First, some announcements...
About the Elfquest Videotapes-- we still have no information concerning them. For information (or any other reason) you must call 800-822-1105, Operator 45 or 818-584-4048. Write to us only if you receive satisfaction from neither of these numbers.
About your subscription to Elfquest: Kings of the Broken Wheel. Please, please, please read the itty-bitty type at the bottom of this page, where it says "Subscriptions" and "Change of Address." You must let your old Post Office know that you will pay to have magazines like ELFQUEST forwarded; they will not do so automatically.
SUBSCRIPTION ALERT! For many of you, this issue (#6) is the last on your current subscription. Check the number in the upper left of your mailing label; if it is "06" then you need to renew.
About Elfquest Graphic Novel 7. It's out and available! Check out the ad on the inside back cover.
OK, OK. This fellow, this thief who in 1958 dressed up in a black outfit, with mask and gloves and cape, and who burgled houses, and who got caught-- he was asked "Why?" Not "why the robberies?" but "why the costume?" And he replied, "For vainglory."
Now, here was an interesting word, one I'd never seen before (I was eight years old at the time) and not often since, so I had to look it up. And the definition told me that this was a guy who may have had questionable qualifications in the I.Q. department, but who was possessed of some serious cojones. A real, live super-villain, from right around the neighborhood. What we're calling the Silver Age of comics was barely two years old, and the "Marvel revolution" was yet to come. This "Nighthawk" second-guessed the WATCHMEN by 30 years. Life imitating art? Or the other way around? Just where is the line between our myths and our realities?
For me, comic books would never quite be the same after that.
And now some words from the "W" part of WaRP.
"So where's the ELFQUEST movie? When are we ever going to see it?"
Many of you are, no doubt, hoarse from asking that question. Well, we're all in this together, so let's talk about what we all want. But let's approach the question of a movie from an angle we've never tried before.
First, the givens: Yes, the ELFQUEST characters were designed with animation in mind. Yes, Hollywood has taken notice of that fact and there is interest. Yes, you have written us hundreds of letters over the years, begging us not to "sell out" or to compromise ELFQUEST'S integrity as a story. Yes, every studio we've hooked up with so far has asked us to compromise-- sometimes to such a degree that the characters were unrecognizable. Yes, the ELFQUEST videos were to be a computerized adaptation of already existing artwork with music, dialog and sound effects-- a project so relatively simple in concept that the lack of information WARP is now experiencing from parties involved is a real mystery. Yes, we have been assured, repeatedly, by experienced friends and legal advisors in Hollywood that what we've been through so far in our efforts to bring ELFQUEST to the larger media is par for the course.
Meanwhile, you're all out there waiting... and waiting... and... (sigh).
About that different angle mentioned earlier-- here it is. What if, for some reason, ELFQUEST never becomes a movie or a TV show? What if there are no ELFQUEST beach towels or lunch boxes or plastic swords that glow in the dark? What if the graphic novels are the only means through which the story ever gets told? Will we, as managers of the property, have failed? Will ELFQUEST remain somehow incomplete-- less than all it could be? Will you, the fans, miss something? The voice of Fear whispers, "yes!"
Were we, all of us, put here on this earth to listen to the voice of Fear?
We, Wendy and Richard, believe in the power of thought-energy. We believe that what one fears manifests just as surely as what one loves manifests. We invite you, our elf-friends-- particularly those of you who've had a lot of anxiety about whether or not there's going to be a movie-- to join us in our choice to let ELFQUEST fly free. This year, 1991, after a long history of struggling for creative control and legal battles to keep the property from falling into the "wrong hands," we've made a resolution to let go. We've decided to trust.
We love ELFQUEST and believe that it has positive work to do out there in the larger media. All art forms heal, from Michelangelo's David to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' pizza-loving Michelangelo! They all bring people together to laugh, cry, wonder, share a common experience. That's healing. But it's not something that can be forced, controlled or protected. That energy has to flow without restriction, without fear. The world is usually right about what it needs at any given time. As we let go of ELFQUEST, We trust that the world will use it in its most effective format-- whatever that may be: film, video, rock opera, radio play, or just as it is. What a relief it will be to stop pushing and just let it happen!
