For the first time in a decade, the epic fantasy comic series Elfquest is updating. And for the first time in its 35 years of existence, it’s posting new content entirely online, thanks to an arrangement with popular blog BoingBoing.
Creators Richard and Wendy Pini announced on Wednesday that the beloved fantasy series was returning for one last run, "The Final Quest," and that new issues would begin Monday Sept. 10: In a press release, the Pinis stated they were excited for what came next.
"Wendy and I never set out, thirty-five years ago, to take the indie comics world by storm," said Richard Pini. "But there the history is, in the sales and—more importantly—in the fandom that's stayed with us.”
The partnership with BoingBoing represents a number of firsts for both sites: first time the popular series has gone digital-only, and the first time BoingBoing has published a serial comic narrative. But that’s nothing new for Elfquest, known for having the first regular female collaborator on a comic series, as well as being one of the first independent comics to gain wide popularity.
The various elf tribes, which are both based on and expansions of Tolkien’s Lothlorien, have spawned decades of fanart and fanfiction. The Elfquest forum alone boasts over half a million posts, not counting the Usenet archives. There’s even a board game.
“The feral, omnisexual, hallucinogen-guzzling protagonists aren’t Tolkien-derived clichés, but a freakish medley of european lore, native american myth and hippy free love,” writes BoingBoing’s Rob Beschizza. Major fantasy publisher Tor cites Elfquest's “deliciously productive set of Elven tropes” as a reason for its breakout success, especially among female readers.
After decades of print publication, the Pinis archived the entire vast series online in 2008, making it available for free.
“This isn't the first time that the Pinis show that their main objective is to make sure that Elfquest is always accessible to old and new fans,” said manga blogger and Elfquest fan Unjapanologist. “Releasing the new series online is sure to get Elfquest a lot more attention and a lot more new fans than if they'd tried starting over in paper publishing.”
Fans generally reacted with a mix of “Oh, wow, new Elfquest” and “Oh, no, Elfquest is ending!” Meanwhile writer/artist Wendy Pini described herself as “scared and exhilarated” for the new series, in which she promised to “wreak havok” upon familiar characters.
Fans can check out new pages of the series each Monday at BoingBoing, beginning Sep. 10.
Photo by Sikuriina/DeviantArt