Thursday, May 8, 2014

Elfquest


I'm a late-comer to the Pini's fantasy party, but it's my duty as an old-school comics fan to talk to you about Elfquest. I plan to tell you in the next installment about Wendy's Red Sonja show with Frank Thorne, and the original thirty issue run produced by Wendy with her husband Richard. Their independent comic was a tabloid-size magazine in its original guise. Their success at self-distribution (through Bud Plant Comics in New Jersey) was funded by a ten thousand dollar loan from Richard's parents.

From 1978 to 1984, they wrote, drew and lettered their indie baby, for a total of thirty issues. Cutter and his small tribe of elves, the Wolfriders, are descended from elf visitors to this stone-age Earth type world with two moons. The destruction of their wooded holt was the very first challenge the band faced. Their wanderings and betrayal at the hands of the Trolls began a cycle of discovering new places and another offshoot of the elf race. The quest begins in earnest in issue six, when Cutter and Skywise set out on an actual quest for elves. Every piece introduced fits a larger puzzle, the first phase of which was resolved by the end of the original run. Love stories abound. Personal relationships are paramount. Mysticism, tragedy, and good humor create a unique tone, in a story that explores behaviors outside the typical taboos of modern society.



 My friend Mike Parsley said it well: Elfquest is a great way to introduce women to comic books. Fantasy comics have rarely been a hit with the American market. The fact that Elfquest found four publishers, including both the largest American publishers, and came to life again and again every time its creators found new inspiration for nearly forty years makes it unique in American comic book history!

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