I’m not much of a graphic novel reader in all honesty. It takes a lot for me to buy one, simply because I read them so quickly that they never seem worth the money for me. At one time in my life I the DC and Marvel comics as they came out, single issue. Unfortunately I don’t have the time, or interest in those franchises anymore to continue that. I can guarantee they’ll almost never show up here.
However, I can be enticed into reading something in the right circumstances. One Sherlock Holmes inspired, and two D&D related comics are exactly right to entice me in.
The first one I read, and probably my least favorite of the three was Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D by David Kushner and Koren Shadmi. I also say ‘least’ with a very small margin. This was just a bit denser than the others, and a non-fiction graphic novel so not something that picked you up and swept you off your feet. It takes a look at how Dungeons & Dragons came to be, it’s origins in war games and how it’s popularity flooded into the geek/nerd culture. I’ve played D&D for over ten years and I loved seeing the root of it all, as I’d heard things here and there but never seen it collected so neatly. The illustrations weren’t my favorite, the style was simple and a little dull, but I also think that helped capture what was being told. If it’s something you’re curious about it’s worth trying. It also explains the ‘Dungeons & Dragons is Satan worship’ thing that went around for a while (turns out it’s kind of funny).
I picked up A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman and Rafael Albuquerque on a daily deal on Kindle a few weeks ago in a spur of the moment purchase. I’d been trying to track down just the short story outside of an expensive bind-up for a while so seeing an adaptation of it for three dollars I couldn’t say no. I’m going to be honest, 8 out of 10 times I regret these purchases. This one I do not. I will happily read this again. It’s a twist on a Sherlock Holmes story and with a flavor that I’ve previous mentioned I hate lately. This one didn’t bother me at all though, I ate it up. I love the perspective they gave this, a twist on what you might expect by inverting who was bad and who was good. It’s short and beautifully drawn as well. I hate to spoil it as much as I likely have as I really recommend it, so I’ll stop here. Just give it a look when you can.
The most recent read out of the three was an actual full price purchase, god help me, but I’m actually super happy with it. The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by The McElroy Brothers, and Carey Pietsch was a delight. Just, 100% here, you can’t miss this if you love graphic novels of the fun, comedic, fantasy adventure type. The story did things I didn’t expect (something hard to do with me) and I giggled all the way through. The freaking travel montage chapter made my lay my head down at work and laugh between calls. Even if you don’t give a damn about D&D and are tired of me talking about it this is such a great widespread appeal type of thing that I have to recommend it. It’s based off a podcast of the same name they have, which I have not listened to. It follows three companions as they do what should be a simple job. It gets to be very much not simple, and very much involved. I’ll also say that this was not a fast read. I was able to read this over the course of two days, something that is unheard of for me. Totally worth the money.