I never really got into graphic novels as a kid. Part of it was the cost - I didn't have a steady enough source of parental income to guarantee that I'd be able to collect all the issues, but part of it was probably that I was a girl in what appeared at the time to be a man's world. Even now when I visit the comic book store in search of new board games, I'm heartily amused by some of the costumes and proportions of the ladies on the comic covers - I can't imagine how my young and conservatively-shaped brain would have coped with the culture shock.
I do, however, have a very strong memory of a shopping trip to Barnes & Noble where I became engrossed in "Elfquest". The costumes and proportions were still rather ridiculous, but it was okay because these were elves and I wasn't expected to grow up to look like an elf, for chrissake.
Perhaps it was my sheltered upbringing, but I'd never quite seen anything like the Elfquest stories. The women were allowed to do things - things as good as or better than the men. They were hunters and wolf riders and healers and clan leaders, and they were never singled out as women - they just fulfilled their roles like everyone else did, and their gender didn't even matter. There was emotional variety among the men, and each character was unique - the men weren't all brooding tough guys or manly stereotypes of rugged competence; they were just regular people. And there were different colored elves - white ones and brown ones and ones with red hair and ones with black hair, and they were all normal people, too. It was quite a shock at the time when every single one of the fantasy protagonists in my books were either white or some kind of racial stereotype (i.e., all [insert color] are [insert fantasy job description]).
I don't remember how old I was on this fateful trip to Barnes & Noble, but I do remember that I was old enough to immediately realize that requesting "Elfquest" from my parents wasn't going to work. The magic and the scantily clad protagonists and the mixed-sex pairings (okay, okay, the author has only discussed those outside the text, but it was pretty clear to me what was going on) meant that this exciting fantasy romp wouldn't be welcome in our tightly-regulated household - so I left the book behind, but never really forgot about the vivid world I'd glimpsed.
When I moved out as an adult, I quickly set about acquiring all the books I'd wanted as a child, including the Enchanted Forest Chronicles (the subject of an upcoming Poke the Publisher installment - stay tuned!) and the Elfquest archives. There are four archives in total - all rendered in loving color - but finding them in print is an absolute nightmare, and getting them in e-Book form is currently impossible as far as I can tell.
Graphic novels have been slow to move over to electronic format because a lot of e-Readers still don't offer color displays. But the Nook Color has been out for awhile now and the iPad and other tablet computers are riding high at the moment, and there's nothing to indicate that these trends won't continue. It's high time that comic producers start moving over their stock into electronic format so that collectors can start rebuying their favorite stories!
Amazon links for the Elfquest Archives are here:
I would suspect that a single poke for Volume 1 would be sufficient enough to express reader interest.
The corresponding B&N links are here:
Bonus points will be awarded for contacting the Elfquest site keepers directly and politely explaining that the money in your pocket is money that you could be giving them for lovely electronic copies of their delightful artwork. Or, if they prefer a barter system like the elves, you could always send them a few nice fur rugs and maybe a potted plant or two.
Remember: Readers who post in the comments that they've poked the publisher via any or all of these links will be mentioned in a subsequent "Poke the Publisher" entry, which is at least as valuable as becoming a sparkly vampire doomed to wander the halls of high school for eternity.
Also remember: By poking the publisher, you are not indicating that YOU are waiting to buy this book in e-Book format, but rather that your dear friend Ana is waiting to buy this book in e-Book format to review, dissect, deconstruct, and otherwise desecrate for your reading pleasure. And buy it I shall, just as soon as it comes available in the U.S. of A., presuming, of course, that the nuclear holocaust hasn't wiped us all out by then.
Credit for last week's Poke the Publisher feature must go to Matt Smyczynski, Brin Bellway, Charleen Merced, Cupcakedoll, Gela Delgado, and Pauline Toohey. Each and every one of these wonderful readers are now perfectly prepared for the nuclear apocalypse thanks to their enthusiasm for the educational Deathlands series, and will be comfortably eating cans of baked beans for years after the rest of us short-sighted and lazy grasshoppers have been devoured by wild wolves. Well done, guys!