Remembering the art of FASA's Shadowrun

FASA Shadowrun

In 1990 author Stephan Wieck was charged by FASA to create a Shadowrun adventure featuring something completely new and horrible to the setting.  His answer to the call; Queen Euphoria.

I once asked artist Jeff Laubenstein, who worked in many roles at FASA, how they got Dave Dorman to do the cover, but I think a better question would be why did the company screw up the artistic credits on the inside so badly?

FASA, and senior editor Donna Ippolito, credits the cover to artist John Zeleznik.  This, however, was not the case, as Dave Dorman was artist for this incredible cover featuring capture footage of Marlene Dietrich.  The thing about this I find so amazing is that Dorman did this well before the advent of digital art, when computers were not found in the workplace, and certainly not the freelance studio.  When I met Dave at the SDCC in 2011 I had to ask him about the creation, and he explained he’d painted the full image, and then used a razor to cut out the monitor screens before dropping in photo copies of the Dietrich footage.  Impressive, and the result is both haunting and stunning in the same breath.

Inside the module the runners are introduced to the mystery of Euphoria, an up and coming simsense star who has been kidnapped.  Little do the runners know that what has grabbed her is actually an insect shaman who is building an ant hive and wants Euphoria as the hive queen.  I well remember being a player in this adventure and the sheer terror these bug spirits caused everyone at the table.

Inside, the gritty cow quill work of artist Tim Bradstreet takes charge with incredible NPC renderings that feel like you’ve walked onto the set of Bladerunner, and artist Joel Biske adds in the newly released ant spirits that up the horror factor of what this module has to offer.  Another fun feature, and something found often in Shadowrun work, is the graffiti, and Tim spares no space on one of his pieces where he calls out several notable names, including ‘For a good time call J. Nelson (312) 697-3…’ and I have to wonder how close to Jim’s real number that is.

In all, this is a stunning piece of art direction by Dana Knutson, with graphics done by Jeff Laubenstein and some added highlights by artist Rick Harris.  

Artistic Rating: 4 Stars [out of 5]

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