General

From an interview with Wendy a few years back, here’s a concise yet thorough, and still-relevant answer: “ElfQuest is an ongoing heroic fantasy graphic novel series, with science fictional undertones, about a band of alien beings who look like elves trying to survive on a hostile world that is not their ancestors’ planet of origin. The storyline focuses on the elves’ struggle to remain true to their harmonious, nature-loving ways despite the encroachment into their territories of an ever-increasing human population. The art style of ElfQuest, whether mine or any of the other talented artists Warp Graphics has employed, is a combination of influences from classic fairytale illustration to Japanese anime or manga. Although our elfin cast of characters, like Cutter, Leetah, Skywise and Rayek, have a big-eyed, childlike appearance, their adventures take them psychologically, spiritually and physically to very dark, very grown-up places. It’s my firm belief, based on years of fan feedback, that anyone willing to fully explore the epic-sized world of ElfQuest will find their views of modern society mirrored, their prejudices challenged, and their understanding of relationships – of all kinds – forever changed.”

There are two questions that we’ve been asked many times. This is one of them; the other is “Where do you get your ideas?” We’ve already answered them over and over, so fire up your web browser, and in the search field (Google, Yahoo, Bing, whatever), type “ElfQuest interview.” You’ll get a bunch of links to pages and Youtube videos that will answer those questions and more. Here’s just a few; enjoy!

http://comicsalliance.com/wendy-pini-richard-pini-dark-horse-elfquest-final-quest-interview/
https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/40168/icv2-interview-elfquest-creators-wendy-richard-pini
https://www.cbr.com/richard-wendy-pini-40-years-elfquest-interview/

Stargazer’s Hunt was a planned series (just as Final Quest or Siege at Blue Mountain were, for example). There were a total of 8 bi-monthly issues planned. The first 4 appeared in 2019 and early 2020, and were collected into a single softcover volume. Covid brought everything to a halt. Dark Horse Comics, ElfQuest’s current publisher, made the decision to collect the material for issues #5-8 into Volume 2 (also softcover), without first releasing the individual comics. In November 2023, all 8 issues (plus additional material) were released as a beautiful hardcover volume.

Even though Cutter’s hero’s journey was completed in Final Quest, there remained important characters whose own stories are yet to be told. The most pressing of those belongs to Skywise, Cutter’s “brother in all but blood.” Wendy and Richard (working with Sonny Strait as artist over Wendy’s layouts) crafted the eight-issue series Stargazer’s Hunt, taking Skywise in directions neither he nor readers imagined. There are yet more tales waiting – what of Ember and Teir’s delayed Recognition? What happens to Rayek and Winnowill? How does Jink become part of the FutureQuest?

That’s an impossible order. ElfQuest isn’t an encyclopedia. Think of the entire saga as a person. No matter how much you like or love them, you can never know everything about them. But you can know enough to love and accept them as they are. That’s all ElfQuest asks of its readers. Not even Wendy and Richard know every last detail.

The Complete ElfQuest series (published by Dark Horse Comics) contains the core, canonical tales of Cutter and the Wolfrider tribe. As of March, 2020, there are seven volumes. (An eighth is in the works.) You can purchase these books (and more) through Amazon, or from Dark Horse. Also, you can read all earlier ElfQuest stories, up to Final Quest, online for free, right here at ElfQuest.com.

Already a longtime fan? Catch up on the Final Quest and Stargazer’s Hunt with collected volumes from Amazon, or from Dark Horse.

You may have a special fondness for “the Wendy and Richard stuff” but if you limit yourself that way, you’ll miss a lot of the “catch up” stuff. For example, the “Hidden Years” and the “Shards” series contain stories by other writers and artists, and those are essential parts of the ongoing tale of the Wolfriders. And they are good! Take a look at these other storylines in our ElfQuest Reading Room – it’s free!

The “read online” section is not intended to be an archive of all the variations of ElfQuest comics (different color editions, foreign translations, etc.). It’s there so new readers, and those who want to catch up, can do so easily, for free. Also, it’s not meant to be a substitute for the books currently in print that Dark Horse currently lists and sells and which, frankly, provide Wendy and Richard with an income. That’s why you won’t find “Final Quest” or “Stargazer’s Hunt” in the free online reader.

Finding/Collecting

Recent print-version ElfQuest comics and books are available to order from Dark Horse Comics. (You can also get digital editions at digital.darkhorse.com.) Your local comics shop should also carry new and recent print material. If you’re looking for a walk-in store, there’s an industry-wide comic shop finder that’s maintained by the largest comics distributor. In the USA call toll-free 888-266-4226, or on the web go to the Comic Shop Locator.

For publications, encourage your local comic shop or bookstore to carry ElfQuest, and be sure to support them when they do.

Redbubble carries a selection of exclusive ElfQuest designs on wearables (t-shirts, hoodies, etc.) as well as laptop and smartphone cases, notebooks, drinking mugs, and more.

Streamily is the exclusive source for ElfQuest art prints and books that are personally signed by Wendy and Richard Pini.

The Arcane Vault carries unique ElfQuest-themed art objects.

There are lots of other places online to look for older ElfQuest collectibles; eBay is usually a good bet.

Unfortunately, there are no low-cost options for shipping overseas. Also, we have no control over what others charge for their handling and shipping. You can go to the USPS postage rate calculator and get an estimate of the mailing cost.

Warp Graphics is not a collectibles grading or valuation service, nor do we buy back issues. We can’t and won’t put a dollar value on your comics or books. There are price guides, both in print and online, that may be of use. Auction web sites such as eBay, or any of dozens of online comics retailers, can provide you with an idea of current prices and trends.

It’s possible, though unlikely. When this “video comic book” was produced back around 1990, a small number of authorized VHS copies were released. Since the advent of eBay, copies have sold at (sometimes) high prices. How can you tell if the eBay copy is legal? The original video comes in a printed cardboard sleeve, not in a plastic case into which photocopied art can be placed. If the copy on eBay is in such a generic case, it’s bogus.

It’s best to search out used bookstores or back-issue comics shops both on and off the internet.

The four Donning/Starblaze collections, followed by the nine Father Tree Press editions, were published in the 1980s and are now long out of print. These were followed in the 1990s by the ElfQuest Reader’s Collection – softcover, black and white volumes that retailed for about half the cost of the previous editions. (Another color edition, by DC Comics, came out in the early 2000s.) These are all out of print as well. You may be able to find copies for sale on eBay and other collector sites.

Very simply, Dark Horse Comics wishes to make the core, canonical Wolfrider-related ElfQuest saga available at an affordable price, and Warp agrees. You may ask, then why is there a color section in Volume 3? Because for that specific volume Richard insisted Dark Horse make an exception. Wendy’s color art on those 5 stories – her watercolor designs from start to finish – is some of the best ever, and Warp wanted to preserve that.

The ElfQuest Role Playing Game (published by Chaosium) and Board Game (published by Mayfair Games) debuted in the mid-1980s and went out of print years ago. Your best bet is an online search; these items do turn up from time to time. Early in 2015, Cheeky Dingo Games came out with a new variation – the ElfQuest Adventure Game, which we’re very excited about. You can learn more here.

Alas, no. Warp did publish an ElfQuest calendar for 1990, and then for 1998, 1999, and 2000. Given her full-time involvement with new publishing projects – both ElfQuest and non-ElfQuest – there isn’t enough time for new Wendy calendar art.

However, you’ll want to take a look at the wonderful work that fan artists do each year as they put together their own edition of an ElfQuest calendar. This year’s offering can be found here.

For over 40 years, the answers has been “We’ve been trying! Studios promise to be faithful to the story, then they proceed to mess up the story.” Wendy and Richard have repeatedly said they prefer NO production to a BAD production.

