this american elf


The Dark Elf & the Dwarf
Ancient Legends from the past
When Bruenor saved Drizzt
From the Yeti
They became friends so fast
After searching & rejection
On the surface world
On Kelvin’s Cairn - Drizzt heard the
words he longed to hear -
Welcome Home - at last

Why aren’t people talking about the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series???? We have a dark elf that appears as an African American man, a deaf elf, and a girl who is Arabic and Muslim who wears a hijab. Samirah talks about people attacking her for her religion and ethnicity. She explains the hijab.

Robbie Rotten is Literally a Troll

With the huge increase in popularity in the Icelandic Children’s TV show Lazytown, I quickly noticed that the original drafts had some root into icelandic folklore, for instance, Sportacus was originally an elf. In the kid’s tv show, it seemed to have discarded those cultural roots in place of something more Americanized- making a trickster elf into a superhero. It seems that all trace of Iceland has been erased (except for Magnus Scheving’s accent), but there may be more down the rabbit hole. 

I’m studying Anthropology, and have been a Storyteller for many years, with an emphasis in folklore from different parts of the world. When I noticed that the original Sportacus was an elf, I was quite intrigued. How much matched up with traditional Icelandic folklore? So, I looked it up. 

The most common nordic/ Icelandic folk tale is about beings called huldufolk (hidden folk) which can be recognized as being fairies, elves, and trolls. 

Sportacus matches up closely with the stories of the elves. In fact, he was one in the drafts that didn’t quite make it too far out of Iceland. However, Sportacus still has a lot of traits that match up with the elves from Icelandic folklore. One prominent story that comes to mind is a story about a town that loved to dance, and when the sheriff of the town banned dancing, the elves sided with the townsfolk who loved dancing to run the sheriff out of town. Does that sound familiar? An elf siding with someone who loves to dance to keep dancing and other activities alive in the town while stopping the person who gets in the way is essentially the plot of every single episode of Lazytown. While the original Sportacus was a lot more cruel in his tricks, the current Sportacus certainly bears resemblance to the original when it comes to motivation. 

Now on to Robbie Rotten. Who is he? In the show he is a lazy, rude, disguise wearing, and antisocial man who looks very different from the majority of the citizens in Lazytown. He is also the tallest character, and has purposefully distorted features. Given these traits, we can compare them. 

Trolls are creatures that are dim witted and easily outsmarted. They dislike most people and prefer to live in caves underground to avoid interaction. They are humanoid in nature, though often are shown as being larger than the average human. Their features are also distorted from humans, like having exceptionally long noses or chins. They are also considered to be clumsy, lazy, and poor mannered. 

The hobbies of trolls are also quite telling- they enjoy kidnapping people (even if they do not know what to do with them afterwards) and disguising themselves to trick humans

Robbie Rotten spends all of his time making poor schemes to trick the humans of Lazytown. Many of his plans involves kidnapping one of the citizens of Lazytown, though after they’re captured he often doesn’t know what to do next. He ultimately wants to be left alone in peace and quiet in his underground cavern. Most notably, he uses disguises to try and accomplish his goals, just like many trolls do in traditional Nordic tales. 

The only Troll characteristic that Robbie does not possess is the aversion to sunlight, but hey, no theory is perfect.

Small Owls of North America 

(because tiny owls are adorable and have the most dramatic eyes)

American Museum of Natural History, NYC

Rick Riordan has actively added diverse characters in all of his books to represent more kids. Characters in his books include:

  • a Arab-American, Muslim Valkyrie (Magnus Chase)
  • a deaf/mute elf who uses sign language (Magnus Chase)
  • a black male dwarf that loves fashion and design (Magnus Chase)
  • a genderfluid, transgender warrior of Odin (Magnus Chase) …”

me: Magnus Chase is a deaf, mute, black Arab-American, part elf/part dwarf,  genderfluid transgender male Muslim Valkyrie warrior of Odin who uses sign language and loves fashion and design!!!?

me: …

me: “Magus Chase” is the title of the book, isn’t it?

It may sound a little sappy, but whenever I start worrying that drawing these strips was a big mistake, I look to what inspired me in the first place: “American Elf” by James Kochalka. 

If he could manage this gig for 14 years, then so I can I! Only 11 more years to go!

It’s up to me to keep making these comix better and remember that mundanity is part of their charm.



So… 16 years ago, back in 1999, I wrote this letter to a 9-year-old fan of my comics who I had never met but who was a relative of a family friend and undergoing a series of brain surgeries.  Now he’s 25 years old, and he came to visit me in Vermont yesterday and take me out to lunch.  And he turned out to be a pretty awesome guy, it was fun and we got along great.

Back then I hadn’t yet drawn the kids comics I’m currently known for (Johnny Boo, Glorkian Warrior, Dragon Puncher).  But I was doing my Impy & Wormer strips in Nickelodeon magazine (see Impy in the lower right-hand corner of the letter).

Anyhow, he saved the letter.  So here it is!  I’m glad I wrote it, because it obviously meant a lot to him.  And…  It’s amazing how small gestures can make ripples far into the future.

Selected Translation from The Star Mag:

Q: what is the difference between ELF in different countries?

Hyuk: CELF take a lot of pictures, Asian ELF chant and cheer very loudly, J-ELF normally just stand there and concentrate in listening to the songs, European ELF are all very excited, like they want to jump onto stage and dance with us!

Hae: Yes, North American ELF normally are like they are having the concerts, they will hold up the hands and play with us happily!

Q : what is your goal in 2015?

Hae: I have to have my own Photo Exhibition. I had this idea since I started photography 2 years ago!

Hyuk: I used to like to set goals for future, but now I don’t like doing this anymore. It would put too much pressure on myself if one day I couldn’t fulfill it. Now my goal is"Do the best on what I have to do", this is enough! 

Q: You two finished not long ago the “London Korean Film Festival”, and in May this year you have finished the 22 shows of D&E Japan Tour, what was the reaction at that time?

Hyuk: Awesome! When we went to Tokyo Dome with the whole SJ, I was so stunned performing in front of 50,000 fans, but the feeling this time was different. Performing in smaller venues ensured us to have better communication with the fans, especially in London, we were so close to the fans, so we could directly and immediately saw the reaction!

Hae: I really can’t believe that SJ has been in the business for 10 years and still we have so many fans supporting us. The reason why we like to play SNS is because although fans and us live far apart, with SNS, the distance definitely have become closer and can communicate with our fans better by showing our daily lifes, and we will continue to do this!

Q: In Korean kpop now have come out a lot of younger teams, since when you have started to feel you have become Senior?

Hyuk: Not long ago, Kyu received the first solo No.1, right? During Encore, all the artists stayed on stage and waving their hands, they are all junior of us, and made me feel : “Kyu is the magnae of SJ, and now even he has reached the stage to be senior!”

Hae : I don’t participate in variety shows or go on TV often, so I still feel I am a newbie in the business! (laugh)

Q: Who is the biggest “star” you would like to meet in person?

Hae: Mansour! I want to feel his ‘power’ over others, this is not a joke, I often say this to my members, I have to meet him once in my life!

Hyuk: My dream was to meet Michael Jackson and participate in person once in his Concert… this has been my lifelong dream, but it will not be possible anymore, such a big pity!

Translated by:trulhae

To non American ELFs: Ryeowook was rubbing the bull statue’s balls because it’s like a good luck thing. It’s a tradition. It’s not that Ryeowook is a weirdo XD