Very recently, I made a difficult decision. As publisher and editor of the Elfquest line of comics and books for over twenty years, I put the brakes on the monthly anthology-style Elfquest comic book. Such an action is certain to generate a ton of surprised and shocked reactions, and a ton and a half of questions, so to help stave off some of that reaction, I’m “reprinting” here two announcements that I’ve made for the print media. The first is a press release sent out to all comics press outlets; the second is the editorial that will appear in the final issue of Elfquest comics. Do these announcements answer every possible question? No, of course not. As I say in my editorial, the reasons are many, varied, and – at least in some cases – personal and private. But as Elfquest grows and changes, that information will find its way right here to the official web site. You won’t be left in the dark.
Richard Pini – Jan 1999
Elfquest Comic Book Series Suspended
As of issue #33, carrying a February 1999 cover date, the monthly Elfquest comic book series will come to a halt for the indefinite future, according to Warp Graphics publisher Richard Pini.
Citing a number of factors behind the decision, chief among which is the years-long and continuing sluggishness in the comic book market worldwide, Pini said that even though the monthly comic book was on hiatus, Warp Graphics would continue to produce new volumes in its successful Reader’s Collection series of softcover books. Artists and writers currenly producing stories that would have appeared in the comic books will continue to turn in their work as previously scheduled, Pini said, the difference being that readers will now receive complete tales in a single package rather than in monthly installments.
Since the Elfquest Reader’s Collection series debuted in mid-1998, a dozen volumes have appeared, with at least one new volume scheduled for every month of 1999 and the first quarter of 2000.
Elfquest, the long-running fantasy series, first appearing in February 1978, was published on a triannual schedule until 1984. The frequency of publication rose to bimonthly until 1992, and became monthly up to the present. From 1993 to 1996 Warp Graphics released as many as seven monthly titles, consolidating all story lines into a single anthology title in May, 1996.
A Matter of oPINIon / Elfquest #33 / February 1999
There are about a dozen ways I could open up this month’s editorial, some of them clever, some of them mysterious, some perhaps even glib. But I’m going to opt for none of the above, and cut to the chase:
This is Elfquest’s last issue, its last appearance in comic book form, for the foreseeable future.
It’s not a decision that I — as both publisher and “parent” — came to easily or quickly or by myself. It is a decision that I’ve been mulling for some time. It is based partly on a years-long view and assessment of the comic book market and industry, partly on a view to the future that looks like it’s going to be very busy, and partly on reasons that are purely personal.
One of the first questions that readers will ask is, “But you’re right in the middle of several stories! What will happen to those?!”
The answer is that they will not be lost, not be killed in mid-telling. For even though Elfquest the comic book is going away, Elfquest the series of Readers Collection volumes remains, and will grow. Already there are over a dozen collections available. Throughout 1999 and well into 2000 there will be more — one volume per month, either of reprinted material from past Elfquest series, or of brand new stories that will be written and drawn specially for book publication. “Wolfrider!” the book will see print late this year, and it will contain the entire tale of Cutter’s father — the installments you’ve read, plus all those still to be created. You’ll see the fulfillment of the current “Wild Hunt” adventure, plus a new story that you’ve not heard of yet. There’s “WaveDancers” and “The Final Quest” and probably even a couple more that I’m forgetting. Elfquest will continue.
So where will yours truly find space to rant now that this little gray rectangle is no more? Out in cyberspace, right on Elfquest’s official web site, www.elfquest.com. Along with a host of other features and information, I’m sure I’ll find a page to haunt with an oPINIon or two — just as Wendy is doing now with her new “WendyWords” column. Check it out.
It’s been a tremendous experience, these twenty one years. I’ve said in past editorials that at this age, Elfquest is “grown up.” That’s not quite true. What is happening, is that Elfquest is busting loose into the next stage of its ongoing metamorphosis. It won’t be stopped.
So thank you, everyone, for all the roses and yes, even the occasional stink bombs. Builds character — and Elfquest is nothing if not full of character(s)! Hunt, howl, and live free. The Quest goes on.