Recently, that has changed. On January 11, 2024, Fox Animation announced they have given a script commitment for a one-hour animated drama series based on ElfQuest. Here’s the entire article for you to read.

W&R are more optimistic than ever before at this newest development. “ElfQuest couldn’t be in better hands,” they have said. “Our collaborators trust the story. We have the highest regard for their previous achievements, and they have our blessing and input. We know their adaptation of ElfQuest will be a dream come true.”

Stay tuned!

We’re glad you asked.

In 2020, Warp Graphics and Dagaz Media entered into an agreement to produce what we call an “audio movie.” This is much more than a simple audiobook reading of the ElfQuest novel or comics. To quote from the Dagaz web site, this production is “…a joint venture to adapt the classic fantasy comic, ElfQuest, as a cinematic ‘audio movie’ experience with an anticipated cast of more than 40 voice actors, original sound design, and a lush orchestral score.”

Or, as one writer put it: “An audio movie is a story told via sound, using all the audio resources that go into the soundtrack of a typical movie. The only difference is you get to paint the pictures in your imagination, which can make the experience far more personal, not to mention better suited for driving…”

As of August 2022, the project completed the dramatization of the first five issues of the Original Quest (the basis for the novelization “Journey to Sorrow’s End”). Nearly five hours of script has been written, an awesome orchestral score recorded, and amazing voices cast. The recordings have been split into 10 episodes; Episode 1 “Fire and Flight” dropped September 1, 2022 on all major podcast platforms, including Apple, Spotify, and many others. As of mid-November, all ten episodes are available to download for free. Please remember to rate and review!

Even though the crowdfunding campaign is long over, you can learn the history of the project’s genesis on Kickstarter here – we think you’ll be amazed!

There is a collection – called “A Wolfrider’s Reflections” – of ElfQuest-inspired music, sung folk (or ‘filk’) style, previously available on CD. There are a total of 22 tracks, and overall reactions to the collection are very positive. You can now listen to, and purchase for download, the entire album here.

We’d love there to be. We’ve talked with some very talented songwriters/performers about it, and one day it just might happen.

No, there is not and there won’t be an EQ tarot. Wendy had the notion years ago to create one, and painted 5 card samples. But over time she discovered that the mythology of EQ simply would not fit within the structure of the traditional tarot arcana, and she abandoned the project. Read a historical note about that project and see the cards that Wendy developed.

Very simply, this was a promotional campaign that Warp Graphics launched in 1995 to get more people to read ElfQuest. In a number of issues over several months, there were clues to a “magic phrase” scattered throughout the stories. If you collected all the clues and deciphered them correctly (it really wasn’t difficult), you had a chance at various prizes — among them, original art, cash, and signed books.

This is not directly ElfQuest related, but still of interest. In 2008, after 30 years of pointed ears, Wendy wanted to take a break and explore new storytelling and artistic ground. In particular, she’s long been fascinated by Edgar Allen Poe’s very short story of the same name, and wanted to explore more deeply its underpinnings, plus give it a futuristic spin. Reimagining “Masque” as a 400-page graphic novel gave her the opportunity to stretch her artistic muscles for an audience that may or may not know about her ElfQuest work. Take a look – you’ll be surprised. Be aware, however, that this material is edgy, dark, and adult, and so is for ages 18 and up only.

More recently, Wendy has teamed up with a top-notch composer to create 30 songs and lyrics, as well as a complete libretto for a Broadway-style musical thriller in the grand tradition of “Phantom of the Opera.”

Contact Warp

It started out as WaRP (for “Wendy and Richard Pini”). The official version is now Warp (as in Warp Graphics, Inc.).

Send email to elfquest (at) elfquest (dot) com. While we do read every letter, we can’t promise individual replies. We also get a lot of spam email that we have to filter, and sometimes a legitimate fan letter accidentally gets dumped. To avoid this, put the word “yggdrasil” in the subject line – it’s a little trick we use, and you can too.

Yes you can. Address any and all cards, letters, packages, etc. to

Warp Graphics
2600 South Road – Suite 44-242
Poughkeepsie, New York 12601

This is a secure mail stop. We don’t live there. Also, this is the only correct address. Delete from your contact list any other addresses you may have (or any addresses you may find in old issues of ElfQuest comics or books) for Wendy and Richard or Warp Graphics. They are all obsolete now.

We used to do this, but have suspended it until further notice. One reason is that the US Postal Service and other shipping services are still experiencing problems with mail transit time and delivery, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Until things settle down and become more reliable, do not send items for signing (comics, books, cards, etc.)

No, as Warp is not currently hiring outside artists or writers. If you’re a fan artist, please post your work online – especially to the Facebook ElfQuest Group. We love to see fan art. However, we do not (and for legal reasons cannot) accept or view unsolicited story plots or scripts.

With all the projects on her plate, the answer must be no – sorry. (This includes blank sheets of paper or cards sent through the mail, even if these include return packaging and postage.)

For reasons both legal and practical, we have the policy not to do this. If you catch us at a convention, and the situation permits, that’s different. But we reserve our personal and work time completely for personal and work matters.

Sorry, no. For reasons (again, practical and legal) even more compelling than those regarding fan art (see the “Fan Stuff, Legal Stuff” section), we can’t and won’t even look at submissions of ElfQuest fanfic.

Meet Wendy and Richard

As of the end of 2022, W&R finally wrapped up their schedule of conventions and appearances. For a number of reasons, some business and some personal, it was a more hectic year than usual. For 2023, they’ve decided to slow things down; they’ll still make some appearances but at a reduced schedule. Check out the ElfQuest Calendar page for all the details.

No. For many years, Wendy did ElfQuest convention sketches. In 2018, for a number of reasons, we made the command decision to cease that practice.

W&R will only consider attending those shows that request them as guests – which means the convention pays travel, lodging, etc. So if you want them to show up at your favorite show, it’s up to you (and hopefully many friends who feel the same) to contact the convention organizers and let them know what you want. We can’t promise ahead of time, but this is how the process must start. Each convention invitation will be considered on its own merits.

Yes they’re happy to sign items, with exceptions. They will sign most anything connected to ElfQuest – from 1978 forward. Wendy prefers to leave her earlier fanzine work in the past, so no to that. If you’re unsure, just ask.

Yes, there’s a fee. Here’s how it works:

• For ElfQuest comics and books, the first one is free and then $10 each after that.
• For rare or “collector” or oddball ElfQuest items (unboxed figures, t-shirts, obscure publications, complete title runs, portfolio sets, etc.) – $50 per item signed.
• For Fantasy Quarterly, or any grading service witnessed signature on an ElfQuest comic – $100.

Why a fee for signatures? The reason is simple: Conventions reimburse travel and lodging expenses, but don’t necessarily offer an appearance fee or honorarium. So the time spent traveling to, being at, and getting back from a show, adds up to days of work time/income lost. (A 3-day show actually eats up 5-6 days.) That has to be recouped — it’s simply math.

No, as Warp is not currently hiring outside artists or writers. If you’re a fan artist, please post your work online – especially to the Facebook ElfQuest Group. We love to see fan art. However, we do not (and for legal reasons cannot) accept or view unsolicited story plots or scripts.

With all the projects on her plate, the answer must be no – sorry. (This includes blank sheets of paper or cards sent through the mail, even if these include return packaging and postage.)

For reasons both legal and practical, we have the policy not to do this. If you catch us at a convention, and the situation permits, that’s different. But we reserve our personal and work time completely for personal and work matters.

Sorry, no. For reasons (again, practical and legal) even more compelling than those regarding fan art (see the “Fan Stuff, Legal Stuff” section), we can’t and won’t even look at submissions of ElfQuest fanfic.

