Wendy and Richard Pini’s ElfQuest was one of the formative works of fiction from my youth. I was drawn in by the fantastic art and epic adventure contained in the Marvel back issues I first encountered but stayed for the rich storytelling and challenging relationship forms. Years later I still appreciate it as one of the best crafted series of comics I’ve read.
Elfquest was first published in 1978 and was one of the first big successes in independent comics publishing. Over the years more than 6500 pages of the comic have been published in a variety of formats through several different publishers, including both Wendy and Richard’s own WARP Graphics, Marvel and DC.
When I was a teenager I collected ElfQuest comics, short story collections and novelizations at every chance I had. By that time there was a huge number of releases from the series and I devoured them. I had hundreds of issues by the time I finished high school and have continued to read each new release that Wendy and Richard have released.
ElfQuest was the first place I encountered both pansexuality and polyamoury —though neither were named as such and I didn’t yet have any notion of the terms. Exposure to both terms helped to shape my understanding of both sexuality and relationships over time. In a very strong way, I feel I owe a great debt to the kindness and expansiveness that Wendy and Richard imbued into their stories.
Every page of the comic can be read online at Digital EQ Online Comics, and I recommend reading The Original Quest as a starting point. For the past 5 months, a page of a prelude to the final ElfQuest story has been published each week at Boing Boing and the art is as beautiful as it ever has been. Finally, after many attempts at making an ElfQuest film, creators of a fan short based on the comics have been granted the rights to produce a film, and that may go into production in the next few years. As a preview, watch ElfQuest: A Fan Imagining.