Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: D&D Dungeon Club, Vol. 1: Roll Call by Molly Knox Ostertag and Xanthe Bouma

  • D&D Dungeon Club, Vol. 1: Roll Call
  • Molly Knox Ostertag and Xanthe Bouma
  • Publication Date: November 29, 2022
  • ISBN-13: 9780063039247

Jess Descheene is good at one thing and one thing only: building a story with her best friend (and Dungeon Master) Olivia in Dungeon & Dragons. When Olivia wants to start a D&D club at their middle school, Jess goes behind her back to undermine her. Will their friendship–and their long-running D&D campaign–survive Jess’ actions?

Dungeon Club: Roll Call beautifully conveys the importance D&D can have in students’ lives, especially those who may not be connected to school in other ways, like through academics and athletics. The intertwining of the D&D campaign and the real-world story helps raise the stakes in both worlds. The coming-of-age theme will resonate with anyone who had trouble fitting in in middle school, regardless of whether they play tabletop roleplaying games. Xanthe Bouma’s art shines, and their use of color is especially adroit. Both Jess and Olivia are POC characters, which provides both an important representation and reflection of students who play TTRPGs.

Fans of tabletop role playing games, like Dungeons & Dragons and Magical Kitties Save the Day will find a lot to love in this graphic novel, as will fans of play streams like Critical Role and Dimension20. Video game players who enjoy fantasy RPGs like Horizon: Forbidden West, Ni no Kuni, and The Legend of Zelda games may also enjoy this story. Lastly, this series starter is a must-buy for collections where Molly Knox Ostertag’s other comics circulate well, and where coming-of-age graphic novels like those by Raina Telgemeier and Jade Armstrong are in high demand.

-Ness Shortley

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The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.