Story/Characters

Wendy replies: My drawing style of elves and fantasy creatures was well and professionally established years before Wizards came out. I worked briefly for Ralph Bakshi on his version of Lord of the Rings, just as I was also starting to draw the first pages of ElfQuest. And I did stack the deck in my audition for him by learning how to draw his characters from Wizards and LOTR. Mike Ploog, who did the remarkable “history” paintings in Wizards, portrayed elves very much the way I did, at the time. But there is no artistic connection to ElfQuest. It’s a case of parallel development. After I left his studio, I made it a point to back away from any Bakshi influence and adhere to my lifelong love of manga for the design of ElfQuest. I do not respect Mr. Bakshi personally because of his mistreatment of other creators he’s worked with.

The short answer is, “shift happens.” This can mean different things. In the case of the Donning/Starblaze color collections, the materials provided by the publisher for coloring were substandard. Deadlines were tight. Under those conditions, some coloring decisions were made that, years later, needed and were able to be corrected. In other cases, on other projects, a colorist may have made a mistake and it didn’t get caught. Sometimes the settings on a printing press were off, and the first we heard about it was when readers wanted to know why the Sun Folk were suddenly lighter, or darker, or redder than they were the previous issue.

There is a saying that goes, “Don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good.’” Perfection is an illusion. In over four decades of spinning ElfQuest, we’ve learned how to be satisfied with “good.”

Many of the ElfQuest stories done in the 1990s by other artists and writers are canon. ElfQuest is more than 40 years old. We feel we’ve done a good, not perfect, job of maintaining continuity. We’re working with Dark Horse Comics to produce the best possible collection of canonical ElfQuest stories, in a sensible order – The Complete ElfQuest series of volumes. (Will there ever be a completely, 100% bulletproof ElfQuest canon? Probably not – after all, even the Bible/Torah/Koran contain inconsistencies.)

Yes.

From Wikipedia: “Retroactive continuity, or retcon for short, is the alteration of previously established facts in the continuity of a fictional work. … There are various motivations for retconning. … The long history of popular titles and the number of writers who contribute stories can often create situations that demand clarification or revision. … Retcons allow for authors to reintroduce popular characters and resolve errors in chronology.”

“Retcon” is not a dirty word. In the case of ElfQuest, the core concept was developed in 1977-78 by Wendy and Richard Pini who, at the time, were in their 20s. The original story is, in many ways, a reflection of who they were then. But as the saying goes, life happens. Lately, the Final Quest and Stargazer’s Hunt chapters reflect the personal growth that the writers and artist have experienced over the years. In some instances, those changes inform – retroactively – aspects of the original tale, to make the whole more cohesive and integrated.

Again, yes. Call it “future retconning” – futconning, if you like. That’s how a growing, living, organic creative process works. Imagine Star Trek if Gene Roddenberry had insisted that Mr. Spock stay forever the winsome character he was in the very first pilot episode. Imagine all that would never have developed and blossomed into both the character and the mythos that we know and love today.

That’s why Wendy and Richard are not confining their minds and hearts in the tales that were written over twenty years ago. While the broad strokes that define Final Quest and Stargazer’s Hunt were laid down that far back, fine details – especially when given to other writers and artists to speculate upon – simply could not be known. Example: Some FutureQuest tales tell of old and continuing tensions that still exist between elves and trolls in the Palace of the High Ones. As of the events of Final Quest #18, those tensions no longer exist. As Wendy and Richard have evolved as people, so the ways in which ElfQuest spins out have evolved as well. Or, as Wendy puts it, “All ElfQuest FutureQuest stories are playful but distorted spinnings of tales based on what our writers and artists knew of the Final Quest at the time – way back in the 1990s. They contain both some canon and some wildly improbable deviations from canon. Have fun with them but don’t take them too literally. Imagine you’re sitting in the chamber of the Scroll of Colors, reading many different threads that show how things might have gone. The true thread – what ElfQuest is really all about – is up to you to decide.”

First things first. The “original WaveDancers” – sea elves – were created by Wendy in the 1980s as an alternate tribe for the Chaosium role playing game. (The name “WaveDancers” was at first given to the sea elves’ dolphins, but it was too good not to put to greater use. It has since been trademarked by Warp Graphics.) What you’re asking about are the six comic book issues written and drawn by Black Mermaid Productions in the 1990s. BMP approached Warp with their idea of sea-dwelling elves and, as Warp at that time was expanding the world of ElfQuest, the idea was appealing. Warp and BMP entered into an agreement, and work began. However, as the series progressed, it became clear that BMP’s desire was more to create their own universe of characters, and less to adhere to the structure and spirit of ElfQuest. Because BMP’s vision was too radically different from what Wendy and Richard were willing to allow for their creation, the relationship came to an end. As part of the legal terms of the separation, neither Warp nor BMP may republish any of the material from the six-issue series.

The Sun Folks’ pigmentation is an adaptation to living on the World of Two Moons. Those who dwelled in the Palace and now the Starhome have chosen to keep their skin coloring out of love for the world they left. Sometimes, when Sonny and Wendy depict scenes in the Palace or Starhome, they imagine it filled with a constant, hazy, pearly glow. So all the colors are filtered through that. That is why the Sun Folk look a little lighter. Ember, Venka, Mender, Kimo, etc. all retain the varying shades of their acquired (whether by heredity or exposure) tans, but they were never as dark as the “native” Sun Folk to begin with. However, some – like Leetah – are as beautifully dark as they ever were.

When we first met Cutter, his wolf-friend Nightrunner warned him of danger via a crude sending. At that point in the story, only one or two of the Wolfrider wolves retained a trace of elf-blood from the time of Timmain and Timmorn, many thousands of years earlier, to be able to send. Now, in the time of Final Quest and Stargazer’s Hunt that “blood” (and ability) has been completely diluted – bred out, actually – to the point where the Wolfriders’ lupine friends are effectively 100 percent wolf. So no, they can no longer send.

The average life span of a wolf in the wilds of Earth is 4-5 years. Life is very tough for them. Wolfrider wolves can live twenty years or more, not because they have elf blood (see above) but because they are bonded with their elf friends. They look out for each other, take care of each other, hunt for each other, protect each other in a way that doesn’t happen for an earthly wolf pack. Wolfriders accept their wolf-friends’ mortality; it is the elves’ friendship and care that prolongs the wolves’ lives.

No, ElfQuest elves do not kiss. They are very affectionate, and they cuddle and nuzzle, and nibble on ears and noses, and certainly mouths must come into contact with mouths from time to time. To which we say “True.” But they don’t kiss. Because kissing, as a “thing,” at least in certain Earthly cultures, has come to contain particular notions about relationship, emotion, affection, and so on. Kissing has a very definite social, even mythical “cultural spell” about it. Why is there such a big deal in story and art about love’s first kiss? Why is it a big deal when someone works up the nerve to steal a kiss? Why can a fairy tale kiss bring someone back from seeming death? We did not want to invest ElfQuest with those human, culture-specific significances. So the elves may take sensual pleasure from lips meeting lips – but it is not kissing.

For much the same reasons, ElfQuest elves do not “marry” and become “husbands and wives,” they do not “have sex” (or any other more colorful terms), nor do they experience “love at first sight” – as those are all human-culture based notions. Our elves do however become lifemates and lovemates, they do join, and some of them even Recognize each other.

Lovemates (and there can be two or more elves involved) join for pleasure. In today’s terms, they’d be called friends with benefits, no strings attached. Lifemates (can also be two or more) make the choice to form a family group (for want of a better term) that is long lasting, though not necessarily carved in stone. Soulmates are those elves who, for one of two reasons, have gone to the deepest level of sharing, and exchanged soul names. This is a very committed bond. Soulmates are often lifemates, though lifemates don’t have to be soulmates. Soul names can be exchanged by choice (Redlance and Nightfall), or by Recognition (Cutter and Leetah). Because Recognition exists only to ensure reproduction, a Recognized male and a female elf may know each other’s soul name, but once a child has been conceived, there is no rule stating the two must remain together, or even stay friends (Dewshine and Tyldak).

