SCREW YOU TOLKIEN, ALL MY ELVES ARE POISON (or remembering Drew Hayes)


I’m feelin’ a bit under the weather today so this post may ramble a bit. Forgive me like I’m Jean Valjean and I just stole your silverware. (I saw Les Miserables’. I cried two tears. Deal with it.)

Two things happened recently that drive this post.

1) The Missus got me DEATH THREATS: The Life And Times Of A Comic Book Rock Star by Drew Hayes which collects the starting notes (an editorial rambling by author/artist) for every issue of POISON ELVES (along with selected portions of the letters column which were called Deaththreats) In these pages are the story of a man who self-published a comic book in a time when the comics industry was in a bit of turmoil, signed on with an upstart publisher, and went on to become a bit of an underground comic legend. In it you find him going through divorce, depression, childbirth, and an assortment of other bits of life.) Drew is no longer with us, having died in 2007 entirely too young.

Now POISON ELVES is a comic book series that ran from end of ’91 to 2004 which is when Drew’s health went tits up and he couldn’t do the book anymore. There were some spin off side story miniseries that had his oversight and approval that went on a bit after that. But for all intents and purposes there hasn’t been a bit of new material in 5 years.

2) I saw this: APE ENTERTAINMENT TO PUBLISH NEW POISON ELVES

Both of them made me feel……strange.

Let me explain.

I discovered Poison Elves on issue one of the “new” series when it switched from self publishing to being put out by Sirius Entertainment. My mind was BLOWN. I discovered an anachronistic fantasy world populated by humans, wizards, and elves. It was a dark, gutterpunk version of fantasy and followed the adventures of a don’t-give-a-damn, angry-at-the-world-and-sometimes-justifiably-so, homicidal, hair-trigger elf named Lusiphur who had a smart mouth and a propensity for finding trouble.

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The artwork was…..raw. All swagger and substance and not so much technique. Stark black and white and full of cool touches like rock posters on the walls of alleys, t-shirts on the characters, and other assorted punk rock aesthetics.

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Plus Drew didn’t give a damn about what you were supposed to do and would plop down columns of story in the form of text chunks. It let him cut through the problem of backstory and fix the issue of having one character tell another what was going on in long pages of conversation so the reader would have a clue. In other words it was pretty damn brilliant.

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And to this day nobody has the balls to do it like he did.

Needless to say I fell in love with the comic, bought all of them and still have them in a long box. I got to meet the main man himself when he came to theĀ  ’94 or ’95 (hell, mighta been ’96 or 97) Atlanta Comicon. It was a shit convention but he was there so me and my good friend Kevin took off to meet him. We had comics in hand and this was our first time meeting someone who actually made the things we both loved so much. (Kevin’s just as much a fanboy as me and also loves POISON ELVES).

I wish I could say we had a crazy time with Drew. That we met and it was like the Three Amigos joined for the first time and me and him and Kevin went from the convention for a night of revelry that may or may not have included whiskey, rock n roll, and strippers with one or all of us winding up waking in jail. But this was the mid-nineties and I wasn’t cool like that. I met him, he was really nice and signed our books, including the ones we bought there. We talked about some bands and stuff, things I can’t really remember, but it was short and when it was over we moved on, happier to have met someone who MADE COMIC BOOKS WE LIKED. I know we sent him a Mike Knott cd cause Kevin loves LSU (the band dork, not the football team) and they talked about it in our five minute (if that) conversation. I never heard from him again or met him again other than every month in the pages of the funny book.

But he was an influence. Is there some of Lusiphur in Deacon? Hell yes there is. Plus, directly because of Drew Hayes and his contribution to the author DNA of yours truly, if I ever write a straight fantasy book (and there is one in there, somewhere deep down, just fermenting like a fine sword-edged bourbon) it will be a lot like POISON ELVES.

So they are making a new series. It’s written by Rob Horan, the founder of Sirius Entertainment, who is the holder of the rights to POISON ELVES and probably the man most capable of carrying the torch. The art looks good. It’s blessed by Drew’s daughter, Mary. So I’m in. I’ll buy it when it comes out and I really hope it kicks a ton of ass.

But I won’t lie. I miss Drew Hayes.

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