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As the Dust Clears from San Diego 2005

Dear Elf Friends,

WHEEEEOOOO!!! San Diego Con 2005 has come and gone, but our ears are still ringing and our little bods are still vibrating from all the chaos and commotion. (Click on each picture to get a larger image.)  Time was, in the not-so-distant past, Warp graphics had its own booth and running it ate up most of our energy and much of our sanity. After signing with DC Comics, we thought, “Aaahhh… no more booth manning! We can walk around in comfy shoes and enjoy this gi-normous event at a leisurely pace!”

Dream on Elfmom and Elfpop!

Not that we’re complaining. Being busy doing panels, autographings, shmoozing, taking meetings, etc. are all reasons why industry pros attend conventions – we come expecting to work hard and play hard. It’s just that San Diego Comic Con is the Platonic archetype, the Mt. Olympus of cons beyond the which, in the US of A, there is no whicher. It’s indescribably massive and wonderfully, noisily, thoroughly exhausting. From meeting your childhood or current arts and entertainment heroes to having your picture taken with  Princess Leia (absolutely adorable! She took me back twenty-five years to my Red Sonja days) – if you could dream it at this year’s San Diego Con, you could do it.

You could even meet Cutter and Leetah posing here  with a decidedly undersized Petalwing and here  with an even more undersized Elfmom (aren’t humans supposed to be the Tall Ones?!). These wonderful costumes are largely the work, we’re told, of the young man portraying Cutter. Way to go! And, FYI, I’m not actually sporting pointed elf ears. It’s just a lucky trick of Elfpop’s clever camera, whose lens he preferred to stay behind despite much pleading and prodding.

As ever, the best part of being there was meeting and greeting and finding out what outrageous stuff you’ve been up to lately. At the Tribute to Bill Liebowitz panel (his decades of impact on the industry as retailer and entrepeneur are legendary, his friendship and support were invaluable ) one young lady sported this terrific tattoo of Timmain on her lower back . She said Bill and Sharon Liebowitz gave her a job at Golden Apple Comics and got her started reading comics with Elfquest. To us she represents the thousands of women whose entertainment worlds Bill and Sharon expanded by pioneering a child-and-female-friendly comic store environment.

During our autograph sessions at the DC booth we heard wonderful tales from readers about how they got started on Elfquest and how it changed their lives. Most exciting of all, we noticed that over 90% of the things folks brought to be signed were the current DC editions of the EQ Archives, themanga format reprints and The Searcher and the Sword. Not that we mind signing the old Warp Graphics books, but it means a lot to us (and to DC, too!) to know we’re picking up a bunch of brand new readers who are discovering the world of Elfquest for the first time.

What else? Well, we saw portfolios of EQ-inspired art and shook hands with the likes of Nick Cardy (winner of this year’s Hall of Fame award) who came by to tell us how much he appreciated the simplicity of EQ’s artwork. As a one-time teenaged fan who loved Mr. Cardy’s “mod,” psychedelic style, I was deeply honored. We also got the chance to break bread and plot all kinds of digital mayhem with webmaster extraordinaire Tim Georgi.

Between all the business and tomfoolery, I contributed my usual impromptu painting to the annual charity art auction sponsored by the convention . Here I am with gorgeous-in-teal Clydene Nee, one of the movers and shakers behind the auction.

Time was short, so I chose my ever-reliable mini-hunk, Cutter, as subject matter . The title just popped into my head: “Forever My Chief.” It’s a cameo composition against a bright red background . The eyes, as you can see, are the focal point. No matter where you stand, Cutter appears to be staring at you. That’s one of my favorite illusions. Leaving large areas of white, I modeled Cutter’s body and sword with muted colors. Finally I outlined the image’s outer edge with a thick, black border to enhance its impact (I always draw for the “back row”). Satisfied, I signed the work  and placed it in the hands of the Auction Gods. We have no idea what it finally went for; maybe someone out there knows someone who knows someone who attended and can tell us.

‘Nuther BTW: that sweet pearl necklace  was a gift from Clydene who designed it, along with many other necklaces, to be worn during the con as a badge holder and afterward as jewelry. Versatile, no?

After our last autographing session Sunday morning we said our goodbyes to friends at DC – and especially to our literary agents Denis Kitchen and Judy Hansen whom we don’t get to see in person often enough – and fought traffic for three hours to gratefully collapse at home…

But not for long…

Today, Monday, we’re both back in the saddle, aware of how full the work days will be until Crescent City Con, August 5-7, 2005 (hope to see lots of you there!). What are we up to in particular? Glad you asked! In my last WendyWords I hinted we’d be making a big announcement as soon as DC gave us the go-ahead. That time, elf-friends, has now arrived!

Announcing… (drum roll, please…)

ELFQUEST: THE DISCOVERY

What is it?: A four part, full color mini-series with 30 pages of brand new EQ story per issue, co-plotted by Richard and me, scripted and illustrated by me, to be released by DC Comics early in 2006. 

Several months ago we began discussing the next chapter of the elves’ saga with our editor at DC, Bob Greenberger. The Discovery already existed in rough treatment form well before we signed with DC, so naturally we offered it as our follow-up to The Searcher and the Sword. When we heard that Paul Levitz, President of DC Comics, had given us the green light, we were very excited indeed!

What’s the story about?: Well, you know how we love to keep you in suspense. What we will say, here, is the plot picks up just three years after events in Searcher. If you remember, Cutter and Leetah’s son Sunstream (formerly Suntop) appeared in only one panel, resting inside a Preserver cocoon. Let’s just say that in The Discovery the wraps are off! Also, anybody out there remember our “Lovemates” calendar of a few years back? Some deep foreshadowings there. Beyond that, check for more clues in our nifty new interview on the Comic Book Resources web site.

We’ll keep feeding you juicier and juicier tidbits in the months to come, but for now we really like what Bob Greenberger had to say about Elfquest: The Discovery when he finished going over the final treatment: “This was worth waiting for – an uplifting story that advances many characters – terrific and worth your effort. Now the hard part comes – actually clearing time to produce 120 pages and four covers of new wonders.”

The man knows whereof he speaks! This puppy has to be done in tandem with our regular yearly schedule of six Grand Quest manga volumes plusElfquest Archive Volume Four.

Speaking of the Archives, Volume Three is finished and due out this fall.  Some old friends who’ve been with us quite a while, Sonny Strait and Jeff Zugale, helped me in a big way with the coloring. Without them, The Discovery wouldn’t be in production right now. So a big howl of thanks from all of us, Jeff and Sonny…

OOOWWWWOOOOOOOO!

And now it’s time for me to wrap this up because… NO NO! Petalwing, WAIT! DON’T! I didn’t mean…*BLURPH!*

To be resumed when Elfmom’s been de-gooped…

PS – July 19. Just got an email from Chris Cobb and his daughter Chamile. Chris won the Cutter painting  for $625; said he was prepared to bid to the death to get it. We thank you, and we know the Comic-Con thanks you. Mystery solved!

 


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