Things I like: Goodness, I hope I’m not the only person who mentions Elfquest. I Leetah and the rest of her people are dark-skinned elves….not evil, either. THEY are the civilized ones! There’s Rayek (who’s more of an anti-hero), and Savah Mother of Memory, and Suntoucher and the Jackwolfriders. Elfquest, definitely, FTW.
Elfquest is the longest-running independent fantasy series, with more than 15 million comics, graphic novels and other publications in print. The story of Cutter, chief of the Wolfriders, and his quest to find others of their own kind on the World of Two Moons, Elfquest was first published in 1978 by creators Wendy and Richard Pini. The latest cycle, The Final Quest, is being published by Dark Horse Comics.
It’s such a shame we will never get to réally know everyone we “know”, and a shame that we never know beforehand how someone really is because instead we accidentally unconsciously think we know how people are like, simply based on the picture we have of only the (often misleading) shell of that person. It makes me feel I’m missing out on so many great people and things. And this concept the other way around is something that often strikes me as well; getting to know someone and then realizing you could have missed out on this - and then again back to trying to realize what/who you are never going to know.
Anyway, rambly rambly - lately I got close to a girl that I have spent the last 3 years in college with and I wish we met before! Besides finding out awesome little things like the fact that she watches Stargate, I recently found Elfquest comics in her room when at a party at her place. Got a flashback to when I was eleven - I loved these books!
ElfQuest is a comic about a community of elves called Wolfriders who struggle to survive and coexist on a primitive Earth-like planet with two moons. Best thing about it all; they are closely allied with wolves who serve as mounts, hunting partners, and friends - hence their name Wolfriders.
She lent me them all and I’m reading through them a little right now. Here are some pictures from the books for you!
I really think my favorite part of ElfQuest was the concept of Recognition. Not because the “destined soulmates at first sight” thing has never been done before or since, but because of how thoughtfully the series addressed it.
We had one couple (Cutter and Leetah) that fell into the classic mode where they initially hated that they’d bonded but wound up falling in love and forming a lasting relationship.
We had one couple that Recognized, were not happy about it, and decided to move on with their lives independently.
And we had one couple that did not Recognize but nevertheless had one of the most romantic and lasting relationships of the whole series and wound up claiming everything Recognition was supposed to give them for themselves anyway.
This is Nightfall:
And this is Redlance:
(he’s growing seeds with his mind!)
And this is from my favorite scene, wherein the generally nonviolent Redlance just had to warp his plant powers to fight a bunch of trolls:
And Nightfall (who just got back from a battle in full plate armor) tells him:
“I am the sword, the spear, the arrow. You are the flower, the tree, the vine. Never will I, or anyone, force you to be other than what you are. Never again.”
You had recently endorsed ElfQuest, and I feel it’s very important for me to tell you this is … not the best thing to do. Recently it came to light that the creators endorse blackface (and have taken part in it). They also show their PoC fans no respect in regards to their feelings and the racism they deal with. This was discovered via their official Facebook page and you can find the screenshot breakdown I did here. It was very upsetting, I’ve been an avid follower/supporter of ElfQuest for years until now.
Please don’t promote them. Please don’t support them. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing … Pun not intended.
Thank you for your submission. Someone recently sent me a message linking to your blog, and I had planned to contact you rather than unwittingly linking to your blog post. I’m relieved you’ve submitted it yourself, and I will add a link to this to the original post.
Happy Women’s History Month! All through March, we’ll be celebrating women who changed free expression in comics. Check back here every
weekday for biographical snippets on female creators who have pushed the
boundaries of the format and/or seen their work challenged or banned.
Wendy Pini discovered comic books as a teenager in the 1960s, devouring them alongside science fiction and fantasy novels. Pini was undeterred by the fact that, as a woman, she wasn’t necessarily the target market for the comics and books she read. She soon began drawing her own illustrations, drawing inspiration from the fantasy and science fiction she read (she also drew the ire of at least one high school art teacher who tried to discourage Wendy’s fascination with the fantastic). Pini also embraced fandom, becoming a fixture at fantasy and sci-fi conventions, where she was well-known for intricate cosplay.
During the early 1970s, the largely self-taught Pini illustrated covers for DC and Mavel as well as science fiction and fantasy magazines such as Galaxy, Galileo, and Worlds of If. In 1978, Pini, alongside her husband Richard, launched what has become one of the longest-running independent comics series: Elfquest. In Elfquest, Pini created a diverse cast of characters and frequently addressed contemporary social issues through her stories and illustrations. Pini’s artwork in Elfquest is inspired in part by Japanese manga and looked nothing like the work that dominated comics at the time the series launched. Her characters were more androgynous, and the artwork was notably feminine and sensual. When Elfquest debuted in Fantasy Quarterly #1, it became an instant hit especially among female comics fans. Now in its 37th year, the series has a loyal and broad fanbase and is considered by many a touchstone of independent comics.
Elfquest often depicts issues and events that aren’t commonly subjects of the comics medium. An issue in the Elfquest: New Blood series, published in the early 1990s, included panels that focused on childbirth. The imagery included partial nudity, but the event was tastefully illustrated and conveyed as life-affirming. Unfortunately, someone in West Virginia didn’t agree. In 1999, a social worker gave a neighborhood boy a copy of the comic, and the boy’s grandfather contacted authorities after a verbal confrontation with the social worker. Dragged from his bed in the middle of the night and arrested for distributing obscene materials to a minor, the social worker contacted CBLDF for assistance. The comic came nowhere near failing the Miller test for obscenity, so CBLDF legal counsel Burton Joseph was able to get the charges dismissed.
ElfQuest is a fabulous comic, features so many story aspects I see people asking for on this site. Women of colour? Check. Men looking after the kids while the women go fights? That’s covered. Healthy poly relationships? Don’t get me started on how wonderful Tyldak-Dewshine-Scouter is. Elves with PTSD, mental disorders, adoption, racism, parent-child relationships, and queer people who don’t exist just to be a joke.
That’s right. ElfQuest has queer characters. And it’s all available online to read, for free.
Wendy Pini drew this amazing sketch of Skywise and Cutter for the silent auction to benefit the LGBTQIA…-friendly geek convention Bent-Con. She said that Elfquest is really the love story of these two soul brothers.
This is my favorite of the Hidden Years of Elfquest. It’s beautifully drawn and the colours are amazing. In this part almost nobody speaks, it’s all about the relationship between Strongbow and Lashpaw, his wolffriend. They speak through motion and facial expressions and movement. This is literally a show and don’t tell.
Elfquest is a story about elves and Wavedancers are sea elves. Here Haru’s elf name is Foam and his soul name is Haruka and Rin’s elf name is Sharktooth and soul name is Rin. Soul name protects the elf’s inner-most self and is revealed when two elves go through Recognition. Recognition happens, when two elves having exceptionally compatible qualities for reproduction meet (they may have met before) and then they experience a sudden and immediate compulsion to mate. This often leads becoming lifemates. While Recognizing the elf involuntarily surrenders his or her soul name to the other recognized elf. This is described by the phrase, “soul meets soul when eyes meet eyes.”