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Elf-inflicted marketing plan for generating elf-esteem.
March 20, 2008 10:11 AM   Subscribe

ElfQuest for free...gradually. The complete ElfQuest comic oeuvre (about 6000 pages) is being released online in batches every friday. The first five issues (a complete 150 page arc in itself), along with some other EQ series's first issues, are already up.
posted by Sparx (54 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sweet hot shit! Awesome.
posted by notsnot at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2008


That's so unselfish.
posted by brain_drain at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why do all those elves have the same haircuts as the hipsters in my neighborhood?
posted by HeroZero at 10:25 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


For some reason, the images are resized in HTML. They look a lot better if you view them directly (compare this to this)
posted by delmoi at 10:29 AM on March 20, 2008


I remember standing in the crappy Walden Books reading these as a kid. Hours of just standing there. I'd never seen a graphic novel. It seemed like an embarrassment of riches.
posted by OmieWise at 10:33 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I remember being in the same situation as OmniWise, but was instead really skeeved out by all the taut, muscular glamrock-haired elves. There's still something about them that just makes me feel ooky in the pit of my stomach.

So while ElfQuest may just not be my thing, I totally give them big ups for releasing older material for free online. I'm the sort of sucker that buys Showcase and Essential reprints from the Big Two and this seems like a great way for one of the more successful independent comic publisher to get their stuff out there and drum up more interest in their product. Makes me wish Marvel was doing more with their online archives. I'd totally sign up for a weekly spam-mail of a PDF of some of their older, less better known titles.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:40 AM on March 20, 2008


Seconding the ookiness of elves, not to mention the 80s in general, but also the big ups.
posted by DU at 10:44 AM on March 20, 2008


I encountered these through my younger sister's Mormon friend when I was about 18. I remember it being very obvious to me how these were the perfect under-the-radar fantasy objects for a young girl in a sexually repressive religion. The elves' faces are all so nonthreatening, womanly or boyish, but they have hard little bodies and skimpy clothes that make them all look like a Village People fantasy play-set. How could any sexually curious young person not be mesmerized by their little hips and nips? But from a parent's perspective, fascination with ElfQuest would seem innocuous and even babyish.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 10:50 AM on March 20, 2008


Ah i loved elfquest when i was younger, this is awesome!!!
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 10:53 AM on March 20, 2008


I'm still skeeved out by glam rock elves. Definitely on the side of the humans: burn them all!
posted by aramaic at 10:54 AM on March 20, 2008


This is actually the first I've seen them. And yeah, they're pretty friggin cheezy.
posted by delmoi at 10:59 AM on March 20, 2008


According to Wikipedia, Issue #17 has an orgy. So I guess this thread will eventually be NSFW. And that Mormon friend's parents were presumably alarmed, if they ever found out.
posted by DU at 11:01 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Issue #17 has an orgy

Funny how that becomes a threat, rather than a promise.
posted by aramaic at 11:05 AM on March 20, 2008


I remember being in the same situation as OmniWise, but was instead really skeeved out by all the taut, muscular glamrock-haired elves.

Seriously? I found the whole thing vaguely titilating.
posted by OmieWise at 11:08 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Most impressive. Hopefully this will set a little precedent.
posted by grubi at 11:13 AM on March 20, 2008


for god's sake, no one tell livejournal.
posted by shmegegge at 11:14 AM on March 20, 2008 [6 favorites]


This was *the* comic that got me into comics...then I fell back out of comic collecting in general as Marvel, DC, et al decided to bring in so much "sexiness" in all their female characters - it seemed like an artistic sell-out to horny comic collectors. I just stopped buying them at that point. Alas, I never found a good Elfquest replacement.

I remember my dad sitting down with me in 5th Grade to start explaining sex to me after finding that orgy scene in one of the issues...
posted by JibberJabber at 11:31 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I still have my ElfQuest graphic novels that I bought off and on throughout my teens, as I could afford them. I haven't read them in years, but it's fun to see that they still have some life.
posted by malaprohibita at 11:46 AM on March 20, 2008


"TAUT-SKINNED DRUMS THROB WITH RISING INTENSITY...ROARING FLAMES CHALLENGE THE ANGRY TINTS OF THE EVENING SKY AS THE SPIRIT-MAN'S SAVAGE CHANT CONTINUES..."

