[The following editorial appears in Shards #15, Hidden Years #28, Kahvi #5, Two-Spear #5, Jink #12, The Rebels #12, and Wavedancers Special #1. --MK]
This is what publishing has felt like to me for the last year or so:
[ Illustration: 4 Elfquest logos follow in increasing size and blurriness --MK ]
Are you getting it? That sensation of trying to grab fog?
Make no mistake. Wendy and I have gone over this many times. She thinks sometimes that I'm beating my head against a wall, trying to keep Elfquest alive in comic book format, striving to grow the story-world of the elves in a market and at a time when the entire industry seems hell-bent on self- destruction. Sometimes I think she's right. She's cutting a fine swath out in Hollywood, guiding the Elfquest animated film project and some other endeavors that are too new to talk about right now. She wonders out loud at me why I don't pull up stakes and join the left coast contingent.
But every time we look at what it is we think we're doing with our lives and Elfquest and all the rest, it comes out that I do appear to have printer's ink in my blood and this is what I enjoy doing. In some ways, I'm still the seat-of-the-pants publisher that I was in 1978 when Elfquest started, although enthusiasm and intuition are no longer by themselves a match for today's comic book market realities.
And yet... and yet... Elfquest still defies the "standard" profile of what a comic book is supposed to be. It still reaches beyond the typical audience to readers who want something more. It still inspires stories that involve and grow and beg to be told.
It's always been one of the tenets of Elfquest that you either grow or you die. And over the last couple of years, Elfquest has grown. But sometimes a thing can grow too large, or too fast - and that much growth isn't good. The Wolfriders are the most robust tribe the World of Two Moons has ever seen - but even they are at their best when they have a quest to focus upon. When they don't have something on which to set their sights, they survive... but they get a bit fuzzy around the edges and they begin to lose the fine edge of who they are.
It's time to get out the old editorial strop and hone Elfquest's edge. By next month, March 1996, the last of the Elfquest series that Warp Graphics has been publishing - HIDDEN YEARS, SHARDS, NEW BLOOD, JINK, THE REBELS, KAHVI, TWO-SPEAR - will have concluded. In April, for the first time ever, Warp and Elfquest have a clean slate, and on that slate you will see the single word "metamorphosis." In April you will have exactly one Elfquest comic book to look for, a one-shot special issue, and it will be called METAMORPHOSIS, for it will bridge what has been with what will be. To paraphrase the sound bite from The X-Files, the stories are out there. METAMORPHOSIS is our focal point and introduction for all the new quests that our best writers and artists want to share with all of you, beginning in May. It's also a recap of what Elfquest has been, for all the people you know who might like to enter the World of Two Moons, but who feel intimidated by nearly twenty years of backstory.
For me, personally, ELFOUEST: METAMORPHOSIS signals a look forward that is also a look back. In its fashion, it is a return to an earlier way of telling stories, of publishing, and of interacting with readers. It marks a return to a kind of simplicity that suffused the earliest quests. And it feels very good. Heck, much more of this energy and I'll start threatening to resurrect the Elfquest Fan Club!
Right now, your comic book shop retailer is wondering how much of this or that title to stock for April sales. Right now you can play a part in Elfquest's future. You - and every person you can think of who might enjoy getting in on a brand new Elfquest - need to let that overworked retailer know that you want your copies of ELFQUEST: METAMORPHOSIS in his or her shop. Your every voice, your every vote matters.
Richard A Pini