ELFQUEST
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Does reading EQ make you weird?

RichardPini

I am sharing this from Suzette Urbano on Facebook; it has generated quite a discussion there.
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I love reading EQ. It has very compelling stories and art, yet I get people rolling their eyes at the mere mention of it. I don't talk about it all the time nor is it the only graphic novel series I read (Deadpool, also a favorite). But in my experience so many people are okay with the idea of someone reading Superman, X-Men, or Batman, Manga, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, but when I mention the story of Elfquest, it's "weird". Anyone else get this kind of reaction from friends and family?

Elwing

I never got that reaction from anyone, probably because I have never discussed it with anyone outside this forum. But man, am I ever weird. I'm easily as weird as anyone you will ever meet. Weird and proud. I wouldn't go so far as credit EQ for my profound weirdness, but it certainly helped!

RedheadEmber

Whoever said weird is a bad thing? 8-X

Sifra

I know people who don't like Elfquest. I know people who do like it. And I know people who have no idea what it is. I don't know anyone who thinks it's weird.

RedheadEmber: good point. :)

lunakat

I get the same reaction.

I loved Elfquest growing up. I picked it up when I was eight, and I read it straight through college. Just loved it. I read other comics as well, but aside from one other independent publication, I never really got as into them. I just decided to stay informed so I could talk to my geeky, comic-book-loving friends about what they liked.

But I never, until I got to the forum, met another person who had read Elfquest and could talk about it with me. I went a little overboard- because I was so happy, after 22 pent up years, to be able to talk about Elfquest to other human beings. I actually remember the moment when I ran out of things to say... It was a few years into feverishly chatting with you guys... I logged on and realized, 'I have said everything I can possibly think of to say- our discussions seem to be repeating themselves at this point, so it's probably true for other people as well'... and I took a break. But I think it maybe took five years to get to that point? Five years of nonstop, online Elfquest discussion.

I don't know why Elfquest touched me when other stories didn't. I don't know why I still love it just as much after all these years. I don't know why it's not more mainstream. Maybe it's the unusual mix of elements in it?

Here's my best guess. It looks like it's for kids, but it tackles some very sophisticated themes. At the same time, it's not trying to be sophisticated. It does it in a way that is accessible to children, yet not written for children. It can also engage adults. But it's written with absolute sincerity. I think, maybe, a lot of people are embarrassed by sincerity?

It also doesn't really fit a genre.

It masquerades as a fantasy story. But it's not. It just has the trappings of fantasy. It's actually science fiction.. but, moreso, it's about identity and how complicated it can be to form our identities, about having a relationship with your past and incorporating it into your future, about overcoming fears and prejudices and what it means to love somebody. So it's really a story about humanity. And (forgive me, world readers) I think it's a very American story, in many ways... because it has a lot to do with the integration of different cultures, with settling new territories, with colonization, even... with enslavement.. with racial prejudice... with resolving identity conflicts... with coming to terms with your mixed background. Granted, those issues, individually, are universal- but collectively, they are very American themes. I don't know if Wendy intended for the story to come across that way... probably she didn't. But she is from the United States, and definitely incorporated all of that- if unconsciously.

I also think it has a lot to do with displacement in terms of family. We can't keep our parents, or even our childen, forever. I see a lot about alternative families, adoption, letting go of the people we love so they can make their own choices in life, love vs ownership/control, and a search for an (elusive) mother/home. Timmain is the ultimate mother. But finding her, in some ways, means letting go of everything they have and have believed about themselves.

Well... given all that, maybe people think Elfquest is weird because, to truly appreciate it, you have to think about it. Unless you just like pretty pictures- of which there are many.

manga

Well, "Elfquest" does inculcate some different world views, so maybe reading "Elfquest" does actually make the people who read it weird(er)? ;)

lunakat

manga said: Well, "Elfquest" does inculcate some different world views, so maybe reading "Elfquest" does actually make the people who read it weird(er)?


How so, Manga? Give us your thoughts!

lunakat

Sometimes I think Elfquest is a holdover of 60s idealism... or at least, it used to be. Final Quest... maybe not so much so?

Thornbrake

lunakat said: I think it's a very American story, in many ways... because it has a lot to do with the integration of different cultures, with settling new territories, with colonization, even... with enslavement.. with racial prejudice... with resolving identity conflicts... with coming to terms with your mixed background. Granted, those issues, individually, are universal- but collectively, they are very American themes.


Fascinating. I never thought about it from that perspective but it makes sense.

Embala

I've never "followed" a comic storyline like I've followed EQ. I 've hardly read a comic besides EQ after ... I was a teewn reading my (male) cousins' comics. EQ is the only one that captured me.

