Art of the Genre

Today I’m taking a look at Dragon Magazine #167 from March 1991.  The volume was edited by Roger E. Moore and art directed by Larry W. Smith.

First off, I’m going to go over content.  The issue doesn’t have a specifically central theme, which is usually something I enjoy.  That lack of cohesion makes the issue seem fragmented and random, and the art layout does nothing to help with this.

Articles of interest include an intriguing piece for Oriental Adventures called ‘Lords of the Warring States’ by Thomas Kane.  Odd, since TSR was two full years into the release of 2nd edition AD&D by this point, but hey, if it has to do with Oriental Adventures I’ll take it. 

There are also articles on curses [Curses are Divine], necromancy [Arcane Lore], and alchemy [Dragon’s Blood] but in the end it still falls a bit flat for truly inspired content.

However, there is one piece that does stand out to me, that being ‘See the Pomarj – and Die!’ by Joseph Bloch.  Honestly, I’ve always been highly intrigued by the Pomarj from the World of Greyhawk and to get to see someone beef up the backstory of the humanoid run nation was really a nice addition to the magazine.

Artwork, however, didn’t seem highly ‘directed’ and there was even an instance of recycled artwork which although cool pieces in themselves, disheartens me somewhat from a publication that I’d always held to a higher standard.  To me, it seemed that the entropy of the RPG marketplace was finally taking effect, and that MtG had come to play.

The cover, done by artist Fred Fields isn’t one of his better pieces.  His sense of action in the piece doesn’t really work, and it shows that Fred is much more comfortable with static images rather than people in movement.  The girl seems off kilter and incredibly uncomfortable, while the Treant is oddly silly.

Inside we get artistic contributions from Tim Truman whose work was recycled from his days at TSR all the way back in 1982, and Jim Holloway who adds a couple of decent pieces throughout and is only credited once [which is typically as Holloway always seems to be disregarded by those who used his work at TSR] and several other folks I’m not inherently familiar with like Ron Wilber, Steve Schwartz [who does the Oriental Adventures work as well as a nice piece on Curses are Divine] and Terry Dykstra.

On the whole, not a huge fan of Dragon #167 as it just never added much to my gaming on any level.

Artistic Rating: 2 [out of 5]

Written by Scott Taylor — July 19, 2013

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