In simplest terms, Recognition is a primal, nearly irresistible mating urge between two elves. On a deep and subconscious level, even if they don’t or can’t consciously “send”, all elves are telepathic. So every elf, unconsciously, knows every other elf’s innermost (genetic) makeup. When a female and a male get within range of each other (“eyes meet eyes”) and the mix of qualities is right for a cub that will benefit the tribe (or the entire elf race), an instinctual command to mate bursts powerfully into each elf’s awareness (“soul meets soul”). Instantly, each elf knows the entire secret inner self of the other. The urge is so strong that if it is denied, the afflicted pair will feel dire physical effects. Recognition is not love at first sight; love has nothing to do with it. In time, the Recognized couple may come to love each other (as Leetah and Cutter did), but there’s no guarantee.

So where did the concept of Recognition come from? All Elfquest elves are descendants of alien shape-shifters (the High Ones) who had various telekinetic, energy manipulation powers. These powers are often called “magic” by the elves now (but that’s just a name). All elves are born with some latent version of these powers. But on the World of Two Moons, whose lower spiritual vibration limits what elves can fully do, these powers don’t show up in some.

Recognition began as an evolutionary adaptation to stimulate the emergence of these “old powers” in the offspring it produces. The very nature of Recognition began to change (thanks to Cutter) as the scattered elf tribes discovered and interacted with each other. Originally a biological imperative followed most seriously by the endangered, mortal Wolfriders, the advent of more frequent interbreeding of different elf tribes has softened the intensity of the imperative. Thus, even outside of Recognition, more children are born on the WoTM with traits of the original High Ones.

Only in the sense that the pair can voluntarily or involuntarily exchange soul names, and forge for themselves a deep bond, as Cutter and Skywise have done. It is sometimes said they have “taken Recognition for themselves.” But it is not Recognition in the truest definition of the word, which is purely biological and procreative.

Only Wolfriders have soul names. Soul names are partly a product of the Wolfriders’ unique nature and partly a product of their culture.

The answer to the first question is “neither.” The Preservers are the many-times removed, shapeshifted descendants of insect-like creatures that the original High Ones carried along on their long-ago journey from the dying Homeworld. They are sexless and immortal, which provides the answer to the second question: They don’t reproduce. All the Preservers that exist now, are all there will ever be. They are tough, nearly indestructable little bugs, though – look at all Petalwing’s been through just in the story of the quest so far. So don’t worry about them going extinct. They’ll be around for a long, long time.

If you’re looking for “exactly” you may have a long search!

Wendy writes: The Scroll of Colors is a very interesting mystical/magical device. It shows what has happened, what is happening and what will happen – but in limitless different versions, all possible. One thread of color shows things happening one way. Another thread of color plays the very same thing out in a different way. The different scenarios keep changing through the butterfly effect. And so on, ad infinitum. There’s not enough time in the Universe to know the Scroll completely. The Scroll of Colors is not a computer. It does not deliver information on command. It’s not something one can “use” for any active purpose. When it is activated (when the spindles are levitated so they can turn) the colors “play” as they will. They cannot be controlled or manipulated. They are only to be read, studied and contemplated. We humans read meaning into all sorts of symbols in the form of writing. Elves can read colors. The subtlest difference in hues represents entirely different threads of elfin history. The Sun Folk, who are now known as the Palace Dwellers, spend most of their time learning how to read the Scroll and gaining tidbits of knowledge from it. Savah can read it like a pro and Sunstream’s not far behind. But no one, not even Timmain, can “google” the Scroll of Colors.

Richard adds: For the tech-minded, the closest notion we currently have to the Scroll of Colors is the hypothesis of the quantum multiverse. This hints that there’s an infinite number of universes, some with properties very close to ours, some that are incomprehensibly alien and inhospitable. Or to put it another way, an infinite number of “what-if realities.” What keeps everything from fusing into a gray quantum soup is that each universe is completely and forever inaccessible to any other. You can’t get there from here. For all practical purposes, all those other universes don’t exist. The Scroll of Colors may show a multitude of what-if pasts, presents, and futures, but the only one that matters is the one that’s here and now. (AKA the one being told by us.)

Fan/Legal Stuff

Sometimes. There are rules.

First, you may not hotlink to images at ElfQuest.com itself. Self-host artwork that you are given permission to use. Second, you must put the following text on your web pages along with the ElfQuest images:

ElfQuest art copyright Warp Graphics, Inc. ElfQuest, its logos, characters, situations, all related indicia, and their distinctive likenesses are trademarks of Warp Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved.”

With special reference to the “Warp Wolf” logo that you see on this site, the answer is no, you may not use that image. It’s a registered trademark of Warp Graphics. It’s our company identity. As much as people think it’s cool, legally we must say “no” to any use of the image. Apparently, it has already found its way onto “free/shared graphics” sites and it’s a major pain simply trying to track down and halt these infringments. If you find a site offering or using the logo, please email and let us know.

We can’t design individualized ElfQuest skin art for you, but published images from the comics or books are all right to use. Please send a photo of your new tattoo; we’d like to see how it turned out. (ElfQuest images used as tattoo “flash” is a no-no, however, as that’s a form of publication/exploitation. If you find any instances of that, please email and let us know, and thanks.)

This is probably the question we get asked the most, and to keep things simple, we have a simple answer: No. For a lot of reasons, all of them legal and related to copyright and trademark protection, we don’t give permission to anyone outside of Warp (or our authorized licensees) to make or sell ElfQuest merchandise of any sort. It’s not personal; this is the position that we must take in all cases. (If you find any instances of someone engaged in this kind of infringement, please email and let us know.) Thanks for understanding.

This is tricky, and we try to walk a fine line between two cases we see:

Case 1 – If it involves you sending ElfQuest art or logos to any site where they apply that art to a blank product – even if it’s for your own use – the answer is no.

Case 2 – If you make something yourself – say in class or shop or otherwise on your own – for your own use and not to be sold, then we can flex and say OK.

It’s not that simple. We could go to a company (Funko, for example) and say “Please license ElfQuest for those cool figures you manufacture and sell.” But Funko itself has to want to produce a line of Wolfrider bobble-heads. Period. Companies do notice however if lots of fans write to them asking for a product if only the company would make it. That’s why you have to show your interest – not only to Warp, not only to Dark Horse, but directly to the manufacturer of whatever EQ thingie you want.

With all the projects on her plate, the answer must be no – sorry. (This includes blank sheets of paper or cards sent through the mail, even if these include return packaging and postage.)

Again, the answer must be no, whether the other artist is fan or pro. No one other than the actual owner (Warp Graphics) or its authorized representatives has legal permission to make and sell ElfQuest art. Right now, only four artists (other than Wendy, of course) have been given explicit consent to do ElfQuest commissions: Sonny Strait, Brandon McKinney, Delfin Barral, and Paul Abrams.

Miscellaneous

ElfQuest.com went live in 1994, and was the first domain devoted to a single comic book series. (Marvel and DC had put comics online earlier, but they used gateways such as AOL.) The first incarnation of the EQ site was a framework of HTML code, hand written on the Unix text editor emacs. PHP was an add-on that allowed us to manipulate web pages more dynamically, and to add a forum (since discontinued). Photoshop was – and still is – the tool of choice for image creation and manipulation. For twenty years, that was the basic toolkit for ElfQuest.com

In 2014, a major revision of the site took place. We migrated over to WordPress and since then have continued to streamline the functioning of the site while integrating with social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

In 2022 we began another major update/facelift, completed in time for ElfQuest’s 45th anniversary in February 2023. We’re still using WordPress but have added more powerful editing and other tools (such as Elementor), as well as using the services of professional web designers.

The WebQuest goes ever on!

