ELFQUEST
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The (disapointment of the) Complete Elfquest (Dark Horse edition)

DemandingELF

Yesterday I finally took the time to sit down and compare the Complete Elfquest recently released by Dark Horse with the old Complete Elfquest oversized colour Graphic Novel from Warp Graphics.

I must say that upon reception of the Dark Horse edition, I was excited to see it collected in full and thought the b&w was glorious and the printing of excellent quality. The colour books are notoriously fragile with pages easily getting loose upon reading after the years (most are more than 20 years old) so this was a welcome replacement or addition for those of us hoping to read it again over the years.

Then the comparison began yesterday and the disappointment was quickly on par with the excitement I first felt.

First of all, the colour covers and back covers pinups are not collected. One can easily argue that that they would not fit due to the b&w format. It's logical. But as a completist looking for a definitive, modern Elfquest edition, I was still disappointed. A colour section could have been possible or even high quality b&w reproduction of those covers. I don't think the possible increase in price would have bothered the fans given how cheap the original price is.

Same goes with the b&w epic covers. They're badly reproduced on purple chapter end paper and not showcased in the nice b&w used for all other pages.

At the back of most of the colour books, the first volumes at least, there are many added pages, all in b&w which are supposed to be added in between the colour ones for better storytelling. Their place are even indicated as to where you should read them (ie: this page fits between page 22 & 23 of the present book). None of those are present whether in the story itself or, such as in the colour books, as bonus pages at the end. Well, that's not entirely true as some of those bonuses pages are present in the Dark Horse one. For example, the opening splash of Rayek hanging in panic by his hand from the stone arch. This one was not present as such in the colour book but as a bonus pages and was then reintegrated in the Dark Horse one. Why didn't the other ones benefit from such treatment or again, be presented as bonuses at the end of the book?

A bit frustrated by all this, I began comparing the 2 editions page by page from the first issue. The horror! 3 pages from issues one are missing in the Dark Horse book. A 3 pages sequence of the wolfriders entering the trolls cave ending on a splash of the troll king sitting on his throne. Simply put, why? Same goes with a dream like sequence when Cutters dreams or flashback about his father. Some vignettes are absent and the pages in the Dark Horse edition seem to have been reworked. And that's just the early issues as I was too angry/disappointed to continue the exercise further.

Even further, I went to open my Elfquest Gallery edition (I am a hardcore fan as you can see) and noticed those 3 pages in the trolls cave are also missing. Any explanation regarding those discrepancies between the different editions?

A bit angry, I went to search some information about the dark horse book and to see how it was perceived by Elfquest fans on the Elquest site and forum to learn further that to my horror page 371 was repeated on page 405, making the supposed page 405 absent from the book. Well, nice to learn that the mistake will be corrected for future prints of the book but what about the fans that supported the first print? Marvel or DC have destroyed entire print runs suffering from the same kind of defect or mistake making it returnable for stores or retailers.

So frankly, it's nice to make Elfquest available for new fans but given the love and dedications of the Pinis for their creation and the level of good quality Dark Horse usually infuses in their products, I was expecting a far more superior product that the one I bought. I'm sure fan wouldn't have minded to pay another 10$ to own something far more complete (including covers in colour or not, as well as missing pages as bonuses or directly integrated within the story), not to speak of the discrepancies between the color and b&w edition in terms of content or of the misprint.

I feel like the opportunity to produce a true definitive edition has been squandered and I feel cheated of a good product and/or 25$. And I must add I feel sorry I pre-ordered the second one.

Thornbrake

@DemandingElf wrote:

Even further, I went to open my Elfquest Gallery edition (I am a hardcore fan as you can see) and noticed those 3 pages in the trolls cave are also missing. Any explanation regarding those discrepancies between the different editions?


The reason that these pages and many of the intro splash pages were not included in either of the Dark Horse books is that they were after-the-fact additions for the Marvel reprints in the mid-late 80s. They weren't part of the original story and my sense with both the Complete Elfquest series of books as well as the Gallery Edition is that they are meant to present the art and story as it originally appeared, and also to present in a way that previous editions did not.

