adventures in graphics

On The Adventure Zone Graphic Novel, Blue Taako, and Representation

 Yesterday, we revealed some pages for our graphic novel adaptation of the first Adventure Zone arc, and received some criticism of the direction we went with for Taako’s coloring. This artwork reveal came some months after the first reveal of some of our characters, for which we also received criticism of our three leads, all of whom were white in these initial designs. Us and the graphic novel team realized that, yes, that is extremely bad, went back to the drawing board, and had several long discussions about how to best rectify this situation, resulting in the artwork revealed yesterday.

More or less all of the criticism we’ve received centers on Taako, whose skin is a pale blue color in these designs. What we’ve heard most is disappointment that Taako is not realized in these pages as a person of color — or, to be more specific, a Latinx or explicitly Mexican character. There was concern we had failed to follow through on an opportunity to get better representation for Latinx listeners, instead opting to take a safe route, and make Taako a fantasy color without any kind of real-world connection. Much of the criticism also focuses on how that color (or, to be more specific, green skin) has anti-semitic connotations.

This conversation was happening in certain corners of our fandom long before the graphic novel art reveal took place yesterday. We’ve heard criticism from some folks over our policy of not having canonical visual representations of any of our characters — a policy that has resulted in a genuinely humbling ocean of fan art, but also some instances of in-fighting between members of the community who take umbrage with one another’s disparate interpretations of these characters. Another criticism of that policy is that it inherently does not foster good representation, and in fact represents a noncommittal way of handling racial representation on this show.

Here’s the truth of the matter: I think all of this comes from this underlying friction between where The Adventure Zone and us, its creators, were when we started doing the podcast, and where we, the show, and you, the community, are at now. 

Keep reading

y’all like the adventure zone? yeah me too, but sometimes once a fortnight isnt enough to fulfill ur need for dnd podcasts, so here’s a few more!

friends at the table

this is more of a rpg podcast that strays away from the traditional world of dnd, but still maintains many of the rules, which is great, and it has many different campaigns set in different worlds, which is awesome. there’s also a helpful little recording at the beginning of the feed which has a run down of what each arc is like, so you know which episodes are maybe not for you

join the party 

this is a brand new dnd podcast! its looking to be so good, with the first two episodes already being awesome, as well as giving the listeners options to listen with or without little nuggets of information about the game and vocabulary used and how certain elements work (also amanda from spirits is super cute!)

critical hit

another dnd podcast that has been going on for the longest time, and tends to stick more to the conventions of dnd, ive only just started listening to this but it looks really good!

hello from the magic tavern

this isnt a dnd podcast, but it has a similar improv vibe to a lot of these dnd podcasts, and is set in a fantasy realm like so many dnd campaigns are, just without any rolling, and everyone is fully in character. the beginning and some episodes can be a little slow, but its still well worth listening too

sneak attack!

another podcast i stumbled across that i havent really had the chance to delve into yet, but it looks super promising! also more conventional dnd campaigns and worlds

critical role

this is not a podcast, but is livestreamed, with episodes put up on youtube and their website. episodes are long (normally between 2-4 hours!) but theres plenty of episodes if you really enjoy getting invested in dnd campaigns (and you can see everyone, which is nice!)

update: they are now making the episodes available as a podcast, you can listen here! (thanks @raisedbybats !)

if you want any podcast recommendations, feel free to ask me!

helena x