Episode 560-With Wendy and Richard Pini

On November 1, 2022, in Podcast, by Patrick Hester

The ElfQuest Audio MovieThis week, Patrick and Tracy welcome Wendy and Richard Pini, co-creators of ElfQuest.

About The ElfQuest Audio Movie: When a fierce tribe of woodland elves – the Wolfriders – are burned from their homes by hostile humans, their chief, Cutter, must tap every reserve of strength and will to lead his people to safety.

Barely surviving brutal setbacks, the Wolfriders discover to their astonishment other elves – the Sun Folk – who exist in the world they thought was theirs alone.

Now refugees, the hardship of losing their forest home proves small compared to the spirit-twisting trials that follow when Cutter experiences an unexpected soul-to-soul bond with the healer of the Sun Folk, Leetah.

Join us as the Wolfriders confront danger, death, and desperate flight as they wrestle with deep mysteries of identity and love.

Welcome, as Realm presents the epic saga ElfQuest from comic book creators Wendy and Richard Pini in this richly layered audio movie, directed by Fred Greenhalgh. Starring Cree Summer, Alejandro Saab, Osric Chau, Amber Benson, Aaron Douglas, Clare Kramer, Will Friedle, Zehra Fazal, Robert Picardo, Tim Russ, Ray Porter, and a full cast.

Produced by Dagaz Media, Bluejay Atlantic, Wolfrider Productions, in association with The Fantasy Network.

About Wendy and Richard Pini: Born in San Francisco in 1951, Wendy Pini grew up in Gilroy, CA. Largely self taught, her artistic talents were influenced by turn-of-the-century illustrators, film and TV animation, Shakespeare, Japanese history, fairy tales, myths and modern fantasy. Wendy began exhibiting her artwork at sci-fi conventions in the mid 1960s, garnering awards and recognition.

In 1972 she married Richard Pini, and in 1974 began her professional career as an illustrator for SF magazines such as “Galaxy” and “Worlds of If.” Through the mid-1970s, Wendy also trod the boards at comic conventions as actress/dancer in “The Red Sonja and the Wizard Show.” This led to her first professional comics work, writing an issue of “Red Sonja” for Marvel Comics.

In 1977 Wendy and Richard co-founded Warp Graphics, and the following year ELFQUEST was born. Widely regarded as the “first American manga,” ElfQuest continues to be a publishing phenomenon as well as an inspiration to its readers. Tens of millions of copies of comics, graphic novels, books, calendars and other merchandise have been sold worldwide.

Wendy has worked for nearly all the major comics publishers such as Marvel, First Comics, Comico, DC Comics and, most recently, Dark Horse Comics. She wrote and painted two critically acclaimed graphic novels based on the hit TV series “Beauty and the Beast,” and supplied the text and illustrations for “Law and Chaos,” an art book inspired by the writings of Michael Moorcock.

In 1997 Wendy had the privilege of designing the elfin mascot and mission patch for NASA’s Enclosed Laminar Flames (ELF) investigation, an experiment performed in space by members of the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-87).

From 2007 to 2010, Wendy took a walk on the dark side to produce her adults-only graphic novel based on the classic Edgar Allan Poe horror story “Masque of the Red Death.” Her animated web comic received millions of views, and the book is currently available as a limited edition, 400 page hardcover volume from Warp Graphics.

In 2012, Wendy and Richard donated her entire body of work to the Comic Book and Graphic Novel archive at Columbia University, New York City. Her artwork and writings will be permanently available to students and the public for study.

Richard Pini was born in 1950, in New Haven, Connecticut. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), receiving a degree in astronomy and astrophysics. Always fan of science fiction, at college he found new diversion in comic books, and it was in the letters pages of “The Silver Surfer” in 1969 that he chanced upon a letter written by one Wendy Fletcher.

A correspondence began, spanning a period of four years. The two eventually married in 1972, and Wendy embarked upon a career as an illustrator for sci-fi magazines. Speaking of Richard, Wendy states “When Richard and I first met, a lot of things fell in place for me. Almost immediately we began working on our life together – it was almost preordained. Richard and I have a lot to accomplish in this lifetime.”

His degree in astronomy from MIT led Richard to a position at Boston’s Hayden Planetarium as lecturer, photographer, script writer, and special effects technician.

From 2015 to 2017, Richard wrote or co-wrote, and worked closely with Flesk Publications (a producer of high-quality art books) to bring out three ElfQuest/Wendy-related titles: “The Art of ElfQuest,” “ElfQuest – the Art of the Story,” and “Line of Beauty – The Art of Wendy Pini,” which was nominated for a Comic-Con International Eisner Award (the comic book industry equivalent of the Academy Awards) in 2018.

In 2019, both Wendy and Richard were inducted into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame for their lifetime achievements.

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© 2022 Patrick Hester

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