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‘Elfquest’ Fan-Filmmakers Officially Acquire The Comic’s TV/Film Rights [Interview]

After years of waiting for a big studio production of ElfQuest, fans and web TV producers Stephanie Thorpe and Paula Rhodes took matters into their own hands by creating their own short film based on the indie comics perennial by Wendy and Richard Pini. Called ElfQuest: A Fan Imagining, the four-and-a-half minute trailer was among the better comic book fan films ever made, and was warmly embraced by ElfQuest readers. Now in what must be a first, the makers of a fan film have found themselves in possession of the film and television rights to the comic, a move made by the Pinis after the ElfQuest rights reverted back to them when a Warner Bros. film failed to materialize. The highly symbolic story of variously beautiful creatures in a philosophical struggle between tolerance and hate, progress and conservatism, and all sorts of crazy sex stuff, ElfQuest is one of indie comics’ greater success stories. Created in 1978 and still available online (where it generates a reported 10 million views a month), ElfQuest is also notable for attracting a significantly larger female readership than most American comics, which was reflected in the fan film’s mostly all-women cast.

“We were both drawn to ElfQuest as young girls and can barely remember a time in our lives where it wasn’t a central narrative, influencing our creativity and storytelling and empowering us to be the heroines we saw in its pages,” Thorpe told ComicsAlliance. “The story continues to draw fans because of the scope of the epic story and how everyone can relate to at least one character. Despite being Elves, the characters are surprisingly ‘human.’”

The Pinis helped fund the production of Thorpe and Rhodes’ fan film, which opened the door to Thorpe and Rhodes’ acquisition of the ElfQuest media rights directly from the comic creators. “A lot of it had to do with presenting our vision clearly to Wendy & Richard and remaining true to the story itself,” Thorpe said.

As for what form an official ElfQuest feature may take, it’s really too early to know. “Whether that’s big or little screens… well, we certainly have some very interesting options popping up and are considering all possible routes. Do we have an idea of our ideal format? Sure, but we’re not closing any doors just yet. Stay tuned.”

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