Elfquest Archive Goes To Columbia

Richard and Wendy Pini have donated the archive of Elfquest, the popular comic book they created 1978, to Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Rare Book and Manuscript Library.  

Columbia is getting every piece of original art from ElfQuest, including original art boards and pages from the comic book series, which was largely self-published by the Pinis. 

Richard Pini explains why they did not follow the trend of many other artists and sell their original pages —

At first, the decision to hang on to every page of Wendy’s Elfquest art was mostly a commercial one; we never knew when we might need the original boards for reprinting.  There was also an emotional component. I remembered the long hours Wendy put in, the editorial debates we had, the shared joy of seeing exactly the right expression on a character’s face. Now that we have high-quality digital scans of it all, we’re honored to donate the entire archive to Columbia.

The Pinis’ archives also include original art from an unrealized animated adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s fantasy novel Stormbringer and from a graphic novel adaptation of The Masque of the Red Death; drafts of scripts and novelizations; copies of each edition of the ElfQuest graphic novels; fanzines created by both the Pinis and their fans; correspondence, contracts, and legal records; and the design for Wendy Pini’s Red Sonja cosplay costume.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

Bradbury Part of Oscar In Memoriam Reel

Ray Bradbury was among those paid tribute by the filmmaking community during last night’s Oscar ceremonies during the traditional in memoriam montage. A still photo of Bradbury was followed by a clip of him saying, “…the ability to fantasize is the ability to grow.”

I don’t know if there’s a legitimate copy of the video online, but if you’re willing peer over the shoulder of the film fan who posted this video of himself doing commentary as a recording of the list plays in the background [YouTube], you can make out Ray’s quote because, fortunately, the guy was inhaling when it came on. Ray appears at the 2:21 mark.

Update 02/25/2013: John sent a link to the Oscar segment containing the In Memoriam hosted at Hulu. It starts about 10 minutes in.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Vulcan Hammers the Competition

Vulcan and Cerberus will be the names of Pluto’s P4 and P5 moons if voters have their way – something that is by no means guaranteed.

There were 450,324 votes cast before Pluto Rocks closed the polls on February 25. The site’s bar graph makes it hard to tell the exact count, but Vulcan clearly led all contenders, receiving well over 150,000 votes.

Cerberus had around 100,000 votes.

Just three other names — Styx, Persephone and Orpheus – got over 50,000 votes.

“It could take 1-2 months for the final names of P4 and P5 to be selected and approved,” said Mark Showalter of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute, on behalf of the P4/P5 Discovery Team.

Vulcan was added to the official ballot after receiving many write-in votes from people acting on a suggestion made by William Shatner.

Dozois Joins Clarkesworld

Clarkesworld Magazine has named Gardner Dozois to helm its new reprint department, which will feature a pair of previously-published sf stories chosen from the past three decades. The first selections will be in Clarkesworld’s April 2013 edition (and in the podcast as well).

Gardner Dozois won 15 Best Professional Editor Hugos while editing Asimov’s between 1986 and 2004. His The Year’s Best Science Fiction Series is the most recognized anthology in the field. 

Neil Clarke, Clarkesworld Editor-in-Chief, commented, “Since my heart attack last year, when readers responded with encouragement and support, I’ve been trying to find a way to say ‘thank you’. The reprint department had been on our wish list for some time and when the opportunity to work with someone of Gardner’s caliber arose, I knew I had found the perfect way to express my gratitude.”

[Via Paul Di Filippo and Andrew Porter.]

LSC3 Opens Pulp-O-Mizer Competition

LoneStarCon 3 has opened a competition to design a pulp magazine-style cover promoting this year’s Worldcon using Bradley Schenck’s Pulp-O-Mizer website application.

Vast numbers of people have been creating mock-antique prozine covers since the Pulp-O-Mizer went online in February. I recently posted this example by David Gerrold.

Full instructions for entering the contest are on the LSC3 site. The deadline for entering is May 31. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges that will include LSC3 committee members along with Bradley Schenck, inventor of the Pulp-O-Mizer. The covers will be blind-judged to ensure an unbiased selection.

The full press release follows the jump.

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How To Twitter After You Croak

Although the unofficial LASFS motto “Death will not release you – even if you die” is spiritual, not technological, in nature — now, as CNN reports, companies have transformed that threatened doom into a service for social media users.

Consider _LivesOn, a new project with a catchy tag line “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting.”

_LivesOn collects data on subscribers’ Twitter habits and content preferences while they are still alive —

The tool will collect data and start populating a shadow Twitter account with a daily tweet that the algorithm determines match the person’s habits and interests. They can help train it with feedback and by favoriting tweets.

