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Art and Soul

Few announcements in the entire history of Elfquest have engendered the mix of emotions that this one does. Not so very long ago, neither Wendy nor I could even imagine such a thing; in fact, we would have said it was not possible.

What on earth or the World of Two Moons am I talking about? Nothing less than the beginning of the process of letting go, via auction, a goodly chunk of our twenty-five-plus-year collection of Elfquest original art, that’s what.

Having typed the words, I want to let that sink in. For as long as Wendy has been creating the exquisite images of Elfquest, folks have been asking us if we’d ever sell any of the artwork. Over the course of time, Wendy has let a few pieces of her work “go out” – usually these have been convention sketches, or drawings done specifically for some charitable purpose (like the San Diego convention art auctions). Once in a great while, she’s exhibited at this or that gallery and sold the few paintings or pages of comic book art that we’ve been comfortable turning loose. But for the most part, we’ve held onto her work for two very good, very sensible and very powerful reasons. One, since we’ve made a point of always keeping Elfquest in print and available in one format or another, it’s been purely practical to keep the original artwork around so printers could work from the best possible images. Two, every page of art has carried with it a strong emotional association; we can recall very clearly the circumstances under which nearly every page of Elfquest was drawn. Parting with any of those pages would have felt like slicing a memory out from our brains.

Time passes, and feelings mellow. Technology, too, plays into the mix by allowing nearly perfect images to be made of artwork, images that can be manipulated in ways unimagined (by us, at least) a decade or two ago. And now that DC Comics is in the process of presenting Elfquest in both manga and Archive formats such that we’re happy to consider these as our legacy of Elfquest to the world, well… Maybe it’s time to unbend and share.

(Aside: There’s already been some emotional prepwork for this decision. A couple of years ago, I made the decision to stop being the publisher of Elfquest, and to license that aspect of our business to DC. This past year, I finally got comfortable with the idea of auctioning off the comic book collection I’d been building since I was about twelve years old. Both of those were moves I once never thought possible. Having made them, however, I find the aftermath refreshingly liberating!)

So where and when and how will all this happen? We’ve entrusted the process to a group of great people at Heritage Galleries and Auctioneers. Their home page on the web is at http://www.heritagecomics.com and you’ll see when you go there, that even though they specialize in comics, they also deal in many areas of popular culture. We met several of the Heritage folks at this past San Diego Expo and hit it off very nicely. Some weeks back John Petty, one of their top consignment managers, flew from Dallas to Poughkeepsie and stayed for several days to take stock of what we were offering. As a result of that meeting we’re very excited about working with him and Heritage.

Heritage would like this to be a long-term relationship, and so would we, so we’re not putting everything we have up for auction all at once. If you go to their web site you’ll see that they have different auctions on average once a month. The first offering of artwork from us is going to be a doozy; not only will it contain a bunch of Elfquest pieces, it’s also going to feature much of the artwork of other artists that I have collected over the years. In fact, there’s going to be a catalog devoted entirely to this collection! (Copies of this catalog – as well as those from other auctions – can be ordered at https://www.heritagecomics.com/common/catalogorders.php. As I write these words “our” catalog is still being worked on so it’s not yet available, but check back often.)

You can get a preview of the auction in which both my collection of science fiction, fantasy and comic book art, and the first of Wendy’s offerings of Elfquest art, by going to http://www.heritagecomics.com/common/auction/preview.php?Sale_No=815. Many of the images are still be processed but there’s enough there for you to get a good idea of what’s coming up. The auction will officially be posted to the web and be open for bids on January 21, 2005, but for now you can browse what’s currently on view. Among other items there will be some of the color covers from the “Hidden Years” comics, some of the black and white line covers from the Marvel reprints, and even some non-Elfquest work that Wendy has done over the years. Note: there are many more items in this auction than just the ones we’re offering, so you might want to do a search on the keyword “Pini.”

That’s about it. It almost feels like I’ve been holding my breath as I wrote this entire announcement, and now I can let it out. I’ll post more as I know it, but you’ve got the essence of it right here.

As Wendy is fond of saying, “Next…”

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