The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins
By Michael Berry,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Graphic novel parodies fantasy gaming with skill, affection.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The Adventure Zone explores the traditions of fantasy role-playing games. The emphasis is on action-packed laughs, rather than education.
You ought to be able to rely on your friends, even though they might disappoint you sometimes.
Positive Role Models
Taako, Merle, and Magnus are each scoundrels of a sort -- ready for a fight or some light thievery. They generally wind up doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.
Violence & Scariness
The main characters fight and kill annoying gerblins, as well as an evil magician, trained wolves, and a giant spider. The climax of the novel involves blasts of magical fire. The violence is more cartoonish than upsetting.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
The characters swear frequently in The Adventure Zone. One of the first sections of dialogue includes "f--k," which is subsequently used perhaps a dozen times. "S--t" is used about as frequently, while "hell," "damn," "goddamn," and "a--hole" are used less often.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink cocktails and from a flask of brandy.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is a fantasy graphic novel based on a popular podcast performed by the McElroy Brothers and their father. Swearing is frequent, with at least a dozen uses of "f--t" and "s--t" and less frequent use of "hell," "damn," "bastard," and "goddamn." Violence is mostly directed toward trained wolves, giant spiders, and the gerblins -- small, annoying orc-like guys who bleed green blood -- until the climactic magical firefight. One character drinks brandy and cocktails.
Where to Read
Based on 4 parent reviews
Great but not for kids
Report this review
Lots of swearing
Report this review
What's the Story?
As THE ADVENTURE ZONE: HERE THERE BY GERBLINS opens, elf wizard Taako, dwarf cleric Merle, and musclebound human warrior Magnus arrive too late to protect the clients they're supposed to guard. Their search for survivors leads them to various magical adventures, through which they lie, scheme, and break the fourth wall by consulting with their Dungeon Master. They will battle an evil wizard, fight wolves and giant spiders, and face a gauntlet of mystical fire, surviving against all odds before reaching a destination beyond their imaginations.
Is It Any Good?
With its convoluted rules and sometimes absurd obstacles, fantasy gaming is ripe for parody, and this graphic novel satirizes the genre with skill and affection. Taako, Merle, and Magnu aren't as smart as they think they are, and the McElroy boys enjoy tossing them from one hair-raising situation to another in The Adventure Zone. Cary Pietsch's artwork is vibrant and expressive, although sometimes cramped, especially during fight scenes. The offhandedly vulgar dialogue is geared for older teens, and while the story is action-packed, it is not particularly memorable. The ending of this volume announces an unforeseen plot twist likely to lure readers back for more.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins integrates aspects of role-playing fantasy games. Why have games like Dungeons & Dragons been so popular for so long?
How is humor used in The Adventure Zone? How can satire and parody be used to explore aspects of popular culture?
How is violence used in The Adventure Zone? Is violence more acceptable when it's cartoonish? Is it easier to laugh at violence directed toward nonhumans?
- Authors: Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy
- Illustrator: Carey Pietsch
- Genre: Graphic Novel
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: First Second
- Publication date: July 17, 2018
- Number of pages: 256
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 30, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Fantasy Books for Kids
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate