'Adventure Zone' Graphic Novel Tops New York Times' Trade Fiction Best-Seller List

The adaptation of the hit podcast is the first graphic novel to top the Times' trade fiction list.
Carey Pietsch/First Second Books

Last week saw the release of The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins, a graphic novel adaptation of the hit podcast series based around a family playing Dungeons and Dragons-style role-playing games together. Thanks to the show’s long-lasting popularity, most people expected the book to perform respectably in terms of sales — but few expected it to perform quite as well as it did.

Impressively, the graphic novel topped the New York Times' paperback trade fiction best-sellers list, and came third overall in the combined print and e-book fiction list — an impressive performance, and the highest placement for a graphic novel on the Times' fiction list to date. (Top Shelf’s March, co-written by Rep. John Lewis, has previously charted at the top; similarly, Raina Telegmeier’s young reader graphic novels traditionally dominate kids’ lists.)

The news was revealed Wednesday via a tweet from publisher First Second Books, a subsidiary of Macmillan.

"I've been in a pretty consistent state of shock since we found out, to be honest,” Griffin McElroy, Adventure Zone podcast host and co-writer of the book along with his brothers and father, told Heat Vision. “We worked on this book for over two years, and when you work on a project that long, it's kind of easy to lose context for what the demand for that project actually is. To receive the support we received during the book's first week on shelves, and to top a NYT Best-Seller List is such a staggering reminder of how generous and supportive our fans are. We love making The Adventure Zone, and loved adapting it to this new form, and seeing so many other people share that same love is something I'll never forget, and something I'll never stop being grateful for." 

Added co-writer Travis McElroy. "The support we’ve seen for the book blows me away. It means so much to me that our audience likes it and is doing so much to get the word out. I am truly speechless. Being a NYTimes Best-Seller is way beyond anything I would have dreamt of when I was a kid. To be included on a list that so many of my heroes have been on is both humbling and inspiring! We’re gonna make Book Two even better!"

The book’s artist, Carey Pietsch, said, "I've been completely overwhelmed by the passionate response that readers have had to this graphic novel! Making comics can feel a lot like throwing messages in bottles into the ocean, so to have this chance to recognize that so many people have really connected with what we've made is so, so deeply humbling and meaningful. When Calista, our wonderful editor, told us the news, I burst immediately into shocked, happy tears, and I feel like I've been carrying a joyful fire in my heart ever since."

Like McElroy, Pietsch is already looking ahead to the second book in the series: "I’m so grateful to everyone who's read and talked about and supported the book," she said, "and I can't wait for you to get to read Murder on the Rockport Limited!"

"Working on Here There Be Gerblins has been an absolute joy and as you can imagine from knowing the McElroys, an insanely fun and wild ride," said First Second editorial director Calista Brill. "I’m overwhelmed by the support and love that fans have shown the graphic novel and while I knew it would be a slam dunk, a number one spot on the New York Times list is completely humbling. We can't wait to tell you more about what's coming next."

The book was released July 17, and is available digitally and in bookstores now.