Podcasts, Dungeons & Dragons ,and comics are three of my favorite things in the world. With the release of the first The Adventure Zone graphic novel, all three of those things were rolled into one ridiculous and hilarious tome, filled with some good, good content.
Started as a one-off episode of the podcast, My Brother, My Brother, and Me, the trio of brothers – Griffin, Justin, and Travis McElroy – invited their father Clint to play Dungeons & Dragons with them. What resulted was nothing short of incredible, with the one-shot episode becoming The Adventure Zone, one of the most well-regarded and beloved actual-play tabletop podcasts ever created. Spanning over seventy episodes, the McElroys crafted an epic, deep story of family, saving the world, and a lot of very silly jokes.
Named The Adventure Zone: Balance, the series focused on three bumbling heroes – human fighter Magnus Burnsides, elven wizard Taako, and dwarven Cleric Merle Highchurch – as they were roped into a sprawling opus to save the world. With a lot of help along the way (mostly from powerful women, a running theme in the show), the trio embark on an incredible adventure powered by the most popular tabletop role-playing game in the world.
After the success of the show, the guys and their father began to adapt the audio-only show into a visual medium, and the resulting graphic novel shows the humble beginnings of the group dubbed “Tres Horny Boys” and the mission that begun it all.
Gerblins brings the group from a simple escort mission to knee-deep in an epic fantasy adventure. Without spoiling something that absolutely must be experienced, this graphic novel is the perfect entry for those who don’t have five hours to spend to get invested in the first arc of the audio series. The adaptation by Clint McElroy, a former comic book author in his own right, helps to make this adaptation as faithful to the source material as possible.
These good, good boys are joined by illustrator Carey Pietsch who does an incredible job of taking something deeply rooted in the theater of the mind and giving it a visual home. With this fandom being the way it is, there were some difficult terrains to cross when it came to how to visually represent these very popular characters. While some fans might not agree with the paths taken, I think that the group was well represented, and the voices of the characters were captured perfectly. Pietsch took a difficult job and made it look gorgeous, truly encapsulating the energy and joy that come with a foray into The Adventure Zone.
This book is epic is scope because of the breathtaking story that takes place in the pages of this book and beyond into the audio medium, but please trust me on this: The Adventure Zone is not to be missed. For fans of tabletop games, great storytelling, and silliness, this is the book for you.
Creative Team: Clint McElroy (written and adapted by), Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy (writers), Carey Pietsch (illustrator)
Publisher: First Second
Click here to purchase.