Elfquest is the story of the Wolfriders and their adventures surviving on the World of Two Moons, but it’s also the story of how these otherworldly beings took the shape of and inspired human mythology.
Unlike traditional fantasy that pits good against evil, Elfquest is rather the struggle between knowledge vs. ignorance, and one example of that is how the humans in the story react with fear or hatred to the elves’ idealized beauty and powers to manipulate the natural world. As in the real world, the human characters in Elfquest have created supernatural stories to explain what they don’t understand. And just like in the real world, these interpretations are often based on fear of the unknown and are not really an accurate reflection of the flesh-and-blood beings that inspire them.
Elfquest flips the idea of elves, trolls, fairies and other magical mythological beings on its head, telling the story from their perspective and helping readers understand how what we’ve come to believe about our mythological and religious interpretations of the natural world aren’t always accurate or reflective of reality.
With that in mind, and in celebration of Halloween, we present to you Elfquest’s versions of some classic mythological monsters and supernatural beings.
Timmain as Werewolf
Timmain the Firstcomer is a shapechanger and her chosen alternate form is a wolf. She sometimes appears midway between her elfin and lupine forms when she needs to fight to defend her people. But her change has nothing to do with an infected bite or the full moon.
Mekda as Zombie
Mekda the rockshaper was tortured and mutilated by King Guttlekraw to the point where her body still clung to life but her mind was gone and her spirit disconnected. She won’t eat your brains, but is otherwise a perfect example of the “Walking Dead.”
Winnowill as Wicked Queen
Wicked queens possessing dark magic are a staple of fairytales, and Winnowill, in her glamorous, gorgeous malignancy, fits the role quite well.
The Broken One as Sea Monster
Before he was healed and reshaped, Reef the Wavedancer was mutated into a hideous, squelching sea creature known as “the Broken One” that was sure to inspire fear in any human who glimpsed him beneath the waves. Unlike the mythological version of a sea monster, however, poor Reef was a gentle and pitiable soul.
Timmorn and Murrel as Beauty and the Beast
The first Wolfrider chief was half wolf and half elf. His Recognized mate Murrell was of classic high elf beauty. Their pairing is Elfquest’s version of Beauty and the Beast.
Two-Edge as Leprechaun
Leprechauns are mischievous creatures who collect treasure and grant wishes to those who find it. He might not wear a green suit and black shoes, and his treasure might be weapons and inventions, but that description otherwise fits Two-Edge pretty well.
Madcoil as Dragon
Madcoil is indeed a scaly, befanged monster, but it doesn’t hoard gold, speak in riddles or breathe fire. Instead, born of malice and bad magic, it shreds your mind before it shreds your body!
Surge as the Creature from the Black Lagoon
The Wavedancer’s ancient chief was plagued with fears and paranoia, and was indeed something of a monster. His scaly, frilled visage was a good approximation of the World of Two Moons’ version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Little Patch as Changeling
The idea of elves stealing human children and taking over their bodies was probably used to keep wayward children close to home, and also to explain children with mental or physical illnesses. Little Patch represents this idea in Elfquest, but shows a more positive side of the myth.
Peace Hounds as Hellhounds
Once hunting dogs, the Peace Hounds were created by Winnowill as a weapon to help human warlord Grohmul Djun eradicate not only the Wolfriders, but the spirit of hope that the elves inspired in many humans. Their giant-eyed visage and slavering jaws call to mind the many legends of demon dogs and hellhounds, most notably the monstrous, spectral dogs described in the the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 1127 as having “eyes like saucers and horrible.”
Old Maggoty as Witch
Maggoty, with her potions and herbs and steaming cauldron, is the epitome of the old crone witch archetype. Her power comes not from magic, but instead from herblore and scientific study. It doesn’t matter what the source is though, because bubble, bubble — best not give HER trouble!
Winnowill as Headless Horseman
She might not ride a horse, but after Grohmul Djun lopped her head off with his axe, she’s definitely headless. That, coupled with her evil nature, makes her a good stand-in for the headless demon haunting Sleepy Hollow.
The Rootless Ones as Zombies
These ancient elves have taken shape-changing to the extreme, eschewing their original four-limbed form to exist largely as shapeless decomposers living in the forest’s leaf mould. However, they sometimes partially return to their elfin-shape, rising from the earth as slimy, slithering, decay-scented creatures. Thankfully, they’re not out to eat brains like true zombies, instead only feeding on already-dead creatures.
Bearclaw and Joyleaf as Ghosts
The stories of Cutter’s deceased parents Bearclaw and Joyleaf have been told in flashback, but in “real time” they appear as “ghosts from beyond the grave.” Usually it’s to lend support their chief-son, but at least in one instance their appearance did have a sinister note, as they attempted to lure Cutter to give up his sick body and let his spirit cross over.
Tyldak as Vampire Bat
Bats have long been associated with vampires, and in many vampire mythologies the blood sucking creatures can transform into bats or a terrifying half-human, half-bat. Though he doesn’t feed on blood, Tyldak’s appearance is a pretty good match for the vampire-in-bat-form from human nightmares–an association for which he eventually paid the ultimate price.
Winnowill as Possessing Demon
Demonic possession is a terrifying idea that many religious traditions use to explain mental illness, and the terror of being taken over by Satan or his minions was burned into our collective nightmares in the film The Exorcist. Winnowill’s disembodied spirit isn’t willingly possessing Rayek, but she does a bang-up job of fulfilling the human notion of a possessing demon.
We hope you have a spooky and fun Halloween!