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Guerrilla ElfQuest: Fans Scatter Comics Throughout Community

Sometimes fans go above and beyond the call of duty to help get the word out about the awesomeness of ElfQuest. The most recent star fan is Emily Dionne, who purchased multiple copies of Dark Horse’s reprinting of the very first ElfQuest issue for just one dollar, and distributed them throughout her community.

Emily Dionne bought extra copies of ElfQuest #1 and distributed them throughout her community.

Emily Dionne bought extra copies of ElfQuest #1 and distributed them throughout her community.

We asked Emily what inspired this awesome “guerrilla marketing.”  Here’s what she had to say:

I discovered ElfQuest after raiding a box of my older sister’s books. I began my own collection in much the same way, raiding comic shops until I stumbled across ElfQuest treasure. ElfQuest is becoming easier to find and read online and sometimes I miss the old days of unexpected discovery. When Frankie Wolf posted her idea of leaving ElfQuest comics around town in random locations, I was inspired to do the same. I loved the thought of someone stumbling across ElfQuest in much the same way I did and hopefully becoming a life long fan.

I’ve left two comics around town so far, one in a Lending Library at a popular downtown food court and one in a doctors waiting area. Inside each comic I left a sticky note welcoming the new fan and inviting them to join our online discussions and read more at ElfQuest.com.

ElfQuest is my favorite comic, the only comic I’ve read and loved from childhood until now. I hope to help others out there discover it and love it too!

As she mentioned, Emily was inspired by fellow fan Frankie Wolf, who did something similar a few months ago. Frankie gets double-awesome points, because not only did she come up with this innovative idea for sharing ElfQuest, she also volunteered to transcribe the conversation from The ElfQuest Show podcast so that fans with hearing impairments can enjoy it (get the transcriptions at the ElfQuest Facebook Fan Group in the Files tab).

Emily Dionne placed a copy of ElfQuest #1 at your local library.

Emily Dionne placed a copy of ElfQuest #1 at her local library.

Frankie also professionally restores old and damaged books. She shared this tip with Emily and others thinking about following in her footsteps:

If you have access to a printer, glue and a small brush, you can actually tip-in a page of info about the series in the back. Tip-ins are what we do in book repair to stick a loose page back in or add a missing page. You just brush a thin bead of glue (I use PVA) along the gutter of a page and set the page in. You’ll have to trim the margins of ordinary copy paper to fit this particular edition (the edition is roughly 6.5 x 10.25 and copy paper is 8.5 x 11). This also means that depending on how much info you include you’ll have to use a rather small font (I ended up using 8 point Calibri).

I mention this because sticky notes fall out easily and with this method, the information stays with the copy no matter how many hands it passes through. Hopefully it passes through many. For myself, I’m not treating these like collectables… I’m treating them as a means to introduction.

I printed both sides of my tip-ins to get the most informational bang for the buck. The first side contains bio information about Wendy and Richard. The second side contains a short history of ‘ElfQuest’, a paragraph about ‘The ElfQuest Show’ and URL links to the most useful websites. At the bottom is the copyright blurb.

Hope you find this suggestion useful!

So, we want to say a great, big AYOOOOAH to both Emily and Frankie for sharing their love of ElfQuest in such a creative way. The challenge has now been issued: how many other fans will follow in their footsteps and pick up a few extra copies of ElfQuest issue #1 for a buck and distribute them for unsuspecting new fans to discover?


10 Comments

  1. AYOOAHHH WELL DONE Emily! and a member of our Sending Stars Pen Pal group come and join us!! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1647691575466178/ or email us 4 Cheifs at sendingstars@gmail.com !!

  2. I should do this too!! I’ll start by leaving some in the break room at work. xD

  3. I need to take some to my college library and just leave them around.

  4. Richard Pini

    Richard Pini on April 6, 2015

    Kudos! Now this is fan activism at its very best. It also inspires a memory or two of days gone by, when Warp exhibited at retail and library trade shows. We’d always have a ton of giveaway flyers and/or info cards, and let people take as many as they wanted for their stores and library branches. (Of course we knew some would “disappear” into personal collections, and some would show up on eBay.) But now I’m a’wonderin’ … is there a sensible way to find out via you, the readers, which libraries would be open to putting information on their “take one” shelf or board? And then Warp could send copies directly to the staff contact person? Just thinking out loud here…

    Maybe we could even have reader input into what information such a giveaway would contain, what images to show…

  5. Yes, although sadly our library is closing down here which have already said ‘do not take’ comics… but I’m going to go in there and attempt to save the library I know only one person can’t do it alone. Either that or some how like Emily did set up one of them Little Free Libraries or one she put one in. Brilliant idea though Richard! :) Shame I’m not a staff contact person in my library would you do the same to little free libraries?

