Introducing Elfquest at Boing Boing!

UDPATE: It's live! Read the first page.

It's my great pleasure to welcome Wendy and Richard Pini to Boing Boing, where they'll be publishing the next chapter of their long-running fantasy epic Elfquest—online-first for the first time!

You may also know Wendy from her anime-style retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's Masque of The Red Death — which even got her in trouble with Facebook over cartoon boobs.

The first page of Elfquest: The Final Quest's prologue will appear here at Boing Boing on Monday. In the meantime, catch up with the story so far (all 6000 pages of it!), free of charge, at the series' official homepage.

After the jump, I've pasted in part of an item I once wrote (for the late, lamented Ectoplasmosis (Update: reborn on tumblr!)) about why this comic series is so awesome. Then follows our press release.

• With Dave Sim’s Cerebus The Aardvark, it was among the first self-published comics to make it big, booting down the door for new talent the nation over. Its success as a graphic novel in mainstream bookstores helped infect the American mainstream with a European-esque appreciation for comics. Women read this! Women!

• Wendy Pini’s art is a melting pot of comics, manga and classical illustration. And she’s been at it since before most people had even heard of manga.

• 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. And yet it isn't at all "edgy".

• No superheroes, magic wands or other arbitrary magics. It’s consistently plotted to tight rules of engagement and expertly crafted by the same wife-and-husband team thats been doing little else since 1977.

• It’s a neat blend of high fantasy and science fiction: the “elves” are aliens who wanted to impress us by appearing as angels, but got stuck in a genetic disguise by their slaves’ violent rebellion.

• All the fashions in it are either from the 1970s or the 1930s: everyone is either a pimp in furs and leather or something sculpted by Erté.

• Winnowill is the best arch-villainess since Cthulhu.

• 6,000 pages of full-color classic indy brilliance free of charge. Precedent set.

• Issue #17’s Elf Orgy. Great name for a punk band.

New Elfquest story to make online debut at Boing Boing!

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (September 5, 2012) — After decades of epic adventure, the heroes of Wendy and Richard Pini's indie hit Elfquest still haven't settled down. But for now, they'll be found at top blog Boing Boing, taking their place in its first ongoing narrative comic presentation.

"We're stoked to be able to take the next chapter in the series 'online-first'," said Boing Boing's Rob Beschizza. "For anyone who grew up reading indie comics or who loves a fantastic yarn, this is a dream come true."

Elfquest, a fantasy epic first published in 1978, replaced the era's Tolkien-esque tropes with a more modern—and less foofy—vision of point-eared peril. The story of Cutter's barbaric tribe of elves, and their quest to discover their cosmic origins, was one of the first independently-published comics to achieve mainstream success.

"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. Now we get to relive those scary, heady days once again as Elfquest makes its online debut to fans old and new."

Among other graphic novel firsts counted by Wendy and Richard: a massive female audience, publishing deals with both Marvel and DC Comics, and translation into dozens of languages.

Boing Boing is one of the top blogs in the U.S., with more than 4 million visitors a month and a long tradition of showcasing the unusual, the spectacular and the wildly talented.

The prologue to the new tale, to be published weekly over several months, gears up the decades-long story for its long-awaited next major chapter.

"Elfquest's World of Two Moons—its landscapes, inhabitants, dangers—is familiar yet always unpredictable territory," said Wendy Pini. "After five years' hiatus, I've come home to the Holt and to my main characters, Cutter and the Wolfriders, only to wreak storytelling havoc on them as never before. In 'Elfquest - the Final Quest' sturdy, stable characters will react in totally unexpected ways as they face devastating, unavoidable change. I'm scared and exhilarated by what's going to happen!"

Each page of the story will be published at on Mondays, beginning next week on September 10. New readers can read the story so far, free of charge, at



  1. I will always associate ElfQuest with a particular person I used to know. If the Pinis are debuting their new material here, then I have to say hello to Rhia, who is almost certainly going to be checking in to read the new stuff at some point.

    Hi, Rhia. How’s the hubby and son? Do you still see Skywise & Co. from time to time?

