ElfQuest, Dissed by Warner Bros, Deserves Better
I’ve been a fan of ElfQuest pretty much since the day Phil Seuling visited the Starlog offices with a bunch of swag. He would come up and hang with the publishers but always drop off some product he was handling through his Seagate Distributors and one day there were some issues of this magazine-sized black & white comic about elves that I had really only heard about.
I read the books and were hooked, going on to cover the series in Comics Scene, and befriending Wendy and Richard Pini. They wrote a guest editorial for me, provided me with news as the Starblaze color collections were being produced and got along just swell. We’d see one another at conventions and eventually acquaintances became friends. Once, I ran into Richard on the ferry ride from Connecticut to Lon Island as we both headed for I-Con. I introduced him to Kate and some time later, he sent me a complete box full of ElfQuest trades, which Kate and then her friends devoured.
Years later, DC Comics acquired the rights to ElfQuest, both archival and new material. Since we’d start with reprints, it fell to the Collected Editions department to manage and since I knew the creators and property best, I suddenly became their editor. We had a jolly time together and brought our shared passion to not only turning the classic story into four handsome Archive volumes, but also creating new stories to further the saga. It was a stretch of the rules, but I was allowed to edit the new material as well and that was a rewarding experience, with people who cared deeply about storytelling and clarity in the process.
All along, they had hoped the deal with DC meant the parent Warner Bros would succeed where numerous other studios failed. ElfQuest was ripe for animation but for whatever reason, it never took off. With the success of Lord of the Rings on screen, everyone was scrambling for the next great franchise. New Line bet on The Golden Compass, Twentieth Century-Fox took a gamble with Eragon, and so on. None succeeded. And ElfQuest was left dormant and in time, disinterest among many DC execs meant the property was neglected and eventually the deal ended.
Oddly, about the time DC stopped living in the World of the Two Worlds, the parent company finally bit. They optioned the property and there was great excitement and hope.
This week, it seems, those hopes were officially snuffed out when Warner passed on the property. They were once more focused squarely on Middle Earth, feeling it had the only elves they could want which is odd coming from a company that owns more superheroes than most people can count.
Wendy, Richard, and the elves deserve far better and it’s a real shame Hollywood has yet to figure out how to successfully bring the charming Leetah, dashing Cutter, and their friends (and foes) to a wider audience.