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Beginning on the pages of Fantasy Quarterly in 1978, Elfquest, “is the longest-running, independent fantasy series, with more than 15 million comics, graphic novels, and other publications in print.”[1] Beyond its long history, it also has the distinction of being the first fantasy comic created, written, and illustrated by a woman, an impressive feat considering the androcentric nature of both the comic book industry and its readership.

There is little in the way of critical scholarship on this series, despite its nearly four-decade history. This paper fills this glaring absence of academic treatment by investigating the many layers of queer metafictional content. In this specific sense, Elfquest’s queerness develops from its creation, its treatment of the fantasy genre, and through the fictitious cult and lives of the titular elves. As an artifact, both as a collection of art and text, marks it as a production of a specific cultural time. As such, each of these queerings query the existing hegemonies through metafictional commentary. The aim of this paper, then, is to explore this commentary through a close reading of the text and visuals of the first story arc: “The Original Quest.”

[1] http://elfquest.com/eq/

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Humanities

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Apr 28th, 4:40 PM Apr 28th, 5:00 PM

Projections of a Better World: A Critical Reading of Elfquest's Original Quest

UC 330

Beginning on the pages of Fantasy Quarterly in 1978, Elfquest, “is the longest-running, independent fantasy series, with more than 15 million comics, graphic novels, and other publications in print.”[1] Beyond its long history, it also has the distinction of being the first fantasy comic created, written, and illustrated by a woman, an impressive feat considering the androcentric nature of both the comic book industry and its readership.

There is little in the way of critical scholarship on this series, despite its nearly four-decade history. This paper fills this glaring absence of academic treatment by investigating the many layers of queer metafictional content. In this specific sense, Elfquest’s queerness develops from its creation, its treatment of the fantasy genre, and through the fictitious cult and lives of the titular elves. As an artifact, both as a collection of art and text, marks it as a production of a specific cultural time. As such, each of these queerings query the existing hegemonies through metafictional commentary. The aim of this paper, then, is to explore this commentary through a close reading of the text and visuals of the first story arc: “The Original Quest.”

[1] http://elfquest.com/eq/