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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Elven Kind

The serial killer known as Elf with a Gun made several seemingly random appearances in the pages of the Defenders. Beginning with the Elf's debut in #25 (July 1975), the sound effect BLAM would fill the final panel of any sighting of the Elf, denoting that he shot his victim and seemingly teleported away.

Through a string of coincidences, the mutant hero Nightcrawler developed several similarities to the homicidal Elf.

Introduced in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975), Nightcrawler too had the ability to teleport. Nightcrawler's next appearances added the signature sound effect BAMF whenever he would teleport away.

A flashback in X-Men King-Size Annual #4 (1980) elaborated on Nightcrawler's origin, telling how his foster brother had been a crazed serial killer in the village of Winzeldorf, Germany. After Nightcrawler unintentionally killed his brother while trying to stop him, the villagers blamed Nightcrawler for all of the murders his brother had committed.

Early on, other heroes often joined the general public in mistaking Nightcrawler for a demon based on looks alone. By the early 1980s, however, some of the X-Men warmed up to Nightcrawler well enough to give him the friendly moniker of "elf" (or "fuzzy-elf").

On a separate tangent, an elf named Indel was a member of an adventuring party featured in a series of ads for Dungeons & Dragons that ran inside comic books during the early 1980s. Although Indel could not teleport, he did vanish through a trapdoor during one of the stories. There were no sound effects, but Indel did cry out, "Help!" The rest of the party eventually found the unlucky elf as the serial continued.

The BLAM panel comes from Defenders #25 (July 1975). The panels of Nightcrawler come from Uncanny X-Men #148 (Aug. 1981).

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