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Andy Mead Remembers Drew Hayes

Drew Hayes is dead.

The creator of Poison Elves died a little over a week ago from a heart attack. He was 37 years old.

Most of you probably don't know who Drew was and have never cracked open a copy of Poison Elves. It didn't have superheroes in it. It was in black and white. Marvel or DC didn't publish it.

Those three strikes eliminate a big chunk of the comic buying public. If any of that chunk has heard of Drew, it's only cause of the "wrestling style" feud that he and Brian Bendis had.

While that depresses me a bit, it's nothing like the feeling that I get from knowing that there will never be anymore issues of Poison Elves. I love comics. I've been reading and collecting them for a long, long time. Yet from all the books I've read, there are three characters that for some twisted reason have resonated with me: Matt Wagner's Grendel, John Constantine from Hellblazer, and Drew's Lusiphur.

So, what was it about Poison Elves? Why did it hit the target for me? Well, the most obvious reason is that I like the "anti-hero" and Lusiphur was most certainly that. The other reason was that Luse, as his friends called him, was not your typical elf. He wasn't the tolkienesque treehugging hippy with a bow. He was a manic-depressive, foul-mouthed, angry elf.

Even the setting of Drew's comic was different. Typically medieval in most of the buildings and dress, yet we had flyers posted on walls for strip clubs and most of the fighting types carried guns as well as swords.

With all this tossed into the soup, Poison Elves managed to make it a believable world and then added Parintachin - the imp who was hiding in Luse's mind and the Underwear-clad Purple Marauder - who really defies explaination but was absolutely hilarious.

The early issues were okay. The art was not that good and the stories, while interesting, were not up to the potential of the idea. Then, at some point, Drew pulled it together and things started to gel. The art got a lot better, especially when he learned not to cross hatch everything. The plots became more complex and the characters became more real.

It became, in short, a great read.

Plus, it wasn't just the adventures of Luse that made PE what it was. Drew usually had a page of text at the beginning meandering about what was going on in his life. He'd whine about relationships not working out, he'd talk about a party he went to, or some music he liked.

I remember the month he decided that Neil Diamond was actually cool and not some dork his mom listened to.

Along with his starting notes and his "Death Threats" letter column, every PE fan went and read the copyright info at the bottom of the inside cover. Those would make you laugh every time you got a new one.

From Issue #17 Vol 1:" #17 Violators, for any reason other than harmless promotion will be hunted down like a dog in the streets, maimed beyond recognition (that's human recognition), and forced to listen to 17 hours of continuous rap while intravenously fed pure MSG. Trust me, on the 16th hour you'll crack and wish to whatever gods you hold dear, you never heard my name..."

Drew started having some health issues somewhere around issue #75 of the Sirius series and the books started to ship erratically, which was not something that really was ever said before about PE.

After #79 they just stopped coming. We got some weak mini-series from people other than Drew, but they just weren't the same. In and out of the hospital for a few years, his heart had taken a beating from sleep apnea related issues.

Yet, through all that, a lot of us waited. Drew would be back and the epic story would be finished. I'd buy PE stuff as I saw it: shirts and prints that Drew would fire off between stays in the hospital.

And then he died.

I read a few articles on him in the last few days. They read like press releases, not something written by someone who was a fan. So, this morning I got up, put on my "Drew Lives" shirt and came in and knocked this out.

He worked hard on his book. His book entertained me. He will be missed.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about it on the forums!

Andy Mead


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