Quirk has such fun books, don’t they? Who else would find authors and illustrators that give us The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer pictures books, Star Wars as the Shakespearean masterpieces we all know they are, and now… Choose Your Own Adventure graphic novels in their Comic Quests series?
Released in September, there are two Comic Quests adventures: Knights Club and Hocus & Pocus. The rules are closer to role-playing games than merely choose your own adventure comics; readers will collect supplies, solve puzzles, and keep track of food and supplies for themselves and any familiars and pets they’re traveling with on their own handy dandy Quest Tracker – tabletop gamers will recognize the similarity to character sheets for roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons. Don’t worry about destroying your book, though – there are free, downloadable PDFs online. Librarians, consider putting a note on the covers of your copies to let your readers know this.
Originally published in France in 2012, this first Knights Club adventure takes place in the year 1012, in the kingdom of Louis the Little. The Royal Order of Knights help keep the peace in Louis’ kingdom, and three farming brothers dream of joining their ranks. They set off to join Knights School, and that’s where the fun begins. Readers get to select which brother they want to be, and the adventure unfolds, questing through snowy mountains, dark forests, and mysterious lakes. Readers get to solve riddles, seek out magical objects, and choose their own path by following numbered panels through to the end of each tale. Panels are in color, and the storytelling pace moves along, but some challenges can be a little daunting for readers who are expecting a simple choose your own adventure story. My suggestion? Make it into a roleplaying program, and invite kids to learn how to play as they read! You may be creating your next generation of Dungeons & Dragons players, after all.
Knights Club: The Message of Destiny is the second book in the series and will be available in January 2019.
Originally published in France in 2016, Hocus & Focus takes place in a more fairy tale-inspired fantasy world where readers can choose to be either a male (Hocus) or female (Pocus) character, choose a pet and keep it fed, and go on an adventure where you can discover gingerbread houses, make your way through a brain-teasing forest, and find missing children. There are numbered paths and riddles to be solved in order to advance, and panels are in full-color, just like the Knights Club. Gameplay can be a bit of a challenge – there’s one riddle where I had to count spots on baby wolves in order to get the next panel number that confounded me time and again (“is that a spot, or an ink blot? My ARC is black and white!”), so you may want to mark up your own ARC, if you have one, or keep a handy document of answers for kids that approach you needing help.
Hocus & Pocus: The Search for the Missing Dwarves is the second book in the series and will be available in January 2019.
All in all? A fun series of brain teasers for kids, and a nice way to side-eye anyone who says comics and graphic novels aren’t real reading!