The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is officially on shelves in stores everywhere. To commemorate this amazing feat by the McElroys and Carey Pietsch, I wanted to submit unto the universe a love letter for the amazing story that is #TheZoneCast.
Thank you for making me laugh…above everything else, The Adventure Zone: Balance is funny. I can’t count the number of weird looks I received on the subway for trying to contain my laughter. The McElroy’s invite us into their humor, which they’ve cultivated within their family since it’s beginnings, and suddenly we’re part of the secret club of inside jokes. Griffin as DM adds so much to the non player characters (NPCs) and I especially love when Griffin has to have a conversation with himself. I can’t reference too much without ruining the best jokes, but trust me, you’re gonna embarrass yourself on some kind of public transportation while listening.
Thank you for creating a new world equal to a high fantasy franchise…I have several of the later episodes on my phone still, and episodes will shuffle into the playlist. I happily listen to them again and again like rereading a favorite book. I’ve sat in parks silently listening and imagining the world Griffin describes coming to life in front of me. Let’s not forget the music Griffin composes to fill in and build up moments in The Adventure Zone. When I need a moment of great instrumental music, I turn to Griffin’s SoundCloud playlist to relive all of those moments again.
The story is so intertwined from beginning to end because Griffin put so much work into it, and it’s so satisfying to get to the last episode. Heartbreaking, too. When I finished the 69th episode (aaay) I cried for a long time. I binge listened to three years of a fantasy adventure. You meet and lose so many characters over all of those episodes, and I’ll happily compare it to reading the last Harry Potter book.
Thank you for making space for others… The McElroys are all cis white men living in America, which is a demographic saturating the media we consume daily. Without spoiling too much, Griffin creates LGBTQ+ characters including trans, nonbinary, and ace which are often underrepresented groups. Because The Adventure Zone is a podcast, the descriptions of the characters are up for any interpretation, which leads to some amazing fan art and cosplay.
Thank you for making me cry… if you love works of fiction like me, no matter the format, chances are you’ve cried in a theater or in bed watching/reading/listening to worlds torn apart and put back together. Fictional stories are so good because the people who write them develop them from life. There is truth in fiction, and The Adventure Zone brought so much truth into my life. So much of #TheZoneCast is pure joy, and impulse, and messing with each other, and challenging each other to grow. Even before I finished the Balance campaign I was urging friends to listen to it, so they could have all of the laughter, sorrow, and happiness, too.
Thank you for extending my time with these characters via the graphic novel… The time of Taako, Merle, and Magnus is over, and the McElroy’s have moved on to the next chapter of The Adventure Zone, called Amnesty (it’s also really good, so you should listen to that!). Luckily, the graphic novel for the first arc within Balance, Here There Be Gerblins, just released and we can all relive the crazy adventures again! Even better, if you’re skeptical of a D&D podcast, a graphic novel might be a more traditional way to enter into the world.
Thank you for it all, and I hope the rest of The Adventure Zone can become graphic novels, too.
Go pick up a copy at your local book store or online here:
NOTE: If you don’t know about the McElroy Brothers and their podcast, My Brother, My Brother, and Me let me give you a little insight. Justin, Travis, and Griffin are three brothers who have several podcasts on the Maximum Fun network, and they’re amazingly funny. Their first podcast, affectionately called MBMBAM (ma-bim-bam), has been an eight year endeavor, and example of growth and learning with lots of goofs. The Adventure Zone podcast includes the boys’ father, Clint McElroy, a talented radio DJ and goofball.
[Photo Courtesy of First Second]