|Publisher||Comiccraft (Image Comics)|
|Publication date||July 2006 – February 2018|
|No. of issues||80|
|Written by||Richard Starkings|
|Wounded Animals||ISBN 978-1-58240-691-6|
|Fatal Diseases||ISBN 978-1-60706-177-9|
|Dangerous Liaisons||ISBN 978-1-60706-268-4|
|Damaged Goods||ISBN 978-1-60706-137-3|
|No Surrender||ISBN 978-1-58240-980-1|
|Enemy Species||ISBN 978-1-60706-351-3|
Elephantmen is an American ongoing monthly comic book published by Image Comics and written by Richard Starkings with art by Moritat and a number of other artists. Issue #1 was released in July 2006.
Some 200 years from now, the MAPPO Corporation, headed by the misanthropic and megalomaniacal Japanese scientist Dr. Kazushi Nikken, breeds human/animal hybrids in a secure, top-secret facility somewhere in North Africa. The Hybrids are composed of numerous African animal species including warthogs, elephants, camels, zebras, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, hyenas and crocodiles. The process involves implanting embryos into the wombs of kidnapped local women who are disposed of after giving birth. Each child is branded after birth, marking them as the property of MAPPO.
These Elephantmen are trained from birth to be the perfect emotionless super soldiers and merciless killers, and are indoctrinated with an Orwellian mindset to think of themselves as property of the MAPPO Corporation and to deny any concept of free thought.
Upon discovering these experiments, the United Nations send in an army to storm MAPPO's secret base. While their mission has not been elaborated at this stage, it seems to be a combination of liberating the Elephantmen, investigating the attacks on the local populace, and ending the development of MAPPO's illegal army.
MAPPO turns the Elephantmen on the U.N. troops, and horrendous casualties are inflicted on both sides. Ultimately, the U.N. succeed in subduing the Elephantmen and the MAPPO personnel are arrested. The Elephantmen are rehabilitated and released to establish their own lives in the outside world, where they are generally treated with distrust and horror from humans. Many of the Elephantmen were assigned jobs by the government.
Living with humans has proven to be incredibly difficult for the Elephantmen. The war in which they fought had great consequences as people from both sides (Elephantmen included) lost many loved ones. Not all of those who survived retained their sanity; in fact, some became active hunters who tracked down Elephantmen and then executed them. The series shows that the characters are haunted by memories that are still raw, with some people being driven to insanity due to being unable to let go of the past. It is evident that the Elephantmen themselves show some level of regret towards what they did during the conflict. It is also evident that crimes such as the ivory trade are seen as a good excuse to commit murder, and that even the Elephantmen themselves are involved with the seedy underworld and drug abuse. Women who befriend and become romantically involved with the Elephantmen are treated as outsiders, frowned upon, yet some have nightmares about their offspring and the chances of survival during childbirth. At this time in the series, the species do not accept each other.
The series as a whole is similar to the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Thus it also bears similarities to the film adaptation of the aforementioned book.
The Elephantmen series is a spin-off from the series Hip Flask, set in the same universe and expanding on details of various minor characters from that series. Elephantmen: War Toys is a three-issue mini-series prequel.
At WonderCon in 2010 Comicraft/Active Images said the option of their Image Comics series Elephantmen was bought by Zucker Productions for development into a film. Starkings himself was working on the draft treatment: "Jerry [Zucker] and I can't wait to bring the stories of Hip, Horn and Sahara to life on screen in a way that will simply take your breath away". The project's status is unknown.