Best 1998 Adventures (4)
October 10, 2020
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1998 adventure novels.
Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim, et al.’s Donjon comic-book series (Dungeon, 1998–ongoing).
Herbert the Duck, Marvin the Dragon, Hyacinthe de Cavallere (the Dungeon Master), and the rabbit Marvin the Red are the central characters of the ambitious Donjon series, which now runs to some 30 volumes. The funny yet sometimes grim Dungeons & Dragons-esque saga, which spans various epochs (Early Years, Zenith, Twilight) and and spinoff series (Parade, Monstres, Antipodes), is set in and around a lethal Escape-the-Room-esque dungeon set up as a business… i.e., in order to attract adventurers who’d be killed, allowing the Dungeon Master to profit from their possessions. The humanoid duck Herbert possesses a magical sword — a parody of Elric of Melniboné’s Stormbringer, perhaps — that’s almost as troublesome to its possessor as it is to his foes. The Dungeon Master’s henchman, Marvin the Dragon, is a fierce warrior-monk and Herbert’s reluctant protector on many a quest and misdventure. French comics artists Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim dreamed up this scheme, and produced many of the Twilight and Zenith installments they’ve invited other talented friends — including Christophe Blain, Boulet, and Manu Larcenet — to participate, too. Endlessly inventive and surprising, an amazing accomplishment.
Fun facts: “Dungeon comics — that’s a big inspiration for me and the crew who write on [Adventure Time],” Pendleton Ward has said. “Dungeon’s a great comic, and I look to it for the sort of casual conversation they have with the big fantasy world that they all live in.” Here’s a helpful guide to the series by Jeff VanderMeer.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.