Poison Elves #8 cover, the first issue released under the name "Poison Elves"
|Schedule||Monthly, Bimonthly, varied|
|Genre||Dark fantasy, sword and sorcery|
|Publication date||December, 1991 – September, 2004|
|No. of issues||88|
|Created by||Drew Hayes|
|Written by||Drew Hayes|
Origins and influences
Drew Hayes' work was influenced by Dungeons & Dragons, Elfquest, and Cerebus. Lusiphur was originally one of Hayes' Dungeons & Dragons characters. The book version of the character was based on Lux Interior of The Cramps, Glenn Danzig of The Misfits, and Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy.
I, Lusiphur (December 1991-December 1992) - Poison Elves (February 1993-February 1995) Hayes originally self-published the series during the early 90s under his company Mulehide Graphics under the title of I, Lusiphur. The title was changed to Poison Elves because the similarity of Lusiphur to Lucifer led to the misconception that the series was Satanic in nature. Sales were reported to have increased significantly after the name change. Drew claimed in one of his Starting Notes that the name change was prompted by a letter from a teen-aged fan whose mother had thrown out his comics after finding I, Lusiphur comics amongst his collection.
The first ten issues of the Mulehide series were published in a larger magazine size format.
In 1995, Drew Hayes signed on with Sirius Entertainment, a move that increased his exposure, fan base, and publishing rate. To date, ten trade paperbacks have been released, but the last issue of the main series published by Sirius was #79. Hayes died in 2007, thus bringing the series to an abrupt end. A commemorative issue #80 was released to give fans a look at sketches and plans Drew Hayes had for the future of the series before his death.
A continuation of the original series, Drew Hayes Poison Elves #1 [March 2013], published by Ape Entertainment and based on Hayes' outline for future issues, picks up almost precisely at the cliffhanger point at the end of issue #79 . Only 3 issues were published before the series abruptly ended which was possibly connected to David Hedgecock, Ape Entertainment CEO leaving the company to join IDW Publishing. An unknown number of completed issues remain unpublished.
Background and setting
Amrahly'nn, the world of Poison Elves, is one where magic and technology meet. An example of this is Lusiphur's magical semi-automatic handgun that never runs out of bullets. Hayes had described the world as "...a mix of Tolkien's Middle Earth and the Neo-Romantic world seen in the Adam and the Ants video for 'Stand and Deliver'".
Lusiphur, originally named Luis Amerillis Malaché, was found by a married elven couple in the Carpathian forest in 1380. He grew up in their inn in Port Sarnwog. However, his childhood was an unhappy one after a drunken patron set fire to their establishment leaving his adoptive parents desperate for money. His father sank into depression and was later killed in one of the city's violent class wars. With nowhere left to turn, his mother was forced to enter into the only profession she could, prostitution.
In 1390, things took a turn for the worse when an abusive client battered Luse's mother. She escaped without being beaten to death, but in her hurry, she stepped on a nail. The wound became infected and gangrene soon spread, crippling her and leaving her bedridden indefinitely. Her Elvin immune system prevented her from dying, prolonging her suffering until she begged a young Luse to end her suffering. With no money for a doctor or medicine, the young elf had little choice. He slit her wrists with a razor blade to set her free from the suffering. The image of her death would haunt Luse for the rest of his life.
The orphaned Luse learned to survive on the streets alone where he adopted a new identity which he uses today, Lusiphur Malaché. He spent his younger years working for a crime lord called The Nick, where he was involved in risky heists. During this tumultuous time in his life, he met and fell in love with the beautiful priestess Elf, Lirilith. However, he was unable to leave the gang and the continuing life of crime drove the young lovers apart. (This part of Lusiphur's life is chronicled in the mini series, Lusiphur and Lirilith written by Drew Hayes and illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander).
- Jace san Lanargaith
- Lusiphur's companion. A fully trained elven soldier following in is father's footsteps.
- the Imp that lives in and protects Lusiphur's mind.
- a sprite, companion to Lusiphur. First appeared in Poison Elves #45.
- Lusiphur's sorceress ex-wife
- Healer in the Sect of Malamarh'nn and an old friend or Lusiphur
- Lusiphur's third serious love, who kills herself rather than be captured by Jace
- head of Sanctuary together with Talon
- head of Sanctuary together with Morachi
- Head of the blood guard of mandratha, archnemesis of Sanctuary
- the second-greatest Sorcerer in Ammrahl'ynn
- Lusiphur's friend from Sanctuary
- Friend to Lusiphur and Jace
- Psychokinetic boy
- head of the Elvin High council and most powerful sorcerer in Ammrahl'ynn
The beginning sees Lusiphur left to die in a desert. He makes use of a lamp, with the subsequent genie, that he received after trading the dead body of a Doppleganger to his ex-wife, Hyena. After a failed attempt to ask for a million wishes, he settles on three: A powerful Elven sword named Cinlach, super speed to get out of the desert, and the "well of souls," an assassin tool.
