In present times, self-publishing is not a foreign concept. You can find several creators at conventions who are publishing their own webcomics, print comics, or digital versions of their comics for e-readers. Sites exist solely to help you get your work out there without help from the big guys. It was different back in 1978 though. When Richard and Wendy Pini had the idea for Elfquest, there weren’t many self-published comics. They figured it out, and they did something right. The fan base is as strong as ever after 30 years of Elfquest stories. Over three million copies of the printed graphic novel collections have sold. And that’s not the only groundbreaking thing about the series.
If you aren’t familiar with Elfquest, I encourage you to visit the Elfquest site. You can read the comic from the beginning for free. The story is basically about a tribe of elves, the Wolfriders, that have to find their way and make a new home. Along the way, they realize that they are not the last of their race as they believed. The stories and quests branch from there. One of the particularly amazing things about the series is the presence of strong women characters. That didn’t really happen in comics in the late 70s. The women of the Wolfrider tribe were not meek. Take Nightfall. She is one of the most skilled hunters in the tribe, and she never hesitates to jump into battle.
Female creators also weren’t around so much in that time either. They were present but only in small numbers. I feel that Wendy Pini, co-writer and illustrator for Elfquest, really jumped in and forged a path for women in comics. Elfquest was the first continuing fantasy graphic novel series in the U.S. to be co-created, written, and illustrated by a woman. That’s a pretty amazing feat. Besides the fact that the series is a wonderful story with intense characters that you will quickly become attached to, you should check it out just because of its history. Anything that breaks outside the box of current society norms and has this level of lasting power should be noticed. You won’t be sorry.