Thursday, 11 October 2018

Review: The Adventure Zone - Here there be Gerblins by The McElroy Family

Publication Date: July 17th 2018
Publisher: First Second
Pages: 256 pages

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 a 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 warrior for an adventure they are poorly equipped to handle AT BEST, guided ("guided") by their snarky DM, in a graphic novel that, like the smash-hit podcast it's based on, will tickle your funny bone, tug your heartstrings, and probably pants you if you give it half a chance.
With endearingly off-kilter storytelling from master goofballs Clint McElroy and the McElroy brothers, and vivid, adorable art by Carey Pietsch, The Adventure Zone: Here There be Gerblins is the comics equivalent of role-playing in your friend's basement at 2am, eating Cheetos and laughing your ass off as she rolls critical failure after critical failure.

Several months ago my husband started mentioning this podcast that I absolutely had to listen to called "The Adventure Zone". I would frequently hear him sniggering whilst listening to it, and given that we were about to start our own D&D group (I think that is entirely down to the sheer brilliance of the podcast that this occurred) I figured (after a lot of bullying) that I probably should give it a go. I warned him (frequently) that I wasn't a fan of podcasts, and I might try the first episode and find it was not my cup of tea. But finally, finally, I stuck the first episode on, and I could not stop laughing.

This podcast should come with a health warning, and some sort of disclaimer that you probably shouldn't listen to it in public because you'll get a lot of very weird looks from people as you start laughing at the sheer brilliant idiocy.

Even if you have no idea about the rules of D&D, or anything beyond "it's a nerdy game" you'll love this podcast. Three brothers and their Dad, the chemistry and familiarity as the four bounce off each other is pure magic. Griffin as DM creates a truly incredible story, and then watches as Clint, Justin, and Travis wreak havoc with it, with hilarious results.

With all that build up, my expectations were pretty darn high going into this comic, but it more than lives up to them. Sure, nothing will ever completely capture the ludicrous magic of the show, but this comic does a damn good job, and I found myself laughing out loud as I revisited the excellent first adventure in the series "Here There be Gerblins" and saw my three favourite incompetents heroes start their adventuring.

It's funny, it's brilliant, and I love it.
This comic is everything you ever wanted, plus a few things you never knew you wanted. It's glorious.
And given that the next arc of their adventure is possibly one of my all time favourites, I need the next issue of this immediately.

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