Genie gives him the wishes. But to give them, she has to take them from somewhere. Cinlach comes from an Elven Warduke named Ailwon Sann Fenlach, who quickly notices it missing. He is a veteran of many long-ago wars against the Orcs even if age and time have worn down his fighting acumen. Sann Fenlach has his mage transport him to Lusiphur's location in the desert where he challenges the elf to a duel for stealing his property. At first the Fenlach is winning, due in part to his mage immediately fixing any wounds Lusiphur can inflict.
The turning point comes when a magician named Tenth steps in. Tenth was quietly reading in his study when he felt a temporary shock. The genie drained his power to accommodate Lusiphur's request for super speed. Tenth also pinpoints where Lusiphur is located and sees that he is currently fighting Sann Fenlach. He also sees the disparity in the fight. Lusiphur is a young but experienced assassin, having to fight for everything he ever had. The High Lord is sedentary, fighting his last significant battle hundreds of years ago. In the meantime he has been sitting on his throne recounting past battles. Tenth sees that he is relying too much on the magical connection and severs it.
After Lushiphur defeats the High Lord when the odds are more even, he starts burying the body. Tenth then arrives to take back the small sliver of power that Lusiphur took from him. Tenth wants it to be a fair contest however. Lusiphur could best Tenth in a physical contest and Tenth could destroy Lusiphur quickly if he chose. The wizard has not had a challenge in a while, and so decides to make a sport of it.
In "Tenth's Game," the Elf is given a fighting chance: Make it across 50 meters through an arch. If he does he will survive. His only weapon is a temporary power of shape-changing into animals given to him by Tenth. The wizard promises to only use his shape-changing powers in return.
The two play a cat-and-mouse game, Lusiphur at one point turning into panther-like creature to fend off Tenth who had become a hawk. Tenth turns to a fly, so Lusiphur turns to a rattle snake, but he cannot figure out how to move a rattlesnake. This was when Tenth turns to a Unicorn, causing Lusiphur to panic and he chose a Nightmare (A black batwinged unicorn that bleeds acid and breathes fire.) Tenth becomes a Drake, where as Lusiphur turns to a black Dragon, knocking Tenth into a mountain. After recovering Tenth becomes a gold dragon, the two fight. Lusiphur gets his teeth on Tenth's throat. Up to this point in his existence Tenth has thoroughly beaten any competitor. Lusiphur has made the wizard fear for his life for the first time in many years. The dragon battle drags on, until Lusiphur disappears. Tenth assumes he is dead and scans the ground for his body. As Tenth searches for Lusiphur's body, he tries to go through the gate as a dragon, but he finds he can't fit. So Tenth becomes a Hell hound and goes through the gate, the moment he crosses it, Lusiphur appears out of nowhere and nearly carves Tenth's heart out. Lusiphur had become a flea and let Tenth carry him through the gate.
- Volume 1: Requiem For An Elf (published June 1, 1996) (I, Lusiphur 1–6)
- Volume 2: Traumatic Dogs (published June 1, 1996) (I, Lusiphur 7, Poison Elves V. 1 8–12)
- Volume 3: Desert of the Third Sin (published March 1, 1997) (Poison Elves V. 1 13–18)
- Volume 4: Patrons (published January 1, 1998) (Poison Elves V. 1 19–20)
- Volume 5: Sanctuary ISBN 1-57989-054-7 (published November 1, 1998) (Poison Elves V. 2 1–12)
- Sanctuary Book 1: Deathmonks
- Sanctuary Book 2: Vivisection
- Volume 6: Guild War ISBN 1-57989-055-5 (published June 27, 2000) (Poison Elves V. 2 13–25)
- Sanctuary Book 3: Guild War
- Sanctuary Book 4: Strange Days
- Volume 7: Salvation ISBN 1-57989-041-5 (published August 13, 2001) (Poison Elves V. 2 26–39)
- Sanctuary Book 5: The Wolf
- Sanctuary Book 6: Cat and Mouse
- Sanctuary Book 7: End
- Volume 8: Rogues ISBN 1-57989-051-2 (published July 26, 2002) (Poison Elves V. 2 40–47)
- Volume 9: Baptism By Fire ISBN 1-57989-058-X (published August 15, 2003) (Poison Elves V. 2 48–59)
- Volume 10: Dark Wars ISBN 1-57989-074-1 (published March 30, 2005) (Poison Elves V. 2 60–68)
- Dark Wars Volume One: Heaven's Devils
- Volume 11: Alliances ISBN 1-57989-089-X (published September 12, 2007) (Poison Elves V. 2 69–80)
- Dark Wars Volume Two: Alliances
There have been a number of miniseries and ongoing title spin-offs from the core Poison Elves book, and they have generally been written by other creative teams.
