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"Love is a perky elf dancing a merry little jig and then suddenly he turns on you with a miniature machine gun."
-- Matt Groening, Love is Hell
The Elf with a gun was originally and at its best a random plot occurrence in one of the most adult and sophisticated comics of the 1970s, underground favourite (and current Marvel whipping boy) The Defenders.
The Elf would kill random people as a juxtaposed interlude or cutaway during issues of the Gerber run on the Defenders.
Later the Elf got hit by a truck and killed but then reappeared and an entire unnecessary, clumsy and quite mean spirited exposition, where they were time agents for a cosmic regulation agency called the Tribunal.
Leaving that apparent cosmic hoax to one side, the Elf was a classic piece of vintage late Marvel Silver Age esoterica, the kind of seasoning that made an already masterful comicbook meal into the haute cuisine of funnybooks.