First of all: if you now or have ever played Dungeons and Dragons, why aren’t you reading the Order of the Stick? It’s a long running webcomic that combines humor based on the role-playing game, actual humor, and a globe-spanning epic quest to save or destroy the world, depending upon what character viewpoint any given comic is following. And the art, you will be retrospectively unsurprised to learn, is based around stick figures. So now you know, and you should read it!
But you probably already are, and like me, you probably never got around to buying the prequel graphic novels that are only available in published book form. Luckily for me, I know people who did, and I performed a borrowing of opportunity while at a fireworks show a couple of days ago. Start of Darkness is a quick (if not light) read chronicling the rise of the douchebag lich and the sympathetic but ultimately flawed goblins who follow him in his quest to destroy some gates that will in turn destroy the world. You know how these evil mastermind plans go. The point is, though, the stories here are just as funny, though a bit grimmer than the online version. It is about bad guys, and all. And the stories are definitely as affecting as the online version. (Did I mention that between the humor and the D&Dness of it all, there’s a genuine story here, with emotional highs and lows? My hand to God.)
Plus, secret bonus for long-time readers: Rich finally turns a spotlight on the scary monster that’s always hiding in the dark!