Fantasy classic Elfquest—my favorite fantasy series and a regular subject here at BB (previously, previously, previously)—is to become an audio movie with a cast of 40 voice actors and an original orchestral score. You can catch the official announcement event this Friday on Facebook Live, where creators Wendy and Richard Pini and director Fred Greenhalgh will spill the details.
Elfquest was pioneering in 1978, both as a groundbreaking fantasy tale and an indie publishing phenomenon, and still draws a big audience thanks to its mix of high fantasy, low SF and rich drama. And other things besides:
The story was embraced by a vast community of readers for its visionary stance on interracial love, pan-sexuality, and reckoning with societal violence. Originally self-published by the Pinis, the comic's success led to licensed publication first by Marvel Comics, then by DC Comics, and currently by Dark Horse Comics. Co-created by Eisner Hall of Fame inductees Wendy and Richard Pini, with art and writing by Wendy Pini, ElfQuest stood in stark contrast to fantasy comics of its time, which were dominated by brooding barbarians, Tolkien-derived stylings, and standard elvish tropes.
The official livestream event about the new production starts at 11am EST/8 am PST and lasts 90 minutes. Questions, answers, giveaways, you know the drill. See you there!
Online with Facebook Live
Friday, March 5, 2021 at 11 AM EST – 12:30 PM EST
Price: Free · Duration: 1 hr 30 min
Public · Anyone on or off Facebook
Here's more from the press release:
ElfQuest: The Audio Movie will be directed and produced by audio drama pioneer Fred Greenhalgh (Locke & Key, The X-Files: Cold Cases, The Dark Tome), and co-produced with Jonathan Woodward (HBO's Wit, Buffy, Angel, Firefly), with creators Richard and Wendy Pini serving as executive producers. The audio movie will be made in association with The Fantasy Network (Mythica, JourneyQuest, The Rangers) and K4 Media.
The production enters as scripted ensemble audio has come into its own as a high-end artform, with Audible, Marvel and Stitcher, and Spotify with DC Comics all putting fully immersive audio programs into their pipelines.
"I have often said that a major inspiration for me, while I am drawing, is listening to radio dramas," said ElfQuest co-creator and artist Wendy Pini. "I particularly enjoy those with elements of fantasy or horror. They are so exciting, and stimulate visual images in my mind through words, sound effects, and music. They are mental bridges to the imaginary world I am building. So we are over the moon to be working with all these amazing people to bring Elfquest into the audio universe."
"Great audio drama is like a magic trick – you set-up a fully realized world of voice performances, immersive sound design, and music, which allows you to bypass the optic nerve and project images directly onto the listener's imagination," said producer Fred Greenhalgh, "It sounds counter-intuitive, but audio drama is actually an enormously visual medium. ElfQuest is epic in the truest sense, with a vast set of characters and ambitious storytelling which plays to audio drama's strengths as a medium. We're incredibly excited to partner closely with the Pinis to realize the saga of Cutter and the Wolfriders."
"The Fantasy Network, a streaming, crowdfunding, and distribution platform designed to help creators and fans sustain the stories that they love, is thrilled to help bring ElfQuest: The Audio Movie to life," added Ben Dobyns of The Fantasy Network, "Our global audience of passionate fantasy fans are looking forward not only to experiencing the extraordinary world of ElfQuest through a new medium, but to providing meaningful crowdfunding support to help the creative efforts of the Pinis and their collaborators. We believe that direct fan support is the key to offering creators independence and freedom to tell their stories as they wish."