General

From an interview with Wendy a few years back, here’s a concise yet thorough, and still-relevant answer: “ElfQuest is an ongoing heroic fantasy graphic novel series, with science fictional undertones, about a band of alien beings who look like elves trying to survive on a hostile world that is not their ancestors’ planet of origin. The storyline focuses on the elves’ struggle to remain true to their harmonious, nature-loving ways despite the encroachment into their territories of an ever-increasing human population. The art style of ElfQuest, whether mine or any of the other talented artists Warp Graphics has employed, is a combination of influences from classic fairytale illustration to Japanese anime or manga. Although our elfin cast of characters, like Cutter, Leetah, Skywise and Rayek, have a big-eyed, childlike appearance, their adventures take them psychologically, spiritually and physically to very dark, very grown-up places. It’s my firm belief, based on years of fan feedback, that anyone willing to fully explore the epic-sized world of ElfQuest will find their views of modern society mirrored, their prejudices challenged, and their understanding of relationships – of all kinds – forever changed.”

There are two questions that we’ve been asked many times. This is one of them; the other is “Where do you get your ideas?” We’ve already answered them over and over, so fire up your web browser, and in the search field (Google, Yahoo, Bing, whatever), type “ElfQuest interview.” You’ll get a bunch of links to pages and Youtube videos that will answer those questions and more. Here’s just a few; enjoy!

http://comicsalliance.com/wendy-pini-richard-pini-dark-horse-elfquest-final-quest-interview/
https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/40168/icv2-interview-elfquest-creators-wendy-richard-pini
https://www.cbr.com/richard-wendy-pini-40-years-elfquest-interview/

Stargazer’s Hunt was a planned series (just as Final Quest or Siege at Blue Mountain were, for example). There were a total of 8 bi-monthly issues planned. The first 4 appeared in 2019 and early 2020, and were collected into a single softcover volume. Covid brought everything to a halt. Dark Horse Comics, ElfQuest’s current publisher, made the decision to collect the material for issues #5-8 into Volume 2 (also softcover), without first releasing the individual comics. In November 2023, all 8 issues (plus additional material) were released as a beautiful hardcover volume.

Even though Cutter’s hero’s journey was completed in Final Quest, there remained important characters whose own stories are yet to be told. The most pressing of those belongs to Skywise, Cutter’s “brother in all but blood.” Wendy and Richard (working with Sonny Strait as artist over Wendy’s layouts) crafted the eight-issue series Stargazer’s Hunt, taking Skywise in directions neither he nor readers imagined. There are yet more tales waiting – what of Ember and Teir’s delayed Recognition? What happens to Rayek and Winnowill? How does Jink become part of the FutureQuest?

That’s an impossible order. ElfQuest isn’t an encyclopedia. Think of the entire saga as a person. No matter how much you like or love them, you can never know everything about them. But you can know enough to love and accept them as they are. That’s all ElfQuest asks of its readers. Not even Wendy and Richard know every last detail.

The Complete ElfQuest series (published by Dark Horse Comics) contains the core, canonical tales of Cutter and the Wolfrider tribe. As of March, 2020, there are seven volumes. (An eighth is in the works.) You can purchase these books (and more) through Amazon, or from Dark Horse. Also, you can read all earlier ElfQuest stories, up to Final Quest, online for free, right here at ElfQuest.com.

Already a longtime fan? Catch up on the Final Quest and Stargazer’s Hunt with collected volumes from Amazon, or from Dark Horse.

You may have a special fondness for “the Wendy and Richard stuff” but if you limit yourself that way, you’ll miss a lot of the “catch up” stuff. For example, the “Hidden Years” and the “Shards” series contain stories by other writers and artists, and those are essential parts of the ongoing tale of the Wolfriders. And they are good! Take a look at these other storylines in our ElfQuest Reading Room – it’s free!

The “read online” section is not intended to be an archive of all the variations of ElfQuest comics (different color editions, foreign translations, etc.). It’s there so new readers, and those who want to catch up, can do so easily, for free. Also, it’s not meant to be a substitute for the books currently in print that Dark Horse currently lists and sells and which, frankly, provide Wendy and Richard with an income. That’s why you won’t find “Final Quest” or “Stargazer’s Hunt” in the free online reader.

Finding/Collecting

Recent print-version ElfQuest comics and books are available to order from Dark Horse Comics. (You can also get digital editions at digital.darkhorse.com.) Your local comics shop should also carry new and recent print material. If you’re looking for a walk-in store, there’s an industry-wide comic shop finder that’s maintained by the largest comics distributor. In the USA call toll-free 888-266-4226, or on the web go to the Comic Shop Locator.

For publications, encourage your local comic shop or bookstore to carry ElfQuest, and be sure to support them when they do.

Redbubble carries a selection of exclusive ElfQuest designs on wearables (t-shirts, hoodies, etc.) as well as laptop and smartphone cases, notebooks, drinking mugs, and more.

Streamily is the exclusive source for ElfQuest art prints and books that are personally signed by Wendy and Richard Pini.

The Arcane Vault carries unique ElfQuest-themed art objects.

There are lots of other places online to look for older ElfQuest collectibles; eBay is usually a good bet.

Unfortunately, there are no low-cost options for shipping overseas. Also, we have no control over what others charge for their handling and shipping. You can go to the USPS postage rate calculator and get an estimate of the mailing cost.

Warp Graphics is not a collectibles grading or valuation service, nor do we buy back issues. We can’t and won’t put a dollar value on your comics or books. There are price guides, both in print and online, that may be of use. Auction web sites such as eBay, or any of dozens of online comics retailers, can provide you with an idea of current prices and trends.

It’s possible, though unlikely. When this “video comic book” was produced back around 1990, a small number of authorized VHS copies were released. Since the advent of eBay, copies have sold at (sometimes) high prices. How can you tell if the eBay copy is legal? The original video comes in a printed cardboard sleeve, not in a plastic case into which photocopied art can be placed. If the copy on eBay is in such a generic case, it’s bogus.

It’s best to search out used bookstores or back-issue comics shops both on and off the internet.

The four Donning/Starblaze collections, followed by the nine Father Tree Press editions, were published in the 1980s and are now long out of print. These were followed in the 1990s by the ElfQuest Reader’s Collection – softcover, black and white volumes that retailed for about half the cost of the previous editions. (Another color edition, by DC Comics, came out in the early 2000s.) These are all out of print as well. You may be able to find copies for sale on eBay and other collector sites.

Very simply, Dark Horse Comics wishes to make the core, canonical Wolfrider-related ElfQuest saga available at an affordable price, and Warp agrees. You may ask, then why is there a color section in Volume 3? Because for that specific volume Richard insisted Dark Horse make an exception. Wendy’s color art on those 5 stories – her watercolor designs from start to finish – is some of the best ever, and Warp wanted to preserve that.

The ElfQuest Role Playing Game (published by Chaosium) and Board Game (published by Mayfair Games) debuted in the mid-1980s and went out of print years ago. Your best bet is an online search; these items do turn up from time to time. Early in 2015, Cheeky Dingo Games came out with a new variation – the ElfQuest Adventure Game, which we’re very excited about. You can learn more here.

Alas, no. Warp did publish an ElfQuest calendar for 1990, and then for 1998, 1999, and 2000. Given her full-time involvement with new publishing projects – both ElfQuest and non-ElfQuest – there isn’t enough time for new Wendy calendar art.

However, you’ll want to take a look at the wonderful work that fan artists do each year as they put together their own edition of an ElfQuest calendar. This year’s offering can be found here.

For over 40 years, the answers has been “We’ve been trying! Studios promise to be faithful to the story, then they proceed to mess up the story.” Wendy and Richard have repeatedly said they prefer NO production to a BAD production.