OK. That and all the naked manbum, and all on the first page.
posted by pracowity at 11:53 AM on March 20, 2008


OMFGYAY.

Me-at-13 just got so happy there were tears in my middle-aged eyes.
posted by batmonkey at 12:07 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I gave all my Elfquests away to my niece a couple of years ago, never thinking that I'd miss them since I didn't look at them that much anymore. When they were gone, of course, I started thinking that I'd like to read them again. This post makes me happy. Thanks.
posted by frobozz at 12:49 PM on March 20, 2008


Nice! All us cool girls were way into EQ back in the day. And by cool girls, I mean painfully geeky girls who liked to draw people with big eyes and bigger hair all day long, and talk about who you 'liked' better: Cutter or Skywise. (This same discussion would take place in a different form, a year or two later, when it became supremely important to declare your preference for either Simon Le Bon, or John Taylor.)
posted by lovecrafty at 12:54 PM on March 20, 2008


Oh yes.
posted by muckster at 1:02 PM on March 20, 2008


Yeah, ElfQuest creeped my shit out too.
posted by schroedinger at 1:22 PM on March 20, 2008


I remember standing in the crappy Walden Books reading these as a kid. Hours of just standing there. I'd never seen a graphic novel. It seemed like an embarrassment of riches.

Same for me, only in the SF/fantasy section of the library.
posted by dubold at 1:23 PM on March 20, 2008


I bear a little bit of a grudge against EQ because I was too frequently accused of being an elf in school years (and I had no idea what the hell people where even saying at the time, or why.)
posted by Wolfdog at 1:24 PM on March 20, 2008


Elfquest was one of the first 'proper' comics I read when I was a kid. Watchmen was the first followed by Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo and then Elfquest. With some 10-15 years worth of perspective, the former two still hold up. Elfquest, not as much. But it has a special place in my heart. Thanks for posting this. Never did make it to the end of the series.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:54 PM on March 20, 2008


Simon Le Bon, or John Taylor.
Incorrect. Nick Rhodes.

And yeah, ElfQuest were so tween porn.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:58 PM on March 20, 2008


Whoa, this post is causing some serious nostalgia. All of that elf on elf (and occasional elf on troll) action was incredibly.........intriguing...... for my pubescent self. And I never even got around to finishing the series. I had definitely shelved Elf Quest in that part of my brain for things that I would never thought I'd run across again.

Now, is my nagging interest in finding out how it all ends strong enough to make go through 6000 pages of creepy-in-hindsight elf illustration, reliving my adolescence the whole way through? Hmmmmm, Metafilter, you surely bring on unforeseen ponderables.
posted by otolith at 1:59 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I used to jack it to ElfQuest. Didn't do me no harm.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:02 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the tip delmoi, I saw this earlier this morning and was having a hard time reading it.

(Yet another OMG, this is seventh grade all over again.) Elfquest and AD&D books sucked up my allowance for years.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:06 PM on March 20, 2008


Ah, but how many of you had the ElfQuest role playing game, complete with neutered manikin pictures of different elf body shapes that you'd trace onto your character sheet? Players would have to dress them up. Or, you know, not dress them up. I must've gone through a tree's worth of tracing paper my sixth grade year...

