Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Animated Stormbringer, Wendy Pini and Red Sonja

My friend Mike sent this over to me and I thought it best to share it right away.

Back in her college days, Wendy Pini (Elfquest) had begun a most ambitious project of bringing Michael Moorcock's Elric to the screen as an animated feature.  She ended up spending years on this, working up concept drawings, storyboards, sound effects and music cues.  It was quite an undertaking for any studio much less a single person.  It kinda became this ongoing obsession that she eventually had to lock up and walk away from back in 1973.

View Wendy's production portfolio for Stormbringer
Wendy offers up the story of this chapter in creative life via this website as she displays much of the work she produced for this project.  It's amazing to see the breadth of talent she possessed at that young age and the illustrations for Elric as an animated piece are mindblowing.

View Wendy Pini's Stormbringer presentation.

Elric is a 'strange' sort of fantasy, not as accessible as LotRs which was quite popular in the 60's and early 70's and was later produced as an animated feature by Ralph Bakshi.  If her Elric movie was ever made I wonder how that would have changed the direction of fantasy.  If it was a high profile Disney style production (not that they would have touched this with a 10 foot pole), I think it would have been amazing.  Bakshi had more of an underground flair but I think this would have been a better direction than he ended up going with with Wizards.  But I doubt he wouldn't have given up reign on a project like that to a young talent like Wendy Pini.  Bakshi's influence would have been all over that and Wendy's concepts are too good I wouldn't' want that to be diluted or altered in any way.  If her Stormbringer film was made at the time and was successful, I think fantasy would have been less fluffy.  Moorcock's battles of Law vs Chaos and related concepts were a bit more underground even for an underground literary genre such as fantasy.  But it may have fit well in the 70's.

Alas, we'll never know but it's interesting to contemplate.

After college she ended up hanging out with Frank Thorne and dressing up as Red Sonja, though there's definitely nothing wrong with that, before moving on to her famous Elfquest.

Original cosplayer Wendy Pini as Red Sonja

Bonus feature:


  1. Man her storyboards are awesome and the costume designs are great in that book for an animated feature. Shame.

  2. Fearless epic love of wonderful source material. Thankful Wendy has been willing to show such adoration and ambition.

  3. Cosplay appears to have been in full swing.
    There are two other auburn-haired, scale mail bikini-"clad" lovelies in that pic.
    It's a veritable Red Sonja-fest by Crom!

    1. That's putting it mildly...

  4. Excellent post, thanks for sharing.