“It’s meant to be like a twin,” said Dave Bedwood, a partner at Lean Mean Fighting Machine.

In the short term, Bedwood and his team said it will serve as a nice content-recommendation engine. But eventually, in the more distant future, the goal is to have Twitter accounts that can carry on tweeting in the style and voice of the original account.

I vote no. I’m already bothered when Facebook prompts me to wish happy birthday to deceased friends. Think how disturbing it will be when they start tweeting answers.

DeadSocial’s more straightforward service allows people to say their final goodbyes by scheduling public Facebook posts, tweets or LinkedIn posts to go out after they’ve died.

However, because these messages can, in theory, be scheduled 400 years out DeadSocial gives everyone the chance to be Hari Seldon by recording a series of “I told you so” messages that can be scheduled centuries in advance. 

That is, unless The Mule comes along and shuts off Facebook

Gort Ka-Ching! Barada Nikto

It never occurred to me that Gort would stop needing his head. I always visualized Gort leaving with Klaatu in the spaceship on their way to some indefinite eternity.

But in those pre-CGI days there was an actor inside and doubtless when the camera stopped rolling he was eager to take off the stifling thing. He might have been more insistent on keeping his prop head if he knew it would one day sell for $150,000, as it did last December 15 at Profiles in History’s Hollywood Auction.

The catalog describes Gort’s head in loving detail —

In the sequences when Gort moves, he was portrayed by 7 ft., 7 in.-tall actor Lock Martin wearing a thick foam-rubber suit designed and built by Addison Hehr. Constructed of fiberglass and metal, the robot’s massive head measures 14 in. tall x 13 ¼ in. wide x 17 in. long. A trio of 8 ¼ in. metal supports are bolted to the fiberglass skull cap that fitted to Lock Martin’s head, enabling the robot to appear even taller. Nine distinctive air holes are crafted beneath the robot’s chin, allowing Martin to breathe. The helmet has been expertly repainted, and the original wooden earpieces were reassembled and accompany the lot. Replacement ear pieces, identical in appearance, were installed for longevity. The missing visor was accurately replaced in hand-crafted aluminum by a master armorer using visual reference from studio photo stills.

Surprisingly (to me), a full-scale, screen-used T-800 Endoskeleton from Terminator 2: Judgment Day fetched just as much — $150,000.

And selling for more than those two items combined was Orlando Bloom’s “Legolas” Lothlorien bow from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for a bid of $310,000.

There were many, many items of exceptional science fictional interest. To name only a few —

A jumpsuit from Men Into Space brought $4,000 and Erin Gray’s “Wilma Deering” uniform from Buck Rogers In The 25th Century sold for $1,500.

Lots of uniform pieces from the original Star Trek series went on the block – a “Spock” tunic was bid up to $95,000. Prime stuff from other Star Trek series brought good prices, such as Levar Burton’s ”Geordie” Hero Visor from ST:TNG which went for $7,000.

Numerous valuable posters changed hands, including a French King Kong poster, $20,000, a Day The Earth Stood Still 3-sheeter, $6,000 and a Godzilla 3-sheeter, $3,000.

A screen-used X-wing fighter filming miniature from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope commanded $225,000.

Weapons were popular, most of all the iconic items like Harrison Ford’s “Indiana Jones” Hero Pistol from Raiders of the Lost Ark, $25,000, and “Hagrid’s” Hero Crossbow from Harry Potter, $25,000.

If you’re curious, the catalog is still available online here [38MB PDF file]. So is a press release with the full list of Prices Realized [PDF file].

2013 Sir Julius Vogel Award Nominees Wanted

SFFANZ, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand, will be taking nominations for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for 2013 through March 31. Anybody may nominate —

There is no requirement for the nominator to be of age, of sound mind, or even be a New Zealander, however, the nominator does need to be living. SFFANZ may be liberal minded as to who may nominate, but it is not so licentious as to allow zombies to have their halfpennith-worth.

The inspirational Sir Julius Vogel was a 19th-century Prime Minister of New Zealand. His novel Anno Domini 2000 – A Woman’s Destiny, published in 1889, is the earliest known sf novel by a New Zealander.

Professional nominations can be for novels, short stories, art and others. Fan nominations can be for fanzine, writing, art, Services to Fandom, Services to Science Fiction, etc.

Eligible nominees are works by a New Zealander, or a New Zealand resident, created in 2012. The New Zealander may be someone living out of the country. Published works need to have appeared in New Zealand first.

A detailed nomination FAQ can be found here. SFFANZ maintains a list of eligible professional works here. (I never heard of The Almighty Johnsons before!)

Voting for the awards will take place at the 2013 National SF Convention Au Contraire.

[Thanks To David Klaus for the story.]