Book of the Month: Elfquest

ElfquestToday 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.

9 comments

  1. Rob says:

    Both of my daughters (10 and 16 now) have loved the Elfquest books. My oldest has the link to where they are online, but I don’t know if she has tried reading them there. For us, the library was our primary source. I got my oldest hooked on the series when I picked up one of the hardbacks at a book sale at the library, and then between the several libraries closest to us we borrowed the rest. I like Elfquest as well, but not as much as my girls do. In High School I had a number of friends that loved it as well, and it was probably 50/50 male and female that I heard about it from. That’s a pretty good number for a time when girls weren’t very visible as readers of comics(mid eighties).

  2. comicsgirl says:

    The library is where I read it as a preteen/teen, too. I do think it’s kind of the original “comic that girls/women like” and I’m sad to see it essentially fall out of print. Some of it does look a little dated now, but it’s still fun and I think DC messed up their releases of it (spread it too thin, aimed for the manga market).

    There still seems to be some interest in it, though, and I doubt it will be out of print forever.

  3. ostrakos says:

    I remember seeing ads fro Elfquest in comics when I was a kid, I would guess it was when it was a part of the Epic Comics line, and I was pretty impressed when I finally got a real issue.

    And, wow, haven’t seen that Helium video in a loooooong time, but I also remember being impressed that Mary chose Elfquest.

  4. comicsgirl says:

    I love that Helium video. I made an icon of Mary reading Elfquest and used it as my avatar on various sites there for a while.

  5. Jim D. says:

    Happy Birthday! Oh, and the Pinis used to (still do?) live in Poughkeepsie, NY, where I went to high school and near where I grew up. I worked as a mail carrier for a couple of summers in college and always hoped to get their route so I could give them their mail. Alas, didn’t happen.

  6. comicsgirl says:

    Thanks!

    I think they’re still there. I haven’t heard differently, anyway. It probably would’ve been fun to have their mail route.

  7. Still in Poughkeepsie – AND in California too. That’s what dabbling in both the world of publishing and the world of entertainment will do to a soul. I agree, DC did not shepherd the property as well as we would have liked, but it’s at Warner Bros. now and we have high hopes, not only for (at flipping last) a movie, but a resurrection of the printed books as well.

  8. comicsgirl says:

    I am ecstatic you stopped by. No, seriously.

    I do hope Elfquest ends up back in print at some point because it would make it so much easier to recommend it to people. I’ve passed along some of my collections to people who kind of snickered at it and they realized I was right.

    As for the movie — I’ve probably been hearing about it as long as I’ve been reading the comic, so I can only imagine how you feel. But I do think the time is right for it — I think technology and special effects are at the point where the movie will work out well. My fingers are crossed — I would love to see and Elfquest movie and I hope it works out.

  9. Marie says:

    I have a cousin who is a collector of Elfquest and she told about this serie and lent me book 1 till book 20 .I read them injust a couple of days ,then i went back for the rest and read them in just 2 days.This is a story i love most and ihave read lots of books ,but this facsinates me .I like everything about this story ,you can compare it to real life ,the way people act against each other because of where they come from etc.The animation is fantastic ,Wendy Pini should get an award for her animation skills .So i,m glad i came in contact with this story and i hope they make the movie.

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