Oi, where to even start! I love Elfquest, how about that. When people ask me what my favorite book is my mind always goes to Elfquest first before dredging through all the other novels I’ve enjoyed but none can compare to Elfquest. I started “reading” Elfquest when I was five and my brother brought it home from the grocery store, back when the grocery store still sold comics. I literally read the comics to pieces, much to the annoyance of my brother who was trying to collect them. I will say that some of the content may be a bit mature for a precocious five-year-old but I didn’t seem to mind and my parents didn’t know – bwhahaha! Anyways, I fell in love with the art, the characters and the story.
It’s gorgeously drawn by Wendy Pini and co-written with her husband, Richard Pini. They first published this series together in 1978 and are still going strong with new issues in “The Final Quest.” The Pinis have quite the following of dedicated fans and with the new issues following another break I’m sure their followers will continue to grow. They also have a variety of formats of their story varying from the original comic form, to the novelization (also very good) and even a new adventure game. So, if you are like me and fall in love with the characters and art, you can just keep the adventure going.
In the first volume, a tribe of wolf-riding elves are chased from their holt by humans wielding fire. After being forced into a desert by their not so neighborly cousins, the trolls, young Cutter discovers a whole new village of elves. Cutter and his tribe thought they were the only elves in this world of two moons. Now, not only do the wolfriders have to learn how to get along with a new culture of elves, they must also find their place in this world. This leaves a burning question: are there more elves out there and who are they?
This series deals with a wealth of issues: family dimensions, community, race, diversity, loss, the meaning of “home,” fashion… The stories are rich with character dilemmas and growth. And of course there is romance, too! I can guarantee you will find at least one, if not more, characters you can relate to and love like a best friend. Growing up, I really related to the characters. I wanted to experience the adventures they were having. I wanted to be one of them, dress like them and have the family-like unity that they had. I had my own favorite characters that I saw as a parental figure or a sibling. I still see myself in the quiet confidence of Cutter’s best friend, Nightfall. I adored the wolfrider’s connection to their special wolf friends, wanting to have that connection with my own animals on the farm. I could even spend hours just looking at the beautiful pictures. In fact, looking at Wendy’s pictures was how I taught myself to draw. I still use the skills I learned from Wendy’s art to draw now and I often come up with new characters in my mind to live in this series.
The Pinis are very generous to their fans. They provide easy online access to their older comics. You can read Elfquest from the beginning here. Along with writing new issues, the Pini’s have begun republishing the older issues in fantastic black and white complete editions. I was hesitant at first to pick it up because I do love the color work that Wendy does but it is still very beautiful.
Abigail is a librarian/writer who sometimes likes to pretend she is an elf as she runs through the woods on sunny days. Her dog is not amused by this.