1987: Elf-Thing

Elf-Thing (1987) #1 by Frank P. Marino and James J. Friel.

Knowing nothing about this book except that its cover looked really amateurish and that it was published at the rump end of the black-and-white bust, I though this was going to be really awful.

And the artwork looks like something Solson would have published, but this is a surprisingly funny parody. It parodies a lot of things simultaneously (Elfquest, Swamp Thing, Marvel comics in general), so it’s not exactly laser focused.

The premise here is that this is a world where normal people are monsters, but one of them has transformed themselves into a puny, cute elf body. Well, as cute as the artists talents’ allow.

The main problem is that about half the time, it’s more like reading a normal dopey super-hero book than reading a parody. We get the entire origin story, and if they’d left out (some rather funny) sight gags, nobody would have raised an eyebrow.

See? You’ve read worse jokes than that.

And most original of all, they keep the elf naked throughout most of the book.

I don’t mean to imply that this is some kind of long-lost treasure. The artwork is hard to look at, and the storytelling sags. But it could have been so much worse.

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