Why Elfquest is worth doing. Really.

We’ve been fortunate for many years. Elfquest, begun nearly four decades ago, has been welcomed into the hearts and minds of many readers. It has enjoyed success and acclaim in many arenas. (And stumbled in a few, truth be told.) It has given us the financial stability to make its telling our vocation. But all of that pales next to the gift that we are given when someone tells us “Elfquest helped me.”

“Goblins” is a webcomic by Tarol Hunt, running since 2005. It’s a fun, unexpectedly different take on a Dungeons & Dragons theme. A few days ago, Tarol posted a blog (titled “I Quit”) about stuff happening in his life, how it built up, and how he got – is getting – through it. It’s a ramble to read, though worth it because it took courage to put on public display. About halfway down, Elfquest makes its appearance and – well – it’s one of those gifts. At the end, in a listing of thank-yous, is this:

And thanks to Wendy and Richard Pini for creating Elfquest. Not just because it’s the work that inspired me to become what I am today, but because your art and writing became an anchor of safety for me during this … thing. I’ve learned that during breakdowns like this, people often turn to things that make them feel safe or help to dull the pain/fear. These things are commonly repetitive and sometimes destructive. They can be drugs or alcohol or worse. I was lucky to have Elfquest as my anchor. When I grew up, pretending to be Cutter and imagining that I was fighting trolls, battling humans and marrying Rainsong, I couldn’t have known that one day, those books would help me through the most messed up time of my life. So thank you, Mrs. and Mr. Pini.

Thank you, Tarol Hunt, for your brave words, with their implicit gift to us. Thank you even more for getting back up and resuming the good fight.