ElfQuest, by Richard and Wendy Pini, is the story of elves inhabiting the World of Two Moons, being a world much like earth, with a climate much like earth and even hosting a native race of humans.
On the World of Two Moons, a primitive human like race lived an early stone age level of existence. An interstellar craft, bearing three races of extraterrestrials known as Trolls, High Ones, and Pixies descended onto this world. Treachery onboard the craft caused it to crash, leaving the inhabitants stunned as they emerge into the new and savage world. The savage and primitive species of humans, fearing the strange new beings emerging from the craft, attacked and murdered several of the High Ones, causing the remaining High Ones to split up and take refuge on the unfamiliar world, so being forced to survive by their wits and their various supernatural powers.
One group of High Ones took to the mountains, where they used their powers to shape the stone, creating caves to form a dark, comfortable and safe indwelling. This family included hunters who could fly and tamed a species of native giant hawks. They preserved some of the high-culture of their ancestors and lived in seclusion. Their human neighbors benefited from technological advancement and grew to worship them as "Bird Spirits".
Another line of descent followed one of the first born descendants of the High One, Savah, who led her family to dwell in a village, known as Sun Village. This village was separated from any hostile humans by a vast, wide desert, and was thus cultivated and built in relative seclusion. There, they lived mostly as farmers living a peaceful and unchanging way of life. All of the villagers trust Sun-Toucher, father of Leetah, as their trusted guide and link to the Way, while trusting Savah, first descendent of the High Ones, as their spiritual guide. Savah possesses the ability to allow her spirit-form to leave her body, and to contact other elves psychically.
Meanwhile, on a separate path of devolution, the remaining High Ones realised that more drastic adaption was necessary to survive the cruel reality of nature on the planet. So Timmain fused her High-Spirit fully into the compatible form of wolf, and hunted for her party. This group of High Ones rapidly became fused with this primitive way of the forest, and would continually spar with the fearful primitive tribes. Through ten generations, the stories of the elves Heritage of the Palace of the High Ones was preserved by the campfire, where elf and wolf alike would gather to share blessings and recount the glory of their clan.
With ElfQuest #1 circa 1978 by Wendy & Richard Pini, we see the Wolfrider Chieftain at odds with the native human tribe, worshippers of Gotara, who have captured the Wolfrider Treeshaper, named Redlance, whose blood is soon to be sacrificed around the broadfire to Gotara by the tribe's shaman. Cutter and his soul's brother, Skywise lead a charge to rescue Redlance at the last moment. Having the chance to murder the human shaman, Cutter decides to only admonish him, but to his detriment, the freed shaman sets fire to the entire forest, which was co-habited by humans and elves.
Although Timmain is by no means the main character, she is the most important elf on the world of two moons through the entirety of ElfQuest. In her first appearance, she is a wolf thrown into the pits by the ferocious Cave Trolls. In ElfQuest #20, she morphs from wolf into the last remaining member of The High-Ones. She is the last surviving extra-terrestrial who beamed down in a cosmic egg-spaceship onto the earthen "World of Two Moons".
Thus, it is revealed that she has been guiding protagonist Cutter Kinseeker in a racial pilgrimage to discover & regain his true form. Like Savah, Lord Voll and Winnowill, she is as tall as a human but quite slender, whereas most of the other elves are roughly 42" tall.
Meanwhile, still another group of elves managed the most secluded life of all: that in the sea. These elves had fused their form, growing fins, gills, and becoming generally more fishlike, known as the Waveriders. It is not until the later generations of Wolfriders that we would meet the Waveriders.
All elves share the gift of telepathic communication, but the gift of telepathy has diminished in all elves from the original High Ones (be they Grey E.T.'s or elves) through each successive generation on this world. Their ability to "send", or to call out to their kin through thought, is centered on the idea of family, as several elves can enhance the distance and luminosity of their "send" by linking minds. Throughout the many adventures and while facing many conflicts, the power of the tribe's united-"send" proves to be the strongest force of all.