I think ElfQuest was my first non-Richie Rich or Archie foray into comics. Though I definitely took a second look at Betty and Veronica after reading EQ.
posted by thomsplace at 2:14 PM on March 20, 2008


My (now) fiance had read all of these as a young teen. I read her copies later, as a not-as-young teen. I was impressed at how much elf-oofing went on in those many pages, and being bummed out in retrospect at how little I'd enjoyed that same level of fornication in my own comic collection as a lad. My point here is this: she ended up initiating our first "romance explosion" at a fairly tender age, and I think that says something. I'm not sure I'm ready to present my findings for peer review yet, but I do think I'm gonna hold off on allowing any (potential) daughter of mine to read ElfQuest until she's... you know... 26 or so.
posted by krippledkonscious at 2:28 PM on March 20, 2008


I loved these so much when I was 8 or 9, and now I'm afraid to reread in case they aren't as cool to 31-year-old me. But I probably will anyway, because hey, they're free.
posted by jtron at 2:42 PM on March 20, 2008


do you think wendy and richard pini have plastic elf ears that they wear during sex?
posted by shmegegge at 3:07 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Creepy glammidgets they may be, but I still think this is pretty awesome. I'm with zengargoyle in that these books and AD&D books were really the primary drains on my allowances at the time. Hell, "Two-Edge" was one of the first nicks I ever used online, back in the d-dial days.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 3:09 PM on March 20, 2008


ElfQuest was kinda before my time, but my counselor at summer camp read it (which automatically made it the coolest thing ever) - it's a bit of a weird comic, but I'm glad to finally get the chance to read it.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 3:26 PM on March 20, 2008


Ah, but how many of you had the ElfQuest role playing game, complete with neutered manikin pictures of different elf body shapes that you'd trace onto your character sheet?

Oh. My. God. I had completely forgotten that ever existed! I had that. The only thing I remember about it is the traceable body shapes.
posted by lovecrafty at 4:10 PM on March 20, 2008


Wow. Elfquest. My best friend growing up had the "cool" mom who pretty much bought him what he wanted, and that included the Elfquest graphic novels.

I mean, they're good. The artwork is definitely a cut above average. But yeah, even at the tender age of 12 or so I remember being squikked out by the elf orgies. I mean, the sex itself wasn't so bad, but the context of it all -- it was pretty much a swingers'/polyamory manifesto brought to live through somewhat interesting but generally cliched fantasy tropes. Actually, I remember the violence even more -- pretty gory stuff by the standards of someone who thought Wolvervine was teh ultraviolence at that time.
posted by bardic at 4:24 PM on March 20, 2008


do you think wendy and richard pini have plastic elf ears that they wear during sex?

Yes. Absolutely yes.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by bardic at 4:25 PM on March 20, 2008


"Elf orgies?" One tasteful scene in one issue defines the entire series for you? Geez louise, it's ElfQuest, not Omaha the Cat Dancer.
posted by SPrintF at 4:34 PM on March 20, 2008


Yeah, I used to jack it to ElfQuest. Didn't do me no harm.

I have to admit that Leetah did make my 11-year-old self's tummy feel all funny-like. Yeaaaah.
posted by Justinian at 4:40 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember reading some of the books as a kid, and just went through and read the first 5 issues - I actually think they're better than I remember them being. And the art in particular is really pretty good.

But like many fantasy things, clearly they're not for everyone.

I was particularly struck by how similar the character design is to some of the designs in Bakshi's Wizards - made around the same time... and how the trolls look like the trolls in the Rankin/Bass Hobbit...

Examples of the collective unconscious, perhaps...
posted by MythMaker at 5:06 PM on March 20, 2008


Here's what ElfQuest means to me:

When I was 13, I discovered this comic in the only RPG shop in Manners Mall, Wellington, New Zealand. They had the first five issues. I could only afford to buy three but have subsequently acquired them all in all their black and white glory.

I have since heard horrible stories about the guy that ran that shop, involving parrots and penises and the first girl I ever shagged, but this is not important now.

Back in my younger days, I used to get mistaken for the elven. I had long hair and was mildly pretty, and when I read stories for the five year olds at my school I used to get called gelfling.

ElfQuest the comic taught me a lot. Much of it was wrong. There is no amazing person that will be my soulmate automatically and there never will be. I will never have the requisite elfen six pack, no matter how many crunches I do. My nieces and nephews will never be as gifted as Tam's kids.

But at the age of 13, Wendy and Richard Pini's creations meant the world to me. Even in black and white (as comics were in that day and age).

I wished I could be them, so very hard. And now I'm only me.

