had four children, of which he was the second born. His older brother Frank was born in 1911, and his younger sisters Laura and Jenny Elizabeth were born in 1915 and 1916. His grandmother, Fanny Flessel, also lived with the family. His father was a blacksmith, who also operated a general family farm of five acres outside of town on Southdown Avenue.
His family encouraged creative activity. Besides his skill as an ironworker, his father also drew, and his mother was talented at handicrafts. His Aunt was an art teacher.
He attended the high school in Huntington. While still a student he contributed cartoons to the local newspaper. He graduated from high school in June of 1930.
He attended Alfred University in Upstate New York from 1931 to 1935.
In 1936 he began to attend the Grand Central School of Art in NYC on a work scholarship. The school was located on the sky-lighted penthouse of the famous Grand Central Station railroad terminal. His job was to act as a doorman to prevent idle commuters from sneaking into the life classes to gawk at nude models.
In 1937 he became an assistant to John Striebel, who was drew the popular syndicated newspaper comic strip Dixie Dugan, a jazz-age flapper based on Clara Bow. This same busy artist also moonlighted as an illustrator for pulp magazines under the assumed names William Streib and Stephen Waite.
On November 20, 1937 Creig Flessel married Marie C. Marino, who he had met as a fellow student at Alfred University. He and Marie eventually had two children, Peter and Eugenie. The family lived at 102 Bay Drive East in Huntington, Long Island, NY.
From 1937 to 1942 he drew comics for several of the earliest producers of comic books, such as Chesler, Centaur, Columbia, Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, and D.C. Comics.
He also drew free-lance pen-and-ink story illustrations for pulp magazines, such as Sports Winners, Ace Sports, Black Hood, 12-Sport Aces, Detective Yarns, Sports Fiction, Clues Detective Magazine, and The Shadow, for which he regularly illustrated the Sheridan Doome series.
During WWII he was not selected for military service, but he contributed illustrations to the Office of War Information and produced patriotic posters for the information services. Such projects were intended to educate the public on the importance of saving paper, scrap-metal and kitchen fat for defense manufacturing.
During the 1950s he painted covers and drew story illustrations for syndicated newspaper Sunday supplements appeared were nationally distributed.
In 1957 and 1959 he also produced illustrations for Boy's Life Magazine.
In 1960 he took over the syndicated newspaper comic strip David Crane, a long-running soap opera drama about a small-town minister.
Creig Flessel taught Illustration in the adult education program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. According to the artist,"Teaching is great if your main job is to turn kids on - to convince kids that they can do it. If, along the way, you have a little fun and show off a little - why, that's the greatest thing. Kids who want to get into the business should just get away from the damn TV and let their imagination go - try to create and try to do something - try to think."
1980 he created a new long-running comic strip for Playboy magazine entitled, The Tales of Baron von Furstenbed, which he drew for eight years.
In 2000 he and his wife moved to California to live near their son and grandchildren. They lived in a retirement community at 40 Camino Alto Apartments in Mill Valley, CA.
While semi-retired the inspired artist continued to produce a gag panel for regular publication in his local newspaper.
Creig Flessel died of a heart attack at the age of ninety-six in Santa Monica, CA, on July 17, 2008.
© David Saunders 2013