I was an adult when I found the first EQ1 ... and I never had somewone to talk about it for 20 years. Then there was the Scroll ... and packmates.
Weird? ... In my family it's considered weird to read comics. The more when you've come of age.

Heather

I grew up reading EQ, but never anyone who considered it weird. My father grew up loving comic books and I had a wide variety that I read growing up. Elfquest was my favorite and no one in the family thought that was strange.

I moved around a fair bit and lived in mainly rural places, so lots of people hadn't heard of it, but I did have a few friends that read it and would bump into someone here and there who had as well.

When the internet started up is when I found more fans like myself. However, I didn't join the forums here until 2000. I spent more time on the Gazers site.

Moving to a larger city has changed people w

manga

lunakat said: How so, Manga? Give us your thoughts!


Lunakat, I just posted a story where one character's subconscious mind changed him from male to female in order to complete a stalled attempt at reproduction. AND IT MAKES SENSE WITHIN THE OVERALL STORY. If that's not weird, then I don't know what is. :)

To answer your question more seriously, in part it's the hold-over 1960's free-love and other ideologies. I'm fairly certain that "Elfquest" was my first experience with non-hetero-relationships being openly acknowledged and discussed. It's less so now, but at the time (mid 1990's) that was still very "out there."

And there's also the "elves and magic and wait... no, the elves are aliens and they're not fantasy magic they're more like mutants/superheros?"

Oh, and let's not forget this whole "women are capable and valuable, whether they're the kick-ass or motherly type" thing the Pinis have going on. I mean, at least half the cast is *gasp* female. That just ain't natural. (Sarcasm, folks. Heavily plastered.)

Actually, this is also a good place to bring up something that's been bothering me about "Final Quest." One of the things that I have loved about "EQ" from the beginning is the value it has placed on being alive and on raising a family. From the "Original Quest" Timmain told the elves that the "little deaths" of going out were "very peaceful." But in the end, the High Ones chose "life, spiced with experience." And many things, though most clearly Ekuar in "Siege," supported the idea of "What's all this struggling for, without the babies?"

Yet now we have Ember turning Recognition off. And I have grave suspicions about the path Moonshade is going to take. Frankly, I suspect her of not choosing to lose her wolfblood but choosing to shed her skin entirely. Everything is getting turned on its head. Which Wendy has certainly given us plenty of warning about. I just wonder if I will still love "Elfquest" the same when they're done.

Night_Tanem

NO

Being a Belgian (well, at least a quarter) I get "Elf-what??" most of the time. The thing is Elfquest made me feel less of an outcast in my own family and the world for that matter. Anyone rolling their eyes has not read a single Elfquest issue or doesn't get it.
Call me crazy or even judgmental but I feel that anyone not "feeling" Elfquest might be a little narrow minded. Don't get your panties twisted, I said MIGHT. It just showed me that it is ok to feel different than everyone else,that it is ok to be different.
@lunakat I don't think it is an American thing... I'm Belgian. To be exact 1/4 Belgian, 1/4 French, 1/4 Senegalese and 1/4 Mauritanian. I've been called names by all these "races" and felt bad about it because I belonged nowhere, at least not truly. After discovering Elfquest I finally realized it's ok to be "something new", have ideas of your own, not following the big crowd but being true to yourself. I am myself because of my parents and grandparents, I became more of myself after reading Elfquest just because it made me believe in myself, not just my heritage but my true self...

Elwing

Also living in Belgium, but a white (Dutch) immigrant, so I escape most of the direct racism. Though I have had some. People are very creative when it comes to being stupid.
The things I hear otherwise perfectly likable Flemings say sometimes, it is very discouraging. I hate to think what you must have gone trough. But there's always the internet, where people are judged on what they have to say instead of their appearance.

Night_Tanem

The thing is that when you grow up the way I (and many others) did you kind of have an advantage: you see them coming from miles away ;)

MrsGrizzley

I was already weird when I discovered ElfQuest. ElfQuest just gave me the ability to understand that being weird wasn't *wrong*.

I love this series, the art, the story, the fact that it can and does make you, the reader, think about things. It's Beauty and Family and Home and here, in the fandom, is where I belong.

And I absolutely adore the level of thinking that goes on in the fandom in regards to the very real issues that the series discusses.

TrollHammer

Elfquest definately made me wierd... :-)

Well, sort of, kind of a chicken and egg thing for me...

I was looking for wierd comics in the 3/$1 bin (remember those?), stuff that wasnt common, "mainstream" like Superman and the hundreds of other titles dumped out by the big companies. I was looking for something that wasnt "normal", that looked good in several ways, that had an unusual story, something interesting.

