Many of my Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) playing friends have told me how much they love The Adventure Zone. I’m not a big podcast person, but I do love a good fantasy graphic novel! So when the first volume was released, I decided to pick it up and give it a shot! If you want to listen to the podcast, the button below will take you to their website!
From the Front Flap:
Welcome to… THE ADVENTURE ZONE
SEE! The illustrated exploits of three lovable dummies set loose in a classic fantasy adventure!
READ! Their journey from small-time bodyguards to world-class artifact hunters!
MARVEL! At the sheer metafictional chutzpah of an action-packed graphic novel based on a story created in a podcast where three dudes and their dad play a tabletop role-playing game in real time!
Join Taako the elf wizard, Merle the dwarf cleric, and Magnus the human fighter for an adventure they are poorly equipped to handle at best, guided by their ever-patient dungeon master, in a graphic novel that will tickle your funny bone, tug your heartstrings, and probably pants you if you give it half a chance.
I’m probably missing something in not having listened to the podcast, but the great news is, for other readers who haven’t listened either, this graphic novel stands on it’s own! There are certainly things that I wish I knew, that I’m sure a quick Google search would tell me, such as who plays which character, but that’s honestly not essential information for enjoying the graphic novel(s).
The story starts off with an introduction to the characters, Taako, Merle and Magnus, as they set off on an adventure that quickly turns into a rescue mission. Throughout the first book, they throw their dungeon master (DM) some curveballs and do things that might otherwise be unexpected if D&D followed traditional narrative structure. For those unfamiliar, D&D is a table-top role-playing game. The players have all created characters, which they portray, and they are gently guided on an adventure by the DM. There are many different styles of play – the DM can be running a preset campaign created by D&D or can be running their own campaign that they created.
When I play, my husband is the DM and runs the campaign set in a world that he created himself, a world that has hosted most of our campaigns and adventures in the last few years. I play a sprite druid named Leelou (who is inspired by Betty from Rat Queens) and we have all sorts of crazy adventures as heroes trying to save the world. The McElroys campaign is also self-created and has a fun mix of traditional fantasy and contemporary elements to it. The characters are entertaining and a little derpy and the art style of the book is spot on as well. Overall, it’s a great adventure series and I can’t wait to read the second and anxiously await the third! And maybe in the meantime, I’ll have to start the podcast.
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars
Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.