The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is a graphic novel by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch, based on the Dungeons & Dragons podcast The Adventure Zone by the McElroy boys (which I also recommend) and drawn by Carey Pietsch. It follows Magnus, Merle, and Taako on what seems to be a standard boy guarding gig but turns into a disaster of epic proportions.
1—Meet the Boys
Magnus Burnsides is a human fighter with proficiencies in, well, almost everything. Taako is an elf wizard who used to have his own cooking show. Merle Highchurch is a dwarf cleric spreading the good word of Pan with an Extreme Teen Bible. And of course Griffin, their D. M. (Dungeon Master) who pops in to make comments and chat with his players. It’s kind of meta but you soon get used to the conceit and just go with it. It’s all in fun.
The adventure starts with the boys in a wagon traveling through the forest when they are attacked by gerblins. From there they meet a bugbear who loves tea, an ineffectual bodyguard named Barry Bluejeans, a map activated by blood, several of Merle’s relatives—some of whom are dead—a drow wizard with a thing for spiders, and an orc woman with the strangest speech impediment.
3—Samenesses and Differences
If you’ve listened to The Adventure Zone podcast, the major plot points are the same but the details have been changed. It’s quite the feat translating a story from a purely aural medium to a purely visual one, but the authors and artist have done an admirable job. I love the art style and choices, all the little details, especially the ones you might only pick up on if you’ve already listened to the podcast, like the Extreme Teen Bible.
I shall be rereading this one, and picking up the next volume, Murder on the Rockport Limited. It was a blast to get to know Magnus, Merle, and Taako all over again.