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“He’s Baaaaack…”

That sound you hear — that soft, vaguely metallic crackle — is flakes of rust falling to the ground as I stretch some editorial muscles that I haven’t flexed in way too long. It’s been nearly two years (how times flies when you’re living at the center of organized chaos) since the cessation of the monthly Elfquest comic book, nearly two years since I’ve had both the space and the inclination to tackle the question of just what is buried in rant’s tomb. (No, that’s not a typo…)

In this first foray back into the editorial arena, I figure I’ll talk a bit about what’s been going on with the Elfquest web site these last several months, and what’s planned in the weeks and months ahead. Given that there’s not a day that goes by without someone asking in email (with varying degrees of civility), “Hey, how come there’s been no new stuff on the web site since the invention of hair?” the topic seems apropos.

 


(Before I answer the question, however, I hope that you are starting to notice that there are updates happening. The wheels grind slowly but they do grind; it also takes time for the word to get out and, frankly, I hope all of you reading these words will tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and…)

The simple answer is that the ten people who have been responsible for upkeep on the site have, over the last year or so, been terrifically busy. Nine and a half of those people are Jay “Whip” Grizzard, the webmaster, who maintains the physical machines/server that are home to elfquest.com. (And who, by the way, lives a continent away from Warp Graphics, so it’s not like we can drop in on each other when something needs to be done.)

Some years back, Whip bugged me into taking a first look at this entity called “the web” because he had the idea that an Elfquest site would be a Good Thing. I’m not a Luddite but I do tend to lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to innovations computer- or internet-related. My internet knowledge to that point was limited to strange text-based experiences with nascent newsgroups and chat rooms in such online venues as CompuServe and BIX, and I wasn’t at all certain that cyberspace had a lot to offer. Jay, via a demonstration one afternoon at his place of employ (which at that time was on my side of the country so I could make the visit) managed to pull me, if not kicking and screaming, then twitching and whimpering, into the 20th century. Did I need more incentive? He’d build and maintainelfquest.com essentially free of charge to Warp.

I’m a publisher, remember? Such an offer, could I possibly refuse??

And that’s been the way of it ever since, well over six years now. Everyone who’s gotten any flavor of enjoyment out of Elfquest via its online presence owes Whip a big “thank you” and this, at least, is mine.

But life goes on and Jay, for all that he is still a fan of Elfquest, let me know some months back (what with a new job and more responsibilities and less time to devote to it) that he’d feel better if someone else could take over the day-to-day housekeeping for elfquest.com. Right about the same time, the folks with whom Wendy and I have partnered on the Elfquest animated movie, Wolfmill Entertainment, started making noise about ramping up the Elfquest site to begin banging the drum for that project. The big question became, “Who’s gonna do it?” And since I seem to be sitting where Elfquest’s business and fannish interests overlap…

So I got the job. I’m still not sure if I volunteered, got drafted, fell into it by default or what, but it’s a new endeavor for me. Right now I’m delving into the mysteries of HTML, and recalling from my frustrating days as a programmer for IBM what happens when I accidentally omit a closing bracket! (You may be asking yourselves now, “Why not use a page-making application — it’s a lot easier.” Perhaps, but remember, I’m Mr. Take It Slow and if I learn the code, then I’ll understand better how and why pages work and look and feel as they do.) My first efforts were the updates and corrections to the Decades in Print and Reader’s Collection Guide pages a week or so ago. It felt real good to get in there and make those changes. Sort of like finally getting to change one’s socks after three weeks at camp.

And I’ve got a place for editorials again, too, which means that whatever excuses I was making to myself for not writing them (“Don’t have any place to air them…”) are no longer valid. It’s good to kick one’s self in the butt now and again.

What’s on tap for future installments? Let’s see. I know people are champing at the bit for news on the Elfquest animated movie; that’s going to be a juicy column, I think. (Be prepared: Any revelations will continue to involve patience on your part…) There’s a lot I want to say about the topic of Elfquest fan fiction and how to take it to the next level. I daresay that Wendy will have more installments of WendyWords to contribute. The look ofelfquest.com itself is slowly going to evolve, and I suppose it’s not too early to ask for your thoughts and suggestions on how to make the site even more accessible and interesting not only to longtime browsers, but also to the many newcomers, some of whom don’t even know what Elfquest is! If you’ve got some constructive ideas, send email to me here at Warp central. I can’t promise to reply to every letter, or implement every suggestion, but it’s guaranteed that if I don’t even hear about an idea, I won’t be able to consider it.

That’s it for now, methinks. Like Arnold, I’ll be back. Remember, nothing grows without nurturing. Now, more than ever, the truth of that wisdom needs to be embraced.

Shade and Sweet Water!

Richard Pini

 


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