Elfquest homages

There’s an ancient bit of wisdom floating around the entertainment “biz” – you know you’ve arrived when people poke fun at you, or find ways to give you a tip of the hat in unexpected ways and places. Judging from the samples presented here for your enjoyment, it looks like the elves have, indeed, arrived. (Now all we need do is figure out exactly where!)

(Click on each image for the complete version. All images and/or text are protected by copyright held by the original authors, artists, and/or publishers.)

First, a selection of prose works whose authors have woven Elfquest into their own worlds in different manners.

“Scare Care”
edited by Graham Masterton
ISBN 0-812510-97-6.
“Children of the Night”
by Jess Mowry
ISBN 0-870675-75-3.
“Sea Fighter”
by James H. Cobb
ISBN 0-515129-82-8.
“Dreamseeker’s Road”
by Tom Dietz
ISBN 0-688141-55-2.
“Sparrow’s Flight”
by Richard Posner
ISBN 0-871315-44-0.
“Mything Persons”
by Robert Asprin
ISBN 0-898653-79-7.
“Leon’s Space Song”
by Helium
Something different!
by Douglas Coupland
Possibly the weirdest yet.
by William Shatner
ISBN 0-671-02125-7
“Stay and Fight”
by Madeline Ffitch
ISBN 0-374-26812-6

Next, a potpourri of nods from various comic books.

(In no particular order, with more to come as we find them.)

