Tales of the Black Widow Company: A FASA gem from 1985

Battletech FASA Jim Holloway

I’ve got to admit, some of my favorite writing comes from the early years of FASA’s Battletech game. I’ve always been intrigued by the alternate future timeline, and there were so many great supplements to game pre-clans. There was also a massive amount of great artwork featuring Tim Bradstreet, Jeff Laubenstein, David Deitrick, and of course Jim Holloway.

I tend to view this period, roughly 1985-1991 as Holloway’s golden age, and although his skills never deteriorated like some artists, his passion waned and I think that took the shine off of most of his artwork. That is certainly not the case for his Battletech covers as they range directly in that sweet spot, and perhaps my favorite among them (assuming you forced me to choose) would be his cover for Tales of the Black Widow Company.

This cover, featuring Natasha Kerensky, is such a fantastic piece I have a hard time not staring at it for long periods of time even today. In fact, I loved it so much I had Jim do a steampunk version just because I wanted to see how he would recreate the subject matter in another genre.

Still, the art of the supplement on the whole is grand, with Holloway depicting all the cast of characters from The Black Widow Company inside, while also sharing illustration duties with artists Dana Knutson, Todd Marsh, and Jane Bigos.

Consisting of five combat scenarios (plus a 4 scenario campaign) each featuring the Black Widows, this is a fun little supplement for the Battletech table-top combat system that comes in at 47 pages and originally retailed for a whapping $7.00 upon its release in 1985.

Artistic Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

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  • Scott on

    Michael: I wish, but Jim painted over it. He did, however, say he’d repaint it for me but I said you can’t redo a classic.

    Dan: I have the comic, it is a good one, and I just read it a couple weeks back!

  • Dan on

    Still have that, the comic and the Lead Mini’s for that company. All the PC games, TRO’s and source books I still think the original five years of FASA’s Battletech are my most favorite era.

  • Michael on

    There were two versions of the cover. Do you have the other one? The more ‘revealing’ one? I think it may have been a test cover or something.

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