Dragon #175: A look at the doldrums of the early 1990s Dragon...
Today at Art of the Genre I’ll be taking a look at Dragon #175 from November 1991. Published by James M. Ward and edited by Roger E. Moore, this probably long forgotten issue isn’t a blockbuster but it does contain a few seeds that can help players and DMs of 2nd Edition AD&D.
I certainly don’t remember it, as I was in my 2nd year of college at the time and probably well into my encore comic collecting phase during the Marvel and DC ‘gold rush’ of that period. That being said, it is nice to be able to go and look back at it today, both for the nostalgia of the contents and also the memories of that time period in my life.
Inside the pages there are four ‘Special Attractions’, Trouble in Campaign-Land that features solutions for adventure design, Inventing the Instant Adventure by Arthur Collins for improvisational DMing, The Perils of Pre-History by Gregory W Detwiler concerning dinosaurs in your worlds, and Creative Campaigns: A New Recipe by Tim Schroeder that has some nice new magic, universes, and possible history ties for your homebrew worlds.
Artistically, the magazine was art directed by Larry W. Smith and has a cover by Paul Jaquays that I’m not really a fan of which is odd because the bulk of Jaquays’s work from that period is really stellar stuff. The image is called ‘Bramble’, and is a shot of the Thorn World Sphere from the Spelljammer setting, which I dig, but the unrecognizable ship that has landed on the sphere seems both odd and lazy when considering all the outstanding ships that Spelljammer provides for reference.
Interior art features some nice color work by Lissanne Lake, Bud Root, and Michael Weaver. The trio paint strong images for the lead articles, with Weaver’s work being the most unpolished and yet potential driven.
Artist Tom Standish contributes a nice black & white illustration for the Creative Campaigns article and Tom Baxa does some nice ink work as well for the Voyage of the Princess Ark by Bruce Heard that is basically a cool way of doing a Gazetteer.
In all, the magazine delivers at a decent, if not inspiring, level of content and I’m happy I got to take a look at it again.
Artistic Rating: 3 [out of 5]