D&D Drawings – Gary Gygax R.I.P.

Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons died today. I should be (but refuse to be) ashamed of the amount of time I spent as a youngster playing Dungeons & Dragons. Like a lot of folks my age, I became interested in the game well before I was old enough to really play it. Fortunately, by the time I was in junior high school, my friend Karl’s dad–a longtime D&D player–had taken us young folk under his wing and, playing dungeon master himself, taught us how to play the game properly. Probably (also like a lot of other folks as well) I stopped playing D&D in the 80s when it became a pop culture phenomenon, cartoon series included. Since then, though, I’ve often reminisced about the great times I had years ago, and contemplated starting playing again but never really got around to it.

The last time a remember playing D&D as an adult was when hurricane Hugo swept though North Carolina while I was attending Davidson College. While we were trapped in our dorms without power, a few friends–including the woman who would later become my wife–and I struck up a game, remembering as best we could how to play with what little reference we had at hand.

So, enough reminiscing… Now I gotta (as they say) pour out a little liquor for my homey:


(By the way, if you recognize this dragon, you’re as big a goon as I am.)

To take things back a few years, here’s a drawing of a D&D lizard man (Armor class 5, Hit dice: 2 + 1 hit point!) I did as a child. Like a lot of folks, I sort of worked my way back to Frazetta from those little illustrations in D&D books. I may not be drawing sword and sorcery stuff these days, but there’ s no mistaking the influence the D&D artwork had on me as a young man:



  1. Isaac Cates says:

    You know, Ben, you’re making me think how great it would be to put together an anthology of cartoonists reminiscing (or just writing) about playing D&D… I bet Jon Lewis and Jason Lutes both have interesting stories to tell, and I bet that if we started asking around we’d find that a lot of other “hip” people have a couple of nerd skeletons in the closet. (Fortunately, they also have a mace that’s +2 against undead.)

    I wouldn’t want the anthology to compete too closely with the Elfworld book(s): the stories would be more about the experience of playing than about the worlds created.

    Sounds like a good idea. Are we too busy to get it together?

  2. Isaac Cates says:

    Clarification: when I said “just writing” I meant making things up, not drawing with no pictures.

    That is, “just writing” is opposed to “reminiscing” — the stories could be fictional, or autobiographical, or autobifictionographical.

  3. Ben says:

    Yeah, I’d actually be kind of surprised if the ratio of D&D players wasn’t HIGHER among cartoonists. It’s, after all, a pursuit that appeals to folks with an active imagination, and maybe even fosters imaginative thinking by getting folks to flex their brains a little. And of course, putting yourself in the mind of a character who isn’t you is a necessary skill for any fiction writer, comics or prose…

    Anthology-wise, I think you could get something good out of that definitely… The question would be deadline. When’d we want it out by?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>