If your first introduction to Elfquest was via those Marvel reprints or from the Father Tree Press and DC graphic novels, it would seem like they were omissions, but for long-time fans who started with the original Warp comics and Donning graphic novels, these new Dark Horse books show Elfquest in its original form that we all started with.

lunakat

DemandingElf said:I began comparing the 2 editions page by page from the first issue. The horror! 3 pages from issues one are missing in the Dark Horse book. A 3 pages sequence of the wolfriders entering the trolls cave ending on a splash of the troll king sitting on his throne. Simply put, why?

I could be wrong- but I think these were extra pages added after the original publication to pad the story. I never really liked the additions, personally- as they just felt like filler. If this is what is missing- I don't think I would mind, personally. The gallery edition is supposed to be the original artwork- right? So that would fit. If, on the other hand, it's just three original pages missing- that would really piss me off.

DemandingElf saidA bit angry, I went to search some information about the dark horse book and to see how it was perceived by Elfquest fans on the Elquest site and forum to learn further that to my horror page 371 was repeated on page 405, making the supposed page 405 absent from the book.

Now this, irked me. I really want to buy the Elfquest collection for my niece- but I don't want to get her a version that is missing what happens to be a really nice page. Have they fixed this yet? Are the new printed versions out?

TalonClaw

I also purchased the book with the same issue with the missing pages 371 and 405.

Oh well.

For those of us who are getting quite fatigued buying the same Original Quest over and over and over . . .
it just seems kind of sloppy to me. Especially with all the hype and (yet again) trying to launch EQ to a larger audience. I only bought it trying to keep the dollars rolling in on my side so they don't quit half way through the re-release of all the earlier material, and we are left with incomplete sets again.
Yes, Dark Horse should offer a refund for the defective volumes, I just wonder why on earth it slipped past the editing crew. Either they are in a hurry or just don't care.

Elwing

That's interesting, I also just acquired this "phonebook" edition, and I'm only at page 74, so maybe a little early to judge, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it.
But yes, same missing page issue. Pity. Shame on whoever proofread it... 3:-O

Other than that, I'm really enjoying seeing the clean inks without the coloring. I have the large format colored European books somewhere in the basement, and it should be fun comparing these at some point. But the coloring is not always an improvement on the black and white version, imho. And you will have to admit it is an awful lot of material for the money.

Rob

Earlier collections included the extra pages that contributed to the story, but skipped those that served as recaps.

But this isn't a "director's cut" edition. I believe it's intended as a reproduction of the original books.

In fact, it's so faithful that there are a few interesting easter eggs in there for people who never read the comics, such as idiosyncratic lettering that lends it a more underground feel. It also lacks the subtle edits made to dialogue and narration for other collections.

Eyeshigh

I will not miss the "Marvel-"pages. I have one of those issues and I found it odd to see them put in it. The style of drawing was so different from when they started with EQ it just felt....... out of place, so to speak. I did enjoy the pages, though!
Haven't read it yet, kept it "save", unlike my older copies, which are almost falling apart due too much reading.

Would have been nice to see them at the end, as a bonus, just like the covers and backs of every issue.....

Still it is a great addition to my collection, with missing pages and wrong prints and all.

lumfan

Posted this in the Gallery Edition thread but never got any response--any idea as to why issue #1's back cover pinup of Cutter is missing from the Gallery Edition? The omission of the Epic reprint pages makes sense, but the lack of the Cutter portrait is near unforgivable!

lunakat

Did they include the other portraits? I thought the DarkHorse volumes were collecting the original story as it first appeared. I'm pretty happy with them, actually.

Movieator

The additional pages were added when Marvel started reprinting the original quest under it's Epic imprint. Due to the different issue page numbers, Marvel had to have each issue end at 22 pages, I believe, instead of however many the original issues were. So the iddues ended differently at times.
I have all those issues (it's kind of what started me down the road of comic books thirty years ago, really), so I am now glad to have the original quest as it was first published.