In 1996 Palladium’s real bread and butter had stopped being Robotech and its fantasy RPG and turned into Rifts.
By the mid-90s the company had produced ten Rifts supplements in the line, the tenth being The Juicer Uprising and I have to say I was pretty taken with it. Not necessarily because of the broken game mechanic that were Juicers, but the fact that the book itself was a very fine piece of artistic creation.
Written by C.J Carella, the Juicer history involved in the supplement is strong, and even with the horrors that are inherent to the Palladium system it can be easily applied to any Rifts campaign. And when I say ‘horror’ in conjunction with the Palladium gaming platform, remember that I’ve played it since 1987 and with some modification it can still be a very fun game that isn’t as broken as most D&D players would think.
However, this isn’t supposed to be about game mods, so let’s talk art.
Beautifully covered by freelance artist John Zeleznik, who I enjoyed many times on various FASA works, the dark future aspect really comes forward. Zeleznik has a great style for this kind of subject matter, and seeing his work on Juicers had to bring in more players to the system.
No matter how well Zeleznik did on the cover, however, the artistic trio of Vince Martin, R.K. Post, and Wayne Breaux Jr really killed the interior content.
Martin is a genius in this book, and during the mid-90s his work appeared in various Palladium supplements with the same impact. His polished black and white is some of my favorite art from this period of time, and yet he seeming disappeared with the turning of the millennia. Perhaps it was the advent of digital artwork, perhaps the change from black and white illustration to full color, but for whatever the reason Martin’s comic book, and some would argue Jeff Dee inspired art, has been lost to us now.
This is also an intriguing work because it features some very early RPG pieces from R.K. Post. Post would go on to be hired in the final incarnation of the TSR ‘pit’ of artists, but during 1996 he was still working freelance and provides half a dozen very nice pieces that show aspects of what we’d learn to love from him during the 2000s.
Breaux is the old standby of Palladium. By this point his work had become the most prevalent for the system since Kevin Long did so much art on Robotech between the late 80s and early 90s. In my mind, Breaux’s art is very blue collar, and although it doesn’t stand out, it provides the needed artistic muscle a book like this requires.
In all, The Juicer Uprising is a very sharp book, and as an art lover, I can pick more than a dozen pieces I’d love to have in my personal collection.
Artistic Rating: 4 [out of 5]
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