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Reflections Upon a Year…

November. And so another month is upon us. A new moon graces the night sky and new energies are being released. Even though it’s the very tail end of harvest time, it’s also a great time for new beginnings. With that in mind, after a long hiatus, I bid you all a delighted “Hi there!”

 


 

This, the first year of what most folks consider the new millenium, has flown by entirely too fast for Richard and me. But wow has it ever been full of creation, interaction, locomotion, promotion and, most of all, surprises. Spring started off with a bang: an elaborate Elfquest display and press party sponsored by Sceneries Entertainment at the annualAmerican Film Market.Soon after, Richard and I got the royal treatment at Balticon where, as Artist Guest of Honor, I got to autograph a detailed tattoo of Cutter on a very cute guy’s flank. (Hey, Richard was right there, grinning! Besides, consider some of the… um… unique places hissignature has ended up!)
As the Elfquest movie chugged along at a maddeningly slow but steady pace, our new line of toysmanifested with amazing speed. From March to May, the mad-genius sculptors at ArtAsylum and I burned up the fax lines shooting design sketches, corrections of design sketches and corrections of corrections back and forth, getting the look of the toys just right. Richard and Marv Wolfman, lucky devils, were able to see the sculpts in progress in New York (I was there in spirit, listening to theirooohs and aaahs on speakerphone). Later, when the prototypes arrived at my West Coast studio for approval, I was absolutely floored. The toys are my drawings, realized in extremely loving detail, in 3D.
June was very full, starting with the BEA (BookExpo America, but it’ll always be the American Booksellers Convention to us) in Chicago and ending in Europe where, thanks to our wonderful hosts at Carlsen Comics, we spent several days with a great, howling bunch of German fans at Erlangen Comics Fest. We also took the opportunity to travel to Munich to meet with some of our European movie partners on their native soil.
No time to rest in July. Comic Con International in San Diego was swiftly upon us. As you know, from Richard’s exuberant photo record of the event, we shared a booth withLiving Toyz and debuted the Elfquest toy prototypes to the enthusiastic response of many fans.It was there we also met, and made fast, fast friends with the folks who do the voices for the hit action
anime series DragonballZ.

(Back row: Stephanie Nadolny, Wendy, Sonny Strait)
(Middle row: Do we hafta tell you?)
(Front row: Sean Schemmel, Chris Sabat)

The strength of that new friendship would soon be demonstrated in two powerful ways. First, Sean Schemmel, Sean’s wife Melodee Lenz and Sonny Strait flew out from Texas to be among the actors volunteering their time and considerable talents to the recording of a temporary voice track read-through of the Elfquest screenplay.
Secondly, we learned that Sonny, in addition to his acting career, is a self-published comics pro (artist and co-creator of Mr. Average) and a longtime Elfquest fan whose drawing style was, happily, influenced by mine. After seeing some quick, amazingly on-model sketches Sonny did of the elves, Richard and I realized we might soon be welcoming a major, new storyteller into the Warp Graphics fold.
And that’s exactly what happened! Since Wizard World in Chicago, puckish Sonny and I have put heads together and dreamed up three exciting, new stories about different periods in Cutter and Skywise’s lives. Many of you have asked what happened to Cutter’s tribe after the end of Shards (but before the Final Quest); now you’re going to find out! These related tales, penciled and inked by Sonny over my layouts, will hopefully appear next year in a new volume of the Elfquest Readers Collection entitledIn All But Blood. Hey, listen, elf-friends, if you don’t think having one of the star voice actors of my fave anime series as a co-creator isn’t a hoot and a half then… then…
edamameain’t soy beans!(This page is from Wish Upon A Star,a special comic that Warp Graphics is producing to benefit the
Make-A-Wish Foundation.)
What else is in the works for the rest of this year and beyond? Well, my very hot buddy Joellyn Auklandus and I are busy co-scripting the latest adventures of Ember’s splinter pack of Wolfriders. I won’t say much here about Joellyn’s plotline, except it contains an event we think a lot of you have been speculating on for some time (insert devilish Elfmom grin here).
Also, when I am able, I’ve been adding new cards and text to theElfquest Tarot Deck, a pet project which has, as of yet, no release date, but whose careful creation I’m enjoying immensely. The deeper I delve into this ancient oracle, the more amazed I am at how well the many characters of Elfquest, elfin or other, fit into the archetypal molds. More on this as it nears completion.

 


I’d like to close on a personal note. After all this time, that little thrill of walking into a comics shop and seeing Warp Graphics material on display has never left me. But have any of you gone into a big chain bookstore recently and checked out the Graphic Novel and Cartoon section? A few weeks ago Richard and I, while doing some autumn leaf-peeping, ducked into a Borders Books to get out of a chilling rain. I have to tell you, it was like savoring a cup of hot cocoa to see, among the many graphic novels displayed there, almost an entire shelf devoted to the Elfquest Readers Collection along with a good assortment of our other publications. We know it’s because of one thing — our readers’ love and support — that we are able to cherish such an experience. It feels very much like having home and family wherever you go.

Hectic as this year has been, come Thanksgiving, we’ll be carving turkey and scarfing pumpkin pie with very full hearts. And wherever we are, we’ll raise a glass of gratitude to you.

Until next time…
Much Love,

Wendy (Elfmom) Pini

 


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