Wendy & Richard Pini
(These are official biographies, and are available for use in press releases, interviews, etc. Please note in any such use that they are copyright ï¿½ 2002 Warp Graphics.)
50 years ago, Wendy Pini was born Wendy Fletcher in San Francisco. Growing up on an isolated ranch in Gilroy, California, Wendy’s imagination was fueled by all forms of fantasy and mythology. At an early age she began spinning her own tales of elves, monkey-gods, aliens and sorcerers. While her artistic talents were influenced by of turn-of-the-century illustrators, film and TV animation, her storytelling abilities evolved from a love of Shakespeare, Japanese history and legend, modern fantasy and the epic poetry of the Ramayana.
Largely self-educated Wendy began exhibiting her artwork in fanzines and at science fiction conventions in the mid 1960s, garnering awards and recognition. In 1972 she married Richard Pini and in 1974 she began her professional career as an illustrator for science fiction magazines such as “Galaxy,” “Galileo,”and “Worlds of If.”
In 1977, a deeply personal project called ELFQUEST was born. As the first continuing fantasy/adventure graphic novel series in America to be co-created, written and illustrated by a woman, ELFQUEST became a phenomenon in the comics industry. Appealing to comics and sci-fi/fantasy fans alike, it attracted a unique and unprecedented audience, an equal mix of male and female readers. Over three million copies of the collected graphic novel volumes have been sold to date.
For Wendy, ELFQUEST has been an ongoing labor of love for over two decades. With husband/editor/facilitator Richard, she has scripted, drawn and painted many ELFQUEST graphic novels, co-written and illustrated prose novelizations, produced calendars, portfolios and art prints and provided cover art for the ELFQUEST related anthology series “Blood of Ten Chiefs.”
In the late 1980s Wendy wrote and illustrated two critically praised graphic novels based on the cult hit TV series “Beauty and the Beast.” In addition, she supplied the text and illustrations for “Law and Chaos,” an art book inspired by the writings of Michael Moorcock. Wendy has also done work for Marvel Comics, First Comics, Comico, “Frazetta Fantasy Illustrated” magazine, and DC Comics.
Since the mid 1990s Wendy has co-written the screenplay, with her partners Marv Wolfman and Craig Miller, for a full-length animated feature based on ELFQUEST volumes 1-4. She has also created pre-production art and character model charts. The movie, co-produced by Wolfmill Entertainment, has a projected release date of Spring 2003.
Most recently, Wendy provided the control art and worked closely with the sculptors on the first three series of Evil Genius Toys’ line of action figures based on classic ELFQUEST comics. Following her bliss, she continues, with the ever-present support of Richard and assistants, to produce new ELFQUEST stories and art, from graphic novels to coloring books to fine art prints.
Someday, Wendy will finish her part in the telling of the ELFQUEST saga. What then? Certainly there will be ever deeper devotion to her spiritual studies, to which she has dedicated her life; plus, possibly, a stint as a motivational speaker. Her fantasy? Spending an entire year in some lovely retreat completing a single painting that has no deadline attached to it.
It’s been a while since I wrote one of these, and I must be careful not to descend too far into rant mode, a pitfall of the frequent writing of editorials. I used to have a perfectly serviceable biography that I would send around to folks who asked for such, part of which read: “In 1981, he stopped working for IBM and started devoting full time to Warp Graphics.” However, at some point, due to someone else’s editorial negligence, I discovered that “In 1981, he stopped working for IBM.” Period. A later omission put me deeper on welfare: “In 1981, he stopped working.” It’s fear, pure and simple, that motivates this new attempt to limn my life; I don’t want to find out what else happened (or didn’t happen) to me in 1981.
There comes a point in the repeated crafting of biographies when one forgets what one has said before a hundred times and what one has never revealed. Therefore, I present a smorgasbord and the reader may pick and choose at leisure.
Yes, I am a damn Yankee, born in Connecticut, educated (allegedly in the collegiate sense) in Boston and Cambridge, and living in New York (but, I hasten to add, not in the City – never in the City). Poughkeepsie is upstate. It’s nice. There are trees. There are not many taxicabs. There used to be not many cell phones, but even Poughkeepsie must come into the 20th century at some point.
I was born in 1950, in New Haven, Connecticut, which made me half a century old in 2000, which was not the first year of the new millennium. I used to think that “half a century” was a long, long time to live. Now that I’ve arrived, I realize that it’s only the start. I’ve spent nearly half of that span working on Elfquest (more on that in a bit). I’ve spent over half that span knowing, loving and conspiring with life-partner Wendy. There is much yet to come.
My educational background is in astronomy (a love of heavenly bodies and all that, I’m sure you’ve heard it before) which has prepared me ideally for careers in planetarium entertainment, teaching high school, programming big computers for IBM and, presently, publishing comic books and graphic novels. You’ve perhaps heard of “Elfquest”. It is a sprawling fastasy adventure series told in various forms and formats and it has occupied my mind, hands and wallet for the last twenty-plus years; its grip does not seem to be weakening. They say that the average career lasts for five years; I’m doing my part to screw up the average. In the span of over two decades I’ve done nearly everything possible for someone in this line of work to do: write, edit, publish, market, manage, succeed, fail, and administrate. I enjoy most of that; I do not however like being a paper-pusher. Now that Elfquest has gotten its second wind as an animated film and licensed merchandise property, I suspect that everything prior to now is merely preamble, and that the gods are going to turn the volume up to 11 any day.
I enjoy language in all its creative uses; puns, limericks, double entendres, these are a few of my favorite things. There are not many subjects that can or will embarrass me in conversation, on a panel discussion at a convention, or in editorial exposure. Over the years, some people may have discovered what one of them might be; I don’t recall. If it happens again, we’ll see.
One of my favorite sayings has been, “Everything’s negotiable.” In the course of business, it works well. In the course of learning about and from life, that phrase is tied for first place with, “Everything’s learnable.” As vast and mysterious as is the external universe, uncovering what goes on inside the head, heart and soul is the truest quest of all.