Richard Pini here, resident editorthing and High One emeritus. From time to time we get email or snailmail or phone calls from readers and fans, asking if they can come tour the Warp Graphics office. Much as we’d love to be able to say “Sure, come on over! The noon tour-bus is loading up now; luncheon will be served on board…” the simple fact is that – well – it’s quite a small space (though we prefer to think of it as cozy), we don’t run a store where you can buy things, and there’s not all that much to see, at least in the traditional tourish sense.
However, we don’t want to foster the illusion that there’s nothing of interest within these walls, and so we’ve put together this newest edition of our armchair photo tour for your edification and enjoyment.
(And yes, if you have indeed traveled far and are in the area, it is possible to make a visit. However, you must call first. Our travels take us hither and yon at the drop of a dreamberry, and you may arrive at our door to find it closed and locked – and that wouldn’t be much fun at all. We can’t promise you’ll be able to visit in person, but you never know.)
Once you get through the front (and only) door, you’re in the “main” office. (I put the word in quotes because it’s about 80 percent of the entire space, so what else could it be!) Sometimes people ask to see “where the art gets done” and then we tell them that they’ll have to go to California and Texas and Canada and several other places, as none of the artwork happens here at the Warp office. All our freelance writers and artists work from their homes. So we’re pretty much like other offices, with copy machines and computers, printers and elves on the walls. (For those of you into feng shui, you’re facing west when you enter.)
Even though most of the office is indeed contained within one large space, we still try to keep the different work functions separate. This is where mail is handled and where, twice every month, bills get paid. (We had to pay the cleaning staff a bit extra to get rid of the scorch marks on the walls and the bloodstains on the carpet, so this photo would be presentable to a family audience…)
This is the informal production area, which really means where editorial pages and artwork get collated on the way to the printer, where purchase orders get generated, where shipping mixups get straightened out, and where upon occasion Wendy works Photoshop computer magic in her cubbyhole underneath Cutter.
I’ve been told I tend to resemble Ren round about bill-paying and deadline time. I can’t deny it. The “Mark” in “Mark’s Words of Licensing Wisdom” is Mark Evanier, a very business-savvy friend. Rules #1 and #3 should need no explanation. Rule #2 comes from the fact that Mark writes for the “Garfield” cartoon show, and knows creator Jim Davis well. Lots of food companies would love Garfield to endorse their lasagne, and they send samples. And how can one know the quality (of anything) unless one actually tries it out?
One of the two smallish rooms off the main office contains all the flat files where artwork and printing films and such are stored. Any horizontal surface is greatly at risk in such a place.
Same room, looking opposite. Even though Warp has warehouse space in a couple of different locations, for the storage of mass quantities of books and comics and other material, we like to try to keep close at hand at least a few copies of most of what we’ve published. One never knows when one is going to need samples immediately – or sooner.
What started it all, lo these many years ago.
The other smaller office, and the doorway into the Inner Sanctum. (Cue the sound of creaking hinges.) Yes, that is a very large sliderule over my desk. I have a fondness for them; I think I was about the last class in college to actually use one. These days, of course, even pocket calculators (which supplanted sliderules) have given way to PDAs and laptop computers. I almost never sit at that desk, by the way. My time is much more spent…
…in the other corner, where live the bookshelves and the computer and the printers and the scanner and the CD burner and all the other real tools of this trade. In fact, you might be able to imagine me ghostlike sitting in the very chair you’re seeing now, typing these very words.
You have to wonder what someone, driving down the highway, might think upon seeing license plates like these (given to Warp by folks who actually had them on their vehicles – our thanks). In case you’re wondering: Yes, I do have “ELFQUEST” on my own car. When we moved to New York and I discovered that New York allows 8 letters, that was a foregone conclusion!
Though I really do love my Mac G3, there are days when I’m not at all sure which is the meaner of the Blue Meanies…
What I like to refer to as “The Elfquest Five-Foot Bookshelf” (and double points for anyone who gets the reference). Not too shabby, some seven or eight dozen books (never mind the many individual comic book issues!), all about this scrappy tribe of elves and their friends, most published by Warp, some licensed to other publishers. This is where I look when I wonder what it’s been all about for the past twenty-plus years.
Three-dimensional shadow boxes crafted by Todd Reis, an amazing fellow who, if you give him a dozen or two copies of a comic book or other publication, will with razor blade and glue, create a small masterpiece. And for those like myself who don’t have enough stress already, isn’t it nice to know that someone has thoughtfully bottled it in convenient liquid form for a quick recharge when things get too mellow?
Possibly the most important corner in the entire office, the water cooler and coffeemaker. Skywise the muppetoid (impishly created by Kathleen David, nee O’Shea) looks about ready to break into a chorus of “I Did It My Way” (which would be two sugars and half-and-half).
… I shall call him, Mini-Me. (Thanks to Wendy who, for just a while, had way too much spare time on her hands!)
And to wrap up the tour, since it’s been a very long time since we’ve had anything like “A Day In The Lives”…
The webmaster ponders developments in internet culture…
…while ElfMom decides to bring the tribe into the new decade!
We hope you enjoyed the tour, and have a safe trip back to wherever you’re coming from or going to. Shade and sweet water!