Recently, that has changed. On January 11, 2024, Fox Animation announced they have given a script commitment for a one-hour animated drama series based on ElfQuest. Here’s the entire article for you to read.

W&R are more optimistic than ever before at this newest development. “ElfQuest couldn’t be in better hands,” they have said. “Our collaborators trust the story. We have the highest regard for their previous achievements, and they have our blessing and input. We know their adaptation of ElfQuest will be a dream come true.”

Stay tuned!

We’re glad you asked.

In 2020, Warp Graphics and Dagaz Media entered into an agreement to produce what we call an “audio movie.” This is much more than a simple audiobook reading of the ElfQuest novel or comics. To quote from the Dagaz web site, this production is “…a joint venture to adapt the classic fantasy comic, ElfQuest, as a cinematic ‘audio movie’ experience with an anticipated cast of more than 40 voice actors, original sound design, and a lush orchestral score.”

Or, as one writer put it: “An audio movie is a story told via sound, using all the audio resources that go into the soundtrack of a typical movie. The only difference is you get to paint the pictures in your imagination, which can make the experience far more personal, not to mention better suited for driving…”

As of August 2022, the project completed the dramatization of the first five issues of the Original Quest (the basis for the novelization “Journey to Sorrow’s End”). Nearly five hours of script has been written, an awesome orchestral score recorded, and amazing voices cast. The recordings have been split into 10 episodes; Episode 1 “Fire and Flight” dropped September 1, 2022 on all major podcast platforms, including Apple, Spotify, and many others. As of mid-November, all ten episodes are available to download for free. Please remember to rate and review!

Even though the crowdfunding campaign is long over, you can learn the history of the project’s genesis on Kickstarter here – we think you’ll be amazed!

There is a collection – called “A Wolfrider’s Reflections” – of ElfQuest-inspired music, sung folk (or ‘filk’) style, previously available on CD. There are a total of 22 tracks, and overall reactions to the collection are very positive. You can now listen to, and purchase for download, the entire album here.

We’d love there to be. We’ve talked with some very talented songwriters/performers about it, and one day it just might happen.

No, there is not and there won’t be an EQ tarot. Wendy had the notion years ago to create one, and painted 5 card samples. But over time she discovered that the mythology of EQ simply would not fit within the structure of the traditional tarot arcana, and she abandoned the project. Read a historical note about that project and see the cards that Wendy developed.

Very simply, this was a promotional campaign that Warp Graphics launched in 1995 to get more people to read ElfQuest. In a number of issues over several months, there were clues to a “magic phrase” scattered throughout the stories. If you collected all the clues and deciphered them correctly (it really wasn’t difficult), you had a chance at various prizes — among them, original art, cash, and signed books.

This is not directly ElfQuest related, but still of interest. In 2008, after 30 years of pointed ears, Wendy wanted to take a break and explore new storytelling and artistic ground. In particular, she’s long been fascinated by Edgar Allen Poe’s very short story of the same name, and wanted to explore more deeply its underpinnings, plus give it a futuristic spin. Reimagining “Masque” as a 400-page graphic novel gave her the opportunity to stretch her artistic muscles for an audience that may or may not know about her ElfQuest work. Take a look – you’ll be surprised. Be aware, however, that this material is edgy, dark, and adult, and so is for ages 18 and up only.

More recently, Wendy has teamed up with a top-notch composer to create 30 songs and lyrics, as well as a complete libretto for a Broadway-style musical thriller in the grand tradition of “Phantom of the Opera.”

Contact Warp

It started out as WaRP (for “Wendy and Richard Pini”). The official version is now Warp (as in Warp Graphics, Inc.).

Send email to elfquest (at) elfquest (dot) com. While we do read every letter, we can’t promise individual replies. We also get a lot of spam email that we have to filter, and sometimes a legitimate fan letter accidentally gets dumped. To avoid this, put the word “yggdrasil” in the subject line – it’s a little trick we use, and you can too.

Yes you can. Address any and all cards, letters, packages, etc. to

Warp Graphics
2600 South Road – Suite 44-242
Poughkeepsie, New York 12601

This is a secure mail stop. We don’t live there. Do not send anything perishable such as food or flowers!

Also, this is the only correct address. Delete from your contact list any other addresses you may have (or any addresses you may find in old issues of ElfQuest comics or books) for Wendy and Richard or Warp Graphics. They are all obsolete now.

Not at this time. We used to do this, but have suspended the service until further notice. Until that time, please do not send items for signing (comics, books, cards, etc.) — any such materials sent here will not be returned.

No, as Warp is not currently hiring outside artists or writers. If you’re a fan artist, please post your work online – especially to the Facebook ElfQuest Group. We love to see fan art. However, we do not (and for legal reasons cannot) accept or view unsolicited story plots or scripts.

With all the projects on her plate, the answer must be no – sorry. (This includes blank sheets of paper or cards sent through the mail, even if these include return packaging and postage.)

For reasons both legal and practical, we have the policy not to do this. If you catch us at a convention, and the situation permits, that’s different. But we reserve our personal and work time completely for personal and work matters.

Sorry, no. For reasons (again, practical and legal) even more compelling than those regarding fan art (see the “Fan Stuff, Legal Stuff” section), we can’t and won’t even look at submissions of ElfQuest fanfic.

Meet Wendy and Richard

As of the end of 2022, W&R finally wrapped up their schedule of conventions and appearances. For a number of reasons, some business and some personal, it was a more hectic year than usual. For 2023, they’ve decided to slow things down; they’ll still make some appearances but at a reduced schedule. Check out the ElfQuest Calendar page for all the details.

No. For many years, Wendy did ElfQuest convention sketches. In 2018, for a number of reasons, we made the command decision to cease that practice.

W&R will only consider attending those shows that request them as guests – which means the convention pays travel, lodging, etc. So if you want them to show up at your favorite show, it’s up to you (and hopefully many friends who feel the same) to contact the convention organizers and let them know what you want. We can’t promise ahead of time, but this is how the process must start. Each convention invitation will be considered on its own merits.

Yes they’re happy to sign items, with exceptions. They will sign most anything connected to ElfQuest – from 1978 forward. Wendy prefers to leave her earlier fanzine work in the past, so no to that. If you’re unsure, just ask.

Yes, there’s a fee. Here’s how it works:

• For ElfQuest comics and books, the first one is free and then $10 each after that.
• For rare or “collector” or oddball ElfQuest items (unboxed figures, t-shirts, obscure publications, complete title runs, portfolio sets, etc.) – $50 per item signed.
• For Fantasy Quarterly, or any grading service witnessed signature on an ElfQuest comic – $100.

Why a fee for signatures? The reason is simple: Conventions reimburse travel and lodging expenses, but don’t necessarily offer an appearance fee or honorarium. So the time spent traveling to, being at, and getting back from a show, adds up to days of work time/income lost. (A 3-day show actually eats up 5-6 days.) That has to be recouped — it’s simply math.

No, as Warp is not currently hiring outside artists or writers. If you’re a fan artist, please post your work online – especially to the Facebook ElfQuest Group. We love to see fan art. However, we do not (and for legal reasons cannot) accept or view unsolicited story plots or scripts.

With all the projects on her plate, the answer must be no – sorry. (This includes blank sheets of paper or cards sent through the mail, even if these include return packaging and postage.)

For reasons both legal and practical, we have the policy not to do this. If you catch us at a convention, and the situation permits, that’s different. But we reserve our personal and work time completely for personal and work matters.

Sorry, no. For reasons (again, practical and legal) even more compelling than those regarding fan art (see the “Fan Stuff, Legal Stuff” section), we can’t and won’t even look at submissions of ElfQuest fanfic.

ElfQuest — Story, Characters, etc.

