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Just a little housekeeping.

§ May 23rd, 2012 § Filed under cartoons, fanzines, golden age, I cast magic missile, scans § 9 Comments

So, remember those British Dungeons & Dragons ‘zines I posted about a few days ago? I threw them on the eBay, and most of them brought in $10 to $15 apiece, with a couple in the $30 range. But that Dragon Lords #1, with the signatures?


I started that at $8.99, by the way. Figured I’d get about ten or twelve bucks for it. …Guess I’d better break into that additional case of Dragon Lords #1 I have in the back room…!

Now, about that housekeeping promised in the subject of this post…I’ve had a few scans just sitting on my computer’s desktop, awaiting my use here, and I’m never seeming to get around to creating posts about each of them. Thus, I’m just going to throw them all into this post. Enjoy!

We had this copy of Choice Comics #2 from 1942 in our shop for all of, oh, I don’t know, five minutes before selling it off, but I managed to get a couple of scans from it anyway. I enjoyed Bingo the Kangaroo’s dismissive response to superheroes on the cover there:


I mean, we were this close to Kangaroo/Parrot Buddy Comedy-Adventure being the dominant genre in the comics industry. If only things went slightly differently…if only.

I also got a scan of this tough guy:


This is pretty much what every angry ‘n’ anonymous commenter on every Internet message board and comments section looks like, so don’t mess with ‘em.

Marvel recently released a bunch of “Avengers Art Appreciation” incentive variant covers for many of their titles, which featured the characters from the movie as depicted in a variety of art styles, and regardless of whether the comic sporting said variant had anything to do with The Avengers. But I thought this one by Steffi Schutzee in the style of Al Hirschfeld was nicely done:


They all look great, but Hawkeye is particularly amazing:


And finally…cast your minds back to the innocent, carefree days of 1975, where Six-Year-Old Mike sat in front of the TV in the living room, enthralled by the giant bird-monster featured in this episode of Return of the Planet of the Apes:


“Mom! Mom! Look at this!” Mike shouted to his mother, but alas, she didn’t come to the room in time to see the bird-monster cart away these…buffalo-things:


So, Dad, if you’re reading my site at home right now, be sure to call Mom over and show these to her, so she can see what she missed nearly four decades ago.

Oh, and this has nothing to do with anything, but I mentioned on the Twitter that I was reading this amazing article about the even-more amazing history of TV’s ALF, and pal Ian…remember pal Ian, he wrote some comics, I hear…he replied to me with a link to a YouTube video of the ALF cartoon’s theme. I’d never heard that before, and it ain’t half-bad. Thanks for exposing me to that, Ian…I take back most of the bad things I’ve said about you!

Oh, nothing, just a bunch of 30+ year old role playing fanzines from the U.K.

§ May 9th, 2012 § Filed under I cast magic missile § 16 Comments

Here are some recently-acquired goodies destined for the eBay that I thought I’d share with you first. It’s a bunch of digest-sized Dungeons & Dragons ‘zines, all hailing from England and thereabouts, and all featuring monsters, magic items, adventures, and of course, fantastic covers.

That’s definitely the editor’s signature at the bottom of the front cover of this ‘zine (dating from 1980):


…but I haven’t the foggiest what this word is:


Maybe one of you folks out there can decipher it.

From 1979 comes The Palantir #1:


…and there’s no way the cover for that first issue could have prepared you for the cover of #3 (1981):


Holy cow, just look at it.

This collection has a run of, like, eighteen issues of this series, but the cover of #1 (circa 1979/80) is absolutely my favorite:


The only way this could have been better is if the ‘zine had been called The Gelatinous Cube and had a pic of said cube on the cover. But this cover is admirable in its simplicity. Sadly, it’s not a ‘zine focused solely on the Beholder, with Beholder fan fiction, Beholder-themed interviews (“so what’s your favorite Beholder magical ability, Ms. Susan Anton?”), Beholder fan art, etc. So, you know, that particular niche is still wide open, friends.

And here is another Gene Day cover on an old fantasy role playing game ‘zine.

§ February 21st, 2012 § Filed under gaming, I cast magic missile § 3 Comments

What it says up there in the subject line: a Gene Day cover for Wyrms Footnotes #4 (1978):


(Here’s the other Gene Day cover I featured previously.)

“You don’t have enough points to fly!”

§ February 18th, 2012 § Filed under gaming, I cast magic missile § 9 Comments

I got in way too late Friday night to think of anything clever, so instead here’s another scan of a vintage role-playing item from that collection we acquired: Authentic Thaumaturgy, published in 1980:


This is a general use supplement for use with any role playing game, featuring “a professional occultist on improving the realism of magic systems used in fantasy simulation games.” …I suspect the “professional occultist” part is the kind of thing that gave easily-panicked parents the vapors during that brief period when the evil influence of role playing games was clearly what was wrong with today’s youth, along with their zoot suits and their jazzy music.

Speaking of which, during that whole anti-Dungeons and Dragons hoohar that inspired, among other things, this…I never heard anyone bring up the point that (with the version of D&D that existed at the time) the ideal roll when rolling up character stats with the six-sided dice was three sixes. I mean, c’mon, that’s totally a gimme right there.

Okay, I’m sure somebody had to bring it up, but never within earshot of me. I did hear one really great “evils of fantasy role playing” thing at the time, but I already talked about it here so you can go back and relive the memories of Progressive Ruin Classic at that link, if you’d like.

It’s an iron wind that blows no one any good.

§ February 15th, 2012 § Filed under gaming, I cast magic missile § 5 Comments

Another goodie from the Box of Ye Olde Role-Playing Games – the 1980 Iron Crown Enterprises release The Iron Wind:


The back cover:


According to this site, this book had a print run of 5,000 copies, and after it had been out for a while, the black and white covers were stripped off the as-yet unsold covers and replaced with color covers.