This was mid to late '90s, I guess just as EQ was winding down for the 'first' time, and I pulled out a copy of Jink! after thumbing through a variety of other comics that were noticibly the same theme. I had been there for hours and already had quite a stack, which at the time meant "just a few more". I didnt have a limit, but when the total started to get up around $50 I figured there might be enough material to read fir a few days.

Anyway, I pulled Jink!, and a few other issues and went home, not really thinking about it.

A few days later, I came back and bought every single one I could find.

Since then, I have kept my eye out for more stuff, bought every single DC graphic novel, and finally ended up somewhat accidentally here.

I will admit, a portion of myself looks back at me an gives myself a funny look what I find myself, a somewhat intimidating 300lb tall person by some standards, ending up talking about Elf Quest projects I have attempted...

But then, the group I go with to the local tavern will play MTG some friday nights at that tavern, and we get some fhnny looks....

travelbug

Let us all be weird together then ;)

lunakat

Of course we're weird. Look at what we're doing.

I could go full out, hard-core literary analysis on this comic book. I could relate it to history, social commentary, mythology, dig out symbolism, etc.. Don't think I haven't done this in my sleep!

Cus I'm a weirdo.

Thornbrake

lunakat said: Don't think I haven't done this in my sleep!


heee heee, you are in good company.

Sunshade

I have encountered some definite side-eye over my EQ love through the years--from 1981 when I started reading it as a kid (the first Starblaze, V1 was my intro, and it was new to the world then), to now, decades on. I pick up and dive back into the entire series every few years, then shelve it, then read it again a few years later. It's been a part of my life since childhood, and I'm in my 40s now. I've named pets after characters, LARPed it in the schoolyard with two friends who also read it, the whole nine yards. I have a ridiculous attachment to it and it's shaped me positively (and negatively, I would even venture). I can see it through critical eyes and happily discuss problematic stuff about it, as well as praise it to the rafters for being progressive in many ways, too (not to mention gorgeous, addictive, and mythopoeic!). I'm a megafan who's also not an apologist, and the further on we get from its appearance way back when, the more I see the manga connection (always obvious but seems more so now), with all of the attendant draws and criticisms. The side-eye I got as a kid was due to my being a girl who loved comics and fantasy in general. The side-eye I get *now* stems from my professed devotion to EQ in a geek community of graphic novel readers and creators who consider EQ cheesy, and because I'm a fantasy publisher and writer myself with a PhD in literature who "should have better taste." In other words I'm weird to mainstreamers who think comics and fantasy are "beneath" them or me, and weird to the hardcore comic/SFF fans (picking up my Final Quest subscriptions these days docks me some "cool" points at my comic local. I just crook a grin at them, though). I can't win at either end, but I DON'T CARE. EQ has always been part of my life and part of me, and this Weird Girl is fine with whatever they throw at her. I don't hide or deny my love of EQ. "Weird" is inventive, after all.

Sorry for this massive dump. I am just so thrilled to have found a critical mass of EQ lovers and "getters" and very happy to meet you all and read your insights! <3

Night_Tanem

Sunshade said: "Weird" is inventive, after all.


Glad you said it! Who is the one deciding what is weird or normal and why should his/her standards affect any other person?

Zinegirl

I only know one person who has heard of ElfQuest but she only knows it from the library, I don't think she ever got into it. So it doesn't make me weird I guess, since no-one knows what it is. I generally keep quiet about it but that's because I have no-one to talk to about it anyway.

Knightbird

ElfQuest, like any good story, feeds the imagination. You would be surprised how many employers out there love to see something like this. I'm connected to my boss on Facebook and she has seen my artwork. I ended up making a 3D wooden tree for the employees for Christmas this year and I'm sure it was because of that. If your passionate about something (like ElfQuest), your employer might pick up on that (not saying all would, but the good ones will). If you are working on art or something like that and you follow through with it, they see this and want to bring that creativity into the company.

Calling ElfQuest weird is just another way of saying...thinking outside the box.

RedheadEmber

lunakat said: Of course we're weird. Look at what we're doing.


Nothing we're doing here is weird! Nothing weird about having threads that are several pages long, about characters that are never seen... or named...

Night_Tanem

Well if having 2000 friends on facebook is being normal I much rather be weird :(|)

Llannen

Night_Tanem said: Sunshade said: "Weird" is inventive, after all.


Or weird=artistic. Open minded. Adaptable. High one. Pack minded. And so many more synonyms.

I tried and mostly succeeded then (moreso now!) about not caring what people thought. Instead I found us "weird" ones that liked comics and Elfquest were so much more fun that I felt pity for those who didn't get it. Which allowed me to be more oblivious to those doubters/nonbelievers?