I feel like, as I do a Dragon Magazine review each week, I’m getting too late in the magazine’s run for the bulk of my readers to remember them, as though, sometime around 1990, everyone stopped reading Dragon. In truth, that is probably very true, but nonetheless, I’ll keep reviewing whatever random issue I pull out of my collection each week.
This week brings Dragon #173 from September 1991. It is a Dark Sun dedicated issue and therefore is chocked full of both Brom and Tom Baxa artwork.
Edited by Roger E. Moore, the top articles in this particular volume are: ‘The Burned World: Athas’, ‘The Monstrous Side of the Dark Sun World’ by Timothy B. Brown and William W. Conners, ‘A Letter from a Wanderer’ by Troy Denning that concerns the undead and is a nice piece, and finally ‘Random Magic for Organized Minds’ again by Brown and Conners that details the random effects of what spells can be had on the world.
All the above articles are illustrated by either Brom or Baxa, but again, there is a rehash of already produced artwork for the game, so while still beautiful, it falls a bit flat.
Oddly enough, there is also a good deal of text and some horrifically bad black & white photographs of LARPing, while standards like Bazaar of the Bizarre and fiction still fill the pages.
Artistically, Brom does the cover, but again, Dragon is stealing artwork from the Dark Sun game, so although striking I’m less impressed with its use here.
Other than Baxa who does half a dozen interiors, Jim Holloway does an illustration for ‘The Sociology of the Flind’, Terry Dykstra does a nice comic-inspired piece on LARPing with ‘Out of Your Chair, Into the Action’, and an old Jim Roslof piece is expanded and goes without an art credit for ‘Magic Mangling Made Easy’. There is even a very interesting clipping from Larry Elmore in here, something that was reused as well, and if you blow the image up you can see the razor edging where someone actually cut the piece out and put it on a line background... ah, to live in a world without photoshop!
In all, this is mostly a rehash, blandly written, and although the cover sells it, not truly an inspiring magazine.
Artistic Rating: 3 [out of 5]