Rating: 5/5 – Don’t Deny Yourself the Pleasure of This Book.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.
Right off the bat, let me say that I owe Wendy and Richard Pini a huge apology. I’ve had opportunity after opportunity to pick up Elfquest – their creator-owned title – pretty much throughout the multiple decades they’ve been putting it out. Yet, for various reasons – finances, an insane addiction to anything with “X” in the title, a stubborn unwillingness to try anything new for fear I might end up liking it – I never did. Until now.
I’m quite stupid that way.
So now that I’ve apologized, allow me to proselytize. If you have been denying yourself the pleasure of reading Elfquest, and like me have been giving yourself any excuse to justify that denial – stop now and go pick up this first volume. And prepare yourself to pick up the second, because you will. I can almost guarantee it.
Fantasy fans demand a well-thought out world, and on this front the Pinis deliver. This is the realm of fantasy I once roamed in when I was a twelve-year old boy feasting on Tolkien, Anthony, and Eddings. It’s a world you read about while lying on your bed and occasionally dreamed of being part of, and to be blunt, it’s a world I haven’t seen in many years since I was that twelve-year old boy. Part of that may be that I grew up, or the blame may lie in writers simply not being able to give me that world I once knew. Whatever the case, within the first few pages of Elfquest, I was back on my old twin bed, imagining myself riding alongside Cutter, or trading jokes with Skywise, or wondering if I had a shot with Leetah? It’s a feeling I haven’t had for more than thirty years, and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to seize it again.
Fantasy fans also demand amazing artwork. We’re the culture that has names like Frazetta, Whelan, and Hildebrandt creating jaw-dropping, hyper-realistic yet fantastical paintings and sketches of realms that might have been, and may yet come to be. The Pinis get that, and they deliver the goods. Don’t be discouraged by the lack of color pages in this book. The black and white high contrast pages show off the artwork’s greatest asset – amazing inking work the likes of which we seldom see any more in an industry where the inker is sadly almost forgotten. Sure, color is nice, but this is a book that doesn’t need it. A cursory flip-though of the pages should be more than enough to convince you.
Fantasy fans like me enjoy a little bang for the buck. We’re used to the long haul on the series we read, with many going into the tens of volumes (if not the twenties). We know it’s an investment going in, so it’s nice that Dark Horse priced this first 700 page volume at $25, while still printing it on high contrast good quality paper. This is not a newsprint volume a la Marvel Essential or DC Showcase. Not to disparage those books, but to say this is a collection on the same tier does The Complete Elfquest a disservice. So if, like me, you’ve found excuse after excuse not to jump into the amazing world the Pinis have created, you’re officially out of options. And like me, I think you’ll be very happy Dark Horse did this, and will hopefully join me in the line to apologize to them the next time we see them at a convention. I’ve denied myself the pleasure of this read for far, far too long.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow
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