March 1, 2023

Quests Aside Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the QUESTS ASIDE Vol. 1 by Brian Schirmer & Elena Gogou Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


Authors: Brian Schirmer & Elena Gogou (Illustrator)
Pub. Date: March 21, 2023
Publisher: Vault Comics
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 160

Find it: Goodreads

Known to all, both far and wide!

A skeleton, an apprentice mage, and an exiled princess walk into a bar… for another shift at Quests Aside, the local watering hole run by once legendary, now retired, adventurer Barrow.

When the King privately explains that he plans to shut the place down, Barrow must find a way to hold onto his business, the friendships, and the family he's built around it.

It’s always sunny in the realms!

Collects the entire, best-selling 5-issue series!

For fans of Giant Days, Rolled & Told, Rat Queens, Nimona, and Adventure Zone


“…it’s like Cheers set in the world of Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 Lord of the Rings adaptation.” -- Publishers Weekly

"Quests Aside … has a made-for-TV vibe." -- AIPT

“A fine mix of humor and drama.” – Major Spoilers

“Magic, situational comedy, and camaraderie blend into a whimsical fantasy…” -- Publishers Weekly

"Beautiful looking, voiced with riotous confidence, Quests Aside boasts one of the best core concepts I've seen in recent high fantasy. I'm furious that I didn't think of it." -- Si Spurrier (The RUSHHellblazerThe DreamingX-Men)


What movies/television/books/video games inspired the creation of QUESTS ASIDE?

QUESTS ASIDE had its origins on a fantasy comics panel at Emerald City Comic Con back in 2018 or 2019. I was on said panel with other writers, and at one point we just globbed onto the idea of a comic series taking place predominantly at the tavern where adventurers would come and go. The watering hole has long been a fixture of high fantasy tales, typically bridging Act 1 and 2, a threshold to cross, if you will. We just began spinning out vague ideas of what would happen if a story were rooted in such a place, and I remember we were having such a good time brainstorming on stage that no one wanted to stop. Months later, I still found myself gravitating back to the idea of “high fantasy Cheers”, and when, months later still, I was talking with Vault EiC Adrian Wassell about doing a book for them, I brought up what would eventually become QUESTS ASIDE.

Cheers was an obvious starting point, but other influences seeped in throughout the process. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was a no-brainer on the TV-side. Certainly a bit of Quark’s bar from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a longtime favorite. Ray Harryhausen’s skeletons from both Jason and the Argonauts and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad inspired “Ray”, our resident undead chef with attitude to spare. There’s, of course, more than a bit of Tolkien in the mix, but we drew also from Fritz Lieber’s witty Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and even a bit more from the comics adaptation by Howard Chaykin and Mike Mignola. If you haven’t checked that out, you really should. What else is in there? A bit of Disney musicals, Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber’s Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, the Harley Quinn animated series, a dash of What We Do In the Shadows, Stephanie Beatriz’ performance in Brooklyn Nine-Nine… and that’s all just off the top of my head.


Who are the inspirations for some of your characters (like Barrow).

Most of the characters in QUESTS ASIDE have their roots in classic fantasy tropes, but we aimed to give them a tweak or two. Barrow, the owner of tavern and our protagonist, arose from the notion of taking a character like Aragorn or even Ned Stark, and asking, “What if they’d taken a different route, and eventually got to retire?” I really gravitated towards that idea of retirement. You always have adventure or crime stories where there’s one character who will go on “one last quest” or “one final job”, and it frequently goes pear-shaped. I wanted to show a character who succeeded, took his wealth, bought a pub, and built a new life — and THEN see what happens.

Our resident mage, Jodan, comes from a long line of young wizards who just aren’t quite ready. Instead of, say, Luke Skywalker leaving Yoda before his training is complete, Jodan’s master left him, and thus his skills are scattershot at best. There’s a bit of Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender in his DNA, too. He’s lovesick, a chatterbox, and more than a little paranoid. In other words, your average teenager — but with magic!

Ray, our resident skeleton chef, is a tribute to the legendary Ray Harryhausen, and specifically to his boney creations in both Jason and the Argonauts and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. His persistent grumpiness just came in the writing; he’s very much one of those characters who sprang forth fully formed. The moment I started writing any dialogue, he just had this attitude. I also loved the idea that he’d be at the tail end of a relationship with a human woman, and that that’s something I’d never seen or read before. Blissfully, no one has yet asked HOW such a relationship would work. That’s not the point. The point is these two people — whether skin-and-bones, or just bones — found love with each other for a while, and they made it work.

ELENA: For the character designs I didn’t want to go the classic medieval fantasy route for everyone. I wanted each characters’ clothes to be colorful and unique and fit their personality. Among other things, I took a lot of inspiration from the traditional wear of different historical periods of Greece. It’s an amazing source for character design ideas and it was also a way to add my own little personal Greek touch to the world of Quests Aside.

BRIAN SCHIRMER is a California-based screenwriter and critically acclaimed comic book creator, known for the Vault Comics series QUESTS ASIDE, the Image Comics series FAIRLADY and BLACK JACK KETCHUM, and the self-published ULTRASYLVANIA series of graphic novels.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Elena Gogou is actually three gnomes in a trench-coat. When they aren’t on an epic quest, they draw comics for work and for fun. They are known for the Vault Comics series QUESTS ASIDE, the Greek graphic novel SPAZORAHOULA and the self-published erotic comics anthology SMUTCOMIC.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


(2) winners will receive a finished copy of QUESTS ASIDE Vol. 1 - US Only.

Ends April 7th, midnight EST.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


A Dream Within A Dream



Mythical Books

Interview/IG Post


#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Excerpt/IG Post


Sadie's Spotlight

Interview/IG Post

Week Two:


Two Chicks on Books

Interview/IG Post


Kait Plus Books

Interview/IG Post


Jazzy Book Reviews

Excerpt/IG Post


Lifestyle of Me



Brandi Danielle Davis

IG Review/TikTok Post



IG Review/TikTok Post



IG Review

Week Three:


Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post


Cara North

Review/IG Post



IG Review



IG Review


The Real World According To Sam

Review/IG Post


The Momma Spot

Review/IG Post


Review Thick And Thin

Review/IG Post

Week Four:



IG Review


See Sadie Read

Review/IG Post





the book near me

Review/IG Post


Read Dog Reviews

IG Spotlight



IG Review



IG Review

Week Five:



Review/IG Post


Emily Ashlyn

IG Review/FB Post



Review/IG Post


A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/LFL Drop Pic



IG Review


Two Points of Interest


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