elfquestA reminder that e-reading doesn’t just encompass prose:

Although one commenter points out it’s actually been on-line for two years now, the Comics Beat blog (and BoingBoing) just noticed that the entire 6500+ page collection of Wendy and Richard Pini’s ElfQuest comic book series is posted online for free reading. Published beginning in 1978, ElfQuest was one of the first breakout hits of the independent comics scene, and paved the way for many works to follow.

It can now be read online, via a Flash reading application (which means, alas, it’s unreadable on the best way to read digital comic books, the iPad—though someone associated with the site did post to BoingBoing that they are looking into making it available for iOS devices as well). There are also a couple of web stores—an out-of-print books store, and a CafePress shop that sells the standard clothing, mugs, and the usual.

There doesn’t seem to be any form of inexpensive print-on-demand collections of ElfQuest available, however—it seems you can either read it on-line, or pay $100 per out-of-print paper graphic novel. (Though I suppose I might well have been looking in the wrong place.)

At any rate, it’s good to see it all available even if it is in an awkward format. It seems the Pinis are using their body of work as a free draw, and hoping to make money on merchandising. I hope it works out well for them.


  1. The actual content displayed by the ElfQuest Comic Viewer flash app isn’t actually encrypted or protected, just obfuscated. It’s easy enough to find the addresses of the underlying jpeg files by using an HTTP sniffer extension to Firefox such as HttpFox.

    Of course, that doesn’t take into consideration the legality, for example does the mechanism they’ve put in place count as an “effective” technical protection measure? If they’re giving it out for free anyway, is it illegal to download the images?

  2. I’m the “someone” who posted that, about looking into an iPad (as well as Android) app. Our main push at this time is a simple one – to make Elfquest available as a reading experience to as many people as possible. Although there is a bit of money to be made in related merchandise and the like, it’s what we really want is to have a lot of people talking about the story which, after 30+ years, is still going and still appealing. It’s all about the buzz, at this point, rather than the licensing.

  3. I just discovered the Elfquest archives and while I wish it were available through one of the iPad comics apps there is an easy work around. There may be other flash browsers but I use one called Photon which streams any flash based website such that the IOS device can view it.

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