Every issue of Elfquest free -- oldest independent comic goes online

Tavie sez,

I just found out that my favorite comic series of all time, Elfquest, has announced an initiative to celebrate their 30th anniversary, wherein, by the end of the year, EVERY issue ever will be available online for free.

It's hard to describe it, but it's an amazing body of work. It was one of the first independently published comics in the world and one of the most successful. The core story is about a group of elves from outer space who ride wolves - it sounds crazy when I say it, you just have to read it.

This is a 30 year old universe (older than me!) so there are spinoffs and side-stories and rarities that even I, as a hard-core fan, have never gotten to read. And soon I will be able to enjoy every single shred of it. For free. Just 'cuz.

The internet is beyond words in its capacity to make me happy.

Link (Thanks, Tavie!)


  1. ZOMG!!

    that’s totally wild – for whatever reason, i woke up thinking of Elfquest this morning. (Wish the movie would come.)

    my fave comic ever :)

  2. Richard Pini was extremely nice and patient with me when I asked for an interview via e-mail back in middle school. I am very grateful for him being kind enough then to overlook my hideous lack of skills.

    This is great. I hope it helps gather lots of new fans.

  3. Oh, wow. I have all the issues in the first four trade paperbacks but haven’t yet read beyond that. Amazing move by an amazing comics team.

    And, um, I had a HUGE crush on Winnowill. So scared… yet so turned on…

  4. Wendy’s work had such a huge influence on me when I was a teenager. It had just come out about one and half years before I encountered it.

    It totally changed my view on elves. A radical re-visioning of something I’d only ever considered in Tolkien-esque or mythological paradigms.

    Additionally the art was cool, the story was awesome and epic, and wolves. . . . oh . . . . and the elf-chicks were hot.


  5. Oh, that’s SO great! I started reading Elfquest back in fifth grade, back when it only went through “Kings of the Broken Wheel”. Just a couple weeks ago I was wondering if I could get my hands on more, and discovered ALL the series that have come out since I quit paying attention.

    I just read through Issue #1, and I swear to God I’m 10 again.

  6. Oh awesome! I had a piece in ‘issue 21’ of the original self-published run. Good lord that was a long time ago.

    It will be great to read these again, I sort of lost track of what they were doing around 1990 or so.

    It irks me that this never got animated properly. The Pinis did right I think to not let the various studios they tried to get it animated at ruin the story, which is the real treasure of the series.

  7. Way back on the old GEnie board, when I was in middle school, the Richard and Wendy Pini used to stop by a fan-run cooperative story going on there….both were some of the nicest folks you could want to meet.

    Them, Peter David, Jane Yolen, and a few others on the board, were the first creators I ever spoke to…..when you’re 12, it was an absolutely amazing feeling to discover a response from any of them to something you posted.

    This being basically before the internet, in the days of AOL, Prodigy, etc.

    God, I haven’t thought of any of that in years.

  8. @9

    OMFG A GEnie alumnus! I remember the EQ boards there well! S&SW!

    GEnie as a whole had a most excellent SF/Comics discussion board section. I accessed it from a Mac Classic and a 2400 baud modem, and logged everything, so I have all those boards archived in plaintext. Lots of great interactive fanfic went on there.

  9. Oh damn, I used to do GEnie in ’93 and ’94 too but I didn’t really hang out in the comics area. I was with the Disney World geeks back then.

    Oh man, good times. Good times on my old LC3 in grade 8.

  10. Awesome.

    To the person that didn’t read past the first 20 issues, don’t. There’s a couple of good stand alone issues in The Hidden Years (the first issue of the Hidden Years is good, and it’s up now), but that’s it. Most of the rest is unendurable.

    But the original series, fantastic.

  11. This is excellent news. When my allowance couldn’t handle my comic collecting anymore, I got my sister to start buying ElfQuest for me so I wouldn’t miss an issue (the Marvel Epic reprint run–the first of a few series that I managed to pass the cost on to her for).

    Minor correction though, ElfQuest is not even close to being the oldest indy comic (nor the oldest indy that’s still being published–which is perhaps what they meant–since it’s not being published anymore). The underground comix scene, R. Crumb and the like, were putting out stuff a decade before the Pinis.

  12. That’s your opinion, howtoplayalone. I love the entire series, personally, and while I own almost all of them, there are still the ones I don’t own and can’t find, so this kind of makes my day.
    It’s always a shock to find other fans of this comic.

  13. Yeah, I was reading those old boards on a 1200 bd modem….my father was often using the computer for something else, so he would print out a year or two of the Elfquest topics and hand it to me to keep me quiet.

    I’d read it, compose whatever I wanted to post to various topics and he’d let me on the computer to post it. He’d then wait a few days and then print out whatever the responses were.

    Most of my memories of GEnie are sitting on the porch with a glass of milk and a giant stack of barely readable computer printout in my lap. :)

  14. @13

    Elfquest (and Cerebus, the other comic I was collecting at the time) both got started before the infamous Black and White Crash of 1986. The first EQ run was just finishing up when TMNT#1 came out and started the wild speculation period. I was going to alot of conventions at the time, and all the high-priced crap that was being hawked at the time was apalling, very low signal-to-noise ratio. When the B&W market imploded soon afterwards B&W indy comics were a barren wasteland for more than 10 years. Opinion is varied on whether this was a good thing or not.

    A good telling of the tale is here:


    So in this context, it is more correct to call the Pinis ‘pioneers’, even though they were not the first indy publishers.

  15. My first boyfriend introduced me to comics – we read these together…still a decent basis for a relationship, if you ask me.

  16. Awesome. I’ve still got my early Elfquest collections from high school.

    It was actually the third indie comic book, however. Elfquest started in 1978, so it was preceded by Dave Sim’s Cerebus (1977) and Jack Katz’s The First Kingdom (1975).

  17. I’ve got the first runs/set of quest when I was still in grrade school attending one of the early SD comic cons and I’m not so sure about the coloration of b/w ink. The wendy’s art was created as for inking not full color and the palate is pushed up a bit too far from where I am with the web versions.

    Personally I like it better that my imagination was left to work and bring out the life colors to the drawings.

    Still EQ is a landmark series and still stands as a valid series among the new breed of comics …

    As strange as it may sound… Those elf chicks gave a young man something to dream about way back then ;)

  18. SQUEEM – I remember buying all the Kings and Wave Dancers and trying – like I tried with The Phantom Menace – to convince myself they weren’t rotten. I finally gave up. They might indeed be good, but that’s your opinion; it sure isn’t mine.

    And I’m surprised you like ‘all of them.’ Did you like Jink? Holy crap was that bad.

    Surely something was not worth loving… What were the ones were she farmed out the art (and stories?) to other people. I know they weren’t supposed to be ‘official’, but man was that stuff bad. Really cringe-worthy. I gave up thinking then they had a purpose even in the original series, but instead just got lucky, like George Lucas.

    That doesn’t take away from the original series. Long die the author.

Comments are closed.