The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins—A Great Translation

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch graphic novel book cover
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch

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. Continue reading “The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins—A Great Translation”

Kill the Farm Boy—Not Your Average Epic Fantasy

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne book cover
Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

Kill the Farm Boy, by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, is the tale of a Chosen One who runs away from home and promptly gets crushed to death by Fia, a seven foot vegetarian warrior who feels really sorry about it. This accidental death kicks off a quest by Fia and a ragtag crew of others for, well they don’t really agree on what they want. But they all want something and the best way to get it is to cross the lands of Pell in an epic-ish journey.

1—Meet the Adventurers

There’s Fia, of course, who just wants to settle down and grow a rose garden. There’s also Gustave the enchanted talking goat who ran away with said Chosen One farm boy to avoid being made into curry and now hangs out with Fia hoping to maintain same. And Agrabella, the only Wakeful person in a castle cursed to sleep, a bard who decides it’s time to leave said castle and follow Fia to find out what the heck happened. There’s the Crepuscular Lord Toby, who really wants some artisanal crackers and cheese, and to become a full blown Dark Lord. And lastly, there’s Lord Toby’s huntswoman Poltro, who got dropped on her head once too many times as a child but does her best as a rogue despite a crippling fear of chickens. Together they all venture forth to visit Grinda the Sand Witch. Continue reading “Kill the Farm Boy—Not Your Average Epic Fantasy”

Competence—Prim and Percy Come Into Their Own

Competence by Gail Carriger book cover
Competence by Gail Carriger

Competence, by Gail Carriger, is the third in The Custard Protocol series. This time out, we follow Primrose and her brother Percival, rather than Prudence, as the main characters. We start out with Prim being inadvertently abandoned in Singapore when the Spotted Custard, her airship, springs a helium leak.

1—Prim’s and Percy’s Adventures

After being separated from the Spotted Custard, Prim—along with Tasherit, a were-lioness—Prim must secure helium for her ship by stealing a mushroom. Then, after Prim and Rue receive a coded missive from Rue’s mother, Percy must plot a dangerous and little-used course to South America to rescue an endangered species of vampire, the pishtacos. After Rue’s first attempt to meet with said pishtacos goes awry, it’s up to Prim and Percy, using nothing but good manners and logic, to convince the vampires of their good intentions. And none of that even takes into account Percy’s attempt to use a book club to save a soulless man. Continue reading “Competence—Prim and Percy Come Into Their Own”

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle—Fun Fluff With Heart

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle movie poster
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a stand-alone sequel to the original Jumanji movie. It follows five kids after they get sucked into a video game that that used to be a board game. Once there, they must conquer obstacles and survive to return home.

1—The Beginning

In the beginning—1996—the board game Jumanji was found on the beach and taken home to a kid who says “who plays board games anymore?” and goes back to his video game. So in the middle of the night the game changes itself into a game cartridge. The hapless kid puts it in his console and is never seen again. Continue reading “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle—Fun Fluff With Heart”

Get Smart (2008 movie)—Many Kinds of Humor

Get Smart
Get Smart

Get Smart is a movie based on the ‘60s parody sitcom tv series of the same name. The movie follows Maxwell Smart, the best analyst in the US government secret agency CONTROL. When the identities of CONTROL’s secret agents are leaked by a mole, Max finally gets his dreamed for promotion to agent.

1—The Humor

As stated above, there are many kinds of humor in Get Smart. Slapstick, situational, puns and wordplay, etc. But it’s all character driven. I liked most of it, but as with all humor, your mileage may vary. Max—played adeptly by Steve Carell—is at the heart of much of the humor, as befits the main character, and some of my favorite moments come from his outspoken candor and self-honesty. But everyone else gets their moments too. Continue reading “Get Smart (2008 movie)—Many Kinds of Humor”

The Hitman’s Bodyguard—Unexpectedly Romantic

The Hitman's Bodyguard
The Hitman’s Bodyguard

The Hitman’s Bodyguard, directed by Patrick Hughes, stars Samuel L. Jackson as the hitman and Ryan Reynolds as the bodyguard. Michael Bryce (Reynold’s character) is contacted by his ex-girlfriend, Interpol Agent Amelia Roussel, after a mission to transport a witness goes horribly wrong. She asks Michael to protect hitman Kincaid and take him to The Hague so he can testify against a genocidal dictator. It’s more fun that it sounds.

1—Great Chemistry

The chemistry between Jackson and Reynolds is great. Kincaid has tried to kill Reynolds in the past but that’s quickly set aside for the mission. Rather, uptight, has-a-plan-for-everything Bryce and…I wouldn’t call Kincaid laid-back, precisely. More that he just goes with the flow of life while ending the lives of others. Anyway, they spark off each other and bicker throughout the whole movie. It’s great. Continue reading “The Hitman’s Bodyguard—Unexpectedly Romantic”

Over the Garden Wall—Fun Fairytale About the Brink of Death

Over the Garden Wall poster
Over the Garden Wall

Over the Garden Wall is an animated short series (just ten episodes) following Wirt and his little brother Greg as the traverse the forest of the Unknown and try to avoid becoming prey to the Beast.

1—Liminal Places

Liminal places are places that are between—between life and death, between human and animal, between madness and sanity, between dreams and reality, even between roles in life. Over the Garden Wall is made of such liminal places. Continue reading “Over the Garden Wall—Fun Fairytale About the Brink of Death”

Villains By Necessity—Necessary Fantasy

Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward book cover
Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward

Villains By Necessity, by Eve Forward, is one of my favorite books. It’s a stand alone book that works both as epic fantasy and as a subversion thereof. It follows the world’s last villains—an assassin, a thief, an evil sorceress—and a neutral druid (plus one minstrel spy for Good) as they try to save the world by restoring evil to it.

1—The Premise

The armies of Good have vanquished the armies of Evil and sealed the Darkgate, thus ending the influx of evil into the world. This is a problem. The world is now out of balance and going to be sublimated in Light.  Continue reading “Villains By Necessity—Necessary Fantasy”

The Good Place Season One—A Good Twist Ending

The Good Place
The Good Place

The Good place is a fantasy sitcom (I think it’s a sitcom) about a woman who accidentally gets into heaven—the titular Good Place—and all the things that go wrong as she tries to keep her secret.

1—A Quirky Sense of Humor

Not that Eleanor is a Quirky Girl (TM). She’s actually a selfish jerk. But with the help of her “soulmate” Chidi, who was an ethics professor in life, Eleanore tries to learn to be a good person who actually deserves to be in The Good Place. Continue reading “The Good Place Season One—A Good Twist Ending”

Goblin Quest—An Unusual Adventure

Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines book cover
Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines

Goblin Quest is a semi-parodic adventure novel by Jim C. Hines. The goblin Jig gets taken captive by adventurers to be their guide in their quest to retrieve the Rod of Creation. The problem is that Jig doesn’t know where it is.

1—Poking Fun at Adventuring

When I say that Goblin Quest is semi-parodic, I mean that it pokes fun of the absurdities of adventure novels and Dungeons & Dragons type quests, but also that it fully works as an adventure. There’s a Necromancer, a Dragon, and plenty of monsters—though as the story is told from the point of view of one of “monsters” the term becomes a subject of debate, if only in Jig’s mind. Continue reading “Goblin Quest—An Unusual Adventure”