The Elf with a Gun was an entity of unknown origin who used a variety of bizarre disguises to murder seemingly random people for no apparent reason over a period of several months. His path almost crossed that of the Defenders a few times, but they never actually met him or learned of his activities. He was first seen in a trailer park in California where he knocked on the door of Tom and Linda Pritchett and presumably killed them both. He next appeared in Las Vegas where he killed Charles and Frances Lester and then disguised as a Native American shaman, killing a couple named Sally and Stu, and finally killing an unnamed female protester in a bathroom. The Elf (whose name was posthumously revealed to be Melf) was eventually run over by a truck before his motives could be established. Later, his nephew Relf apparently carried on his mission.
A subsequent claim that the Elves with Guns were agents of the alien Tribunals and that Melf's murders were part of an elaborate scheme to restore the cosmic balance and stop a universal catastrophe was eventually revealed to be a hoax. As yet, the truth about the Elf with a Gun remains a mystery.
- An individual who appeared to be Melf also encountered the rock band Kiss in another dimension. However, this was after Melf's apparent death and so may have been a different Elf.
- A suspiciously similar elf with a gun appeared in DC Comics' Countdown to Mystery #8 as a tribute to the late Steve Gerber.