OK everyone. Join hands. One... two... three... breathe! Let go! AAAHHHHHHH!
Back Issues of EQ:Kings of the Broken Wheel-- we now have a supply of back issues. These are available for $3.00 each ($4.00 outside of North America). See the itty-bitty type at the bottom of the "Matter of Opinion" page on the inside front cover of this issue for more information.
Elfquest Graphic Novel Book 7-- Yes! It's here! The first four issues of Kings of the Broken Wheel collected in glorious color! See the ad on the inside back cover of this issue!
And now back to our regularly scheduled letters page...
I just finished reading KOTBW #5. If your aim was to mystify, you've succeeded. Where are the elves? Is Winnowill behind this "cry"? Why can't the Wolfriders hear the "others"? And what's this "seek one voice among many"? Zowie, nobody's going to walk away from this one!
Again, though, my heart cries for this society. Winnowill's "clothing" on page 29 is yet another painful example of how we censor ourselves. In China, around the time of the Tiananmen Square incident, the government denied their involvement in censorship. They said that since the editors always had the final word (ha, ha), the responsibility for any complaints should be directed against the editors. With guns to their heads, how could the editors do anything but accept that? We in America have a different gun to our heads. It's called "public opinion." If a majority (or even in some cases a minority) declare something "bad," it becomes bad for everyone. You can't show the sexual organs of the elves because that would spark "unwanted curiosity" in young children. You can show blood and violence because our society craves it, in some sick way. Instead of it being a part of life, it becomes life itself.
Personally, I would much rather make love with the enemy than kill them. Perhaps the one that exhausted the other first would be declared the winner. Perhaps what we really need is an army of Leetahs who could turn everyone into nut-mash instead of corpses in foxholes.
Your comic book remains a welcome respite from all the "smash-'em, trash-'em, bring'em back next issue" genre. When I was younger, I only read X-MEN and THE NEW MUTANTS because I loved the art of Bret Blevins. I love Japanese comics, and have fun trying to translate them with my very limited command of the language.
I realize that ELFQUEST takes up a lot of your time, but please consider doing an erotic story on the side. The work you did on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was fantastic. I know you can evoke love apart from sex, and I know you can evoke love entwined with sex from ELFQUEST. What about a human character-oriented erotic story?
6805 Leonard Drive
Darien, IL 60559
I have been a reader for about three years. That is scarce time compared to some others who have known you. I'm only 13, young as it goes, and seemingly ignorant (hah!). But I must remark on something that has amazed me for such a long time.
Because of ELFQUEST, my life is so much different than it would be otherwise. That little decision you made long ago, to write ELFQUEST, has created a long chain link of events that has brought me to where I am. My life has been enriched. Let me explain.
Before that day when my friend mentioned ELFQUEST, I was pretty much a happy little kid with ordinary worries. But deep in my heart was a place that was waiting for something to wake it up, to start me really living. And then ELFQUEST came along and the spark ignited. I explored every corner of it for the information I so yearned for. When I found all I could get, I (so to speak) put down the book. I struck out alone and delved into all I could find-- astrology, healing, meditation, Indian power animals, and many other things. To sum it up, I am slowly quenching my desire to become a highly spiritual person. Even now, after three scant years, I can heal emotional (not quite physical yet) problems. This and other things, including knowing a word that is something like the elves' soulnames, has really helped me. I have made some wonderful new friends, and am becoming more self-confident each day. I look so candidly at myself sometimes it's scary. All in all, I feel great about myself and my capabilities to keep life balanced among friends, family, responsibilities, school, music, myself, spirituality, and most important, happiness.
I realize all this may sound like a desperate attempt to appear special before you, but it isn't. All of this is true, and I just feel that the people that made this happen should be thanked!
RFD 3, Box 3110
Farmington, ME 04958
I'm baa-aaack! I'm gonna bombard you again with some of my artwork-- this time by a photocopy of a Leetah done my way and an original also done my way. And you know what? I didn't look at nothin' when I drew it. I'm feeling a bit smug right now-- never mind me.
