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Transitions

When you live in the “now of wolf thought” you gain the blessing of not regretting anything from the past, not worrying about anything in the future. This doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t recognize and remember those events that mark transitions in life.

Transition: Today, February 28, 2004, we (with the invaluable help of new webmaster Tim Georgi) launch version 4 of Elfquest.com, in our own ongoing quest to make the Elfquest experience all that it can be, for as many people as possible. Part of that includes…

Transition: One year ago today Wendy and I spent the best part of twenty-four hours (while also attempting to put in a normal day’s work!) participating in a world-wide internet chat, involving ever so many people, to celebrate not only Elfquest’s 25th birthday but also the signing of a major licensing agreement with DC Comics. That deal was the culmination of a process that began…

Transition: A bit less than two years ago, as Wendy and I sat at the Warp Graphics booth at the annual American Booksellers tradeshow, wondering what opportunities would present themselves. The answer came in the form of Denis Kitchen (whom we’d known for years) and Judy Hansen (who we’d just met). Denis and Judy had recently formed an artist’s agency and they were wondering what they might bring to Elfquest. The happy answer to that started…

Transition: Maybe three years ago, when as (among other things) the publisher of Elfquest, I realized that I had taken Cutter and company as far as I could. For certain, I still loved the stories, still had all the warm fuzzy emotions connected with my very personal involvement in them all the way back to 1978 and before. But less and less I felt able to give the elves what I believed they deserved. I was tired of publishing and for the first time in my life, I was not afraid to acknowledge it.

And this is where magic starts. The world is full of opportunity, and it’s only waiting for us to get out of our own way and let it in. Once I admitted to myself and to Wendy that it no longer made sense for Warp Graphics to be the “little red hen” and to do everything all by itself, doors started opening. I began looking at other publishers to partner with. Denis and Judy combined their admiration of Elfquest with their contacts in publishing and entertainment and brought us meetings with several interested companies, including DC Comics. Suddenly Wendy and I, instead of wondering metaphorically where our next meal might come from, were presented with a veritable smorgasbord of choices! Once we’d had the chance to talk with and get to know our various options, it was clear that DC Comics was by far the best possibility.

So, to paraphrase Caesar, we came, we signed, and we’re smack-dab in the middle of conquering – we hope!

As I write, there are four (and very soon to be five) DC/Elfquest volumes on the market (one Archive, three manga, two of which already need reprinting, huzzah). The reviews and feedback that we’re hearing are more glowing than we’ve ever gotten before; and even more dazzling to us, these reviews are appearing in such high-profile places as Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal. (Not that we’re blasé about love-letters such as this from online critics!) All of this tells us that the latest incarnation of Elfquest is pleasing not only longtime fans, but also new readers discovering the adventures of the Wolfriders for the first time. And that, we feel, may just be the most exciting aspect of Elfquest’s second quarter-century.

Or maybe, the second most exciting aspect. What may edge it out of the top spot is a feeling of joy that I’ve resurrected, that for a long time was muffled by the day-to-day administrivial grind of being a publisher – the joy of shared creation once again, the fulfillment of doing work for a happy purpose. Ever since hooking up with the folks at DC Comics (most notably our very capable and smartass editor Bob Greenberger) Wendy and I are refashioning old material, conjuring up new material, and – even though the work is intense and sometimes even grueling – having fun doing it. We’re doing the things we do because we want to, not because we need to. It’s almost like the heady days of 1978 are back again!

(I could spend a long time writing about the difference between wanting and needing, and perhaps one day I will. For the purpose of this editorial, all I will say is this: Readers have been asking us almost from the beginning about the elusive Elfquest movie. They – and no more so than we – would love to see the Wolfriders move up on the big screen. For a long time, though, we had the belief within us somewhere that both we and Elfquest needed to have a movie for us and it to be a success. Happily, that belief no longer holds sway, and while we still want a movie, we don’t need one. We’ve gotten out of our own way, and trust in the world to send the perfect Elfquest solution our way – because whatever that solution may be, it’ll be perfect!)

So welcome to today’s transitional moment, the launch of the latest version of Elfquest.com. A lot of it builds upon the structure of the previous version, and a lot is new, streamlined, and corrected. And – because yours truly is no longer trying to wear the webmaster’s hat in addition to all the others – the way is clear for a lot more fun stuff to come, that’s being worked on even as I type these words – new features, new areas, new ways to enjoy the online Elfquest experience.

The moment is now!

Richard Pini


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