Richard and Wendy Pini of Warp Graphics, Fred Greenhalgh of Dagaz Media, and Ben Dobyns, President of The Fantasy Network, are thrilled to announce a joint venture to adapt the classic fantasy comic, ElfQuest, as a cinematic ‘audio movie’ experience with an anticipated cast of more than 40 voice actors, original sound design, and a lush orchestral score.
Details about the audio movie will be revealed by the Pinis, Dagaz, and The Fantasy Network on a special livestream event at 11am Eastern Time on March 5th, streaming at ElfQuest’s Facebook Page and The Fantasy Network’s Twitch Channel.
ElfQuest is an iconic fantasy comic, widely regarded as having helped launch the independent comics market, that has run continuously for more than four decades. The story tracks the journey of the Wolfrider tribe of elves as they seek their origins and identity on the World of Two Moons, a journey which pits them against humans, trolls, and most dangerous of all, each other.
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.
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.”