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INTERVIEW: The McElroys & Carey Pietsch talk THE ADVENTURE ZONE: THE CRYSTAL KINGDOM

Death is in the air, and if ever there was ever any question about the wickedness of crystal healing, trust The McElroys( Griffin, Travis, Clint and Justin) to invent its qualities( or shortcoming thereof) into one inferno of a recital. In The Adventure Zone: The Crystal Kingdom, the trusty trio of Reclaimers at the Bureau of Balance is tasked with retrieving a quartz relic from a magic-wielding scientist before apocalypse happens. And all while Taako catches a kindred spirit in the Grim Reaper, Merle has a reckoning with the Almighty, and Magnus does what he does best-beat and sorority his way with whatever peril dares stand before him.

The McElroys join their TAZ comics collaborator, craftsman Carey Pietsch, to talk to The Beat about The Crystal Kingdom. While they’ve discussed the process of accommodating a podcast to the written page with us in the past, never before have they divulged which courage they’d most like to hang with. You can find that, together with an exclusive four-page preview of the forthcoming graphic romance, below. Without further ado, make the friendly sibling rivalry begin!

Nancy Powell: From whose sentiment did this quest[ from The Crystal Kingdom] originate? And what role did RPGs play in your lives, prior to The Adventure Zone podcast?

Griffin McElroy: So, I DMed our first season of The Adventure Zone, so the place was whipped up by me in an attempt to hurl Justin, Travis and Dad’s personas into this sci-fi/ fantasize crystallized ghost story … thing. All the arcs, more or less, were inspired by movies or media I was into at the time; CK is a take on Alien. I wanted to see what the posts would be if I introduced them in an environment that, while nice to look at, was ready to kill them the second largest they removed their sentry.( Which they did, a lot, but I ran easy on them anyways .)

We hadn’t truly toy tabletop or pen-and-paper RPGs before we recorded the first season; but I’d say RPG video games were super formative for all of us. There’s a lot of like, video game-y structure to TAZ: Balance, which probably would have been way different had I had a bunch of prior DMing experience to go off of.

Clint McElroy: When I should have been attending press conferences, writing bulletin tales, and interviewing the Hoi Polloi of Huntington for the radio station I used to work for, I was behind the fastened doorway of my department, knee-deep in Grue bowels, toy Zork.

Travis McElroy: We also dallied this game called Hero Quest growing up. It was like a board game version of D& D that came with a assortment of pre-written situations. After a while, we just made up our own.

Powell: How difficult was it to adapt The Crystal Kingdom to the graphic sheet? What kind of creative readjustments did “youve got to” acquire?

Griffin: The predicaments of changing Crystal Kingdom all circle around the fact that it’s where we really start pounding the sidewalk on introducing the big storyline for the whole campaign. I’m really happy with how that’s presented in the book, but it took a while to get it to a item where it wasn’t extremely thick-witted, but likewise didn’t leave out too much stuff, leaving us with less narrative chips to cash in later on in the series.

We likewise wanted to flesh out the comparatively small number of new characters we acquaint in this arc, namely the pseudo-mad scientist Lucas Miller and his mom, Maureen. It made a few cases sketches before we realized that’s what the book needed, so there’s a lot of legend nonsense not from the podcasts here that I’m really happy we were able to do.

Justin McElroy: I will say this is the TAZ book I was most looking forward to just seeing. Carey has done such an fabulou occupation of captivating the fractal, vaporwave nightmare I imagined while we were playing. It’s a thing to behold.

Carey Pietsch: Crystal Kingdom has always stood out to me as an arc with a very strong sense of place, thanks to the combination of Griffin’s soundtrack and the ways that everyone interacted with and reacted to the lab! A much of early proliferation time was spent on figuring out possible ways to translate that specific otherworldly crystal vibe into the book without providing so much visual datum in the background that it would devastate the specific characteristics themselves. I’m really happy with how it used to work in the final pages!

Powell: If you had to identify a reputation you would want to hang out with in TAZ universe, who would that be and why?

Griffin: Honestly? Merle. He just seems like a good hang.

Justin: Probably Kravitz: He’s a good dude with impeccable mode, a real sweetheart who also happens to be the Grim reaper. When will your bad opponent die? Kravitz isn’t indicate!( But maybe after a few cocktails? Who knows ?)

Clint: I would like to hang with Ned Chicane. He is a gifted raconteur, an aficionado of cheesy fright flicks…we just have SO MUCH in common!( BTW: Merle is a good hang)

Travis: Killian and Carey. Wait, does it weigh as a “hang out” if they do cool turns and push bad tribes while I applaud and merriment?

Carey: This isn’t” hanging out with” so much as it is” root for ,” but: I would Enjoy to get to go to a fantasy grappling accord where Jess the Beheader faces off against Queen Sabine.

Powell: What are each of you currently reading? And which bibles are you hoping to catch up with this summer?

Griffin: I was finally, eventually reading the first Mistborn book when my lad was born this past March, and haven’t gotten back to it, because the idea of spending time I could be sleeping for anything else seems like hubris.

Justin: Until a week or so ago, I only knew John Scalzi as a great DJ and photographer, but get this: He’s an writer more! I’ve been cervix depth in Old Man’s War, a great sci-fi action story that I’m kicking myself for not getting into earlier.

Clint: I am on the sixth journal of Marc Cushman’s “These Are the Voyages” series, must-reading for any Star Trek fan. Also “Low Chicago”, one of the mosaic novels from the’ Wild Card’ series by George R.R. Martin( New kid. Shows promise)

Travis: I am on panel 2 of 3 of this Marmaduke comic strip and I am on the edge of my bench. Can’t wait to see how they wrap this one up. Too, Jonathan Strange& Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Carey: Prose-wise, I’m reading A Master of Djinn and The Chosen And The Beautiful! The comics at the priorities in my excited-to-read pile right now are Blue Flag, The Legend of Auntie Po, Jukebox, and Bug Boys: Outside& Beyond.

Powell: Tell us a little about the excerpt that The Beat is exposing alongside this interview.

Griffin: There’s so much to unpack now. You get to see a bit of Lucas being at odds with the working party, you get to see a bit of the quartz golem that engages them throughout their adventure, but the starring of the show here is clearly UPSY. Turns out, when you include elevators in your fantasy Actual Play podcast, parties give you a hard time. After fielding complaints from the whole world after applying elevators in a few cases of the arcs, I included UPSY as an number of dissent. He’s an unknowable horror, and I adore him very much.

Clint: I affection Taako’s “Wizard of Oz” daddy joke.

Travis: I am genuinely concerned that seeing Upsy on the page will awaken something deep and primal in the population of Earth/ the Universe.

Carey: Upsy was a very fun design challenge, and I think what we moored on is a great balance of” I can kind of see how that was MEANT to work” against” but in practice, it actually, truly, doesn’t.” This excerpt is also a somewhat representative slice of the crystal coloring palettes- it’s a VERY pink book and it was a real treat for me to get to color all the rock candy crystal environments. I can’t wait for everyone to get to read the whole thing!

Published by First Second Books, The Adventure Zone: The Crystal Palace arrives in bookstores on Tuesday, July 13 th, and in comic stores on Wednesday, July 14 th.

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