Apparently on some worlds, Elfquest swag is useful as local currency.
In his own quest for leprechaun treasure, a decidedly different alien life form realizes it’s the perfect moment to get moving.
You might have to look for it, but there’s evidence even a master of Chinese history can be an EQ fan.
A little later in the series, Elfquest takes its place among an eclectic assortment of classics.
Wendy got to be a lieutenant on a starship in the Star Trek universe (see “Preserver” in the text homages just above), so this time it’s Richard’s turn in the world of Robotech.
Big Nate – professional accidental mischief maker and definitely not the teacher’s pet – discovers that there is more to sixth grade than social studies and gym class!
Many years ago, one of the editors at Archie Comics suggested an “Archie-Elfquest” crossover. (Hey, they’ve had the Punisher and the Predator, so why not?) That never happened but the elves did manage a cameo!
Here may be the most integrated homage of all. In this issue, the heroine (Zephyr) is not only an Elfquest fan, but actual pages from Hidden Years #4 (the issue she’s reading) are reprinted as part of Harbinger – and Ember’s triumph gives Zephyr strength to win a fight of her own!
Usually, Elfquest homages appear in comic books because, well, Elfquest is a comic book. But back in 1990, Greg Evans, creator of the comic strip “Luann,” felt that Cutter deserved to be one of several import heroes whose job it was to take Brad down a notch.
Dark Horse Comics’ Boris the Bear was created to demolish other companies’ characters in humorous fashion. Naturally we wanted the feisty bear to take on the Wolfriders! But Boris (and his creators) respected the elves too much so he teamed up with them instead in this issue.
We knew Marty Greim, creator of Thunderbunny, for years through comics fandom, so it was only natural that he give Richard some comeuppance of Charlton Bullseye, a tryout comic from one of the smaller mainstream companies in the 1970s and ’80s.
You know you’ve arrived when your characters become balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Never mind that the Doom Patrol is wreaking havoc all around – marvel at a green-haired Skywise!
Eclipse Comics took their shot in the form of a double parody: the story very loosely resembles something you might read in Elfquest, and the cover is a tip-o-the-hat to Jack Kirby’s cover for Hulk #1, way back from the 1960s.
“Beam me up, Rayek”? “He’s an elf, Jim”? Fascinating! This slapstick crossover between the crew of the Enterprise and the Wolfriders took two issues to perpetrate… er, tell.
In several EQ homage comics, one or more of the regular cast of characters is shown reading Elfquest. Here’s an example from Elven #0 in which the young girl clearly owns a copy of New Blood #12.
In a special holiday issue of Elvira, the mistress of the dark contemplates the potential benefits of a career change.
Joe Staton (who inked Warp’s own Siege at Blue Mountain series, created E-Man for Charlton Comics before bringing the character to First Comics for a long, wild run. One of his targets was – you guessed it – as he created a race of beings looking suspiciously like Wolfriders cross-pollinated with green Smurfs!
Mark Evanier (co-creator of Groo the Wanderer, among many other titles) chronicled the misadventures of hapless geek Finster in Fanboy, a title in which literally anything might happen – as when the hero had to rescue his imagined girlfriend in very un-elfin fashion.
Okay, so maybe we don’t get a balloon in the Macy’s parade. There’s still a chance that on some stage, far off Broadway, someone’s rehearsing a revival of “Phantom of the Sun Village.” A very slim chance…except in the pages of The Fantastic Four by king hat-tipper John Byrne.
One of the hazards of working in the comics is that friends who write and/or draw comics might not simply swipe your work, but your very own selves! Tony Isabella, scripter for Ghost Rider decided to insert Wendy and Richard as (somewhat) themselves into several issues of that title…renting a spare room to the title character!
Sometimes if you blink, you might miss some of these nudge-nudge-wink-winks. Looks like Cutter ran into more than he bargained for in this issue of Hackmasters of Everknight – who aren’t necessarily wrong!
Not every Elfquest mention is made with obvious respect – but Evan Dorkin’s recounting of fanboy excesses is so savagely hysterical that we can’t help laughing anyway.
On the other hand, some “homages” are less than amusing. This one turned out to be a several-page pout that Wendy was no longer writing and drawing every bit of Elfquest.
Sometimes, we even get to be responsible for our own little jabs! This issue of Marvel Age, a newsmagazine/comic from Marvel Comics, carried an article on that company’s reprinting of the EQ saga in 1985. Wendy provided the corner slug of Cutter sticking it to the company mascot, Irving Forbush.
New Mutants, a spinoff title from Marvel’s very successful X-Men franchise, featured a whole new group of kids with special powers – including at least one with some knowledge of fine fantasy comic book reading.
Before he worked on Warp’s adaptation of Myth-Adventures Jim Valentino created his own parody-inducing character, Normalman. Naturally, one of the many worlds visited was strangely – though twistedly – familiar. (And what is it with green elves?!
Smax, a strange title by Alan Moore, threw little hat-tips every which way. Suburban Cutter and Leetah, anyone, complete with beer-gut and muu-muu?
Spank, the Monkey (he has a brother named Shock, for you Peter Gabriel fans) was the mascot for a chain of comics shops. This one-shot comic was a broadside against the wave of mediocre, violent, prurient independent comics that began in the early 1990s. Elfquest gets props for being an example of what good comics could be like.
Richard got his from Thunderbunny, so Wendy – on the very next page – gets crisped for her “sins” by Brother Blood, thanks to Teen Titans scripter Marv Wolfman. What are friends in the business for, if they can’t rake you across the coals now and then?
In “Kitty Pride’s Fairy Tale,” the X-Men heroine displays excellent taste in t-shirts!
In that same issue, there was a strangely familiar little bug-like flitterer…
…that prompted an indignant letter to the editor which appeared a number of issues later!
Looks like even Gemworld princesses enjoy other fantasy worlds (look close at the bottom of the middle image). An ironic homage, as it turned out.
The crossover that couldn’t possibly happen – and, well, actually sort of didn’t! If ever there was a case of “when worlds collide,” this issue’s “ElfGuest” was it.
On the other hand, an even stranger crossover happened in the pages of Chris Yambar’s caffeine-soaked chronicle of his own hipster character, Mr. Beat!
John Byrne is no stranger to Elfquest, or even to EQ crossovers. This time, instead of “real” humans taking the roles of the elves in a play, actual Wolfriders invade Byrne’s “real” world instead!

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