Wendy replies: My drawing style of elves and fantasy creatures was well and professionally established years before Wizards came out. I worked briefly for Ralph Bakshi on his version of Lord of the Rings, just as I was also starting to draw the first pages of ElfQuest. And I did stack the deck in my audition for him by learning how to draw his characters from Wizards and LOTR. Mike Ploog, who did the remarkable “history” paintings in Wizards, portrayed elves very much the way I did, at the time. But there is no artistic connection to ElfQuest. It’s a case of parallel development. After I left his studio, I made it a point to back away from any Bakshi influence and adhere to my lifelong love of manga for the design of ElfQuest. I do not respect Mr. Bakshi personally because of his mistreatment of other creators he’s worked with.

The short answer is, “shift happens.” This can mean different things. In the case of the Donning/Starblaze color collections, the materials provided by the publisher for coloring were substandard. Deadlines were tight. Under those conditions, some coloring decisions were made that, years later, needed and were able to be corrected. In other cases, on other projects, a colorist may have made a mistake and it didn’t get caught. Sometimes the settings on a printing press were off, and the first we heard about it was when readers wanted to know why the Sun Folk were suddenly lighter, or darker, or redder than they were the previous issue.

There is a saying that goes, “Don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good.’” Perfection is an illusion. In over four decades of spinning ElfQuest, we’ve learned how to be satisfied with “good.”

Many of the ElfQuest stories done in the 1990s by other artists and writers are canon. ElfQuest is more than 40 years old. We feel we’ve done a good, not perfect, job of maintaining continuity. We’re working with Dark Horse Comics to produce the best possible collection of canonical ElfQuest stories, in a sensible order – The Complete ElfQuest series of volumes. (Will there ever be a completely, 100% bulletproof ElfQuest canon? Probably not – after all, even the Bible/Torah/Koran contain inconsistencies.)

Yes.

From Wikipedia: “Retroactive continuity, or retcon for short, is the alteration of previously established facts in the continuity of a fictional work. … There are various motivations for retconning. … The long history of popular titles and the number of writers who contribute stories can often create situations that demand clarification or revision. … Retcons allow for authors to reintroduce popular characters and resolve errors in chronology.”

“Retcon” is not a dirty word. In the case of ElfQuest, the core concept was developed in 1977-78 by Wendy and Richard Pini who, at the time, were in their 20s. The original story is, in many ways, a reflection of who they were then. But as the saying goes, life happens. Lately, the Final Quest and Stargazer’s Hunt chapters reflect the personal growth that the writers and artist have experienced over the years. In some instances, those changes inform – retroactively – aspects of the original tale, to make the whole more cohesive and integrated.

Again, yes. Call it “future retconning” – futconning, if you like. That’s how a growing, living, organic creative process works. Imagine Star Trek if Gene Roddenberry had insisted that Mr. Spock stay forever the winsome character he was in the very first pilot episode. Imagine all that would never have developed and blossomed into both the character and the mythos that we know and love today.

That’s why Wendy and Richard are not confining their minds and hearts in the tales that were written over twenty years ago. While the broad strokes that define Final Quest and Stargazer’s Hunt were laid down that far back, fine details – especially when given to other writers and artists to speculate upon – simply could not be known. Example: Some FutureQuest tales tell of old and continuing tensions that still exist between elves and trolls in the Palace of the High Ones. As of the events of Final Quest #18, those tensions no longer exist. As Wendy and Richard have evolved as people, so the ways in which ElfQuest spins out have evolved as well. Or, as Wendy puts it, “All ElfQuest FutureQuest stories are playful but distorted spinnings of tales based on what our writers and artists knew of the Final Quest at the time – way back in the 1990s. They contain both some canon and some wildly improbable deviations from canon. Have fun with them but don’t take them too literally. Imagine you’re sitting in the chamber of the Scroll of Colors, reading many different threads that show how things might have gone. The true thread – what ElfQuest is really all about – is up to you to decide.”

First things first. The “original WaveDancers” – sea elves – were created by Wendy in the 1980s as an alternate tribe for the Chaosium role playing game. (The name “WaveDancers” was at first given to the sea elves’ dolphins, but it was too good not to put to greater use. It has since been trademarked by Warp Graphics.) What you’re asking about are the six comic book issues written and drawn by Black Mermaid Productions in the 1990s. BMP approached Warp with their idea of sea-dwelling elves and, as Warp at that time was expanding the world of ElfQuest, the idea was appealing. Warp and BMP entered into an agreement, and work began. However, as the series progressed, it became clear that BMP’s desire was more to create their own universe of characters, and less to adhere to the structure and spirit of ElfQuest. Because BMP’s vision was too radically different from what Wendy and Richard were willing to allow for their creation, the relationship came to an end. As part of the legal terms of the separation, neither Warp nor BMP may republish any of the material from the six-issue series.

The Sun Folks’ pigmentation is an adaptation to living on the World of Two Moons. Those who dwelled in the Palace and now the Starhome have chosen to keep their skin coloring out of love for the world they left. Sometimes, when Sonny and Wendy depict scenes in the Palace or Starhome, they imagine it filled with a constant, hazy, pearly glow. So all the colors are filtered through that. That is why the Sun Folk look a little lighter. Ember, Venka, Mender, Kimo, etc. all retain the varying shades of their acquired (whether by heredity or exposure) tans, but they were never as dark as the “native” Sun Folk to begin with. However, some – like Leetah – are as beautifully dark as they ever were.

When we first met Cutter, his wolf-friend Nightrunner warned him of danger via a crude sending. At that point in the story, only one or two of the Wolfrider wolves retained a trace of elf-blood from the time of Timmain and Timmorn, many thousands of years earlier, to be able to send. Now, in the time of Final Quest and Stargazer’s Hunt that “blood” (and ability) has been completely diluted – bred out, actually – to the point where the Wolfriders’ lupine friends are effectively 100 percent wolf. So no, they can no longer send.

The average life span of a wolf in the wilds of Earth is 4-5 years. Life is very tough for them. Wolfrider wolves can live twenty years or more, not because they have elf blood (see above) but because they are bonded with their elf friends. They look out for each other, take care of each other, hunt for each other, protect each other in a way that doesn’t happen for an earthly wolf pack. Wolfriders accept their wolf-friends’ mortality; it is the elves’ friendship and care that prolongs the wolves’ lives.

No, ElfQuest elves do not kiss. They are very affectionate, and they cuddle and nuzzle, and nibble on ears and noses, and certainly mouths must come into contact with mouths from time to time. To which we say “True.” But they don’t kiss. Because kissing, as a “thing,” at least in certain Earthly cultures, has come to contain particular notions about relationship, emotion, affection, and so on. Kissing has a very definite social, even mythical “cultural spell” about it. Why is there such a big deal in story and art about love’s first kiss? Why is it a big deal when someone works up the nerve to steal a kiss? Why can a fairy tale kiss bring someone back from seeming death? We did not want to invest ElfQuest with those human, culture-specific significances. So the elves may take sensual pleasure from lips meeting lips – but it is not kissing.

For much the same reasons, ElfQuest elves do not “marry” and become “husbands and wives,” they do not “have sex” (or any other more colorful terms), nor do they experience “love at first sight” – as those are all human-culture based notions. Our elves do however become lifemates and lovemates, they do join, and some of them even Recognize each other.

Lovemates (and there can be two or more elves involved) join for pleasure. In today’s terms, they’d be called friends with benefits, no strings attached. Lifemates (can also be two or more) make the choice to form a family group (for want of a better term) that is long lasting, though not necessarily carved in stone. Soulmates are those elves who, for one of two reasons, have gone to the deepest level of sharing, and exchanged soul names. This is a very committed bond. Soulmates are often lifemates, though lifemates don’t have to be soulmates. Soul names can be exchanged by choice (Redlance and Nightfall), or by Recognition (Cutter and Leetah). Because Recognition exists only to ensure reproduction, a Recognized male and a female elf may know each other’s soul name, but once a child has been conceived, there is no rule stating the two must remain together, or even stay friends (Dewshine and Tyldak).