Like several items in this particular collection, the sales receipt from the original purchase of this book was found inside:


As a result of being kept in the book for, oh, 30+ years, a rectangular “tanning” spot was left by the receipt on the pages it was kept between. …Hey, that’s not “damage,” that’s “character,” I tell potential buyers.

“That poor bastard was shot right in the 28.”

§ February 11th, 2012 § Filed under gaming, I cast magic missile § 5 Comments

This is Bio One, a 12-page digest-sized booklet published by TSR in 1974:


It’s a rules supplement that “provides a complete and accurate system of damage location and effects for any gunpowder period of warfare.” In other words, it tells you where the bullet hit, how badly it hit you, how much bleeding you’re currently experiencing, whether anyone can stop that bleeding, and so on.

It includes this amazing bit of business: the Abdominal Wounds Chart, which divvies up a torso into numbered sections, and each section having a subseries of multiple possibilities of injury (or lack thereof):


For example, if you’re shot in section #7, a randomized die roll could specify your injury as lung damage, or as rib damage, or as both, or perhaps, if you’re lucky, as no damage at all (like it bounced off your “medicinal” flask in your pocket, or your Bible inexplicably bound with solid steel covers).

It’s an interesting, if almost too-exacting approach to role-playing gunfire injury…it wouldn’t surprise me if similar systems weren’t implemented in later games. And if they were, I’m sure someone out there will let me know in the comments.

I’m pretty sure that’s not how you spell “idiosyncrasies.”

§ February 10th, 2012 § Filed under gaming, I cast magic missile § 7 Comments

So here are a few issues of the digest-sized gaming ‘zine The Dungeoneer from the late 1970s that we received in that nearly-bottomless role playing collection we just acquired. I thought these had some interesting covers and thought I’d share them with you…also, these nearly triggered my ‘zine-collecting obsession and almost kept them for myself, but, alas, we’ve already sold them off and I just have these scans for memories:


ISSUE #5 (APRIL/MAY 1977)


ISSUE #7 (MARCH/APRIL 1978)

Now, issue #6, seen here:


…is sort of amusing, in that there apparently was some delay in getting the darned thing out, resulting in this cover blurb:


…and this cover date:


If only certain comics were this honest with cover dates, when they bother to have them at all.

My favorite thing about these magazines is how they hand-drew accent marks on all the weird names in the articles.

§ February 8th, 2012 § Filed under gaming, I cast magic missile § 8 Comments

Here’s something else I’ve never seen before, out of our recently-acquired boxes of old role playing game stuff…the first two issues of The Tékumel Journal (1978), a magazine devoted to the fantasy world that was the basis for The Empire of the Petal Throne and other games:


While tied to gaming, these magazines aren’t filled with charts and stats and other RPG-style information. It is solely devoted to exploring the history and the characters of this fantasy setting that, apparently, had been an ongoing project of its creator since the 1940s. Wikipedia has more information about this, thankfully, since I was a bit thrown when I first pulled these things out of the box.

Neat covers, though.

I always enjoy seeing things I’ve never seen before.

§ February 6th, 2012 § Filed under gaming, I cast magic missile § 13 Comments

Here are just a couple of items recently acquired in a collection of role playing game materials, the first of which may be of interest to comic fans:


This is issue #2 of the Wyrm’s Footnotes, a 1977 fantasy role-playing game ‘zine, which features a front cover image by the late Gene Day (shown above) and a Day back cover:


And here’s a thing I’ve never seen before until I pulled it out that box yesterday…TSR’s 1974 wargaming rules based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter novels, in the same format as those early Dungeons & Dragons digest-sized books:


There really is nothing quite like the illustrations from early TSR books:

And now, a thing I have never seen before.

§ September 27th, 2011 § Filed under I cast magic missile § 14 Comments

…A copy of the Dungeons & Dragons-centric magazine The Dragon #1 from 1976:


We carried Dragon when it was being published, we’ve handled tons of back issues of the mag…hell, even I bought it for a short time during my brief D&D fling in junior high school. And I’ve seen some pretty early issues of the series cross my path…but never the first issue. Pretty neat, I think. It’s a bit rough, having had an unfortunate random encounter with some moisture (hopefully water) at some point in the past, causing some rippling of the pages, though it remains perfectly readable.

It’s in slightly better shape than this other item from the same collection, 1978’s The Arduin Grimoire Vol. 2: Welcome to Skull Tower:


It’s a sourcebook for an early role-playing competitor to D&D, and this particular copy’s cover is so beat and rough that it’s actually detached from the pages within. But the book remains readable, with plenty of detailed charts and elaborate descriptions of gameplay. While I’m not a game-player, I do have a peculiar fascination with reading about games, and for reading extensive rules systems like these. In fact, the temptation to hang onto this for a while instead of selling it is pretty strong. Alas, it’s gotta go!

…But not until I pull a handful of choice and somewhat out-of-context quotes from the book:

“A DM must be as heartless as one of his monsters if order is to be maintained and fun is to be had for all.”

“Once the people who play in your world realize that you mean business, they will be much more ready to act in a proper manner, and refrain from disruptive and childish temper tantrums.”

“…A man slain by an 8 dice vampire would require 8 hours to transform into one himself. Simple.”

“DICE ROLL: 81-85 HIT LOCATION: The mouth RESULTS: Tongue torn out, 10% chance of drowning in one’s own blood. Permanent coherent voice loss.”

“…For what is stranger, the alien with the blaster or the multi-tonned dragon that breathes fire? Think about it.”

Well said.