How big was it? Well, without having a fisheye lens for the camera, all we can show you is about half of the convention center on the bay in downtown San Diego, California. They’re saying attendance this year was around 75,000. We think they’re underestimating. It was into this that Elfquest, at age 25, went.
Once you got inside, that’s when the enormity of the place really hit you. We don’t know how many acres’ worth of floor space were opened up for this show, but we do know that if you stood at one end of the hall, you could not see the other end, because of the curvature of the earth…
The Comic Con has evolved mightily from simply a show about comic books, into a major media exposition. Just about everyone was there this year…
We mean it.
This year, for the first time, Warp Graphics did not bring its own booth – because this year, for the first time, we had someone else “taking care” of both us and Elfquest. If you’ve read the news from Elfquest.com’s home page, you know that Elfquest has been licensed to DC Comics. They’re handling all aspects of publishing and marketing… which allows us to concentrate on the creative side. Translation: Look for more new stories in the coming months!
So, we spent a lot of time at the DC booth, signing autographs and giving away samples of the Elfquest 25th Anniversary comic issue. (Don’t worry – this item was also distributed through the comic book shop network too, so everyone should be able to find it.)(Read a review of the new issue here.)
Photo by David Wise.
We’re not exactly sure why it happened, but we gotta say, it was just like old home week at this show. In one place or another, we ran into so many people we’d known or worked with in the past. Mike Catron (left) and Joellyn Auklandus both worked for Warp in the 1980s; Joellyn still writes stories for Elfquest. Wendy Rockenbaugh (a.k.a. “Wendy Junior,” standing next to Wendy Pini, a.k.a. “Elfmom”) has helped us out at several San Diego conventions.
Sonny Strait, voice actor for Dragonball Z as well as artist for two of the Elfquest stories in “In All But Blood,” does his very best “Charlie’s Angels” pose with Joellyn, Wendy Jr. and Wendy…
And, on Saturday, at the “25 years of Elfquest” panel, Jeff Zugale (middle, who contributed four chapters’ worth of artwork for “Wolfrider”) was also there.
Because we were guests of the convention, in addition to whatever else we had on our schedules, the show organizers had one or the other of us also sit in on various panel discussions. The most fun of the bunch was a tribute to comic book artist legend Jack Kirby, on which Wendy got to participate and share reminiscences of “the King” with Michael Chabon, Stan Lee, Sal Buscema, Larry Lieber, Mike Royer, Mark Evanier and Stan Goldberg (kneeling, right). (Don’t know all these names? Look them up – it was truly a star-studded panel!)
The San Diego show is home to a number of awards ceremonies every year, but one we didn’t expect was the Friends of Lulupresentation Thursday evening, at which Wendy received theFemale Cartoonists Hall of Fame award.
But hey, in the end, the real reason we were there was to celebrate twenty-five years of Elfquest – and no way were we going to do that alone! Shades of 1981, just about everywhere we looked, there were elves. Early on, Skywise (Chris Rosenbaum) made his move on Elfmom…
From Blue Mountain, Aroree (Rachel Wolfe) and a much-enlarged preserver named Tickletoe (help, we never got your name) made their appearance…
…and at the Elfquest panel, we were inundated by an entire tribe of elves, from Wolfriders to Sun Villagers. Even Wendy’s alter-ego Nonna was there!(We’ll announce shortly the winner(s) of the costume contest written about in the most recent WendyWords.)
Of course everyone in the packed room with a camera wanted to take advantage of the photo op, so we were made to join in the group and endure multiple flash exposures – which we just hated. Not! (From left to right, top row: Cat Hunt as Dewshine, ? as Nonna, Andrew Post as Rayek, Richard Pini, Wendy Pini, Elizabeth Rodriguez as Leetah, Joe Tenorio as Sun Toucher. Bottom row: Shannon O’Hara as Moonshade, Chris Rosenbaum as Skywise, Evir Indseth as Cutter, Laura Hunt as Joyleaf, Ian Lane-Lohse as Suntop, Ariana Lane-Lohse as Nightfall)Photo by Seth Grenald.
And can you imagine how the sparks flew when serene Sun Toucher (Joe Tenorio) met gorgeously seductive Winnowill (Audry Taylor)? (She may be evil, but he sure doesn’t seem to mind!)
One tradition that we respect regarding the San Diego show, and that we always try to observe, is that many of the visiting artists will donate a drawing to be auctioned off for charity. Brandon McKinney, who’s done a lot of artwork for Elfquest over the years, created this lovely image.
And every year she’s been in attendance, Wendy has made it a point to do a wonderful piece of artwork for the cause. This year’s theme wasn’t too difficult to come up with…
Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who worked on the convention committee to make our appearance an enjoyable one, to everyone at the DC Comics booth who made the many autograph sessions go smooth as silk, and most of all to every fan of Elfquest, whether you were at the show or not, for a quarter century of memories. Here’s to the next twenty-five!