swan_tower: a headshot of Clearbrook from the comic book series Elfquest (Clearbrook)

(This is part of my Elfquest re-read. There will be spoilers.)

It’s tempting to see Winnowill as an aberration, because in many ways she is. No character in this series, be they elven, human, troll, or Preserver, ever comes close to her level of persistent malice. But in focusing on her, it’s easy to lose sight of something else:

The Gliders as a whole are seriously messed up.

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: a headshot of Clearbrook from the comic book series Elfquest (Clearbrook)

(This is part of my Elfquest re-read. There will be spoilers.)

I can’t think of any character in this entire series who more strongly merits their own post, with the possible exception of Two-Edge.

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: a headshot of Clearbrook from the comic book series Elfquest (Clearbrook)

(This is part of my Elfquest re-read. There will be spoilers.)

When I was a sophomore in college, I wrote an archaeology paper on Elfquest.

No, really.

It was supposed to be a paper looking at the Wolfriders as hunter-gatherers and the Sun Folk as horticulturalists/early agriculturalists. Naturally, when I finally had a paper topic I enjoyed and could have run well past the guideline of 10-12 pages, I had a professor who said anything past twelve pages he would chuck in the trash, and then dock us points for not having a conclusion. The result is that the paper wound up only addressing the Wolfrider half of the equation, because I ran out of space for anything else.

I was going to rehash the paper as my third and final post for The Forbidden Grove, but in re-reading it, I discovered that it was a) longer than I recalled (I thought it was 5-7 pages) and b) way more technical. So rather than trying to recycle the whole thing in a quarter the words, I decided it would be better to just post the paper on my website (pdf link), for those of you who actually care to see the whole thing, bibliography and all, and then use this post to talk about the things that didn’t fit into the paper.

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: a headshot of Clearbrook from the comic book series Elfquest (Clearbrook)

(This is part of my Elfquest re-read. There will be spoilers.)

When humans appear in Fire and Flight, they are quite simply and straightforwardly the enemy. They capture and torture Redlance; they burn the forest because they believe that’s what their god wants. They fear and hate elves, and elves fear and hate them right back.

But it doesn’t remain that simple.

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: a headshot of Clearbrook from the comic book series Elfquest (Clearbrook)

(This is part of my Elfquest re-read. There will be spoilers.)

I like Fire and Flight, but this volume is where the story really hits its stride. After our simple, linear introduction, where the plot is straightforward and only a small number of characters get much in the way of attention, the narrative opens up: two strands, with Cutter and Skywise searching for more elf tribes, while back in Sorrow’s End Suntop receives a warning that sends nearly the entire tribe on the road again in pursuit of that pair.

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: a headshot of Clearbrook from the comic book series Elfquest (Clearbrook)

(This is part of my Elfquest re-read. There will be spoilers.)

I suspect I’ll wind up making several posts about Recognition during the course of this series, because it’s such an interesting and complex topic: a spontaneous soulbond, with bonus reproductive instinct. You can spin a bunch of different stories out of that, and the Pinis hit quite a few of them; in fact, I’m not sure there’s any point in what I consider the main canon (the first eight volumes, up through Kings of the Broken Wheel) where they play it completely straight. Cutter and Leetah come the closest — but before I get to that, let’s talk about Recognition itself.

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: a headshot of Clearbrook from the comic book series Elfquest (Clearbrook)

(This is part of my Elfquest re-read. There will be spoilers.)

I mentioned in my last post the cultural exchange between the Wolfriders and the Sun Folk, two very different societies. One of the differences between them comes to the forefront when the earthquake sends the zwoots stampeding toward the Sun Village, and the Wolfriders head out to try and turn the herd away. Leetah is shocked to see Dewshine going with them, saying “But it is not a maiden’s place to –” She can’t even muster a justification for that incomplete thought, and Dewshine shrugs it off with a laugh, because she sees no reason she shouldn’t ride in the hunt.

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: a headshot of Clearbrook from the comic book series Elfquest (Clearbrook)

(This is part of my Elfquest re-read. There will be spoilers.)