I-I don't mean to be rude, but thank you, thank you for letting Joe Staton go. He was okay, but he wasn't doing SIEGE AT BLUE MOUNTAIN any justice. The art was very sketchy. The animated "feel" was gone. The characters I'd grown to love no longer moved or flowed about the page. I love it now! The "feel" is back. It flows, like a slow Sunday drive. Not like heavy traffic-- get my drift? Good! I love your artwork, Wendy, and have always loved it. And so long as the grace and beauty of it remain, so I will continue to love it, forever. It has inspired me and taught me as few others ever have... I owe you.
Have you seen Hanna-Barbera's new cartoon Dark Water? I hope so! The animation was fantastic as always. "Ren" reminds me of Cutter, the leader/quester at age 17, pale-haired, blue eyes, and an elf (I think)! Not to mention dashingly handsome!
4721 Rock Creek Circle
St. Leonard, MD 20685
This is one of many such letters we've received on the subject, so we're not picking on it specifically, but it has raised some point we really want to talk about.
So Ren is reminiscent of Cutter. Somehow, given our past experiences with Hollywood, we're not surprised. But we won't get into that. There's an issue here that we'd like all of ELFQUEST fandom to consider. People say they'll love Wendy's artwork forever as long as it meets their standards of perfection. Yet they seem to be quite satisfied with the art and animation in DARK WATER (Which, by the way, we did enjoy) despite the fact that the movement ranged from stiff and choppy to smooth-- and the characters' features frequently swam all over their faces. Renee's drawings of our elves are nice but certainly reflect her own style, not Wendy's. That is as it should be. It's asked of us that we appreciate that difference. So why are people so intolerant of the other artists we've brought in from time to time? You know, some of those selfsame animators in Hollywood, whose work is "fantastic," have repeatedly told us that the reason they can't do anything with ELFQUEST is that the characters are "too tightly and realistically drawn." Cutter and company need to be able to be simpler, even distorted some, if we're ever to see them on TV or in film. We do appreciate all of our fans, but this "if Wendy doesn't do it, it ain't Elfquest" attitude has to change. You folks have to start supporting the other pros who have the guts to pick up the torch of a cult hit and run with it in their styles. Otherwise the growth, expansion and change that comprise the major theme of all ELFQUEST stories may never happen to it in reality.
I am very grateful for the ELFQUEST you sent. The other Marines and I in 2/11 are thrilled with the new adventure. As you know, we are on our own adventure here. Not quite like Cutter and the Wolfriders, but we just hope we can be just as successful at our task.
It's quite a comparison, the Wolfriders and the Marines. Both small groups of determined foes, but very close knit. If it weren't for our strong leaders we wouldn't be as successful in our battles.
2/11 want to thank you for a great new series and know it will be as good as the last. We need something to keep the morale up and ELFQUEST is a very motivating comic. Thanks again.
Ryan "Keebler" Hodson
E 2/11 5Meb, DET(P)
FPO San Fran., CA 96693
It is we who thank you. As these words are written, your adventure is at an end, as successfully as it could be and more so than most. Once upon a time, Rayek asked, "Do you know what war is?" We all know. Perhaps some day we will get to the point where the question is "Do you remember what war was?"
How is it that the Wolfriders have come to use swords so commonly? Obviously, after they meet the Go-Backs and engage in warfare, swords are sensible weapons to use. What I wonder is why they have them before the quest? Before Cutter's time the tribe was a hunter-gatherer society and it would seem that they would have little use for large-bladed weapons. A knife is necessary to skin animals and cut a myriad variety of other things, but a sword would have little practical purpose for such people. They do have conflicts with humans, but would they not prefer to keep their distance from the humans by using bows and javelins and by trusting to knives, spears and wolf-friends for any accidental up-close encounters?
When Bearclaw discovers the trolls (who introduce swords to the elves?) why would they bother to use so many swords that would only weigh them down when hunting and not provide any advantage in the hunt? They obviously desired to keep their distance from humans for even Mantricker with his fixation preferred to set traps for the humans and harass them without close interaction.
Well, perhaps they just like having swords or perhaps they were challenged to learn the use of a new weapon. Maybe there isn't a definite reason and their adoption of the sword was one of those inexplicable occurrences in life. Whatever, I am just curious and the question popped into my head while musing about the recently published seventh ELFQUEST book (which I snatched up with a small shout of glee upon finding it-- I got some odd looks from other people in the store).
