Elfquest was and is an important comic from the Independent era of comics which erupted with the development of the direct sales market. Wendy and Richard Pini have been able over the years to largely control the destiny of their creations at a host of publishers including Marvel and Dark Horse. But it all began in the late 70's in a rough and tumble comic titled Fantasy Quarterly.
That story was later represented as Elfquest #1 from the owner-operated WaRP Graphics (Wendi and Richard Pini). The saga of the "Wolfriders" has proven to be a potent and viable fantasy yarn. Wendy Pini's artwork is attractive and the storytelling is exquisite. And the story itself was a charming addition to an era which was brimming with quality fantasy adventure. I once upon a time winced at the somewhat cute characters, but the passage of time has made me regard with more affection.
I long ago traded away my original comics, so it was with some anticipation that I got hold of the recent Dark Horse reprint of the original saga which ran from 1978 through 1984. The original was in glorious black and white and this presentation is too. I was both surprised and very pleased by the high quality of the paper stock on this volume which offers up an ideal way to read this fascinating tale of adventure.
UPDATE: The saga of the "Wolfclan" is an exceedingly human one. We meet an extended family of elves of a particular kind who developed a special relationship with wolves over the generations. We learn how that affinity came to be and we learn just why it is that these elves, so isolated and relatively happy in their wooded home must leave it and trek across a sparse desert. What they find changes them all for all time and for the better. We discover that elves come in varieties who have attuned themselves to the environments they live in. This is a grand love story as well as not only to elves have affection for one another, they are sometimes struck by "recognition", a compelling need for another. They have no control over this and it's the cause of much happiness and much strife throughout the saga. Alongside the elves live trolls who are the long-standing enemies of the elf societies. Why this is so is also answered. The quest referred to in the title is a classic one, a quest of both self-discovery and a quest on behalf of the greater good of the community. It's a quest for knowledge both of the mind and the heart and it's a quest which only finds its true goal when it has already been undertaken. Wendy and Richard created a story of and for its time. The "Elfquest" has continued beyond these original issues, but my interest wanes for now. Maybe some day I'll be smitten with the quest again, but like the "Wolfriders" at the end of this first series of tales, I need a rest.