First published in 1978, Wendy and Richard Pini’s cult fantasy comic book series Elfquest recently came to a close after a 40-year run. The title was bounced around from publisher to publisher during those four decades, but was first published under the Pinis’ WaRP Graphics. It then moved to Marvel for three years before returning to WaRP. Then, in 2003, Elfquest found a new home at DC Comics before finally landing at Dark Horse, where it wrapped up on the same day, 40 years later, that the first Elfquest story appeared.
SYFY WIRE’s Mike Avila recently sat down with the Pinis to talk about the legacy and impact of Elfquest, Wendy Pini’s influence on female artists, the world building they did for the series, as well as the title being a “gateway drug into comics.”
The Pinis also talked about being fans of Marvel Comics, and how Jack Kirby and Osamu Tezuka were sort of indirect mentors to Wendy. Talking about Kirby, the dynamic duo and married couple had some great Kirby stories to share. They also chatted about their plans for the future, and teased that even though the story arc that started 40 years ago is over, there are more Elfquest stories to tell.
“We feel a sense of accomplishment like you can’t imagine,” said Richard about wrapping up the story. “We feel some wistfulness. The one thing we don’t feel is sad because we set out to do a thing and we did it. And we were able, by a little bit of manipulation of timing working with Dark Horse, to have the final issue come out 40 years to the very day from the first appearance of Fantasy Quarterly number one in 1978, so that felt great.”
During our interview, the Pinis also explained the world building involved in telling the story of Elfquest over the course of several decades. “The thing about Elfquest is that we knew from Day One how it must end,” said Richard. “We didn’t know how long it might take us to reach that conclusion, but we knew where we had to get to. When you know that, and you’re telling a story, you can take side trips all over the place. If, for example, a character cries out for a little bit more attention, a little stage time, you can give it to that character. Aspects of the world, areas of the world that we didn’t really think about ahead of time but that the characters took us to, we were able to flesh out; because all the while we still knew where we had to end up. We didn’t have a full encyclopedia of the whole thing at day one, but we were able to develop that going along knowing how consistent we had to stay to be truthful to the ending.”
Don’t forget to check out the entire video for more goodies from Wendy and Richard Pini. And if you need more, please enjoy our recent print interview with the creators, reflecting on 40 years of Elfquest.
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.