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 boingboing.net on Mondays, beginning next week on September 10. New readers can read the story so far, free of charge, at http://www.elfquest.com/gallery/OnlineComics3.html

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