cover image Adventurers Anonymous (Quests Aside # 1)

Adventurers Anonymous (Quests Aside # 1)

Brian Schirmer and Elena Gogou. Vault, $17.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-63849-157-6

Magic, situational comedy, and camaraderie blend into a whimsical fantasy scripted by Schirmer (Fairlady) where Dungeons & Dragons–type characters congregate at a tavern for adventurers. Quests Aside inn’s the kind of place where everybody’s name is known, including Suzie (the giant), Ray (the skeleton chef), Clive (Ray’s talking carving knife), and Barrow (beleaguered ex-adventurer and bar owner). Barrow’s caught between two hard places: King Durk threatens to seize the watering hole for military use, and Goroll (the talking rat) chokes off supplies of food and drink. While ales are quaffed and tall tales are told, Barrow contemplates his diminishing options and whether or not to inform his faithful staff, which includes a healer and an ineffectual mage. The cast of colorful characters are distinguished and sharply rendered by Gogou (The Gimmick) in a thick-lined style; it’s like Cheers set in the world of Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 Lord of the Rings adaptation. Simplified backgrounds help the figures really pop. All of the subplots wind together, creating a heartwarming parable of gentrification and found family. More questing and fortune-seeking are promised ahead, and readers will want to adventure on into future volumes. (Mar.)