Subj: Howdy, it's me again.
I read NEW BLOOD #22 this week. I really liked the portrayal of Suntop at the end of the issue. Who did the artwork? I could not find a credit. Did Barry Blair do it? *raised eyebrows* If so, my opinion of his EQ skill has raised considerably. Nice tattered loincloth. Yum. (Did *I* write that? Shame on me. *smirk*)
By the way, I hope that you are not planning on destroying the Sun Village. That would be a sad loss. It symbolized security and safety in a chaotic, ever-changing world. Perhaps they could slip underground. How about teleporting a few Wolfriders there for a couple of days? *heh heh heh -evil laugh* Strongbow would finish the battle rather quickly starting with the troll. But, again, that is for you to take the story. We as faithful readers will follow along (occasionally commenting as we go). Take care...
Barry did indeed create the pinup of Suntop "going native." It's a bit of whimsey at this point, but who knows? Suntop and Dart and all the rest may be down there in the Forevergreen a lot longer than they anticipated... - RP
From: Marty Kuhn
Subject: New Blood #23
Overall, another good showing by Barry Blair! Glad to see that NB #22 wasn't just a fluke...
I already said a bit about Aramak, but let's take a little look here at how his world crumbled. First, we had the little sequence last issue regarding how Aramak came to believe in the spirits... and how he felt betrayed by them. n this issue, at first, Aramak still wants to believe--"I have four, like you..." and his look of shock when Door tells him to "GET OUT!!!" Aramak doesn't know what to do-- "Quiet! Let me think! Let me... catch my breath..." But, Aramak still doesn't want to give up his belief that he is speaker for Door. When Door comes on the scene and proclaims himself as his own master, Aramak still thinks he has power-- only after he is thrown to the ground and sees others die from Door's will does Aramak retreat... "What has happened? I only wanted to serve... to live..." The question is, will Aramak stay in retreat, or will he fight on one side? It will be interesting to see what happens... And what about Door? He seems to have a scheme of some sort, but he's so power mad right now. Well, some of the humans have already joined forces: "Hold yourselves right there, in the name of the sky spirit Door!"
Anyone else notice all the "incidental" wild- life in the background of the forest scenes? I think that's a very nice touch, and one which has been absent for the most part in NB.
Page 15 has a very nice flashback to answer the question "who is Geoki?" I think that provided a much more useful service to the reader than, say, if there was just a "See Book 6" footnote box... which (unfortunately) brings us to...
Having avoided one footnote box, we move on the next page, and we get one anyway... This time, Dart says "Now it seems I have another war to fight," and a footnote box directs the reader to NB #11 and #12. Uh, why?? (Glad you asked, since the referral boxes we occasionally put in seem to perplex some of our longtime readers. Those notes are there so a new reader - one who, say, has started reading ELFQUEST with the current issue - has some kind of clue that there's a story behind the current one. Consider it a footnote. Tell you what - if you find a bit of information in one of our comics that causes you to ask, "Why did they do that? I already know that!" then go ahead and make the assumption that it's not there for you, but for a new reader. Get used to the boxes; we're going to keep using them from time to time - RP) Yes, that does refer to the Sun Village war with the Go-Backs, but why was that so important to point out? It really has nothing to do with the scene at hand, and isn't important for the reader to make that particular connection in this case. The only thing it might do is mark the word "war" as referring to the old NB #11/ #12 "War," rather than the current battle (which could be referred to as a war as well). After all the recent improvements in footnote box usage, I was a bit surprised to find such a "throwback" here.
I'm here to comment on NEW BLOOD #22.
Nice cover! Looks like it was done on MiTientes or one of those new canvas grained papers. Whichever, it printed up really well.
Hah! I love the scene with Yun at the pool! Here you gave it this big mysterious buildup, we were expecting to see some huge watery revelation, and we got a bloody great pratfall instead! I like to see the New Blood having fun. As a whole, they're a mighty serious group. And hey, Yun is getting awfully pretty, even if she is still too busty to draw a bow properly.
Door's getting positively creepy. Raises my hackles, yes, indeed.
That's a sad and beautiful "Pavane for a Dying Princess" tribute to Savah at the end. She looks so vulnerable without her headdress, fragile, delicate, and already mourning.