In reality, each elf has a separate life and a unique set of interests, but every elf is united through the potentiality of "sending", and every elf has both a natural name and a soul name. When an elf mates with their partner, they will recognize, within their spirit and soul, the soul name of their mate, as heard through thought and the power of sending. Every elf has a soul name, which when known gives the power to locate the spirit of the elf within the dream-world.
Recognition is the elves' primary method of betrothal and marriage. Female and male elves are equals in the story. Recognition is basically an anecdote for the fatalistic concept of "soul-mates" we experience as humans. Cutter believes that "no one can refuse recognition", but this is contrasted by the Go-Backs tribe, who are highly licentious and have abandoned many of the ancestral practices.
Through the act of sending, highly-skilled elves such as Savah & Suntop may leave their body. It is through such spirit-separation, that all departed elves join into a communal spirit with all The High-Ones. In addition to this, a mature elf, in adulthood discovers their unique matching of soul with another specific elf. It is called recognition. Tyleet, bonded in this way with Scouter describes recognition as "finding a piece of yourself you didn't know was missing. You become more than before... as if you see through two sets of eyes, feel through two hearts." Moonshade further expounds "and once you have recognized, your souls always touch -- no matter the distance between your bodies." (ElfQuest: Hidden Years #20)
Trolls, Preservers and Elves
When the Palace of the The High-Ones landed on the World of Two Moons, three alien species dispersed onto an earthlike planet originally native to only animals, plants and humans. These were the Preservers, the Trolls, and the Elves.
The Trolls were originally much shorter but still plump, green creatures with greed-ridden intellects, who are untrustworthy and have love but for their children, metals, and strength. They were originally trained servants within the Palace, and never understood the beauty of the Palace, being adopted into it. Their progeny on the planet were solitudinous, avoided confrontation, and grew to a larger size.
The Preservers were eternal Pixie-like winged creatures who apparently have no ability for reproduction. When the Palace crashlanded, these folk took to the Forest of Eternal-Sleep, where they would cocoon all who entered with sticky wrapstuff.
All of the elves are descendents of the High Ones originally, although the progeny would split off into four main separate tribes: Gliders, Go-Backs, New Wavedancers, and Wolfriders.
Perhaps then, comicvine can technically regard elves, trolls, and preservers as "Alien", since elf is not a valid character-type.
The World of Two Moons resembles this planet in many ways. There are snakes, wolves, bears, deer, and modified horse-specie called "Zwoots". Humans are the indigenous population of this world, who are in a primitive tribal phase of civilization's progress. The first human tribes encountered by the Wolfriders are belligerent and vengeful of the elves. Many of The High-Ones were slaughtered by these humans in their original attempt to make peace. The Gliders, however, manage to form friendly relations with the humans, who become "Bird-Spirit" worshippers because the Gliders hunt on giant native hawks.
The progressive series of ElfQuest feature advancing culture; in SHARDS and New Blood, the humans have reached a state somewhat beyond the dark ages of our world. In Jink, there are perhaps only two remaining elves, and the humans have progressed into a futuristic way, developing psionic traits by studying the remnant of the elves' culture and abilities. These humans also have developed hover cars, space-stations, and television-telphones.
WaRP Graphics has held complete online archives and a forum at http://www.elfquest.com/ for several years. All copies mentioned in this database are available to read virtually for no cost of the issue.
Wendy and Richard Pini decided that the only way they could tell their story properly was to begin the arduous quest of their own and publish the saga independently. Thus, in 1978, WaRP Graphics was formed, styled after the names of this married couple. The Original Quest was published tri-annually, and consisted of 20 (plus one) in its series.