In simplest terms, Recognition is a primal, nearly irresistible mating urge between two elves. On a deep and subconscious level, even if they don’t or can’t consciously “send”, all elves are telepathic. So every elf, unconsciously, knows every other elf’s innermost (genetic) makeup. When a female and a male get within range of each other (“eyes meet eyes”) and the mix of qualities is right for a cub that will benefit the tribe (or the entire elf race), an instinctual command to mate bursts powerfully into each elf’s awareness (“soul meets soul”). Instantly, each elf knows the entire secret inner self of the other. The urge is so strong that if it is denied, the afflicted pair will feel dire physical effects. Recognition is not love at first sight; love has nothing to do with it. In time, the Recognized couple may come to love each other (as Leetah and Cutter did), but there’s no guarantee.

So where did the concept of Recognition come from? All Elfquest elves are descendants of alien shape-shifters (the High Ones) who had various telekinetic, energy manipulation powers. These powers are often called “magic” by the elves now (but that’s just a name). All elves are born with some latent version of these powers. But on the World of Two Moons, whose lower spiritual vibration limits what elves can fully do, these powers don’t show up in some.

Recognition began as an evolutionary adaptation to stimulate the emergence of these “old powers” in the offspring it produces. The very nature of Recognition began to change (thanks to Cutter) as the scattered elf tribes discovered and interacted with each other. Originally a biological imperative followed most seriously by the endangered, mortal Wolfriders, the advent of more frequent interbreeding of different elf tribes has softened the intensity of the imperative. Thus, even outside of Recognition, more children are born on the WoTM with traits of the original High Ones.

Only in the sense that the pair can voluntarily or involuntarily exchange soul names, and forge for themselves a deep bond, as Cutter and Skywise have done. It is sometimes said they have “taken Recognition for themselves.” But it is not Recognition in the truest definition of the word, which is purely biological and procreative.

Only Wolfriders have soul names. Soul names are partly a product of the Wolfriders’ unique nature and partly a product of their culture.

The answer to the first question is “neither.” The Preservers are the many-times removed, shapeshifted descendants of insect-like creatures that the original High Ones carried along on their long-ago journey from the dying Homeworld. They are sexless and immortal, which provides the answer to the second question: They don’t reproduce. All the Preservers that exist now, are all there will ever be. They are tough, nearly indestructable little bugs, though – look at all Petalwing’s been through just in the story of the quest so far. So don’t worry about them going extinct. They’ll be around for a long, long time.

If you’re looking for “exactly” you may have a long search!

Wendy writes: The Scroll of Colors is a very interesting mystical/magical device. It shows what has happened, what is happening and what will happen – but in limitless different versions, all possible. One thread of color shows things happening one way. Another thread of color plays the very same thing out in a different way. The different scenarios keep changing through the butterfly effect. And so on, ad infinitum. There’s not enough time in the Universe to know the Scroll completely. The Scroll of Colors is not a computer. It does not deliver information on command. It’s not something one can “use” for any active purpose. When it is activated (when the spindles are levitated so they can turn) the colors “play” as they will. They cannot be controlled or manipulated. They are only to be read, studied and contemplated. We humans read meaning into all sorts of symbols in the form of writing. Elves can read colors. The subtlest difference in hues represents entirely different threads of elfin history. The Sun Folk, who are now known as the Palace Dwellers, spend most of their time learning how to read the Scroll and gaining tidbits of knowledge from it. Savah can read it like a pro and Sunstream’s not far behind. But no one, not even Timmain, can “google” the Scroll of Colors.

Richard adds: For the tech-minded, the closest notion we currently have to the Scroll of Colors is the hypothesis of the quantum multiverse. This hints that there’s an infinite number of universes, some with properties very close to ours, some that are incomprehensibly alien and inhospitable. Or to put it another way, an infinite number of “what-if realities.” What keeps everything from fusing into a gray quantum soup is that each universe is completely and forever inaccessible to any other. You can’t get there from here. For all practical purposes, all those other universes don’t exist. The Scroll of Colors may show a multitude of what-if pasts, presents, and futures, but the only one that matters is the one that’s here and now. (AKA the one being told by us.)

Fan/Legal Stuff

Sometimes. There are rules.

First, you may not hotlink to images at ElfQuest.com itself. Self-host artwork that you are given permission to use. Second, you must put the following text on your web pages along with the ElfQuest images:

ElfQuest art copyright Warp Graphics, Inc. ElfQuest, its logos, characters, situations, all related indicia, and their distinctive likenesses are trademarks of Warp Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved.”

With special reference to the “Warp Wolf” logo that you see on this site, the answer is no, you may not use that image. It’s a registered trademark of Warp Graphics. It’s our company identity. As much as people think it’s cool, legally we must say “no” to any use of the image. Apparently, it has already found its way onto “free/shared graphics” sites and it’s a major pain simply trying to track down and halt these infringments. If you find a site offering or using the logo, please email and let us know.

We can’t design individualized ElfQuest skin art for you, but published images from the comics or books are all right to use. Please send a photo of your new tattoo; we’d like to see how it turned out. (ElfQuest images used as tattoo “flash” is a no-no, however, as that’s a form of publication/exploitation. If you find any instances of that, please email and let us know, and thanks.)

This is probably the question we get asked the most, and to keep things simple, we have a simple answer: No. For a lot of reasons, all of them legal and related to copyright and trademark protection, we don’t give permission to anyone outside of Warp (or our authorized licensees) to make or sell ElfQuest merchandise of any sort. It’s not personal; this is the position that we must take in all cases. (If you find any instances of someone engaged in this kind of infringement, please email and let us know.) Thanks for understanding.

This is tricky, and we try to walk a fine line between two cases we see:

Case 1 – If it involves you sending ElfQuest art or logos to any site where they apply that art to a blank product – even if it’s for your own use – the answer is no.

Case 2 – If you make something yourself – say in class or shop or otherwise on your own – for your own use and not to be sold, then we can flex and say OK.

It’s not that simple. We could go to a company (Funko, for example) and say “Please license ElfQuest for those cool figures you manufacture and sell.” But Funko itself has to want to produce a line of Wolfrider bobble-heads. Period. Companies do notice however if lots of fans write to them asking for a product if only the company would make it. That’s why you have to show your interest – not only to Warp, not only to Dark Horse, but directly to the manufacturer of whatever EQ thingie you want.

With all the projects on her plate, the answer must be no – sorry. (This includes blank sheets of paper or cards sent through the mail, even if these include return packaging and postage.)

Again, the answer must be no, whether the other artist is fan or pro. No one other than the actual owner (Warp Graphics) or its authorized representatives has legal permission to make and sell ElfQuest art. Right now, only four artists (other than Wendy, of course) have been given explicit consent to do ElfQuest commissions: Sonny Strait, Brandon McKinney, Delfin Barral, and Paul Abrams.

Miscellaneous

ElfQuest.com went live in 1994, and was the first domain devoted to a single comic book series. (Marvel and DC had put comics online earlier, but they used gateways such as AOL.) The first incarnation of the EQ site was a framework of HTML code, hand written on the Unix text editor emacs. PHP was an add-on that allowed us to manipulate web pages more dynamically, and to add a forum (since discontinued). Photoshop was – and still is – the tool of choice for image creation and manipulation. For twenty years, that was the basic toolkit for ElfQuest.com

In 2014, a major revision of the site took place. We migrated over to WordPress and since then have continued to streamline the functioning of the site while integrating with social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

In 2022 we began another major update/facelift, completed in time for ElfQuest’s 45th anniversary in February 2023. We’re still using WordPress but have added more powerful editing and other tools (such as Elementor), as well as using the services of professional web designers.

The WebQuest goes ever on!