I went back in time this week.
No, not really (and if you click that link up there, you’ll know why I’m aware there won’t be time travel before I die), but I again visited my high school self.
This time it wasn’t Bordertown that took me back, though. It was Wendy and Richard Pini’s ElfQuest.
What is ElfQuest, you ask?
Well, that just makes me sad for you.
ElfQuest was the first comic I read that wasn’t ALF or Fraggle Rock, or some other tv show wee sj was temporarily obsessed with.
20 years ago, I was wandering through the Sandpoint library. I already had a stack of books under my arm, and was mostly just browsing because I knew it would be a few weeks before I could come back and needed something else to round out what I was already carrying (can never take home too many books, amirite?).
As I wandered, checking out the religious texts in non-fiction (mostly for information about wicca, but I read others, as well), I discovered section 741.5. The graphic novel.
“Wait, what?” young sj whispered to herself. ”This is a section?” It had never occurred to me that there would be COMICS at the library. Probably because my school library didn’t stock any, and so I just put it out of my mind.
There were these giant oversized books that stuck out among the rest of the Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes collections. Those were all squat and fat. These were taller and somehow more…regal, I guess.
I grabbed Volume I (Fire and Flight) and opened it to see if it was something I’d be interested in. Before I knew it, I’d spent 20 minutes sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle reading, and it was time to check out and meet my mom on the steps.
I grabbed everything they had (the first three), and stopped long enough to put a hold on the rest the library system had (the next 5 trades) before forcing myself to stop reading and go meet my mom.
I was late.
She had to come looking for me, and that wasn’t a good thing.
This was the year after she finally left the asshole I’ve written about before, and we were just finding our way around each other again.
It was difficult. I spent most of my time writing letters to my friends in other towns/states, alternating between listening to sadsack music (the 90s version of emo, I guess) and punk rock and basically just being a teenage shithead.
This was also the year that I was forced to take an art class. My German should have counted in that category, but my school didn’t count a foreign language as an art credit, so I actually had to…draw.
Which I sucked at.
Unless I was looking at something.
And ElfQuest helped me scrounge a C, saving my average. Because I TOTALLY stole Wendy Pini’s elves and handed them in as my own. No, I didn’t trace, but if I’m looking at something, I can do a decent approximation. I should have earned a better grade, but my teacher was a jerk and only gave As to people who handed in COLOURED drawings. Pffft.
I think I’m rambly enough (oh, HAI, 2007 cab, didn’t see you there!), so I’ll just say that this week, while re-reading the first 4 volumes of ElfQuest, I had a lot of “Oh, holy shit! Remember [insert weird high school memory here] and [insert other high school memory here].”
I was worried that I would hate them, or that they’d be diminished by time. They weren’t. They aren’t. And I have 20 years of stories to catch up on, which is a beautiful thing.
If you’re interested in setting out on your own elf quest (hee), you can do so FOR FREE, cos the creators have all of the comics available to read RIGHT MEOW on their website. Go do it now if you want to stay my friend.
No, not really.