January 28, 2022

Columbia University Libraries Acquires Elfquest Comic Archives

From CUL:

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Elfquest archives, a collection of original artwork from the popular comic book property created by Wendy and Richard Pini in 1978.

This acquisition is the latest development in Columbia University Libraries’ support for the research and teaching of comics and graphic novels. Since 2005, a circulating collection of such materials, developed by librarian Karen Green, has inspired scholarly inquiry, as well as academic writing and coursework, including The American Graphic Novel, a course co-taught by Columbia University Professor Jeremy Dauber and former DC Comics president Paul Levitz.

Materials in the collection include every piece of original art from ElfQuest; including original art boards and pages from the comic book series, which was largely self-published by the Pinis. Over time, Elfquest was also published by Marvel Comics, and more recently DC Comics. Unlike many comic artists whose work originated in pre-digital eras and who chose to sell original pages, the Pinis maintained their own complete archive of Wendy’s Elfquest artwork.

“At first, the decision to hang on to every page of Wendy’s Elfquest art was mostly a commercial one; we never knew when we might need the original boards for reprinting. There was also an emotional component. I remembered the long hours Wendy put in, the editorial debates we had, the shared joy of seeing exactly the right expression on a character’s face,” said Richard Pini. “Now that we have high-quality digital scans of it all, we’re honored to donate the entire archive to Columbia.”


Other materials in the Pinis’ archives include original art from an unrealized animated adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s fantasy novel Stormbringer and from a graphic novel adaptation of The Masque of the Red Death; drafts of scripts and novelizations; copies of each edition of the ElfQuest graphic novels; fanzines created by both the Pinis and their fans; correspondence, contracts, and legal records; and the design for Wendy Pini’s Red Sonja cosplay costume.


The archives will arrive at Columbia Libraries in several stages, with the first phase including a complete set of all the Elfquest comics published, a complete set of all the Elfquest books and collections, and the original artwork to all twenty issues of the original Warp Graphics editions (1978-1984).

Visit the CUL Graphic Novels Page
Excellent compilation of resources.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.