|“It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya, it pours, man, it pours!”And it does, elf friends, especially in early spring. Here in Mouseland, it’s raw and bone-chilling as we cobble together the latest tidbits of news, complete with digital photos, arising from this year’s annual International Toy Fair in New York City plus the American Film Market (AFM) in “sunny” Santa Monica, California.|
|Let’s start with the Toy Fair which ran through the middle of February in New York City. Due to her work schedule, Wendy wasn’t able to attend. But our friend from Wolfmill, Craig Miller, was there along with Richard who, digital camera in hand, captured the unveiling of four fantastic new action figures (Series Two) in the Elfquest toy line.As you know, using the designs Wendy provided, the fine artists at ArtAsylum sculptedSeries One featuring Cutter, Nightrunner, Leetah, Tyldak and Picknose. We were blown away by their work. ArtAsylum set the standard that Living Toyz’ new, Los Angeles-based team of sculptors, SOTA (which stands for “State Of The Art”), had to meet or exceed. Well… it was “Blown Away, The Sequel”!|
|Series Two features Skywise, Starjumper, Rayek, Troll King Guttlekraw and Madcoil, all designed to fit together, like Series One, on a nifty, interlocking base.|
|Just take look at Skywise and Starjumper.|
|The likeness, right down to the stargazer’s sparkling, silver-grey eyes, is incredible!|
|Did you ever see a foxier, more impish face?|
|Yes indeed, that is Petalwing you just spotted. Here’s a better view. Adorable, huh? The plan is that different, tiny Preservers will be packaged along with certain elves. Petalwing will accompany Leetah and, we think, Berrybuzz (yet to be sculpted) will be annoying Rayek mightily under plastic.|
|Now here’s old Guttlekraw, warts and all.|
|This is one of the most amazingly detailed sculptures we’ve ever seen – right down to the little, metal demons on his trollish Nikes.|
|You could say he’s so ugly he’s beautiful!|
|And no one knew exactly what the back of his throne looked like until now, thanks to the interpretive SOTA guys.|
|The only creature who could possibly top Guttlekraw in effulgent hideousness is Madcoil. Here he is, ready to pounce on some poor, unsuspecting elf.|
|Now, what’s truly amazing about this monster, apart from the sculptor’s and painter’s sheer artistry, is that he’s fully articulated, like all the other figures. Madcoil bends and rotates at the middle, shoulders, wrists and head so he’s totally poseable.|
|Even his nasty, forked tongue wiggles!|
|During the Toy Fair some trial figures, sculpted and painted for approximate size only (not detail) arrived from China. We thought you might enjoy seeing them. Here’s the Cutter and Nightrunner prototypes galloping side by side with their slightly smaller counterparts.|
|And here’s Picknose taking on the fantasy world, backed by his shorter, but no less cranky twin.|
|Because of the changes and expansions in the line, Series One of the Elfquest toys will be available in your local Toys ‘R’ Us, etc., around May. We’d hoped for earlier, but we know it’ll be well worth the wait. In the meantime, here are some pretty broad hints as to which characters will be featured in Series Three.|
Last year, as you may recall, Cutter and Leetah primped for a personal appearance at the AFM in the cause of pitching, wooing and promoting the dreamberries out of the slowly progressing Elfquest animated feature.
This year our exhibit at the Sceneries (our European producers/partners) Pavilion is more sedate – but at the same time, more spectacular. Having no longer any need to pitch ourselves, we’re just being a presence saying, “Hey, all you film buyers and distributors, Elfquest the Movie is seriously in production. And, by the way, take a gander at our very cool line of toys!” (on display under glass for the duration of the AFM).
Madcoil and Guttlekraw were just too unruly and had to be set apart. But here’s the rest of the gang, looking quite impressive in front of a diorama of different environments Wendy painted for them some months ago. As you can see, we’ve retained the “blue period” Tyldak while the correctly painted prototype has already winged his way to China.
Additionally, our European partners liked the art in the Elfquest 2000 Calendar so much, they made the simple request: “Can you redo all those square paintings in film frame proportion so we can blow some of them up as posters? And, by the way, can you add a few new scenes, like the big party in Sorrow’s End and a troll army attack?” Sure, guys! Before breakfast! Anything else?
Anyway, Wendy thanks the High Ones yet again, for Photoshop. It took several weeks, but here’s how four of the posters turned out. Sceneries chose highly dramatic scenes, like The Rescue of Redlance, Crossing the Desert, Winnowill and Trolls Attack,plus a scene of fun and romance for balance.
We also got a sneak preview of some of the actual animation design sketches from Europe, where the film is being drawn. Everything’s subject to change and approval, of course, but we really like the direction these are going. The Bridge of Destiny is looking craggier and more windswept than ever, and the concept of the Palace/Ship of the High Ones as an evolving crystal/flower-like structure (imagine those time-lapse movies of flowers opening that we’ve all seen) is just plain cool! Anyway, now you have the latest skinny. Every day brings something new to the project – a meeting, some progress, an idea, sometimes (alas) even a seeming setback. The program guides at this year’s AFM listed Elfquest the Movie‘s release date as early 2003; we’d been aiming toward Spring 2002 but the producers decided (wisely, we think) not to try to go head to head with the second Star Wars episode, plus the new Lord of the Rings adaptation. Besides… 2003 is Elfquest’s 25th anniversary! Can you imagine a better cause for celebration?? AYOOOOOAH!!