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.
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