DC Comics has acquired worldwide publishing, media, and merchandising rights to Wendy and Richard Pini's epic-adventure fantasy comic book series Elfquest.  Paul Levitz, President & Publisher of DC, expressed his enthusiasm for the acquisition; 'It's a pleasure to bring Wendy and Richard's incredibly original universe into our diverse publishing program.  We hope to take their quarter-century of success and build it together to new heights.'


DC's immediate publishing plans for Elfquest include a full-color, hardcover archive series as well as compact-sized black-and-white trade paperbacks.  DC Direct will also start work on an Elfquest merchandise program.  Given the current popularity of fantasy (thanks to LOTR) and compact trade paperback black-and-white comic collections (think manga), it does appear that the venerable Elfquest property, now celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, is ripe for wider exploitation.  Over 12 million Elfquest books and comics have been sold during the last 25 years, and the property, which has always had more than its share of female readers, could well find favor with the female audience that is making manga the dominant form of graphic novels in bookstores (see 'Manga Continues To Dominate Bookstore Sales').  Compare any of Wendy Pini's Wolfriders with Rumiko Takahashi's Inu-Yasha and you will see the iconographic similarity that could be the key to a resurgence in sales for the Elfquest property, especially of those manga-size trade paperback editions.


DC's acquisition of Elfquest may also result in the long awaited production of an Elfquest film.  An animated Elfquest film came close to fruition just a few years ago until it was torpedoed by a merger between Universal and Vivendi, which controlled Canal Plus, the French company that was the project's principal backer.  While DC has indeed had trouble with film projects involving its own characters recently, there is no doubt that the giant AOL/Time Warner conglomerate of which DC is a part provides plenty of possible cinematic opportunities for a property like Elfquest.