South African comic book writer/artist Joe Daly’s Dungeon Quest: Book One (Fantagraphics) takes a hilariously askew look at the madness of fantasy quest games.
Brave adventurer Millennium Boy, armed with his his hobo knapsack, swiss army knife and scanty underpants, leaves his homework and television behind to strike forth into the wilds of suburbia. Joining him on his quest is Steve, a lackadaisical lunk armed with a baseball bat, ”jock-nerd-poet hybrid” Lash Penis (hey, I didn’t name the guy) and archer extraordinaire Nerdgirl. They fight pirate skeletons, smoke “pungent bunjy leaves” and get a little help along the way from John the Baptist and Jesus Christ – and that’s just the tame stuff.
Dungeon Quest skewers the conventions of fantasy role-playing games in a myriad of ways – supplying character sheets for all of the comic’s characters and describing even mundane objects with fantasy appellations worthy of any Dungeon Master (”woolen beanie of insulation,” “cargo baggies of the rhino”) to name just a few – but it is obvious that it’s done with affection. Daly’s stream-of-consciousness narrative won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but readers with a high tolerance for absurdity and a healthy sense of humor about the subject matter will probably love what’s on offer here.