  6. SpiralLight

    SpiralLight on April 7, 2015

    Arrrgh! I just spent an extraordinary amount of time typing a post on this page that said I was logged in, and lost everything when I clicked ‘post comment’ because it then said I must be logged in to post! So frustrated! *sigh*

    I will try to remember all that I wrote the first time. If I can manage to resist the urge to punch my screen long enough to do that… Lol. Here goes:

    Unfortunately, I’m connected to a research library, which can be rather persnickety about unsanctioned material and equally difficult about what they consider to be official material. However, I will ask around about our local public libraries and report back if I hear anything useful.

    This *is* a city built around a university, though, and there are lots of coffee shops and cafes that offer areas for such things. There are also several art communities nearby that may be open to the idea. I’m sure other cities have their artsy or bohemian regions that could be considered.

    But here is another thought.

    I don’t think that anything is stopping fans who have access to a printer and printing material from creating their own material to leave around. In the past, when I’ve supported a subject or an idea, I’ve been known to create mini-flyers (4-5 inches square works well) that I leave behind on my day to day activities. One can be left in the buggy after grocery shopping. A small stack can be left on top of newspaper vending machines. One or two could end up on park benches. There might be an opportunity to leave a few at local festivals or fairs. Or around your local bars and clubs. I sometimes leave things behind on tables when I get the chance to eat out to be found by whoever comes next (maybe the busboy or maybe the next patron).

    Bookmarks can be created to be printed out on card stock, perhaps. These can be left in the books found in local ‘Little Free Libraries’. I wouldn’t leave a bunch in bigger libraries though, they tend to be tossed out by staff when found (leaving a bookmark in a book long term can damage the book).

    This sort of thing can help reduce some of the financial burden of professional printing and shipping for Elfmom and Elfpop and yet still get the word out.

    Keep in mind, though, that you wouldn’t want to start annoying people. Think carefully about where you choose to leave them (no one likes to get in their car and find that their windshield has been dosed with a flyer). Don’t leave so many laying around that they start to look like trashy spam or become signage noise. Ask for permissions when it’s obvious that you need them, or even just polite to do so, such as with shop owners. You can get away with leaving one or two behind (as if by accident) in places like dressing rooms… but leaving a lot spread all over a store annoys the staff and just becomes trash that they have to clean up. Pretty much you just have to put yourself in the place of people around you and decide if you would find ad material left in that place annoying.

    Perhaps a page can be created here on the official site that offers officially sanctioned options for fans to print out or use. Banners for personal websites, mini-flyers (4-5in. sq.), full-sized flyers, bookmark designs, various cards and so on. They can be offered in both full color designs (for those with color printers) and b&w pen&ink designs (for those of us only b&w printers).

    Perhaps fans can get even more involved by submitting their own designs for Wendy and Richard to consider for official sanctioning to represent WARP. Perhaps there can even be a contest or two?

    Just tossing out the idea.

    On another note, I should make a small correction about what is written above. It’s not a big deal to me, but I should clarify that I am not a professional book restorer in the sense that people pay me for the skill or that I work in a professional lab. I only volunteered to be the apprentice of an established pro in order to help repair library books. However, as a fun aside, I can trace the techniques I’ve learned from her over the years to the mid 1800s under Kupp of Stuttgart (we have a little mentor/apprentice lineage that she gives people she trains).

    I am an autodidact and an artist, so I’ve picked up quite the hodge-podge of this ‘n’ that over my lifetime. But I try to be careful about titles, because people who are officially holding those titles can be sensitive sometimes. Like a pro librarian who has a degree in Library Science. I wouldn’t want any actual accredited Book Conservators to think I was putting on airs and claiming their status. *grin*

  7. SpiralLight

    SpiralLight on April 7, 2015

    I knew I would leave something out from my original comment and remember it later. One thing I was thinking about is the possibility that fans from various cultures could help translate some of this flyer material into their own languages. And that with this system, anyone from around the world could have access to material to leave around their own regions as long as they have access to the website and a printer. So fans could perhaps help build up more interest outside of North America.

  8. SpiralLight

    SpiralLight on April 7, 2015

    Och – I keep remembering bits. Sanctioned post card designs that can be printed out on card stock, maybe.

  9. Spiralight said: One thing I was thinking about is the possibility that fans from various cultures could help translate some of this flyer material into their own languages

    I think that is a wonderful idea.

  10. Lol. Well, I’m guessing the tepid response on this makes the idea in my last series of posts a bust as far as the community is concerned.

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