Dr. Batorious: And now, to present the Deborah Walley Best All-Time Artwork Award for 2003, once again, Rennod.
Rennod steps forward to the podium, as a portrait of Deborah Walley with a faint graphic of Foxglove in flight superimposed over it fills the big screen. He clears his throat, glances at the notes on the small teleprompter screen built into the platform in front of him—which is working again—and begins::
Rennod: Last year at the first annual Acorn Awards, the decision was made to commemorate the anniversary of Deborah Walley’s passing by naming the Best All-Time Artwork Award in honor of her and her contribution to the series we love so much. It is my distinct privilege to assist in continuing that commemorative tradition by presenting this award for the second year of its creation. If you would, please, a small moment of silence.
::Rennod and the audience hold as a pall of absolute absence of audio descends briefly. Rennod bows his head a moment, then continues::
Rennod: Thank you. Many Rangerphiles and others throughout the world were either born with or developed the talent of art. A craft begun with lines in the sand and pictures on cave walls . . .
Ug the Caveman: Whoo-hoo!
Rennod: . . . now these ancient techniques are joined by such modern tools as arc welders . . .
Rennod: . . . and computers and specialized programs for them.
Rennod: Ranger art has run the gamut from colored pencils and wax crayons to oil paintings, retouched screenshots, comic books, sketches of pencil and pen, and most recently a graphic novel.
Rennod: From small children and amateur doodles to professional artists and breathtaking images, any and all Ranger art always has and always will be very special, and prized by the community. At this time, we recognize a singular work that the community believes to be of a higher caliber, a degree of timelessness that only the greatest can achieve. Getting to this level is a signal to the artist that in performing their craft, they created a work that stands out in every Rangerphile’s memory. Truly, even being nominated for this award is an honor in and of itself!
::Light applause follows, if only to show Rennod the audience wants him to get on with it, already::
Rennod: These deserving nominees are as follows, in no particular order:
- “Plots,” by Charles Williams
- “The Cover to ‘The Times of Their Lives’,” by Charles Williams
- “The Return of Winifred,” by Jin
- “Chip and Dale at the Bar,” by Ilya Pestov
- Celikom dyy111,” by TD
- “Dale’s Birthday,” by Jin
- “Gadget Angel,” by Ruslan Matvienko
- “Of Mice and Mayhem,” by Fish
Rennod: All great pieces or artwork and deserving entries, every one of them. And this year, the winner is . . .
::Rennod opens the envelope and removes the small card within. He studies it and lets the suspense hang in the air like a “Gadget in Chains” installment. Finally, he draws a deep breath and in a projecting voice booms the much-anticipated result::
Rennod: Yep, it’s “Of Mice and Mayhem”!
::The orchestra strikes up again, the spotlight following Fish to the podium::
Fish: Holy Double Moly- (puff-pant)
::Fish takes a minute to collect himself::
Fish: There are too many steps up to this stage, Indy.
::Indy laughs, as does the rest of the crowd::
Fish: I don't know how to thank you all except for maybe this-
Dr. Batorious (on the loudspeaker): For those at home, this is an extremely large picture so if your web browser includes autosizing of pictures it will look VERY small. Move your mouse over the picture until you get the enlargement box to appear and then click on it. The picture should fill the screen.
Fish: This is simply a montage of rough mood sketches I've done for the upcoming- well upcoming is too strong a word; let's say <I><u>eventual sequel</u></I> to Mice and Mayhem. This particular montage is primarily C&G-ish, so no plot goodies are revealed, just a little bit of mush. Anti's beware. The two top right sketches, I should note, I copied by hand from a picture Shelley Pleger sent me in an attempt to learn from her mastery.
Thanks for bestowing this honor upon me.
::The audience applauds as Fish accepts his award and heads for his seat. The seats around him in the mezzanine are now filled with trophies, and he looks like a very tired salesman with a lot of inventory as he sits himself down with the latest edition. Rennod nods to the audience and leaves the stage::