Although the Original Quest would return in different formats, ElfQuest would mainly see two additional quests during the 1980's. These were ElfQuest: Siege at Blue Mountain (8 Issues), and ElfQuest: Kings of the Broken Wheel (9 Issues). By this time, the living characters had grown a rich depth in the story, and the first born Ember of Cutter Kinseeker was ready for taking on the Chieftain role herself.
Richard Pini believes in proper maintenance of the identity of each elf, and the story always takes on humane characteristics. Although death is rarely seen during the story, the elves' resilience is never exaggerated. With the exception of Winnowill and Rayek, the elves are very mortal beings although the notable fact of spirit-immortality exists for the elves so long as the Palace of the High Ones does.
Wendy Pini is the main artist for ElfQuest and the original 3 series. She has received popular accreditation and applause for her lovable and natural depictions of the sensual elves. She lives with Richard in Poughkeepsie and has been influenced by Edgar Alan Poe, Shakespeare, as well as most of the Americana-folk art during the time of her upbringing (1960's). She may be regarded as the conceivor of ElfQuest and Richard the cultivator.
Throughout its years WaRP Graphics expanded into Father Tree Press and began to tell stories about humans as well as elves. In 1996, ElfQuest, Volume II began with Ember as WolfChief. This expanded form of WaRP graphics began to expand as a platform to help many avant-garde artists in the northeastern United States.
At elfquest.com, Wendy & Richard Pini have used the Preservers in the great task of cataloguing all elf-kin adventures. The complete archives are available if you visit http://www.elfquest.com/gallery/OnlineComics3.html. There are also forum-discussions, and an appreciation-society that has grown out of sympathy towards the Wolfriders.
There is very little that separates an elf's deeply held view of ultimate romance as "recognition" and our concept of soul mates.
All elf-tribes generally hold this one idea in common. When the adult-elf has attuned their mind to sensing all natural phenomena throughout the universe, they will immediately create the potential for themselves to discover their soul's partner. Not until elves develop past the playful stage of adulthood will the potential for a recognition-based relationship occur.
Love at first sight
There are two prime examples of recognition in the original ElfQuest: one healthy and one unnatural. The first is between Cutter Kinseeker and Leetah the healer of Sun Village, who marry and beget twins Suntop & Ember. The latter example of "love at first sight" type recognition did not lead to fidelity or marriage, and it was Dewshine receiving Windkin to the world after recognising Tyldak, a Genetic Altered half bat-half elf. Unlike Cutter's intertribal marriage with Sun Village, Dewshine would remain with her former husbandman Scouter, and Windkin was raised as a Wolfrider.
Although all elves innately sense in the same way, the powers of "sending" for the Go-Back tribe of Kahvi and Two-Spear have faltered. It is because Kahvi supports all sorts of lasciviousness in her warrior tribe-mates. This has resulted in a huge falling out of the elves from their former methods of family. In the Go-Back tribe, shorter generations of incestuous and libertarian pairings have resulted in less time between each generation, and a dulling of the mind. Strongbow's marriage with Moonshade stands in striking contrast to the modalities and standards of an elf tribe who has abandoned "the Way" in pursuit of the physical Palace of The High-Ones.
Venka & Yun
Although Rayek & Kahvi did not recognise necessarily, they begat a child Venka who is the steadfast secret of how the total absolution of Winnowill's darkness was overcome. Yun is a Go-Backs with an obvious resemblance to Skywise. Skywise's recognised partner Brownberry died, so he had free-right to repopulate the elf species.
Destiny & Recognition
Recognition is very important in ElfQuest, in that it has established a dynastic tradition for the characters. Each tribe is definitely set apart in terms of its views of the family. For the Sun Villagers, recognition has led to outward longevity, Leetah being considered a maiden at 600 years old.
"Those born of recognition attract interested spirits who make magic more potent, visions more clear." - Timmain
The recognised parents are able to pour a lot more contained hopes and dreams into their children; out of the personality of the parents combined identity, a special destiny was put into the lives of Dart, Suntop & Ember, Windkin, and Mender.