Elephantmen is a European comic book series published by Image Comics, created by Richard Starkings and illustrated by Ladronn, Moritat, Marian Churchland and guest artists.
Set in the 23rd century, the series revolves around a group of genetic super soldiers created by a Mad Scientist named Kazushi Nikken. Nikken kidnapped over one hundred women and fertilized their eggs using animal DNA. Through brainwashing, he raised a private army of strong, resilient, and intelligent super soldiers, which he then unleashed upon Northern Africa.
Before long, the United Nations raided Nikken's heavily defended facility and put an end to his despicable work. The surviving Elephantmen -- over 15,000 of them -- were sent to various parts of the world and given jobs, education, and even citizenship. When we catch up to them in 2259, the Elephantmen have all the same rights as humans... well, almost.
They are not allowed to run for any position of authority. They are not allowed to have children (though this is a moot point, since they were all neutered by Nikken). They are definitely not allowed to assemble, unless authorized by the government. They are denied the right to bear arms.
After all, when you have over 100 tonnes of muscle walking around, you wanna be careful.
Currently there are three collected volumes of Elephantmen, one volume of the prequel series Elephantmen: War Toys, and three volumes of Hip Flask, starring the hippo hybrid who started it all. As of 2010, a film adaptation of Elephantmen is in the works.
- Action Girl: Yvette in War Toys, Vanity Case with her Wing Chun skills, and most recently Blackthorne with her Gun Fu.
- Adaptation Expansion: Started with the Hip Flask advertisements.
- Art Shift: Due to the number of artists contributing to the series. Ladronn is the regular Hip Flask artist, and Moritat was the regular Elephantmen artist until issue 18. Now there are several different artists rotating on the book.
- BFG: Pretty much any of the weapons carried by the Elephantmen during the War.
- Canned Orders Over Loudspeaker: "You are not God's children! God made you weaker than man! MAPPO made you strong! You will defend MAPPO to your last breath!"
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The mothers of the Elephantmen, in a variant of Death by Childbirth. Basically, Nikken kidnapped them, implanted them with hybrid embryos, placed them -- naked -- in nightmarish robotic contraptions, waited until their bellies were practically bursting from the sheer size of the baby, then cut them open and tossed their bodies in a mass grave.
- Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: The Los Angeles of 2259 is much more polluted than it is today, and it rains much more frequently as a result. British-born creator Richard Starkings says that the main reason for all the rain is that Englishmen in LA always miss the rain.
- Designer Babies: How the Elephantmen are created.
- Doorstopper: Some of the collected volumes are quite hefty.
- Dysfunctional Family: Sahara is the daughter of Serengheti, and Hide's half-sister.
- Eyepatch of Power: Trench, a police officer and a Zebra.
- Fantastic Racism: Many humans hate the Elephantmen, and call them a variety of slurs, the most common being "munt" and "monkey." There is a thriving black market in Elephantman parts.
- Flash Back: Used quite a bit. In issue #0 ("See the Elephant"), Savannah's innocent remarks trigger dark memories for Ebony. Some stories are set entirely in the past.
- The Future Is Noir
- Gunship Rescue: In War Toys Volume 1, French freedom fighter Yvette is cornered on the roof of a cathedral by several Elephantmen. Then three or four Red Chinese gunships appear and open up on the Elephantmen with More Dakka. Subverted, because the gunships are shot down by the Elephantmen, crash into the cathedral roof, and kill everyone except Yvette who miraculously survives.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Obadiah Horn and Sahara.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Miki. She is well aware of her beauty ("Just because I'm super-hot doesn't mean I'm not super-smart"), but not always the effect her physical form has on men. In issue #18, she removes her work shirt - which has a transparent window down the front - and dons a t-shirt fresh out of the freezer. All in front of Tiny, one of the mechanics at the Skycab company. The poor guy tries not to look, but doesn't quite have the self-control.
- Interspecies Romance: Horn and Sahara.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
- Katanas Are Just Better: Many of the Elephantmen carry huge katana during the War. Apparently Ebony Hide is the first to use one. He keeps it and uses it to fight three crocodiles in a later story.
- Kavorka Man: The Elephantmen. Miki says she "likes muscles, and you boys are loaded with them." She also is very interested in seeing their genitals, presumably because Bigger Is Better in Bed is in effect.
- Medical Rape and Impregnate
- Ms. Fanservice: Sahara. She usually drapes her curvy figure in near-transparent white fabric, and that's about it.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Minor characters are sometimes derived from real people. "Herman Strumm" is a parody of Howard Stern, and TV anchors "Bauer" and "Cussick" are obviously based on Matt Lauer and Katie Couric.
- Paparazzi: Both the photographer and the photo-pusher. Both die in terror.
- People Farms
- Private Military Contractor: MAPPO, Nikken's company.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Elijah Delaney, the crocodile-hybrid thug who may have a taste for human flesh.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Simms.
- Scenery Porn: Ladronn and Moritat can draw some jaw dropping scenery.
- Science Is Bad: Some of the Elephantmen, particularly Trench feel this way.
- Stripperiffic: Miki's Skycab uniform is skintight and includes a see-through window down the middle of the shirt.
- Theme Naming: People named after deserts, Elephantmen named after Old Testament figures, co-workers named after portable objects (Hip Flask, Vanity Case)... Starkings really likes this trope.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Obadiah Horn and Sahara. She's a tall, slim, curvy African goddess, and he's a rhino-human hybrid.
- Uterine Replicator: Once removed from their mothers' wombs, baby Elephantmen spend time in fluid-filled pods.
- War Is Hell
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: This is kind of the whole point of the Elephantmen as characters. They were created from human and animal DNA as "war toys," but they are as intelligent as any human and capable of very human reasoning, emotions and desires. Many of the munt-haters consider them subhuman, animals, and hate them for it.
- You Do NOT Want to Know: When Mad Scientist Nikken created his Super Soldiers he got away with it by people turning a blind eye in exchange for promises of cures, ballgames, etc.