Okay, I am way late to the party on this, but: Dude. ElfQuest — comic book of my heart, the comic that got me into comics — is finally publishing its long-awaited final story arc. Boing Boing’s presenting the prologue.
ElfQuest isn’t perfect — there’s a lot of awesome gender stuff throughout and some iffy gender stuff in the beginning; there are things they do with race that I think are really progressive, especially for the time (possibly they were the first to portray elves as not solely lily white?), and things I could see people critiquing.
But the fact that it was a creator-owned indie created, co-written and drawn by a woman, in 1978? Pretty fucking badass. It blended Disney and manga styles, beautifully, well before anyone else was doing it. It was a sci-fi/fantasy indie, which meant that if you, like me, felt alienated by both superheroes and slice-of-life underground comix, then here was a genre story that actually appealed.
And an art style that actually appealed — coloring that looked like it came out of an animated movie
instead of like Watchmen sorry Alan Moore you know ilu bb, that blend of Disney and Kirby and Tezuka, characters (male characters!) drawn for a female gaze instead of a male one, MY GOD. It felt so different from the superhero stuff I’d peeked at as a kid. It looked so gorgeous. So epic.
If you’ve never read it: I will say, it’s probably easier to get hooked on it if you’re a tween and super-nerdy; that’s when I got hooked. If you’re an adult, you gotta go in knowing that there are elves wearing fur ’70s vests with names like Treestump. Deal with it. Because seriously. And by “seriously,” I mean, “check out that image grid above.” Seriously.
And it’s not just about pretty art: the story’s really well-crafted, full of intimate character moments along with the more epic quest-y stuff, plus a genre-blend twist that was new at the time. (Also, a Simpsons-sized cast. Without being overwhelming! It’s good, is what I’m saying.)
Oh, and it’s all online for free. Legally.
Don’t start at the beginning, when it’s still finding its feet — start with #6 of The Original Quest. Then,
ten years later, when you’ve caught up, check out the new stuff at BoingBoing. Seriously, you’re a nerd. You love elves. You love wolves. (Don’t cover up that wolf shirt. You know you’re wearing it.) It’s elves and wolves and it’s pretty and awesome. So check that shit out. And if you’re a long-time fan: HOLY SHIT FINAL QUEST FUCK YEAH! …she said, professionally.