Today is my birthday. And to me, this has everything to do with this month’s choice, especially since Elfquest is (sadly) basically out of print at this point (you can still find it around, sure, if you look). It’s really just a self-indulgent one. You can read all of it online here so you don’t have to spend any money to do so.
I know Elfquest is kind of a punchline for a lot of people, but as a 12-year-old, it was really the coolest thing ever. It had an epic story with a well-conceived mythology as well as a good mix of non-threatening sex and violence. You want to make fun of it now, sure, but that’s because you haven’t read it. It’s much better than you think it is. Trust me.
Wendy Pini was really one of the first women I was aware of who was making comics (this was back in the early ’90s, before the Internet, before things are now, and I didn’t get out much) and I don’t think she gets enough credit. I think I’ve said it before, but Wendy Pini was drawing anime-inspired comics before you even knew what anime was. Everyone who’s doing “American manga” now? I think you have Wendy to thank for paving the way, personally.
No, maybe Elfquest isn’t high art, but it’s smart, escapist fantasy and so much fun. I loved it as a kid and I still love it now. I remain impressed by the depth of storytelling.
So fine, this month’s choice isn’t exactly a book, but I still think you need to read it. If you do, consider that a great birthday present to me.
Also because it’s my birthday, here’s Helium’s video for “Leon’s Space Song,” from the band’s 1997 album The Magic City (buy it and love it). Mary Timony is totally reading Elfquest in this video. You see, if you read Elfquest, you too can be cool like Mary Timony.