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Kings of the Broken Wheel #5 was terrific! Suntop's anguish and pain was heart-breaking, and I was so relieved when Rayek and Leetah took the pain away. I'm glad he finally got his shining eyes back. To echo his sister, "I'm glad his silly old head's all his again!" He seemed so sad for so long, it was truly good to finally see him happy.
Finally, who was that gorgeous elf with the long, flowing black hair? Not Winnowill?? Perhaps it was a sea-elf? Whichever, keep it up, I am intrigued!
13 Sentinel Hall - S.R.U.
Slippery Rock, PA 16057
Oh no! No, no, no, nononono! She's back! Winnowill is back! She's here! She does have something to do with all of this. What will Cutter say? What will Strongbow say? What will Rayek do? (I'll tell you what he'll do. He'll have a spasm, that's what he'll do.) Oh, I am experiencing heart failure! I have to wait to see what she's up to? You are unmercifully cruel.
7105 Cuttermill Road
Memphis, TN 38141
Well, it's a dirty job, being unmercifully cruel, but someone's got to do it. We've gotten several letters, though, asking about these mythical creatures, these sea elves. Remember, we didn't create any sea elves; those came from the role-playing game. There are no sea elves here. However, there is a sea, and there are elves, and right about now Winnowill is fit to be tide...
I have to write and tell you how much I enjoy the Kings story. I met ELFQUEST about halfway through the original quest and have loved it since. However, despite your repeated requests to write, I never got off my lazy tuchus to do so until now.
I think what I like best is the return to the "Good Old Days," with that sense of deepening mystery that builds. Siege at Blue Mountain was great, but the sense of mystery was lacking. The title pretty much gave it away. You could see from issue one that the Wolfriders would be challenging Winnowill's tyrannical reign and the story proceeded to do just that. Sure, there were some surprises along the way, like the ultimate purpose of Egg, but overall the Siege story lacked what I like about ELFQUEST-- not having the foggiest notion of what is going to happen next.
It's been five issues of Kings and we still haven't a clue to the identity of these "mystery elves" and to top it off, the Palace is starting to change the elves we've come to know intimately, making them more mysterious. All these ponderable items to dwell on until the next issue comes and I watch my theories get dashed against the rocks and sink under another of your plot twists. I love it!
290 Merrimack Street
Manchester, NH 03103
I've been thinking a lot about Rayek and I wanted to share a realization with you. I think a lot of people don't understand Rayek, quite possibly including himself.
You'll recall how Rayek challenged Cutter (always a dangerous move), to a trial of head, hand and heart. I believe Rayek outsmarted himself doing that, but maybe not. When it came to the "heart" part, Cutter's greatest fear was of heights. Rayek's fear was of defeat, though, so he had to face defeat in the trial to complete it; he'd lost before he'd begun! But surely he'd realize that, even if he couldn't admit it to himself. Was this his way of bowing out and leaving Leetah to her recognized lifemate, with no regrets but his?
I saw the same thing in Kings #4. Cutter had him wrong there, too. He got so mad at Rayek for his impatience, his blindness, that he lost all patience himself and popped Rayek one! Oh, I believe Cutter was concerned for Mr. Pride and his self-destructive path, that he wanted to wake Rayek up and show him that he was lonely. But Cutter was wrong. Rayek knows very well how desperately alone and lonesome he is. He's on a quest of his own, that one. It started with the trial for Leetah and it's a much harder quest than Cutter's. Rayek is looking for something, perhaps even he doesn't know just what, but it isn't the castle and it isn't a child. I doubt that he'll be able to settle down, to belong with anyone anywhere, until he finds it. That may take a long time, because I don't think he's looking in the right place.
Rayek knows what Rayek needs, though; he needs to finish this mission with the Wolfriders and be about his quest!
Allan D. Burrows
320 Maple Grove Avenue
Mississauga, Ont. L5A 1Y2
EXTRA SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! We've just cleaned house and discovered all sorts of Elfquest things that we have limited supplies of, so we're having a sale! Limited edition portfolios, hardcover graphic novels, games, figurines, T-shirts, comic books... If you're interested, send a stamped self-addressed envelope for a list, and remember, first come, first served! --See you next issue!