  2. I really would love to read these on my tablet. Any chance of selling them through one of the many online comic apps, or just publishing the web content in PDF format so it’s easily viewable?

  3. Wendy and Richard have a way of making characters so real and so amazing you fall in love with them. They become your friends, and then you find yourself reading the stories and books over and over because you miss these characters, your friends, and you just need to see them. I started reading ElfQuest in 1986 and to this very day I NEED to read every so often because I miss my loveable buddies so much! I found this to be true with Masque as well. I just need to see them everyday or so lol =D

  4. Confusion on my part. I could have sworn that Wendy and Richard are brother and sister – Wendy the artist, Richard the writer. Has that changed? The article talks about the “same husband and wife team.”

  5. Welcome! I never collected Elfquest back when I collected comics. The art, honestly, didn’t appeal to me. Then one day I found the whole series was online and read it for about a week, getting through all of the original quest. Great work. The art even grew on me. I hope BB readers enjoyed it as much as I did.

  6. I still have my set of original graphic novels, a few of the black and white magazine format comics and some of the smaller format color comics. I stopped reading and collecting but I have always loved the Pini’s work. Wendy’s book about her work on an animated version of Stormbringer is one of my favorite art books.

  7. I will gladly join the long line of well-wishers, having been a starry-eyed child from the planet of two moons myself, who waited in other long lines for signatures and smiles at conventions so many years ago. Here’s to your ongoing success Wendy and Richard!  :)

  8. Getting my issue mailed to me direct as a kid was a huge deal, and their cliffhanger storytelling with large arcs made me a fan for life.  Wendy has few peers with her artwork in my opinion.

  9. Fan club member. Fan…fic…writer (holy crap, I just remembered that one story I wrote…and sent to them…) Had stuff signed by them, had black & white comics, and color anthologies in two editions.  Kiiind of scared to go back and re-read, lest it spoil my recollections. But probably will.

    1. Trust me, it won’t. I fell in love with EQ at 14 and I read it again every few years. Last year (almost 3 decades after my first reading) I read the entire series in chronological order, and it is absolutely as awesome as ever, and perhaps even better now that I have many more years of experience and living in my brain.

  10. “All the fashions in it are either from the 1970s or the 1930s: everyone is either a pimp in furs and leather or something sculpted by Erté.”

    Please tell me the new series is called “Elf Pimps”.

    1. Read “The Original Quest”, “Siege at Blue Mountain”, “Kings of the Broken Wheel”, “Hidden Years” issues 1-5. That’ll get you started and you’ll know by then if you want to get stuck into the many side-stories and so on.

      If you’re just looking for a quick “Best of” taster, Hidden Years 1-5 (each is a one shot / short story type deal)

  11. I loved Elf Quest growing up and forged a great friendship around the shared experience with a person I still have a strong connection with today.  The story also helped me escape some parts of my life I wasn’t ready to deal with in high school and helped me come to terms with those things at a more gradual pace.

    I stumbled across Richard and Wendy in artist alley at Comic Con this year and it was totally unexpected.  I about cried when I was instantly struck with the realization that these total strangers had such a profound effect on my life and that they were real people going through all of their own struggles and successes and failures.

    Thank you Rob for sharing their work, I’m looking forward to going back.

  12. I was such a big fan of Elfquest growing up.  My friends and I even started our own Holt for a while!  I remember as a little kid under 10, calling Information in the early, early ’80s,  for the first time, to find their phone number in Poughkeepsie (I lived in Oregon).  I did actually call them, but was far too embarrassed to actually talk to them, and I hung up before saying much.  Still, it was quite an achievement for little me, and I felt really special to actually hear a voice saying “hello” on the other end.

  13. Well, this is awesome. As a lifelong fan (my school librarian used to cover up the more “suggestive” pictures with little Sharpie-drawn bikinis) I’m just amazed that this series is almost as popular as it deserves to be even today. Just sweet.

  14. Wow, this brings me back! Elfquest is what got me into comics. I read through to when they split into a bunch of different series and stopped somewhere in New Blood, I think. I still have all my issues and a few cherished memorabilia. I can’t wait to read the new one!

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