fantasy zone

Continuing my Adventure Zone art shenanigans, because you all had such a lovely response to my Taako design!  I know I said I was going to draw Angus next, but when I sat down to sketch last night I had a song in my heart.  And that song was the Fantasy Costco theme, so ya’ll are getting Garfield instead. Haha! I am absolutely one of the people who can’t help but see Garfield as a cat, but as much as the “necromancer lasagna cat” makes me laugh, I wanted to actually design a specific character for him.  Because I am terribly fascinated by Garfield’s character and ngl every time he comes around I laugh so much.  Good good weird creepy cat wizard man.

been thinking a lot about how the adventure zone handles representation and why it’s so satisfying and well done… i think a lot of it is because the mcelboys understand that diversity is realistic, natural, and frankly just more interesting.

that’s why it usually doesn’t feel forced or tokenistic. there’s an understanding that as the real world is diverse, so should fantasy be. they’ve also taken the time to listen to criticism levelled at them; justin’s hesitance over making taako’s sexuality explicit once griffin pointed out the possible negative connotations of his character voice, their decision to rework the designs of the characters in the official graphic novel once people complained about the whole main cast being white. it’s not pandering, it’s a genuine commitment to creating an interesting and believeable world that their diverse listenership can relate to.

it’s natural and non-sensationalised - queer characters in particular don’t have a big shock reveal, it’s just a part of who they are. take roswell as an example - they’re agender/nb because of course they are. if you think about it for more than four seconds it’s pretty obvious that arbitrarily assigning a gender to a powerful earth construct would be a much weirder decision.

taking away that automatic assumption that all characters should be cisgender & heterosexual as their default setting makes inclusivity easy - when griffin asks clint about merle’s marriage, he doesn’t automatically ask about his wife, he says ‘husband or wife’. little things like that make so much difference.

i’m not saying it’s always perfect, but jesus, they’re really trying. and usually succeeding. as white (i’m assuming) cishet guys they would not have been dragged for neglecting diversity, but they did it anyway. we need more content creators like them, who treat representation as something natural and normal and interesting rather than an annoying obligation.

tl;dr i love taz & the mcelboys a lot and i think about it all the time