Dungeon Quest [Review]

Dungeon Quest Book One by Joe Daly

Dungeon Quest

by Joe Daly
Fantagraphics, 2010

As I often do, I picked up this graphic novel at random. The name intrigued me, as it implied AD&D gaming sessions, and also the figurine on the cover, which did not fit the name at all. It seemed more Pre-Columbian, Toltec maybe, except for that very big Brainiac  head.

The head in question belongs to the titular character, Millennial Boy, who, being bored one day, decides on the spur of the moment to go on a quest, eliciting friends and collecting supplies and equipment on the way. His adventures have a Gen-X, slacker vibe, mixing the fantastic and the mundane. Instead of dungeons and feral wilderness Millennial Boy and his companions trek through vacant lots and back alleys, encountering petty thugs and Molelocs (a cross between orcs and moles.) It’s haphazard and good-natured in the way of underground comic artist R. Crumb. Millennial Boy is snarky and cynical — at times I expected him to betray or take advantage of his companions in pursuit of his own goals — but he’s actually a stauncher companion than you’d think, and someone whom you’d want along on a mythical quest, even if he is too assured that he knows the best for everyone else.

The artwork I found enjoyable. There is some nudity, chiefly penises, but it’s employed in service of the story. For example, Lash Penis, who serves as the generic Fighter of the group, is wounded and enters a Pool of Healing where he encounters a oneness with the universe. I was expecting, given the snarky tone of the story, some ironic punchline for this episode, but it was played straight, and oddly affecting because of it.

In this full-page pic the adventurers trek out of a stand of trees by a canal/sewer. It’s mundane, yet grandiose.

I’ll continue to follow these characters on their odd yet endearing quest.

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  1. […] did enjoy the artwork a lot, it was similar to, but looser, than the drawings for Dungeon Quest, and I’m a sucker for hand-lettered dialogue. The story struck me as more female-centered, with […]

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