Guillaume, Isabelle: "Women W.a.R.P.ing Gender in Comics. Wendy Pini’s Elfquest as mixed power fantasy." In: Revue de recherche en civilisation américaine 6 (2016)<http://journals.openedition.org/rrca/755>.
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Keywords: "Elfquest", Alternative Comics, Fantasy, Gender, Pini. Richard, Pini. Wendy, USA
Collection: Revue de recherche en civilisation américaine
Elfquest made history as one of the first successful alternative comics of the late 1970s. It is set apart by its large female readership, its non-superheroic themes and the unusual graphic style of its author, Wendy Pini. However, Elfquest has drawn very little attention among gender critics, who prefer to devote their efforts to openly subversive material.
In this paper, I argue that Elfquest is in fact a halfway house between the mainstream comics tradition and the all-out radicalism of the feminist underground. The series can be read as a mixed power fantasy which combines Kirby’s graphic heritage with Eastern influences, thus creating strong characters whose appearance resonates with female tastes and experience.
In a move reminiscent of cultural feminism, the series reappraises traditionally feminine values; yet it is never essentialist. Pini’s fantasy narrative creates a safe space for female readers and affirms the importance of tolerance, solidarity, and individual freedom.
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