Comic Book / Elephantmen
Most of the cast.

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.

Elephantmen provides examples of:

  • 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: Any of the weapons carried by the Elephantmen during the War.
  • Bio Punk
  • 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!"
  • Connected All Along: Hip Flask has actually met Miki before, when Miki's mom was a refugee fleeing France with an infant Miki, Ebon killed Miki's great grandfather and took his sword. Hip Flask discovered Miki and her mom but told the other Elephantmen that it was a cat, thus sparing their lives.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The mothers of the Elephantmen, in a variant of Death by Childbirth. 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.
  • Door Stopper: Some of the collected volumes are quite hefty.
  • Driven to Suicide: Yvette, after she gets a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Horn, Sahara and Flask, in The Killing Season arc.
  • The Dreaded: For the Elephantmen, Yvette was this.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Sahara is the daughter of Serengheti, and Hide's half-sister.
  • Eye Patch Of Power: Trench, a police officer and a Zebra.
  • Eye Scream: Trench lost his eye in the war, he took down a Chinese gunship but when it crashed shrapnel hit his eye. The real scream came after, Trench took a burning piece of wood and applied it to the wound.
  • 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.
    • Animosity between species of Elephantmen seems common as well, with the hyenas seen as mindless brutes, and the crocodiles as monsters.
  • Flashback: 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.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Sahara has compassion for all living things, including Elephantmen and their nemesis Yvette. This despite her mother dying from birthing a Transgenic, her father Serengheti passing her around as a sex toy to his men, and later her getting circumsised while she was living in a podunk village in Central Africa.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Albino: Vanity Case was born an albino, but her case wasn't too severe and she had her eyes surgically altered to be blue rather than their original colour.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Obadiah Horn and Sahara. Flask and Miki.
  • The Immune: Elephantmen had been developed to be highly resistant to poison and completely immune to disease. This lets them operate in FCN contaminated Europe.
  • 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.
  • Inseries Nickname: No one ever calls Hiromi Kiyoko that. Instead she's Miki to everyone. Played with for Vanity Case, her name was actually Bianca when she was a child but was given the nickname Vanity because there was no mirror she didn't love herself in. But when her mom and her ended up in protective custody, Bianca was renamed Vanity.
  • Interspecies Romance: Horn and Sahara. Flask and Miki.
  • 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.
  • Keystone Army: The Mops in the All Coming Evil arc are defeated in this manner by detonating their cranial chips, though there were some survivors who lived at least long enough to be "cleaned up" by Promethean. It remains to be seen if any hyenas still live.
  • Mind-Control Device: Since it wasn't guaranteed that their upbringing would make them into vicious but loyal sociopaths, Mappo had each Elephantman implanted with a tiny robot that alters their brain chemistry to force them to do Mappo's bidding.
  • Medical Rape and Impregnate
  • Merchandise-Driven: Starkings created the original Hip Flask to advertise some fonts. Nobody was interested in those, but the story garnered considerable interest.
  • 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.
  • Only One Female Mold
  • Paparazzi: Both the photographer and the photo-pusher. Both die in terror.
  • People Farms
  • The Plague: The FCN virus wiped out almost all of Europe leading only thousands of survivors. This left Europe ripe for invasion by the Central African Alliance and China. Turns out FCN is an artificial plague made by China.
  • Private Military Contractor: MAPPO, Nikken's company.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Agent Vanity Case looks like she's in her early-twenties, but she was born in 2143 and the timeline of post-war Elephantmen is 2259, making her 116 years old. Though this may have been an uncorrected error, as elsewhere other people refer to her as being in her late teens.
  • Really Gets Around: Miki is a player and ended up getting pregnant with some Asian man she met while she was with Hip Flask. She later goes to get the embryo isolated. She also had another boy-toy on the side after this. More recently she started seeing Mr. Apostrophe just because Flask missed a date with her, while he was investigating a murder case.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Elijah Delaney is a crocodile-hybrid thug who may have a taste for human flesh.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Simms. And Horn's sidekick Mr. Purchase
  • Robot Buddy: Miki gave Flask an Ifrog personal assistant named Wagner. It's a robot frog that takes care of Flask's home, including getting dinner ready for him and setting up a mudbath.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Blackthorne in The Killing Season.
  • Scenery Porn: Ladronn and Moritat can draw some jaw dropping scenery.
  • Science Is Bad: Some of the Elephantmen, particularly Trench feel this way.
  • Sexbot: The Simms model of robot which includes features such as pheromone manipulation and neuro-stimulation
  • Sinister Scythe: Yvette in The Killing Season.
  • Spanner in the Works: Nikken would have successfully made all the Elephantmen into monsters, but his assistant (who currently goes by Claude Bernard) felt that for the Transgenics to be better than humans, they needed moral guidance and so as a personal experiment he took aside a few of the Transgenics, including Hip Flask, and read to them and encouraged them to think and imagine.
  • Spoiled Sweet: For a cab driver, Miki sure has a lot of nice things and lives in an affluent suburb. Turns out her mom married someone well-off and it's stepdad who pays off damages she incurs on her taxi and he lets her max out his credit cards. That said Miki is one of the nicest people in the comic.
  • Stripperiffic: Miki's Skycab uniform is skintight and includes a see-through window down the middle of the shirt.
  • Stalker with a Test Tube: The FCN virus turns people green and makes them sprout deadly mushrooms, for Miki all it did was give her a slight fever and a runny nose. When Miki got pregnant, she had the embryo removed and disposed of because it was infected with FCN. The biotech company that does embryo removal actually didn't dispose it and instead kept in suspended animation due to interest in Miki's FCN resistance and her relationship with an Elephantman.
  • 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.
    • All the trade paperbacks use the theme of "<adjective> <plural noun>".
  • 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.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Yvette, in The Killing Season arc, ends with her killing herself.
  • 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.
    • China goes a step over. Once the war is over, they detonate their Tigermen army, and are quite proud of 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.