Wednesday, July 10, 2019

[Graphic Novel Review] The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint, Griffin, Justin, & Travis McElroy. Illustrated by Carey Pietsch

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.

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I have never been a huge podcast person. I try to get into them and then forget about it or lose interest. But I have always been interested in The Adventure Zone. It's always got such great reviews and positive hype, plus my fiancé is a big fan not only of TAZ but the McElroy gang in general that I wanted to be a part of the fun too. I am so happy that I ended up really enjoying myself! 

My favorite part of TAZ is the characters. Magnus, Taako, and Merle are all so funny and they work so well together. They bicker and fight, but protect each other when things get dangerous, like a family. Which makes sense, since this story is based of a D&D podcast where each of the three characters are a different McElroy family member (with Griffin being the narrator). I personally think that reading this graphic novel and not knowing anything about the McElroys takes away from the overall experience of the story. I do not think that's a bad thing since I do think anyone, whether they know the McElroys or not, could enjoy this graphic novel. I just think knowing who they are, how they interact with each other on their podcasts, and even understanding their humor makes this story more enjoyable.  So far, Taako is my favorite character. 

The art is amazing. I am a bit experience with Carey Pietsch because she has done art for LumberJanes, one of my favorite comic book series. So I am not surprised that I ended up loving the art style. I am really into a more cartoonish and bright style versus a more realism approach and this was perfect. I do want to read more stories that feature her as an illustrator. 

The story is such a good time. It's exactly what I (someone who has never played D&D) expected out of a D&D adventure story. Traveling, fighting and action, bickering fun characters, maybe everything being a bit chaotic. It's overall a really fun time. The humor comes off incredibly well and it's obvious that this story was created by the McElroys. If you've heard any clips of their podcasts you'll understand what I mean, but they have such a specific humor that I enjoy a lot. 

Although I obviously enjoyed reading this story, there was nothing about it that had me needing to continue reading. As I was actively reading I was enjoying everything about it but the moment I put it down I didn't ever experience that craving urge to pick it back up. However, I do really want to read the second one so this volume succeeded in leaving at such a exciting part of the story that I do feel the urge to want to continue. 

I cannot wait to continue onto volume two! The next volume comes out in a couple weeks so I am hoping I can request it from my library not too long after the release date to continue the adventure! Also side note: this may look like it is good for young kids because of the artwork but it has a lot of swearing and more adult topics like drinking alcohol. I feel like that needed to be pointed out just in case!

Thank you for reading!


  1. Replies
    1. Yeah!! I bet you’d like it!! You (and Alex) would probably love the podcast! ☺️