Sucks.
posted by Sparx at 5:42 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Great find. I never read EQ back in the day (But I did read Savage Sword of Conan), so the use of pastel colours is a little off-putting. If this were a role-playing game (perhaps it is?) I would definitely want to be a human, hunting them down.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:06 PM on March 20, 2008


I love them, unashamedly and unironically, even though I would now be much more interested in reading the story from Winnowill's perspective.

Wish the series had just ended, instead of disintegrating into poor art and dull storylines.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:09 PM on March 20, 2008


omg. i so loved these as a wee girl in the ole country. i still have my original copies - the nicely printed 1-4 with great color. i still want the whole set although revisiting the newer volumes past 4 were... disappointing compared to the first four.
posted by eatdonuts at 8:57 PM on March 20, 2008


I still have the cards from the board game, and I have the Sea Elves supplement for the RPG.

No longer have the Gatherums or anthologies, but often wish I did.

My introduction came at the hands of two friends - sisters - who spent all of one sleepover handing me one ElfQuest after another.

It's interesting to me how many people who read these when young had "stirrings" as a result. For me, I had a couple of elves I identified with and I read the stories from their perspectives for, believe it or not, the metaphysical and psycho-social information being conveyed. I was fascinated by the origin story the Pinis had conceived, and the vaguely soap-opera-ish way everyone got along kept it just glossy enough to be enjoyable rather than a slog.

But you'd better believe I spent many an evening sketching out characters of my own devising using the blank forms scattered between the Gatherums and the RPG materials. I've still got some of those drawings as well as photocopies of said templates, ridiculously enough.

I'm also with those who wish it had ended with some dignity instead of the multi-line spin-offs. Encountering all of the weak continuations was definitely a low moment in my comic-buying history.
posted by batmonkey at 10:02 PM on March 20, 2008


Huh. Back in my collecting days my comic shop of choice had a bin of $5 grab bags- basically a bunch of comics they couldn't push wrapped in a brown bag. I remember reading a few of these. Thanks for the link. Something about this makes me feel nostalgic for a time that I never really went through, for some reason.
posted by kryptondog at 5:41 AM on March 21, 2008


lovecrafty: Redlance.

Countess Elena: I agree completely.

We had the first in-color books (1-4) and they had a lot of detailed shading. It has been disappointing to see the re-issues with the poor coloring jobs.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:24 AM on March 21, 2008


delmoi sez: For some reason, the images are resized in HTML. They look a lot better if you view them directly (compare this to this)

Better here or here? Here or here? One or two? Two or three?

I wish they had them as PDFs, be too cool.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:15 PM on March 21, 2008


yeah, 13 year old me is amazed too. I had the roleplaying game and the thing I remember the most was that they detailed the dinosaur creature skywise sees while hunting for a root to cure fevered cutter.

I was so disappointed with siege at blue mountain after the original quest...but that original quest was amazing.
posted by Brainy at 11:17 PM on March 21, 2008


thomsplace writes "how many of you had the ElfQuest role playing game, complete with neutered manikin pictures of different elf body shapes that you'd trace onto your character sheet? Players would have to dress them up. Or, you know, not dress them up. I must've gone through a tree's worth of tracing paper my sixth grade year..."

I played it, and until this moment I wasn't aware EQ was a comic, just the role playing game.
posted by Mitheral at 8:12 AM on March 22, 2008


Wish the series had just ended, instead of disintegrating into poor art and dull storylines.

Ya, me too.. I mean, I was happy enough with everything W&R Pini actually did (story and art), and I'm sure there is some okay stuff in the rest of it, but there was a lot of bad.. Looks like the Pinis might even agree, to a certain extent:
(Note: Warp Graphics' edition of the WaveDancers (old series), written and drawn by Black Mermaid Productions, is not presented here by mutual agreement with BMP. As part of that agreement, neither Warp nor BMP may allow that edition of WaveDancers to be republished or displayed anywhere, in print or online.)
Heh :)
posted by Chuckles at 12:20 PM on March 25, 2008


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