The Adventure Zone
July 18, 2018 6:47 AM - by Clint McElroy - Subscribe

Welcome to the Adventure Zone! SEE! The illustrated exploits of three lovable dummies set loose in a classic fantasy adventure! READ! Their journey from small-time bodyguards to world-class artifact hunters! MARVEL! At the sheer metafictional chutzpah of a graphic novel based on a story created in a podcast where three dudes and their dad play a tabletop role playing game in real time!

Carey Pietsch provides the art in a graphic novel adaptation of the popular podcast's first half-dozen (or so) episodes.
posted by Ipsifendus (17 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I really hope they get to make more of these. Speaking of which, I really ought to buy a copy.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:45 AM on July 18, 2018

It's very good. Makes me want to go back and re-listen to the origin TAZ episodes.
posted by runcibleshaw at 2:48 PM on July 18, 2018

I don't do good with graphic novels. I have a lot of trouble parsing the static images as showing movement. It's not a medium that works well for me, and I had some trouble here. For instance, it was very hard for me to follow what was happening with the jelly monsters in the cave, even though I know very well how that part of the story goes!

But! I still really enjoyed this, so much. I was blown away (ha ha) by the representation of fandolyn/haverdale being destroyed, and Magnus wanting to save people despite the circumstances. It really got across the epic scope of the gauntlet's power, and the terrible destruction it caused.

I also loved seeing The Director. It's great, getting to see her first introduction to the trio, and those scenes in the GN with really well, if you know what's coming later on the story.
posted by meese at 11:40 AM on July 19, 2018

Yours is not the first complaint I've seen that the art is hard to follow in the comic, so I don't think it's just you.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:49 AM on July 19, 2018

Yeah, the jelly part was weird. I think they probably looked at that scene as a tradeoff between length and clarity. Pietsch could have decompressed time a bit there to show the action a little more clearly, but possibly at the expense of moving the story forward.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:23 PM on July 19, 2018

One thing I just realized: they cut out all references to Taako's quest to make a taco. Which makes sense: it's a joke that can only make sense out of character, and it's also stupid and racially problematic...

... But this will change the significance of how the story advances later, in unclear ways.
posted by meese at 12:57 PM on July 19, 2018

They mostly drop the Taako making tacos quest after the first arc. It only really comes up again at the very end, and it doesn't necessarily require the earlier jokey taco stuff.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:09 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I dunno, I kind of disagree about that, but I'm not sure how spoilers work in this thread...

They ending totally can work without the taco quest, but it'll have to be set up differently.
posted by meese at 1:25 PM on July 19, 2018

I still can't get over that people decided because his name is Taako and he has a weird destiny to invent tacos he must be latinx, then got mad when artists depicted Taako as something other than latinx. I can understand wanting more representation, but eesh.

I mean, the fact he's got blue skin in the comic is a direct response to this controversy, he's specifically not any Earth ethnicity as a compromise.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:52 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I know they changed the names from the original D&D source stuff, but did they have to? Did they ask for permission, or just do it pre-emptively?
posted by DigDoug at 6:10 AM on July 20, 2018

DigDoug -- per the book tour event I attended, they didn't want to run into copyright stuff with Wizards of the Coast (who published the original campaign they played).
(Any TAZ listeners who weren't aware of this, an FYI: Gundren -> Brogan, Phandalin -> Haverdale, Klarg -> G'nash, Yeemik -> Yahvie... there might be a few others but I think those are the biggies. It'll be interesting to see the interaction between old and new fandom vis-a-vis the name changes...)

The Director has a bit of a Miss Frizzle vibe that I'm not sure how I feel about. Killian I could look at all day -- her design is really solid and her facial expressions are just great. Exactly the right dosage of exasperation/confusion at THB. Another design made of pure win was Barry Bluejeans... that mullet is fucking inspired.
posted by snerson at 7:06 PM on July 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

I really enjoyed this! I tore through it, and it brought back a lot of great memories, especially of YOU THREW MY WOLF IN THE FIRE!

Agreed that the Jelly was the one storytelling mishap, I feel like it could have been cut as it just sort of happened and was unclear? Didn't notice the lack of a taco quest, we'll see if it affects the endgame or not, if we ever get there (fingers crossed!). I'm sure they can find a way to adapt it though, it doesn't have to be 100% a copy of the podcast.

There were a few moments where they tried to force catchphrases and stuff a bit early for me - getting Sizzle it Up complete with logo, Taako's good out here etc without real story justifications... but eh you want to play the hits especially if you only get one chance and I get it.

Really just makes me want to relisten and reread and relisten and reread and get people turned onto it and maybe go back and give Amnesty another shot...
posted by yellowbinder at 4:55 PM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just saw some discussion on Twitter about this having hit the New York Times bestseller list, which would seem to bode well for the possibility of follow up volumes.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:58 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'd like to know what people, encountering TAZ for the first time through the GN, think of it. Anyone come across any reviews from that perspective, or the like?
posted by meese at 1:11 PM on July 26, 2018

For clarification, the NYT bestseller list only counts number of copies in print, rather than sold (on any level), but that’s still pretty promising : o
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:41 PM on July 26, 2018

You may be misremembering, I went back and looked at one of my favorite scams to get Handbook for Mortals on the bestseller list which involved placing bulk purchase orders at the bookstores that are tracked by the bestseller list. So in that case it was the opposite, that books "sold" exceeded books printed. NYT aside it's pretty clear that the book is selling far beyond anyone's expectations. My personal experience involved hitting two different bookstores and snagging the one copy they had available.

My wife is morally opposed to podcasts and has never listened to the show, so I might get her to read it and see what she thinks.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:02 PM on July 27, 2018

Also, since I read it: I found the pacing a little weird, especially when they stage an elaborate "Travel montage" that makes for a one-page chapter, and the aforementioned jelly fight in the mines.

As far as I can tell even in the podcast they didn't spend a lot of time on getting to the cave. Episode 2 is going into the gerblin cave and dealing with Klarg, and Episode 3 starts with their meeting in Phandalin with Barry and ends with them fighting the jelly. I haven't actually relistened to the episode but if they do a montage bit I don't really remember it. It's possible that they're establishing the concept of the montage chapter specifically for the comics that would let them skip over parts of the podcast that don't translate well into comic form? Actually, now that I think about it I think I remember Griffin pointing out that they were supposed to deal with a few random encounters on the way to the cave that he decided to skip and that is one of the first signs of him growing comfortable with his role as DM and going off the Lost Mine of Phandelver script. Still, probably didn't need to be in the comic this way.

As for the Jelly, I get why it's in the comic, because they get to goof on Griffin's Foley work and that's worth keeping in the comic. That said, when it finally attacks it really looks like the jelly they've been building up to for two pages just falls in front of our heroes and explodes.

That aside, they did a great job. It was fun revisiting the static from before they got inoculated by the voidfish, the destruction of PhandalinHaverdale, meeting Killian, finding the umbrella. I can't wait to read the next book. I wonder if they'll leave the weird initiation robot battle from the Moonlighting arc, which frankly never really fit with the rest of the Bureau of Balance, but established Magnus' love for ripping the arms off of robots. Also, Angus!
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:59 PM on July 27, 2018

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