I have a destitute sister with whom I share all my comics. When she saw the Suntop portrait she yelped out "Oh! BAY-beh! Little Yella-Hair's been workin' out, unh-HUH! MMMM-mmm-mmm!" Couldn't have said it better myself.
All in all, I can't think of anything to complain about except the fact that Willowsnap only has two fingers on page four, panel two. Screw up some more so I can go back to yelling at you. It would ruin my reputation if word got out that I was being nice.
<<street address removed from archive>>
Don't worry. We won't tell a soul... - RP
From: J.REA1 [COMALite J]
NOOOOO! If Barry Blair kills off Savah and the Sun Village, I don't think I could ever forgive him!
Seriously, they're not ever going to try to defend themselves? Thuggop and the humans are just gonna waltz over Ahdri's mountains and that's that, the Sun Folk are gonna just stand there and be willing victims? These are the same people who fought tooth and nail to keep the Little Palace, who fought against nature's fury in the volcano! Ahdri alone could wipe out that human force without even breaking a sweat (she could open up a "convenient" tunnel or pass for the humans to find, then collapse it on them - and that's just one of dozens of ways I can think of just off the top of my head!). (That's not defense; that's slaughter. And therein lies the Sun Folk's dilemma - RP)
Since when is Savah a precog or prophetess? Remember, she didn't think it was possible to turn a stampede of zwoots way back when! She warned Cutter and Co. not to go to Blue Mountain, thinking they would be destroyed if they did - she didn't know that the Wolfriders would prove Winnowill's match. She later mused, "I wonder what will happen when we immortal elves see the Palace descending in that far distant time?" If she was a precog, she wouldn't have to "wonder," - she'd know! She's a rather powerful telepath and can astral project, but prophecy/precognition? Show me another example of her doing any such thing anywhere in the ELFQUEST canon.
Neener, neener. neener. I don't have to, because Savah hasn't yet done what you think she has. There's no more of prophecy in her words than in those of a parent who says to a child, "Someday, this will all be yours." It's a wish and a goal, but not literal prophecy. Yes, Savah is filled with foreboding; yes, she has a sense of great change rolling over the land and all its inhabitants. Anyone with an ounce of sensitivity and her incredible historical perspective would. That doesn't make her a precog. There are none of those in ELFQUEST. - RP
I was so deeply moved and impressed by those four pages in NEW BLOOD #22 where Aramak philosophizes on his life that I had to write. We got insight in his feelings and beliefs, the hopes and dreams he had and how they were taken away by time. He was betrayed right from the beginning. He was raised as something special (in fact, turned into a puppet of a false belief) by narrow-minded, power hungry people who thought they alone held the truth and felt the need to pass on their fundamentalist heritage.
This portrayal of Aramak makes him sympathetic and frightening at the same time. We know now why he is what he is, and he knows, too - but he can't help it. He will always be captured by the view of things he was made to believe in in his childhood. And that makes him very dangerous (as any leader of a religious sect) because although he is well aware of the futility of his actions he will continue on his predetermined path and struggle for unreachable goals because that's the only thing he has learned to do. He really believes what was brainwashed into him (after all, that's the purpose of brainwashing) and that is the source of his anger and dangerousness.
As Bertrand Russell said, the greatest and worst evils that man did to man originated in the firm belief in the rightness of false convictions. With Door it is very much the same. He, too, was helplessly exposed to a superior power and couldn't help but be affected, be transformed into a copy of his torturer.
Both Aramak and Door are puppets. Puppets of haunting memories imposed upon them by selfish, self-appointed leaders. Aramak was just a little boy and didn't know he was abused, but Door was weak and not self-confident enough. He let himself be overwhelmed by Winnowill's cruelty and became cruel himself. Aramak may never have had his own free will, but Door deliberately gave his away.
So if the term "bad guy" is appropriate at all, then it applies to Door. Aramak is just misled and if he is willing to take the help Windkin has offered in issue #19 he can find peace of mind and accept what he is. Door, on the other had, seems to like his new role as Winnowill's successor, and it will be harder to make him sane again.
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There's more to Door than we yet know, so stay tuned, keep those cards, letters and errant standing waves coming, and see you in 30! - RP