For thirty years Elfquest has been one of comics’ gems, growing as an independent comic into one of the medium’s most endearing, compelling and beautiful bodies of work. Using fantasy and science fiction elements for its framework, the series explores sexuality, love, ethnocentrism, persistant change, and a range of issues the visual style and broad medium are not often recognized for.
Creators Wendy and Richard Pini will be publishing the entire series of Elfquest online for free to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the publication of the first Elfquest story. Already a healthy selection of issues are available and by the end of the year over 200 will be readable with no cost and only a web browser is needed to do it.
With over 6000 pages of material to prepare and upload, the project will easily take the remainder of this 30th anniversary year. The initial offering will start off with an explosion of firsts: There will be the entire first graphic novel, to introduce new readers to the characters and world of Elfquest, plus the first issues of all the spinoff titles produced during the 1990s. Each week will see several more issues added to the collection. Eventually, every published page will make its way to the online archive. A timeline and a catalog of all Elfquest appearances are part of the package, so all readers will be able to experience the complete saga from start to present-day.
My own love for Elfquest goes back a long way. Throughout my high school life Elfquest was the one comic series I followed faithfully. It offered me the first and most positive portrayal of polyamoury in my youth and gave me solace as I tried to come to some sort of understanding and acceptance of my own polyamourousness. My first taste of Taoist philosophy, my broader understanding of love and sexuality and my appreciation of family and community all have foundation stones in Elfquest that I am deeply thankful for.