The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
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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
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