Fire and Flight, the first volume of the series, could stand on its own just fine. It’s the story of how a tribe of elves called the Wolfriders were driven from their home and found a new one; it’s also a romance story for the protagonist, the Wolfrider chieftain Cutter. Both of those things find resolution here, so while the seeds of the ongoing story are present, you get a complete tale right out of the gate.

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

Growing up, I never read that many comic books. I associated the medium with superhero stories, which didn’t much interest me; later on, when I knew there were lots of other kinds of stories out there, I still found myself bouncing off them for various reasons (didn’t like the art style, found the stories too thin to engage me, etc). These days there are some comic book series I love, but even now they’re few in number.

And then there’s Elfquest.

A friend of mine handed me the first graphic novel when I was about twelve, and I fell hard. She went out of town right after loaning me the third volume; I just about went mad waiting for her to come home and give me the fourth. I discovered there was an Elfquest roleplaying game, and I got my local bookstore to order it in. Had I ever played an RPG? Nope. Never got around to playing that one, either. But it was an Elfquest-related thing, so I had to have it.

I’ve decided, in the tradition of my Wheel of Time and Diana Wynne Jones Project, to re-read the series and blog as I go. I don’t have a terribly organized plan for this; I think I want to approach it more via topics than making one post per volume, but I’ll tackle those topics in narrative order, revisiting some of them as they become relevant again. Right now my intent is to stick only to the first eight graphic novels (up through the end of Kings of the Broken Wheel); nothing after that worked as well for me as the early stuff did. But possibly I’ll change my mind, especially as I’m still working my way through The Final Quest, and may want to revisit some of the middle volumes to remind myself of what’s going on there. If you want to read along, all the stuff I’m definitely going to post about is available for free on their website.

This post will serve as the index for the whole blog series, so I’ll update it as I go with links to the individual posts as I make them. Look for the first of those soon!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

Faffing around, putting off actually getting started again on work like I should, browsing the web, come across a mention of Wendy and Richard Pini, spend a moment imagining what I would say to them if I met them.

Remember that way back in the day, I bought the Elfquest RPG and made a bunch of characters, but never actually played the game; just sat around making up stories that more or less amounted to OC fanfic.

Probably a good thing we never actually played it. I think the game was Chaosium, and I don’t recall the system being really all that well-suited to the setting — not that I would have known the difference at the time.

Hmmm. What would be a good system for running an Elfquest game?

. . . no, I’m not actually planning on running such a thing. File this under “fun things to fiddle with,” like my hack of Cinematic Unisystem for Harry Potter or Mage: The Awakening for the Wheel of Time. (Or, um, Pathfinder for Dragon Age. Except I actually ran that one for a while.) But I open the floor to suggestions: what would you use for Elfquest? I personally have no idea, but I’m curious what other people might suggest.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: a headshot of Clearbrook from the comic book series Elfquest (Clearbrook)
I've been extremely uncommunicative lately -- and my apologies if I owe you an e-mail, which is quite a lot of you -- but I'm breaking radio silence just before I go home to link you all to the story I got for Yuletide, which is absolutely beautiful.

"The Cautery Wind" combines two of my Elfquest-related suggestions: for my assigned writer to make up their own tribe in the World of Two Moons, and to give backstory for one of the original four tribes from canon (in this case, the Sun Folk). It's darker than more Elfquest, but in an appropriate way; it picks up on the threads of darkness that are already in the series, and looks at them head-on. The frame is Savah telling a story that Skywise and Timmain need to hear, and it contains more lovely notes than I can list about what it means for the Mother of Memory to want to forget something, what it means for Skywise to have changed the way he did in Kings of the Broken Wheel, what the relationship between Skywise and Timmain is about, and what the differences (and similarities) are between elves and humans. To name just a few of the things I loved about it.

The story probably won't mean a lot to people who haven't read the series, but if you know Elfquest, go read this story. It's a wonderful fan-made addendum to the canon.

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