Today I’m going to give a little ‘love’ to Gamma World 2nd Edition. Although you’d be hard pressed to find a player out there to calls 2nd Edition their favorite iteration of the game, it still has some cool work done for it so I’ll take a look at the art of The Cleansing War of Garik Blackhand [which BTW wins the TSR award for longest title of a product]
This is a strange little bit of work as there are two credited artists in it, Jim Holloway and David ‘Deisel’ LaForce. As the first printing was in 1983, this seems about right for placing both artists at TSR proper, and a 2nd tier product a place where you’d find their work once the Easley and Elmore were in house.
Holloway, of course, is easy to spot, and has several quick pieces in here that don’t do much to inspire but are typical of his rush jobs. One piece actually reminds me of what we’d see him do for Battletech a few years later, which is kind of cool, but otherwise the work is easily forgettable.
I’m crediting LaForce with the front and back covers, as well as the maps, as each seems right in the wheelhouse of his talent level at the time. LaForce, to me, was always such a mixed bag and you could get some incredible pieces from him while also getting some wtf pieces. Until looked through the module I was actually unaware that he did any color work for TSR, but oddities do seem to be a part of my job description, and this product proves that rule.
Now, the realm mystery lies in the interior ink wash images, of which there are eight in total. Now no disrespect to LaForce, but even today I’ve not see him do a piece like this. They are really gifted images, and yet a bit ‘distorted’ as there are several mutant animal characters that just don’t look ‘right’ as though they were referenced and shaped in the mind instead of using reference material. So, the mystery becomes, who at TSR in 1983 was a sublime ink wash painter, did work without reference, and could have cone uncredited without complaint? Why, Jeff Easley of course!
Thus, I’m going to credit Jeff with these works and if anyone knows differently, then fill me in.
Otherwise, I’m giving The Cleansing War of Garik Blackhand a middle grade rating which is probably all the line was looking for anyway.
Artistic Rating: 3 [out of 5]