Dungeon Fun

November 14th, 2015

This is a THOUGHT BUBBLE SPECIAL POST, by the tag-team team of Andre Whickey and Illogical Volume. Our task: “Write five hundred words about Dungeon Fun and make it as product-placementy as possible.”

Never let it be said that the Mindless don’t rise to a task…

Dungeon Fun is a collection of the award-winning all-ages comic, based around a parody of dungeon-crawling fantasy adventure, with the same kind of sarcastic meta-humour as, say, Order of the Stick or Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, but with a gentler feel than either of those, more suitable to its all-ages audience. Neil Slorance’s highly-stylised art perfectly expresses the whimsical children’s adventure story, in which Fun Mudlifter, a little girl raised by trolls, has a sword fall from the sky and becomes an adventurer.

With her ghost companion Sir Barnabus Games, Fun goes on an epic quest, encountering such characters as Gullibelinda the Gullible.

And now I’m tagging Illogical Volume

Always a mistake, that! Comics creators of the world, be warned – if you pay me £££ to plug your comic online, you can’t be sure what you’re going to get. Torturous monologues on the nature of art, convoluted free-associations, guilt-sodden ranting about how I’ve sold my integrity for £2.50… all of these things and more are possible.

Thankfully, on this occasion we’re dealing with a comic that I genuinely love! As a chronically childless oddbod, I’m completely unqualified to discuss how well Dungeon Fun works as a book for kids but I’ve been meaning to foist it on Bobsy so he can read it with his daughter for ages. I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t go down a treat.

For “adults” like me, it’s a delight:

Slorence’s art has a sense of mischief to it – all of the characters look as though they are one panel away from throwing a wobbler or doing something they shouldn’t! There’s also a hint of genuine weirdness in some of the character design, something that could turn properly disturbing but never quite goes all the way there:

As Andrew has already said, there’s a gleeful meta-fictional humour to the comic, with its self-conscious references to RPG lore and general playful silliness. If I wasn’t writing this on the hop at Thought Bubble, I’d make a really clever point about this, about the way Slorence and Bell tap into the absurdity of fantasy conventions, with their crude mapping of impossible worlds, and use that as a way to explore our own formative notions of who we are and what we might be. If I had more time to prepare, I’d probably suggest that this aspect of the book could function useful bridge between adult oddbods like myself and the book’s intended audience of kids, engaging those on both sides of the divide by inviting them to recognise what they know and to speculate on what they might not know.

I would do that, but for now I’ll just finished by saying “I liked it, it was good.”

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