Most of what we focus on, here in our office located in the ninth dungeon level of the Way Too Fantasy Tower of Despair, are books. Sometimes, we’ll talk about movies. And I believe we discussed Sandman and Preacher once upon a time. But today I’m going to cover comics. Specifically, fantasy comics. Extraspecifically, ElfQuest, which was the first independent comic book I ever read while exiled far beyond Greyhawk and Narnia in Shiawassee County, Michigan. I didn’t see a lot of indie anything there, unless you count the three-song tape I bought from a bar band at The Pines lounge on M-21 while twelve-year-old me was awestruck to be talking to Actual! Real!! Musicians!!! Yeah… I found a lot of good fantasy regardless, but the few stores that carried comics carried a nice selection of Marvel and/ or DC. It was my handy-dandy hobby shop, Rider’s of Flint (which, stated like that kind of sounds like the place I used for my fantasy hookup, doesn’t it?) that first showed me the joys of ElfQuest. One peek at the book (it was an early collection) and I was lost.
Here were the creatures and monsters of Tolkien, but in comic form. Here was the magic that I envisioned in my D&D games, drawn in bright flaring colours across the page. Here were warriors, men and women (well, male and female Elves) that looked more practical and realistic than the iron thews and strapping thighs and bulging, oh so bulging codpieces of Heavy Metal and The Savage Sword of Conan. Here there be magic.
Only a few times since have I been so gobsmacked by a fantasy comic (though there are exceptions here and there, especially on the Internet) but this is one well worth getting smacked upside your gob by. And if you haven’t already clicked on the link up there, you should. It’s not just a link to the ‘Final Quest’ which started rolling out in 2011, it’s a link to Every Single Wolf-Riding Issue. Go ahead. Click on it. Bookmark it. Pull it up at work the next time you’re tempted to see who blew whom at the Oscars last night.