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 has won many industry awards and 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 major comics publishers such as Marvel, First Comics, Comico, DC Comics and, currently, 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 designed 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 became a 400 page hardcover volume from Warp Graphics. “Masque” is currently in development as a theatrical musical thriller, and Richard is helping to produce a concept album of the show’s two-dozen-plus songs.
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. 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. Later, he became planetarium director and astronomy teacher at Taunton (MA) High School.
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.
Currently, they are working closely with Dagaz Media to transform the Original Quest into an “audio movie” aural experience with top-rank voice actors and a fully orchestrated soundtrack. After a very successful crowdfunding campaign, ElfQuest the Audio Movie is expected to drop in the first half of 2022.