Art of the Genre

In my continuing series of Dragon Magazine reviews, I take a look at Issue #179 from March 1992. Published by James M. Ward and Edited by Roger E. Moore the magazine sure has the correct pedigree to give readers great content and hasn’t yet lost the edge in the market to the advent of the Internet and the decline of paper periodicals.

Art direction comes from Larry W. Smith and he has secured a very intriguing Larry Elmore cover without title. To me, this Elmore holds a rather unique place because it looks to be a non-good adventuring party actually finding some success. Now that isn’t to say it has to be evil, but even a neutral opportunist type party is an interesting divergence, as is the lack of a truly buxom ‘Elmorian’ woman on the cover.

To me, a critical look reveals that Elmore is now using live models almost exclusively in his paintings, which I think bends his talent a bit away from his sweet spot and instead leans him too far toward Fred Fields territory which just isn’t suitable to Larry’s skill set.

Inside, Smith has collected a very nice core of talent and has spent the better part of his budget on full page color pieces instead of spot illos, the first of these to catch my eye was one by Jeff Menges featuring a nice magical broadsword at center.

John Stanko, Tom Baxa, Bob Giadrosich, Tony Dykstra and Robin Raab with Karl Waller decorate the bulk of the interior articles, my favorite being a great piece by Jeff Grubb titled ‘Wonders of the Land of Fate’ and Al-Qadim campaign setting work.

John Statema also does some very nice b/w illustration for Allen Verney’s ‘Ladders to the SkySpellJammer piece which gets included at the tail-end of the volume.

On the whole, this Dragon still captures the ‘magic’ of the era and I did enjoy the overall artistic vision and delivery.

Artistic Rating: 3.5 [out of 5]

Written by Scott Taylor — February 23, 2014

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