(Images belong to Wendy and Richard Pini.)
So, I’ve been sitting on this for a bit, but my husband is reading my ElfQuest books! This is HUGE. (As a side note, these books are all online for you to read for free! Go HERE.)
He’s known me 8 years, but he had never looked at my comic collection. I recently realized ElfQuest was publishing a new series and purchased one of the volumes I was missing. I had lost track through college and starting my adult life because SO MANY TIMES I stopped at the book store and was told they weren’t publishing, they didn’t have them. WHY DID I BELIEVE THEM? Years missed. Anyway, I left it in the bathroom on accident.
He started reading it.
He loved it. HE LOVED IT. This is my husband who doesn’t read fiction!
Now, he’s working his way through the rest of the books I have in order, and I am DELIGHTED.
I love that he loves them, because I love them so much, and they were a huge influence on my life.
Picture this: a second grade Renee who doesn’t like reading. She’ll listen if you read to her, but she refuses to try reading on her own. Mom takes her to the library to try and tempt her, but she balks, so Mom ends up going off and looking at her own books.
So, there I stood, bored and annoyed, walking around, and I saw something that changed my life. Face-out on an end cap display was this book cover:
Dear Librarian that made this display, whomever you were: THANK YOU. You changed my life.
I picked it up. I was hooked.
My mom looked over the book, tutted, but decided me reading was more important than a bit of cleavage, and let me check it out.
Over the next six years, with the money I got for my birthday and Christmas, I bought an ElfQuest book twice a year. I only got money twice a year. We were poor. I was a kid, and I still bought NOTHING but ElfQuest, counting the days until my grandma would send me a check.
Buying one of these books was the first time I bought something on my own; even with my mom watching, I did it myself.
Multiple times, the clerk balked and refused to sell them to me, and I had to go get my mom so she could buy them. They sold them to her, but apologized and said they couldn’t sell them to kids underage. I could have been embarrassed, but I didn’t care. I was so happy to have a new book!
I dreamed of nothing but ElfQuest for years, every game, every imaginary story, every drawing. All ElfQuest.
In third grade or so, I expanded to read Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books.
In fourth, I read The Fellowship of the Ring. That was it. I found McCaffrey on my parents’ bookshelves. I was hooked on reading for life.
But ElfQuest? These books started it all. This was my world, my life, my dreams. I enticed all of my friends into reading my books, and we played at being elves, climbing trees, making bows and trying to shoot them (spoiler: green wood shatters), and sneaking all over our neighborhoods.
The first website I ever looked at, in 1996 or 1997 I think, was the ElfQuest Official Website.
The first email I ever sent was to Wendy Pini asking how I could be a comic artist. SHE EMAILED ME BACK. I was on cloud nine. She gave some advice (I think she realized I was very young), and she also reminded me that you could ask more than one question in a single email, and that I didn’t have to send six. I was ecstatic.
All of my early artwork? ElfQuest.
These books have been reread and loved so many times they’re slowly falling apart even with the care I took. The soft backs, especially, are losing their pages.
These books are everything to me.
AND NOW MY HUSBAND IS READING THEM FOR THE FIRST TIME! He’s reacting to One Eye’s death, to Two Edge’s piteous madness, to their adventures and losses and loves. I’m tearing up just typing this. He’s laughing at me, finally realizing that my stupid, silly ways of describing things is based on the Preservers’ style of speaking. He’s seeing what created me, shaped me, molded me.
I’ll never read them for the first time again, but watching him live them fills my heart to bursting.
His favorite character is Strongbow. Ironically, mine has been Moonshade for most of my life. Prior to that it was Newstar and then Dewshine, but as I aged I shifted to Moonshade. In the books, they’re a couple, and this makes me smile.
Thank you, Wendy and Richard Pini. You changed my life, and now you’re changing my husband’s as well.