(From Sirius Entertainment)
- Poison Elves: Lost Tales, 11-issues series, January 2006-April 2007. Written and drawn by Aaron Bordner. Self-contained stories about various characters from the Poison Elves universe.
- Poison Elves: Dominion, 6-issues mini-series, September 2005-September 2006. Written by Keith Davidsen/Art by Scott Lewis. About Lusiphur's adventures prior to the Poison Elves series.
- Poison Elves: Ventures, 4-issues mini-series, May 2005-April 2006. Written by Keith Davidsen/Art by Aaron Bordner. Each issue dedicated to a different character: Cassandra, Lynn, The Purple Marauder and Jace.
- Poison Elves: Hyena, 4-issues mini-series, October 2004-February 2005. Written by Keith Davidsen/Art by Scott Lewis.
- Poison Elves Sketchbook, by Drew Hayes & various, January 2003.
- Poison Elves Companion, 1 issue, December 2002. By Drew Hayes, Keith Davidsen, Mark Smylie & the Fillbach Brothers. Lusiphur's allies and enemies, a complete map of Amrahly'nn, continuity guide, suggested reading chronology, new illustrations... Divided into five parts, (The Dark Wars, Lusiphur Malachi, Lusiphur's Allies, Lusiphur's Enemies, and Weapon Guide).
- Poison Elves: Parintachin, 3-issues mini-series, October 2001-March 2002. Written and drawn by the Fillbach Brothers.
- Poison Elves: Lusiphur & Lirilith, 4-issues mini-series, January–April 2001. Written by Drew Hayes/Art by Jason Shawn Alexander.
- Poison Elves Color Special, 1 issue, December 1998. By Drew Hayes. Includes three full-color stories, focusing on Hyena, Parintachin, and Lusiphur.
- Poison Elves Fan Edition #1, 1 issue, October 1996, Overstreet's Fan + Sirius. By Drew Hayes. "Riders" short story in color + 2-pages Drew Hayes interview.
- The Crow, in Mythography #1, an anthology book also featuring work from other independent creators, Bardic Press, 1996, 64-page. An adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven", telling the story of Lusiphur and Hyena's separation.
- Poison Elves Volume One Limited Edition Portfolio, by Drew Hayes, set of 8 10x12 inch color prints.
- Drew Hayes Poison Elves Pencil Sketch Portfolio, by Drew Hayes
- The Women of Poison Elves Portfolio, by Drew Hayes, set of 8.5 by 11 inch Color Pin-Up plates of Drew's favorite Poison Elves heroines in the style of his favorite Misfits posters.
- Poison Elves Killer Curves Portfolio, by Scott Lewis
- Poison Elves Poster by Janine Johnston
- Cleah Print, by Drew Hayes
- Lirilith Print, by Jason Alexander
- Hyena Limited Edition Print #2, by Scott Lewis
- Poison Elves Poster Map, by Mark Smylie
- Poison Elves Vinyl Sticker Collection, by Drew Hayes
- Poison Elves trading cards. 1996, released through Comic Images. 24pt., 75-card series with chase cards including 6 Chromium Cards, a 3-card subset and an Autographed card. 8 cards per pack.
- Lusiphur 1:8 scale prepainted statue, designed by Drew Hayes and sculpted by Yoshihiro Saito, cold cast resin, standing 11 inches with base (2000, Sirius/Fewture Models)
- Poison Elves Encyclopedia CD-Rom
- Poison Elves Encyclopedia Limited Edition USB Flash Drive
- Poison Elves Zippo Lighter
- From the forward to "Poison Elves: The Mulehide Years" trade.
- "Toxic Elves". Wizard. Wizard Entertainment (17): 11. January 1993.
- The foreword to the "Traumatic Dogs" Collected Edition
- Avery, Chris (September 27, 2012). "Requiem for a (Poison) Elf". Caffeine Forge. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- Back For The Attack: The Return of Poison Elves, interview with Robb Horan
- Robb Horan image post in the Poison Elves Facebook group
- Hedgecock joins IDW as Managing Editor[permanent dead link] 10/29/2013, by Heidi MacDonald in The Beat
- Davidson, Keith J. The Poison Elves Companion Vol. 1. December, 2002. SIRIUS Entertainment, Inc.
- Poison Elves comics on Comicvine.com wiki
- The Poison Elves Home Page (fan site, not up-to-date)
- Resurrecting Lusiphur: An Interview and Preview of the All-New POISON ELVES, interview with artist Montos, by Matt Rawson, 2 March 2013, on ComicCritique.
- Exclusive first look at Ape Entertainment’s Poison Elves revival, interview with Ape Entertainment CEO David Hedgecock, by Brigid Alverson, December 10, on Comic Book Resources.
- Back For The Attack: The Return of Poison Elves, interview with writer Robb Horan, by Vince Brusio on PREVIEWSworld.