This week, prepare yourselves for the fantastical tale of three ill-equipped adventurers as they explore the world of “The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins” a graphic novel adapted by Clint McElroy and Carey Pietsch. Adapted from the comedy and adventure podcast The Adventure Zone by the McElroy family, this graphic novel follows the three adventurers Taako, Magnus, and Merle through the first arc of the podcast’s Balance campaign. Join these three goofballs as they venture through battles with gerblins, wizards with bad accents, mysterious relics, and a planet wide conspiracy.
With around nine hours of audio material to adapt, this graphic novel comes to about two hundred and forty pages of content. Although it is quite a long read, and one that had to be put down multiple times during the writing of this review, the artwork alone makes up for the text heavy content seen from this podcast adaption. Illustrated by Carey Pietsch, the artist behind multiple “Adventure Time” and “The Lumberjanes” comics, this graphic novel comes to life with a playful and expressive art style. Throughout the novel, this art style lends itself to the humor of the comic as well as the action scenes that are prevalent in this adventure story. By far, one of the most impressive aspects is the use of color theory within the comic, every scene reads extremely well and keeps up a consistent color style without being constricting. Of all the scenes in this comic the most memorable end up being those with strong color direction, like the climactic fight for Haverdale and the aftermath being drawn with bold reds and chilling purples.
In terms of story this comic follows the podcast storyline directly, but listening beforehand isn’t required for understanding. The comic follows the three adventurers: Taako, a former TV cook show host, Magnus, the local village hero, and Magnus, the struggling cleric from a large family. The story is charming, although somewhat text heavy due to the sheer amount of content being adapted to comic format. However, any dips in storytelling due to length are made up for by the artwork and the comedic moments during transitional scenes. Overall, this is a wonderful comic and adaptation that successfully captures the comedic and serious moments of the story. If you’re interested in high fantasy comics that aren’t afraid to make fun of themselves, you’re in the right place.
The Adventure Zone graphic novel series currently has three comics in its lineup with the newest book, Petals to the Metal, now available on Amazon as of this year.