Thanks to Stranger Things, Geek & Sundry, Dan Harmon, and The Adventure Zone, Dungeons & Dragons is experiencing a Renaissance unseen since the 1980s, when half of the parents in America thought playing it meant a one-way ticket to Human Sacrifice Town.
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True players know that the game never really went away, of course; the pop culture omnipresence of role playing games is more a symptom of D&D’s influence than the cause. Any way you want to look at it, however, there’s no question that as long as there are basements, there will be groups of teenagers gathered in them to puzzle through the fiendish traps laid by their Dungeon Master—and, what’s more, the gamers of today come in all different ages and sizes.
Like pint-sized, for example—and kids who love D&D (and adults, too) will definitely want to hear about Dungeon Critters, a new all-ages graphic novel coming next year from First Second Books. Created by Sara Goetter and Natalie Riess, it’s billed as “a fantasy adventure about a tight-knit squad of animal companions investigating a sinister botanical conspiracy among the furry nobility. Motivated by rivalries, a strong moral compass, and a lust for adventure, the critters navigate not only perils and dangers of the natural world, but also perils and dangers….of the heart. Their journey takes them through haunted dungeons, swamps, and high society balls, and brings them closer together at friends.” (Aw.)
Sara Goetter is a cartoonist from Pennsylvania, currently residing in Austin. She’s previously worked on an all ages fantasy webcomic, Boozle, among other short stories. For Dungeon Critters, she’s the co-writer, character artist, letterer, and goofy face connoisseur.
Natalie Riess is also a cartoonist from Pennsylvania. Her previous works include the webcomic Snarlbear and the Oni Press graphic novel Space Battle Lunchtime. In this book, she is responsible for the backgrounds, the colors, the melodramatic twists, and the puns.
“Natalie and I started Dungeon Critters for fun back in 2016, and since then, this project has grown into something very exciting,” Sara said. “Collaborating with Natalie has been so much fun; I feel like we really bring out the best in each other. I just really can’t wait to show this book to everyone.”
Per Natalie: “We’ve been following and reading First Second titles since we first started making and reading comics, and we’re excited to publish it with them.”
The contract for the project has just been signed, so it won’t hit stores for a bit. In the meantime, check out these preview pages, which give you a sense of the adventures that lay in wait for you in Dungeon Critters.
Dungeon Critters will be published in Fall 2020.